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Everything posted by SecretBC

  1. That's awesome! Congratulations! I think the energy level at National events can do amazing things. I know the energy level at our last NADAC Champs turned my dogs into rock stars and they all impressed me with how great they ran. Obviously it's largely how WE handle that energy/stress, I'm sure. Seeing as this was your third National, you probably felt more settled and harnessed that energy in a good way. Others are probably more like I was at my first Champs where I totally crashed and burned. lol Experience is a good thing! Your dogs looked great -- congrats on those nice placements!
  2. Our shelter is always full of those stupid doodle and other "designer" mixes. I just love it when someone comes in to reclaim a stray and gets upset because we incorrectly identified the "breed" of their Yorkie, Cocker Spaniel, Poodle, Shih Tzu mix. In my experience, the people who purchase these designer mutts on purpose are idiots. They tend to be the "useless" kind of dog owners who simply want the dog around for decoration. Quite a few fail to comprehend the grooming needs of these animals and they show up in our shelter with coats full of mats. And without fail, they tend to be some of the dumbest dogs I've ever known. Part of that may be due to the fact that they are raised with zero training, of course. I have yet to meet a labradoodle or goldendoodle that I can stand to be in the same room with. It always amazes me how you can cross two intelligent breeds and end up with something as dumb as a post. Surely it stems from the fact that the dogs used to make this crossbreed come from the bottom of the breeding barrel -- as no reputable breeder would allow their dog to be used to create a designer crossbreed....
  3. The difference between dogs and humans is that dogs can't feed themselves. If a dog is fat, there is nobody to blame but the human. Not to mention that the average dog is far more into exercise than most of us. The problem is the lazy human who doesn't want to take them for a walk.
  4. Maybe video will help? Here are a few of the agility pugs that I know:
  5. I just love that excuse -- the breed is supposed to be that way! My brother used it for their grossly obese basset hound, too. Funny, it seems that the people who claim that the breed is just "supposed to be fat" also tend to own breeds that are awash with health issues due to carrying that extra weight. I know pugs in agility. They are NOT fat, so obviously it can be done. The problem is entirely with owners who look at their chocolate brown eyes and ugly squished faces and just can't say no. My aunt and uncle have a pug who is probably at MINIMUM three times over his healthy body weight. It. Is. Disgusting. Like all fit dogs, pugs should have a waist and you should be able to feel their ribs. Good luck finding one -- it's the proverbial needle in a haystack.
  6. Thanks for sharing the video. It always helps. What I see in the video is stress behavior. In this case, it started at the weaves -- which I assumed it would, when I saw how well you guys started. She missed her weaves, you brought her back to re-do them and then all hell broke loose. You are the person who makes her do stressful things, so she is looking for outlets in the people around her to relieve this stress. This was only confirmed (in her mind) when you brought her back to the same place to make her re-do an obstacle. Dogs like this do best with receiving *no corrections* for a time. They need to learn to run with us and stay with us -- if they miss an obstacle it's likely because of a handling error we made, so just keep going. You also need to work to make yourself more of a reward, because she needs to find value in you vs. you being the source of stress. I could sense your frustration through the video -- If I got that read from you, imagine what your sensitive dog was thinking. "Mom is nuts!" I went through that whole, "I'll play with the toy and then run off to chew it on my own" business with Secret when I was working on building her play/toy drive. I would walk her down, retrieve the toy and then walk back to the spot where I was when we were playing together. If she wanted to play with the toy, she needed to play with me or the toy went away. She figured it out quickly enough -- these days if she goes and lays down with her toy it's a signal that she's had enough. I get the toy and put it away.
  7. I have chew things in the house, but no toys. Playing with toys is something the dogs do with me -- OUTDOORS. No playing in the house. This was something I started when I was attempting to build Secret's toy drive, which was pretty much non-existent when she was younger. It put more value into the toys if they weren't always available to her. Then once she did start liking toys, the last thing I needed was for them to be in the house. Prior to Secret coming along I always had toys in the house -- well, never frisbees or balls because then Luke would be obnoxious, but everything else was fine. Things change. Nobody here minds, because we get outside to play TOGETHER often.
