Sunday, May 6, 2012

This is my dog on flies (and other house-keeping)

This isn't the post I planned to write today. In fact, I have 2 or 3 posts running around my head, jotted down on paper or scribbled into "Notepad" scraps. But those will have to wait while I do some blog-house-keeping here today instead.



First, I wanted to share this short video with you of one of Bella's most recent successes.

Remember back in April when I wrote about Bella learning the agility chute for Something Wagging This Way Comes's January is Train Your Dog Month Challenge? Well, she did it. Bella will now complete the chute with the fabric side completely closed. And I thought you might enjoy seeing the evidence:




Yea Bella!



However, as Pamela recently opined over at Something Wagging, "Progress isn't linear". (What a great line and oh so tragically true). Of course, I should have known this would happen. It serves me right for bragging about my "big, brave girl" in last week's blog post. Bella has overcome much, but the fear that remains can be debilitating.

What you're about to see is Bella's reaction to a fly in our house Friday night through Saturday. It is similar to her response to thunderstorms. Mind you, the fly is not near her, it's not dive-bombing her, in fact, it's not even in the same room with her. The only thing in the room this video was taken in is me and her. And she has been acting like this every time she (or I) goes near the bedroom for more than 12 hours at this point.

(I apologize to those readers who also follow us on Facebook as I posted this there as well but wanted to post it here because I want to talk about it in a way I can't on FB.)




Now normally I don't take video of Bella when she's frightened. As you can imagine after watching that, I'm usually dealing with her and trying to manage the situation. This time, her fear of the bedroom had lasted so long and we were so confused over what she was reacting to (we didn't hear or see anything at the time) that I decided to take a short video to share with her behaviorist and trainers to get their take on things.

Anyway, 18 or so hours later, after I had completely torn apart our bedroom and dusted, washed and vacuumed everything in it; after Jan had found a couple of flies in our sun-room and, shall we say, 'addressed' that issue; after Bella still wouldn't comfortably come in the bedroom, I happened to find a fly in the bedroom closet window, buzzing between the blind and the screen. Finally, this is what Bella had been hearing and I was able to eliminate the real "threat".

It took Bella several hours still to believe all danger was gone and she finally curled up in her bed around 4 a.m (the next morning!) Needless to say we were all done in by the event.



Finally, I wanted to let you know that the blog is probably going to be a bit light for the next couple of weeks (you may have noticed it's already been a bit thin the last few weeks.) This is partly because it's spring which brings many hours of garden prep and yard work with it. (Jan and I are avid, even somewhat extreme, gardeners.)

I will also be traveling on business and, while I'll have a variety of computers with me, I likely will not have consistent internet access nor time to do all the usual blog-gy type stuff. I do, however, hope to catch up on visiting my favorite blogs and saying hello to all you wonderful peeps and pets.

In the meantime, I hope you'll stick with me during these light content days. Because, and I admit right up front to stealing this from Sue over at Greyhounds CAN Sit,:








31 comments:

  1. We love coming here!  I hope Bella feels much better now that the bug is gone.  I don't know what Finn would do if something like that got in the house, but we definitely chase bugs outside.  Have fun enjoying your spring hobbies!

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  2. Georgia Little PeaMay 6, 2012 at 6:25 PM

    I watched that vid a kazillion times. Georgia was very intrigued and went looking for Bella! Poor thing. I wonder what set her off being nervous of flies.

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  3. I could imagine a dog living on the streets experiencing problems with flies. Poor Bella. But she's so lucky to have such a loving family who works so hard to grow her courage. 

    She looked beautiful coming out the chute.

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  4. Poor Bella!

    I had Elka out back to try to empty her earlier today, and she kept getting distracted by flying things. I don't think she was afraid of them, or particularly worried, but she kept circling, and then essentially going "Hey, a bird!" "Look, a bee!" "BUTTERFLY!" "DID YOU SEE the bird???"

