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Everything posted by arf2184

  1. Today I said goodbye to my boy who has been with me for all of his life and half of mine. I'm going to miss seeing that smile everyday.
  2. Keep in mind many if not most dogs in rescues were once in a shelter. By adopting from a rescue, you free up space for the rescue to possibly pull another at risk dog from a shelter. So its win win. Not that you shouldn't check out the dogs currently in shelters, but if you have specific things you're looking for in a dog, a rescue might be a better option as they can usually give you a better idea of what a dog's true personality is. Shelters are stressful environments and it can be really hard to get a good feel for what a dog is really like.
  3. My number one advice for you would be to BUILD CONFIDENCE. Don't focus on just getting her used to social situations. Teach her that she can do anything. Work on just general training. Gentle reward based training builds confidence. The more your dog learns (be it the important stuff like sit, down, come or stupid tricks) the more confident she'll become. It can also help her learn to read people better. The better she understands people, the less fear she'll have towards them. When I got Meg at 2 yrs old, she lacked confidence and was afraid of everything (except me). She really had no idea how to interact with people. She knew sit and was learning come, but that was it. She wanted to play, but she didn't know how to play with people. We did a lot of training. In our first class, we had to sit apart from the group because she was so afraid and insecure about being leashed near the other dogs. (Off leash she was ok because she could escape and hide.) Clicker training and agility helped change Meg's life. She learned what was expected of her and she learned how to read human body language better (agility helped a lot with that). Going to classes also helped a lot. It gave us a different environment to practice in, in advanced level classes dog savvy classmates helped her learn that strangers aren't always scary, and she was around other dogs on leash in a controlled situation where she learned she could relax a bit. There are many ways to build confidence. Every challenge you face and overcome makes the next one easier. The teeter in agility was a big challenge for Meg. The teeter took about year (baby steps) to conquer. I almost gave up more than once, but I'm glad I didn't. Once she got it and was no longer afraid, it was easier to tackle other things that made her nervous. Swimming was also a big one. Part of her fear/lack of confidence was that she was a terrible swimmer and struggled to keep her head up. She would not go anywhere near a body of water, especially with a human close by (I think maybe someone threw her in at some point and scared her). After many time of me going in with her (one step at a time on leash, making sure each step was her choice, not forcing her) and her wearing a life jacket, her swimming improved and now Meg LOVES to swim. More recently we had another break through. Meg has been with me for 4 years. It took about 2 1/2 years for her to reach the point where she could handle just about any situation. She doesn't shut down, she rarely hides, and shes now usually happy to meet new dogs and people. She now frequently asks random people to play Frisbee or ball with her. I was thrilled with how far she'd come and didn't really expect any more from her. In January, we took a "Play" class with our favorite trainer. I got way more than I ever dreamed I would have out of this class. We learned to play with our dogs without toys...which isn't as easy as it sounds. It actually took a lot of practice and was way more work than I thought it would be. It was amazing though once we got it. Our relationship was great before this class, but even better after. When we started this class, Meg was at a point where she would happily greet other dogs, but only played with a very select few. I thought she just picky or not really into playing with dogs, but now I think it was more that she didn't know how to play with most dogs and was still a bit insecure. She has her own way of playing and if the other dogs didn't conform to her way, she didn't know what to do with them so ignored them. In learning a new way to play with me, Meg also learned that she could change her play style to suit other dogs. It was incredible watching her gears turn as she figured this out with a friends dog. Now she wants to play with everyone! Its like she's in her 2nd puppy-hood at 6 years old. I guess my point is don't give up. Keep encouraging and teaching her. Work on building up her confidence in all aspects of her life and both you and she will be much happier for it (and will likely form a great bond together).
