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deadlywarbler

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Posts posted by deadlywarbler

  1. I find that it helps to consider the dog's perspective in these matters.

     

    Imagine if my husband took me to a big Agility extravaganza and suddenly I was looking at everything but him. I'm into the vendors and I'm watching the Border Collies and I'm going oooh and aaaah and I'm not looking at him intently or getting involved in deep conversation with him. What good would it do for him to get offended because I am paying more attention to a very interesting environment than I am to him? None at all.

     

    When I take my dogs for a walk, I consider that to be my dog's personal Disney World. I keep them safe, but I don't expect them to be gazing up at me adoringly as we walk around in the world together (sometimes they do, but often they don't). They look at stuff, sniff stuff, and engage (in appropriate ways) more with the world around us than with me.

     

    And that's fine. They are hardwired to take all of that in. It is actually good for them to have a chance to relate to the world on their terms, not mine. We are still sharing the experience together. I get to enjoy watching them have some fun dog time.

     

    That said, my dogs (except Bandit, who is in the process of learning), can be called off of things. I can get them to pay attention to me instead of the environment (I might cue attention if I want to pass by something they won't have access to). They can recall off of interesting scents and moving wildlife.

     

    They can do those things because I worked with them at a level where they could be successful when they were learning. I gave them the chance to learn those skills as habits before I asked for them on walks.

     

    I do training walks where we toggle between sustained attention and them being "at ease" to sniff, etc. We work whiplash turns on low level distractions before I ask for them on high level distractions. We work loose leash skills in the yard before I ask for them when out and about.

     

    But throughout that process, I still gave them a chance to have "at ease" walks and hikes where they got a chance to be dogs on their terms (again, keeping them safe, of course).

     

    One thing that really helped me when I first started working with Dean, who was 10 months old at the time, was to remind myself that his brain was not finished developing yet. It helped me to be patient and to remember that he was not intentionally acting like he had scrambled brains.

    This is very wise. I always gain insight from thinking about things from the dogs perspective. I can see how I may have rushed her into situations when her skills were up to par... All of her other abilities were developed in a controlled environment and are now very reliable in the real world. I guess I'll have to go back to the drawing board and hope that habits haven't been formed thus far. I'm sure I can since so many people bring home rescues at this age and train them perfectly well.

  2. Make her drag a leash so you can move her without getting in her face and letting her practice snapping at you. Move her to a distance where you can get her attention into a training session without the fixation on the cat. Treats for looking at the cat (playing LAT) should involve her head bouncing back and forth from the cat to you; if not, you're too close and need to add some distance.

    Ok, I see what you are saying. It's very had to make every moment a training session. Sometimes she sees the cat and I'm on the other side of the house and quite some distance away. So it's hard to get there in the moment and make corrections. I will make a point of getting her further back from the cats location so I can break the fixation a bit. This generally involves constant body blocking since she's intent on getting past me. This is very frustrating.

     

    Our house and yard has a very large footprint, so a lot of time she is doing things like barking or other bad behaviors someplace quite far away. It's very hard to resist the temptation to yell out to her since that is the only thing that I can do in the moment. Perhaps I need to limit her range in the yard? Maybe free roaming isn't a good idea for her. She only gets a small percentage of the day free and alone back there, but maybe that is enough to develop some bad habits.

  3. I would actively prevent her from/correct her for chasing and barking at any cat. I know she's had a rough go with the housecat, but she needs to understand that cats aren't to be messed with no matter what. I would correct for chasing or barking at any cat, followed by a redirection to turn her attention to something else.

     

    J.

    This I definitely do when I can get there in time. Seriously sometimes it happens so fast it's impossible to catch her in time, but I use a loud "No!" along with body blocks to settle her down and then a lot of praise for when she's watching but not advancing. It's impossible to break that attentive stare, but occasionally she will look back to me, which gets her a lot of praise.

     

    Occasionally she will be acting really bad and I will grab her collar and drag her away from the door where she sees the cat. I make this action very clear so that she sees she's doing something wrong, but that she's not being acted violently against. Twice she has yipped and bit at my hand while I was moving her. This was VERY discouraging behavior. In the moment I stopped and without letting go of her collar I said a very firm but calm "bad dog!" and then she was lead directly to her crate for a time out. I know it's hard to give advice based on just this account, but does this sound like the correct way to handle this? She needs to know that going after the house cat in this manner is way unacceptable.

     

    Regarding positive reinforcement, when she is sitting watching attentively at the cat, I will praise her with a treat, but it barely breaks her gaze, so I worry that I'm reinforcing her attentive stare instead of her not advancing. +R is very complicated and something I feel out of my depth.

