Progress on vet walk

Counter-conditioning. She is scared by the main road — such that she’d begun to refuse to cross any road that leads in that direction. My method to work on this problem is described here.

March 19, 2017: Lyra is unwilling even to go to the first corner (B). She tugged to go in the opposite direction, and snatched at her treats. She began to calm down, but was clearly at threshold, so I took her home. Clearly, I need to break the steps down further.

March 21, 2017: Already, Lyra is able to meet the three criteria for point A.

March 23, 2017: Lyra got 9 zeros in a row — i.e., three trips to point A with no reactivity on any of the three criteria — so we get to advance to point B next 🙂

March 26, 2017: Lyra got her 9 zeros for point B. On to point C! (She’s begun to ask to cross the road — even when we’re heading for our usual walk — i.e., +CER.)

April 2, 2017: Lyra got her 9 zeros for point C. This was the hardest one so far — I think because it was the first that required movement toward the scary road. (We also had a few days “off” due to heavy rain and garbage trucks.)

April 4, 2017: Lyra is finding it stressful (a few leash pulls and one snatch) to walk to D, so I’ve created C+, which is half way between C and D.

April 8, 2017: We had a short break in our training due to bad weather and garbage trucks. So far, though, she seems pretty relaxed with C+. On our latest attempt, she got 3 zeros.

April 13, 2017: She has now had 12 zeros (I did one extra set to be sure) so I’ll try her on D next. Obviously, we won’t make enough progress by the 17th to get to the vet’s office with a +CER all the way. I’m loathe to allow a setback, so will likely take her to the vet’s by a different (much longer) route.

April 17, 2017:  Lyra did a few clean (zeros) sets at D, and I decided, after all, to take her the usual route to the vet’s — not because I thought she had a +CER to the road crossing, but because I judged that the benefit of routine was paramount. It worked out very well. She was a little hesitant approaching the road, and a bit on edge, but she did not get as wound up (freaked out) as she did every time before. (We were lucky, too, in the absence of buses both ways.)  I also think it helped her mood at the vet’s. She was calmer than usual approaching the door; inside, she was on edge (her pupils were dilated and she was very watchful), but she held it together without shutting down. I feel as if our work paid off! Once she’s had a little break, I’m going to resume at D (we’ve already done a couple at her request) and see if we can get closer to a +CER to the road itself one day.