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Everything posted by deadlywarbler

  1. Chene, thank you! Enjoy your puppy! He/she will drive you bonkers, but they are so much fun. There is nothing like the sight of a dog looking at you like you are the bee's knees. Enjoy those books and movies, they are invaluable resources.
  2. I have posted quite a few times throughout my pups early months. I received so much guidance from people here. Somewhere after about 6 months of age, I began to sit back and admire my mostly well behaved, well socialized and generally adorable BC pup. In looking back I realized how much work I had done with her, how many early mornings and late evenings I committed to her. People would even praise me on how happy, well behaved and wonderful she is. I suppose that means my job is done, right? Time to sit back and reap the rewards. Wrong. I will say that my puppy continues to be a well behaved, socialized and generally adorable little dog with one caveat...she is changing. She is 8 months old now and while I enjoy every minute with her, her behavior has begun to evolve. Around 6 months she discovered that the ball is the only thing worth living for and I discovered that the ball was an almost automatic means of having a wonderful experience with my dog. With the ball I taught her to lay down reliably, then to lay down immediately when she is 50-100yard away from me. I taught her to wait reliably untill my "ok" before sprinting off to retrieve the ball. I joyfully observed her speed and grace in a huge open field. I was completely in love. But, recently things have been getting a bit more difficult. In a bit, I will rant about how thankful I am for a few specific resources that manage to highlight these times and give me guidance on how to work with them. The pup has discovered that she loves the ball so much that she's now not as willing to wait in the car while I gather her things and instead feels the need to push against me trying to get out. On leash, as I walk her through the city streets en route to the field she tugs relentlessly. Even though I try the "red light, green light" method, she manages to just tug and tug. This leads me to get frustrated and even lose my temper. Not good. I pride myself on being sensitive to my dog, so I can immediately see how my mood change affects her. Today was the final straw, a highly frustrating walk to and from the ball session in which she seemed to only want to go where I didn't want her to go. Tug, tug, tug despite all my stop and go until I was literally pissed off. I failed her. Luckily I have these few resources that I refer to and in coming home to find them after feel very bad about how I worked with the pup today I realized how long it had been since I referred to them: First, The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell Ph.D. This book was my invaluable education into the mindset of dogs before getting my pup. What a savior as I had always subscribed to the dominate and control method of raising dogs simply because it was all I ever saw around me. This book changed EVERYTHING about what I knew and taught me 1. that dogs are always seeking and growing into positivity and 2. that I as a human with all my non-canine behaviors was a veritable liability to her well being. This book taught me to think like a dog and alway use positive reinforcement even if it is the more difficult option. Second, After You Get Your Puppy by Dr. Ian Dunbar. This book is an invaluable insight into dog training by a true master. When you read what Dr. Dunbar says, it all becomes so painfully obvious that you wonder why you didn't figure that out yourself. His insight into bringing up a well behaved dog is amazing. Third, and this is a bit unrelated, I feel really grateful to have watched the movie Buck about the horseman Buck Brannaman prior to owning my pup. While this movie is about horses, it highlights some of the exact struggles I am going through with the pup, namely my own human element. Watching this movie gives me inspiration and hope in working with my dog. So, the lesson learned today is that I got lazy, but luckily I realized in time to keep up working with my dog so that I can actually maybe sit back when she's...oh...6-7 years old and enjoy her. Puppyhood was difficult, but the time invested has paid back in spades. I intend to navigate adolescence with the same determination. Thanks for listening!
