On a mission – one client’s psychosis

This morning a client has put into words what I imagine some of my clients think as they adjust to a sometimes significant change in their relating with their dogs. Based on a new and better understanding of identifying and then achieving their goals, people are empowered to become benevolent leaders. Watching clients take on and work through their issues and achieving success in a reality based universe is uber cool to me.

The dog in this story is Winnie, a stray who arrived into the life of Jim and Susie during a wicked bad thunderstorm in August of this year. Winnie’s peeps run a business with employees working on their first floor the second and third floor of their house is their residence.

Winnie is very sweet but very aloof and cunning and in many ways, shut down, possibly from trauma during her time on the lam. Another case of PTSD in dogs — this one in less “out there” manifestations.

Here’s the report from the Files of Susie: (the words in red are evidence of her psychosis!)

I have been reading, reading, reading. And some training. When I have food treats and the clicker, Winnie does very well with the touch and sit. I have also noticed that she’s going to other rooms to “shut down” less frequently. Another bully stick gone. She likes her beds.

This morning’s dilemma….. Winnie doesn’t want to get out of bed which is typical. I’ve already been up, and went for my 3 mile walk outside. Jim’s been up, showered and gone down to the office. At 6:45 am, I’m back from my walk and need to get the house ready for work and employees. I call up to Winnie on the 3rd floor, she doesn’t come. Rachel would tell me I should have clicker and treat in hand ready to reward good behavior.

I go upstairs to retrieve her, and she gives me her belly (which I rub because she is so damn cute, bad Susie!). Rachel agrees bad Susie. I just rewarded bad behavior in that she got a belly rub for not coming. I nudge her to get out of bed and she follows me with joy in her step.

We go on our walk. Euroleash on my waist connected to her gentle leader easy walk harness. Out the driveway, she stops to smell the skunks living under the front porch. Rachel tells me I could have used the eh-eh which I always forget about, and that I could/should have clicker and treat ready to re-direct and reward good behavior. Ok, I wait, thinking I can’t pull her, and then I get a little irritated when she tries to push her head under the porch so I pull a little (bad Susie!) and she follows me. Rachel tells me to use the eh-eh and that I gave her the privilege of sniffing the skunks and Winnie took that privilege. With a clicker and treat ready, I could have had some tricks up my sleeve to re-direct bad behavior. We go down the driveway, turn right, and Winnie stops on the tree lawn. Kind of freezes, standing position, doesn’t want to go further. I scan for distractions…there are none that I can tell. I wait patiently until no tension on leash. We continue to the next tree lawn, she pees, and then stops/freezes again. I decide to wait patiently again until no tension. It’s a stand-off. Minutes pass, I turn my side….I turn my back….I yawn….I bend at the knees to get to her level….I put my two hands on the ground….lots of calming signals. It’s cold out, I need to get inside to shower, my patience is wearing out. I pick her up, walk a couple tree lawns with her on my side, put her down, thinking I can “re-set” her agenda. I try to start walking, same thing. Again, minutes pass as I try the calming signals again. It doesn’t work. I turn to go home and Winnie leads happily and turns into our driveway.
I’m bothered for two reasons:
1. She didn’t get any exercise
2. She didn’t poop (which she normally does on the morning walk). She’s tethered in our office now, content to sleep away in her bed.
Lot’s to work on, I know. Rachel tells me to head out on my next walk with clicker and treat ready.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *