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About loggerboots

  • Birthday 07/08/1969

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  • Location
    Issaquah, WA USA
  • Interests
    music/guitar, technology, trail running/hiking/exploring

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  1. Hi Folks, Long story short, I know of a litter of Border Collie mix pups ( mom is a working bred border collie, dad, it is believed, is a cattle dog). It was not a planned litter (oops litter to a just-turned-year-old bitch who they didn't think was in heat). Anyway, the elderly couple who owns the mom is moving on in a couple weeks. They've managed to find homes for some of the pups, I volunteered to take in the remaining pups and find homes for them (I've fostered dogs for rescues and have some contacts that have volunteered to help me out, if need be, and puppies are very easy to rehome in the area I live). The pups have lived outdoors in a box with their mom and have had a decent amount of contact with humans. The mom, despite being young, has done a really nice job with them as they are all very healthy. As best I can gather, the pups will be around 6 weeks old at the time I am receiving them. They are already eating solid food ( and there's two weeks to go), so I'm hoping they (and mom) will be ready by then. My initial thought is that that is too young to be separated from their litter mates and mom, and will interfere with their proper socialization. Since separating from their mum at that age is not really up for discussion, I figured at least if I could keep the remaining litter together for a few weeks and bring them home to my family (replete with a dog, cats, and children), they would be able to continue to adapt and socialize (with each other, and with my other family members). My feeling is that staying with their litter mates in my home for a few weeks gives them the best opportunity for good early socialization and increase the odds that they will work out as pets. Anyway, to my question (finally) - is the 8 weeks minimum golden rule an AKC/Dog Breeder thing or is it real? I've read conflicting opinions. One opinion, the politically correct one, is eight weeks minimum for maximum socialization. The other opinion is that the eight week thing was really a result of shipping laws and a result of breeders who are in the business of selling dogs for profit - conveniently adopting the 8 week rule as that's the earliest then can legally ship a pup (and thus, breeders who are able to place pups locally will be able to "sell" their pups earlier and thus have an advantage. This viewpoint holds that the ideal age is really slightly earlier than 8 weeks, something about bonding and imprinting with the new owners. Now, that second viewpoint is pretty cynical, but it makes just enough sense that I figured I'd run it by the folks on this board. So, what's your opinion? I will have no problem finding homes for these pups, and I planned on holding off their new owners (allowing them to visit, etc) for a few weeks until the pups get a little older, so they can stay together as a litter. I just want to check this is a sound plan, or would it be best to pass them to their new homes as soon as the are vetted or should I hang on to them for a few/several weeks to give them a better opportunity to socialize? Thanks!
  2. So, I had a foster dog in the past few days, a little heeler mix and she was quite pushy with the resident dog (my BC, Emmie). She would take cheap shots at her and had my dog pretty much avoided crossing her path while in the house, acting a little intimidated by her. When I took them out, though, things would change in a big way. My dog views games such as fetch or frisbee as work, and when we start a game, she immediately snaps into work mode. You know what I mean, that hyper focused, crouching, frozen in concentration but ready to explode off the line with a command. While in this mode, my dog would basically completely not allow the heeler to participate at all. She would run her over, bull her out of the way and even give her a cheap shot herself if the heeler was bothering her while she was focused on me. These games would quickly had the heeler bowing out and refusing to try to participate, basically reversing the relationship they had indoors. Now, both these dogs are good dogs, just a little snippy with each other, but there were no serious dust ups. I just thought it was interesting how wary of the foster dog Emmie was in the house, but how she completely took control when she switched over to working mode. I've seen her lost her patience with dogs that wanted to play with her while she was in this mode, but it was interesting to see how the same dogs treated and reacted to each other so differently just based on the activity. My theory is that her wariness in the house was actually due to the fact that I was correcting (verbally - stern voice) the heeler for nipping at Emmie and Emmie associated the presence of the heeler in the house with me changing to my harsh tone and scolding (Emmie reacts to any raised voice in her presence as if it were directed at her). Or, it could just be that she gets a big boost in confidence and adrenaline when she gets into this work mode.