  4. I'm a little late to this topic but I am training my first Border Collie and I have modified a technique that seems to be helping my 9 month old female named Juno on our daily walks. I posted this on another topic but here it is again.

     

    1. Held the 4 foot leash with both hands at my stomach.

    2. Walked forward not looking at Juno and not speaking.

    3. When I felt the leash pull I turned and walked 4 steps back

    4. Then I turned forward again and kept walking until she pulled again..

    5. I repeated this for about 10 minutes of my walk until she started to walk properly.

     

    I know this sounds like the same old stuff but I think the key element here is the not looking and not speaking. Before this I would be too soft on her and as a result the limits were not clear. By turning when I feel the leash tighten I am consistent and she knows exactly how far she can go without correction. She is basically teaching herself the limits of the leash. Because I have spent a lot of time with her already I don't use this technique all the time but when she is having a bad day I do it for a while just to get her back into the groove. Once she is walking without pulling I start to talk to her again and make mild corrections when needed. So far this is working for me. To be honest I think I was my own worse enemy by being way too soft with her.

     

    Bill

    I'm delayed in getting back to this post but have enjoyed reading everyone's response. I agree that dogs are all so different in how they respond to training. I think I'm trying to incorporate too many approaches to this task. I read from one trainer that engaging with your dog is good on walks, so regularly saying "good dog" and giving verbal cues with positive tones. Then I read others that give similar advice to the above comment. I have tried not looking at her or speaking, but she generally doesn't look at me at all. This is what really gets under my skin with this whole thing is that she doesn't pay any attention to me. The reason it bugs me is because I spent countless hours reinforcing her paying attention to me from the time she was a little puppy til now. We would go on walks and every time she looked at me, treat. If she was allowed off leash and came back to check in, treat. Over and over again. But get her on leash on walks these days and it's like I'm not even there. It's hard to approach training when you feel like your pup isn't even aware of you.

     

    I posted some time ago about finding your dog's motivation. I'm still trying to figure out what it is that drives my pup. Food works some times, but she'll just as likely ignore a treat as do something to get it. Same for the ball. She loves the ball, but she's very selective about what she'll do for it. Sometimes she just doesn't want to do a command like lay down with the ball in my hand. So I will wait her out not doing anything and then repeating the command only every 15 seconds and she'll sit there like a statue. Impressive, but annoying.

     

    So, I guess what I'm really after here is regaining control over my dog. I worked for a long time to give her the sense that working with me equals fun and treats. I have started introducing more harsh corrections when her behavior is especially bad, but that seems to just backslide everything. As you can tell from my tone it's been a frustrating day with the dog and I should probably just go to sleep and try again tomorrow, but it's weighing on me since she's 9 mo. old and starting to show some concerning behaviors and I'm invested in her being a good and happy pup. Thanks for letting me rant...

  5. It's official, Brix is nearly 9 mo. old and training her now is far more difficult that it was at 9 weeks. The big issues lately are leash walking, recall, listening to me and barking (also related to cats, which you can read about in this previous post)

     

    The issue is that she knows a cat lives on the other side of the fence at our new house. She has recently developed a new idea about cats after her interactions with our in house cat (see above post) She now loves to chase the cat out of the yard, hackles raised and barking at the fence. She will bark in that direction in the house as well.

     

    I have read several approaches to barking training, most of the convincing ones steering you away from yelling "hey!" or "stop it!" when the pup barks. When she gets to barking I will go over by her make her lay down and then praise her as she watches attentively without barking. It honestly seems to do absolutely no good. She appears to be looking right through me.

     

    What is everyone's experience with this? Do you take a passive approach on the theory that her not getting a reaction out of her owner makes barking boring? Or do you take an active approach, correct and then praise the correct behavior? If it's the latter, how long did it take to see progress? If it's the former, i guess the same question applies.

     

    My pup is so smart, I can tell, but she seems to enjoy "playing dumb" at moments when she appears to not learn at all. Thanks for the help!!

  6. I'm glad Waffles mentioned the things she did. I would also ask if you and your girlfriend have discussed your expectations regarding your puppy and her cat. Despite the cat being a grouch, if she is getting less attention because of the presence of the puppy, then that's certainly not helping her attitude.

     

    What I'm worried about is this situation creating a source of friction between the humans. Obviously your main concern is your pup, but from your desciption of the situation it sounds as if your GF has lived with the cat and all her quirks just fine up to the point when you combined households and the puppy was part of that package.

