BY nobuko   Wed, 8 Sep 2010

Since Kaiju is still not allowed to do a lot of physical activities but we are eager to resume his training which got interrupted by the injuries back in March (right after Puppy Kindergarten), we signed him up for a nosework class. The class was suggested to us by Kaiju's Kintergarten trainer, Melissa. She told us that it often increased confidence in shy dogs. We had been looking forward to it for about a month.

omg, boxes and people... what are they doing to me??

Today was the first session. This is what happens in the class. Many small, cardboard boxes are placed on the floor. One of them contains some yummy treats. Dogs are brought into the room one by one, led by their owners. They go around the room and find the box with the treats. Simple enough, right? Every dog cleared this task. Some quickly, some with more difficulties. But all of them were happy when they found the treats, wagged their tails, and followed their owners around. Then Kaiju's turn came. Paul led Kaiju out from his waiting area to the main room. Kaiju stood in one place and refused to move forward. He was too scared of those unknown objects on the floor. He wanted nothing to do with them. No treats we prepared for the class got him to move.

The trainer, Marjie, stopped the process and put him back in the waiting area. She gave several more rounds to all other dogs while keeping Kaiju away. After the class, she asked us to stay. When everyone was gone, she sat us down to tell us that he was not ready for the class. She did not think we should push him at this stage . She then went on to recommend that we see a behaviorist who could possibly help him by medicating him.

This came as a great shock to us. We knew his fear was pretty bad but we didn't think/know it was THAT bad. We were speechless.

She explained her case to us. Kaiju is still young. He is still learning actively. Now is the good time to get some medical help, so he can learn that the world is not a scary place, and go on to live a happier with less stressful life. While she explained this to us, Kaiju hid behind our legs with his tail tucked in between his legs. She said "this is no way to live".

Various emotions went through our minds, but we appreciated her candor. She gave us some names of the behaviorists in the region, which included a Japanese one who was interning at Tufts University's Vet Behavior Clinic. If we were to see anyone, she seemed like the one, considering she practiced in Japan for 10 years, and was probably armed with knowledge on Shiba Inus.

We are still thinking about this. And we will continue to think about this. This really was a big blow, since we saw the start of this class as the major milestone for Kaiju's journey back to normalcy.

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