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Posts posted by CptJack

  1. On 3/29/2019 at 11:58 PM, Lawgirl said:

    That is beautiful!

    We might be getting somewhere!


    Also sharing this, which is a course that went wrong without falling apart, which I am exceptionally proud of because usually it falls apart and everyone's frustrated fast :P  (Same trial, obviously, just found this going over video)


  2. 3 hours ago, Mandy1961 said:

    Mine doesn’t drop either. I now won’t throw the ball now until he does. He will drop it a few feet away, but hardly ever at my feet. Same with the trade game, he will drop the ball but not near. He seems to like running with a ball in his mouth and then run round another ball. Still work in progress.

    Yeah, some dogs are just - really conflicted.  They want to play but have enough desire to possess that you get a lot of internal conflict.  You can resolve that conflict by just walking away or you can resolve it by using a second toy to cue the out an d switching back and forth leading to a dog who understands that letting go of what they have isn't the end of the world.  Switch between two balls, switch between two tugs or two discs or two totally different toys.  The point is that using a second toy as a lure immediately rewards the dog for dropping the first one and reduces all that conflict and elements of punishment for the dog which, honestly, can just create more and throw frustration in on the top. 

    Frustration and conflict aren't inherently bad, and dogs do need to be able to handle them, but they're not great states for training a dog and frankly it's a game we're playing FOR th e dog.  Why the heck *wouldn't* you try to make it easy for the dog to understand what you want and succeed at giving it to you?

  3. 1 hour ago, GentleLake said:

    That's what I'd do, too.

    The other alternative might work but they're not teaching him what you really want. Plus I don't really want to be dealing w/ 2 balls myself. Better IMO for him to learn to play by your rules.

    It actually is teaching what you want - the out gets rewarded, immediately, the same way.  You're just luring the dog to out the toy with the second one. The typical cycle is 'lure the out with toy two, as soon as first ball is out, mark and reward by throwing the second toy and pick up first'.  Lots of people hang here, but it's not the complete behavior.  


    The rest of it's roughly

    Add a verbal 'drop' or 'out' if so desired once the drop is consistent at sight of the second ball/toy,  if not don't  - behavior will become automatic a nyway I just sometimes like a drop before the dog's all the way back (mostly in disc) and 'spit the thing out immediately' is sometimes useful in other scenarios.   


    Anyway you then:

    1-) Continue to hold the second toy, but  only throw the first - so dog outs toy 1, you pick up toy 1 and throw it

    2-) Ditch the second toy - put it by or under your foot  or something at first, then pocket, then stop using it entirely.


    It takes most dogs who are fetch motivated about a day (several short sessions of play) to get this, without the -R experience of losing the opportunity to play because you've made very clear what you want by luring and then rewarding the out, as opposed to 'Fine, you're not doing a THING that I am not specifying in any clear way at all and therefore I'm walking away and no play for you'.    I mean that can work, and it's fine (Punishment/removal of reward is a part of life, I'm not claiming it's terrible), but it's leaving it to the dog guessing what it is you want, overcoming their own conflict, and giving it to you or getting their reward opportunity removed.


    Versus just  bringing out a second ball you get what you want fast, and without conflict,  you name it (if you want), mark the correct behavior with a YES! and then reward it.  Any biddable  and toy driven dog will pick it up fast, and you've removed confusion, conflict, and the -R component entirely.


  4. 2 hours ago, D'Elle said:

    Thanks for such an encouraging post. I have no doubt it will help others who can't yet see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I hope so.  This is kind of a brag, but the primary purpose of the post is just that.  

    I remember, so clearly, being kind of frantic and trying to work out what to do and where we were trying to go/what the future looked like and I found about four billion other people having issues, and a whole bunch of half joking 'we walk at 3 a.m and dive into the bushes' accounts, but almost nothing about dogs who actually got BETTER.   Like - not even normal but dogs just... happy and living life. 


    So, I try to put it out there in hopes that it gives someone a little encouragement that there is an 'on the other side', at least sometimes.   It might not be a totally normal dog by lab standards, but 'dog happy living life and being in the world doing dog things' is certainly within the realm of possible.


  5. She turns 5 next month.  

    When she was a year old she couldn't hack walking down the street and seeing a piece of garbage blowing in the wind, much less classes.

    When she was 18 months she was freaking out at things at HOME, so she went on meds, took a couple of months off and we started over at 'take a walk'.

    When she was 2, she was able to attend some agility club things (outside but in a group)

    When she was almost 3 she started trialing - with lots and lots of management..

    Today?  Lots of agility titles, but more importantly:

    That's her. In a public park, playing with one of my friends.  She doesn't know those other two dogs or people at all.  There's a bus driving by.  There is a BIRTHDAY PARTY setting up. 