     

    I'm not trying to assign blame here, just suggesting that you look at the larger picture, especially from the cat's point of view. No doubt the puppy is cuter and a lot more entertaining than the cat, but the cat's emotional needs should be considered as well--and she was there first. It may be that medication would help the cat in a more general way (as opposed to just in dealings with the puppy), and that could be a good thing. I second the suggestion for a vet check to make sure there's nothing physically wrong with the kitty and then going from there, maybe starting with pheromones as already suggested and then progressing to mood altering meds if a vet (or vet behaviorist) thinks it will help.

     

    If the cat is older, it's unlike she'll suddenly have a change of personality, and the best you may be able to do is keep them separated. But please remember that the cat shouldn't end up getting the short end of the sitck if separation ends up being how you have to manage the situation.

     

    J.

    Thank you! There is definitely the potential for friction, so I'm trying to be as fair as I can. I will look into the Feliway products and definitely into L-theanine. Thanks everyone! I'll keep posting as things progress.

  7. Are the cat and dog 100% (as in, always) separated by the screen door you describe? Are they ever both loose in the house, room, together?

     

    What have you done to help the cat?

     

    I would continue to keep the cat and dog separate. I would make sure a full vet workup is done on the cat (if it has not been already), to rule out any medical reason or pain as the cause for the cat being cranky, even before the pup came along. I would then make sure the cat is getting its needs met-does she have windows to look out? Does she have interaction with her owner or any stimulation through out the day- play time, exercise, snuggle time, whatever she may enjoy? Are there scratching posts out for her? Does she have the ability to climb and get up high, away from the things that bother her? Does she have hidey-holes, places to hide that are away from people (the pup obviously) or whatever stresses her out? Having places to climb up high or hide in the main portions of the house are key, as you say she gets upset with visiting humans even. What happens when the cat acts out? Does someone spray her with water, yell or swat her away? These are obviously not going to help the cat calm down or feel more secure in her home.

     

    I hope some of these questions help. I would do everything you can to make the cats life (independent of the dog) better than it has been (not saying your partner has not provided well enough for her). By trying to better her well-being, it will make things easier when and if the time comes to slowly let the dog and cat in the same area together. Putting some shelves on the wall for her, buying a tall cat tower/condo, trying to find toys she likes/catnip, may in time, help her feel more confident and less like she needs to 'hate' everything around her. :)

     

    I know a few people who have had some success with the Feliway line of products and you can also give L-Theanine to cats (many give it to their dogs).

    Thank you for this! To answer you questions, she has not been worked up by a vet in years. This is a good consideration. Currently she is being kept separate from the dog in a screen-in porch. Out there she has views of the outside, high spots, scratching posts, toys, chew grass and cubbies to hide away. She has a good place out there. The only thing that has been lacking in the recent week has been her normal amount of human interaction. But then these behaviors where there even when she had that.

     

    The dog and cat are never allowed free roam of the house. We started them on leashes some months back and they were doing great getting treats and even sniffing each others noses. The cat would just hang out on top of the couch and watch the dog. All seemed great. The day that the cat charged the dog (unprovoked and very unexpected) she really scared the pup and since then the pup has been very reactive to her, mainly when she charges.

     

    The cat never gets yelled at or sprayed with water. When she is charging my girlfriend will hold up a pillow to block her view of the dog. If you try to contact the cat at all you will certainly get bit or scratched. Makes sense given how wound up she is in those moments. One thing that might be perpetuating things is that my girlfriend will clap loud while walking toward her when she's doing something wrong. This is probably not helping.

     

    The cat has two ways of acting out. With humans she displays a general grouchiness and doesn't want to be walked near to or pet. She will hiss and swat. I have read this can be a type of dominance aggression. She will walk close to you feet and weave in and out and then swat and get mad at you.

     

    The other acting out is the full-on charge, which she only shows to the dog, but she has done to me once. This is the bad one and it's full hissing, swatting and baring teeth.

     

    I think we have done a fairly good job at providing a safe and interesting spot for her to be during the day. We were hoping that the ability to see each other through a slider door would help, but it has lately only made things worse, so we need to go back to the drawing board.

     

    My inclination is to introduce short term medication to facilitate the behavior modification. Does this sound reasonable or am I just grasping at the easy solution?

  8. I waited until 17 weeks and 4 rounds of shots with my pup. I played it very safe with a few exceptions where i felt the risk was low. I took these risks mainly because I was more afraid of a poorly socialized dog than I was over her getting parvo. I found a cement bike path and broke the rules and took her out on walks there. She wasn't allowed off the pavement. This allowed me to teach her to meet people and dogs and to not worry about bikes going by.

