2,959 Miles Walked!

Thanks for walking with us all year long!

It’s here-the last Walking Challenge post. It has been an interesting year and a lot of fun walking with you all. As a group we walked an amazing 2,959 miles! Whoohoo! You guys all rock and I’m so happy we did this challenge together. What an accomplishment!

We ended the year with 326 miles. Those last 39 miles eluded us, but it surprisingly it doesn’t bother me at all. As I looked back through the photo’s of the walks we took I know the Walking Challenge did exactly what I set out for it it do-it got us out and walking. I’m thrilled with all the fun we had and hope you all feel the same way!

I want to give a special congrats to Dare and her gang-they achieved an amazing feat and finished out the year with 1002 miles! That is so amazing! Carrie, Tanner and Oliver also blew us away with 549 total miles since they joined us in April. Both teams not only met but exceeded their goals and their loyally keeping me up to date all year really kept me going. Congrats guys!

I started out thinking I’d post a few of my favorite photo’s from the whole year, but it ended up being so many that I decided to slideshow it instead. We walked so many beautiful places all over the state, with friends and family. I couldn’t be happier with how our Challenge turned out. Thanks for joining me and supporting me all year long!

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Relaxation Protocol Day 4 Session 2

Taking a step back was a good idea. Today’s RP was uneventful and gave Maizey a chance to have some success. Now we can build on that success tomorrow.

Going to be a busy day though. I work and have my normal Tuesday night meeting, so Magnus and I need to walk early. Real early. My mom gets the pin out of her toe tomorrow and I just don’t want her to go do that alone so add in a doctors visit. I need to pick up a new bottle of Maizey’s Fluoxetine which means a trip to Costco. (Have you ever bought Prozac for a dog from your pharmacy? It’s pretty funny. They always say, “Is this for a K9?” With that look non-dog people reserve for really crazy dog people. It cracks me up.) Anyways, with all that I guess RP will be fit in there sometime after work and before the evening gets busy. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it!

It’s my 4legged lesson for today though: When Real Life gets crazy and you already have those daily dog do’s planned into your day it provides such a calm time to slow down and enjoy your pups. It’s yet another reason dogs are good for stress relief,

And on that convoluted thought I’m going to sleep!

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Relaxation Protocol Day 10 Session 3: Time To Back Up a Few Days

Not sure what to say except she broke off the mat four times. at 2:43, 6:00, 6:54, and 7:44. Then at 8:05 she offers me a sleepy chin, which make me think she was reading something in me that made her think she needed to offer something different.

The plan is to go back to day two or three and work things we’re successful at, skipping ahead a few days at a time as long as we’re successful.

If you have better ideas hit me with them since I don’t have too many of my own.

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Relaxation Protocol Day 11: The Wheels Come Off

This is actually RP from 8/24/11, but for a train wreck it was such an interesting type of success I wanted to get all of your input so am posting it today.

This was the day I started started “disappearing from view” by going out the front door and closing it, though not latching it, so I could use the door knocker. The first session of day 11 didn’t go well, so I changed the setup to make it easier and still accomplish the tasks.

The lip licks start at :44, :45 the first time I go out the door. The lip licks stay pretty frequent through this whole day, though mostly when I’m not there to see them.

At 3:02-:10 she shows more than the usual alertness to Nellie The Monster coming in the dog door.

At 4:08 she readjust on her mat to face the door more. I didn’t notice this till I watched the video. For some reason it’s just hard to observe the signs of stress when you disappear from view and can’t even see your dog!

At 5:24 she catches a scent of something and breaks from her mat. I had Magnus set up in the bedroom behind the baby gate in the bedroom and at 5:32 he starts barking. He rarely barks and this was his, “Holy crap!” Alert bark.

I was proud of Maizey for trying to come back to her mat at 5:35, but whatever got them both going was still too stimulating and she can’t settle. Though at 5:48 she comes back to her mat and lays down when I cue settle.

I thought he may just settle himself, but when he didn’t I thought I’d let him out and see if he would settle with us. I was planning on just finishing the day very easy, but instead he cruised right out the doggy door. That’s my bad for not remembering it was still open.

I was very impressed Maizey stayed on her mat for all of that and even laid down at the end.

He really set up a ruckus outside and I thought I better see what was up with him so at that point I stopped day 11, went and got him and set them both up to do day 1. At that point I really wasn’t sure what to do, but wanted to save this train wreck somehow.