  8. My dogs get an actual bath once in a blue moon -- Basically only when they've rolled in something dead. Occasionally I'll take them to the local do-it-yourself dog wash in the middle of winter when they get really muddy and I don't want it in my tub. In the summer they swim LOTS and get hosed off in the yard nearly daily to cool them off after playing fetch or frisbee. It amazes me how white and sparkly Secret stays with zero effort.
  9. Thanks all. I've had MANY people tell me I need to chill. I definitely am trying to keep it light around Secret. Lots of play, etc. Last night I put the baby gate up across the hallway where she likes to hide, keeping her in the living room with me. She did get up to try to go that direction a couple of times but would then return to the couch and was fine. I put her in her Thundershirt for bed and used a mouth guard I purchased yesterday in case I am grinding my teeth and freaking her out. She stayed in bed a lot longer last night and wasn't up and down as much (only a time or two), so that's good. I'll repeat the same tonight. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow and am considering speaking to my GP about anxiety meds for myself. lol Forget the dog, it's me who needs help here... I must be doing SOMETHING at night because Luke, my big dog, keeps creeping over to my side of the bed and he never usually moves at night. It's just peculiar.
  10. Poor Secret. Secret has always been a super sensitive dog. She's sound sensitive and has a pretty soft personality. Mostly, though, she's always been a very happy dog and has been a joy to live with for all of her nearly three years. I have been going through a lot of changes over the last few months following the announcement that our family company would be closing. The end is drawing near (next week) and as a result the overall stress level has been growing, especially considering that my job search has been unsuccessful. Now I've started to (finally!!) get some interviews and this is even MORE stressful for me -- I've been with the family business pretty much straight out of school and this is all pretty foreign to me. I think I hide all of this stress well when I'm out and about, but I also know that Secret is very sensitive to my moods. Last Friday I had a phone interview mid-morning and my stress that day sent Secret into a tailspin. She hid in the back of the house all day long. We had an agility trial this weekend and of course I worried that she would be stressy there all weekend, but she actually ran super well. Overall she seems to do better away from home (she comes to work with me) or in the backyard. Last night she was doing better until we all settled in the living room for the night and then she retreated to hide in the back of the house again. For at least the last week she has refused to stay on the bed at night. I've stopped even trying and just deal with her going up/down/up/down/up/down all night long. I have no idea what prompts all of her moving about, but I feel bad that she's so restless. Because I need sleep, I am contemplating crating her again at night -- which I haven't had to do since she was about six months old, as she was one who instantly took to sleeping on the bed. I have put on her Thundershirt during her daytime hiding sessions and it sadly didn't seem to help much. I haven't put it on her at night yet but probably will give that a go tonight. I have considered that there is the possibility that stress has caused me to start grinding my teeth again at night -- a sound that no doubt would cause Secret to turn herself inside out. I just feel so bad for her. Today I found out that I landed myself an in-person interview stemming from the phone interview on Friday. I know how I am and I know that this is going to be a very bad week for Secret if she keeps feeding off me.
  11. Being such a small dog, it could be that given separately she would have no problem with either vaccination. It's possible that her system was just overloaded by receiving DHPP and rabies at the same time. We rarely vaccinate my small dog with more than one thing at a time. It's a lot for their bodies to handle. Going forward, though, because there has been a reaction I'd likely do the titers and, as Mark suggested above, change brands.
  12. Huh. None of mine have ever carried on with such dramatics. I just have lots of chew toys around the house for them. Various textures/hardness so that they can choose what feels best. You are already doing the frozen washcloths, which would have been my other suggestion. It's really not that big of a deal. Don't baby her and give her lots of stuff to chew on. Bully sticks or rawhides (supervise closely!) tend to go over well during this time.
  13. From the Midwest Border Collie Rescue link above: http://www.mwbcr.org/ourfosterdogspages/fosterdogdollys.html I've had my eye on Dolly for a while now. She tugs at my heartstrings because she has Addison's Disease. My eldest, Luke, was diagnosed with Addison's in 2009. So far as diseases go, it's a very easy one to treat/live with, but it's also not terribly common or well known. I worry that's why she doesn't seem to be getting much interest -- I wish there was a way to explain to people that it's not a death sentence or anything. Someone needs to give Dolly a chance! I'd be more than happy to discuss living with Addison's Disease to anyone who is interested.
