Treatment Plans for Behavioral Regressions

willie in wonderland 2011

Or, alternative title: Adventures in the Willie Wonka Fear Factory. If you're cocking your head in confusion, this is about Willie's recent (and relatively new) fear of men. To review briefly: As a puppy he was pathologically afraid of other dogs, exceptionally sound sensitive and, in some contexts, quick to anger. But he adored people, loved everyone. As an adolescent, like many dogs, he developed new fears, and became cautious around unfamiliar men, but it was easily handled by having guys throw balls for him. I always knew I'd need to manage it and that I could never completely close the book on his fears, but it was easily handled and he usually appeared to be thrilled to meet unfamiliar men after about 4-5 months of counter conditioning. And then, three weeks or so ago, he barked Read More

“Listening” to our Dogs

Yesterday something happened with Willie that reminded me of something most of us already know. . .  the fact that our dogs are continually trying, often desperately, to communicate with us. They can't use words, they don't write letters and, thank god, they can't twitter. But they live in constant contact with members of another species, a species that can either ignore their efforts, or fine tune their abilities to translate what their dog is trying to "say." Here's what happened with Willie: Lassie,  Will and I had just finished a lovely country walk with friends (two and four-legged) and were chatting outside of the house of the mutual friend who owns the property. Picture: three people talking outside of the house, three dogs at their feet, and Willie, the 4th dog, hanging out, Read More