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CHFBrian

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  1. I write a food blog based in Brooklyn called Clinton Hill Foodie. Uncreatively, I stuck the initials in front of my first name.
  2. Oh, one more thing! I met another BC owner at the park the other day, and she passed along two great tidbits: 1. There may be days where you feel like you made a mistake getting a BC, but don't ever believe it for a second. You have as much to learn as he does, and it takes time. 2. Doing some actual herding will do you both a lot of good. She told me she used to go up to a farm in CT that had sheep and ducks, but that the woman running it doesn't do it any more. I'm in NYC and can travel easily to anywhere within an hour or two - does anyone have any suggestions about where I might go for something like that? Thanks again for all your help EDIT: Rather than posting for the third time in a row, I thought I'd just make an edit Last night I tried something a little new. After giving Archie a bath, I left his collar off for the evening, thinking that maybe not having the sound the jingling as he runs around the bed at night would at least help me sleep. Turns out, it helped everyone. Seven was much less nervous throughout the night without the sound of Archie's jingling. Archie did his usually 10 minutes of checking on us in bed, then just laid down and went to sleep because there was nothing to worry about. Since Seven wasn't fighting back and hissing at him (much), there was just a lot less activity. They were both up at 6am anyway, but that's just going to happen. He's full of energy, and she's hungry and annoyed and that's just going to mean some morning chaos, I think. But otherwise, it was one of the more relaxed nights we've had, which I think is a great sign. Still working with Archie responding with other dogs around, but that's just going to take time, I think.
  3. Ooky, that's a lot of really great advice, thank you for taking the time. I have been trying to make sure that if I call him with other dogs around that it's not always to leash him up to leave - I think that's part of what he thinks is going to happen. I also think it's just a much longer bonding process than I had expected, especially given my past experiences with dogs. Archie's just taking a lot longer to trust and understand me. Part of that it probably my lack of skill with him, I admit. He definitely is leagues better now than he was when I first got him. That first month was rough. Today I took him to the park again, this time to a large park with off-leash hours so there are just dozens and dozens of dogs. He loves it, because wherever he looks there's always one or more dogs he can chase after and try to herd. When they get tired, he finds another set. It's a great way for him to get tired out, even if it takes five or six times longer than every other dog there I called him some, but was careful not to call him if I was sure he'd ignore me. I tried to make eye contact with him before I did, as well, which seemed to help. I also got him to stop a few times and just pet him and then let him get back to running so that he didn't associate me as always just wanting to leash him up. He's ignoring the cat more and more at home, but generally gets antsy if he can't at least see her. The same is true with me, actually - he dislikes not being able to see or get to me as well. Today while cleaning he was sleeping and I tried closing the door to the room I was in. He instantly got up and came over and tried to get in - he knows who's in his house and needs to make sure we're all where we're supposed to be. I just wish he's sleep later, but I suppose that's always going to be a pipe dream. Any more suggestions for mentally-engaging indoor games I can teach him?
  4. Ok, I guess I must not have been very clear in my post. I'm not trying to train him at the dog park - when I'm working on him learning something it's at home with few distractions. However, I do take him to dog parks. While there, it's very hard to get his attention and he simply won't come when I call him if there are other dogs around that he's interested in. I need some help and advice correcting this, since it's important that he always responds to me, whether he's having fun with another dog or not. As for crating him at night, that will be my last resort. He is getting better about not harassing the cat at night, and he does respond to me when I tell him to stop, it's just that he waits about thirty seconds before going back to her. Now, he can sleep for 5-6 hours without pestering her, but it's usually around 5 or 5:30 in the morning that his pent up energy gets to be too much. Also, I never let him just sit and stare at her closely. If he's close to her, I correct him, since getting that close and staring at her is him obviously building up his prey drive.
