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Everything posted by ejano

  1. Doorways are a trigger area. My approach would be that,while you are working on a solution to the problem, be proactive and don't let him near the door when your husband leaves. If Danny "gets away" with the nipping at the door, he may start to generalize the behavior, nipping in other places at other people. As for BC nipping on sheep, other people are far more experienced about addressing nipping behavior. Willful nipping is not encouraged, though I believe a dog may be taught a grip command. My limited experience has been that Brodie, especially had a tendency to try to grip because of excitement (not too different from Danny at the door "something's getting away...something's getting away...got to GET IT!"). His "punishment" was to be called off the sheep. As he's grown in experience and confidence, his excitement level has smoothed out, though I do keep an eye on his threshold. His instincts are good, I think. Just yesterday in the barn I had my back turned to Lamb Chops with Brodie in front of me. Lamb Chops came trotting up (though with no malice aforethought) and Brodie quickly put himself between me and the sheep, going for his nose as is "fair". Though he didn't connect, Brodie's actions were enough of a threat to stop Lamb Chops in his tracks. So I think my Brodie has my back should a sheep intend harm and that's a good thing. Liz
  2. You are just pointing out the strengths of the various dogs...on any given day, my pups' mother might work sheep, chickens, goats, geese, and now the occasional cow. Sure, she knows these animals and is familiar with their styles, but she had to learn at some point, the difference in the species and remember what style works with which animal. When she came to assist with the delivery of my Shetland lambs, she handled them perfectly. My own dogs, who are still beginners have even in my tiny flock have three different breeds of sheep, each with differing personalities and varying degrees of "lightness", if that's the right word to describe their comfort distance from a dog. It's very interesting to watch their interactions with the different sheep. The two Shetlands even act differently - one flocks very easily, the other doesn't. All are ridiculously tame with humans but their relationship with the dogs is very different. One scoots to the barn faster than the others and must be outwitted while not losing track of the others including one who is very onry and will challenge the dogs, so they've learned how to handle a balky aggressive sheep, and so forth. I'm sure the information the dogs are "gathering" along with the sheep is being stored away and will be handy with other sheep. You know, I've never raised a BC from a pup - we've always had rescues. I am amazed every day at Robin and Brodie's adaptability and the ease in which they learn something new both in the house and at the barn and I'm sure my two are not outstandingly smart but merely examples of what to expect from the breed.
  3. Years ago when we lived in town, a senior citizen complex was nearby. We had "Woofer" then, a mutt of uncertain parentage whose mother was a Lab and whose father must have been a bearded collie for he looked more than anything like one of that breed. Woofer was very property minded and person minded so imagine my shock and horror when I looked down from my perch on a ladder from which I was painting on the second story siding of our Victorian house and saw this tiny old lady inside our fence at our dog's dog house talking and playing with Woofer. I wondered if I should keep my mouth shut -- perhaps he'd forgotten I was there and that "his" boy was napping in his pram on the porch just behind him. I carefully came down the ladder took the dog's collar and advised her that it wasn't a good idea to approach the dog. She laughed and said they were old friends - that she'd been visiting and talking with him since she'd moved in about a month ago! Well, if the dog that tore a stripe off a policeman's pants trusted "Auntie Helen", then I guess I could too! I needed a babysitter for about an hour three days a week between the time I went to work and DH came home. Auntie Helen fit the bill!
  4. Robin is a very dark red. His coat fades a bit in summer to a brighter auburn shade with gold "highlights" -- also pretty but I prefer the darker red. It turns right back again in the fall. By November (here in PA), his normal coat color has returned.
  5. Marrow bones...we seemingly have an entire cow skeleton in our TV room but they enjoy sorting through them and picking out "the bone" for the evening. To make them even more enticing, occasionally stuff with a mixture of bread and peanut butter, frozen for a short time. This is the only toy I've given my pets that has lasted, though those little round rubber tire things (the colored ones, not the ones made of tennis ball covering) lasted pretty well, but they didn't chew them. We just played games with them. (My aunt stopped by after a rummage sale with a trunk full of stuffed animals. Are you still feeding these to your dogs? she inquired lightly, obviously remembering the days when DH let the pups run a muck...stuffing everywhere! No -said I. No, we don't. ) Liz
  6. She's a beauty and looks in such great condition - you've done a great job and she couldn't be anywhere else . Liz
  7. A newbie question but if the dog has strong herding instincts and someone wants to do something with her...how exclusive is the working registry? I know dogs can be registered on merit, but strictly out of curiosity because of this dog's situation, can an AKC registered dog participate in ABCA herding trials and earn novice/pro titles? Thanks, Liz
  8. There is a rubber dog brush that works well too. I tend to look at the originator of the problem (the dogs) a good brushing out saves a great deal of cleaning. Also finding the right food helped a great deal with the quality of their coat (less shedding). I use a furminator every now and then on our cat when she really starts putting on a shed. I'm not the world's best housekeeper by a long shot but there's actually very little visible dog hair...at least until one puts on black slacks! Odd how mostly black and white and red and white dogs tend to shed only the white hairs....it must be the cat's fault. I've found for hard floors, the swiffer works best. I think Mr. Clean also makes a larger version of the swiffer with a washable mom head. Haven't tried it yet but it looks promising.