  4. I think it all depends on how well you like the vet and your vehicle situation. I drive 45min-1hour to get to work everyday so its no big deal to me to drive that far for a vet. I have in the past. I live in a small town. We have three vet clinics. Two of them I do not like and will not go to {I'd rather drive to the nearest city). The third is my dog vet and is just 5 minutes away. I really like her. She costs more than some of the vets in the nearest city but is still reasonable. The main thing I like about her is her patience with the dogs and the way she presents options ('these are our options...1, 2, 3 and this is roughly what each will cost, and this is what I recommend') and leaves the decision up to me without being pushy. She's also not afraid to say 'I don't know'. Bear does not like car rides so having a close vet is less stressful on him, but I would make him tough out a 30-45 minutes ride for a good vet if I had to. Our bird and chinchilla vet is about a 25 minute drive. My second choice for an "exotics" vet is a little over an hour drive.
  5. Petsmart is also no longer going to carry treats made in China.
  6. Does she play with other dogs outside of your household? If so, does she do the same with them? Meg plays different with dogs she knows well vs dogs she recently met, much like you and I behave different with strangers vs people we know well. We know those who are close to us and what is acceptable and what we can get away with. Just wondering if this is the case with your girl. As long as its clearly play and the other dog doesn't mind, I wouldn't worry about it much. If she's is interacting with other dogs, just make sure they are ones that will give her fair warning if she goes too far.. Be ready to call her back and end the play session if she is warned by the other dog and doesn't heed their warning. Much like a kid, its best to let them sort things out for themselves, but you should step in before things go too far. especially when someone else's dog is involved.
  7. Some people... Poor Rievaulx. When Bear was younger I had a couple people on different occasions ask if he was available for stud. He was/is a good looking dog, but he's 100% mutt, neutered, and has bad hips (which I've always thought was noticeable in the way he walked).
  8. Both http://www.freewebs.com/jumpinwfarm/ and http://www.handhills.com/ had a couple pups available a month ago. Not sure if they still do but it doesn't hurt to ask. Both have very nice working dogs so you might ask about future litters as well.
  9. We get up at 4:30 or 6:30am depending on which job I work that day. On 4:30am days, they go out to potty then go back to sleep until Dad gets up around 8am. On 6:30am days, they potty while I get ready then we go for a walk before I leave for work. Bedtime is usually around 8pm. Bear sleeps most of the day; he's old. Meg naps here and there, in between walks, play (with people or by herself), car rides, staring at passersby, playing through the fence with the neighbors dog, chasing birds, etc.
  10. Our "with me" is about a 5-7 ft radius. I just said "aht ah" when she got further away than I wanted and "yes" when she was back in the radius I wanted. Meg figured it out very quickly. She takes off like a rocket when I use our release word.
  11. Here's what I do. If its someone I won't be seeing often, I just smile and nod. If its someone I see regularly, I agree that Border Collies aren't for everyone and say I am prepared to give this dog plenty of training and mental and physical exercise. If I'm feeling ornery and I have some time, I go into a long detailed explanation about the history of Border Collies, how they are purpose bred working dogs, and how irresponsible and/or ignorant people are most often to blame for the issues that arise...not letting the person get more than a word or two in during this long explanation. Unless the person is a true obsessed dog lover, usually they don't bring up Border Collies again...ever. :-) Not all Border Collies love agility, but many do. My Meg is like your German Shepherd. She like going to agility class because she gets to ride in the car and gets play with her 'boyfriend' (an Aussie) afterward, but the actual agility is just ok. She prefers Frisbee and Rally. I like agility and hope to get another Border Collie pup to train when the time is right. For now, Meg humors me and I try to keep it fun for her. We're taking a break for a while though because I started a second job and we both have to adjust to my schedule change.