  3. I'm in WA state, US. There are leash laws everywhere. I think there are trails on federal land (national forest land ) that allow dogs off lead if they are under verbal control, but they are too far away from me to visit regularly. However, out here in the west, there are millions and millions of acres of protected land and very few rangers out there patrolling, so it's pretty common to hike or trail run with a dog off lead. I do it, I encounter many others who do. If you're on a wayside picnic area or some roadside area that you can drive up to, you run a risk of getting ticketed, but out on the trail, I don't think I've ever even seen a ranger out patrolling. If I'm in the neighborhood I keep my dog on lead as a courtesy, not because she's not trustworthy, but because some folks just aren't comfortable around off lead dogs. I do the same hiking, I'll hook her up if I'm coming to another party on the trail just as a courtesy. I will let her off if I'm in a community trail or park and there's no one else around, but on sidewalks and whatnot, I keep her on lead. There are also a lot of dog parks out her in the eastside of Seattle (pretty dog friendly place, really) - including a 40 acre one that's a lot of fun, big enough to actually do some running with your dog off lead, legally.
  4. My dog came to me already trained in basic obedience and she is solid. Her recalls are perfect, her downs and stays and waits are perfect. She's completely trustworthy off lead and if not for leash laws, she would rarely have one on. I frequently get comments from folks in my neighborhood about how smart she is and requests to train their dogs, haha, at which point I have to concede I had nothing to do with it. Of course, she doesn't get treats (or really much praise) for doing these things. She does them because I ask her to. I think that's just her nature, to want to please her owner. The folks I adopted her from were shepherd responsible for moving 1000 head of cattle. I don't know how harsh or aversive based their training was, but I suspect no clickers were involved. I don't think my dog was treated with too heavy a hand, but I'm sure she was scolded and reprimanded at least. I can't really argue with the results. She's much more obedient than any other dog I've had. Since I've owned her, I've trained her to play a few games (fetch) and taught her some 'tricks' using treats and verbal praise. She's picked these things up quickly and enjoyed the training, but really, the treats seem more like a way to help her understand what it is I want from her (and to get her excited about an unfamiliar task that she has no intrinsic motivation to perform ) vs. being 'a bribe'. For example, I taught her to fetch using treats and praise (she has no natural drive for retrieving). I used the treats and praise to sort of steer her in the right direction, so she'd understand what I wanted her to do. Once she knew what I wanted her to do, her own internal motivation to do work for me took over and I do not need to treat her for those things anymore. Once she knows a task, she's gung-ho, with or without treats. So, fwiw, I have a dog who's been trained with treats and with more traditional means and she's learned both ways. So, I don't think treats are necessary, at least with her and dogs with her temperament - dogs who really want to please their owner more than anything. The treats are fun though and it's an easy way to get her excited to do some new task that she's not familiar with as well as communicate with her. We also to herding with her and, like others have said, that really requires no incentive other than being able to do it more, as she has that internal drive for that specific work.
  5. Hi Folks, I taught my adopted border collie to fetch and she's pretty good at it now. It took a while, as she initially didn't have much interest in balls or frisbees, but once she figured out what I wanted, she became pretty keen on the game. She never tries to catch a ball or frisbee mid-air on a long throw, however, she always waits for it to land. If I gently toss a ball of frisbee to her from a short distance away, she will try to catch it. I thought it would be fun to try to teach her to catch a frisbee mid-air (rather than retrieving it as she now does), so I started working on this a few days ago. We're just starting, and I just work on it by tossing a small, soft frisbee from about 6 feet away and giving her praise and a treat whenever she manages to catch it mid-air and no praise/treat if she fails to catch it. This worked for fetch, just seemed to let her know what I wanted and it's fun for her, so I figured I'd apply the approach to catching as well. Her eye/mouth coordination is so-so, she gets on 'streaks' where she'll fail to catch it a bunch of times (usually knocks it down with her nose while lunging for it or mistimes her bite) and she'll also go on hot streaks where she'll catch it a bunch of times in a row. It's like teaching a kid how to catch, really. She's not very good now, but I'm thinking she'll improve with repetition and then we can increase the distance and the degree of difficulty (e.g., right now I'm basically tossing it right at her head so she doesn't have to position herself). Am I correct in assuming that this coordination will develop over time and it's normal for a dog to be a little inconsistent with their catches initially - just like a kid who needs to develop hand/eye coordination? Or, do some dogs just 'have it'? I ask, because I see some very ball and frisbee motivated dogs at the dog park and they make some pretty impressive catches and I'm not sure the owners really worked with them on it. NOTE - she's not intrinsically motivated to fetch or retrieve, all her keenness comes from (I think) the fact that she sees it as some kind of task that I want her to perform and she treats it like work (she does the working pose, gets real focused, etc). Fetch didn't come easy and I doubt this will, either.