     

    Another thing I did was take her downtown in my arms. I would sit outside coffee shops with her on my lap and just let her meet people and see things go by. I did this as often as I could! Picking restaurants with outdoor patios is good too.

     

    I think they need to issue the final vaccinations around 16 weeks of age because this coordinates with the fall out of the mothers protective immunity.

     

    I would suggest car rides, carrying her through pet shops and stores. I took my pup to Lowe's constantly to buy little things. Mainly it was just so she could walk in a safe environment and hear noises and meet people. Lowe's is generous enough to allow dogs. I would find stores like this that I felt were safe from unvaccinated dogs and take her to meet people.

     

    I think you can get away with taking a few risks as long as they are well thought out. Dog parks, high traffic trails and such are too risky.

  9. Please do keep us updated. It's always nice to hear how things are going. Plus, you may discover a way of handling the situation along the way that none of us thought of. Good luck!!

     

    Wanted to post a quick update, though I wish I contained good news. I have been watching the pup and the cat's interactions through a screen door, which we have introduced in small amounts with food present. There are two basic causes for the altercations, which involve the cat hissing and swatting aggressively through the screen and my pup growling and advancing at her. When this happens they are literally face to face, so if the screen wasn't there it wouldn't be good. The main problem is the cat will charge the dog without much warning and this sets off my pup as she feels a need to defend herself (I'm guessing). The other day I took her to a friends house and she showed interest in their cat, but did not show a single bit of this behavior, so my guess is that she has pegged our house cat as a threat.

     

    The pup is easy to calm during these situations. I can keep her in a down/stay while she looks out at the cat. Each time she looks at me she gets a click/treat. Each time she softens her attention (brief look-aways, or relaxed body position) she gets a click treat.

     

    I hate to sound like I'm placing blame, but the cat seems to the root of the issue. The whole thing started the first time the cat charged my pup. Now the situation is totally heightened. At least I can control the pup, but I am VERY concerned for her behavior since she is a teenager. The cat has had these behavior issues since she was a kitten and I'm concerned that it's not likely to go away with behavior modification, etc. The root issue is that the cat will charge even from very far away. I can't blame the pup for going on the defensive.

     

    So, I am at a loss. The peace of our new house is being stained by this. I am obviously very concerned for the pup, who's upbringing I have been very diligent about ( proper training, socialization and controlled exposure to people and animals ) To date she is doing so well is all of that. In the past few days she played with a rambunctious 2 year old child, a bunch of other puppies and dogs and interacted peacefully with a cat.

     

    If anyone sees anything in this that seems like a mistake, please let me know. Thank you!

  10. I don't mean to nitpick, but this doesn't make sense, if you think about it! You are telling her "OK". Do you use that as a general release word, or have you taught her that "OK" means "jump out and wait"? If you use "OK" as a release, you are releasing her and then reprimanding her for releasing. It sounds to me, in this instance, that what she is doing is exactly what you have told her to do!

     

    I see this a lot with people who teach their dogs to sit and wait at the door. They cue a sit-stay, open the door, and then release the dog and they practically get pulled over as the dog bolts out the door. Well . . . the handler gave a release and the dog released! Many people don't ever make a deliberate effort to actually teach the dog what to do after going through the door! I think many just don't even think about doing that. I actually teach that first and put in the wait at the door after the dog knows what to do when he or she gets to the other side! (I know, this is not the same, but it is actually quite similar)

     

    My choice for car exits has been to teach my dogs to get out of the car and wait. I will call each dog out of the car by name (since I use my dog's name to call him or her to me, not to release) and then cue "wait" as his or her feet hit the ground. I have done this so often that it's pretty much a default by now when we are out and about. At home, I do give a release since they run right from the car to the gate right in our own driveway.

     

    Just some food for thought.

    This is such a good point. I didn't even think about that. "Ok" is also the word I use to release her on a dead sprint for a ball I've just thrown that she was waiting for. There's no reason that my "ok" after she waited in the car doesn't also mean "sprint forward". Back to the drawing board. I'm going to do some driveway sessions teaching her to jump down out of the car and turn to look at me. This is a brilliant idea.

     

    You have to be constantly developing and analyzing what you are doing in training. It's fun and challenging. Thanks for bringing this point up.

