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Everything posted by arf2184

  1. This was last weekend. A little background...Meg has been training for a couple years and was a shy and nervous dog when we started. Agility has really helped her confidence and we started doing NADAC trails last summer. This is our 4th. We had 7 runs total for the weekend, 4 Regular, 2 Touch N Go, and one tunnelers. We had qualifying runs in both TnG runs! Yay! But our Regular runs were...well, not so great, but fun. (I'm not sure how we did in tunnelers because I didn't stick around to see.) So here's the video for anyone who's interested. If see any handling mistakes or have any suggestions, let me know. I noticed a few things I need to work on. My knee is in bad shape so I was even slower than usual (not that I'm ever all that fast). On Sunday after she went to visit the Golden Retriever and I had her come back and do the weaves, I forgot where I was going so just did what I could to get her to the A-Frame (her favorite) so we could finish on a good note. http://youtu.be/3LmTQwtjEqc
  2. I've never taken an animal to the groomers. I always do it myself. I've bathed hamsters, rats, rabbits, guinea pig, dogs, cats...even a few chinchillas (who are not supposed to get wet, but they were sticky). Sometimes you get bit or scratched in the process, but eventually they learn that it will be over soon and its best to just hold still, even the cats. Meg gets bathed most often here. She gets a bath, brush, blow dry and rear trim every 3-6 weeks. Bear has short Teflon fur so he only gets bathed when he smells. In the winter, we bathe in the tub. In the summer, the hose works fine. I dremel their nails as needed....about 3-4 times in the winter and maybe twice the rest of the year. As with most things, with practice and patience they learn to tolerate it.
  3. Just keep working with her and don't let the trainer's comments get you down. The trainer is trying to help I'm sure; not all of them go about it the best way. I'm sure your pup's time spent at the pound had an impact on her, but don't use that as an excuse for her. Yeah, she had a rough time for a spell, but now its time to work with her and move past that. Perhaps that is what the trainer is trying to convey to you? (At least I hope so). Meg spent three weeks in a shelter, went from home to home to home for a year (not bad homes, just not the right home), and then came to me lacking in confidence. She started out hiding behind furniture and in her crate when scared, progressed to hiding behind me and telling off any dogs or people that scared her, to cautiously (and quietly) sniffing new dogs and people from a few feet away, and finally where she is now...she wants to go up and sniff and say hi to just about every dog and most people. She'll even play with some of them or let some new people pet her. She is now overly confident in some situations and we're having to get her to tone it down a bit and not go charging off. She still 'hides' behind me when she doesn't now how to handle a situation, which is perfect, because then we can handle it together or walk away. I'm thrilled with her progress and so is she...she now wears a big smile most of the time instead of a worried expression. It took us 2 1/2 years to get to this point though. So take it slow and don't give up. Sounds like your girl is already ahead of where Meg was at 2 years old (when we brought her home). When Meg is stressed in training she'll sniff the ground and ignore me...this means we need to stop and switch to something she knows. Once she relaxes again, we stop training. I try not to stop while she is stressed because its best to end on a positive note (for both of us). Next time (could be 30 minutes later or a few days later) we try again but keep it more fun and relaxed, maybe taking a different approach. In class, when the dog is stressed, have her do what she knows, reward her for it, and then stop. Observe the other dogs, listen to what the trainer is saying, and work on it at home. Then the next time you go to class, she'll know it and can do it in class and will be more confident. If the trainer questions you, explain, stand your ground, and (hopefully) show her at the next class that you were right. :D/> Meg and I are fortunate enough to have great trainers nearby and our first trainer was really good at working with 'tough cases' (not sure Meg fit into that category, but the trainer had experience working with dogs much worse than Meg). She gave us some great tips and got us off to a great start. One of the best things she said to me was to stand up for my dog. If you don't agree with something, speak up and/or refuse to do it. It's okay! There is no one method that works for every dog. This trainer's dog Dahrma also helped Meg get past her fear reaction to strange dogs (which was over the top and made the other dogs react poorly to her). Our agility trainer was more of a 'Ceasar Milan' style trainer when we first started going there though and I did have to step back and work on some things at home with Meg because the trainer's methods weren't right for her. We still work with this trainer and I'm glad to say she has learned from Meg and other dogs and has changed some of her methods. Also, Meg really blossomed when we got into clicker training. I don't know if you're using a clicker, but Meg loves knowing exactly what she did that was right and working with a clicker helped boost her confidence a lot.
