training Isis – successes and failures



Posting days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.




The tunnel has arrived. And I’ve been thinking that of course Isis won’t enjoy it. It’ll be dark inside and she’s afraid of shadows. How stupid to buy it. Always the optimist! We’ve not been able to try it out today, so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Most of the time Isis enjoys life. With touch signs, she can now respond to the commands: sit, go down, sit up again, go to your bed, stay, and come with me. She is still practising walking to heel off lead (in the house) and turning right and left. She learns quickly and seems to enjoy her training sessions.

Grooming is still a tread carefully area. Gimmicks like giving her a toy or a brush to hold in her mouth did not work for long. I tried grooming her while holding a treat loosely in my fist so that she could lick it, and simultaneously stopping brushing her and withdrawing the treat when she growled. But she was too focussed on the treat and became very cross when it was withdrawn. Then I tried a routine of twenty brush strokes followed by a treat but again she focussed on the next treat and was growly in between her rewards.

Now I put the treats aside and groom her for no more that five minutes before making a big fuss of her – which she could take or leave – and rewarding her with a tasty treat. I will continue to do this, keeping an eye open for the first sign of lip curl so that the grooming stops and she is rewarded before she growls!

Anything edible brings out the worst in Isis. Even when I reward her after putting on her lead and her harness I have to keep the treat well out of the way until the task has been done or she is looking for it and becoming irritable.

Unsurprisingly, our riskiest time for rage spins and foot biting is around mealtimes. It seems that finishing her meal infuriates her. Although I managed to pre-empt the post meal rages for a week or two by luring her away from her empty bowl with a treat, the rages have begun again. Tonight she was out of control, threatened to bite me, then bit her foot and made it bleed.

I have to devise a way of training her out of this. Watch this space.


Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

This entry was posted in deaf/blind dog, food rage, self-damaging, self-harming and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.