  6. Right, I know, but the point I was trying to make was that she's not some kind of puppy mill or backyard breeder or breeding solely to an appearance standard. Yes, she's not the kind of breeder that any of the working border collie enthusiast would care to endorse, but there are a lot, lot worse out there (from high class conformation breeders who only care about the way the dog looks to low class puppy millers who only care about money - she's not with that lot). To be clear, I'm not endorsing her kennel (and seeing the number of planned litters and the price she's charging, I'm really going 'hmmm....' at the moment) - I was just encouraging the OP to do some research and come to their own conclusions and adding my own anecdote to the thread. Jan definitely has a point of view and can counter anything said about her (whether or not any one here would buy her argument is beside the point), but she's not here to state her case. Hence, steering the OP to do research and then speak with her directly. Good or bad, she's out there and willing to speak with folks. NOTE- my own dog is AKC and ABCA registered. I do not know how common that is, but she was bred right on the farm to work cattle. Her previous owner happened to also do agility, hence the AKC registration. I wouldn't think that registering with AKC means exactly that you support everything the represent, however, Jan does seem to be promoting that, so again, hmmm.... I'll refrain from commenting further on this thread because, if I'm being honest, I'm out of my depth being so new to BCs, etc., and wouldn't want to steer someone wrong.
  7. Hi There, I'm pretty new to BCs, but since I've actually met Jan and been to her Kennel, I figure I'd chime in. I actually visited Jan's kennel a while back while searching for my first BC as she's fairly close to me and has a pretty high profile website for a border collie breeder. She's been involved with the breed for a very long time, and was at one top a top competitor in obedience. I can tell you that she has a nice, clean property and the dogs are well cared for and yes, she is really into her dogs. She has some very nice dogs and is well regarded by dog sports folks. She's quite accessible for a border collie person (actually responds to emails and even phone calls), so contacting her is certainly an option. The folks on this board won't endorse her kennel as I think she breeds for sports and "all around" rather than strictly working/trialing and she registers with the AKC (though seems to hold that org in low regard) and seems to consider color in her breeding program, all 3 big red flags for most folks here. She does have livestock, however, and she does participate in herding at some level (or did, she has health problems and I'm not sure she participates in any dog sport any longer) and she was once a top obedience handler. I do think herding instinct is something she considers with breeding (judging by the fact that she has livestock for the dogs to work, though I didn't know enough then to ask questions about it). I think most folks interested in her pups these days are agility folks, whom hold her in high regard. I've met a few owners of her dogs and they love them and think she's great. She is certainly not a conformation breeder, backyard breeder or puppy mill. It's up to you to decide whether or not she's breeding for the right reasons. Keep on open mind on this and learn and make a decision. She charges a *lot* of money for her pups. She does stand behind her dogs and is no backyard breeder or puppy mill, though she does breed a lot of litters. She does a lot of socialization and early stimulation type things with the pups as well (which I witnessed), has a good contract, screens those who buy her pups very carefully (down to personal references, which she does check, etc). I think she does all the appropriate health clearances, but you should double check on that. My advice would be to read some of the stickies on this forum and learn why the folks here are against, in general, breeding for anything but working ability. If you learn where they are coming from and still have an interest in Jan's dogs, then I would urge you to give her a call and talk with her about her program and any concerns you have based on the research you have done her and then make an informed decision. FWIW, after doing the reading and research you are being encouraged to do, I fell into the camp of supporting only working dog breeders, though I actually ended up adopting a dog, which was a very good decision for me as she's been a great dog and a great match for me (she's from a working breeding program). I would encourage you to consider adoption as you also consider breeders - the perfect dog might come up while you are on your search as happened to me. Good luck with your decision.