  4. Fear involves several different parts of the brain and the release of chemicals/hormones into the body. I like the explanation on howstuffworks.com: http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/fear.htm. When you think of it on that level, its very easy to see how genetics could determine how fearful a dog (or person) is because genetics do play a role in determining how our brain is wired and how quickly our bodies process information from the brain. Environment comes into play also because some dogs will interpret more stimuli as 'things to be afraid of' based on past experiences. Age comes into to play too. There are stages where dogs/puppies tend to be more fearful. Also, dogs with limited experience may find new things (the unknown) scary. That doesn't mean there's no hope for the fearful dog. They just need a little more time for their brain to assess situations and for their whole body to calm down. Genetically fearful dogs are likely to have that 'brief moment of terror' (where the hippocampus hasn't yet decided if something is a threat) more often than others, but with practice and experience, they should be able to learn to asses sitautions and calm down a bit faster.
  5. That looks awesome! Definitely better for an urban setting versus having the dog out front (at least for my dogs it would be). I second the request for a follow up should you choose to get one.
  6. Meg has gotten to where she doesn't like to be pet during 'agility time' either. I get the dirtiest look if I tried to touch her after a run...lol.
  7. Does he pull or lunge toward the other dogs/people? Head halters are meant to stop pulling. They can redirect the head towards you, but they don't necessarily redirect the focus. If he is pulling toward the other dogs and people, I can see where a head halter might be a useful tool, at least until he learns to ignore the distractions. Its near impossible to work on leash work while the dog is overstimulated. It'll help save his neck and won't allow him to 'practice' pulling. (Use head halter in class, and work on leash walking at home in a less stimulating environment first.) If he's just not focused, I think distance from all the stimulation (like you've said you did already) would suit you better. Gradually move closer to the group as he learns what is expected of him (staying calm). Your whole purpose in bringing him to class is to help get him used to new situations and being around other dogs. Having only been to two classes, I think it is reasonable for him to still be excited by what is going on around him. He has to learn to settle down and focus on you. It takes practice and time. You might talk to the trainer more before or after your next class and see exactly how she thinks the head halter will help. Some dogs do not react well to the head halter when its first put on and it could be just adding another distraction. If pulling is the issue, you might also try a no-pull harness.
  8. Thank you all for the ideas and suggestions. We're still not sure what is causing things, but we are seeing improvement. I bought some bed risers and put two of them under one side of his bed, raising it up 5". That seems to have helped a lot! His breathing is much better when he's on his angled bed...still some noise, but no where near as bad. And (despite initial spinning in circles and grumbling about his bed being different) he does seem to be more comfortable over all and able to sleep better. He still snores, but its more his normal snore and not wheezy sounding. And he's not had another drooling episode. We are also trying ACV, but I keep forgetting to give it to him so not sure if it is helping. Thank you!
  9. The noisy breathing is anytime of day or night, usually when he's laying down. Occasionally when he's standing now. She (vet) didn't see anything in his nose. The drooling was a new thing today. (May not be related to the breathing.) It started at 3:30pm. He hadn't had anything to eat since breakfast (about 9am when Dad shared some oatmeal with him...Bear had maybe 1/4 cup oatmeal). He was clearly uncomfortable. We were focusing on his mouth, but stomach/abdominal pain might make sense. We can try the ACV. He has a tendency to scarf his food down and being gassy is not unusual for him. Thanks!
