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Gloria Atwater

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  1. Wow, that is one heck of an interesting mix you have there! Nothing about her behavior sounds border collie specific in my experience. I think what you've got is mainly a complicated mix of two high energy, high drive breeds. I'd expect that to be rather challenging, given this particular mix. But from what you describe, she also brings along some personal issues, and that I think is what you're seeing. My guess is that you're right, it is anxiety of some sort. Without seeing your situation, I think letting her go somewhere to chill out and decompress for a little bit may be a good idea. You haven't had her that long, so she's still adjusting and there may just be times where her brain gets full - whatever the stimulus may be. Time out, calming, settling, learning to be quiet - all sounds like valuable things. Other than that, I'm not sure what else to suggest, but until she really settles in with you, that may be the easy way for her to just go let her brain relax. ~ Gloria
  2. Jason, how certain are you that she is a border collie? Did you see or meet her parents? By her looks, and if she weights in at only about 8 pounds at around 3.5 months old, I suspect she is a Shetland Sheepdog. Which is fine! It just may mean she will never be a big dog. ~ Gloria P.S. Oops, looks like Jason is gone ...
  3. Maralynn, no, you weren't the one who thought I was smacking dogs in the face. Anyhow, I think I've said too much already so I'm bowing out. Folks have offered plenty of good ideas here and the OP certainly has her pup's best interests at heart, we all know that. Peace, love and unicorns.
  4. Vet checks are always good, but I read "new baby" and my eyebrows climbed. It is not at all uncommon for dogs, especially border collies, to end up re-homed or in rescue after a new baby enters the family. Think about it from the dog's standpoint. One day, out of nowhere, this tiny thing appeared in the house. It's alive, but what is it? It smells funny, makes all sorts of noises - baby screams and shrieks can freak dogs right out - and the humans are now reacting in new and unusual ways to the things this little creature does. The household daily routine has dramatically changed, the nights are no longer silent, the days are punctuated with baby-oriented behaviors and goings-on ... Then as the baby grows and learns to walk, the dog may be alarmed at the baby's erratic movements, weird behaviors and unpredictably loud vocalizations. So far as the dog knows, she just acquired a shrill, smelly, erratic, unpredictable, unstable and completely incomprehensible alien life form as an unexpected roommate, and that has turned the humans' into kind of weird, sleep-deprived versions of their old selves. Which is not meant as a slight to you at all, I'm just trying to illustrate what an enormous change has come into this dog's life. Heck, I was at dinner with hubby and a friend last night when a toddler child let loose a shriek in the booth behind me. I almost jumped out of my seat! That can be a lot for a dog to contend with. I would thus echo what others have said. Carve out a lot more little moments and special times for the dog, the same as you would for a first child, and possibly look at the long term ramifications for her. Wishing you nothing but luck! This is a hard situation to face.
  5. I'm not smacking the dog in the face. I'm not hitting the dog. I'm using zero force. The stick is just idly swinging in front of me. The dog bumps into something and the thing is the correction because it's mildly annoying. A prong collar IS the correction and the dog knows it comes directly from you. I train my dogs for work and trial. I have worked with and around some of the best in the business. I have never seen a prong collar used by the sheepdog trainers or handlers I know. In fact, I've seen trainers tell students to take them off and stop using them. But if people want to rely on the same training training techniques a German shepherd or Rottweiler might receive, so be it. A prong collar on 4 month old puppy? This is me, over and out.
  6. Border collies can also be sensitive and quirky, so it's not a breed-specific thing at all. As for the towel, again, border collies can be quirky and often exhibit behaviors that look cowering but have nothing to do with being abused. Some BCs just don't like certain things, like flappy stuff or scary hats or dark glasses or heavy coats or backpacks ... the list can go on! Train the dog and not the breed - that's the best advice I've heard lately! Also, I'd say keep him on a long line if he gets into hunt-mode. I have a 14 month old purebred BC who will take off after jackrabbits as if launched from Cape Canaveral. So she's on leash in jack rabbit country.
  7. This. I don't need a 4 month old puppy to be an obedience champ. At 4 months old, my pups drag me wherever because they are like toddler children. If I don't like them forging, I may shorten the lead and walk with a light stick, and just swing it gently pendulum-style in front of my legs. The pup gets tired of bonking his nose on the gently swinging stick and corrects himself. Also, if the pup is pulling THAT HARD, I'd consider where I'm taking him. If he's so completely over threshold that he can't think and pulls like a Kenworth, maybe he doesn't need to be in that situation yet. Maybe he's over-stimulated and just can't think. Do we want to fry their brains at toddler age by asking them to behave like adults? Or do we want to just let them grow and mature until their minds are able to absorb lessons of restraint and calmness? It's not fair to put a pup in a situation that's overwhelmingly exciting and then try to correct him for reacting to it. If a place or situation sends him into orbit, don't take him there for a while. Let his brain grow up. It's a 4 month old puppy. Let it be a puppy. Raising a dog is a marathon, not a sprint and border collies are not bred to be shoved into pigeon holes of behavior before their joints are even closed. At 4 months old, I'm happy if my puppy will come when called, sit when asked and sleep through the night. That's it. Last but not least, Lyrically, are you incorporating plenty of down time in that schedule? Are you making sure your pup has enough time alone to just quietly play with his toys and hang out without interaction from you? An "off-switch" is invaluable to a young border collie.