  8. I'm no expert, but I'm a little ambivalent. I do feed raw, though, so go figure. I don't quite buy the whole story about dogs being wolves and raw being their natural diet (dogs have been domesticated for a very long time - long enough, I expect, that they would have adapted to cooked food). I have searched and have found no published, peer reviewed studies showing any benefits. I don't necessarily need that for confirmation, but the whole story doesn't quite add up for me, so it would help. That said, I think the foods are very good quality, certainly a big step up from normal grocery store stuff. I think it's a healthy diet because it has good ingredients and is natural food, not because it's raw. I hedge my bets with a premium kibble (I go half and half), esp. since the kind of pre made raw I feed isn't AAFCO certified.. Interestingly, my dog is very picky about what raw meats she'll eat. She loves raw beef but will not eat raw poultry in the several prepared raw brands I have tried. She will, however, eat raw chicken necks. I've been feeding her raw for the 7-8 months I've had her and she's definitely really healthy, trim, active, etc - she does well on her diet. She's also never been sick, other than conjunctivitis. And the raw food makes picking up after your dog a lot easier. Also, the prepared frozen raw stuff is pretty convenient to use, really. I'm not sure I'd bother if I had to make it myself.
  9. Hi There, I skimmed the thread, but waned to let you know that I was in a similar position a few months ago, so figured I'd chime in. I adopted my dog when she was 1.5 years old. She had been a working farmdog (or, rather, in training to be), but washed out due to lack of confidence. When I got her, she had no interest in balls or fetch, but I wanted her to learn to fetch so I could have an easy and convenient way to exercise her. First, I'm not a dog trainer and just kind of go with intuition, so not sure there was a real recipe for what I did. YMMV I started with a soft ball and a hunk of string cheese. I'd hold the ball up near her muzzle and kind of enticed her to take it from me. I was basically just handing her the ball. If she took the ball from my hand I would say 'yes!' (I use a word instead of a clicker), praise her and give her a little bit of cheese. She liked this because it was an easy way for her to get some cheese and she loves cheese. Next thing I did was have her pick the ball up off the ground. I'd put it down in front of her and if tell her to 'get it', and if she picked it up, she'd get rewarded. Once she got good at that, I'd roll the ball a few feet. She'd run up to it and pick up he ball but wouldn't bring it back. I figured that was fair since she didn't know she was supposed to bring it back, so she got rewarded each time she'd persue the ball, and pick it up with her mouth. Next thing that seemed logical to work on was her not just pick the ball up and dropping it, but actually holding it in her mouth, eventually leading to a retrieve. If I'm being honest, I don't remember exactly how I accomplished this, but I remember it was also a gradual process. IIRC, I think I took a step back at this point and started putting the ball on the ground, directly in front of her again. I think I started withholding the confirmation cue (yes!) and the treat, so she'd basically pick the ball up and stare at me until I said 'yes!', then she'd drop the ball to get her treat. I started rolling a few feet again, this time, withholding the confirmation until she held the ball for a while. She would naturally start walking back to me after she got the ball, so usually she'd carry it a few feet before dropping it. It was a balancing act at this point as I just worked on getting her to increase the distance she carried the ball back to me by withholding the confirmation just a little longer, very gradually, until she was brining it all the way back. Basically, this process continued in baby steps until I could roll the ball the full length of the house. Then, we went outside and continued to increase the distance in the same way. Eventually, I started tossing the ball, then throwing it, then throwing it using a lever (chuck it) to get it to go further. At some point, she started 'working' instead of playing this game and then it got real easy. I say the whole process took about a month, working every day on it in very gradual steps, though the progress accelerated greatly once she figured out what I wanted her to do. Now, 'fetch' is one of her favorite things to do. She absolutely loves it and has very high drive for the game. I have the longest model of chuck-it, a hard rubber ball and a good arm and I can wing that ball hundreds of feet (clear across the length of the dog park) and she will retrieve it every time (unless she loses sight of it - she won't use her nose to find it like 'real' retrieving dogs will), at high speed, and drop the ball directly at my feet. She makes most of the labs look bad. It's a great form of exercise for her because she's sprinting a couple/several hundred feet at a time with just a few seconds rest between each toss for about 10-20 minutes. I don't think it's so much that she has this huge ball drive now that she didn't have before, but some where along the line, she started perceiving the activity of retrieving a ball that I had thrown and bringing it to me as 'a job' and one thing she really wants to do is work with me. I can tell she thinks this game is really important to her by her body language. When we're playing this, she does the whole stereotyped crouching posture, her eyes focused on me and she's like a coiled spring ready to explode. All of her commands are sharper when she's in this 'mode' (she downs in an instant, for example), she's dead quiet and almost nothing will distract her. The only other time she's like this is when she's herding. But again, I don't think it's about the ball or the game, but it's about her perception that she's doing an important job and working with me, which is something very motivating for her. Anyway, long story, and not Frisbee ( she will fetch with a Frisbee but does not catch it out of the air), but wanted to let you know that I had a similar goal and was able to meet it and describe how.