  10. This is about Bear, 12 year old lab/rottweiler/German shepherd/ridgeback mix...an 80 lb mutt. Not a border collie, but I'm hoping someone here may have some more ideas. Its long, but I wanted to give you all the details. I'm looking for more options/ideas. About a month ago, Bear started breathing loudly, sometimes wheezy sounding, sometimes just like he was snoring. This happens mostly while he's laying down. He's always snored while asleep, but this is while he's awake too. Also he sometimes paws at his snout, both sides. Not often. I was only mildly concerned about this because he was otherwise behaving normally and his breathing seemed normal while he was standing. Eating habits haven't changed...he's still a pig. I took him to the vet earlier this month. The vet noted during the exam that Bear was sensitive to her touching behind the ribs (growled at the vet every time she touched the abdominal area). We did x-rays and sent them off the radiologist (vet was suspicious of lungs and wanted second opinion). The radiologist said Bear's lungs looked good, consistent with his age. The radiologist said his heart and other organs, digestive tract, stomach all look good. He also noted degenerative spondylosis and bad hips (this we knew already...I think this may be why Bear didn't like the vet touching his back end). The X-rays pretty much ruled out lung cancer and pneumonia. Bear has not been coughing or gagging at all. During the exam, the vet took a close look at Bear's teeth. Last year he pawed at the mouth when he had a broken tooth. The tooth was removed and the pawing stopped. We thought maybe another tooth issue, but she said all his teeth look fine...worn, but no sign of fractures or infection and over all good looking for a 12 year old (clean). Gums look good too. She suggested we try an antibiotic, thinking maybe he has an infection we're not seeing. She also wanted to try Omeprazole to see if he was breathing loudly while laying down because of acid reflux. The omeprazole didn't seem to do anything for him so I stopped giving it after a week and a half. He's nearly done with the antibiotics. His breathing while laying down seems be getting worse, to the point where its waking him up when he's asleep. TODAY, he was laying in the living room and suddenly got up and buried his head in my lap, then crawled onto the chair into my lap while licking his lips and swallowing repeatedly. He does not normally crawl into my lap. He seemed very worried. Afterward he started drooling heavily and wanted to go outside. Outside he peed, came in drank water and continued to drool excessively for 10-15 minutes, then he was fine, back to normal. During all this, we checked his mouth and snout and everything appeared normal. Nothing stuck, no cuts, no redness, etc. Something is going on with my old guy, but we don't know what. Any ideas? He's on a raw/homemade diet. He takes fish oil, glucosamine, and MSM. His activity level has been normal this whole time (not lethargic at all...however it is wintertime and we are not as active as we are in good weather).
  11. At home, when the weather is decent the dogs are outside when no one is home. In the winter, it depends. There is usually only a couple hours when no one is here so if its somewhat nice out they go outside (where they have a couple dog house complete with soft beds inside)...if its too cold/wet/stormy or if we'll be home late, they are inside, either with free run of the house or in my room. Bear is usually on his best behavior when were gone (its when were home and not paying attention that he usually gets into stuff or grabs something off the counter). Meg's only vices (in regards to being inside) are the cat box (ick) and her weak bladder. She takes Proin and is usually fine, but occasionally she has accidents through no fault of her own (usually while she's asleep). If we're home to let her out often its not an issue. I only own one crate and its Meg's. She uses it for agility and camping. When she first arrived, Meg's crate was her safe haven, but we gradually weaned her off using a crate at home to help teach her to interact and cope rather than hide. Now that she's much more confident and trusts us and knows her place in the family, she doesn't need it at home at all.
  12. My dogs might shake tripe and play with it a bit, but everytime I've tried giving it to them, it ends up sitting on the ground until the magpies take it away.
