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July 1, 2009

We’re thinking about the fear-recovery cycle in a different way after our follow-up behavior consult. While Lilly’s fear responses are smaller than a year ago, we’ll be working in the coming weeks and months on resetting her fear cycle frequently so that her emotional roller coaster never leaves to station.

Imagine it looks like this, and even if Lilly is working and coping despite her fears, once she reaches the peak, neither of us can stop the physiological or emotional ride.

So, our goal is to use Relaxation Protocol tactics to keep Lilly on the far left of this curve.

Wait a second or two
Wait a second or two

Our initial counter-conditioning work will focus on pieces of fear-producing situations, including arriving at class (or anywhere new).

Jennie (our behaviorist) thinks that Lilly struggles with transition times. The beginning of class is an obvious example, but there are others — when we ask her to come inside (especially at night), when Tom comes home, even when the seasons change.

It’s going to take a while to solidify this reset process before it works in real situations. BUT, Lilly responded well last year to our foundation relaxation work, so I have high hopes.

We did our first reset training session on Sunday. More on that later, but suffice it to say that my thumb is still sore from her taking treats like a little shark, which means she was super nervous.


About the Author Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related.

I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

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