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mydiamond

"desensitization"

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or whatever it's supposed to be spelled. I'm currently on this method to make Diamond tolerate ear-handling. I gotta put some ear drops in him recently and due to a severe ear infection the ear drops hurt him :( now he doesn't like it if someone held his ears. NOT. ONE. BIT :confused: and the bad news is: he STILL needs his ear drops! :huskyfall:

so I'm gonna use this thread to keep track on his progress, and probably share how efficient and effective this method is to people who have never used it :D big thanks to Gigi (sutsibe) that told me about this method in, uh... another thread that I can no longer found LOL what is "desensitization"? follow the link----> ASPCA - Virtual Pet Behaviorist - Desensitization and Counterconditioning to others who would like to give suggestion or correct my training methods feel free to post a comment. I need your feedback! :D

DAY ONE (two days ago)

treat used: cheese. A little more than he usually gets per week, because it's his birthday

level of training: just a simple touch on the side of his head.

Progress: the smart boy deceived me :S acting all cool and calm when I touch his ears and even pull it around but when I came back with the ear drops he started again! :facepalm: I must have done something wrong.

Result: tolerates fingers that hover around his ears, tolerates head-side handling

DAY TWO (yesterday)

treat used: natural yoghurt

level of training: first minute; simple touch on the side of his head. 2nd minute onwards: scratching the back of his ears, touching the tip of his ears etc

Progress: he's getting better. He's okay with any kind of ear-handling BUT the kind of handling I need to clean his ears (which is pushing the tip of his ears backwards so that I can see his ear canal)

Result: tolerates handling on the tip of the ears and even inside of the ears but NOT when I push the tip of the ears backwards. He even knows when I am about to push his ears backward :facepalm:

Today I'm gonna start day three, but not before I learn a bit from previous days' progress. It looks like I'm progressing way too fast, simply because he shows an overly quick progress in each training session. But should I really slow down? To what extent should I back down? Because he DOES tolerate handling in any part of his ears just with two sessions of training :S just because he's catching up real quick does it mean I should raise the training speed? he won't even let me clean his ears when he's half-asleep :(

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In my experience so far (and I'm by no means an expert) I have found-like you, that no animal likes their ear/s messed with-they detest it. I have had ot apply said drops to our kitty's ears, and its no fun for them or us either! From reading your methods and progress, if its technique which doesn't hurt them or traumatize them, and you are using patience as you described coupled with treats, then I would attest that its a good method you're using. Great job using patience and treats with praise! Good luck as well

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=O that's news to me LOL I know no animals enjoy ear-handling but so far, I have never seen a dog that literally dodges every time a finger is going near their ears--like Diamond :facepalm: I'm actually surprised he haven't bit me yet because when the vet came to check his ears he actually grumbles (a growl without baring his teeth--my weird language LOL)

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I use desensitization all the time with horses - when they're violently opposed to something you know it! I've had horses go from eye-rolling terror "OMG you can't touch me there!!", but after a few well-timed applications of "what if there's a treat involved in it for you?" they go "oh. Well. Okay then," in just one session. I once clipped behind a horse's ears (I didn't know if he had been clipped before or not so I used desensitization to even attempt it) and the next day the owner said "how the hell did you get her clipped? She's terrified of clippers!" My own horse tolerated excruciating medical treatments on his legs for treat reward and on the dog front I successfully used it when Scout was terrified of being brushed. He still doesn't like it, but he tolerates it.

I don't think you're progressing too fast - if he's tolerating it well there's no reason not to continue to progress. If you encounter an adverse reaction, you just go back as far as where he was okay last time and stay there until he's fine again, then move on - often in the same session. Where one dog might take multiple days/sessions to get used to it or learn to tolerate the treatment for reward, another dog might accept it in just one session. So just keep them short but don't be afraid to progress as far as he'll comfortably let you.