  13. A note from a beginner: I really struggle with verbal cues. I've been doing agility for 2 1/2 years now. Meg and I are *FINALLY* coming together as a team (in class at least). Long story short, Meg lacked confidence and focus. That combined with my very novice handling skills meant agility was just 'ok' for Meg...until recently. This past summer, Meg decided that agility is not only worth her time and focus, but its also really fun. This makes us both very happy; I love agility but was considering quitting until I got another dog. Now we both love it! What this means for me is I get to work on my handling skills now, instead of spending half our run just trying to keep her focused. It also means I'm behind her more now instead of ahead and we're having to put our verbal cues to work. This new challenge is great, but my brain just doesn't work fast enough to keep up with calling out cues. I've always been a quiet person partly because the connection between my brain and mouth is just slow. I know what I want to say, but it takes time to form the words and by the time I've got it, I'm too late. Unfortunately, I do have to call out many of our obstacles when Meg is ahead of me (anything that is not a jump) or she'll make up her own course (which usually means she'll head for the nearest A-frame or Dog Walk). I really struggle with Teeter, Tunnel, and Tire (often cue-ing the wrong thing) but she's gotten used to it and will just take whatever "T-" obstacle is in her path. I can't think fast enough for 'left' and 'right' cues so we use switch (turn away from me), here, out, wrap (which is wrap towards me), and hey (check in). Something we need to add is a cue for 'wrap away from me'. I use 'bottom' when I want her to stop on a contact and wait for me to catch up. That's about all I can handle for verbal cues I think. Meg could and would certainly be happy to learn more, but I'd just make a mess of them on the course, frustrating both of us. I think you really have to know your dog and yourself when choosing just how much you want to use verbal cues. For Meg and me, the fewer verbal cues the better off we are because I'm not fast enough.
  14. I feed raw (well, mostly raw) and like others have said, all you need is a grocery store when traveling. If you wanted the pet store stuff, just look up places that sell it in the area you'll be traveling too (or somewhere along the way) before you go (and maybe give them a call to ask about what is kept in stock). For camping, I just pack a cooler of frozen meat for the dogs. It'll thaw after a day or two, but as long as its cold, its good. With regards to planning ahead....my dogs also eat rice, oatmeal, and veggie pulp. On the days when I forgot to pull something from the freezer or what I did pull is still too frozen to feed, I just cook up some rice or plain old fashioned oats and mix it with egg, veggies, or left overs from the fridge. One meatless meal doesn't hurt and the dogs like the change every now and then. (On a side note, my dogs hate tripe. Its one of the few things they won't eat.)
  15. I hope you and your husband find a good common ground. I can't imagine growing up without a dog (or two or three). My dogs taught me a lot and many times were (after a move) were my only friends. Yeah, I was nipped, scratched, knocked over, and even dragged down the pavement after a cat (me clinging to the leash because I wouldn't let go). It happens. But my injuries from bicycles and roller skates were far worse. Neither of my current dogs are very kid tolerant. Bear nips and growls when kids get too loud or hyper. Meg used to hide from kids and would probably have bit if she couldn't escape them. I have young cousins and nieces and nephews that come over sometimes and for the most part the dogs are kept separate. However, whenever any of the kids come to stay for more than a day, both kid and dogs get a lesson on how to behave around each other (with close supervision). None of these kids have dogs at home so its good for all involved. The kids are taught to be calm and wait for the dogs to come to them. Then they get to toss the dogs treats and play fetch with Meg. Over time, this has led to my dogs being more comfortable around kids and the kids learn how not to get bit. Now I can pretty well trust Meg to be in the same room as long as I'm there to make sure they kids don't follow her around or try to hug her. She loves playing with kids but she needs to feel that she can escape them. Bear I will never trust around kids for more than it takes for them to tell him to do a trick or two and toss him a treat. He growls and feels the need to 'police' them.
  16. I prefer peanut butter that only has 1-4 ingredients myself. Peanuts and maybe salt, sugar and palm oil. Skippy Natural, Adam's, JIF Natural....they're all good. I'd rather spend a dollar or two more and skip all the junk chemicals and unnecessary, potential;y bad for you (and your dogs) ingredients.