  10. Have you considered adopting an older dog? That way, you'd be able to know what you're getting in terms of drive, instinct, temperament and activity requirements. If you want an immediate biking partner, you might consider adopting an older border collie. I think the conventional wisdom is that you don't want to really start a lot of repetitive exercise until they're full grown, which could be around 18 months, but probably varies from dog to dog. Adopt a 1-2 year old border collie and you'll get one ready to jump right into your activities (after a reasonable break in period), plus it will be past the puppy phase. If you're patient, you might find one like mine, who was a reject from a working kennel, and came already trained. I don't know how common that is, but that's how I got mine, and she's by far the best dog I've ever had. Also, the activity level you propose would almost certainly be sufficient and maybe even excessive . I my (admittedly limited) experience, they don't need much more exercise than any other active dog. They do need a lot of attention and activity, but it doesn't have to be all strenuous. My border collie is easier to keep than my (field bred) Golden Retriever was, actually.
  11. I think that it's unfair to leave the dog with your parents, especially your poor dad who's coping with a life altering disease. Taking care of a high drive, high energy dog takea a lot of time, commitment and patience from anyone, add to the mix a some fairly severe behavioral problems and that's a lot to ask of them. You've already been gone a year and a half, come home and now you're leaving again, leaving the hard work to them. Unless the parents have specifically stated that they want to keep the dog and are willing to do what it takes to rehabilitate him, I wouldn't burden them with that responsibility while you're living elsewhere. I think the best thing you could do, judging only by what's been written here, is to return the dog to the rescue. They will find him a good, loving home with people who have the time, energy and resources to deal with the situation, even if he has to be in foster care for a while.
  12. Yeah, the Zoomies - normal, youthful exhuberance, I think. Emmie, even at 2 years old, does it all the time if she's been couped up. Come to think of it, she always does go the same direction...
  13. Figured I'd update this. The vet trimmed up the torn claw during her spay surgery and perscribed a 10 day course of antibiotics and bandaged it. We've run the course of antibiotics and the bandage if off. It's still a stub, currently, but not bothering her anymore. Hopefully it will grow back. As an aside, the spay went really well. The incision was no more than 1.5 incheses with internal stitches and Emmie was walking around as if nothing happened within a day. We had a perscription for sedatives to keep her activitiy level down and painkillers. We used the former for several days just to keep her relatively sedate so she could rest and heal, but stopped the painkillers after a day as she seemed to be a little too comfortable and I was thinking it would be better for her to feel some discomfort rather than over exerting herself. Anyway, all meds ceased after several days and since then, the only difficulty has been a steadily increasing restlessness. I'm beginning to see how border collies can be problematic in the wrong situation! Thanksfully, tommorrow will be a full two weeks and I'll be able to let her off her lead for a well needed freak out session as she's really, really wanting to cut loose and run. I avoided getting this spay done (too much information isn't always a good thing), but I was under contact to do it, and now I can say that it wasn't a big deal and she seems to be back to her old self. She'll turn two years old this month.
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