    It wasn't fast, but my god I don't have a single regret  - not about the path we took, not about where we are.   The journey isn't over - and I'm excited to see where we wind up.  Patience pays off.

  6. 3 hours ago, BorderYogal said:

    Just wanted to thank everyone for their incredibly insightful responses especially CptJack & Tamapup.

    Since I stopped letting Pax get away with as much, tightened the boundaries and changed my mindset I have noticed a huge difference in his personality. 

    HE SAT ON THE SOFA WITH ME AND THE CAT FOR 23 MINUTES! Yes I counted and granted I was calmly fussing him but still to me this means the world. 

    Thank you so much!

    This makes me so happy to hear!  Congratulations and good work!

  7. 17 minutes ago, tamapup said:

    Hey, I'm not an expert but here's my two cents.

    Firstly I really really feel for you. My border collie is almost 6 months old and there are days where I wanna rip my hair out. Yesterday night he was howling in his crate for what felt like forever despite getting enough exercise, mental stimulation, etc etc... makes me feel like a really terrible owner because he's so upset and I'm not able to help him or myself, so it feels like I am doing something very wrong. Just letting you know that you're definitely not alone if that's any consolation.

    I do use the crate (as mentioned above), and my understanding is that it doesn't necessarily need to be a negative association. It shouldn't be negative if you don't associate it with scolding him or punishing him. When my guy acts up and does something he's not supposed to (stealing a wrapper from the trash, chewing on shoes, whatever it is), he gets picked up and placed into the crate without a word. This doesn't mean "bad dog you go in the crate for being bad", it means "oh no, if you do that I guess playtime has to stop...".

    I have also noticed that once I start thinking "I've messed up, everything sucks, I can't take this anymore" - I start noticing every little thing that goes wrong in our day. Every time he doesn't listen to me, every time he pulls on the leash, every time he acts crazy, every time he cries, etc. Then it spirals from there and I forget to see the progress that we actually have made. What's helped me TREMENDOUSLY in in my relationship with Tama (my dog) is celebrating EVERY tiny little thing that he does right. It changes my attitude towards him and helps me focus on the good things, which he picks up on too, and it's just more positive overall.

    Anyway - you have my sympathies, and I really do think it will get better. As others have said, just be consistent in not rewarding the bad behavior. At seven and a half months old, he's still very much in the process of settling into your life, and as long as you don't give up, keep asking for advice, and take care of yourself, things will look up. :D

    Yes, this.


    I don't use the crate as 'punishment' I just treat undesirable behavior (nagging, getting into trouble and not settling) as though the dog is asking to be crated.   It is very unemotional, clear, cause - > effect.  Dog tears around like a wild child and doesn't settle, the alternative is going in the crate. No scolding, no anger, no negatives.  I might even give the dog a kong or bone in there.  It's simply life:  you either chill out and behave or you're crated.  Much like I would pick the dog up and carry them outside to go to the bathroom.  They don't tear around in the house or attack me, and they don't use the bathroom in the house.   I prevent both, and manage both, and make the alternative/desirable behavior obvious.  It really is that simple and my dogs all still love their crates.

  8. Yeah, that's the thing.  Every time you give in - at all, you build him to do it longer.  So if he's gone for hours and he's rewarded - even by going after you and tackling you - he has learned that he needs to go for hours but the pay off will be entertainment.

    Also sounds like he could use a good, hard run and some general training, tbh, to make it easier to implement those things but bottom line is:

    You have to do it and stick with it.  Indefinitely.  He's a border collie. He's smart. He KNOWS, because you have shown him, that eventually? He's going to get an opportunity for fun, if he just sticks with it.

  9. First of all, this isn't criticism or an attack of you.  Know that I feel bad for you and I'm posting because I want to help.


    I suspect that the problem is at some point you get fed up and give in and entertain him when he starts this.  So rather than learning to chill out because nothing is going to happen he has learned that if he goes at it hard enough, and long enough, or gets annoying or destructive enough, you will entertain/amuse him in some way.    This is understandable and common because who wants their cat chased or rug destroyed?  Unfortunately, this is also how we build duration of behavior in training when we want to.  So he's just built duration in being an obnoxious pest :/ 

    My suggestion is, when he does these things, if they are things you cannot simply ignore (and they often are) to unemotionally get up and put him in a crate and walk away and then ignore.  Only release for quiet.

    But his options are, quite literally, to take play/entertainment when it suits you and otherwise behave and chill out or to be in the crate with no option but to behave and chill out.