  17. Also know that it will take a while for the two dogs to get used to each other. They may get along well enough, but they don't really know each other yet. When Meg first came to live with us, for the most part Bear did great with her. For the first few weeks though he did growl at and 'correct' her for a lot of things. I think he was just trying to set the ground rules, so to speak. We allowed it to a point because they do need to be able to work things out on their own and establish boundaries with each other. Don't be so quick to step in and take over if you don't have to. (I would definitely intervene in the situation where the dog is being possessive of you. That's not ok.) After a while Bear relaxed AND Meg learned to read him better. She learned what was ok with him and what wasn't. Over time, she's gradually pushed the boundaries a bit. Now they have a good relationship where she'll respect his desire to control all toys that are within two feet of his head, and he'll give in and play with her every once in a while when she's got the zoomies and won't leave him alone. You want to be observant and try to not let things escalate. Pay attention to your timing. If you are going to intervene, be sure to do so immediately, not after the third or fourth growl. With Bear, usually all it took was a firm 'no' or 'aaaht'. Time-outs came next if more was needed. They have always worked well for Bear (who hates being left out and hates not having a toy in front of him), but they don't work for all dogs. You just have to know your dog and how to best get your point across. That can be arder with a new dog, but you'll figure it out as you go. Sometimes you may need to take it further if the situation warrants. Bear pinned Meg to the floor 'guarding' the doorway one day. I don't think he would have hurt her, but doorway guarding is not allowed, and 'attacking' Meg is also not acceptable. I immediately went ballistic on him, moving into his space and yelling harsh tones at him. He cowered and whined/cried, tail between his legs. Then I walked away and ignored him for a while. Sometimes that's what it takes. We've not had a problem since. Harsh tones (and really meaning them) and forward movement can really get your point across. Just be careful doing that with a dog you don't know too well. You don't want to send them into 'fight' mode and you also don't want to ruin a developing relationship with a soft dog.
  18. Meg went to daycare a couple times a week for the past few winters. Her daycare has rubber matted floors in the indoor area and gravel outside. She was never injured. They require dogs to be vaccinated for bordatella (which I wasn't crazy about, but we never had any issues with kennel cough). Perhaps consider a different facility. You'd also have to consider how your dog is being injured. Daycare may not be a good fit for him, as said.
  19. I've been eyeing her for the past week and was just talking about her with mom on the way home today. I wish the timing was right, but I'm sure with that face (and cowlick) she'll find a good home.
  20. Meg is the same...lol. If it lands near poop I get the "I'm not touching that...you get it" look.
  21. Bear has dirt/crud ear problems as well. I thinks the floppy ears have a lot to do with it. They just trap all the junk in. He's only had an infection once, but if not kept clean his ears irritate him to point where he scratches at them until he yelps. The last time the vet had to do a thorough ear cleaning, he had to be sedated and he doesn't come out of sedation well so now we include ear care in our routine. I use ear wash on him after baths or if I've seen him scratching and I take dry cotton balls to each ear once or twice a week. It helps tremendously and he appreciates it, even looks forward to it. I use VET Solutions ear wash...never tried any other ones. Bear tends to lay on his right side more and his right ear is usually dirtiest. I suspect it collects more dirt/fur because of the frequent contact with the ground/floor. On another note, Bear is on a raw diet. I'm sure diet changes help if allergies are in fact an issue and diet may also affect the amount of 'wax' build up, but diet will not help with dirt and fur build up, which is what I get out of Bear's ears. Meg has erect ears and hers stay pretty clean on their own though I have gotten in the habit of swabbing hers the same time as I do Bear's.
  22. Meg is a bit incontinent and occasionally pees in her sleep. She'll wake up realizing she's peed and look guilty before I even know. She was fully potty trained when we brought her home and has not been punished for accidents at our house. Matty (a past dog) was the same way. They weren't reading me because I didn't always know about the mess when I saw their reaction to it. Also, my reaction to messes is to put the dog outside (just in case they're not done) while I clean up. I don't coddle the dogs with reassurances or make a fuss. I don't think the expression is fear of punishment or a reaction to me...I think they really are just upset about having peed (or worse) in the house, possibly embarrassed (who knows?). As far as the 'guilty' look goes for doing something they know they aren't supposed to do, I think with Bear and Meg it is definitely just a reaction to what they read from my body language, facial expressions included. Meg is way better at reading me and will often respond to the slightest change in my breathing. She always looks 'guilty' first, even though she doesn't do things she's not supposed to do and is not the one I'm upset with. Bear (who is always the offending party) requires a bit more cues from me before he knows I'm upset with him. Meg also always knows before Bear when we're going to go somewhere or when its time to go outside, etc. She's just that much better at reading people AND she pays closer attention.