  12. Make noise! Most problems arise when the wildlife is surprised by your presence. Make some noise so they know you're coming. I'm fortunate enough to have two dogs that don't chase deer. We often come across them, sometimes when the dogs are off-leash. The dogs just hang back with me and watch until the deer runs off...then they go sniff the spot where the deer was. I've not encountered bear or cougars while the dogs have been with me, but I hope I get the same reaction if we ever do. I worry more about moose. I've seen several close to home, in town and in the fields. My dogs don't mess with them either, but moose do as they please. They don't scare easily like the deer. When we see a moose we walk back the way we came. Occasionally we come across coyotes. My dogs are big enough that the coyotes around here don't caret to mess with them (there's easier prey). One of the many reasons I do not want a small dog...they are prey for the coyotes and large birds. Bear learned his lesson about skunks the hard way and it seems to have stuck. Porcupines and raccoons are another issue...so far we've managed to avoid the porcupines. There was a raccoon hanging out in the yard this winter, but fortunately it seems to have moved on.
  13. I adopted Meg at 2 years old. We worked on recall for a couple months before letting her loose. With me, she ran as fast as she could for quite a ways the first time before she realized we weren't with her and she turned around and came back. We we're in a field and I could see her the whole time so I did not call her back until she stopped running. When my dad let her off leash by himself for the first time, she took off completely, leaving him worried that he lost her, only to find her waiting for him at home. When working on recall off leash (indoors or out), if you know your dog is not likely to listen (and is not in any danger), DON'T CALL HER. On-leash you can give a little tug or reel her in if needed, but off-leash you have no way to make her come. You don't want to teach her that she only has to come if she feels like it. Be sure to reward her every so often for coming to you even if you don't call. Work on recall around distractions while she's on a long line. With Meg we have a straight recall "Come here" that means come now all the way to me. I also say "I can't see you" which is Meg's cue to get to where she is more visible (not behind a tree, over a hill, or in tall grass). Usually she just gets back on the trail and looks back at me for a few seconds. Its not a recall...just keeps her in sight and out of trouble. You just have to learn to trust your dog (or not as the case may be). A long line is a good idea. When you're ready to go without any lead, I'd go to a dog park (an empty one if possible), schoolyard or somewhere that has a wide open space, but is fenced, that way you have a bit of a safety net. She may take off at a full run enjoying her new freedom before she remembers that you're there too. Or she may stick close because without the leash she has to pay more attention to know where you're at.
  14. Many years ago we had to give up a dog. We found her a very nice home in our town where she was a much better fit for the household. They said I could come visit her anytime. I did visit three times over about 6 months, but I didn't really think the visits were beneficial for either me or the dog so I stopped. I did however still want to know that she was happy and well so I drove/walked by whenever I was over that way just to see her. Sometimes she would be in the yard and I'd see her playing with the kids or the other dogs. That was much easier for me. I knew she was well and I didn't have to say goodbye again. For about ten years I would look for her in the yard. After that, I didn't see her anymore so I assume she died (she would have been 14-ish). I'm happy knowing she had a good life. I would not arrange anything, but I would mention the dog. Perhaps just simply say you saw Joey or talked about Joey with 'so and so' and he's doing well. Then if he wants to know more, he can ask and maybe you can put him in touch with the the new owners and let them figure it out from there. This dog was his family and he has a right to know that his family is well.
  15. Thought you might find this interesting: http://sheltermedicine.vetmed.ufl.edu/library/research-studies/current-studies/dog-breeds/dna-results/ I can come up with a lot of possible breed combinations. I'm just going to throw out Anatolian Shepherd and Dutch Shepherd for fun. No clue really.
  16. Definitely not. I went to a few agility trials and talked to people and had a couple trainers picked out before I ever chose to bring Meg home. When it came time to start classes (that is, when Meg had settled in and started to bond with me), I was ready and all I had to do was wait for the next session to start with the trainer I had already picked out. We started out with an excellent CPDT for basic obedience and intro to clicker training. Then another trainer for agility (and later Rally and Treibball). We also took two sessions of classes at yet another facility that focused specifically on walking calmly on a leash...Meg's was not a puller but calm she was not. Find a good trainer now (or two or three). Even though I'm sure you can teach them at home, I would start with a basic obedience class with a CPDT. You may be surprised at what you learn. If nothing else, it'll give you a chance to bond with your new dog and see how she does in a class setting. As for sports, figure out how much time and expense each sport involves, and more importantly, if it interests you.