  9. DH never believed in crates (or playpens)and for nearly a year everytime I left the house Robin chewed something. I don't think it was separation anxiety; I just think that DH was watching the wrong end....he figured if he had some part of the pup in view, everything was okay. He'd den up in his chair with Brodie and Ladybug and Robin got bored. A "bored" collie pup is a dangerous thing. Robin ate a hole in the arm of the couch, nibbled on the recliner, shredded a cone of yarn and still DH wouldn't listen. "It's cruel to put him in a crate." he said, even as he paid the pricey emergency vet bill for xrays when I was convinced that Robin had a blockage after the yarn cone incident (he didn't.) Soon afterward, I came home and found Robin posing on the couch with a bulb of garlic in his paws..(scarfed off the kitchen counter) DH sighed, looking at him: "Do you try to get me in trouble?" he asked the unrepentant pup Last Christmas DH put up a tree with all of his favorite Santa ornaments on it. Robin nibbled his way up the tree, concluding his feast with a starfish ornament. While I'm frantically dialing the vet to see if my dog is going to die (from the starfish, etc.), DH roared. "THAT'S IT! THAT DOG IS GOING IN A CRATE WHEN YOU'RE NOT HERE." Duh! In the intervening year, Robin's noshing has pretty much stopped. Neutering helped. But every now and then you find him casting about for something interesting. A watched pup is never bad. Liz
  10. I believe there are some others. I discovered these about a year ago and found them very interesting in part because the videos themselves were an oral history project, preserving the gentleman's approach to stock dog training. Watching him discuss training, sitting with all those old ribbons about him was very touching. More work like this should be done.
  11. Maybe it's just going to take some time for Duke's tummy to settle down. Three switches in 3 weeks is a lot. What did the breeder start him on? Maybe go back to that, if it's a good quality food. Our vet recommended keeping our pups on puppy food for the standard year and I agreed, feeling that the pup can't eat enough even of the all stages food to get the correct amount of calories and nutrients especially when they are tiny. Diamond Naturals has a puppy food and is competitively priced. There are differing opinions on the subject and I'm far from an expert, In the end, it's the pup's condition that tells you if you are doing the right thing. Perhaps the puppy is getting into the kitten food that might be making him sick...)
  12. I believe this as it seems the spot is "coming up" again. Rather like a spot on a tablecloth you've cleaned and put away. The next time you get it out, the spot is there again. Saving pennies for a wood floor! Liz
  13. Generally communities have some kind of nuisance law that may help you. If the dogs are barking "after hours" -- that is, say after 11 PM at night -- whatever the local ordinances state, then you can have them cited if the police will cooperate with you. You may have to make constant complaints when the dogs are actually barking to bring them to your neighborhood to hear it. Poor pups...
  14. Brodie, my skinniest boy, does this as well. I have to wonder if it is his metabolism that is keeping him warm or the black areas of his coat soaking up the sunshine. He sure doesn't have much else! (He was really good with the sheep yesterday, BTW. He figured out the fence problem -- my pasture is divided and there's an opening on both ends of the dividing fence. What do I do? Does she want me to do this? Sure she does! All RIGHT! He's a good boy. I'm pleased to see that he and Robin are learning pace, understanding that they don't have to be right behind the sheep's heels to move them - and nothing done at a gallop is done well. )
  15. I am not talking about human aggressive dogs. My point throughout this thread is that are no quick and easy fixes for any kind of behavior (if there were, Robin wouldn't still be barking every time somebody picks up a ball!). I am not debating your training skills or expertise and my statements are general (except for the first one regarding the cats). It's fine with me if you trust your dog around a child based on your experience and knowledge of the dog and the child. That's your business - and the child's mother's. In the same vein, allow me the right to believe that any breed of dog that doesn't grow up in a house with the child is a bad bet because I don't trust the child to continually behave in a manner that will keep the dog comfortable. Incidents happen when you least expect them. This is why the OP's dog is suddenly fearful of a particular person. Something happened. Small children as a general rule are a very untrustworthy lot. One minute they are petting "nice nice" and the next they've tweaked an ear or are zooming off, screaming that the dog licked them. Several people have pointed out (and I agree) that Border Collies sometimes find teenage behavior freaky too, which may be the heart of the problem, particularly if the dog is noise sensitive.