  10. My experience is that the vast majority of trials welcome spectators and their (on leash) dogs!  Be aware not to block the entries/exits to the ring and talk to people who aren't lined up waiting to enter the ring, but otherwise we're a very welcoming group.  We might put you to work (so volunteer opportunities), but we certainly have no problem with people visiting to watch and learn! 

  11. Yeah, no if they're claiming a larger heart is a physical thing they're full of it.  In truth larger hearts tend to be a *BAD THING*.  As in: An enlarged heart is a sudden death causing disease and giant breeds often have heart issues.   BC hearts are perfectly normally proportional for a medium sized dog.  The only way a 'big heart' makes them more athletic is, again, the metaphorical sense:  They've got a lot of heart (metaphorically) and a lot of courage and a lot of "Go" and almost no quit.  It isnt' a physical trait in any regard.

  12. Quote

    At the Elite level classes, NADAC calculates what is called a dog’s run index. The dog’s run index (DRI) tells each competitor how their dog performed in that class when compared to the average performance of all the other dogs in that class and jump height over the past year. Runs that are fast and efficient will have higher run index (DRI) scores than otherwise. The DRI is only computed for Elite level classes. The numbers are computed as closely as possible so that dogs that run within the top 7% of all dogs in a class will earn a DRI of 100 or higher

    ^From NADAC's handbook.  As an explanation for this:



    That 100.83?  That's the DRI column in her points history.    Actual YPS (Yards per second) on that run was 4.98. She is 11" tall.

    She's turning 7 in May.  She is doing the opposite of slowing down.

    Have a picture.


    or two:





  13. It's consistently taken me about a year of training to get to trialing, over 3 dogs - though one dog took a year off in the middle.   


    I COULD have entered trials sooner, but frankly that's getting into risky territory for me on a few levels:   IF the dog does not TRULY understand both the performance criteria of the obstacles (including weaves) and the ground work bits (stay under heavy distractions and in front of a reward, all the crosses, moving away and coming in while not disengaging and running amok) then you risk developing bad habits.   You've also got more risk of stressing the dog the heck OUT by sticking them in a trial ring, with ring crew and/or judge and/or spectators,  with lots of people and other dogs milling around, many of them nervous,  if the dog doesn't have at least a pretty good understanding of the agility performance itself. If the dog then finds agility or trials high pressure, stressful, or unpleasant, you've just bought yourself a load of trouble.


    There's a lot more to agility than there appears to be on the surface.  The obstacles and criteria yeah (hit the yellow bits/contacts, weaves always start with first pole on the dog's left,  what constitutes a refusal an d so on)  what goes on getting the dog from one obstacle to the next (how to change sides with the dog, keeping the dog out from under your feet, how to make it clear to your dog what you want them to take when there are two right beside each other), and then the environment itself.


    So, yeah, ended up being right at a year for all 3 of mine - a year of classes, I add.  They all started a few things at home before that.  

  14. None of my dogs have ever randomly bitten anyone.  None of my dogs have ever bitten anyone.   One of them can be fear aggressive, one of them was previously an insecure, defensive, snappy thing, but none of them BIT PEOPLE or other dogs.  Growled, barked, bluffed, whatever, but no biting or physical contact.

    Largely because, you know, it's not out of nowhere.  There are warnings and signs that the dog is uncomfortable and I got them out of there before they thought their only option for getting away from the thing making them  scared was to use their teeth.


    ...actually, I lied. We had a very old lab a very long time ago who bit one of my children who fell on top of him while the dog was asleep. Dog was mostly deaf and being fallen upon hurt.  H e didn't do real damage, and I didn't consider it some kind of aggressive incident. That's honestly IT. 

  15. Herding drive is, in fact, rooted in prey drive.   Dogs all have one sequence for hunting - heck, animals period - and that is basically (simplified) to find/track, stalk, chase, bite, kill, and consume.  Border Collies have had parts of that sequence strengthened and used to our advantage when trained : namely the eye/stalk - but make no mistake.  It is not inherently differently motivated than any other dog (or wolf) crouching down to stalk a sheep then chase it.  It's prey drive.  It started as that, and we used it. 

    It's prey drive that we altered, that we put control on, but in the absence of human intervention and control  it's just plain old prey drive and no more or less likely to result in a dog killing.   It's only herding when done to help a human with stock, when asked, and stopping when told.   Otherwise, it's chasing prey.

    (I know this is old as heck but I felt compelled to reply because border collies having prey drive is a thing that gets LOOOOTS of people in trouble.  "They herd so they must be good with animals/not have prey drive!"  ...no.  Absolutely that is not correct.)

  16. 9 minutes ago, urge to herd said:

    You've said she is tri, and I could never see it until this pic. Thx for posting, it's amazing how subtle the colors can be. You're right, she's a very pretty dog.