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thanks to both of you! here's DAY THREE

treat used: natural yoghurt

level of training: back to the previous step, holding the back and tip of the ears as he tolerated me up to that stage

progress: I tried a different approach now. Rather than treating him every time I touch the back of his ears, I made this work the same way as tricks training. If he flinch or dodge, I tell him "no" (but not in that firm voice was just a sign that shows he won't get yoghurt if he behaves like that). And if he ignores the handling, he can have yoghurt. Diamond prefers this kind of training IMO he progresses faster this way

result: much more than I thought I'm gonna get. He tolerates the "ear cleaning position" for 2 seconds today! WAAAAHOOOO I'm on the right track aren't I?! :yahoo:

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Sounds like you're doing well, Olivia! My guys don't like having their ears cleaned or drops put in them, either. :( They do LOVE having them rubbed, though! :P

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Day four... I haven't started any training yet but I might have just foreseen a bad news. Mom wasn't there when Diamond's vet arrived earlier this week, and now she believes that whatever the vet says there is no way I understand him and there is no way on Earth I would know how to treat my Diamond. She kept patronizing me I got used to that already but then Diamond's groomer--which happens to be her friend's daughter's coworker <confusing enough? LOL>--phoned and says that she would be happy to show me the correct way of treating Dime's ears in case the vet hasn't told me yet it's time for his monthly (lately it's becoming bimonthly) bath anyways so coming over won't hurt. Mom told me that I am going to the groomer's place tomorrow afternoon no matter how much I told her how intolerant Diamond is to ear-handling. Diamond still hates strangers, he ignores them but he doesn't trust them either I can't imagine what will happen when a stranger grabbed his ears and put ear drops on him when he's being placed in an unfamiliar ground. He might be incredibly tolerant but that's with ME. Last time his vet came over he gave a warning growl (no teeth bared though) and the vet didn't even touch his ears. What will happen now? Goodness I wish my mom would listen to me for just once in her lifetime I KNOW how to deal with his ears the vet TOLD me already!!! :@

rant over x)

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Haha, I don't know many dogs who enjoy having their ears cleaned/drops put in :)

Maybe it won't be such a bad thing to go to the groomer - surely she will back off if Dime growls or doesn't want her near his ears. And if she doesn't do that, feel free to stop her! But who knows, maybe she's got a secret approach to ear-cleaning or something like that, so imo there's nothing to lose by going there.

We didn't bother with desensitization when ours has a year infection - it only lasted for a week, so it wasn't that bad. He just detested it, but would not become aggressive over it. However, his toothbrushing was a different issue. He has become much more tolerant of his teeth being brushed with treats (which is, of course, weird, because you have just brushed their teeth and then you have to give them a treat lol).

And what I have found it makes a world of difference (with mine at least) is acting in a happy way and talking to him in the baby voice :D It really makes him much less apprehensive about the whole thing, if you praise him all the way through it.

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Day four... I haven't started any training yet but I might have just foreseen a bad news. Mom wasn't there when Diamond's vet arrived earlier this week, and now she believes that whatever the vet says there is no way I understand him and there is no way on Earth I would know how to treat my Diamond. She kept patronizing me I got used to that already but then Diamond's groomer--which happens to be her friend's daughter's coworker <confusing enough? LOL>--phoned and says that she would be happy to show me the correct way of treating Dime's ears in case the vet hasn't told me yet it's time for his monthly (lately it's becoming bimonthly) bath anyways so coming over won't hurt. Mom told me that I am going to the groomer's place tomorrow afternoon no matter how much I told her how intolerant Diamond is to ear-handling. Diamond still hates strangers, he ignores them but he doesn't trust them either I can't imagine what will happen when a stranger grabbed his ears and put ear drops on him when he's being placed in an unfamiliar ground. He might be incredibly tolerant but that's with ME. Last time his vet came over he gave a warning growl (no teeth bared though) and the vet didn't even touch his ears. What will happen now? Goodness I wish my mom would listen to me for just once in her lifetime I KNOW how to deal with his ears the vet TOLD me already!!! :@

rant over x)

The best you can do is try to keep an open mind about it. Sometimes it's surprising how well a dog will behave for a stranger but not their owner! It all depends on how the groomer handles it - I'm sure Diamond isn't the first dog she's encountered with ear issues. The easiest way to help Diamond is to try to adopt a positive and helpful attitude about it - basically, if you THINK Diamond is going to act up around the groomer (whom it sounds like he already knows) then he likely will. But if you accompany him with the attitude of "relax, dude, this is no big deal," he's more likely to gain confidence from you than be insecure/untrusting.

