Loki’s Bark Deterrent System

It’s important to lessen a dogs opportunity to practice reactive behavior.

I have read this in blogs and in online articles. I read one particular post that gave me a great moment of inspiration entitled, “Practice Makes Perfect: Managing Your Dog’s Reactivity.” Loki has had a very clear view of the neighborhood from our second floor deck that leads to the yard. He has been able to see and bark at everything that passes by.

Until now :-)…

LokiDeck1

Bamboo fencing attached to our deck railing to limit the view.

LokiDeck3

Bamboo fencing from another angle showing what Loki used to be able to see: Kids walking home from school, neighbors playing in their yards, people walking their dogs, etc.

I’m having sinus and tonsil surgery today. In fact, I am probably in surgery right now as I scheduled this post before today. I do not know when I will feel up to writing, but I look forward to getting back here as soon as I can.

UPDATE: I must of scheduled the post for the night before instead of the morning of my surgery. Oops. The bamboo fencing I used can be found in any Home Depot or Lowes for about $25.00. Because of it’s 6ft height, I was able to cut it in half then attach it with zip ties.

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Loki Bit The Vet

Okay, he didn’t really bite the vet, but they now won’t examine him without a muzzle on.

We went to the vet yesterday to have his skin tested for mites. It appears to be all cleared up. His hair is all grown back between his eyes and it doesn’t seem to bother him anymore.

When we arrived, I made sure to load the clicker just to remind him that it works in public too. We went inside to check in and he was not happy when the tech came around reception to get his weight. Luckily, I was prepared and clicked & treated him in between barks.

We got his weight, 61 pounds, and practiced sitting while we waited. More barking when a different tech came to take us back. I clicked and treated as fast as I could. He seemed to calm down once we got in the exam room. I spoke with the tech then she went back to talk to the vet. When she returned she asked to take him to the back for his test.

Then, I made a big mistake. I said yes and handed her the leash. Loki quickly responded with a bark and lots of growls.

I beat myself up as she took him away. Why on Earth didn’t I make her wait through more clicks and treats? Why didn’t I have her offer up treats herself after that? Nope, I just handed him over to the “wolves” like an idiot. 😦

One more lesson learned.

They couldn’t exam him because he wasn’t about to let them. They came back with the vet and we talked some more. Turns out, the vet wanted to see if he acted any differently away from me. He wanted to know if his reactivity was all the time or just as a result of guarding me. Grrr!!! I’m pretty sure he could have found that out someway else. Turns out, it’s not just from guarding me. No surprise there.

We may be going back to our old vet where we used to live 30 minutes away after that.

Well, in all, he referred us to his office manager who is also a trainer, he didn’t test Loki’s mange, and told us we should muzzle train him for visits. Oh, and of course, he triggered Loki on purpose and nearly got his techs bit. I paid $25+ for that.

To his credit, he listened and answered my questions about non-medication & medication treatments. He has also been professional and happens to know the Belgian Malinois breed very well.

It was another frustrating day on the reactive dog front.

The good news: Today we put on a thunder shirt and sat in the Petsmart parking lot. We parked as far away as possible, clicking and treating every single person within view. Loki was very tired after we finished. I think he may even nap today.

What are your thoughts on our vet experience? Were his actions appropriate for the situation or did he just made things worse?

 

Potential Triggers

Loki’s Potential Triggers – Ongoing List

People:

  • At close distance, 45ft
  • Within view of backyard
  • Looking at him
  • Talking to him
  • Strangers in our home
  • Men?

Dogs:

  • At semi-close distance, 90ft
  • Looking at him
  • Barking at him
  • Making any noises like whining
  • Growling, baring teeth, etc.

Objects:

  • Anything unfamiliar that is being blown by the wind
  • Tires on the ground
  • Bags outside like large dog food bags
  • Large traffic cones/barrels
  • Fire hydrants
  • Object that have been moved out of their usual place in the yard

Sounds:

  • Doorbell
  • Bangs, deep & loud
  • Dogs barking next door
  • Kids playing in neighborhood
  • Front door opening
Last Updated: 04/20/2013