  3. Ok, this raises an interesting side question. Perhaps it's better posed as a separate post, but I wanted to quote it here since it has been something i've been thinking about. The pup (6 mo. old BC) LOVES fetch. No surprise here, but I am curious what you would call "too much". I usually start the morning with a quick session, then a few throughout the day and again in the evening. They last about 10-15 minutes depending on my time or how hot it is out. I've trained her to recognize "last one" and "all done" at which point she usually goes for some water and then crashes out for a bit. However, if we are in the yard, she's looking at me constantly to throw the ball. She isn't pushy, but she's definitely aware. Does this sound like I'm on the right track? I am starting to lessen the morning session, mainly so she doesn't grow up thinking the early morning is all about her all the time. But still, I do throw for a bit to get the nighttime energy out. Thanks for letting me steer this post in a different direction. =)
  4. My little pup is just over 6 mo. old now and doing so well. Smart, affectionate and well behaved (aside from a few little puppy things). It was my goal and continues to be to invest a lot of time with her. This means I am up early to let her out of the crate, play ball throughout the day and make sure she has a visitor if I can't be there. It's worked out great so far. I took her to a party the other day and one woman said, "Wow, she's so happy!" This just made my day since having a happy dog that loves being with me was the paramount goal. As she gets older I am going to need to exercise more extended care for her during the days. My work has definitely suffered as a result of needing to go home to spend time with her. I am curious what everyone thinks about doggie daycare. We have a good one here in my town, but I don't want to throw the pup into a situation where she's not having fun. She likes other dogs, but shows a bit of timidness at the get go. Eventually she comes to and loves to play. It's hard to imagine letting a whole day go where I have zero control of the dogs environment, so naturally I'm a little apprehensive. What has been people's experience with daycare? She wouldn't be starting it until she's about 10 mo. old. Thanks!
  5. It's good to hear my pup isn't the only one being a brat. She has started to get a little contentious with me. I hope it is because she recognizes me as the owner/rules guy and is testing her boundaries. I have been very watchful of her energy levels and making sure she gets downtime often. Most of the time she's nice around the house, often being a complete angel, but I'm not sure what gets at her when she decides she going to be a punk, but man does she play the roll well! I have allowed her the use of her mouth on my hands thus far and she has really gotten to where she uses her mouth softly on me. I don't tolerate her biting on clothes (though she doesn't seem to care that I don't tolerate it) When she bit at me recently she did bite harder than usual, so this worried me. I can see now how the situation may have precipitated that. I am just bracing myself for another 5-6 months of teenager behavior.
  6. Tennis court!! Brilliant! I hadn't though about that. I will get a good idea of her behavior there. Thanks!!! These stories are very helpful, thank you!!
  7. This is interesting, so what was it that you saw in the dogs that made you determine whether they were good off leash or needed more time?
  8. I wanted to open up this post mainly in hopes of hearing others' stories of their first off-leash walk with their pups. At what age did you do it? What was your experience? What did you wish you did differently, or what were you happy you had done in advance? I pose the question because I have virtually no idea how she will respond to this. She's 5 mo. old now and show's a lot of inclination toward me, but then also shows dazzling moments of indifference. One particular thing she shows is amazing speed and often she wants to run right to the end of her leash with the distance in her sights. I am planning to start taking her to the park on a 30' lead and seeing how she reacts. I am working constantly on recall, but of all her tricks she loves to "play dumb" on this one. I am all ears!
  9. Last night she was probably a little tired by the time she got to where we were going and she started acting out. A soft crate is a great idea, I will look into those because I can take it around with me. In those times, she is very hard to keep in one place. She shows very little interests or attention toward me, but loves to do all the wrong things. She has learned that many of those get my attention, so they are high reward activities. I am leaning further and further away from correction regarding these things. Ingoring seems to work best unless she's digging up my Mom's vegetable garden in which case I try to lure her away with a ball or toy. The only problem is that she rarely forgets. She can play with the ball for a minute and then shoot straight back to the spot I was trying to get her out of. Bah!
  10. This is great advice and something I need to remember. It makes sense that she does this only when she's been awake too long or way over stimulated. It's hard to create a "time out" when not home with the crate, so need to figure out if tying her up for a few minutes will work. By distracting her in these situations, is this helping her to learn that biting isn't a part of the equation or a way to get what you want? I guess the underlying concern is biting in general (which I might add she has never shown signs of) Thank you all!
  11. That's good to hear. Sometimes the crate isn't bear by so it's hard to do the time out. At home that works. I'll keep with it and not feed the situation unnecessarily. It definitely rattles me...
  12. My otherwise sweet 5 mo old has a tendency to get tired, crabby and snappy with me. Usually her being tired leads to her bad behaviors of digging or chewing. When I try to move her to something else she starts to mouth at my hand which leads to harder bites with teeth exposed. It's not full aggression (probably more confusion) but it disconcerting. Who has experiences this and how did you approach it?
