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  1. I'm still getting no search results on that subject. Can anyone share their stories of training border collies in this way? Mine is about 20 months old. She has had a start in livestock and is very well trained and socialized. Thanks!
  2. Has anyone trained their border collie for bird control work on golf courses and public parks? I know most stock dog trainers would look at that as pretty bad behavior for a border collie, but it seems like interesting work. Has anyone worked their dog in this way?
  3. Donald, Thank you for this. I am suddenly remembering the last time she made a small break-through was when I did away with the flag and commands and simply worked off body language. I am going to go back to this. I could feel my own agitation as well as her growing discontent with our sessions Tuesday. I could tell she wasn't having fun. I should have cut it short but I was so adamant about trying to end on a good note.
  4. The trainer didn't call this defiant behavior. I did, after the fact. She was concerned, however with the pup disregarding commands. For example, I will have my pup in a down about 25 yards or so from the sheep and our exercise is to give a "that'll do" and take her off the sheep. Often she will totally ignore that command and blast straight at the sheep. This happens maybe half the time. The other half of the time she comes off the sheep happily, which I reward her with by setting her up to go back to work. My BC is especially sensitive, so we have been working on ways to minimize pressure as much as possible. I'm guilty of glowering over her too much in an effort to time corrections, so I've been working to change my posture and positioning. Anything you could add?
  5. I understand that this behavior is avoidance. The trainer and I recognize this in the dog, but we're trying to avoid habituating her blowing off commands, which she was doing yesterday. I'm sure it was an off day and she could have been tired from the day. I just want to know how to move forward with this mixed behavior. Poop sniffing and then suddenly zipping at the sheep looks very much like fear/uncertainty. If this continues, is this a sign that she's being worked to much? Too much pressure? She gets one training session per week (2-3 10 minute runs) in a small fenced yard. Thanks everyone!
  6. Yesterday's work day shed a whole new light on my 1.5 y/o BC. She has been working sheep periodically since she was about 9 months old. She's shown quite a bit of talent, a nice easy demeanor with the sheep and the ability to pick up commands. Things were going quite well. Yesterday, however was a mess. She would go from complete disengaged sniffing the ground with her back turned to the sheep to exploding in after the sheep, especially when I would give a "that'll do" command. Often she would do a nice small "fetch" and as soon as I would say "down" she'd lay down, but then turn her attention elsewhere. The whole day seemed to be a about the sheep poop on the ground. She showed some seriously defiant behaviors that the trainer and I could only interpret as her feeling the need to be in charge. So, I am curious if others have encountered this with their dogs and how did you interpret that? How did you change your training? I understand she's still a pretty young dog. I work her 1x per week. Thanks!
  7. Root beer, I was very very close to having this problem with mine too, but somewhere along the line she just felt like she could do it on her own, so I think I lucked out there. But there's probably five things I don't want her doing for every one time I lucked out. I love her all the same. The nice thing, and the thoughts that keep me sane are than she's perfectly house trained, won't touch a SINGLE thing that isn't hers, she's great with people including babies and is a generally happy dog. I need to make a sweater than she can wear that has the words "Don't forget, I could be chewing your house to pieces right now." stitched on it. =)
  8. I totally understand, and luckily I realized that way before I got the pup. Still, it's hard not to be human and imperfect because she's picking up on ALL OF THAT! One sheepdog handler I worked with was noticing that my command for "lets go get some sheep!" and "that'll do" sounded virtually the same even thought I didn't see it that way. We were working on a problem of her diving in from a lie down at the ship when I gave the command "that'll do." How many other mistakes am I making, I have to wonder! Lately I'm trying to remind myself that she's a young dog still (thank you to everyone in this thread that reminded me of that) and to keep calm and consistent with training...and to NOT let her mistakes affect me personally. I realized last night that that is a big part of these "low points."
  9. I think I've made quite a few mistakes along the way. I think I over used certain command words, and tied a reaction to certain words like "ok". These have been hard things to overcome. I decided around 15 weeks to just play with her and stop doing any structured training. It was my hope that she'd start to associate playing with training and vis versa. This worked to an extent, but she learned the difference really quick. I've been thinking a lot the past few days that even thought I've never been abusive or hurt the pup in any way, I've been too emotionally reactive with her. It comes from my inexperience in training and not knowing exactly what to do in certain instances. I'm regretting the way I reacted when she got into a scuffle with my sister's dog. I misread what was happening and reacted loudly. I think that only makes things worse. I would like to think that being as intelligent as BCs are that they would be MORE accommodating to dummy trainers than they are. =)
  10. This is great alligande! I'd love to share the sentiment, but it doesn't feel the same around here. I need to change up my perspective a little, but it's been a constant process to get the pup to work with me.
  11. You are right, GentleLake, I have been lax on certain commands. The recall issue is a really hard one. She's already learned that "come" isn't a super important command. I'm beginning to slowly apply a whistle command to times when I know she'll come to me, so that seems to be helping outdoors, but I'm certainly not going to whistle loud inside. Anyway, she's outstanding a blowing me off, which ups my frustrations, but I hear what you are saying about labeling or coloring behaviors. I'll work to view them more objectively and figure ways to change them. I thought a lot yesterday about the notion of a dog "respecting" an owner and what exactly that means and how you earn that respect. I don't feel like my dog really "respects" me, but then I'm struggling to figure out what that means. Training is a challenging process!
  12. This is great, I appreciate everyone's perspective. I agree about the defiance vs. over-threshold perspective too. I think the defiance idea came out of my own frustration with the situation. I forgot to see it from her perspective. It takes a lot of work to stay in that head space. One problem I see is that the words I always used to verbally praise her "Yes!" or "Good dog!" are now very arousing to her. In instances where she might turn from the cat and come to me, often if I enthusiastically reinforce that with a "Good!" she will excitedly zip back to the behavior, if that makes sense. For example, when I use verbal reinforcement on walks, saying "good girl!" when she falls into a nice walking position simply forces her to zip forward (makes me crazy!). The clicker is still the only thing that doesn't arouse her, but juggling a leash, treats and a clicker is a pain on walks. Anyway, what frustrates me is that verbal commands seem to signal to her to run back to whatever she was doing a lot of the time rather than pay more attention to me. This is frustrating because I spent months simply conditioning the positive verbal commands with treats before applying them to many activities. Bah! So, what I need is a way to calmly reinforce her in a way that says "good girl, you are doing what you should, keep it up..."
  13. Shetlander, thank you! I know you are being helpful and I appreciate the reply. I'm trying to be constantly aware of my shortcomings in her training. In this case she got aroused at the sound of the cat behind the door (tail slowly raised and body position slowly shifted forward). I saw this and assumed a gently tone and said "Hey buddy, come here!" I kneeled down in a position I know gets her to come over to me. She looked at me and turned back and charged the door. That's about as defiant as a dog can be. So I corrected her for that. It worked, but it's not the way I want to work with her. Can you see where I came up short here? The click to calm and control unleashed philosophy makes so much sense to me. I've been working on reinforcing her looking at me, especially when I say "watch." I only do this when I'm sure she'll look my way. The one thing that gets to me about clicker training calm behavior is...do you need to carry treats and a clicker around every waking moment? In the above instance, it was first thing in the morning and I was just waking up and getting coffee going. The clicker was up in the cabinet with the other dog stuff. What do you all do in this case?
  14. Thanks Blackdawgs, I had a hunch this would work. I'll be trying it out this week. I also like the suggestion of college campuses, so I may try that as a new spot too!
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