  17. ^^^ Lol @ Kristine I second the recommendation for an adult rescue. Its a great way to help a dog out while also having a much better idea of what you are getting into. Also, its not a bad idea to start looking for trainers now if you are interested in taking classes and/or doing dog sports. Give them a call and ask to sit in on a class. I would think more about what YOU want to do with a dog and match the dog to you, rather than wait and match yourself to a dog (if that makes sense). You'll be happier that way. Not that you shouldn't take the dogs preferences into account when the time comes. Consider your husband too. Regardless of what dog you get, you are likely going to have to train him as much as the dog. Is he willing to go to classes with you or at least follow your training methods? Its hard on the dog if she gets mixed signals. As said, many Border Collies tend to be sensitive dogs (my mom would say they're 'jumpy'). That doesn't mean you should coddle and baby them. They need to learn to cope with life just like any other dog, but they are typically very alert to their surroundings and may be overly cautious or react to things that you wouldn't normally notice. If you end up with a reactive or very nervous dog, it takes a lot of time and patience to work through that. It may be several years before you end up with the dog you want. Some dog never get over it (though I think many times this is because the human babies them or gives up). My family had to be retrained when I brought Meg home. She lacked confidence and was a sensitive girl. Loud voices scared her, even if not directed at her at all (like Mom on the phone with hard of hearing grandma). Stern voices would send her hiding (again, not usually directed at her). I had to train Mom to speak calmly to her. Meg just needs to now what you want...not like my lab mix who would pick and choose what to listen to unless you used a stern voice. Meg also avoided Dad for almost 2 years. I think it had a lot to do with his inconsistent body language. He would always use the wrong hand signals and would confuse her. He took more training than Meg really. Now, almost 4 years later, Meg is a happy confident girl who likes most people and other dogs. She does agility, Rally, Frisbee, and loves to swim. She can handle any situation. It took three years and a lot of work to get her there though. Not all Border Collies are nervous or sensitive. Not all are neurotic or intense. With those that are, some are born that way, others are made that way by their people. You don't have to do dog sports or train for a marathon with your dog, but you do have to give her something to do to keep her fit and occupy her mind. If you do decide to get a Border Collie, just make sure you bring home the right one for your house and you'll be ok.
  18. Some people can have a Border Collie in an apartment/no yard setting. Most can not. There are plenty of breeds that are under 75 lbs that would be happy to walk with you for 3-5 miles a day, even in the heat. That doesn't require a whole lot of training. Most of them are cute. So why do you want a border collie (or other intelligent, active dog)? What are you planning on training the dog to do? What else do you plan to do with your dog (in addition to walks)? How much time do plan on investing in your dog? I think dog sports are a lot of fun and you don't necessarily need a yard. We do classes/practice in a barn with our trainer once a week for agility. While I have weave poles and jumps in the yard, when first starting we did a lot of training in the house, just teaching directional cues and contacts on a board. Rally can easily be trained/practiced in the living room. And then of course there are all kinds of tricks and tasks that you can train indoors at home. All of this can provide good mental work in the house, but you have to be willing to put in the time and effort, in addition to walks and other outings. I hear you on being able to pick the dog up. I've decided I don't want dogs over 50 lbs. I currently have a 75 lb 13-year-old Lab mix. He has bad hips and a bad back and while I can easily help him support his own weight, it is very difficult for me to all out pick him up, not just because he's heavy, but because he's also BIG. I'm not a small person by any means and I'm fairly strong, but neither of us are comfortable when I have to left his whole weight.