So what do you think? What should I have done differently? Do you see anything I’m missing? It will be interesting to see how it goes today after I get back from vacation. As mentioned, the plan is to back up and do day 10 again with the setup I used for session 3 of day 11. Have any better suggestions? I’d love to hear them!

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Relaxation Protocol Day 10 session two: No Flyin’ Today

Since this was the day we left for our little trip Maizey was very stressed. Suitcases tend to have that effect on her, and it was a busy day in general.

I wanted to do something easier than the dreaded day 11 so I just backed up to the day 10 setup she flew through before. There wasn’t much flyin’ today though.

The setup is the old setup of disappearing from view into the other room, not out the front door. The knocking is just on the wall, which she had no issue with before.

Mehusbandy is doing the dishes in the kitchen to her right and you do see her notice the pots and pans clanking. (Side note of thanks to Mehusbandy for doing the dishes! He can be pretty handy to have around!)

At 6:10, 6:36 she certainly hears me when I “disappear from view, knock softly on the wall” but she stays on her mat.

Then at 7:35 decides to come with me when I disappear from view. This is a my bad situation since I didn’t even notice until she was in the other room with me. We walked back to her mat and I didn’t have to cue to her to settle, she just did.

At 7:55 she gives me a very obvious lip lick. For the rest of the day’s tasks I went out of view, but didn’t knock.

Today we get back from our vacation and the plan is to do day 10 again with the setup I used for session 3 of day 11. We’ll see how she does with me going out the front door and not knocking today. I have no idea how she’ll recover from her exciting weekend, but it sounds like she’s showing some signs of being very close to threshold so we won’t push her for a couple days ’till she recovers.

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Relaxation Protocol Day 11 Session 2

Since I still need to do a Monday Miles post this is the cliff notes version for RP today.

We redid day 11 but I didn’t disappear from view. I went to the front door and knocked where she could see me.

Tomorrow I’ll disappear from view by going out front door, but keep the criteria low by not knocking. Hopefully I’ll end up being able to go out the front door, close it and use the knocker.

In session one of day 11 I thought the neighbor dogs going nuts when I knocked on my front door may have bothered her, but tonight I think it bothered me a lot more than it did her. I feel terrible for them, they are totally unsocialized Pit Bull’s that never get out of their dog run, but sometimes the barking at things in my house gets a little trying.

I apologize for my off tune humming. It wasn’t that I was just feeling musical tonight, but I read a thread on the Control Unleashed Yahoo Group about adding very soft counting or humming to RP. The counting, or humming becomes another cue for relaxation to the dog. I chose humming since it came more naturally to me and I figured would seem more natural to other people that may hear me when we finally take this gig on the road.

It went better today and i was thrilled with her calm state all day. She spent the night at my moms last night and I expected her to be pretty close to threshold recovering today, but she was fine.

I’m really thrilled with how much the Fluoxetine has helped her. We raised the dose to 7.5mg a week ago and I don’t notice too much difference, but she is still doing so much better.

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Relaxation Protocol Day 11: It Just Got Interesting! Now I Need Suggestions.

This was the first day she broke from her mat twice. Looking back I can totally blame it on me since I upped the criteria too much at once.

Today was the first day she was supposed “Sit while you disappear from view, ring the doorbell, and immediately return.

I had to make a change in location in order to “disappear from view” and still use the knocker on the front door. We don’t have a doorbell, but the door knocker is the same idea to my dogs. In fact they don’t even react to a doorbell at all since they never associated it with people coming to the house.

At :37 breaks for out of sight knock quickly but softly on the wall next to the front door. Then at 3:52, after several knocks with the knocker, she follows me at a “disappear from view.”

At that point I decided changing locations combined with disappearing from view was too hard and lowered my criteria by just disappearing from view the same direction with no knocking. I also backed up about a minute in the steps in RP and started her on something I knew she could be successful at.

I’m not sure if that was the right thing cause it made the day’s skills longer, what would you do?

So this is what I’m thinking, I’ve been disappearing from view by going in the bedroom but if I back up a couple days and start going out of the front door and closing it then I would be out of sight. Then I could add the knocking back in a situation where she was used to me going out of sight by knocking softly and briefly on the wall outside the front door, gradually working up to using the knocker. If that makes any sense at all, how does it sound?

The other thing is that my setup was just not good, I just didn’t leave room for running around her. Plus the migraine I’ve been fighting with all week really doesn’t make jogging fun, so my jogging was just wimpy.

She’s doing really good and even though it feels like we’re never going to make it outside, where she really needs this work, so I just need to be patient and let the RP do it’s work.

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