On reposting the drawings from this blog

Please don’t repost or share the images you find on this blog.

The reason I create graphics for these blog posts is because the act of creating images helps ME to learn and remember things that I need to know. They also help make the blog look more fun and inviting. I don’t create these drawings for you to repost them elsewhere on social media. If you want to share my drawings, Please USE THESE ONES which are offered as free downloads under a Creative Commons License.

Please do not use the images from Boogie’s blog. These images were created for specific personal blog posts/contexts, and relevant to specific periods of time in my life with Boogie. For instance, an infographic I drew 5 years ago might be relevant only to that particular blog post, and today it might be outdated or incorrect info and definitely not something I want to have passed around the internet as though it were THE TRUTH. I am always learning and updating my work.

I repeat – this is a PERSONAL BLOG. If there is something here you want to share or repost, please ASK FIRST. Be prepared for me to say No.

Thank you,
Lili

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July 27, 2017 at 5:38 pm 3 comments

Bad food, New food.

or How to Train Your Dog to Hate Food

A few weeks ago, Boogie injured himself jumping down from the couch (piercing yelp, disc problem) and had to be fed Tramadol every meal for about 7 days. Tramadol is a painkiller pill that tastes AWFUL so I decided to hide it in something delicious: a Freshpet soft meaty kibble. This had worked before for pill-giving, so I didn’t think it would fail. I had previously tried peanut butter, cream cheese, you name it… they worked the first time, and then never again. Boogie stopped liking peanut butter or cream cheese.
hidden-pill

 

I dropped a handful of Freshpet meaty bits into his dinner and mixed it well. One of these meaty pieces concealed the bitter pill.

On and off for the next few days, Boogie refused to eat his dinner if there was any Freshpet in it. He would sniff his bowl, stare at me, then walk away. I had to coax him to eat his food by adding in extra stuff, like ham pieces, tuna etc. or hand feeding it to him. He would eat Freshpet as hand-fed treats but not at mealtimes.

Even when I stopped giving him  Freshpet or Tramadol, Boogie was still suspicious of his food. And then one day he refused to eat any dinner at all; and same deal the next morning, as if all his meals had been contaminated.

By the way, his dinner was the same Darwin’s cooked beef that he had been enjoying for the past 3+ years. I didn’t know what to do. Should I change his food? What if he dislikes his new food too? I had already turned him off peanut butter, cream cheese, Freshpet, Darwin’s…

After I transferred his uneaten Darwin’s dinner out of his red bowl and into a new bowl, he ate up his dinner immediately!  The exact same dinner.

Usual bowl = food is potentially bad.
New bowl = food is uncontaminated.

Same thing happened the next morning. Boogie ate his food after I transferred it to a different bowl.

This is what I believe happened: I had (unconsciously) classically-conditioned a negative association with the bowl because I put something very bad in it ONCE or TWICE.

I should have known better that this is how classical conditioning works. With good stuff, good feelings transfer and spread. With bad stuff, bad associations are created and these spread too. Perhaps Boogie also no longer trusted me. 😔

A Facebook friend told me that when she was a kid a particular food made her throw up. And because this food was usually served with X, she also could also no longer eat X without feeling nauseous.

Likewise with aversive training methods eg, prong collars, leash jerks, intimidation etc… Even though our intention is to stop an unwanted behavior from happening again, we are also creating bad feelings that could attach themselves to stuff we don’t want them attached to. In a documentary I watched some time ago, (Tough Love?) –  a dog owner offered her puppy a new toy. He grabbed it too roughly and bit her hand. Without knowing any better at the time, she smacked her puppy on the nose or shouted at him, or did something else punishing. Later on another occasion she offered her puppy a toy to play with. Puppy saw the toy, whimpered and ran away.

The big lesson I learned from this recent experience is that the order in which things are done is extremely important. If Classical Conditioning is to be used correctly for good  (not evil), the essential rule is that the bad thing (trigger) needs to be seen first, followed by the good thing (delicious food), and we have to be careful not to accidentally show the food first before the bad thing comes along so that we don’t unintentionally condition the dog to hate the food, or to condition the food to predict bad stuff.