  16. I'm not labeling the dog as aggressive or dangerous. The dog's actions will prove him out. All I'm saying is what everyone agrees to - don't push the dog beyond his comfort zone. I agree that dogs can expand their horizons just like people but it worries me when you say your own dog showed teeth at a four year old and now she can pet him under his chin if she's not running too fast. What's going to happen if she suddenly zooms off? Your dog and others like him are not "cured" - they have been trained to withstand a certain level of pressure but diligence is necessary at all times, as well as being very careful to not stress the dog unduly. My dear Ladybug ended up in the pound because she nipped at a toddler who pulled her hair over eight years ago. (To our good fortune...she's the best dog we'll ever own.) I made up my mind when I brought her into the house to not try to rehabilitate her but to manage her quirks. In my mind, little ones are too fragile of a target for experimentation. It doesn't impact the quality of our life one bit as I've never been one to think that small children and Border Collies are a good mix especially if the child stands eye level with the dog. I put all of my dogs away when the little ones come. No big deal. Give her a boy of about 8 years old and she's in heaven but she doesn't like strange women. So when we're out and about, I tell women who would like to pet her that she was likely abused by a woman as she would prefer to not come near them and they're fine with that. I'm not protecting them, I'm protecting my dog from people she doesn't like. The difference is, she's not aggressive. The reason why I do not try to change her is this: I had a wonderful dog when we were first married that that I horribly mismanaged. He absolutely detested any kind of delivery person I'm lucky that we didn't lose him due to my idiocy. He had the self control to not bite - he just tore clothes. He had been with my husband's 10 year old nephew for about a year and had been teased/abused by a regular delivery person. I foolishly thought I knew enough to to retrain him, with the advice of a local "expert". Well, I found out just what good the "expert's" advice was when he nipped at a lady mail carrier - barely tearing the sleeve of her shirt but it was her first week on the job and she really freaked out. The trouble that rained down on me was unbelievable. I nearly lost the dog to euthanasia at that point because my homeowner's insurance company had to pay a claim. Thank doG when the adjuster came he wasn't carrying a briefcase and the dog didn't see him as an enemy and laid his head on the guy's lap to be petted. A year or so later, Woofer tore the stripe off a policeman's pants. The only thing that saved the dog then was that the cop was our friend, coming to tell us our stolen truck had been recovered...and the cop thought it was funny - would that the dog had been so diligent over the thieves! (My husband swears that he just recognized the truck motor and figured DH was going for a ride. At 2 AM, I asked?!) It became a standing joke in town. I read some more; talked with more people. Worked with the dog. We put up a tall fence and kept the dog on a run inside the fence when he was outside. He tolerated people coming and going better as he aged. Regular delivery people, having heard the cop story, respected his personal space. But 7 years later, when the dog was nearly 10 years old, unbelievably he leaped into the air, stretching his line to the limits, cleared the fence just enough to managed to snatch in mid-air at the sleeve of a meter man who was walking just OUTSIDE of the fence perimeter because the man was headed toward my then 6 year old son, then zinged back through the air inside the fence. I was working in my flowerbed at the time, not ten feet away and I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it. The meter man escaped with a tear in his shirt and he was very understanding because my son and I were in tears over the incident. He had a little boy too and admired the dog's protectiveness. Nobody messed with Woofer's "boy", not even family members. He once pinned my sister against a wall when my son was a toddler and she tried to take him to the bathroom when I was out of the room. (I also keep my sister away from Ladybug today. She insists every dog loves her and Ladybug doesn't.) Woofer lived a long and happy life with us and when he died at 14, I'm sure every delivery man in town would have gladly cheered at his funeral. We loved him dearly - and stupidly. This was over 30 years ago and there's a great deal I'd do differently today with him. I also have a reactive dog now - Brodie loves all manner of people and in fact would make a great therapy dog as he flinches from nothing in a nursing home situation and I've found him happily sitting quietly with someone who has draped an arm around him. But he's not real happy with other dogs. He will show teeth and he has nipped at other dogs in fear. Showing teeth is just one step down from nipping and the dog is telling you that he will nip if cornered. Brodie is sneaky. He tends to wait until the other dog goes by then darts to their flank. I sometimes think he's working from a misguided herding instinct when he does this, but in reality he's just trying to get the first shot in and one day he's going to get his clock cleaned if he and I are not careful. I've worked with him using CU and LAT to some success. He's got his CGC and a few carefully chosen playmates. I doubt he'll ever be entirely comfortable with other dogs and that's okay. I respect his quirks and fears and the personal distance he needs. My goal is to not turn him into the town greeter. I just want him to be comfortable at a stock dog trial, should we ever get that far. I'm hoping to get him back into a Karen Pryor clinic come spring to increase his comfort level. This is not to demean your or anyone else's efforts. People do marvelous things with fearful dogs and I've seen great improvements in Brodie. But I do believe that the fear lingers and one should be ever watchful for the dog's sake. Woofer was very lucky to live out his life. In today's climate, he'd have been put down because of the insurance claim. I'd hate to see that happen to any dog because of an unwary or uneducated owner.