  13. You couldn't be more ON topic. This is exactly what goes on in my head because I am still in the phase where the dog seems quite indifferent to me. It's hard to imagine how the dog will ever learn to like me. So hearing these stories gives me hope! Bear in mind, I have a ball with this dog…and then at times she makes me insane. But the process has been amazing, so if it only gets better, well, I'll be happy as a clam! Thanks for the insight!
  14. I love this! Such a good reminder. I'm so bad at keeping my self from repeating commands, or just plain blurting them out during play. Sometimes I'll just say "come!" while running around and then I'll stop and think "why did I say that? I didn't even want her to actually come to me" So while I'm out there training her, I am actually training myself…mainly to shut up. I'm so glad to hear that some affection developed around 6 months. That will be very rewarding. Occasionally she comes up to me and sits and just lets me cradle her face and pet her cheeks. It's very sweet and I revel in those moments. =)
  15. I like thinking of this as a lifestyle training rather than an actual exercise. She's a pretty hard headed dog, so as it is now I can't imagine how I'll get her to go lay down, but then she's surprised me with everything else along the way. She has not yet pestered me with toys. Actually it seems that I am the toy. She loves to get cranky and stuff her face under the couch when I'm sitting there and growl and roll around. All very puppy like, but definitely annoying after a while. This seems to be the case when she's either too tired or not tired enough. Knock on wood, today is the first day that I let her sit around the house while I did all the mounting computer work for my business. I she has been relaxing in the living room all day and i have gone out to either treat her if she's chilling, or go run in the backyard for a session. No terror mode, no chewing or pester. It's been such a wonderful day that I cancelled all my appointments to soak it all in. =)
  16. Ah, I love this! How I failed to consider using the leash is beyond me. I'll try it tonight!
  17. The trick is getting her back to where she was. When she gets up, that's it in her mind. I see no value in dragging her back to a down position when she's just loathing the whole exercise. Your point about praising her more frequently is a great reminder! I will work on that. GentleLake, I have been trying to work on that. The other night she was sleeping soundly next to my foot in the evening and I read another post here about that and thought "I never do that!" so I reached down and gave her a gentle pet or to and that woke her up and she went into terror mode for about an hour... No fun! That was negative reinforcement for me to ever touch her when she's resting like that. =)
  18. GentleLake, I actually try to keep them very short. They rarely go over about 4-5 minutes. The problem isn't so much during the "sessions" but the in between training. That is where I am having difficulty getting her to pay attention. The dog is so smart she can tell when my handful of treats is out and she knows the training session is through and goes back to whatever she wants to do.
  19. Thanks for indulging my frequent posts here... One big thing I am feeling an urgent need to begin working on is the "off switch" for my 4 mo. old BC. She is so active now, and when play stops she often will trot around the yard for a long while looking for...well, I have no idea what she's looking for. I want to begin to work on the long stay as a means of training in that sense that "play is over, it's time to settle down" I am looking for insight on this because the pup does not enjoy the idea right now. I will call her over and get her to lay down with a "stay" which I might repeat every 30 seconds. Often she will look up at me for a minute and then decide she's through with this task. I have tried a stern "ahhh" as she gets up, or even a body block but she chooses to just ignore me. How are you all training this into you pups? Am I letting her off the hook to easily when she gets up? Is this just too early to expect this kind of behavior out of a pup? I would love some insight on where to go from here. Keep in mind, I do not expect her to be able to do a long stay, but I would love to see progress. Thanks!!
  20. I seem to have the most aloof little 4 mo. old. A wonderful dog she is, and continually impressing me with her abilities. But at best she plays with a sort of awareness of me. At worst she LOVES to simply blow me off. So in regards to training, I am constantly searching for the rewards that keep her engaged and excited. Food seems to work for a period of time, but she seems to get that she's being run through "drills" and loses interest pretty quickly. Play is fun for her, but it's hard to train certain things using play (or at least it's hard for me) How is everyone going about finding that reward that really engages the pup. Is aloofness a part of puppyhood? At times she seems to not really give a you-know-what about me (pardon this amateur trainer projecting his own stuff onto the pup) Thoughts?