  11. Thanks everyone, I've been following this conversation fairly quietly since listening is really all I need right now. I hear a lot of different perspectives. I like the idea of "sprinkling" a bit more heavy correction into her day to day so she learns to differentiate more critical situations from less. For instance, she loves to bolt out of the car. I make her wait until I say so, but when I do say "ok" she launches, so I am ready with leash on her to catch her before she goes into the road. This is not ok with me, so I make the leash pressure a "dead stop" and give her a stern "what are you doing??" Not sure it's sunk in yet, but I want leash walking to be of equal critical stature without putting her on "guard" thinking something is wrong. It's tricky. Deep down I still feel like the positive route is going to yield the best results, but I am not opposed to being stern with her. Anyway, I'm going to go back to listening now because you all have a lot of valuable insight to inject.

     

     

    Anyway, OP, not to discourage you. Just to say that well, sometimes these things happen. I just stopped putting a leash on mine - but then I live in outer East Jesus so I can do that. Do you have alternatives?

    And in response to this, I do have off-leash alternatives around here, but I am trying to avoid too much of that so she can learn that when the leash clips on its chill time. She gets plenty of off-leash running and ball chasing!

  12. Has any thought been given to using appeasing pheromones or similar for the cat? Or anti-anxiety meds? I know meds aren't always the answer, but if the cat's general behavior is in any way related to anxiety/stress, perhaps addressing that while also addressing the added anxiety/stress of having a new puppy to deal with might help?

     

    I've always been pretty lucky to have cats who were willing to give dogs/puppies a chance, but part of that is, as others have noted, making sure I protected everyone. Granted, in my case, it generally meant making sure the dog-friendly cats weren't mauled by over-exuberant puppies, but in the OP's case I think I'd at least look at the cat's behavior even before the advent of the puppy and see if that couldn't be addressed. Doing so may at least lessen the cat's bad reaction to the puppy and may make the cat and everyone she interacts with a little bit happier.

     

    J.

    I had not thought about that… I'm not to keen on jumping straight to meds, but it might help. I'll have to talk to my significant other not hat one since she is the cats guardian.

     

    The cat's behavior was there years before the dog came into the picture. In many ways she has gotten a little better, but the dog is a big set back. She always was pretty nasty with people and animals in general. It's sad because I really do love cats, but this one is challenging that in me.

  13. Hello!

     

    I've been lurking for a year and haven't introduced myself yet, but this is a topic I have experience with!

     

    I have a 14 month old border collie, Penny, and a very grumpy 13 year old cat, Precious. Precious can be sweet and cuddly with us, but she hates company and most people and is very quick to swat and bite. She has been known to chase and attack people who have come in to feed her while we're away on vacation, to give you an idea of her unfriendliness! She will even get hissy and swatty with us, especially if we try to have her do something she really doesn't want to do, or just generally annoy her that day.

     

    There is very good advice given above, and we have done a combination of Camden's Mom's advice and the separation and positive treats approach described by gcv-border. We did start out keeping the two separated by baby gates, etc when we brought Penny home at 8 weeks, and that lasted a few months until Precious was more relaxed with her being nearby.

     

    We now have only one baby gate that we will leave up, creating a "cat haven" in a spare room. It's one with a cat door in the middle of it as our cat won't jump over things, and Penny respects the gate and won't jump it. It makes a lot of difference for Precious knowing she can go in there and have peace and quiet. I've even put the cat food in there and that helped as well.

     

    One of the big things we did when we took the gates down and started working with them being in the same space together, was putting soft paws on the cat. (https://www.softpaws.com/) Precious can be very swatty, even now that she tolerates Penny quite well, and this helped keep Penny's eyes and nose safe. Precious doesn't like being handled to have her nails done (and is a nightmare at the vet) but we're lucky that with my husband holding her and me trimming/nail-capping we're able to get it done fairly peacefully. I have heard that most vets will help out with putting the nail caps on as well.

     

    And the one other thing that I recommend is having a great recall with your pup. Penny loooooves her "sister" and will sometimes try to get her to play, and occasionally still try to herd/chase her the rare time that the cat runs down the hall, and I'm able to call her to me even if she's started after her. I've found "off/leave it!" and "watch me" training with treats really helpful too.

     

    Hope this helps! :)

    Cheryl

    This does help! I think developing a separation area for the two of them would be a good idea. I'm pretty sure the cat will be pretty nasty even through the kid gate at first, but likely might just learn to settle down. Meanwhile I'll be working to keep the pup from getting overly excited and at worst snappy.

     

    I'm sad to say that her recall is not good. In fact just a couple minutes ago she decided she just wasn't going to listen to me at all when I called her. That drives me bonkers. I need to get better at reinforcing every time she comes. I am usually able to call her off things, unless she's really charged. Any advice for those times when she is really riled up to get her settled? As it is I just step in front of her and make her lay down. That seems to get her off things, but I can't always be there to step in her line of sight.