  14. I would really love to see you go five days with a raging UTI. Or really, more than that since it's possible the puppy has been suffering this for some time. Wow. Just wow. I hope you enjoy your vacation.
  15. Most dogs WANT structure. Very few dogs actually want to be the ones in charge and settle quickly once a routine is established. He's young enough that he should quickly fall into line once you set clear rules and boundaries. Just be very firm and consistent -- That rude, bullying behavior would not fly for one second in my house. It's just not fair to the other dogs and it's not creating a good citizen in the puppy. I know a lot of agility handlers don't want to squash their puppy's "drive & enthusiasm," but they still need to behave like decent animals and not beat up on the rest of the pack. I know in my house the oldest is too nice to correct the young ones and he puts up with a lot, so I make sure to watch and see that nobody is overly rude towards him.
  16. I got a lot of flack not all that long ago on the NADAC list when I complained about how god damn annoying it is when people go around the course shouting the name of every obstacle they wish their dog to take, usually in a fairly high-pitched tone of voice. Even worse is watching these handlers on a Hoopers course -- I want to stick a fork in my ears when I hear them HOOTING out, "Hoop! Hoop! Hoop! Hoop!" Come on, there are 22 hoops out there in the ring with you. Do you really think that your dog needs to be told, "Hoop!" when there are no other obstacles to take?? Once the dog has a basic understanding of agility and handling, they should know that the name of the game is to follow the path that the handler gives them and to take any obstacles which end up in that path. The more words we throw that them, especially if those words are fairly meaningless to the dog, essentially trains them to tune us out. How is the dog supposed to differentiate between the mundane (Jump! Jump! Jump!) and the truly important cues (Come! Turn! Switch! Out!)? If you eliminate the pointless stuff, the important stuff has more of an impact on the dog and they don't have to concentrate so much on trying to figure out if you are actually giving them an important directive. I will occasionally name the tunnel on course because my dogs find it motivating and it can give a boost in speed. I name the teeter so they know to put on the brakes and not go flying over it like it's a dog walk. The weaves are named so that they collect as required to make the entry. Dog walk and a-frame are both "up" and I will almost always use that cue, if nothing else to solidify the obstacle name for times of discrimination. But to sit and call out every jump on course... Well, I just find it annoying. Not enough to do anything about it, but I tend to inwardly roll my eyes when I hear it. Mostly because I just think it's pointless, and in the case of many teams I see locally -- Not helping their cause at all.
  17. What I had to do to finally get this through Luke's head was to find something that would get him in that crazy insane trial state. Food, which is what 99% of the people in our classes used as reward, just didn't do it. He loves food and he loves agility, but there was no way to simulate the jazzed up energy of a trial using food. So instead I started retraining his contacts using his absolute favorite toys in the world. That would be his rubber bouncy ball or a frisbee. He gets so wound up over these toys that he'll just shake in anticipation. He quickly learned that no stop = no toy. Once I got that through his head at home it's amazing how quickly and easily that transitioned to trials. I can't even recall the last time he blew through a dog walk contact at a trial, and we haven't schooled contacts in a very long while. I used the same method when I decided to put a stop on his a-frame and he picked it up in one session. So yes, in order to properly proof a stop in training you have to find SOME way to get their energy level up to where it is at trials.
  18. Your dog does not understand the criteria. Switching to a running contact will not make your life easier. Making sure your dog understands your criteria will. It's a very common newbie mistake. Watch how many hold to criteria at trials -- maybe 5%. It sure is hard to sacrifice a Q when your dog technically hit the yellow on their way through blowing your contact criteria. In addition to sticking to your criteria, general impulse control exercises never hurt this sort of thing.
  19. Great job! I definitely notice that he's getting faster. Bummer about the jumpers runs -- Seems like we all have a curse of one kind or another.
  20. This times a million. My dogs hate labradors and golden retrievers. Which is funny, considering that Luke (my oldest) is a lab/shepherd. But still, my dogs strongly dislike large black dogs.... Secret most definitely has a preference for other border collies.
