“As I mentioned before, I work in behavior, and my specialty is managing fear and aggression, so all my professionalism is coming to bear right now.”
I have newly returned from a dream trip I’d been planning for fully ten years, a visit to New Zealand and then a cruise back across the Pacific. Yes, it was awesome.
I wanted to take the fantastic opportunity to do things I cannot do at home. Indiana has plenty of caves (our limestone supplied Washington D.C.’s and most other major cities’ buildings and monuments, and limestone country is cave country), but we have a distinct shortage of glowworms, so I wanted to go down under to see them. And rather than take a boat, I wanted to do something a bit more adventurous. So I booked a spelunking tour.
I knew the tour would involve abseiling (also called rappelling) and swimming/floating through 50-degree water. I didn’t realize that the abseil would be 35 meters through a narrow neck into the cave itself, and thus would be the very first task.
Heights, dark, tight spaces, all the classic fears in one go. Whee! Continue reading
I didn’t take a new pic of Undómiel (10 months) today, so please enjoy this flashback to 8 weeks old.
No time like the present…. Undómiel and I had to make a trip yesterday to the veterinary clinic for an irritation on her face, and while I had planned to get around to teaching a chin rest for vet exams and treatment, I hadn’t actually done it yet.
Yes, professionals can be lazy and distracted, too. Guilty.
A solid chin rest can be invaluable for vet exams, especially of the head or face. So there we are, sitting in the exam room waiting for the doctor, and I decided to get started. A few clicks in, I realized it’d be good to get some video of the process. Continue reading
I have been a terrible pet parent, and I have not been spamming the blog with puppy photos and puppy stories. I apologize, I’ve been crazy busy, and in the end it’s more important to spend those extra minutes with the puppy rather than writing about her.
But today I’m going to officially spam about the puppy.
Meet Undómiel, who is 12 weeks old now and already gi-normous. Her paws are dinner plates. She’s going to be bigger than Laev.
I went to Denmark to pick her up, so she could fly home in the cabin with me. Continue reading
Today the Assistance Dog Blog Carnival goes live! And today I realize that probably the week before Christmas isn’t the ideal time. I heard from several people that they wanted to participate, but just hadn’t had time to get a post done and submitted.
But you know what? We’re all about accessibility and doing what you’re able here at the ADBC, and so we aren’t judging. If you get your posts to me later today or even later this week, I’ll just add them as they arrive. (And remember, you don’t have to be a service dog trainer or user to participate! All are welcome to share their thoughts and experiences.)
And this might be a good thing, because it lets me spotlight a very honest and thoughtful post from Jeremy Medlock, who is training his own dog to aid him. Service dog work isn’t all romantic key-fetching or traffic-stopping — sometimes it is doing what dogs do best, being quietly supportive and there for us, a bias-free slate. I encourage you to read this from someone who uses a dog for an “invisible” disability and is brave enough to discuss why. Continue reading
Bear spray (Photo credit: jkbrooks85)
I was listening to a short podcast with Seth Freeman on negotiation — “be hard on the problem, soft on the person” — and there was a moment that I just had to grab and share with you. Continue reading
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So it was the Fourth of July this past weekend, Independence Day, with all the challenges that brings for pets and their people.
I was traveling with Mindy, the guide dog in training, and we did fireworks. With flying colors (terrible pun intended). Continue reading
Did you ever wonder exactly what the heck could be going on inside your dog’s head at the vet? Maybe why your toddler is freaking out, or why your cat tries to make your insides into your outsides when it’s time for a medical exam or treatment?
We don’t have mind-reading equipment yet, but we’ve got the next best thing — a human who can explain from inside a clinic where she’s uncomfortable. Continue reading
Night of the Living Dead (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
So I watched a scary movie, and while the soundtrack swelled and the people around me screamed and jumped in their seats and my heart pounded, I was thinking about behavior. There’s a good chance I need professional help. (But in the meantime, I have blog posts.)
Yes, a room full of people watching a horror film can be a great example of an important behavioral concept. Let’s talk about the third of the Four F’s. Continue reading
stressed Malinois, image from FIRED UP, FRANTIC, AND FREAKED OUT
World’s shortest CIA blog post, just because I was just surprised by my own succinct summary in an email I was writing.
I don’t use “leadership” or social hierarchy to work with fear-aggression; they’re generally not related. A child may love and respect his mother, but still find the dentist chair a scary experience. We need to teach him how to view the dentist, not his mother.
Time — and dogs — can be saved by focusing on the real issue. Continue reading
Last time I shared examples of an extremely aversive experience poisoning what had once been a pleasant, rewarding behavior. So when something outside of your control goes wrong, how likely is it to destroy the behavior you’ve trained? Continue reading