The Zach Diaries: Week Two of Behaviorist Treatment Plan

All days start with 2 Prozacs, 20 mgs each. Since this won’t change past day 1, I won’t repeat it. I’ll list medication changes as they happen. Also, he always responds to water, inside and outside commands so we won’t include them in the practice cue list.

Day 8, April 20th:

After the excitement of the weekend and my Tuesday’s working from home and Zach routine, our puppy seems to be adapting well. He eats his meals, obeys commands and enjoys sitting on our laps. At night he sleeps well and during the mornings he only makes a big barking fuss when he hears the garbage truck dropping the garbage cans or when he hears the lids slamming agains the body of the bin. Zach used to react a lot more to the truck but not as much anymore.

Z still reacts to people outside of the fence but not to the sound of mowers or tools per se. We need to start training him soon to react less to the sound and to people. That’s going to be the hard part. We have given him Benadryl for his allergies but other than mucus reduction it doesn’t seem to help with anything else, unless his scratching is just grooming related. He seems to do it at night only.

Jeremy, his walker, reported it all went relatively well during their time outside. He seems to be improving albeit slightly.

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Side, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles. 

Day 9, April 21th:

Another uneventful day with Zach. We have been training and managing his interactions with people and our neighbors, especially during sunny days. He ignores most sounds when I am around him but freaks out a little bit and reacts to noises when I am farther away from him. So far, we haven’t had major meltdowns or incidents. I’m proud of his progress, especially since he lets me hold his paws for longer periods of time, pressing to simulate cleaning or grooming with minimal discomfort. He even let my husband rub oil on his paws!

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Side, Leave it, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles. 

Day 10, April 22th:

Today Zach woke up, went through his routine which includes a morning Benadryl, and a little ball tossing. Later in the day Jeremy took him for a stroll and reported minimal action. Zach is able to ignore or be redirected quickly when an obstacle comes into his bubble and except for one lady that surprised them by hanging out in the back of her car, Z kept his cool.

No issues sleeping or eating. He likes to lay on his bed from 8 to 10pm while we watch TV and follows us to out room to sleep the night next to me. Awww. (He always sleeps by my side but moves around over our feet over the sheets to burrow next to my husband. So cute!

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Side, Leave it, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles.

Day 11: April 23th

Zach went to sleep late because he stayed up playing videogames with my husband. Because he wasn’t given a pee break before bed, he woke us early asking for relief. After he went outside he ate, took his meds and went back to sleep. The Benadryl seems to be working a bit but he has buggers. We all woke up around 10 am and played outside until my husband and I left for a midday appointment. He did well all day, still barks at certain noises, but is doing a lot better. He now does the side command which allows us to clean him up without incident. Our training sessions are going well but he still trembles when we walk in after being away for a while. It still occurs intermittently.

Lavender air freshners seems to help him relax to an extent. We are going to try the Adaptil once week 2 closes. So far he is stable and hasn’t had behavioral issues to suggest the meds aren’t working. He eats his food our of his Snoopy bowl and plays with his toys. I’m glad he is enjoying himself. 🙂

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Up, Side, Drop it, Leave it, Hug, Look at me and Cuddles.

Day 12, April 24th:

Zach woke up at 7:00 am to the sound of rain drops on our windows. He decided that after all it wasn’t good weather to be outdoors so he refused to go outside and went back to bed. I gave him his pills and a meal to make sure he went down for a while with a full belly. It wasn’t until 11 am that we rolled out of bed, at which time he had to brave the elements and relieve himself. We left around 1 pm to have lunch and came back to give him a bathroom break before going to a Game of Thrones party.

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My sister came along for the break and we took him outside while she set up in the living room. When he came inside he recognized her and didn’t bark! We did a short version of he new protocol and he didn’t flinch. When we left they were the best of friends, and she said goodbye to him without issue.

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Drop it, Up, Leave it, Hug, Look at me, Go to bed, and Cuddles.

Day 13th, April 25th:

Overall, Zach is doing well. He still trembles after the garage door opener is actuated, another noise for the desensitization list. He follows commands well and likes our training time. His allergies are getting a bit better.

Z loves being outside, even when it rains, and is playing with his toys outside and inside. He keeps bringing his outside ball inside but he doesn’t get mad if we toss it back outside and close the door.

No issue sleeping or eating today either.

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Drop it, Up, Leave it, Hug, Look at me, Go to bed, and Cuddles.

Day 14, April 26th:

Tuesdays with Zach, as I am calling working from home day, went well. Because of his reaction to the garbage truck routine and the neighbor mowing the lawn, I gave him a few indoor only moments to help him refocus his energy while still being able to hear the sounds. When I close the doors the sound attenuates at least by half and he seems to not mind it as much. Seeing humans move or hearing them talk sometimes another story.

He intermittently reacts to outside noise. Door closing, booming noises, thumps and flaps bother him. In many cases he has successfully learned to leave it or ignore particular sounds. He still reacts to neighbors popping up from behind fences even if he can only see th top of their heads. Must work on this first which should resolve itself or become better by following the desensitization exercises designed to accustom him to people standing still at a distance or getting closer.

He slept well and was responding positively to training and voice commands. Seems that he has taken well to the medication and is ready for the next steps. Wish us great success!

Cues we practiced: Sit, Stay, Lay Down, Off, Bed, Catch, Paw, Drop it, Up, Leave it, Hug, Look at me, Go to bed, and Cuddles.


Let’s see how it goes during week 3, desensitization training.

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