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Kira's Mom

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About Kira's Mom

  • Birthday 03/25/1983

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  • Gender
  • Location
    SLC, UT
  • Interests
    Skiing, Mountain Biking, Golf, Frisbee, Hiking, & Paddle Boarding.

Kira's Mom's Achievements

  1. Thanks - glad to hear that we're (hopefully!) just going through a teenage phase and that yours grew out of it with some work. After our basics class, we are enrolling in a reflex control class where they bring in kids, skateboards, small animals, and a variety of stimuli. Looking forward to that insanity...might need a xanax for myself for that session of classes! Hah!
  2. Just a little Kira update here. She's 13 months now and we survived our first year together (including hosting a 10 person Thanksgiving dinner with all the smells in the house). I'm pretty sure raising a baby would have been easier for the first year... but alas, we love her. We are back in obedience classes now that we've spent a few months on some confidence building work. We're doing Basic Manners to start (because even though she knows all the basics, it's great to work with distractions/people/dogs in class) and we had our first class today. She did great. Only had 1 small reactive barking fit and recovered very quickly. An observing trainer had been sitting in the corner of the room for 30 minutes and Kira freaked out when said human stood up and walked around. Kira apparently didn't notice her sitting there the entire time . She came up and gave Kira some treats, and Kira settled down after that. For the most part, she was very focused on me and only started to lose her focus (aka got really bored) about 40 minutes through. A win! Still working on a variety of environment stressors while out on walks, but seeing some slow improvements. She's super treat/toy/play motivated, so she's been easy to work with in that regard. Biggest issue still remains other people/dogs. I've become the rude lady that says "Sorry, you can't come say hi, we're in training" or even today in obedience class when another guy and his dog walked up to us "We only do fast greets on leash." and then walked away to the other side of the room. Kira is good meeting other dogs on a leash for about 5 seconds for a quick smell and to say hi, but then gets really frustrated that she's on a leash and can't play/run or whatever strikes her fancy at the moment. We keep it short and sweet and then GTFO!
  3. Just a quick update as I realize it's been a while. Kira and I have met with a behaviorist that we both like and have a good plan in place to slowly but steadily build up her confidence. It involves working on her impulse control, lots of Counter Conditioning, Targeting, LAT, and desensitization at distances where she is showing she's way under threshold. Also working on 1/4 turns, playing some obedience games/tug games in new places, and emergency u-turns. I've seen some good progress and of course we continue to see some reactivity in various settings (mostly when things surprise us both even though I do my best to catch the triggers before she sees them). Other than that, I think we'll start her back up in an obedience class shortly now that I am better equipped with the right training techniques for her. Most importantly, I'm equipped with my own confidence in knowing what is right and wrong for her from a training perspective. I continue to see and meet trainers (even those recommended by rescue groups) who use aversive methods and I realize it was my lack of confidence that got us into the wrong situation. I've also learned to be MUCH more patient. Kira is almost 1 yr old and I'm learning baby steps and going at HER pace is the best pace. I was eager to have her be a well rounded and emotionally stable/confident dog all on her own. I realize she needs patience and an owner in her corner to not push her into situations where she feels the need to react. This requires me to sometimes tell strangers and neighbors that "no, she can't say hi right now" or ignore their funny looks when we simply ignore them and cross to the other side of the street. Thanks everyone for being so supportive and for providing great guidance. Pouring over stories of other owners reactive dogs and seeing how they've improved with proper positive training and maturity really helps, too.
  4. A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who's responded. I'm glad that I paused in my training for a moment to reach out and ask your advice and opinions. Much appreciated. I try and follow my gut instincts, but sometimes I need to be reassured that I'm not losing my mind. SO again, thank you for everyone's input. I've read in detail almost every thread on here about other members reactive dogs, so thank you for sharing your stories on the boards. Super helpful. I may get another harness with the patches saying "don't look/touch" so we don't have people approaching us without our permission. Then we can work on the manners of the people/kids who approach so they move slowly and allow her to greet them if she wants. Today at the dog park we go to (her favorite place) we worked on structured fetching (she's ball obsessed) and her recall. She also played with another 6 mo. old aussie pup for about 20 minutes (talk about 2 completely filthy mud covered puppies, they loved it!). It was nice to just go out and relax and have some fun together. She was super exhausted by the time we saw a 5 year old blond boy ahead of us and by the time he got close, she was too tired to react and simply just threw her ball at his feet. He got covered in some kisses as he picked it up to give to me. Lots of praise was given all around. Kira's currently passed out on my feet, still very much needing a bath. I've put the prong collar away in a box and will be focusing on clicker training and lots of BAT/LAT till we land on a trainer who can help us. We will likely sign up for some focus and impulse control classes, too. I shot out a ton of emails to other trainers in the area and will make sure we find a better match and will make sure training techniques are ones that work for US, not other dogs. I've read a ton on fear periods and am hoping it's just a combo of her needing more confidence, learning her triggers aren't actually scary, and adolescence/fear period stuff. But if not, I'm totally in her corner so we can built trust together, regardless. Based on much of the collective advice, I plan on building her confidence in spots she's already really relaxed in and will work much more gradually in "new" places that have more triggers. I promised her that we'll take it slower and I'll be much more patient. As she is ready and on her terms, we'll broaden our experiences. Will keep ya'll posted as things progress. Oh, and here is a pic from Kira saying "thank you board members for the advice!"