I was way more successful giving Boogie his Tramadol when I offered him the pill first  – full transparency here, he could see the butter-coated pill before I put in in his mouth –  and then the liverwurst (new food with no previous bad associations) straight after. I was also careful to use a different bowl for pill-giving purposes. He still didn’t like the pill because the awful taste is still there, but he tolerated me shoving it in his mouth because LIVERWURST. He didn’t run away the next time I approached him with the pill.  He focused on the liverwurst.
Other food-related news, we are trying out OLLIE dog food (first box is discounted). Boogie seems to be enjoying this very much! I love that the packets can live in the fridge for up to 2 weeks because I have no space left in my freezer. And there is no thawing or cooking required! I love that they included a scoop and probiotics.  One difference is that Boogie is producing more poop  now that I am no longer feeding ‘raw’.

olliepetfood
I must share this dog-treat baking hack, courtesy of Elaine Anderson.

treatsfromamold1

I didn’t have any canned chicken so I used canned salmon, and 1 egg instead of 2. The treats drop right out so CLEAN and PERFECT!  500 treats!

treatsfromamold

 Click here:  http://eileenanddogs.com/2017/01/11/making-500-non-crumbly-dog-treats-from-a-mold/

January 14, 2017 at 9:03 pm Leave a comment

When you are out walking your dog…

NoSpaceEtiquette - Lili Chin

Question 1:  When you are out walking with your dog and you see another person and their dog straight ahead of you, on the same path, what do you do?

 

A. I keep walking straight ahead on the same path towards them. My dog is friendly. If my dog wants to meet their dog, I let him. If not, we overtake on the same path.

 

B. I stop some distance away and call out “Is your dog friendly?” If they say yes, I ask if my dog can say hi or we will simply overtake, giving enough space between dogs. If they say no, my dog and I move off the path.

 

C. My dog and I keep walking in that direction, but in a curve, so that the dogs have more space away from each other. Or I cross to the other side of the street to give them space. I don’t assume that all dogs are friendly and want to socialize.

 

Question 2: When you are out walking alone (no dog with you) and you see another person and their dog straight ahead of you on the same path, what do you do?

 

A. I keep walking straight ahead on the same path towards them to overtake them.

 

B. If I want to say hi to their dog, I stop some distance away and call out “Is your dog friendly?” If they say yes, I move closer to say hi. If they say no, I move off the path, or walk in a curve around them, to give space.

 

C. If we are not going to greet each other,  I  move to one side of the path to give more space to the dog and person. I don’t make eye contact or bother the dog.

 

JuneKimBook-0045

 

Question 3. When you are out walking (with or without your dog) and you see another person and their dog straight ahead of you on the same path. Their dog is staring intensely at you or at your dog, or lunging, or barking.  Or the owner tells you that their dog is not friendly. What do you do?

 

A. I keep walking straight ahead on the same path towards them to overtake them. Their dog is their problem. My dog is well-behaved and friendly.

 

B. I move us off the path to give space to them to pass. My dog is well-trained. I ask my dog to stay with me so he doesn’t approach their dog.

 

C. I lead us across the street immediately to give them lots of space. I know their dog is upset or scared.

 

Question 4. When you are out walking with your reactive dog and you seen a person or dog straight ahead on the same path. You KNOW that your dog is going to bark or freak out. What do you do?

 

A. We keep walking straight ahead to overtake this other person or dog. When my dog barks, I punish him by tightening the leash or I scold him:”No! Stop it! Bad dog!” or “Sit! Sit!” Dammit. He does this every time.

 

B. I stop some distance away as soon as my dog sees the trigger. I see how my dog is feeling. I give treats immediately to condition him to associate “scary things” with good things. If the person is too close or walking towards us in our direction, call my dog, lead him off the path immediately so he feels safe. I know my dog is sensitive so it is top priority I make him feel safe so that he can learn to cope without barking.

 

C. I lead my dog across the street immediately. I give him enough space away from the trigger, to be certain that he feels safe, and so that the other dog and person are also not bothered.

 

 

 

Based on my personal experience,

 

Answer A is what MOST PEOPLE DO.
99% of the dog owners I see on the street do not give a toss about other people and their dogs. Most people assume that all dogs are like their own dog. They will keep walking straight ahead directly towards Boogie and me (Boogie might be sniffing the ground or doing a pee, not having even seen them), with the intention to overtake us on the same path, and it doesn’t at all cross their minds that my dog might not want to be NEAR another dog. Even when Boogie has seen them and is staring… they continue walking towards us anyway. Don’t get me started on the people who make intense eye contact with a dog that is barking at them and refuse to back off.

 

Most people do not realize that a dog that is staring or growling is doing so because he feels threatened and wants space. Most people think that when a dog barks it’s because he is being an asshole and should be stopped.

 

The frustrating reality is that most people do not give a shit about other people’s dogs on the street and what they might be feeling.

 

Answer B sometimes happens. These people are the 0.09% of considerate souls I meet on the street who have some awareness that not all dogs are alike; and that not all dogs want to meet you or your dog.

 

Answer C People – Right now in my life, you are the 0.01% of dog people I see on the street. THANK YOU! xox

 

July 27, 2016 at 10:11 pm Leave a comment

Following on from “Hair Loss and Crusty Skin”

I notice that the blog entries about Boogie’s skin issues get the MOST visits and comments compared to everything else on this blog. This “hair loss” post is many years old, and so are all the posts tagged Skin, but the comments and questions keep coming in. Lots of questions from parents of suffering dogs who want to know which remedies worked and which ones didn’t.

