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Carol Lea Benjamin

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Everything posted by Carol Lea Benjamin

  1. When people see dogs in places where dogs are not allowed unless they are helping their human partner, they are quick to note reasons why the dog is not a real service dog. I would suggest they look not only at the dog, but also at the human. When working with a service dog partner, part of your attention is always on the dog - as his or hers is on you. It's not the size of the dog in the vest but the relationship between dog and handler that counts. It's visible. You know it when you see it at a trial or on a farm. it's not hard to recognize on a plane or at the bank or anywhere else pet
  2. None of the real dog people I've been privileged to know over the years would need a scientific test to know what a dog was thinking, to understand that for most properly raised dogs, love and affection trump food treats, that the bond with their person is above anything and everything else and that, yes, of course, dogs have feelings - the thing I said decades ago in Mother Knows Best that made the scientists say I was anthropomorphic. Dogs can not only read our faces, they read what's inside us, too. The dog who cringes when you come home to find an accident on the rug or a chewed up
  3. The chair was not so that you would appear to be Ian Macmillan. No dog's that dumb. The chair was so that you would relax, do less, watch the dog to see what he needed from you. For me, quiet observation is most likely to offer up the answer I am seeking. Glad you found the help you needed. At our age, the chair's still not a bad idea!
  4. Try taking a chair out with you. Have a seat. See what the dog does. The dog might do more when he sees you can do less.
  5. You don't need treats to train a Border collie and you don't need an e-collar. What you need is yourself. The bond you form by spending time with your dog, long, quiet walks, training time, hanging out time, will motivate her to watch you. to pay attention to you and to want to do what you ask. You can reward her after the session with a walk or a game of fetch. During the session telling her Good Dog will make her try ten times as hard to understand what it is you want and give it to you. Border collies learn many things in one or two tries. They are intuitive, brilliant and attentive an
  6. I live in New York City with a Border Collie who works as my service dog. She's the third BC I have lived with in a very noisy, crowded city. My best advice is to bring your pup home when he is 8 weeks old. That's the best time to have a pup adjust to a new environment. In addition, in the beginning, take your pup out, alternating a quiet block with a busier one, and watch for him to signal you that he's uncomfortable. When that happens, pick him up, tuck him inside your jacket and continue walking. After a while, put him back down and see how he does. This has always worked for me. If
  7. I would suggest you forego the off leash runs until you spend more time bonding with Luke. One of the best ways to do that, which may just become the best part of your day, would be to take long walks with him, the longer the better. I'd use a leash for now and take him, if you can, where there's not too much other activity. Gradually add in some basic training. Just a simple sit and stay will teach him to focus and listen to words. Then back up, wait one chimpanzee and call him to come in your sweetest voice. Little by little, increase the distance for his recall. Don't rush to have hi
  8. Once you start breeding for a purpose other than the one he dog was originally bred for, you are heading down a slippery slope. Well-bred working collies can take on a variety of tasks other than herding, as is true for other well-bred working and herding dogs. Exaggerating certain traits and minimizing others is not a good idea when what you have traditionally is a smart dog who wants to work.
  9. If your pup is in a frenzy, he's too wired, he's been out too long. Either crate him and let him sleep for a couple of hours, as suggested, or walk him and then crate him. Like young children, puppies are poor at monitoring themselves and get overstimulated easily. In addition, without meaning any harm, young boys often play rough with puppies and that increases the pup's desire to be rowdy and nip. You can play actively with a puppy, but not roughly. Nice bonding takes place on long walks and that might be a better way to get to know your pup and also tire him out at this stage of his de
  10. The basis of training for pet dogs (and service dogs) is that they are able to generalize so that if you ask them to sit and stay in your kitchen, then in your yard, then while out in a walk and finally where kids are playing or other dogs are racing around, they get the message: Oh, when she says that, I do it, no matter what, case closed. Most amazing to me is that when service dogs learn to check their person for whatever symptoms they help with, some will also check out other people and if they find something amiss, they will try to fix it. A journalist friend of mine was interviewing a w
  11. The dog's sense of responsibility for a person with a disability comes from being with that person 24/7. When you routinely leave the dog at home to go to work, the message is: I don't need you. By being that person's dog and being with them all the time, the dog, on his own, if he has the aptitude for this work, will begin to notice when things are wrong and these signs, even the slightest sign that he is aware of a change, should be reinforced with quiet praise to let him know that he's on the right track and that this, indeed, is what you expect of him, that it is his job. Working as a s
  12. If you continue to offer treats in a situation where your dog is growling at you, you are reinforcing a behavior, growling, that you do not want. I'd suggest changing up the whole routine and taking him for a long walk on leash off your property and cutting out the walk-time treats, at least for now. Leaving your property, he gets to explore, feel more comfortable in the larger world away from home and is also more dependent upon you, especially if you go in a different direction each day. This should increase his confidence and increase the bond he shares with you. He can surely run to hea
  13. Amen. Because I learned a great deal from watching mother dogs with their pups about how to communicate with dogs and therefore how to teach them the things they need to know in order to be useful and safe, I, too, think a dog should always know the source of both praise and correction. I never saw a mother be cruel to her puppies nor, as significant, unclear. In each and every case, not only did the puppy get the message clearly and quickly the first time, but if the litter was present, all the puppies got the message. I am not so sure that exaggerating the pain from a nip is lying - w