  21. You got it! Food is basically interesting to a point, but then she gets bored with it. The soccer ball, however, she can chase until she's blue in the face. But I find it difficult to train her with that since she is so fixated. The overall problem is that I haven't trained her to listen to me very well. Maybe it's her age, but she will definitely blow me off at times. Actually, this little pup is far more aloof than any other I've had, so finding her big reward has been tough. I have to say I really admire this about her, but it makes training a little more challenging.
  22. This is an interesting point. My little 4 mo. old loves to move (no surprise here...) She loves to play "soccer" in the yard, run after frisbees and do the occasional chase game. She seems to get bored easily with the "mental stimulation" I am trying to give her. At first I was heavy on the training and she picked it up quick (sit, down, roll over, heel, stay at 3 mo. old) I was worried though that it was a bit too much "boring" work too early on. So I switched my approach to less training (only working on walking nicely on leash and some basics around being a polite dog) and more about fun. The goal being to make hanging with me fun. Any perspective on exercise or game-based brain games? During "soccer" games I will try to get her to predict where the ball will go or during tug games I have her trained to "drop" and "take" over and over. Clicker training time isn't the most exciting for her.
  23. I was just sitting watching a little TV with my 4 mo. old BC laying quietly in front of me. I read this and it reminded me that as much as I revel in these quiet moments, I haven't been praising it enough. I just gave her a few good pets and she rolled on her back to enjoy a belly scratch. It gets much easier a couple months in!
  24. I used to subscribe to the perspective that a dog will respect an owner if it fears that owner a little. This was before I actually made an effort to understand dogs. My inexperienced take on it is that dogs can really only be controlled with fear but can be controlled while growing and developing with positivity. Humans are no different. A child that knows that if they mess up they might get hit by mom or dad will always carry that with them in their interactions with family. My goal in presenting this topic was to seek out the best way to allow my pup the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them (in controlled conditions of course). My weakness and insecurities do drive me to seek out dominance over my dog but I can see through that and am working to not let that drive our development. These replies are very helpful! Thanks!
  25. I'm right in the same boat with you on this one. I brought home my 8-week old about two months ago. It has been, what feels like one of the most trying times of my recent life. I think what everyone is saying here is true, which is that my life and routine changed dramatically when she came home. I tell people that when I open the crate door in the morning I feel like I'm punching a time card and I don't punch out until 10pm when I crate her again. In between it seems like I am "on" with her non-stop. Regardless of work, cooking, chores and self care (which have all suffered in the past couple months!) I still have to make sure she's safe, fed and being directed toward being a good pup. This morning I went in the house for a couple minutes to make up a quick breakfast. I do this every morning and luckily have a big yard she can play in safely. I caught her out of the corner of my eye and within a minute she had emptied and ruined 3 potted plants and chewed the lower limb off an old maple of mine. I was shocked and honestly pretty pissed off but I had to go out make a loud clapping noise to break her attention and then keep my patience while I lured her to some more productive activity. In my mind I thinking "AHHHHHHH!!!!!" She moves on to chewing on her rope toy and I'm left sitting on the lawn thinking how I don't think I can manage this for 15 years (I know I won't have to by can't seem to convince myself of it) I think back longingly to the evenings when I used to lie on the floor with a beer and just read or watch TV or how I could just go out for however long I wanted. I get sad thinking that freedom is gone. But then I have to remind myself that i brought this dog into my life for a reason. I had an unbreakable attraction to border collies. I knew it would be hard, but I need to stay focused on the fact that I did choose her for a reason. I'll be better for it in time. Hang in there. The crate is definitely my friend and she's completely comfortable in it now. Some mornings it seems like she learns something new literally over night. For a week I worked on heeling with her and she wouldn't get it. Then one morning I tried it and she hopped right into position. Blew me away. I also cherish the 15-20 minutes that pass when I give her a marrow bone from the butcher shop (she's chewing one right now!). She chews with complete joy and focus and I try to pick up the pieces of my life, which seem to have exploded in every direction. =)
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