    Ruth & Gibbs


    It is super, super, hard to capture. 


    People tend to assume she:
    1-) Is black and white

    2-) has sun bleaching

    3-) Is actually seal.


    Trying to get that she has consistent, traditional markings is freaking hard.  People she sees regularly in person usually eventually pick it up.  Emphasis on eventually.  They're usually pretty startled by it when they pick it up. 






    These are more normal lighting from a couple of weeks ago.  If you squint REAL HARD and your monitor is really cooperative, you can VAGUELY see it.  Otherwise?  Nope. So it's not too surprising you hadn't seen it before - or that real life people hadn't.  Kind of fun for me (and occasionally a little bit frustrating but only a little bit)


    ...and sorry for the babble.






  17. To further elaborate, when my puppy was 3 months old, he loved everyone and was super into playing with other dogs and strange people.

    By the time he was 12 months old, the shine had worn off.  He'd play a little bit and he was pretty tolerant, but he'd really much rather be working or playing with me. So he tended to play for 2 minutes, the work around the other dog.  Like I have a picture somewhere of him being humped by a corgi but focusing on me because he wanted to play with me and whatever.

    At 18-20ish months old?  Yeah, no.  A dog gets in his face is going to be growled at, and if that doesn't do it air snapped at.  Physical contact with him uninvited (like climbing up on him or whatever) is going to result in a pretty LOUD but non-damaging correction.    My guy's not going to start things,, ever.  He's not aggressive.  He's there to work with me and all about that and he's perfectly polite to dogs who are polite to him.  But he has moved out of the age of being completely socially open.  Rude dogs get told to piss off.   Unless he's poking holes in dogs or chasing them down while they're minding their own business --  It's NORMAL.  It's maturing.   It's fine. 


  18. Quote
    I work from home. This affords me a lot of time to hang out on a bunch of various dog-centered message-boards, forums, and facebook groups.
    For quite I while I’ve seen uptick in people who are distressed when their somewhere between 1 and 4 year old dog stops enjoying playing with dogs they don’t know, or being less happy about being pet/loved on by strangers. Maybe, sometimes, they give a growl while they do it.  Heck,  maybe they even snap  at another dog for ‘trying to play’ (usually physically or by being in their face).
    The dogs are usually breeds or mixes not particularly known for being ‘loves-everybody’ types.  The dogs, per the typical description from the distressed owner, doesn’t ‘go after’ another dog, doesn’t seek them out, is happy to ignore other dogs. They just want to maybe give a quick sniff for a greeting (if that), then get on with minding their business and doing other stuff.
    In the past few months, the number of people I see turning up looking for advice in how to ‘fix’ their ‘suddenly dog aggressive’ dog has become an absolute flood.
    Y’all, that’s not a problem. That’s not aggression. That’s a dog that has become or is becoming a DOG. I liked playing with all the other kids on the playground when I was 6, hanging out in nightclubs when I was 18, and when I was 30 I was much happier meeting up with a few friends for dinner, too. That’s *part of maturing* in almost every mammal in existence.
    It really leaves me wondering what’s going on with our societal expectations of our dogs. It is the prevalence of dog parks and people who rely on them to be able to exercise their dogs? Is it, more generally, just that more dogs are living and working and playing in closer quarters to ‘strange’ dogs, now? Is it just that more dogs are in our homes, share more of our lives and a tendency to anthropomorphize? Is it because the more we understand about the science of training, the more we believe we have the ability to ‘make the dog’ what we whatever we want? Is it because more dogs are spayed and neutered? Or related the the newer swing back to leaving more dogs intact for longer?
    Some of all of the above? All of the above, plus some things I haven’t thought of? I don’t know.
    Is there some kind of solution? I don’t know that either. Not beyond people needing to be more aware what a socially and physically mature dog *is* in their given breed (or mix, or just in general, depending), and adjusting their expectations accordingly.
    I just know that it feels more and more to me like we’re expecting dogs to stay, at least socially, puppies for their entire lives. That strikes me as unfair, and more than a little dangerous.


    ^ I wrote this and, yeah, I'm quoting myself.  It applies. 

    He's an 18 month old herdy thing.  They tend to grow out of wanting to play with a bunch of strange dogs, and definitely grow out of willingness to put up with rude puppies who are *in their face* or physically jumping on them, holy crap.  He doesn't belong in a dog park.  That doesn't mean you have a problem on your hands, but if you don't respect what he's telling you and he's forced to handle these situations on his own, you're going to.  A big one.

    He doesn't want to be there.  He doesn't want to deal with puppies.   Don't ask him to, let him decompress and get on with your life - AWAY from dog parks.

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