  14. I love Camden's Mom's reply!!!

     

    I have had cats and dogs around each other for years. 98% of the time with no issues. The other two %? Well, they take managing.

     

    My older cats grew up with my older dogs. When pups came in, they would give me the go to hell look and proceed to deal.

    None of my cats ever thought to attack a dog.

     

    Is it wrong to assume that 1), you moved the pup into the cats space? And 2), that the feline delinquent never lived with dogs?

     

    To me, the answers don't change the approach (and there I have to totally agree with ^^). It would however change my personal understanding and possibly improve my patience while dealing with it.

     

    And a teeny, tiny bit off topic. Cats are cats. I have never actively set out to train one. Some come super sweet and others less so. Have had a bunch if you include a lifetime of being around them. So, besides basic manners like stay out of the human food, use the litter box, minimize scaling the curtains and for sure, stay out of the dogs food bowl (which here the dogs do the training) and some minor tricks like sit and roll over.....I have not ever invested time in changing a cats basic attitude. And really, I know of no personal friend of mine that has. So, reading your post, I (and admittedly I am funny about these things) am feeling some blame slightly put on your partners shoulder? If I am on to something....watch out for it....it will only add stress.

    G. Festerling, no blame put on my partner at all. She's as sensitive as I am to the whole situation. The only potential stress is that we each have different allegiances to each animal. I'm trying to be fair about it and definitely see the cats perspective. Your assumptions are correct. We did introduce the dog into the cats space and I know how territorial they can be. She never lived with dogs either. Now however, this is neutral ground but the cat is still acting really nasty toward the dog. This is not a big surprise since she basically acts nasty to everyone and everything.

     

    I hate to feel resigned to the notion that the cat won't change, though this may be the case. The pup, however, can change for certain so I want that change to be toward the positive. Hence all my efforts are going toward her.

     

    I will definitely use fairness in their interactions where each will get a fairly stern correction for bad behavior and praise for good behavior. I'm no cat expert, but have lived with them all my life. I have been around the loyal ones, the scared ones, the sweet ones and the challenging ones. This cat is different from any I've met before. The difference I see between dogs and cats is that dogs are so invested in working with you where as cats seem less interested in their day to day interactions involving humans (though I know they need attention and companionship at times) I guess they are just more solitary animals. Anyway, I'm running on now. This is probably betters suited in a cat forum.

     

    I have to say I am impressed with my pup in regards to her. She tends to stay out of the fray, but shows a strong awareness of the cat. I watch her like a hawk to make sure I catch any bad behaviors. I will also make a point to stand up for her as much as possible, though this actually does put me in harms way. =/

  15. Funny thing is I wandered that road for the first year+ of my pups life. I think it's a good path to take personally, not only for a young pup but also for a dog that is sensitive. If my boy had been a more stubborn or willful type it might have been a different story...

     

    Then we started training him on stock and when the trainer would give any sort of correction my boy would just shut down and run back to me at the fence line. My trainer (being the fantastic handler she is) significantly adjusted her pressure but she implored me to start giving him some corrections at home. I did this (gradually so as not to completely confuse the poor pup) and he learned that a correction was not the end of the world, it just meant he was doing something wrong and needed to try to go about it a different way. I still prefer to throw a correction into the positive reinforcement mix. Example: Dog is pulling on leash, I stop moving and give an "ah-aaah" and let the dog reset to my side. If dog continues to pull on leash I give a harder "NO pulling" or "knock it off!" and let the dog reset to my side. Once the dog walks nicely it's all "goooood boy, yes, good boy" and maybe even a treat.

     

    I prefer the positive approach, hands down, but just wanted to agree that clear and understandable corrections aren't all bad.

     

    I also wanted to sympathize with the OP. My boy just turned two years old last week... He gets a minimum of one on-leash walk a day and has since we got him at 10 weeks. In all that time I can count on one hand the number of walks in which I did not need to remind him to stop pulling on the leash. It's frustrating and you can feel like you aren't getting anywhere but I think back to how he was on leash a year ago and there's no doubt he's gotten better. On our familiar neighborhood walks he's pretty darn good but in a new environment he loses a lot of his self control and it feels like I'm walking my one year old again. I try not to completely lose hope but I feel your frustration... the relapses can be extremely discouraging.

    Ok, this makes sense to me. I hadn't thought about getting her used to correction. I think I might start slowly using this in her day to day so she learns that it isn't so bad and I still won't ever hurt her.

     

    I feel like I just need to stay consistent with her. I feel like the only relapses we are having is when I get frustrated and that is when the training regresses. So there is my big crux.