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  5. Poor Bella!
    But yay for going through the chute!
    Dachshund Nola

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  6. Poor, poor baby - she reminds me so much of Chester during storms (which we've had plenty of today!)...glad you found the fly at least! It made me think about how they have such different hearing than us, could be reacting to something we don't realize they hear.  I love coming here, you won't be losing me for sure! Happy gardening and safe travels!

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  7. Oh no!  Poor Bella!  glad you sorted it all out.  Our Target kitten is a scaredy cat so we know how you feel.  

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  8. That's a great achievement with the tunnel. The thing that seemed odd to me in the second video was that Bella's tale was constantly wagging? What's your take on that; it just seemed odd if she's so stressed. Deccy is a great "tail clamper" when he's unhappy! Deccy & Mum x

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  9. Hi Finn, Thanks for the kind words. 

    I'm afraid Bella's afraid of bugs outside as well - well, at least the ones that buzz. On the bright side, she's not really afraid of butterflies.  :]

    I think if you're brave enough to chase them outside, you'd probably be pretty okay with them inside, too.  (And if Jan and I weren't always opening the door to partake in our spring activities, perhaps we'd have a few less of them inside to contend with in the first place!  ;)

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  10. Oh poor Georgia.  (I'm always so impressed by these dogs that respond to other dogs in videos. How great a level of empathy they must have.)

    As I understand it, fear of flies is actually pretty common among dogs. When we were completing Bella's paperwork to see her behaviorist, that was actually singled out on the intake form (as in "is your dog afraid of thunder, fireworks, flies...")  I was very surprised at the time.  

    But she was also stung by some bees when she first came to live here and that seems to have been a huge influence in her fear of buzzing things.

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  11. Yeah, absolutely, it's probably a good survival strategy to be afraid of things that buzz, especially when you're really little. 
    She really does love to play agility once she's mastered an obstacle. (We're actually having trouble keeping her *out* of the tunnel in class when she's on an off-leash sequence. Arg! ;)

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  12. LOL - I can't imagine Elka being afraid of much - she seems too well adjusted for such frivolities.  :)  On the bright side, Bella is not afraid of birds (I really think it's the "buzz" factor that's setting Bella off) and watches them with fascination much like Elka.  I suspect Elka thinks they're a great self-powered toy. ;)

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  13. Thanks, Nola.  Yeah, we're pretty proud of her for that - we really thought that was going to be a much longer time coming. Aside from being a little crazy, she can be very brave. :)

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  14. Oh poor Chester.  I hope those storms pass quickly.  Tell him there's a pretty little scaredy girl dog here who commiserates. :]

    The hearing this is aMAZing.  And yeah, we're struggling to learn to read what she's telling us so we can react to that rather than what we think might be  bothering her. It's hard though. There's so much we miss.

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  15. Oh poor Target. He's such a cutie, I hate to think of him being scared. :(

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  16. Hi Deccy and Mum!   That's a very good question about the tail and one I've been learning a lot about lately. (I'll give my take here but will also be reporting back when I hear what Bella's trainers and behaviorist have to say because they know so much more about this than I do.)

    One thing I do know is that it's no longer considered canon that a wagging tail always means a happy dog. (There's a pretty good summary here: http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/50/Canine-Body-Language.aspx )

    What I like in their section about tail language is how they note "When your dog is relaxed, he’ll hold his tail in its *natural* position".  In Bella's case that is way up and curled over her back.  That's her happy tail pose.  If you notice in the 2nd video, her tail is wagging but it's position is fairly low relative to her natural position.  I think Deccy's tail is naturally held lower so when he gets scared, I'm guessing his tail goes right under him and between his legs.  

    So it's relative positioning as well as the speed and direction with which the tail moves that tells us more about their feelings than just the fact that it's wagging at all. There's so much going on in my little girl's head sometimes and I am so grateful for Bella's trainers to help us identify the subtleties in her communication.  We'd be so sunk without them. :|

    (Sorry for the book - this stuff fascinates me and sometimes I can't shut up. ;)

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  17. How great that she went through the chute!  Too bad about the fly though.  That poor girl!