  14. Please think about using a muzzle to prevent more bites while you look for possible help.
  15. Over tired, over stimulated, will probably fall asleep immediately if crated.
  16. This is so dependent upon the individual dog and where you live. In France, very few people neuter their dogs. In addition, the dogs are off leash almost everywhere. Most dogs become accustomed to other intact dogs and most get along. The occasional aggressive dog would probably be aggressive under any circumstances. One ran toward my dog and I got in between them, yelled "GO AWAY," and he did. (My heart pounding!) Another, an English Setter, a breed that is rarely ever aggressive, stood up with my dog and nose to nose they did one of those "Your mother wears army boots" things and tha
  17. Hi Flamincomet, I live in NYC with a Border collie service dog. Since your dog is also a service dog, you should not have to worry about housing or public transportation. And if you take him with you everywhere, as most people do with service dogs, that should use up a lot of his energy. I'm sure there are dog parks and grassy areas where he can play with other dogs, if he likes doing that, or you can play ball with him. He will need to adjust to city sounds, traffic and a denser population. You can help him do this by alternating quieter places with noisy ones and watching him for signs
  18. A 2 hour consultation is one thing, more than likely a lot of it will be discussion with you, but when you are working with your dog (yes, new name), I would strongly suggest that you work for short periods of time. I would do very short lessons, concentrating on only one thing at a time as if he were a puppy, making sure he is successful at every lesson. Praise nicely. Do not overly handle him. Also, as much as you possibly can, long walks on leash in which you don't ask much of him but just let him be a dog. The more quiet long walks you can do, the better. Think of them as therapy for
  19. What's important is not how many miles your dog walks a day or how many times he returns the ball or the Frisbee, but how often and well you engage with him. I am old, even older than Donald McCaig, and I have a Border collie because they are, well, such engaging dogs. In fact, I carefully limit my dog's ball playing and any other activity that has the potential for becoming obsessive. What I prefer is to find as many ways as possible to engage her mind. I have just played ducks with her while I soaked in the bathtub. I toss the duck and ask her to toss it back. I hide the duck behind t
  20. Yesterday, while shopping at our favorite organic food store, I heard some chilling words behind me. "Give the doggie a kiss." When I turned around, a little boy who had recently learned to walk had his lips an inch away from my husband's service dog's lips. Monk would not have bitten him, but did the mother bother to ask? No bears, no cougars, no rattlesnakes, just foolish parents who learned about dogs from watching Disney movies. Glad your Peg is okay. Life is dangerous, no matter where you live.
  21. I am sorry to say this but the original owners may have surrendered your dog because she has epilepsy. Perhaps the shelter could find out what veterinarian they used and you could get in touch with him or her and find out if your collie had seizures before and if so, what medications were used. Because if she had been treated and certain meds did not help, you wouldn't have to put her and yourselves through using them again. And, yes, a veterinary neurologist would be your best bet. Wishing you and Bailey all the best.
  22. While some people just love big dogs and have well behaved big dogs and are appropriate about what they do with their dogs, there are people who have big, overbearing dogs for another reason. Some people actually like it when their dogs are bullies. Hey, I didn't do anything. It was the guy in the flea collar, not me. Don't know the situation in this case, but just something to consider if the talk doesn't go the way you want it to.
  23. Puppies get nippy when they get over stimulated and over tired. Are you using a crate? When she gets nippy, it's time for crate rest or a long, quiet walk. Whatever the mix, you probably have a really smart dog, so you could start naming everything you do with her and naming all her toys as well. Adorable. All the best.
  24. I love the tradition of naming Border Collies one syllable names. They are too fast and too smart for long names. By the time you utter the first syllable, they would know you mean them, they'd understand what you want and they'd be half way through the task before you got to syllable three.
  25. I was told that since dog's ears are not built like ours, the pressure change does not bother their ears the way it bothers ours. In all the years I've flown with service dogs (8 weeks old and up) I never noticed distress from the cabin pressure. The two things that have bothered my dogs are the fact that the floor of a plane trembles and for one of my dogs, looking out the window. He obviously understood where we were and thought it was a really, really bad idea. However, Sky, my current service dog, looks out the window all the time and is perfectly calm about what she sees. Glad you de
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