I don’t have answers for other people’s dogs, but here is an update for Boogie….

After spending $$$$ on vet bills, products, and visits to the dermatology clinic over the past 5 years, I decided NOT to go the path of allergy testing and lifelong injections. Our pet insurance doesn’t cover this stuff because anything skin-related is considered a “pre-existing condition”, so I have been focused on more cost-effective solutions.

2015: Boogie’s skin is not great but it is SO MUCH BETTER. In fact, over the past 12 months, Boogie’s skin has been at its best, and looks pretty good compared to previous years.  The summer of 2014 was the first time in 5 years that he did not go on a long course of antibiotics and lose most of his hair. He also had no crusty bits.

The “Solution”:

It took roughly 8 months before I saw the difference with Darwins food and the Pet Cod Liver Oil. Boogie’s coat became fuller and shinier; not rough and dry like before.

Benadryl was recommended by our vet. It seems extreme to be giving this to him every single day – but he is less inclined to scratch, and scratching is the FIRST STEP to infections. In warmer/itchier seasons, he gets 1 benadryl per day. In cooler seasons, he gets one every other day. He still scratches, and is still itchy… but I think it would be much worse without the benadryl.

I also bathe Boogie with Vet’s Best Allergy-Itch Relief shampoo, and occasionally soak him in a tub of diluted Vet’s Best Hot Spot Spray or I wipe him down with a cloth that I put some spray on. Especially after he has been rolling around in the grass.

Boogie still gets red and raw spots… especially on his face and in his armpits. I have found that the Virbac Resicort lotion (from our vet) helps with his armpits, but unfortunately this is a recurring problem.

P.S. I tried the coconut oil and apple cider vinegar… these didn’t do anything.

 

UPDATE – May 2016

This here is a really really old blog post but as I am still receiving so many comments  and questions, I want to give a very quick update on Boogie’s skin problems which did in fact, repeat themselves every Summer  until last year when we started him on Apoquel – an allergy medicine that does not carry the harmful effects of antibiotics or steroids or benadryl.

Boogie’s allergies were ENVIRONMENTAL, not food-related. So the grass, pollen, air, flea bites… etc.

Apoquel inhibits itching so that Boogie doesn’t feel the need to scratch – which means that his skin does not get infected (which leads to Staph infections). Boogie’s skin has cleared up and he looks great. He also has had blood work done and everything is normal. No bad side effects from the Apoquel except some weight gain.

The only problem so far with Apoquel is that it is expensive and Boogie has to take it EVERY DAY forever. When we ran out and he stopped taking it,  the itchiness came back within days. It is also only available from an Animal Dermatologist. Vets have a limited supply.

The other very important life changer for Boogie is WEEKLY baths with Hexazole shampoo – this stuff is amazing. Everyone comments on how nice and shiny Boogie’s coat is. Also expensive, of course. But it works.

I am not a medical expert so don’t take my word for anything. Please talk to your vet or dermatology specialist. Hope this helps! – Lili

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April 15, 2015 at 7:08 pm 5 comments

Life with a deaf dog…

BOOGIE

Situations in which Boogie now stays relaxed:
  • Dogs barking at him from behind fences
  • Sounds of footsteps walking up behind us on the street
  • The sound of buses, garbage trucks, fire trucks…
  • My sneezing (Boogie used to leave the room whenever I sneezed)
  • Watching youtube videos that have barking dogs in them
  • Watching noisy movies
  • Talking on Speaker Phone or Video Skype
  • Sound of the kitchen timer when I’m cooking
  • Sound of mail courier calling to me from outside the front door
  • Going to the bathroom, stepping out to do laundry, emptying the trash (Boogie doesn’t wake up)
Situations that still break my heart:
  • When I come home and he’s curled up asleep oblivious that I am there.
  • When I touch him gently to wake him up, and he JUMPS UP.
  • When after preparing his breakfast I peek out the door and he is standing there, staring at the kitchen door, waiting for me to stick my head out the door.
  • The one time I clapped my hands to call him (outdoors) and he became confused as to where the sound was coming from, became hypervigilant and started barking at everything on the street.
  • When I watch old videos of Boogie and me interacting (me talking, he responding)…  sometimes, I can’t help it… I start crying.
Nowadays, I have become much more mindful of my body language and facial expressions when I see Boogie looking at me.
I am using “thumbs up” as a replacement for “Yes!” or “Good Boy!” but to be honest, I don’t know if this is actually working even though I give him a treat after the thumbs up. I think he may be watching my face, not my thumb…
Boogieface

 

April 5, 2015 at 7:36 pm 4 comments

That time of year

It’s that Clicker Expo time of year and I am not going.  Sigh – I will miss Sarah Owings, Emily Larlham and Susan Friedman again! Even so, my brain seems to have kicked into WANT-TO-LEARN-NEW-THINGS mode!  Thank goodness for Tawzer DVD sales.

