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Monday, November 22, 2021

The Hachi Chronicle

Hachi seems more comfortable in his own skin than ever before. He gives us the feeling that he's open to learning things that we'd put on the back burner.

Relaxed Hachi in the Desert

One of the first things that we'd love for him to learn is that strangers are not as scary as he thinks. That's an overwhelming task from the point of view of his humans. He thinks that all but about 6 people in the world are potential threats. That leaves billions of people for him to learn are not scary.

In my mind, I finally figured out a way to think about it. My mantra is now "one person at a time", meaning that we will work with him on getting to know a single new human at a time. We decided that a very experienced dog trainer should be that first person. She can teach us more about how to introduce him to strangers and how to respond when things go badly than we know now. 

Happy Hachi on the Slickrock

Our first session with her was at our place because that's where Hachi is most comfortable. We started out with "parallel walking" along our driveway. In this, we began with Hachi behind her on a leash with the Runner. They gradually caught up until the trainer, me, and the Runner/Hachi were walking side-by-side. 

After Hachi seemed comfortable with that, we played a game called "treat-retreat", where the trainer tossed treats toward Hachi. After he'd eaten all the treats off the ground, the Runner helped him to "retreat" away from the trainer. Hachi could pick up treats about 10' away from the trainer without reacting.

And that was all that we did in the first session. We liked the trainer a lot. She didn't push Hachi too hard. That is the most important thing in helping Hachi get over his fears. We've seen it again and again.

Watchful Hachi

We'll keep on working with our Hachi. This is all part of the bigger picture leading toward him being able to go to the vet without being knocked out by sedatives. The vet is a stranger who he's afraid of. Perhaps our "one person at a time" approach will eventually help him to generalize enough that he can be near our vet without being terrified.

We love our Hachi.


  1. we hope your one person plan will work out... and it works even for he vet... all the good luck and power to you...

  2. Hari OM
    That's it, slow and simple steps... YAM xx

  3. Slowly may be the way to go, and one trusted person who understands, you hit the jackpot there with your trainer.Hachi, love those big feet.And your ears flying in the air.

  4. Slow and steady wins the race. Fingers and paws are crossed.

  5. Hachi you have come so far....OMDs you are the exact color of the beautiful red rocks in your world
    Hugs cecilia

  6. He's such a handsome dog! You've done so much with him and continue to do so. With your love and attention, I'm certain he'll continue to make progress.

  7. The vet will be tough as we love people but we are so scared every time we go to the vet, even a new vet is scary to us. We are nice to them, but we are scared. Hopefully you will be able to work Hatchi though his people fear.

  8. that last photo is a heart melter. what a gorgeous face you have Hachi.

  9. He's so worth the extra time and effort. Love that last image-he's such a handsome boy.

  10. Good plan! Good trainer! Good Hachi!

    Chris from Boise

  11. I am so happy you've found a way to work with Hatchi on this. Bella's circle of people remained very small throughout her life but we needed her to be able to survive things like vet visits, too. Having a good, patient trainer is such a blessing and I'm so glad you found one. He's such a handsome boy and so lucky to have you working so hard in his corner.

  12. He's such a handsome pup. I love how you work so hard to help Hachi being all he can be.

    Have a fabulous day and week. Scritches to the pups. ♥

  13. Love your motto! lol Used it all the time with our dogs. :) New game sounds fun! I miss behavioral training. It was always such a bonding time.

    Way to go Hachi!!

  14. Good luck Hachi with your training! Love that last photo of you!

  15. We love Hachi too and are so glad to hear he is learning new things. Our mom wishes she lived closer so she could be one of the special people Hachi gets to know.

  16. We love hearing about his progress, that is the best!

  17. One person at a time, one day at a time, one step at a time. Hachi is doing SO well. Keep up the superb work.


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