Wednesday, July 14, 2010

relaxation protocol

Since I'm on summer break, I'm home more. I'm really noticing Oreo's level of anxiety around the house, or at least his annoying behaviors. For example, I can't even open the dishwasher without him running to it and barking (he literally attacks the box of Cascade), or walk toward the front door, even if I'm just going to the light switch.
"I only bark, because I want to help clean the dishes. I am very good at cleaning things."

I've been using matwork to try and squelch these outbursts, but felt like we needed to do something more.

Today, I finally started the relaxation protocol, that I've been wanting to try forever. It is a daunting task, but since we have a wide open calendar for a few weeks, this is the time to do it.

Day One went well, although Oreo was a bit confused about the whole process. He offered me tricks occasionally, even though the protocol only requires him to sit. For the last three or four tasks, he began to lose interest and walked around a bit. I was able to get his attention and he finished. My only concern is he tends to want to lay down, rather than sit. Seems like a relaxing position, but I thought I read somewhere that the dog is really supposed to be sitting, not laying down.

This was what we did today:

Day 1: Dog's Task

Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step to the right and return
Sit while you take 1 step to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps to the right and return
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps to the left and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you take 3 steps back and return
Sit while you count out loud to 10
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you count out loud to 20
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly twice
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 3 seconds

It's been raining all morning. I want to go to agility class tonight, as we haven't been to one in well over a month! Hoping it clears up.

9 comments:

Marie said...

When we worked through Karen Overall's RP, she said it was fine for the dog to lie down. I preferred that position anyway, because it was more relaxing for the dog.

The great thing about RP was that I found myself relaxing as we did them too. It was funny how that worked.

I hope you enjoy working through them as much as we did!

Rob said...

Hi Sara, do you ever watch The Dog Whisperer? Not that I think you need to or anything, I just ask out of interest. I think its amazing what he does with dogs.

AC said...

Another friend to join the RP support group! Keep us posted on your progress. I ended up ditching the exact sequence and went with the spirit of, "laundry list of progressively more challenging things to relax through." I haven't been as consistent with the work as I should and haven't decided how helpful it will really be for Kona BUT we're still at it and I love hearing other people's experience with it.

I know Roxanne, over at Champion of my Heart, didn't want her fearful dog to lay down because one of her fearful reactions is to shut down=lay down. For Kona, laying down is a good sign of her being relaxed, so I'm all for it.

Yah for summer doggie projects!

Sara said...

I did download the mp3 files. I think counting softly outloud is helping too.

Glad to hear the down is ok. That will help me relax next time! Lol.

Diana said...

Ill be interested to see how it goes. Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

I do lots of quirky out-of-control things around the house too that get on mom's nerves. We've never done the relaxation protocols so we will be interested to see how you guys do. Mom often puts me in a down stay until she's finished with whatever it is that sets me off (like getting the mail) but once she releases me, I am still crazy.

Honey the Great Dane said...

How interesting!!

I have to say, although I often complain about Honey's lack of drive (and it IS a nightmare trying to get her to "work" in dog sports and stuff), in my heart, I'm really grateful that she is such a placid, calm dog because she's so easy to live with in every day life and we never have to deal with any anxious, nervous behaviours. It's hard to get her to even twitch sometimes if she is drowsy & comfy - even if we're doing something REALLY exciting like going for a walk. Even arriving home - if she's comfortable on her bed, she often won't bother coming to greet us or even lift her head - ha! ha!

I guess you can't have everything. If I had a dog with Oreo's enthusiasm and drive and energy, I'd have to deal with all these anxiety behaviours too...

Anyway, good luck with Oreo and the RP!

Hsin-Yi

Dawn said...

I'm laughing because I thought Katie was the only one that barked at odd things. Like the waste basket. And kleenex...

I can't write much as I am sitting in a "rent a wreck" car that smells funny, at the library and it's getting dark. Long story. I'm sure someday when I get my truck back you'll hear all about it!

LauraK said...

I don't know anything about this relaxation protocol, but it sounds very interesting. That sure is a long list of tasks though- Oreo has his work cut out for him :) Looking forward to hearing how he progresses!