Saturday, September 19, 2009


So there was one disappointment to our otherwise perfect agility trial last weekend. Her name is Riley. Riley is typically distracted and always seeking reinforcement from her environment. She has been difficult to bond with. I think she would easily trade me for the next person to walk through the door. She makes me work hard for her focus and that is fine.
Although Riley was not competing, I still had a couple of goals for her. I wanted her to rest well in her crate, desensitize to all of the stimulation, train a little near the rings, work on that illusive focus, and to have fun. Well.... I can say that Riley did rest well in her crate.
On Saturday afternoon, there was a festival setting up near by. I was walking Riley around when some of the musicians began tuning up their instruments. I am not a fan of loud music, so I can tell you that this was not loud and obnoxious in anyway. Just a few random notes being played here and there. Riley turned inside out. She was not just scared, she was totally flipping out. I had never seen this side of Riley before. She was inconsolable and was just trying to get a away. Her Saturday was ruined....

....And so was her Sunday.

I took the girls for a walk along the path that travels around the park and facility. Riley had a great walk the prior morning, but on Sunday morning I noticed she was not herself and very nervous. She was very suspicious of every person we passed (normally she is very friendly with strangers).

Throughout the day, she continued to do worse. Back at the trial, she was still afraid of people and half the time would not take food. Her tail was tucked the entire time (see below). Despite a trial setting being very loud with a lot of background noise, Riley was hypersensitive to noises I never would have noticed.
On Sunday afternoon, I was trying to give Riley a chance to potty. Some distance away, you could hear an announcer for another sporting event. Again Riley flipped out, but this time her whole body was shaking. It was so bizarre and very sad to see this happy-go-lucky dog be so miserable.

Since then, Riley has been normal. It will be interesting to see how she behaves at the next agility trial at the same facility. I hope Riley does not have a repeat performance.


KF-in-Georgia said...

So sorry Riley didn't have much fun.

Here's a silly suggestion: ear plugs.

Maybe try putting a bit of cotton in her ears if she starts to react badly again. It won't deafen her, but it will muffle the sounds, change the pitch, and might make the sounds seem more distant.

I had to resort to cotton balls to keep my sanity (and my hearing) when a customer set off a fire alarm that could only be reset by the fire department (many long minutes later). And we sometimes use cotton balls on dogs that are afraid of our dryers; it helps with some of the dogs.

Good luck.

Maria Peters said...

Poor Riley. She did impress me as a free spirit! It is horrible to watch a confident dog freak. My June did this after that truck blew a tire...months. I kept her sched the it's hit or miss whether I have a shaky panting dog, or a girl who's happy to be out. Keep us posted.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Hopefully Riley was just having a bad day. She sure looked relaxed and adorable in the crate, though. :)


ps. You left a comment about our apple trees and I have to admit that if we had any squirrels OR yellow jackets on our property causing trouble, I'd probably feel the same way as you do.
The worst that we have is birds and they usualy eat the entire apple and any leftovers or windfall apples, I just share with our chickens, goats or horse. :)

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I'm hoping for just a bad day as well. I am not sure if cotton would stay in or be allowed on course, but maybe I should try for the next few months. Its just one of those things I try to avoid by picking the right dog. I don't want to make one miserable trying to do something somewhere they really don't want to be. But I have a feeling I am being taught a lesson.


Katie said...

I had my BC puppy (he's 11 months) at a dog festival on Sunday and he totally freaked out over the music as well. It was loud, but not *that* loud. I can't imagine it was significantly louder than how I play music in the car, and that never seems to bother him.

It was the same story- he just wanted to bolt. He flipped out so quickly I almost didn't realize what was going on. He was trying to fling himself down the steep slope to the river and thank goodness he didn't take us both down! He wouldn't take his tug, he wouldn't take treats. It was rough.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

I hope this was just a once in a lifetime thing for your BC and Riley. I just wish she had not been such a nut case the next day also. It definitely has me concerned. Avoiding Wills Park is just not an option. Its just too local. We have another weekend there soon, so we will see. Good luck with your BC.


thebean said...

I'm sorry that Riley had two bad days in a row! It maakes me sad when dogs have bad days! I remember some of Maxes bad days that he has he can be very grumpy after the insident!LOL:o)