Sunday, August 23, 2015

Getting ready to head home

Viva has done really well with so much change - my hat is off to this sweet girl and I already adore her.  She's going to be a lot of fun to work with as we begin our rehabilitation plan. 

Sadly, it was time to leave my in-laws amazing property and head home.  The environment is going to drastically change for Viva.  My in-laws live out where it's quiet and obviously they have lots of property.  We live in busy, noisy Seattle and we have a postage stamp back yard.  And Viva is going to meet another human and hopefully another dog so, more change.  There will no doubt be more adjustments for Viva and again, adjusting to a new environment takes time.  

But, before we headed out we did some more exploration and I captured some great pictures of two stunning Rat Terriers!  I opted to take off her harness and you can see her lovely self.
Viva watching a sparrow - she's thinking of how she can catch it!


I opted to take off her harness and you can see her lovely self.

Heading over to something interesting

"Where's the mole?"


The dogs having a rat-tastic time and Viva is showing
less stress.

We move on and Viva says "Everyone needs to stop and smell the flowers!"

I'm starting to become important to Viva and won't stray too far from me.  And yes, I have my food bag attached to me. One of my main goals is reinforcing behavior I want from Viva.  There tons of opportunity for this if the human pays attention.


A frog jumping into the pond and Viva says "What was that!"

Off to investigate the frog in the pond.

Taking in the environment

Lots to sniff

D'light of course is on critter patrol!

You can see that Viva is a strong, solid gal. She's going to be even more stunning once some weight comes off of her.

Watch out critters - you have two high prey drive terriers looking for you!

Viva says "D'light there's nothing in there!"

On the move

"Wait for me D'light"

In the above video you can see Viva moving into the butt sniff but, her attention is caught by something else.  This is excellent and hopefully we will see more of this behavior as we work together, using food as a reinforcer to help Viva redirect away from the intense and constant checking rears of dogs.  She does the butt sniff a lot so this is a behavior that will take time to reduce.  Of course she does need to check the rears of dogs but, it's the intensity that is the issue.  Why does she do such an intense and frequent butt sniff? Here's a good link talking about Why Do Dogs Sniff Each Other's Butts?  This article applies to Viva (like all dogs) but, with Viva I also think the frequent butt sniffs are related to her wanting to constantly check in with a dog to get a gauge on their current chemical state which allows her to know if she needs to be on guard with this dog.  Remember she's new out of the shelter where dogs were unpredictable and she was in this environment for a good while.  I sound like a broken record but, we all need to remember that it's going to take time for Viva to learn new behaviors and to understand that the dogs and her environment will for the most part will be predictable.
Here you can see the intense butt sniff - again behavior doesn't change over night.  The change that I was pleased about was no growling by Viva when she did this.  That's huge progress and good girl Viva. 
With regards to Viva's growling.  This isn't her being aggressive it's a way she manages her emotions.  When she's anxious, overstimulated or scared she growls.  As her environment becomes more predictable the hope is that the growling will go away.  And again, her growling should never be punished as it's her current way of communication which allows me to further manage the environment.  

D'light is given a treat to reinforce his patience of the butt sniff

It was great that both dogs could run off some energy since we had a long drive ahead of us

While we were out messing around, my father in law was nice enough to pick three big bags of apples to send home with us. 

I agree with Viva - yummy apples!

Time to head home and many thanks to my in-laws for welcoming Viva into their home!

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