SOUND ON 🔊 & READ! #TrainingWithAce Ace's journey with car anxiety has been a road filed with trial & error, highs & lows, and a few hiccups along the way! But most importantly, a step in the right direction!
Videos 1 & 2 are basically how Ace was before we started CONSISTENT Counterconditioning & Desensitization (CC/DS) to car rides. His heavy panting, whining, hyper vigilance (constant scanning of environment), tongue flicks, and over exaggerated yawns were just SOME of the clear signals he'd use to show he was SUPER STRESSED. Getting in the car didn't phase him, but he'd easily get over aroused and go over threshold with the movement of the car, or seeing any movement outside of the vehicle. Seeing people, dogs, traffic, would set him off. When any animal is stressed, learning & retaining new behavior can't take place.
Fast forward to Video 3: After consulting with a vet and attending a @fearful_dogs seminar by Debbie Jacobs (if you don't know who she is, look her up) hearing the success stories of her dogs and people in her Facebook group, I started Ace on an anxiety med. Notice any change? 😊 We've been doing CONSISTENT CC/DS along with the med for a few weeks, and I can finally say I enjoy car rides with my dog, and he is learning they aren't that bad either! He's still the same goofball, but now we can enjoy experiences in new places together.
We still have more progress to be made and places to see. I just wish I would've FULLY committed to helping him sooner. In a few weeks, he went from only being able to handle 5 min rides to now 20+. This guy is proof that positive reinforcement and rewards-based dog training works! If you have any questions about our journey, feel free to ask!