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  18. You win some, you lose some. ;)  We're happy with her progress and we'll just keep helping her cope where she needs it.

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  19. Wow. I thought Scarlett trying to eat flies was bad. That is so sad! Of course, the other night I had to sit for 30 minutes in our bathtub with my poor pup as a bad Thunderstorm rolled by. She was a mess. Poor dogs. :(

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  20. I saw the post on facebook, and I'm glad after all that work that it turned out to be something you found as opposed to never finding it.  I hope you all are recovering from the incident. :-)

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  21. Yesterday at Buddy Dog, a number of dogs were having serious fly issues -- staring at the ceiling where one had been flying, chasing them relentlessly.  They were all satos.  I thought of Bella immediately.  What *are* the flies like in Puerto Rico?

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  22. It's always interesting to see what your dog is afraid of. Sage often goes and hides when hearing new noises, but flies don't seem to concern her. 

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  23. Great job Bella on mastering the Chute! Lookin like a pro you are :D

    A fly. BOL! So glad your Mom finally found it and did away with it. You were quite vocal! Too funny :)

    Tell your Mom safe travels and we'll see ya when we see ya! :)

    Waggin at ya,
    Roo

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  24. OK, your FB comment made me move my butt and come read this straight away. This poor, sweet dog. Don't you wish you had a magic wand for her? In any case, I'm glad she did the chute. You must be very proud!

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  25. Oh we know about thunderstorms too.  Oh poor Scarlett.  :(

    Since you mention she was in the bathtub, I wonder, have you heard of the Storm Defender Cape?  It's a 'jacket' of sorts that is supposed to discharge the static electricity that builds up during thunderstorms.  Some dogs are reacting negatively to that and I've read that's especially true of dogs that seek shelter in tubs (something about the ceramic in the tub also dispersing the static charge).  Anyway, it's definitely helped Bella during thunderstorms.  We wrote about it here if you're interested: http://www.bringingupbella.com/2012/02/wherein-bella-models-her-thunder-wear.html

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  26. I'm glad we found it too, Jodi, I just wish there was something we could do about it.  :(  Poor little stressed dog, this is almost worse than her issue with thunderstorms.  

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  27. LOL - I shouldn't laugh but that was funny.  Satos are dogs who learn how to survive so it's probably in their best interest to have a fear of things that buzz.  It makes sense and outside I can manage it.  Inside though, geez, we don't even know the stupid things are there sometimes. Until, of course, Bella's having a conniption and we're scrambling to find the damn thing.  :\

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  28. The first time this happened, we didn't have a clue of what was going on.  We're getting better at recognizing her behavior now but geez, what an ordeal.  I don't think of Sage as being scared-y at all.  Interesting to know she'll run and hide if pressed.  Poor baby.  :(

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  29. I know, Roo, it's pathetic, isn't it?  Maybe you can come over and straighten her out on what's what?  :)

    I'm so looking forward to spending Sunday on a train and, with any luck, catching up with all my favorite blogs and pups.  We'll definitely see you then!

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  30. LOL - ah, yeah, that picture with the dog on the counter had me laughing out loud.  OMD - it was so Bella.  :)

    That magic wand, yeah, sign me up. It's been a long week and summer is looking exhausting. ;)

    But oh dog, yeah we are sooooo proud of her for doing the chute.  I wasn't sure she was ever really going to get comfortable with it, but look at her go. :)  She really amazes me sometimes. 

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  31. Awww, we're back too:)  Way to go, Bella, going through the chute and enjoying it.  Great accomplishment.  I'm very fortunate to have 2 relatively fearless dogs.  They are sensibly cautious around a lot of things (Beryl more so than Frankie) but I don't think they really panic about anything, so far!  I wish Frankie was scared of things that buzz.  He loves catching bees and has been stung in the mouth once but it hasn't stopped him.  Funny thing is he doesn't try and catch flies.  Beryl does flies, but not bees.  At least you finally solved the mystery this time.  It would very difficult to shield Bella from flies, I imagine.  Or to work on fixing her fear of them.  

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