An update from our trainer, Beverly, who is working with Wounded Warrior DJ, who suffers from PTSD, and SDIT, Tabitha!
“Part 1: Tabitha was able to stay seated to “greet” me without getting overly excited and jumping up for much longer than during previous sessions! We are working on her socializing skills with other dogs, as she tends to get very excited, so at our next session, we will have her meet an older, mellow dog, to build Tabitha’s confidence and teach her proper social skills. DJ is a bit hesitant to take her out with her vest due until she starts to become more comfortable with new dogs and people and stays calmer.
I also took the suggestion from Laurie at SDE to purchase the Adaptil DAP (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) collar for Tabitha to wear at all times. Dog Appeasing Pheromone (DAP) is a chemical developed to calm dogs suffering from separation anxiety disorder, astraphobia (fear of thunder and lightning), fear of fireworks, or those with excessive barking problems. The chemical is a synthetic analogue of a hormone produced by nursing canine mothers that promotes calm and secure behavior and in establishes a bond with the mother. It is absolutely safe, and also comes in a spray form for your dog’s bed and vest, or as a plug-in diffuser. It has come highly recommended by many veterinarians, and can be purchased at amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Adaptil-Appeasing-Pheromone-Collar-Medium/dp/B000HPVH78. Laurie has seen it work wonders on hyperactive, nervous dogs.
Part 2: After Tabitha had worn herself out a bit, she did very well with her “down/stay” and meet and greets with new people. Her energy level, though high, certainly workable, so we will be working on teaching her “self-control” and getting her to engage more with DJ.
We also worked on “leave it” games and “touch” to help her engage in her training and focus on DJ more intently. Tabitha already has a solid “sit”, “down”, “sit/stay”, “heel”, “leave it”, and “watch me”.
We are planning for a weekend intensive session to get Tabitha to a place where DJ feels more comfortable taking her out in public more! Laurie also suggested that DJ reminds himself that the vest gives a dog a sense of security, much like the concept behind the “Thunder Shirt”, available at any pet store – so, if he does not feel comfortable taking her out yet in a vest, he could benefit from getting Tabitha a Thunder Shirt to wear to help her get used to that secure feeling.