  16. I have a big, fat, difficult to live with, dominant male cat. Unlike your partner's cat, he is very friendly and quite a charmer... unless it concerns Camden, then he becomes that cat from hell. He was extremely cruel to my dog as a puppy and I made the mistake of always siding with the cat. As a novice dog owner I reasoned that, since the dog could actually kill the cat, I had to defend the cat at all costs. Wrong.

     

    Things had escalated to a point where it was getting nasty. Camden was air snapping at the cat (very serious warnings) and it I had to change tactic or things were gonna' get ugly.

     

    I began to treat the cat as if it were another dog in the household. I made every interaction fair. If the cat had started all the fuss he'd be the one to go in the bathroom for a five minute time out. If the dog had been the instigator he'd have to go to his mat for a five minute time out. If the cat started to creep up on the dog with bad intentions I'd say "NO, LEAVE IT!" to the cat and physically block him from approaching the dog. It sounds silly but, you know, Camden suddenly understood that I was sticking up for him. By using my dog's language/commands to communicate with the cat I was able to put Camden at ease over time. Things got much better, pretty quickly. In fact, to my great surprise, through sheer repetition the cat learned a few commands (no lie). At this point if the pets are being obnoxious in the kitchen I can say "out!" and the dog and cat run right out of the kitchen, do a quick 180 degree turn and lie in the doorway to watch my every move. The first time they did this I was flummoxed! Not only could I not believe the cat had learned the command but they were laying next to each other! What the...?? :huh:

     

    I won't lie, their relationship is not perfect, but who's is? They still get into little altercations at times but overall live rather peaceably together... something we thought might not be possible a year and a half ago. They have even started playing with each other although we monitor that closely so it doesn't stray into any negative interaction. So, this has been my experience with a cat from hell and a dog who had decided to stop putting up with the cat's antics. :) I hope it helps you in some way...

    This is encouraging to read. This cat has never shown any positive track record with other…living things. So this concerns me about them living peacefully together. I am guessing they will learn to live in avoidance of each other at worst. I am just very protective of the pup now that she's shown this level of aggression. It happens so fast too. I will probably start to block her physically or use pillows or water sprays to get her attention. My goal is to protect the pup so she doesn't feel a need to protect herself.

     

    How long did it take to get the animals to this place? Would you recommend controlled meetings? Is it best to just get them in front of each other as soon as possible, or give it time? The pup hasn't shown any serious aggressive signs yet, but definitely did show some, so that concerns me. Thanks everyone!

  17. I am certain I am not the first to post on this topic, but it is something of concern. I recently moved in with my partner and she has a 7-year old, poorly behaved cat. I am trying to find the best solution toward getting them to live together peacefully. Some advice would be very helpful. I will describe the two animals:

     

    My BC: very well behaved and listens to commands. Was socialized at a very young age around cats and since has had numerous inconsequential interactions with cats. She always listens to me around them and has yet to show any aggression toward cats.

     

    Cat from hell: This is a challenge, and I hate to sound like I'm placing all the blame here, but the cat has very poor behavior. She usually hisses and swats at almost any visitor, often hissing at her owner and myself. She has bad behavior toward other cats and dogs and often charges them in full aggression mode. (fear aggression I am assuming)

     

    Initial interactions between the two were fine, but a couple weeks ago they caught each other off guard and the cat charged my pup. The pup was very scared, and assumed a very defensive position of retreat while making a pronounced frightened bark. This was the first time I have seen her so scared. The cat never made contact with her, but now the pup acts very scared around her. Not only that she will get a bit more offensive when she sees the cat and has occasionally raised her hackles and barked and advanced. This only makes the cat more aggressive.

     

    So, there you have it. We are working to find a solution. Personally I'm much more concerned with protecting my pup in this sensitive phase of her life. The last thing I want is for her to develop an issue with cats. Any advice will be very helpful! Thanks!

  18. Well gosh Nathan thanks. I have 3 very well behaved border collies. And I can walk all 3 on separate leashes at one time with no problems. And I have a youngster in that mix.

     

    All positive training is a very long road to wander. I personally believe in a more varied training method. I also work my dogs on livestock. That is also somewhere you can't rely on positive only methods.

    Again, I'm not saying beat or abuse the dog but letting the dog know when it's wrong is easier and quicker IMO than only positive information.

    But I'm sure you will find all kinds of advise. Just making a statement and saying what has worked for me.

     

    Boy have the boards changed in the last year. All fuzzy and warm.....

