Deaf and uptight young Fergus, the guy we like to call the Bed Burglar on account of his sneaky way of easing backward into an already occupied dogbed, has revealed yet another aspect of his personality: Mighty Hunter!
In the following email, his foster mom describes some of the training she's doing with Fergus to desensitize him to new stimula.
"My routine with Fergus is 2 training sessions a day 10-30 mins each, less on busier workdays, more on days off. We continue to work on his fear/anxiety of anything outside of our house/yard. So our walks started with just around the yard and patio, then to the front and around the garage. Next came on the sidewalk in front of the house, eventually progressing down the street and back home, then up the street and back.
Each of these areas continue until he starts to lessen in the anxiety and tense body language. We are sticking with our street for now, as soon as we get to the busy intersection, more people, dogs, etc, he is not able to focus or take treats as well. The licking increases, he looks like he's gripping the sidewalk, etc. When we get to an area like that, I back it up to where he's relaxed again, then we stay near that section for a bit, before heading back home. Next time we extend a few steps, a block, or whatever is working. He's getting really good at catching cheese bits, will do a drop butt sit when I stop. He's also learning "watch me" instead of the treat hand. I've been holding the treat to a right or left side, and he gets the reward when he looks away from that and at me, once he gets that we make it tougher by extending the time, or I'll hold a treat in each hand, when he locks eyes - jackpot.
He's learned gimme five, and working on stay, he'll army crawl under my legs, but getting him in a down - still working on it.
Tenacious RODENT detector at your service: A few weeks ago, Fergus started to act a bit nutty. This is not all that unusual, he has told off the "other white deaf frenchie" in the mirror, reflected in the fireplace, and also the one in the glass doors when it's dark. So when he started to do this at the bathroom door, then barking at my closet door, sniffing like crazy, we said "what is it boy - is timmy in the well?" We opened the bathroom door and let him inspect, he kept going to the heat vent and in my closet is the door to the crawl space, he went bonkers sniffing and barking there. Then he did it at the kitchen heat vent, and some of the vents to the crawl space outside. TJ opened the crawl space door, inspected and saw no evidence of anything. This continued off and on, somewhat randomly. Then Wookie started to sniff 2 of the 5 areas that Fergus was at. Rat traps were put down and TJ really looked around but didn't see anything, and the heat vents are closed off so he couldn't understand what that was about.
WELL - yesterday TJ was finally able to get down and dirty and crawl under there, he still saw no prints, nothing - crazy dog. UNTIL he reached almost the front section of our house, which is furthest from where he went cuckoo, and low and behold.....a carcass, and evidence of nesting. YUCK. We had been checking all our pantry stuff, dog food is up on shelf in the garage, nothing has been tampered with. Fergus got some goooood treats, good boy, good dog, ferocious hunter triumphs at last. Victory is sweet, but chicken is best."
He sleeps the sleep of the righteous and the just, approves
The Frog Princess