DVDs on my Watch List this week:

dvds this week

1. Sue Sternberg – dog-dog body language – Watching this one for drawing reference.

2. Patient Like The Chipmunks – So glad this is on YouTube!  Watched this historical gem a few nights ago. Warning: Different animals doing cute amazing things but I would rate this video a zero on the ‘warm and fuzzy’ scale. 🙂 This is the cold, emotion-less face of Science, Enterprise and Efficiency in animal training… How it all began, starting with BF Skinner and pigeons shaped to guide missiles; critters in boxes performing 4-5 hour shifts…. The point is that the Brelands and Baileys are still so inspiring and deserve to be better known for being way ahead of their time in championing humane animal training methods. Quote Bob Bailey: “Patience and preparedness is better than brute force”. 

3. Roger Abrantes – I have only watched Disc 1 of 3 so far and I am loving it. Quote:  These DVDs are a “Review of the Principles of Behaviorism and Operant Conditioning spiced with the view of an Ethologist”. Roger Abrantes is fascinating to listen to and to observe and I think this might be the first dog training DVD I have ever watched where the presenter is actually interacting with and moving around with a dog (and their humans) rather than talking straight to camera the whole session. He also very clearly defines the words he uses. eg, Signal vs Cue vs Command; and I like that he says “Inhibitors” instead of “Punishers”.

4. Grisha Stewart – there is a full series of DVDs (with covers I illustrated!), and I am starting with the “Problem Prevention” instalment tomorrow 🙂

Will add thoughts later….

P.S. I have registered a domain name for Boogie’s blog!  It is now http://www.boogiebt.com

January 16, 2015 at 9:12 am 1 comment

Boogie update

Boogiewindow

 

I haven’t posted on this blog in way too long. The short answer is that I have been too busy and I haven’t had anything interesting enough to spend hours writing about when it is much easier to share photos and simple one or two line Boogie updates on instagram, twitter, facebook…

Reading this article today by one of my favorite dog training bloggers  made me look back in time, and look at my life with Boogie today.

You won’t know what your dog can achieve until you try. Listen to him, stay within his limits, and do not put him in situations where he struggles. Learn to read him, and work closely with a professional. Put his best interests first. Stop making excuses. If you find yourself apologizing for poor behavior using your dog’s story as an excuse, stop! Look to the dog you have in front of you right now. Read the page in front of you at this moment, not ancient history that happened weeks, months, or years ago.

I am almost tempted to title this blog post “My dog is no longer dog-reactive” but this is not entirely true.

The truth is that:

Boogie no longer reacts to dogs at a closer proximity on the street.  I don’t know when I noticed the change… it has been months? Years? I really don’t know. This ‘new Boogie’ became more obvious to me recently when I noticed that OTHER dogs were reacting to Boogie and Boogie was not reacting back. I mean other dogs barking, lunging, snapping, pulling at the leash towards Boogie. And Boogie looks at them, looks at me, and moves away. It’s like a miracle. If somebody was yelling at me to F- OFF!!! on the street, it would be very hard for me to be as calm as Boogie. (I still don’t let other dogs greet him, and I only very occasionally let strange people pet him… depending on how Boogie is feeling).

What seems to happen these days:

Boogie sees a dog, turns away, continues walking. OR he sees a dog (usually bigger shepherdy type of dog), stops, looks at me ;  OR he sees a dog stops, looks for a bit longer, turns around and walks the opposite direction/sniffs the ground; OR he doesn’t even appear to see the dog at all because he is focused on his destination and more interested in scavenging and foraging. The point is that he is no longer showing the signs of distress that he used to. If he shows signs of being triggered, it is less intense. He turns around to look at me, and then he bounces back. We move along.

I still bring treats on walks and I still give Boogie treats – though less frequently now, depending on his body language -when we see a strange dog/person approaching, or when we walk through triggering locations (- is there a term for this? I mean specific sections of  streets where Boogie has had a history of negative associations and is more likely to freeze when he sees a person/dog… I think if he saw the same person/dog on a different street he would not care. Some triggers are definitely tied to place).  If Boogie’s body language is relaxed, I let him stop and look at triggers to engage and disengage on his own and I let him choose where he wants to go.

Boogie is also 80% deaf now. He doesn’t hear many sounds except very loud or  high pitched ones; he doesn’t hear other dogs barking at him, or strangers walking next to/behind us so I think he is generally less triggered by stuff. He is using his nose more. He has become obsessed with foraging. The down side is that he eats a lot of crap off the side walks and I haven’t properly taught a “leave it” or “drop it” 😦 Of course, he also doesn’t hear me call his name anymore, so I gotta do something about that.

 

 

November 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm 4 comments

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