  5. Warning, long winded post ahead: Hi Guys. Hoping to get some referrals or advice for training and behavioral problems starting to pop up with my now 8 mo. old girl Kira. I used the search feature to try and find some referrals before putting up a thread, but came up empty. So here is some background and would love to learn if this is simply adolescent stuff, or even better, if you happen to have an excellent referral for a Utah located trainer w/ breed specific experience. My fingers are crossed that this is just a puppy-stage, but I'm concerned it's something more. I've always had adult rescues (2 cattle dogs in the past), so this is my first go at raising a dog. I was totally prepared for a BC lifestyle of lots of activity, training, and being a consistent leader, but was NOT prepared for just how sensitive and reactive a BC could be. I'm looking forward to Kira being a backcountry skiing and mountain biking companion and taking up agility as a hobby, so she'll have PLENTY to do as an adult. But, we need to get her to a confident behaved adult before all that. BACKGROUND: I got Kira at 8 weeks old (she's now 8 months old) and I have been actively socializing her to everyone/everything as much as possible daily from day 1. We've gone to lots of places, parks, dog parks, trails, mountain hikes, downtown SLC area. She's always with me experiencing new things. She's been a breeze at the house (puppy/nipping stage is gone, LOVES her kennel, has developed an impressive off switch and is good at unwinding, chews legal toys and leaves furniture alone). It's been much easier than I anticipated living at home w/ a BC. She's gets lots of age-appropriate exercise and mental stimulate via trick training, frisbee playing, and fetching. But, regardless of all the socializing I've done, she's starting to get super reactive and that's where our problems are at right now. I'm not sure if it's simply adolescent fear-aggression that she'll grow out of, or a problem that will just get worse. Either way, I want to address it ASAP. TRIGGERS: 1. Obviously anything moving super fast or noisy (bikes, skateboards, sprinting children). She's totally fine with me on a bike and will run beside me. But HATES other people on bikes? 2. Strangers walking up to us too fast or anyone wearing weird things (helmets, big hats, holding umbrellas, a guy with dreadlocks? I swear she notices EVERYTHING. 3. Things that startle her or are "out of place". Example 1: on a hike in the mountains when another person/dog pops up out of nowhere (blind corner, over a hill) or just simply shows up. Example 2: At dog park she's totally cool with people walking all over the place and dogs sprinting all over. She won't herd the dogs or chase them, but will happily play bow and wrestle around with other dogs similar in age. She loves puppies. The dog park we go to is about a 1.5 mile out-and-back with rivers/ponds and provides lots of space for off-leash play). She's great with the other dog and people (both on and off leash). But on quieter days there, if someone is sitting on a rock or in a place where she doesn't expect to see a person, she gets super reactive. 4. Small sprinting/yelling kids (this we work on a TON). PROFESSIONAL TRAINING: We went through a puppy social class (for 8 weeks) and now we are working with a new trainer on obedience who has some great reviews from other dog owners. Kira was VERY timid at puppy class and was easily overstimulated, but grew out of that. We have done 4 classes w/ new trainer who has insisted we use a prong collar for leash corrections and using that we've worked on sitting, heeling, fronts, and stays which Kira is great at so far. This training hasn't been super fun for either of us to be honest, though. It's all about corrections all the time. Trainer keeps pushing me to use a shock collar to correct Kira's fear-aggression, but I am having a really hard time moving that direction because Kira's super eager to please (aside from her puppy short-attention span), pretty sensitive, and I don't want to increase her fear/reactivity when I think she simply needs to learn strange things are not scary and that she needs to have her confidence built up. Honestly, I'm now having doubts that the prong collar is making her more reactive as well? Am I being too concerned that a shock collar could make her reactivity worse and just trust the trainer? I'm not sure if I need to just trust the trainer and adjust MY thinking, or find a new trainer? Trainer also said I should be doing lots of alpha rolls when Kira acts reactive as that will make her see me as a better leader. I do make sure I'm doing all the alpha stuff I've read about like eating first, "nothing in life is free", and walking through doors first/down stairs. So I think I'm doing an OK job on that front. But maybe not? I'm