  8. Leave her alone. She's playing in the way that makes her comfortable. Also, it may be safer if she's not the chaser, because sometimes the way border collies chase can become obsessive or it can annoy other dogs. If they are just running without thinking, you can end up with a really physically fit lunatic who obsesses on every move the other dogs make. Be happy she doesn't do that! Border collies don't need tons of mindless running and chasing. They do best with things that entice and challenge their brains. Consider teaching her games, tricks, little jobs like picking up things for you. There's a reason we see so many border collies doing clever things on commercials and YouTube!
  9. This. They can't or shouldn't diagnose him with a parasite, treat him for it and then recant the diagnosis later! I'd say clarify this conflict first, because Giardia can relapse and can be a nasty bug to pin down a second time. I would want to make sorting this out a priority before looking to diagnose something different. Just my two cents' worth.
  10. I'd also wonder if she wasn't suffering a hearing loss. My old Jesse lost most of his hearing by age 14 and he did a lot of staring off in the wrong direction. I could accidentally startle him sometimes, if he didn't know I was there and I came up behind him. If she's not distressed by anything, I'd say just keep doing whatever you do to keep her happy and comfy.
  11. I'd say start over, keep faces out of reach, do the yelp-and-ignore tactic and put her on a time out if she can't calm down. Over excitement is a big contributor to that sort of thing. They think they are just playing, but even older dogs won't tolerate too much puppy-biting to the face. I also have no aversion to an actual physical correction and a big NO, sometimes. I don't mean beating the puppy, but when my little female kept trying to leap up in my lap to bite my nose (!!!), I got the light cardboard roll from a roll of paper towels, and if she didn't take a verbal correction, she got a light bop with that. It wasn't traumatic, didn't hurt, wasn't abusive and got the point across. There really is no harm in just saying NO.
  12. You are right, sheepdogging geezer. We can't stay hidden. But it's hard to know when it's safe to peek out. Where I live, HSUS and their ilk got the ear of Washoe County lawmakers. A new law was passed governing exotic animals, how and where and if they may be kept. Today on Facebook I saw the heartbroken post of a man who was having to give up the beautiful ball python he's had for 23 years - longer than his son has been a live. An animal he's used all that time to educate and inform children and local groups. But now the regulations won't permit him to keep her. He has no way around it. So he must let that beautiful snake go. How do we know when it's safe, when it seems nothing is safe any more? It's so hard to know. The AR Monsters are out there, working hard and making bad things happen. But I will carry on with my dogs, as we all will. We do what we can, speak when we must, educate whenever we are allowed.
  13. Tears here again. I'm so sorry, Tea. What a rotten heartache.
  14. I can only speak from my personal observations in my corner of the world and from my arena/ranch trial days, but here goes. Border collies are sweeping, athletic and stylish in their movements and affect their sheep by their presence, their physical movement and their "eye," the latter of which can be kind of a veiled threat or projection of their presence. Working border collies carry generations of instinct and natural ability, though of course it varies by breeding and individuals. Shetland sheepdogs of today tend to be upright, bouncy, fast and often barky on livestock, and often don't have a strong sense of how to handle livestock. They've been bred for generations as pets and for show, which has diluted whatever original style they may have had. They are small, also, so they can't do the big outruns and long distance work of the larger dogs. I wonder if perhaps they may have been droving dogs who worked at pushing flocks or herds along country lanes, rather than gathering hills and fields? Australian shepherds are a much younger breed, created the US around the late 1800s or early 1900s. There's a lot of mythology around their origins, but despite the name, Australian shepherds are not one of Australia's breeds: they are a purely American creation. Aussies can have some variation in type and working style, although they all seem to work a lot closer to their livestock than border collies. The show types are full-coated and bigger boned, and in my observation have an upright, bouncy, flouncy style of work with occasional barking and hit-or-miss natural talent. They can be enthusiastic, but may lack focus and long-term attention to work. These would probably not be suitable for everyday farm work. Aussies from more truly working lines can be somewhat lighter and leaner, with less coat. They also have a more upright working style and work close, but I've seen a very few that almost work like border collies, showing eye, clean flanks, a decent outrun and hints of a crouching style. These dogs rarely bark and can be quite keen, although they may require a firm hand to handle them, as they can be quite independent. The thing with Aussies, though, is that if one wants an actual working dog, they need to research and learn about what families or bloodlines they come from, as the show types are diluted in natural ability and even the working lines can be iffy. That's my take, anyhow! Others' mileage may vary.
  15. You're welcome! Be mindful that removing dew claws is quite painful and not a minor surgery. You are in fact amputating a toe, even if the toe is not entirely functional. So unless it's a medical necessity, I would not advise messing with them. Just keep the claws themselves tidily trimmed. ~ Gloria
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