March 04, 2010

Vet conference

This past weekend, Dazzle and I attended the Midwest Veterinary Conference to attend the "Behavior" track.  Thursday and Friday the speaker was Dr. Lore Haug who was EXCELLENT!  Some new info was learned and some info I knew was presented in unique ways that made it interesting. 

Dazzle did great on Friday, Sat, Sun with just laying quietly for hours on end, which REALLY amazed me!  He didn't like a loud popping sound the microphone made occasionally for no apparent reason, but I can't say I blame him.  It was making me and everyone else jump too!   I tried giving him some Melatonin on Saturday, but it didn't seem to help much. On the first day of the conference (Thursday) I tried leaving him at the house of friends where I was staying during the conference.  He did fine, till he got let out to potty.  Once he was outside, he was NOT going to be caught again!  An hour later, he finally came in through an open door.  Getting him back into the crate was a chore too and he ended up shredding a blanket in his crate, but leaving the bully stick and treats untouched. :-(  Which is why I took him with me the other 3 days and he did great!  Each evening I was able to take him to Posidog, a training center owned by the friends I was staying with, to let him run off some steam.  So I'm sure that helped! 
Saturday and Sunday the presenter was a different vet who left me very dissapointed.  Her sessions over the day and a half were mostly the same info with a different title.  Her video examples often didn't match the subject. She used her own and her clients dogs for demo of punishment techniques (like smacking the dog HARD in the face after she encouaged it to jump up, setting the dog up to fail by tossing treats on the ground to get the dog to move away from her so she could use a shock collar to do a recall and jerking a dog off it's feet with a prong collar!)  Her timing for both punishments and rewards were late and her rate of reinforcement was too low. She was working the dogs in areas that had them at full arousal, instead of setting them up for success and working up to the higher level of distraction slowly. 

I eventually ended up walking out on her sessions and attended a few others.  One on homemade and raw diets was no better.  No wonder vets are confused!  But a session on recognizing and reporting animal abuse was very good. Even though it was quite graphic, it was actually easier to handle than the abuse being shown by the behavior vet's video examples.

Overall, Lore's info made the conference worth it (plus some nice free stuff and some good deals on stuff I needed from the conference store).  But the other Dr's stuff left a bad feeling and was not how I wished the conference had ended.