Sunday, November 7, 2010

something to carry

I took Oreo to a new place to walk last week. Quiet, no kids, only a couple people. We tried out all our new tools to help him acclimate, but he still had a tough time. Better than usual, but I would hardly call it a relaxing walk.

I asked the doctor for some suggestions.

She asked if Oreo would carry anything in his mouth, and thought it might be calming for him.

Well, I wonder if this is what she had in mind?



The other thing Oreo has taken to carrying around are my socks. Lately, for some reason, every time I put on a pair of socks, they end up with holes in them by the end of the day. So, if we have to train Oreo with socks, I have lots of them in reserve.

12 comments:

Diana said...

LOL, my dogs like to grab socks too!! Diana

Ricky the Sheltie said...

Wonder if carrying something around will really help Oreo on walks, etc. That's a very interesting idea. I like your doctor - you're lucky to be working with her!

Dawn said...

I really didn't realize the extent of Oreo's fear until this post. Because on a quiet walk without many other people and no noisy kids I thought he'd have fun. Wow. Do you think he'd carry something on a walk?

I imagine he's stealing your socks and gloves to have a piece of you with him. At least that's how I justify Katie stealing MY socks!

Sara said...

Dawn,
I have doubts that he will carry anything if he's nervous. I've been trying it out on walks close to home, and he will carry a sock sometimes. We'll keep practicing and then try it someplace new.

Oreo does well in wooded places. I think the place I took him didn't have enough tree cover.

I know you wanted to see our weekly log, but I didn'tknow your email address. I figured out a way to post them here, and you can find links to them on my side bar.

LauraK said...

How cute :) Our lab constantly has something in his mouth, but our girls could care less really. Funny how some dogs find comfort in carrying things. Hope you find something that could maybe work on your walks!?

katie said...

Another very interesting idea! Why would carrying something help manage anxiety? The only thing I can really think is along the lines of having a job to distract the brain from worrying?

I learn so much from your posts! Thanks!

katie said...

P.S. Thanks for emailing us your log-it is very interesting!

Priscilla said...

What a great idea for Oreo.
How I wish I could get Eva to willingly put something in her mouth. The only times she puts stuff in her mouth is when she's being naughty!

Dawn said...

Thanks Sara, for the logs. I'm reading them and seeing some behaviors that are similar in Katie that I didn't associate with anxiety. Mostly the barking. On walks she doesn't generally bark at people we meet (we don't meet many at all where we go for walks) but she does bark at cars and trucks in the driveway any time and when they drive by if we're outside. Is this anxiety?

She only barks at people when we're in our own yard and they are walking by, especially if they have dogs with them. hmm...is that anxiety? I thought she was just being territorial.

I feel sad for Oreo, he could have so much more fun on walks if he could let the fear go. Katie sniffs nonstop when we're on a walk, but she DOES walk at the end of her leash, doesn't pull but likes to be out there. I hardly ever make her heel unless we're doing obedience. Wonder if I should...

Sara said...

Shelties are barkers, that's no secret. Misty barks at people too, but her barks are definitely not anxiety, it is more an alert bark. I think you have to look at the situation to see why your dog is barking. Not all barks are stress. Oreo's bark has a different sound when he is worried. Then, he has a happy bark, an I want dinner bark, etc.

When I write that Oreo is at the end of his leash, that means he is pulling, hard. We are working on heel to give him an alternate behavior to distract him from whatever is worrying him, as well as teaching him that I am going to keep him safe no matter where we are and what we encounter. When Oreo is relaxed, he often will lead, but not pull. I don't think you need to ask Katie to heel, unless you think it would help her in some way. There's nothing wrong with a walk just being a walk.

Don't be sad for Oreo. Oreo usually relaxes and has fun on our walks close to home. Plus, we made some gains in our new walking place today. After stressful times I always give Oreo a good game of ball to reward and relieve tension. Oreo is happy and relaxed more often than he is stressed.

Dawn said...

Yea, I don't think Katie has the same anxiety as Oreo...except when it's time to go to the groomer. Then she doesn't bark, she just shakes a lot. Other than that I don't think she's afraid of very much. You're right. Shelties bark just like Bumbles bounce.

Marie said...

Interesting idea about carrying something. I would guess that the idea is similar to the heeling and the targeting. Gives him a job to focus on rather than the anxiety. Very cool!