Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Eclipse & A Feeding Tube

No, Eclipse isn't sick and I'm not so desperate to get 2.5 more pounds on him that I'm going to force feed him, but if you do a search on google for "dog food tube" you get two of the desired results and then you get information on feeding tubes. Not what I wanted.

Backing up a little bit;

Eclipse's reactions to other dogs are not improving and the relaxation protocol doesn't seem to be the correct option for us, so I've been spending the last couple days researching and asking questions like crazy looking for Something to help the boy. Walks are not helpful to him at this point, although they do exhaust him I think it's mental fatigue from being on gaurd against all the dogs constantly, and are not even close to enjoyable. His reactions have gotten so bad that if another person is walking their dog I have to have him stop and sit while the other dog passes and if there's nowhere for us to get far enough away he lunges at the other dog (again, it's not aggression it's dog-dog reactivity which is defensively based). Unfortunately both encounters have been when people were walking pit bulls and I fear they think I hate bully breeds or something, when really it's the "soft, loving golden" who is the issue. (I Love pit bulls, by the way)

I've joined a couple clicker training lists on Yahoo! and they've been little help for the most part as their focus is mostly on food and outside, even just outside the front door, Eclipse could care less about food. To top that off we can't go too high-value or he gets diarrhea because of his sensitive stomach and things that wouldn't affect his stomach would affect his kidneys. Thankfully someone on one of the lists did suggest a food tube which I have heard of before but never really considered for some reason. With that we'll easily be able to mix the canned version of his kibble with some canned pumpkin and that should be high enough value for him to accept outside.

Because of his dis-interest in food even not around any stimulus (outside is stimulating enough I guess) traditional counter conditioning would be extremely difficult to obtain and it would take a very long time to acheive anything. So, I searched some more.

Somehow, I don't remember how, I came across a new technique. It's based off the belief that a reactive dog reacts because they want to get further from the stimulant/want the stimulant to get further from them. (A defensive reaction, often times mistaken as aggression) How it works is we'll start some ways off from a dog down the road that Eclipse reacts to some but not horribly, we'll walk closer but not get close enough where Eclipse is reacting (so we'll stay sub-threshold), just enough where he notices the dog/reacts to the house since he remembers where every dog lives, we'll stop walking, I'll wait for an alternate behaviour (eye shift, head turn, lip/nose lick, sit, etc), click, turn and walk back to our starting point and have a break. We'll do as many repititions of that as we can handle and as he improves we'll slowly get closer. It's desensitization but using the reward that Eclipse wants, to get out of there. (We'll also put some peanut butter in a plastic bag for an extra reward in case we need it)

Here are some links about it:

Overview of Behavior Adjustment Training (BAT) (If you watch the video I urge you to read the transcript as it makes a lot more sense)

Blog Posts about BAT by the developer

Cartoon Illustration explaining the basics of BAT (Helped me a ton!)

Thank you, Grisha, for helping me find a solution to Eclipse's reactivity! BAT looks amazing!

We're heading out to start the training now, well once I finish my breakfast that I keep forgetting to eat! I'm so excited to get started!

Ally, Eclipse, Teddy & Kira

1 comment:

  1. I've heard about BAT but haven't tried it just yet. Glad to hear you have some direction. Texas has gotten too the point where he will take food and refocus off leash, or on leash at least 5 ft. Which is AWESOME.
    But the car behaviors are still horrid. Will not refocus AT ALL. So we have some major work there.
    Good Luck with E!