I'm sure that - whether your mom or the groomer realize it or not - the ground work you've already done will go a long way to making this an easier experience for Diamond, and maybe the groomer DOES have some tips on making it easier!

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=O that's news to me LOL I know no animals enjoy ear-handling but so far, I have never seen a dog that literally dodges every time a finger is going near their ears--like Diamond :facepalm: I'm actually surprised he haven't bit me yet because when the vet came to check his ears he actually grumbles (a growl without baring his teeth--my weird language LOL)

Both my first husky and Ryn love(d) to have their ears petted, pulled and touched. I was facinated by Bo's soft ears and at first he hated that I touched them. By the time he was six months old, that was his favorite form of affection.

Ryn will actually turn her head so that your finger goes down in her ear (must be for better scratching)!

Bo had a sensitivity to having his feet touched - learning from that experience, I began rubbing Ryn's feet as soon as I got her. Now, beside her ears, she loves having her digits massaged. The vet appreciates both with Ryn - never any problems.

I would consider the continuation of ear rubs (and digit rubs) even when Diamond is through taking his meds. It always comes in handy.

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DAY FOUR

treat used: none, I ran out LOL used verbal praise and belly rub instead

level of training: 1st minute: scratching tip of ear and behind the ears, 2nd minute onwards: slight touch on the inside of the ears

Progress: not surprising. I knew he would tolerate this. He's getting better he would allow me to hold him on "ear cleaning position" as long as I want but I need to push it backwards with my arm not finger LOL

Result: tolerates handling on inside of the ears, tolerates ear cleaning position---but NOT with fingers

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DAY FIVE--adverse reaction occurred :(

will start training with real treats soon but he was uncomfortable again when I was checking the skin around his ears today. It was not even the "ear cleaning position" it was just a daily rough check on his head when the finger gets too close to the ear he lifted his head up high as an act of dodging. Stopped, scratched his head, retry. Dodging started again, stopped again. Dog got up, left the room :(

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Don't let him leave though! It's still not his choice whether he gets it done or not! You're trying to teach him that what you're doing isn't going to hurt him and good things happen when he puts up with it, not that it doesn't happen at all if he doesn't feel like it. You must prevent him from leaving, and not advance until he's quiet again, but letting him leave teaches him that avoidance works.

If he puts his head up, dodges or avoids, you just keep your hand right where it is. You don't proceed, you don't retreat, and he learns that he cannot escape your hand, but nothing bad is happening from it. When he stops resisting, THEN he gets a treat reward. THAT is desensitization. He has to be made to put up with what he doesn't like in order to learn that it isn't going to hurt him.

At the end of the session, he should get a treat and praise, and THEN be released to leave if he wants.

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Don't let him leave though! It's still not his choice whether he gets it done or not! You're trying to teach him that what you're doing isn't going to hurt him and good things happen when he puts up with it, not that it doesn't happen at all if he doesn't feel like it. You must prevent him from leaving, and not advance until he's quiet again, but letting him leave teaches him that avoidance works.

If he puts his head up, dodges or avoids, you just keep your hand right where it is. You don't proceed, you don't retreat, and he learns that he cannot escape your hand, but nothing bad is happening from it. When he stops resisting, THEN he gets a treat reward. THAT is desensitization. He has to be made to put up with what he doesn't like in order to learn that it isn't going to hurt him.

At the end of the session, he should get a treat and praise, and THEN be released to leave if he wants.

tried this, and....

