Bold numbers are the number of the original posts on Yahoo Groups Bridge and Target List.
10296:  Re: [bridgeandtarget2] More on Conditioned Relaxation

Hi Kayce,

I very much apologize for my delay in responding. Thank you kindly for responding to my post, my comments below; (Kayce’s comments in italics)

“Is a pre-existing state, established to help an animal be able to cope with stressors, manage his emotions and retain his ability to think and be responsive with his human partners. When done well, the animal will usually use this tool ON HIS OWN, without a cue from the human.  He will see and understand the benefits of remaining in control of himself. It isn’t best applied as a consequence of a behavior.”
They have established that they are able to do this on there own (without xxx or enforcement), but not to all stimuli. They used to react to just about any dog they saw walking down the street, now for the vast majority of dogs, they keep themselves under control. I normally still tell them, there is a dog ahead, you have to keep yourself easy and they do (for dogs that are calm and not reactive to their presence). Most reactive dogs (dogs that are barking /
growling) will cause my dogs to react to them.
“then progressing into areas where he is truly challenged.  We establish the Conditioned Relaxation first, make sure the dog can access it on his own, and THEN start the cycles, which is the organized and systematic exposure to the problem (other dogs, for dog reactive dogs, food on the counter, for counter-surfing dogs.).”

What do you do if a dog reactive dog makes it to the point where they are non-reactive to the vast majority of dogs that are presented, but
will react when another dog reacts. I can’t think of a way to expose them to a reactive dog in the same way that you would slowly expose
them to other items, such as the way you would carry a rabbit into the room and leave when they just start to react.

“While Conditioned Relaxation and the rest of the Perception Modification processes can be used on the street, in uncontrolled situations, this is definitely a more advanced job, and is usually a bit overwhelming for inexperienced people. Also, it may not be safe. If your dog is dog reactive, and you encounter another dog at a dog park, it may not be safe to do Cycles, or Conditioned Relaxation, right there, because there are other uncontrolled animals that may suddenly attack, or otherwise make problems.”

When I have used this, it has only been in a area that is safe to do so. At the dog park, I set us up in a safe environment, we are in a
separate fenced in “small dog area” where the other dogs are outside the fence. So we are safe from other dogs, yet they have been
presented with the dogs up close, just on the other side of the fence.

We have not completely eliminated their reaction to other reactive dogs. I am unsure as to if I push them further using the same
exercise or if there is a better way to expose them to the reactive dogs. The goal of this is for them to keep control of themselves,
even if a barking dog runs up near us on a walk or a similar unanticipated encounter happens.

When I am making them relax in this situation (on the street), I am getting them down onto their side, and waiting until they get their
head down, legs limp touching the ground, tail still, ears and eyes soft – no movement other than breathing and blinking. I do not touch
them other than to keep them from getting up and leaving. I wait for them to hold this position, then I have them hold it for xxxxxx for
about 30 seconds then let them up.

“The neurobiology of this is not fully understood, but it is a hot research area. Candace Pert’s book, Molecules of Emotion gives some great insight.”

That book looks great, thank you for telling me about it. I’ve been recently reading and learning more about the mind – body connection
and find it very interesting.

“Keith Kendrick, of Cambridge University, has done some really outstanding, rigorous and insightful research as well.”

I looked him up and read some of his studies, I had no idea that sheep and horses had that level of potential for reading faces and long term

I was just watching your videos on youtube. I’m quite impressed with your horses ability to remember which object was presented. The stray
cat coming in for x-rays is also highly impressive.

Thank you for your assistance,

Jamie Dolan
Neenah, WI

“Where I’ve been and where I’m gong, short term, at least… Jamie”
No problem, Jamie – I just got back from a trip to the Netherlands, which kept me totally occupied and was really great, by the way. We certified some new
trainers, and I enjoyed every minute of it. We also had a really great evening presentation ( I mean, I hope I did a good job as well, but the organizers
really put things together well and the audience was primo. ) and we visited a world class dolfinarium at Harderwijk (harder-wike) where we saw a demonstration that made chills course up and down our spines.Thanks for feedback, and the detail and good on you for going to the resources. Anyone can benefit from these impressive authors. I leave tomorrow to go out of town again, and will study your post in more detail tomorrow.The irony is that I’m giving a Perception Modification seminar to deal with precisely the issues you describe. I realize it’s likely too late for you to
arrange for this one, but this is where you can get help in managing the other dogs, as well as your own. Email if you want details.Have a great week-end and I’ll be back on the list next week.
RE: [bridgeandtarget2] More on Conditioned Relaxation (From Deidre)
One quick note Jamie: You can cycle your dog away from reactive dogs, any dog that looks like it is excited or tense.You do have control, simply turn away and move away before your dogs even has a chance to get worked up. You can even say “Hey Rudie, that dog is
not easy, we’re gonna go somewhere else where it is nice and quiet.” Of course you don’t need to be so verbose, I usually just note anything loud as
“noisy dog” or “noisy truck” or name “dog barking” for a dog barking in the distance that we both hear.