Thursday, April 22, 2010

Relaxation Protocol

I've been looking for possible solutions to Eclipse's dog reactivity online for some time now and haven't come across much besides "be prepared to turn around and walk in the other direction" which isn't real feasible on our street, we wouldn't even be able to leave the house if that was the solution! However I was doing some blog surfing and came across what is called Relaxation Protocol. (On this blog) Basically what it does is proof a sit stay to an amazing level and teaches the dog to learn to relax and look to the handler in stressful situations using systematic classic conditioning through the use of quiet praise and treats. I read through the program (downloaded at the link provided above) and it looks intimidating. However, listening to the MP3s (also availabel for download at the above link) it seems much easier, less time consuming and much more straightforward.

I have yet to start it with Eclipse, but plan on starting today (we'll see about that). The protocol is broken up by the day and there are 15 days worth of exercises, but that doesn't mean the process is completed after only 15 days. Oh no, 15 days worth of exercises in one room of the house with no other distractions going on, no other dogs, no food cooking, no tv on, you get the picture. Then 15 more days of the exercises in different rooms of the house. Then 15 more days in our driveway, then in a park, and then and then and then *wink* It's going to be a long process, but hopefully a very rewarding and fulfilling one as not only will it help Eclipse learn to relax (which heaven knows he Needs!) but it will also help our bond. I plan on doing it with Kira as well since it would help her not bark at the door, but we'll see if I can get my rear in gear enough to do so.

Below I've included the Day 1 exercises for you to see part of the process and what it entails. I attempted to upload the MP3 too, but it's too much work! If you are curious just download it and listen to it, it's about 4 minutes long and really cool! I plan on putting it on my ipod and listening to it while training Eclipse since it tells you when the time is up and everything! Happy relaxation everyone!

(Note: After each exercise the dog is praised quietly and given a treat)
Day 1: Dog's Task


Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step to the right and return
Sit while you take 1 step to the left and return
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps back and return
Sit while you take 2 steps to the right and return
Sit for 15 seconds
Sit while you take 2 steps to the left and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you take 3 steps back and return
Sit while you count out loud to 10
Sit while you clap your hands softly once
Sit while you count out loud to 20
Sit while you take 3 steps to the right and return
Sit while you clap your hands softly twice
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit while you take 1 step back and return
Sit for 3 seconds
Sit for 10 seconds
Sit for 5 seconds
Sit for 3 seconds

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this - going to go check it out.

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  2. I might try this with my reactive rescue, sounds like a plan. At the moment we try allsorts of different things with her. We do sit her a lot and reward her with gentle praise and cheese when she stays calm. If she is hyper and sees the dog before us, we will cross the road if needed and run with her, or throw treats on the ground that she needs to watch and chase. That works well as it uses up the adrenalin that is surging throughout her body whenever she sees another dog. Another thing someone suggested was sitting her between our legs, with her facing out, she can still watch the dog but feels safe and we are in control.
    It is a difficult one so I will be interested to watch your progress.

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