    Thanks everyone. I have tried correction with her while we are walking. I tried a few different things from constantly using something like "whoops!" every time she pulls the leash tight to a gruff "ahhh!" every time. I feel like this just makes her a little more confused. I have seen her get totally deflated looking from sessions like that, so I have steered away from it. I am certain the problem lies with me not with her, so I really don't see a need to correct her on a casual walk.

     

    My inexperienced perception is that a livestock situation is much more of a critical situation in which the health of stock, dogs and handlers are at hand. Harsher corrections like loud commands or flag snapping make more sense to me in these situations because the dog is more charged and they can get the sense of the urgency of the situation. I wouldn't want to bring that into a casual walking setting where the dog might start to see walks as urgent situations. Tell me if I'm wrong here.

     

    I realize I am actually heading toward asking a lot of my BC. I am asking her to be a fast, determined athlete, a strong worker but then also a casual and well behaved leash walker and park dog. I'm certain she is up for it, but I feel that it will take her some time to get comfortable with the many hats I am going to ask her to wear.

  19. I have had a pretty solid grasp on all the elements of my BC's training so far, but the leash, I admit, has me baffled. I started her really early on a local bike path learning to walk on leash. I followed the guidelines of the "red light, green light" technique and rewarded calm walking without pulling. She would show some signs of excitement at first, but eventually would fall right in line. It was awesome!

     

    Now, though, she's become almost unstoppable and I'm trying to figure out where I let the training slack off. Most of the walks I take with her now last far longer than they would normally because of all the "red lights". So I need some help. I'll describe how the sessions go.

     

    As we get going walking, she will go hard agains the leash (as if it wasn't there) and I immediately stop using my fingers to pad the tension so as to not have it yank her to a stop, but so that she can feel that she has brought the leash tight. I sit and wait. She generally keeps looking forward. Lately she will look back at me and sometimes will even turn and jump back into heal position (which I had taught her months before) This gets a treat as a reward. As soon as I take even a small step forward she launches forward to the end of the leash at which point the whole cycle continues. So I try to keep her eyes fixed on me as I take my step forward with either a treat or a ball, but it generally doesn't work.

     

    So my concerns are that the tension on the leash isn't telling her something that she is doing, but rather something that I am doing. I imagine her confusion at her owner who can't seem to figure out whether to walk forward or stand still when what I want her to think is "oh, I pulled the leash tight and that stopped the walk...oh, I loosened the leash and away we went." Does anyone have any specific techniques that might change this up a little?

     

    My other overarching concern is that she's not really listening to me and not attuned to me during walks. She is in most other instances except these times. ( though I admit her recall is pretty sloppy, but we'll save that challenge for another post) What I want is for her to be mindful of my movements rather than where she wants to go. I'm sure it's a process to get here, but I am curious on people's thoughts and experiences with this too. She's 8 months old, by the way. =)

  20. Reading your post made me smile...I can totally relate as my 7month old pup is going through a similar phase. I too have spent countless early mornings and late evenings working on manners, tricks, obedience, games, fun etc and also marvelled at how "good" my puppy was. Now at 7months, the "real" bc is coming out!!!! However, I went back to my trainer last night and he reminded me of a few basics that I had to re-enforce and remind pup since I had slacked off a little on these basics. I also have to keep reminding myself that he is still such a baby and will be for a very long time to come. I also need to remind myself that I work a 40hour week and am not superwoman, therefore cannot expect a fully trained pup at 7months!!!

    Good luck and look forward to hearing the future trials, tribulations and of course all the great bits in between!!!

    Yeah, I'm still sitting back and watching as my "real" BC comes out. This past week she has become a lot more serious and less of a goofy puppy, her "eye" is developing during ball sessions and I can see why livestock are intimidated by them!

  21. Ah, adolescence. Fun times for sure! My girl just turned ten months old, I can relate. Well, minus the ball thing, she doesn't get to play with balls very much because it's more trouble than it's worth for me trying to convince her not to obsess. But there are plenty of things to work on. Always good to go back to basics, come up with a plan on how to tackle the issues, breathe, and most importantly for me, find a way to enjoy your dog without having to stress over training. For us, that's me taking her to an offleash safe place with no one around and just letting her run wild, watching her have fun and having fun watching her, remembering that I don't want to kill her. ;):P

    My pup obsesses over the ball only if it is in sight. I trained her to recognize "last one" and "all done" and now by the time she runs down the "last one" she just heads to the water bowl and drops the ball for me. I put it up and out of sight and that way the ball session doesn't go on indefinitely. =)

     

    I agree, the off-lease time is so amazing. I love watching her run! Have fun!

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