ranting now... I DO plan on starting her on an agility class next week, so maybe that will help with her confidence? REACTIVITY: it's a combination of lunging and barking at said trigger OR hiding behind me if trigger doesn't go away. I do not force her to stay in scary situations or coddle her either as I don't want to reward the behavior. Depending on what threshold she's at, we either work on sit/stays, LAT, or just beat feet if she's over threshold. She's never showed growling or teeth showing, just a loud deep barking. I'm actively working on the LAT game which we do a TON and it works really great with cars and watching kids from afar. I've read Control Unleashed and am doing my best to follow those guidelines. Kira totally ignores approaching cars within about 5 feet of us (seeing a car means an automatic sit and look at me) and is good around tons of children at about 10-20 feet so far. She just lays there and watches them or plays in the grass. The watching isn't staring or stalky-ish, more relaxed and laid-back. A few kids have approached us and if Kira is acting relaxed, I've let them pet her (I always tell them to NOT look her in the eyes and that they can only pet her if she smells them first and acts calmly). Then she generally just soaks the kids in kisses. Really depends on how the kid approaches us though. She's lunged at plenty of rude kids running towards us screaming "puppy" in which we simply make a u-turn and I tell the kids that she's in training and we back off a few yards and work on down-stays/LAT. Again, I don't want Kira to be forced to interact with kids if she's scared, but sometimes she's OK with it? Sonow you've read my novel (sorry, had a ton to say), do ya'll think I need a new trainer? Do I need to just relax and chalk this up to typical herding/teenage behavior? Am I doing anything terribly incorrect to make her reactivity worse. I do try and avoid trigger stacking with her so she has ample time to unwind and relax between new things. I guess I'm just kinda bummed that I've put SO much time/energy into making her a well socialized pup that I am a little unsettled to see her regressing into a reactive dog. I guess this is why they make wine and good senses of humor. *sigh, sip, laugh* Thanks in advance for your wonderful advice, this place has been SO informative.
  6. Yeah super similar! The vets guess is that she'll remain pretty petite, somewhere 35 or under. Perfect size for being able to scoop her up .
  7. Kira is also just a mini thing... 8 weeks: 4.5lbs 9 weeks: 6lbs 10 weeks: 11 lbs (whoa growth week!) 12 weeks: 12lbs 14 weeks: 15lbs 16 weeks: 18lbs 18 weeks: 22lbs 20 weeks: 24 lbs 22 weeks: 25lbs (seemed to pause for 2 weeks) 23 weeks: 26 lbs
  8. While Kira is still in big time puppy mode (just hit 5 month mark), her problem solving skills blow me away daily. I have a feeling I'm in for quite a ride with her . #1: We have a dog gate in the back of our car (a hatchback) so Kira will stay in the back and not destroy the car seats. The gate only blocks the top open part above the seats as the back of the rear seats block the rest. The rear seats have a middle compartment that can be folded down, but only if you pull up on it's top strap while pushing the seat at the same time. Well, when Kira was about 4 months old, I secured her in the back of the car and jumped on the highway. About ten minutes later as I was driving, you can imagine the shock I had when she jumped into my lap! She escaped via that middle seat! I figured it was a freak accident and that she was probably just chewing the strap and leaning on the middle compartment by coincidence. I pulled over, put her in the back again making sure the middle section was firmly locked into place, and then watched her immediately pull the strap with her teeth and push the seat down again with her paws. So much for that! #2: I've been teaching Kira how to target touch and push on things with her nose so we can can do treibball with her eventually. After she got down touching my hand with her nose, I started to teach her to "push" the kitchen cabinet doors to close when open. She has decided that pushing with her paw is MUCH more fun and she now LOVES to close things. Every time I'm in the bathroom rummaging through a drawer or in the kitchen cooking, she runs up and slaps the doors/drawer to close them when asked. But what's weird is that she has somehow figured out to close the dishwasher from all this . I was loading the dishes the other night while she watched me, and she came over after I pushed the dish drawers in and then got her head under the open door, lifted it up till it was almost upright, and then jumped up to hit the door firmly shut it with both her paws. She then sat there looking at me, completely pleased with herself for assisting me. Such a weirdo!
