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Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Cone of Sadness

I haven't seen the movie "Up" yet. But I have heard of the "Cone of Shame" reference. (didn't know if I could use that term in my blog title).

 When my Lupe had to wear a cone, she looked just as sad as the dog in the movie.

She was chewing on her anus for some reason and I needed to stop her before she hurt herself. While observing how sad she looked, I realized that it was all my fault that she was so depressed about her cone.

Lupe has lived with me several years and I have never made her wear an Elizabethan Collar (she didn't need one after her spay surgery). I should have known better. I should have taken the time to acclimate her to the protective collar when it wasn't needed.
I could have put it on her for short periods of time, fed her lots of treats, then taken the device right back off. I could have built up some positive associations with the E-collar by using desensitization and counter conditioning. But instead I had to put it on her while she was afraid and leave it on her while she looked depressed and struggled to move about the house with her peripheral vision impaired.

Learn from my mistake. Get your dog used to an Elizabethan Collar before you might need one. The same goes for crate training, vet visits, muzzles, etc..

See my previous post on muzzle acclimation. Pet parents can extrapolate this process to medical devices like the E-collar.

More to come on alternatives to the cone of sadness

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