  17. (OP: It's with her son, whom I call my brother, that he becomes incredibly, incredibly reactive. If Ricky comes into the room, Brady becomes hyper-vigilant and will sometimes even bark defensively. He tenses up and is clearly very afraid) It's not her brother -- it's her father's girlfriend's son. Sorry, but I'd rather err on the side of caution. One bite and any family relationship becomes strained and one that has no legal or blood ties...well, think about it. I didn't say the dog was a huge liability because of her Dad. Nor would I say "give up on the dog." The dog is "incredibly, incredibly" reacting to the boy whose age is indeterminate. The dog's reactions, if not properly managed, could become a huge liability. He doesn't like the person. It's only a big deal if it becomes a pattern. My post was intended to advise the OP to give the dog as much room as he needs to be comfortable, not "borrow" the other person and begin clicking away in hopes of fixing the problem. It doesn't work that way. Frankly, my concern grows when seeming solutions are offered without regard to the dangers inherit. I totally agree with Ooky's post and in fact, pretty much said the same thing. BCs can get weird over different things without rhyme or reason. Respect that.
  18. I agree with Gloria...some things are very hard to fix. For a dog to have a sudden, violent reaction to a person, something happened. Border Collies can be odd little creatures so it could be something very simple...Perhaps a truck on the street backfired once when Ricky walked into the room....Ricky makes loud noises ergo he scares me and I don't like him. How old is Ricky? Several things come to mind. First, your Dad and his girlfriend may carry Ricky's smell, so Brady may be reacting to that smell, not necessarily "them." Second, it's okay if your dog doesn't like someone as long as you can prevent any aggression between the two. Keep in mind that if your dog bites, you are liable and the dog will suffer the consequences even if the incident is with a family member. Keep him and Ricky separated by a good distance - that is one that the dog feels comfortable with. Don't push it. Don't "borrow" Ricky. This is not a good time to experiment with CU (Sorry, Waffles, but a cat can't sue you or demand your dog be put down if something goes horribly wrong.). If the distance that makes Brady most comfortable is the next county, then it's the next county. Wait for the dog to forgive him. That may be when hell freezes over.
  19. Thanks, Sue Just an expression..."hot" might have been more accurate. Mine really don't grow a winter coat...we joke that they shed in the winter because of our warm house and grow coat in the summer because of the air conditioning. (I think we need to spend more time outside!) I'm mainly concerned about them getting very warm racing about then putting them in a cold car while I'm finishing up, especially Ladybug. It seems a good idea to get her a coat as she is getting to be an old Ladybug. If she'll wear one - she was not amused with the sweater!
  20. It was a brisk 15 degrees when we went to the farm this morning. None of my dogs have a heavy coat - they are house dogs. Ladybug is 12 and really doesn't like the cold anymore. Lacking anything else, I slipped on old wool sweater over her head while she waited briefly in the car for her turn at a run. (I can't say she was pleased with it. By the time I returned, she had it off.) I also worry about Brodie -- light coat, no fat. And Robin, a heavier dog with the heaviest coat, gets heated pretty quickly even in the cold. Three different dogs; three different needs. How would you coat them for the cold weather when you would expect them to work up a bit of a sweat either running or working the sheep, then have to wait for me while I finish the barn chores - say 15 minutes to a half hour. Liz
  21. You will also need to think about issues like people wearing latex gloves, the rattle of IV poles, the scrub gowns the nurses sometimes wear, even the "ding" of the call bells if you happen to be standing near the nurse's station; the rattle of the meal tray carts. Also, people with mental issues sometimes don't react to a dog in the same way. A lady at my mother's nursing facility with Altzheimers kept meeting Brodie for the first time, about every fifteen minutes or so. She reached out to him like a child would with no thought for repercussions. Brodie gladly accepted her repeated embraces. He's a sweet-natured dog but Robin was a bit unnerved by her.
  22. Hello - I looked into this because our Brodie is very empathetic and was a real hit at my late mother-in-law's nursing home. The first step is a Canine Good Citizenship certificate. Most nursing homes and assisted living centers will accept that level. If you wish to become more serious about therapy visits, you may want to join Therapy International. Training, certification and insurance (a good idea!) are available. Liz
  23. Robin weighs about fifty pounds now. His "scruffing" days are over -at least from me. . He's really trying. Tonight he brought me the ball four times before he broke and barked. I told my husband, he'll get it soon -- maybe a month! Liz
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