  23. 1.) What type of food do you think is best? Raw and/or homemade. 2.) What "treats" are preferred, and what treats to avoid ? I like cooked meats, CHEESE, homemade treats, and a few store bought ones. Zuke's minis, My Little Wolf, and Wellness treats are my favorites for training because they're soft, small and the dogs love them. Stay away from anything with a ton of ingredients. Grain free and 'all natural' (meaning I can look at the ingredients and know what most, if not all, of them are without looking things up) are preferred. I like cheese because its easy for the dogs to see when it lands on the floor or dirt, its easy, soft, and usually available in my fridge. 3.) Toys - preferred toys as well as any toys to avoid, especially wondering about rawhide type stuff (rawhide bones, strips, sticks, ect.) as I have heard both pro and con on rawhide stuff. Kongs, squeaky balls, Tux (by West Paw Design), SkyHoundz Frisbees, and de-stuffed animals are all favorites here. No need for rawhide chews. Real raw bones do just fine. 4.) Do you prefer to use a regular collar or a harness when using a leash ? Martingale collars for on-leash and 'naked' while safe at home (unless you've got a runner, then a flat buckly collar at home). 5.) What is your preferred method of tick and flea avoidance, (flea/tick collars or spray, pills, ect.) or is there a preferred more natural approach that avoids man-made chemicals ? I prefer to use nothing and didn't ever use a preventive until I got Meg. I've never found a tick on Bear (in 12 years). Never had a problem with fleas either. However, Meg picks up ticks every spring/early summer so in May we do Frontline on her. My theory is that her longer fur is easier for ticks to stick in, plus she's shorter so more of her fur is in the taller grasses. Bear's fur is short and slick and he's taller, harder for ticks to grab onto. Or perhaps he just tastes bad. 6.) What is your preferred and most safe and effective methods for avoiding or eliminating ear mites ? None of my dogs have ever had ear mites. Our biggest ear problem is dirt and fur build-up. Bear has floppy ears that get pretty dirty. I use ear-wash and cotton balls to help keep them clean and prevent infections. 7.) What do you feel is best to use for shampooing your dog at bath time and how often should we gives our dogs a bath, we all like our in house dogs to be fresh and clean smelling (and they seem to prefer it too :-) but what should be the average normal frequency of baths ? (barring of course the exceptions when they find a mud puddle or otherwise get messy and need bathed immediately ;-) I've always just used the same shampoo as I use for myself. I don't like smelly stuff or potentially-cancer-causing stuff. Meg gets bathed about once every 4-6 weeks. Her fur picks up everything and is prone to mattes. She isn't fond of being brushed, but she decided she likes baths and blow-drying now and is more apt to let me brush her while she's being blow-dried. I also trim up her hind 'feathers' at that time too as they pick up the most debris. Bear is bathed as needed...he's got 'teflon' fur so its usually only 2-4 times a year, when he gets into something odd smelling or is really dusty. In the warmer months, he gets his bath outside and also likes to play in the hose so gets rinsed that way too.
  24. Do you train on rubber matted contacts? If not (or even if you do), maybe its the texture that is throwing him off? Meg did not like the texture during her first trial. She'd not been on matted contact equipment before. She took the first A-frame with her usual enthusiasm, but missed the contact (not like her) then jumped off the up-side of the dog walk. I had to basically force her onto the dog walk and walk with her most of the way that first time. She would likely have continued to refuse it had I not put my hands on her and guided her on. She was a still a bit hesitant her second and third time over, but she did it. No problems now. Last weekend at a NADAC trial I couldn't keep her off the contact equipment (silly girl took the dog walk three times during our first Regular run). In any case, I would try to find someplace else where you can work on different contact equipment. Maybe ask one of the trial locations if they rent out the facilities. (The closest place from me only charges $5 for an hour and a half open agility practice with one dog.) I'd start him off slow like its his first time on the contact equipment until its clear he's comfortable. Keep it fun, low stress. If he refuses again at a trial, you'll know its probably more than just the new/different equipment that is causing the issue. Then I'd probably take a break from trialing and work on getting him comfortable in various situations.
  25. Meg and I started clicker training when she was 2 years old. She really likes knowing when she's on the right track and took to clicker training very quickly. She loves it! So definitely give it a try with your current pup. It does take some practice in your timing and observation skills. I second the recommendation for taking a clicker class with a good experienced trainer.
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