  19. To me, 'stay' means stay still in the position you are in, whatever that may be. No taking two steps towards me, no crawling, no changing position. A 'stay' requires focus. You have been given good advice on teaching stay. Remember to gradually increase your duration (over several sessions). Also remember that your pup is only 4 months old. 30 seconds is a LONG time when you are young. As others have said, I would not consider a long stay an 'off switch'. As Liz P said, its more about your expectations and the dog knowing when to be calm. I don't have a specific cue for the off switch. In the house, I say 'go lay down'. That means find a spot, get comfortable and lie down. No more playing, no pacing, no wandering. Just chill (and leave me alone). To end a training session or play time, I say 'all done' (my version of 'that'll do'). For me, this just means 'We're done. Go do what you want.' Not so much an off switch as just a release. If we're playing, Meg will often continue playing, just on her own, without involving me. After a training session, she usually finds a quiet spot to contemplate. I don't use the crate at home anymore, but Meg knows in class or at agility trials, being in the crate means she quietly waits her turn. No barking, whining, digging at the crate, spinning, etc. Just chill and wait. Much like children have to be taught that there is a time to go crazy and a time to be calm and quiet, so do dogs.
  20. Things to consider: -cost per run (It adds up quick) -equipment (different groups use different types of equipment...may or may not be an issue depending on you and your dog) -frequency of trials (if you want titles, you have to compete fairly often; for the most part, points do not transfer between organizations) -location (how far are you willing to drive? does your dog do best indoors? outdoors? is the place well maintained?) -popularity/wait times (the more dogs competing, the longer you have to wait until your turn) -entry requirements (do you have to enter in advance or are day of trial entries accepted?) -games (do you want to participate in different events/games?) My choices where I live are AKC, NADAC, and ASCA. AKC is the most expensive, generally requires registration in advance, and trials fill up quickly. AKC trials tend to have a lot of wait time. AKC courses tend to be tighter. AKC offers standard (all equipment used on numbered course), Jumpers with weaves (jumps, tunnels, and weave poles on numbered course), and FAST (all equipment assigned point value, you make up your own course earning as many points as you can). ASCA courses are similar to AKC. They are cheaper and you can generally enter day of trial. NADAC is cheaper than AKC. I can show up the day of trial and enter (providing its not full...hasn't happened yet) and there's generally less wait time, especially with the non-jumping games. NADAC courses are a bit more spread out, focusing more on speed and distance handling. NADAC doesn't have the teeter, tire, chute, or table, but does add hoops (and maybe barrels now...haven't seen those yet, but read about it). NADAC has some fun games: touch n'go, hoopers, tunnelers, jumpers, weavers, chance, and also barrel racing and gaters (these last two are newer). Tunnelers and TNG are Meg's favorite...she doesn't really like weave poles or a lot of jumps. My advice is to go watch a few trials. See what you think of the courses and the overall feel of the place. You'll generally be seeing the same people at trials. AKC shows around here are more competitive and a bit 'tense' feeling. NADAC is more relaxed and friendly with people helping each other out. I haven't been to an ASCA trial yet. Once you choose which group you want to compete in, you'll probably want to stick with it as your points may not be transferable and it can get expensive trying to earn titles in multiple organizations. I prefer NADAC but we also do some AKC because that's what most of our classmates do (and I plan on doing Rally too so the PAL registration has a duel use for us...be prepared for junk mail if you register with AKC though).