I CLEANED BOTH OF HIS EARS TODAY!!!! :yahoo: he didn't even flinch!!! Sooooooooo proud of my baby now let's see if he would tolerate ear drops as well

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tried this, and....

I CLEANED BOTH OF HIS EARS TODAY!!!! :yahoo: he didn't even flinch!!! Sooooooooo proud of my baby now let's see if he would tolerate ear drops as well

Yay! Congrats! Keep us posted!

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yesterday is supposed to be day six, but I helped my aunt running an event from 8-5 and after I'm done with dinner+bath+etc etc it's already time for night walk and right after night walk Diamond crashed out under his favorite table with a "do not disturb" sign hanging on his facial expression =\ hopefully I didn't lose any progress as I'm about to start day seven! But today a husky that I often walked licks and grooms Diamond's ears he didn't even notice! Good sign? :P

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DAY 7 (yesterday)

treat used: verbal praise and head scratch

level of training: adverse reaction occurred, back to the basics. Touch at tip of ear and inside the ears

progress: he moved up the stairs of training level pretty well. He tolerated this once, now he tolerated it again.

result: allows slight pushing of ear to the back, but not enough for me to clean the ears

DAY 8 (tonight)

treat used: I start to think that yoghurt is not needed anymore as he's making progress even without any food present. I'm afraid he'll only allow me to clean his ears if I have a spoonful of yoghurt :S can't be too careful when it comes to this furry genius

level of training: back to the very basics since the groomer trimmed the fur in his ears today and it created adverse reaction. Scratching back of ears and just a simple touch on the head (between two ears)

progress: different progress for each ear. He tolerates handling on right ear more (somehow)

result: allows scratching on back of ear and touch on the tip of ear. But not for too long if it's the left ear :S

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Keep using treats! There's no reason not to reward him at the end of each session - that way it ends on a positive note each time. The goal is to have him tolerant of ear treatments, not tolerant of ear treatments without reward. When you're done with the treatments, you can keep playing with his ears periodically with only verbal praise and pets, and likely next time you do have to give a treatment it will be far easier in the future. I'd only stop using treats when he's very comfortable and tolerant WITH treats. Then it's no big deal anymore, which is why they are no longer helpful.

You don't have to worry about him only putting up with it when food is present if you're rewarding correctly at the end, and it doesn't even have to be much - just a tiny little tidbit each time he's good. His mindset will be "yay! if I'm good I get a treat!" not "I'm only going to be good if she had food."

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then it's back to yoghurt x) I have found out something rather funny today though. Diamond has this belief that every stranger MUST see him as the most perfect dog on Earth, so... I tried to use that belief just to test him a lil' bit today :rolleyes: so a friend came over and Diamond--as usual--put his friendly cuddly face on and behaved really well. When he was really focused with my friend.... I touched his ears :P he doesn't even notice it. Touched again... He didn't notice at all! Held his ears in ear-cleaning position... He dodged a bit. Second attempt of holding his ears in "ear cleaning position"... He acted like it was nothing but a head scratch. Didn't dodge, didn't flinch, didn't even take notice x) and as far as I can see he's naturally tolerating it he's not feeling distressed or annoyed at all O.o oh my dear boy will you act like that EVERY day? -__- why guests are always the best treat for you?

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DAY 9 (yesterday)

session I

treat used: cheese

level of training: pushing ears backward a bit

progress: oh Dime is such a STAR! I cleaned his ears today he didn't make a fuss so proud of him :wub:

result: tolerates any kind of handling with ears :up:

but then a major adverse reaction occurred after I put some ear drops in so here is session II

session II

treat used: apple

level of training: back to the basics. Slight touch on head between two ears

progress: he progresses slightly slow this time =\ but he managed to allow touches at the tip of ear and behind ears

result: tolerates fingers that is behind his ear, not in front

I think his problem is not only fingers now though :( he HATES the ear drops and the sight of that bottle would send him running. Next session would include our best friend ear drops bottle for sure :)

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