  5. I want to thank everyone again for all the help and advice I got. It's been about 6 weeks since my last post and I thought I'd give an update and ask for some more advice Trip, the very ill cat, has sadly passed away. I basically sequestered him from Archie for the last couple of weeks of his life, so he didn't have much stress to deal with. Eventually his heart gave out, though. Archie and Seven are getting along passably well. Seven doesn't put up with him getting close, and she'll chase him across the house, hissing and clawing. I keep her claws trimmed so she can't really hurt him, and he respects her and always backs off and has never fought back. He also won't try to cross to close to her in a hallway, for example, so I'm pretty comfortable with him leaving her alone. He's still intensely focused on her, though. Always needs to know where she is, and he's only happy if she's on one particular chair. She, on the other hand, has learned she can torment him and he wont' fight back. Now, she has a history of this kind of thing with new animals, even doing this with Trip (who she'd known her whole live) after we moved and she got very territorial out of the blue. It took about 6 months for her to relax, so I'm content to let her adjust as long as Archie's not making any moves to touch her, which he hasn't. It is a little frstrating at night when she's on my bed (which Archie hates), and he's spending the whole night running around looking at her and she's jumping and hissing if she gets too close. But it's getting slowly better (I'm actually sleeping through the night now). Now, on to Archie himself. I'd like some advice on training him. He's very eager to learn, and while I've been able to get some things down well enough, and he's mostly well behaved, there are a few pain points. the most notable one is that when we're at a park with other dogs, it's very, very difficult to get him to listen to me. He's either playing or herding the other dogs, and simply ignores me most of the time. Lately I've been able to get his attention by distracting him with a ball (which he loves to fetch if we're alone), so there is progress, but any tips would be great. Also, with the ball. Some times it's great - he races after it, gets it, and brings it back. But often he doesn't bring it all the way back, or even more annoyingly brings it some place completely different than where I am. He'll often then only bring it to that place for a while. Any suggestions on getting him to always bring it back all the way to me? One great way for me to tire him out is to play hide and seek with his stuffed bird inside. Any other suggestions for similarly stimulating indoor games would be great. Thanks again for everyone's help!
  6. This is something that's definitely been apparent. Archie has taken a little longer to really bond with me than other dogs I've owned. As the bond has gotten stronger, so too has his ability to hold back. Aside from everything else I'm doing, working on strengthening that bond has always been at the top of the list. Your cat story almost exactly mirrors the process for my last dog, Riley, who looked like a BC but was really a spaniel/retriever mix of some sort. He lunged after the cats exactly once, and with one correction never bothered them again. Riley boned with us almost immediately, and that certainly played a big part. Archie's jsut a little more willful, and I think he's had a rough life up to this point. A stable, safe, and happy home is hopefully helping
  7. Can you talk a little more about the "come to Jesus" moments? One of the things that's been frustrating for me is that I feel like I see daily progress with how Archie's responding to me and letting the cats be - but then seems to have a really awful moment that feels like two steps back for every step forward. For instance, the other day he sat (relatively) calmly next to me while Seven hopped up on my lap. Now, he was absolutely fixated on her, but he held steady and didn't move. When she jumped down, he started to go, but then held and laid down flat, in a kind of, "well...fine, I won't go after her for that, but I'm not happy about it." This felt like progress to me! But then he'll go and have a manic episode or a teeth-bearing lunge and I feel like it's two steps back again. My strategy has been to just be patient and keep working and realize that it probably won't be a hallelujah moment where everyone's happy. Really appreciate it, everyone.
  8. He absolutely does need to learn more control, but what I meant was, once he's riled up, I need him crated since it's too much of a risk to the cats otherwise. This is a situation that's only happened a couple of times, though. He gets regular treats when he's good and calm, which is most of the day now. Whenever he moves toward a cat (usually Seven, who sleeps on a nearby chair), he's corrected. 90% of the time he turns around and comes back to me. The hard part is that if I'm not in the room, or if my back is turned, he will move towards the cat. If I say "no!" or take a step, he'll turn around and go back to his safe spot, near a couch. My plan is to just keep correcting and treating when he's good. There are just times when it seems his drive overpowers anything I do, and I'm wondering if there's more I can and should be doing. He's not my first dog, but he is my first dog with anywhere near this level of focus and drive. On another note, while he responds splendidly well at home and even with the cats (mostly), we do have trouble if he's outside with other dogs that he's playing or roughhousing with. He doesn't really respond if he's playing with another dog, which is problematic. Any suggestions for making sure he always comes when called, no matter what? I've been told that saving his absolute super favorite treat (hot dogs, in Archie's case) for just these occasions is a good idea, and it's something I'm going to try while at the dog park next.