  9. Sounds to me like a typical puppy. I'm still in the midst of a super mouthy puppy as well. We got Kira at just over 8 weeks old and she was a land shark/vampire attacking all clothing and ankles and jumping up to nip everything (ruined a fair amount of shirts/jackets) for the first few weeks we had her. Also LOVED attacking shoe laces on our shoes or any bare feet Redirection and lots of patience has worked and now at 22 weeks, she has seemed to finally stop (for the most part) attacking feet and jumping up to nip. That said, she's still SUPER mouthy and it seems to be pretty normal puppy behavior, but is learning to mouth very softly now. We let her chew on us as long as it's soft. As soon as there is any pressure, all the fun ends and she goes into time out or gets ignored. Just trust that your pup will grow out of it and continue redirection with toys and time-outs till it eventually clicks.
  10. I haven't done any road or street biking with a dog, but I do a TON of mountain biking with my parents dog, named Jude, and will be planning to mountain bike with Kira once she's older. That said, when mountain biking we never have the dog on a lead and they're always off leash as it's safer for all parties as there is no cars. But, training is similar I imagine to stop the pulling. Jude is a Kelpie, so has a ton of energy and similar herding issues with a bike (aka chasing/biting tires trying to herd it) or just sprinting in general. We started him off by having 1 person walk with the bike down our road and another walk with Jude on a leash treating him whenever he didn't try and bite the tires or pull or sprint. After he was OK with the bike movement (this took a while!), we started having 1 person ride the bike (super slowly) while another walked with Jude next to it. We worked on this for weeks while slowly bringing the bike+Jude closer together without reaction. Now he knows that he needs to stay within a certain distance of the bike, while also a certain distance away from it. After that, we took Jude to some mountain bike trails during off hours when it wasn't crowed with other bikers. He picked it up very quickly and we now can't even grab our bike helmets without him losing his marbles. He's also really good at jumping out of the way for other riders. Depending upon where we ride, he's either told to stay in front of us (climbing up trails or mellow cross country) or he's been trained to stay behind the bikes on downhill trails where we might hit him due to speed or blind corners. That said, I actually just wrote a piece about mountain biking with dogs and there are a few incredible border collie bike dog videos that I found. Here's like link if you want to watch some awesome border collie bike dogs for inspiration: Trail Dogs- Singletrack Slayin' Pups. I cannot get over the video of Bryan and Kaia... such a happy duo! Good luck. Biking with a dog is hands down my favorite activity. They LOVE it.
  11. We're in the same boat, just got a BC/Aussie mix who is just about 20 weeks old today. Our pups looks like they are twins! We got her when she was about 8 weeks old and was super teenie, about 5 lbs. Vet weighed her today and she's 24 lbs, so will be likely be smaller than your boy. Mouthing/Nipping: Kira is the mouthiest pup I've ever met/owned, so I can totally relate. Her heel nipping and clothing pulling was out of control for the first 2 - 3 weeks, and she was basically a landshark vampire with skin. Everything I read about saying "ouch" or yelping or ignoring her just amped her up even more. We put a very strict time-out on her whenever she pulled our clothes or nipped at us. Every time, she was plopped in our guest bathroom for about 30 seconds to a minute and then let her out. This was repeated about a million times with the nipping. I also make her take plenty of naps as she won't sleep on her own. Every few hours, she is told to go to her kennel and take a nap. Over tired puppies are cranky nippers in my experience! What also really helped was trick training her ASAP. As we walked, we had treats or a toy in hand and she had to do things for us as we walk (like sit, down, wait, spin...) and that's worked like a charm. We don't always have toys on us for redirection now, but she is always willing to do things for attention and it is working as a great redirection game for her. She's much better now. Sensitive Hearing: I have a few apps that have sounds of thunder, fireworks, barking, sirens and hooked it up to our speaker system in the house. We play it in the house on the lowest volume possible and treat Kira often as she ignores the different sounds. Then we go up a few levels of volume throughout the training session until she started to get a little more reactive. This has worked really well on teaching her to not be nervous around unknown noises. Might be something you want to try? Your boy is ADORBS. Massive congrats and good luck ! Kira at 12 weeks:
  12. Not to sideline the thread... but: Just was reading through this and noticed you are in SLC area w/ a new pup! I am too, would love to meet up for some puppy play dates!
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