Dempsey is a brave little puppy. As part of his training, we're exposing him to all sorts of new experiences, and he rarely shows any fear. Among the scary stimuli he's been exposed to are a tornado siren, a police siren, and the smoke and ensuing fire alarm from a mahi mahi terriyaki gone wrong. Tornado, fire, police -- we're convinced that Dempsey can now sleep through any disaster that might befall our house. (Um, that was the goal, right?)
The one exception to Dempsey's bravery is thunder. Last week, we were practicing "drop" when a thunderstorm rolled in. Dempsey cocked his head and whimpered a bit before continuing with his training. Thinking he'd habituated, I took him out to the porch to hear the thunder more loudly. Dempsey promptly crawled into my lap. And puked.
Translation from pup-speak: "You overincreased the stimulus intensity. You idiot."
Based on Dempsey's helpful feedback and guidance from our instructor, I have a new lesson plan. I can see the storm clouds rolling in, but I've got quite a stockpile of yummy treats. We're going to have our own little storm of clicking and treating to distract Dempsey from the thunder and persuade him it's no big deal.
There's no rain yet, but I think the end of thunder woe is in sight!