A Little Too Much Excitement

September 2, 2013

Sky left this morning. It was a rough weekend for A.J.

The two dogs had come to a pretty peaceful existence. A.J. occasionally tried to play, Sky of course would have none of it. We left them alone together several times and while they both obviously spent their time on the sofas everything was intact when we returned.

Until Sunday night.

Sunday night we went to see a show at the Shakespeare Festival. (It was a surprisingly good show, everyone enjoyed it.) When we came home my brother-in-law Chuck and I arrived at the house first. Chuck peeked in the front window and said “Someone is chewing on a brush.” I replied “I’m sure I can guess which one that is.” Greg walked up and unlocked the front door, both dogs crazy and Sky barking. We assessed the damage. A.J.’s brush, which had been sitting out for weeks, was chewed up (that’s what Chuck saw him working on when we got home). One of my shoes was up on the couch, the other was on the floor slightly chewed. (Those also had been there for weeks.) So we had obviously taken one giant step back in the chewing and separation anxiety areas.

There are a lot of things I think contributed to this. One is that A.J.’s walks have become very short because of his training to stop his leash aggression/reactive issues. I worked with him and played with him before we left for the show, but I don’t think he’s getting enough energy out. Another thing is that Sky gets super excited when people come and go. That’s a pretty normal dog thing, and I admit it’s fun to have your dog really happy and excited to see you when you get home. Unfortunately we can’t let A.J. get to that state. To help ease the separation anxiety we’ve been trying hard to keep things low-key around A.J. to keep his excitement level down when we come and go. That wasn’t possible with Sky around. The last thing that was different was that I left A.J.’s cone off. I really believe his cone had been calming him a little. (Oh yeah, I forgot to mention: he also chewed up his cone.)

So it was a lot of little things, but they added up to the latest A.J. destruction.

After Chuck and Lucy left today Greg and I left for a couple of hours to go shopping. We went back to calm comings and goings. When we returned A.J.’s leash had been dragged across the floor, and a sofa pillow was on the floor, but everything was intact. He was a little too excited when we left, and he tried to get all excited when we got home, but we ignored him until he came down a little and hopefully we can get him back on track.

He did well on his walk this morning. We walked over to the parking lot again to avoid other dogs. We’ve been doing clicker training, where I click and he gets a treat when he does something good, like walking within a mile of another dog without turning into a freak. There was a car in the parking lot with a dog in it. The dog barked at us and A.J. was on the alert, but I did the clicking and treating and he did a really good job of ignoring the barking. So we made it past invisible barking dogs. Progress.