Saturday, December 29, 2012

Holiday joys

Last year the holidays started off very stressful because of Reyna's over-excitability. Fortunately we stumbled across a management method that worked for her and for us so we could all enjoy life again.

We kept up with that protocol throughout the year and along with everything else we have done to help with her over excitability we have a different dog than we did 12 months ago. I am pleased to say that this year the holiday season has gone wonderfully. We went to the in-laws house and the first half day we followed our old protocol...either she was in the crate or she was on leash tethered to me. But the second day we let her out of the crate in the morning and never needed to put her back in. She relaxed on the floor while my mother in law played and read with the kids. I was even able to be in a totally different room and not worry about her. She sat quietly for petting and often would self calm by removing herself from a room if she got too excited.

When we got back home we had guests over and let Reyna out after a few minutes she was a little over excited and wanted to lick faces but calmed down quickly and then was so quiet I thought Norm had put her back in the crate...nope she had just gone to her bed to lie down and nap!!!

Now we have my brother, his wife, and their two young kids staying for four days...that means four adults and four kids under 4 running around. We have put Reyna in her crate a couple times like during lunch today so she wouldn't be underfoot, but we do that as a normal part of our day at home too. 99% of the time she has been out of the crate with the run of the house. She's not perfect, she tries to lick my sister in law in the face too much, or she runs up and down the hall with the pack of toddlers, but nothing that a quick..."Reyna, cool it" doesn't fix. Most of the time she has actually been self calming by leaving the room or just backing away a few feet and going into her "relax" from the levels work.

On the reactivity note, last year my brother wanted to take her running and I said no, while she was doing really well her reactivity was still too intense to let anybody else handle her, I couldn't afford a set back. This year he asked again and I said yes without hesitation and never worried the whole hour they were gone. My brother even said an off leash dog followed them for a little while and Reyna didn't appear to care.

I am so happy with where we are...we had a small get together at the house with four more 8 adults and four kids, laughing, eating, cooking, and playing. Reyna excused herself and napped on her bed during the mealtime with no cue from me. When too many people were sitting on the floor Reyna started to look a little like her old stressed self so we put her up in the crate for about 15 minutes. Then brought her back out and she did wonderfully. We worked on some CGC stuff for the test coming up and she did awesome. She also chilled on her bed while my dad chased the toddlers up and down the hall screaming and yelling. Again she is not perfect, we are currently working on not licking faces when people are sitting especially while people are sitting on the floor.  For this holiday season though I am going to bask in the joy of a dog who is truly part of the family, and is finally able to participate in our events instead of being managed through them.

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