Hachi is doing really well. Over our three years with him, we've learned that camping in our LabMobile stresses him out. Due to his anxiety, he tends to get a short temper with his sister. He explodes into a snark right at her face when he goes over threshold.
Not on our recent trip! We could feel that he was less tense than usual, and his behavior backed that up. He snoozed in the sun next to Shyla, and then he played with her on our evening hikes. I know that his face looks crazed in the next photo but it's due to pure and happy play.
I'm sure that part of his huge improvement is that we have learned to "manage" his triggers much better. We know what parts of camping life can make him lose his cool, and we are careful to avoid them. As an example from the past, he likes to block the LabMobile door when Shyla is about to come out. If we proceed with bringing her out, he'll get in her face in a noisy way and perhaps give her a soft muzzle bite. Now, we know not to let that happen - so he's not practicing that behavior anymore. If it's like other behaviors, it may fade with time if he has no chances to rehearse it.
We also were able to practice some of his formal training, like the Bucket Game, in our campsites. He could focus, relax, and do a good job with them. That seemed impossible as recently as a few months ago. Yay for Hachi!
We feel as if he's ready to work on more of his fears. We have plans to work on them steadily. I'll write more about that soon.
I like this next photo because it shows a very relaxed dog. His eyes were soft as he looked up at the Runner. His tongue was hanging out. He looks happy to me!
It is a Happy Hachi Chronicle this week!