  9. Thanks for all the responses. I'm not sure I made it clear in my initial post, but I am absolutely 100% concerned with the safety of the cats and will not tolerate Archie physically touching them, or even getting close enough to. The times he has, it has been a mistake on my part and he has been scolded severely. Just because it's not his fault doesn't mean it's acceptable. The cats do have safe areas of the house, and right now I'm being super careful about when they're roaming free with Archie around. Trip especially is usually given him own room to himself, and only comes out when I am absolutely sure I can make sure it's safe. He has so little ability to back the dog off that it's not fair to ask him to, so I won't. Seven, on the other hand, is a bit territorial and will actually go find Archie just so she can chase him out of a room. He respects her claws even though he's always fixated on her. It sounds like most of what i thought has been confirmed. There's an adjustment period and it's going to be longer than I'd thought. With Trip, I'm just going to have to keep them mostly apart so that he's comfortable. He has good days and bad days, and I don't want to introduce any unneeded stress. As for the crate - it's in a quiet area, and when there's noise, it's only coming from the crate Archie just hates being in there once he gets riled up over a cat being picked up, but that's still better than having him out. For the most part, he's just fine in his crate, though, even with the cats roaming. I work from home so he doesn't have to spend a lot of time in it, but on the occasions when I need to leave him there, he's fine. He's never left alone in the house with the cats while outside his crate. What I've done now is come up with a routine that lets me keep Archie separated while I feed each cat (they need to be fed separately too because of Trip's medicine). Archie can hear that I'm interacting with them and he barks, but it's not too bad and is much better than triggering chaos with me trying to do it with them all out. Thanks again for all the help. This seems like a great community and I'm happy to be a part of it.
  10. Thanks for the link to the thread! One of my cats still has her claws, and she's the one I'm the least worried about. She'll chase Archie across the house if he gets too close, and for the most part he respects that and doesn't fight back. He gives her a wide berth and basically shes in control. He's tried to pick her up once the other day, but things are back to "normal" now. I'm pretty confident she can handle herself, and I'll even leave them unsupervised for short periods and at night. Often though, there will be some scuffling at 4 am and I have to separate them and close the door, but nothing I can't handle. It's the other cat I'm most worried about. He doesn't have claws, so he can't back him off, and Archie seems way more intersted in picking him up, which he's tried to do five or six times now. Trip is old and has a failing heart, so sadly he won't be with us too much longer, but I'd love to find a way to get them to live in peace. Thanks for the thread and there's some good food for thought in there. Archie can be distracted, and will ignore the cats for short periods. He's asleep right now in the same room as a cat, so I guess that's a good sign
  11. Hello! I'm a new BC owner, but not a new dog owner. I rescued Archie from a shelter in NJ about 6 weeks ago, and for the most part, he's been a wonderful pet. I've been researching and reading about border collies for years, and felt now was the right time to adopt one. In consulting with the rescue, I was told that Archie tolerated cats and would ignore them after a couple of weeks. Well, it's been almost two months now and I'm not sure things have gotten better. He's still very fixated on the cats when he's at home. Now, he took some time learning his name, and now he both knows his name and knows "no!" so he'll leave them alone if I'm in the room. I can snap my fingers or take a step toward him and he'll back off whichever cat he's stalking and return to his safe spot near the couch. But he's nowhere near "ignoring" the cats. In fact, he's gotten to the point where he's even nipping and grabbing them with his mouth if I'm not watching closely. Both times he's grabbed a cat by the leg hit's been a cacophony of screeching and fur. I don't think he's actually attacking them - if he had been, they'd be hurt - he's just trying to grab them, and he's doing it relatively gently as they're legs are nothing more than moist afterward. But the behavior obviously needs correcting. It seems to be the worst if he sees me pick up a cat - then he goes nuts and no amount of correcting seems to calm him. I can put him in his crate but he goes into an almost manic state. Archie gets at least two, usually three long walks a day, and at least 45-60 minutes of good running as well. He likes to fetch even if he doesn't always bring the ball all the way back, but we're working on that. He also gets 30-40 minutes of training time at home where we work on everything from basic sit/lie down/stay to some more engaging things like hide and seek with hid "bird" (a stuffed pheasant) or location training where he goes to different parts of the house on command. I'd appreciate any advice this wonderful community has to offer for how I can get Archie to leave the cats mostly alone. While I'd like to think it's possible that he could herd them without the biting/nipping, I'm not experienced enough to know if that's the case. Is herding just herding, and if I allow one I have to allow the other? If that's so, I'll just work to keep Archie separated from the cats enough that they'll always be safe, I'd just prefer a more elegant solution. Right now I have Archie in a separate room when I feed the cats, for instance, and if he hears me interact with them in any way (it's uncanny, he can always tell), he starts barking madly. This isn't the end of the world, but I'd like suggestions for how to make things a bit more harmonious. Thanks for any help, and here are a few pictures of Archibald so you know who we're dealing with:
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