  21. Puppies and fosters get crated. My rule of thumb is typically to stick with the crate for the first year and then start to test the waters of freedom. I start with simple things like being loose while I mow the lawn or run to the store, graduate to half days and then full days. I've been pretty fortunate in that my dogs have been able to come to work with me their entire lives, but that will be ending soon. When I work at my other job they used to have someone come let them out midday, which made it easy to transition to half a day in a crate, half a day out. Because my employment situation is changing and I can't rely on someone coming to let the dogs out 7 days a week, I recently had a dog door installed. So now the dogs have free run of the house and access to a small fenced in area (12' x 20') within the fully fenced yard. I opted for the smaller potty yard to prevent them from causing trouble when I'm not home (fence fighting, digging, etc.). The dogs think this is a GREAT arrangement and now I can be gone for 12 hours without worrying about them. I even run a web cam when I'm gone to check in on them. Yes, I'm a dork. My parents stop by when they're in the area to give them Kongs or to let them out in the big yard. They like that.
  22. I have three - Luke is 8 1/2, Kaiser is 4 1/2 and Secret will be 3 next month. The only reason that going from one to two was a shock was because Luke was so well trained by that point and I was spoiled. Very, very spoiled. He's hardly even a dog, honestly. Bringing Kaiser into the mix was so hard on me and it more or less required a huge upheaval of my life. Also, whereas it used to be easy for me to drop Luke off to stay with my parents if I had plans, they were not quite as keen on taking both of them because Kaiser required more work (ie: Kaiser had to stay on leash). Secret was added easy-peasy. It was almost a relief because she would play with Kaiser (who was always bothering Luke trying to get him to play and he wanted none of it). I also had a fenced in yard by this point so potty trips were not an issue. Figuring out how to handle three leashes and fit three crates into my car to go to trials was the hardest part. I'm pretty darn good at handling three flexi leashes at hotels now, but if it all possible Luke gets to go off leash because I have 100% faith in him. I occasionally foster puppies and it is shocking how much different it is to go from three to four. Suddenly it feels like I have an entire herd of dogs in my midst. For whatever reason, adding one (and a puppy, at that!) just feels like it adds a lot more. Four is nice, though, because then I can take them out in pairs at trials without feeling so bad for one being left behind. I've had five for short periods when I have to watch my parent's dog while I'm fostering -- And for whatever reason going from four to five is unnoticed in my brain. It's just three to four that seems like such a big step!
  23. Please don't make your life difficult and mix the sand into the paint. Just throw it evenly (and liberally!!!) over a wet coat of paint, let dry, knock off the excess and paint over the top. I did my table & teeter this way and they are both holding strong after living outside for years. I think my a-frame and dog walk were done with the "mix in the paint" method and they both need to be resurfaced. Throwing sand on top is faster, easier & cheaper. You go through an ungodly amount of paint when you premix them and it's a huge mess.
  24. Back when I got Luke, clicker training was really starting to come into fashion and I went that route, but I didn't really know or understand anything about shaping. I just click/treat when he did what I wanted and generally I used luring with the clicker. He was a brilliant puppy and learned very fast -- probably more due to his own personality than any great skills I had as a trainer. I probably trained him more like a horse since that's where my experience was. He's a big boy, so it worked. lol Kaiser was scared of the clicker as a puppy, so I abandoned it and did all luring with him. Even the majority of his early agility training was all done with luring. How he didn't turn out to be a super crappy agility dog I don't know. Lucky, I guess. One of the reasons I was drawn to the border collie breed was because of how well they take to free shaping games and learning tricks. I think the day I saw a video of a border collie blowing bubbles on YouTube was the day I decided I needed one. I introduced Secret to the clicker on her first day with me and she took to shaping immediately. She can get frustrated and quit on me if I try to go too quickly or expect to much, so she was good for teaching me to break things down into many small steps. I tend to leave all of that behind once they start training in agility, but it's fun to return to it now and again to see what she does. Last night I started to work on shaping her to bring me her toy (she has *always* struggled to interact with toys when food is around). Her default is to touch/stand on objects, so it was interesting trying to see her work out how to pick up the toy whilst standing on it.
  25. Yes, she was pretty stressed (been there, done that, have several t-shirts ), but I saw lots of good stuff. You made some excellent choices with regard to just going on and not fixing certain things (which would make it worse) and things that needed to be done (getting over the dog walk). I bet the next trial will be loads better because you'll both have more experience and know what to expect!
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