Spring has, more or less, arrived in Manchester!
Sure we’re still being lashed with April showers, but eh, it wouldn’t be Manchester otherwise!
I was full of hope a month or so ago when Vulpe started taking Zylkene. Her reactive beheviour is inconsistent and a bit shocking sometimes and after months of gentle positive reinforcement training (and a couple of near mental breakdowns on my part) I was beginning to get desperate for some additional ‘help’.
Vulpe’s a complicated little pooch. I can predict her reactivity about 75% of the time. Sometimes she surprises me with her utter calm. Sometimes she trots around the park no problem. Sometimes she seems too scared to walk around the block. Sometimes she’s all over the cheese I carry as special ‘walk only’ treats. Sometimes she’s far more interested in sniffing the foliage.
It felt like the zylkene started to have a subtle effect after a week or so, but I’m starting to wonder if that was my own desperate optimism. I think now that maybe my own soaring high hopes had some sort of effect on the poor pooch. I continue to be gentle and use toys/treats to try and keep her attention when she’s nervous on walks. When her body language points to confidence and happiness and she starts to bark/lunge inappropriately, I’ve adopted a gentle but firm “No!” which seems to be working. She always gets praise if she reins it back in, and gets a super amazing handful of treats if she doesn’t move beyond a wee growl.
So I think the next step might be an Adaptil collar, which Vulpe’s trainer has reported some success with in shelter dogs that she works with. In the meantime, we’ve both been enjoying the Spring and I’ve been trying to turn the ‘garden’ into something resembling a real garden. Vulpe was tremendously helpful…..
When the sun is shining and she’s in the safety of her own home, this pooch is a wonderful little angel, and I’m reminded daily of why I love her more than anything. I just hope one day she’s as happy wherever we go!