  21. You can see some agility here: http://www.youtube.com/user/sweetannie4u/videos?sort=dd&shelf_id=1&view=0 The beauty pageant can be seen here: http://characterchatter.usanetwork.com/wkc/show.php
  22. First, just to clarify: Fear-aggressive or fear-reactive? Does he actually try to harm other dogs, or does he just warn them off and tell them (and you) in no uncertain terms that he is uncomfortable and wants out of there? There is a difference. If he is truly aggressive, make sure you get help from a behaviorist. You don't want to put him or anyone else's dog at risk. Don't label him as aggressive in your mind if he is not as it may alter how you (and others) treat him. A reactive dog can become aggressive if forced to stay in an uncomfortable situation, but usually they just want out of the situation or want the dog/person to go away. Meg was afraid of other dogs, especially high energy dogs, and would show her teeth and growl while backing away from them (not aggressive, just reactive). If they ran up to her she would continue to show her teeth and try to get away. If allowed to continue further she might have progressed to biting, but that's what the human is there for...to prevent things from getting to that point. Meg was the worst when she was on-leash and felt she could not escape. We worked with several trainers. Perhaps the most useful and important lesson was to stick up for your dog. If your dog knows that you are there to protect him, he can learn to relax and leave things in your hands. Meg learned to get behind me when uncomfortable and that has become my cue to not let any dogs or people approach and/or to leave and put some distance between us and the source of her discomfort. Agility can be a great confidence booster all around and will help your boy get used to be around other dogs, even if you never make it to competition. However, if you take classes make sure you are in the right class with the right trainer. You want a small class size with a good, calm positive trainer that will work at the dog's speed and not rush or force things. Talk to the trainer about your concerns before you sign up. Visit a class or two before you sign up. We have classes in a big open barn. Early on I just kept Meg away from the other dogs as much as possible. Sometimes this meant we moved to a quiet corner and did what we could there. I made sure all the other handlers knew she was a nervous dog and did not want their dog coming up to sniff her. Most of the foundation work was done on-leash or behind x-pens so it was easy to keep the dog apart. We continued to work on her reactivity outside of class. As we got to know our class mates, I let her meet the calm dogs one at a time before or after class (just a quick sniff with Meg's leash dragging on the ground). She got to the point where she was comfortable with her classmates and a quick sniff from them was ok. Anytime a new dog came, she'd stare at them for the first class or two, unsure, but then was usually ok with them after that. Now we've been doing agility for 3 1/2 years and Meg is not the nervous dog she used to be. She's gone to doggy day care. We can go to crowded dog events, group dog walks, Frisbee competitions, agility competitions, beaches, parades, etc. and Meg does great and loves it. She's been comfortable around other dogs for some time, but just in the past 6 months she's changed even more. She has suddenly become 'little miss social' and she's much more open to playing with new dogs. Up to this point she was very particular and had to get to know a dog pretty well before she'd play and they would have to conform to her play-style. Now she's willing to try their play-style (even wrestled with a puppy...never seen her wrestle before that) and wants to play with just about any dog...she's even more tolerant of pushy lab (though we still try to stay away from them). In our agility class/practice there's an Australian Shep. that she wanted nothing to do with for 2+ years...now suddenly he's her 'boyfriend' and she looks for him when we go to class and runs to say hi to him as soon as she's off-leash (something we're working on not doing). He had tried to get her to play many times and was shunned by her so he wasn't sure what to think about her sudden change of heart, but he has come around now and they love to play together after class. Dogs can change and there is hope. Just go slow, be positive and build confidence. Learn how to read your dog and watch for calming signals. If you get really good at it, you can prevent over-reactions while still expanding his comfort zone. When you get to the point where you want to introduce him to more dogs so he can learn they are not all out to get him, choose your meet-and-greets wisely so its a good experience for both dogs. (Also, stay away from nervous handlers or people that can't read dogs very well.)
  23. I have never picked a pup. All but three of our dogs have been young adult rescues (easier to pick the right adult dog I think). Lady was the only female left in the litter so mom and dad took her. Matty and Bear were the 'leftovers'. If I did have my pick, I would not have picked Bear...I love him but he's always (from tiny pup to now at 13 years old) been an anxious couch potato who'd rather stay home then go somewhere new. I want a puppy for my next dog, possibly within the next year. I've been looking at rescues but also considering a breeder this time. I've got two good breeder close by and some more within a days drive. I think I'd rather have the breeder decide for me.
  24. My dogs do alright on our laminate floors. Occasionally my old guy's hind end will slip but he's learned to go slow and stick to the rugs for the most part. One day I had washed the rugs and forgot to put them back...Meg ran full speed into the house, slid across the room and into the opposite wall...no harm done so it was hilarious...like watching live 'cartoon' action.
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