Saturday, October 16, 2010

Something New

(Originally posted on Sept 16, 2010)

Changing shifts has meant reorganizing everyone's schedule. I've been playing ball with the dogs after work to burn off their extra energy from being crated all day. By "play ball," I mean that everyone is running hard for at least an hour. When I worked nights, the dogs and I would go for walks when I got home. Since changing shifts, I often go from feeling bright and chipper one moment to exhausted and cranky the next. It's like mood swings, only with sleep. I have sleep swings. Hopefully things will even out, but until then, we play ball since it requires less mental effort from me. This isn't a total loss: as a result of our regular ball playing, Rubi is starting to bring balls back to me instead of prancing all around the yard with them.

Today Zach (my husband) had to work late. Luckily, I got off work on time and was able to let everyone out of their crates. Zach still wasn't home after we were done playing ball, and I promised myself that I would work with B tonight since we skipped class yesterday. But I really didn't want to put the other dogs back in their crates. So I thought, heck, the other dogs can hold stays, let's just do the protocol with everyone.

It went pretty well, I thought. It was interesting to see the difference between B, who has been doing the relaxation protocol for about two weeks now, and the other dogs who were in "we're gonna work now!" mode. B was rock solid from the beginning, of course - she knew what was expected of her - and everyone else had really mellowed out by the second cycle. All in all, it was really relaxing  for everyone.

Which got me thinking - I bet the relaxation protocol in group format would be really beneficial for divided homes. What I mean by "divided homes" is those of you that crate and rotate. Obviously not for dogs that want to kill each other on sight, but for those dogs that are just kind of uncomfortable around their house mates. Work each dog individually through day nine or ten, and then start everything over again with both dogs able to see each other (but secured separate - maybe with tethers or a baby gate). Once the protocol was over, they would be separated again. Maybe after one cycle the first day or two, two cycles the next few days, and so on. So from the dog's perspective, it would be come out, see other dog, relax for a bit, go away from other dog. Hmmm . . . now I just need someone to experiment on . . .

Hey Murdoch! Come back!  

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