Saturday, July 23, 2011

Maybe there is progress

Other people tell me that Teddy is making progress, but I don't see many changes in him anymore.  Except... we may be making progress in his fear of thunderstorms.  Last night we had a terrible storm that lasted 2 hours.  Thunder and lightning bad enough to wake the dead.  But I've been working with Teddy since I first realized he was scared of storms, and I think our work is finally paying off.  When a storm is coming, I get his favorite toys out and start playing with him.  That works for 10 minutes or so, until he realizes that there is a storm outside.  Then I get the treats out, and feed him small bits of treats for several minutes.  Sometimes I make him work for his treats, doing sits, downs, and stays, and he keeps his focus on me (and the treats) and off the storm.  A friend gave me a travel crate, and that has helped too.  After we're done with our play and our treats, I put the crate by my feet, cover it with a blanket, and put Teddy in the crate.  And he goes to sleep!!! So last night, at 2:00 in the morning when I woke up to the storm, I got Teddy's calming treat (a natural supplement that takes the edge off his fear, like a cocktail for humans.)  I gave him 1 1/2, and gave the other half to Ranger.  I put the crate near my bed, but he wasn't ready to go in it yet, so I put him on my bed with Ranger, who of course wasn't the least bit concerned about the storm, which I think also helps Teddy.  Both dogs curled up next to me, and Teddy didn't seem to be too scared - no panting or pacing.  He even put his head down on the bed!  After awhile it got too warm for him, so he moved away, and I decided to put him in the crate.  And he stayed there and went to sleep!!  What a difference from the dog of earlier spring storms, where he would pace around the room and under the bed, and pant like he ran a marathon.  I think it's a combination of our work and the calming treats.  It's just so nice to see him relax enough to go to sleep.  Maybe I should take a calming treat - I was up for the next 2 hours!

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