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first VB appointment

We finally got our first appointment with a vet behaviorist this morning!

I've been waiting so long for it that it was kind of anticlimactic. Even with knowing that there is a no magical thing to help Skye becoming a regular dog overnight, I guess I expected that I would be told that I should have done things differently with Skye, or that Skye would be prescribed some medications to make her be a regular dog :)

The vet actually told us that we had been doing all the right things: letting her do things at her own pace and not pushing anything on her, managing her environment... She encourages us to not give up with training but lower the bar. I thought it was already quite low, but she asks us to use a word (like "yes") and toss a treat after we said it. A bit like "loading" the clicker. We would do that 10-20 times a day when Skye is doing nothing particular. Then once she shows some interest at the cue word, we would do that when she does something, anything. A bit like the "101 Things to Do with a Box" by Karen Pryor, except the box is Skye's world. The idea is to make her realize that she can control what's happening to her.

She also told us to stop doing things that Skye just tolerates, like being petted, because we want her to ask for things she wants. She kind of already does that when she wants to play with us. The goal is to have her engage with us, that she understands she has control on her environment.

To improve his relationship with Skye, Peter got the task to leave a trail of treats behind him. I am curious to see what Skye will think about that :)

We talked more about management, especially when guests are coming over. The plan is to continue not to have Skye meet anyone as we don't want to reinforce any bad behavior. When people need to come over, then she will stay outside in the yard while the guests are inside.

We also talked about medication but won't resort to it right away. Since Skye isn't anxious all the time, she wants to see first how Skye will respond to training. This actually made me happy and disappointed at the same time. Disappointed because I had some high expectations from meds, maybe too high. I heard lots of stories where meds transformed dogs and helped them adjust to their new world. But happy that there was still a chance that I could directly help her. (That may only make sense to me LOL.)

Anyway, we are having a follow-up appointment in 2 weeks. Meanwhile, Skye! get ready to receive treats randomly till then :)

PS: Skye came several time during the zoom appointment to ask me if I could come out to play with her. I just love her.


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