Sunday, May 6, 2012

When Facing Reality Sucks

I know. I know.  I've sorta been lacking in my posts this past month.  It's been a tough one and not just because I've been sick twice in the past 6 weeks.  On top of it being a busy month, blogger completely changed their interface and stressed Sarah does NOT deal well with change.  OK, enough complaining about me now and on to why our month has been rough...

We have known that Hurley is a bit manic around food and that he's got slight resource guarding issues.  While we made tons of progress on these issues last fall, he has recently been diagnosed with a case of "Adolescent Puppy Brain" - otherwise known as regressing in training and behavior.  It happens to all puppies.  And it will likely happen again before he hits two. I am writing this so 6 months from now when we have the same issues, I will read this and hopefully feel better about the inevitability and completely out-of-my-control-ness of "Adolescent Puppy Brain."

His particular case of "Adolescent Puppy Brain" has resulted in a Hurley Monster who is not cool, man, not cool, about sharing the store.  Last Fall, he had the barkies at dogs who entered and now, the 80lb lug has progressed from barking to full-on reactivity to most of the dogs who come in to the store.  And since there is no magic pill to cure "Adolescent Puppy Brain", this mama simply has to continue counter conditioning, work on reactivity and socialization out of the store, and wait until this has run its course.

The sad part is that, since Hurley's behavior is in the "completely unacceptable for a shop dog" realm, he's staying at home for the time being.  Which means I don't get to enjoy this every day:


Big dog in a little box

Although it will be Hurley's behavior that determines when he's allowed back in the shop, I am full of high hopes that "Adolescent Puppy Brain" can be cured with time and diligence and that he can return relatively soon.  Why?  Dude will chew on opposite ends of the same bone with his sisters so I KNOW he can overcome these issues at the shop.  I'll be posting more this week about what our training plan is to counteract "Adolescent Puppy Brain", how his cup of stressors runneth over here in the shop, and the regression of his resource guarding behavior. 


12 comments:

  1. Aw, I'm so sorry to hear this. I know how frustrating resource guarding issues can be, but it sounds like you have it under control. I hope Mr. Hurley gets over his case of puppy brain soon because there are few things I love more than a big dog in a little box! :) Hang in there!

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    1. The dog in a box routine is definitely my favorite and, rest assured, I will be bringing his box home so he can enjoy it there. I hope we have this under control - each day, I feel like I realize something new about his behavior!

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  2. Oh that sucks! Well, luckily you are steadfastly working on things and before you know it, this will all just be an unpleasant memory! So, do your other two pups ever get to comet to the shop instead?

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    1. I can't wait for that day!

      We don't bring Sadie & Maggie into the store - with Sadie's previous fear aggression and Maggie's reactivity history, I've always felt that the store would be stressful for them as they would constantly be faced with things that have triggered them in the past. As they both get better and better though, I'm opening up to eventually working our way up to store visits!

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  3. I'm going to be visiting your blog a lot to check out your pearls of wisdom on this one!

    If its any consolation, I've heard many times that lots of trainers just wave a white flag during adolescence and wait til it's over before starting on a serious training program with hope of real results. Til then, staying home is a fine solution :)

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    1. Thanks so great to hear! I have felt like I was giving up but I had to tell myself that him not coming to the store wasn't giving up. It was listening to his needs at this time. And we've got some serious training plans in place but there'll all outside of the store at this point. I'm not giving up on my Hurley-boy!

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    2. "they're all" - I hate those kind of grammatical mistakes but my fingers are sometimes faster than my brain!

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  4. Aw, what a bummer! Hopefully Hurley will be able to work through it come back soon.

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    1. We hope so too! Especially Hurley who gives me the saddest looks when I leave every morning.

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  5. Aw, he is so cute in that box. I hope things improve and he gets to spend his days hanging out with you again :)

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  6. Now I understand your comment on my blog!! I know you will be able to work through this, you have a smart head on your shoulders and all kinds of resources to help you.

    I of course will be waiting and watching for reports of progress so I can help Delilah work through her issues. :-)

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  7. Kirsten is right that many trainers tell you to expect very little from some dogs during adolescence. One trainer told me to expect Honey's brain to fall out when she turned 6 months old.

    It didn't happen, fortunately. But I would not have been surprised if it had.

    Good luck working through the changes with Hurley. I'm sure things will turn around eventually.

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