Being a Dog Trainer is Like Being a Boy Scout

So, that was some thunderstorm we just had!  My boy Beo has some thunderstorm issues.  I’m not going to go so far as to call them thunder-phobia, but this storm definitely made him anxious.  I’ll admit, some of those blasts of thunder scared me, even Tamlin was nervous.  Losing power didn’t help either.

Here’s where being a dog trainer comes in handy: I was prepared.  I recognized the signs of anxiety

-Pacing

-Panting, fast breathing

-Dilated pupils

-Flattened ears

-Refusal to eat

-Tucked tail

So I pulled out my toolbox.  I always keep a few bags of canned dog food that has been frozen into cubes in the freezer; they easily stuff into Kongs in seconds.  I put on the first Through A Dog’s Ear CD I could find (yes, I have the entire series).  While Tamlin occupied himself with the Kongs, I went to work with Beo.  I started with the Jolly Game; acting silly, tossing toys, using a happy voice, singing silly songs, doing whatever it took to get his tail wagging.  That worked for a bit.

One of the things you have to be prepared to do is toss one method and move on to the next.  This also requires HAVING another method to move on to.  No one has just a hammer in their toolbox.  This is something I stress with my clients: “It’s great that X is working, but what are you going to do if a squirrel runs right in front of you?  You have to think on your feet!  Plan ahead!  Be prepared!”

So, I grabbed Beo’s relaxation mat-it’s basically a bathmat where we do the Relaxation Protocol.  He immediately lay down upon it.  I sat on the floor next to him and did the little TTouch that I know.  Once I had exhausted those two touches I just stroked him slowly.  After about 30 minutes Beo was on his side with his eyes closed.

It was actually very nice and a lovely bonding moment for us, and all because I had been prepared.

 

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