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About Usangi

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  1. Thank you very much everyone for your replies. You have certainly given us lots of food for thought. Donald McCaig - thank you for your book recommendation too. I've downloaded a kindle version and am reading it with much pleasure. We have enquired about an opportunity to volunteer as class assistants on puppy and dog training courses, and just waiting to hear from them. We're hoping this is a good way to get to know trainers. We'll probably also speak to some local rescues, one which often has border collies, to hear their views. The question my wife and I need to answer, it seems, is whether dedicating significant time every day to a dog is what we would like at this point in our lives. Thank you again everyone. Much appreciated.
  2. I recently started a thread here about a rescue dog we were fostering, and had some really helpful replies. My wife and I have talked a bit about what we'd do next but for the next few months or so we'll be having a dog free home. But our experience made me think a little bit more about the possibility of permanently having (and not just fostering) a border collie in the city (I live in Cambridge, UK), especially in a house like ours which is a Victorian terraced that has no front garden, and the front door opens directly into the street. I've read a lot of the threads about calmness and the 'off switch' of border collies, watched kikopup videos and seen how calm her border collies is, and remember my grandparents border collies who were both very calm. This is very important to both my wife and I. We want to be able to run (my wife is interested in canicross) and hike with a dog, to play frisbee with it, and to teach it new tricks. But then when this is done, when we've done an evening walk and some training, we'd like it to be able to settle down when we watch TV or read books, and to be able to take to a cafe at the weekend, and lie down patiently while we talk, read or do work there. When I think about it, I think I want to have a dog that behaves a bit like a service dog. But when I look at all the rescue centres, the border collies either all seem to have behavioural problems, or are a bit older but not necessarily suited to an urban area. In fact, one well known UK border collie rescue has said that they do not rehome to people living in cities. From our experience with our last foster, I can now see the reasons for this. There seems to just be too many noises and smells for a border collie to cope with. I imagine one solution is to contact a load of rescue places and put our names on file, and tell them that we're looking for a dog that has been brought up and copes well with cities. The other option is to begin looking for a breeder and start from scratch with a puppy, looking for parents that are not so reactive to noise and motion, although I understand this is still no guarantee. Another possibility would be to go for another breed that would fit into our lifestyle and which we would like the look of and temperament of. Just to be clear, we're not rushing into anything at the moment but just looking for people's advice and experience. It will likely be at least a year, maybe two, before we actually make a decision to take on a dog permanently. Any advice, experiences etc, would be very welcome!
  3. We did actually try covering the crate but it didn't make any difference, the noises still really bothered him and he barked as much. I've seen some pictures of him in his new home, and the environment does look much better. In regards to getting a better match next time, I'm just about to start a new thread about this, and more generally having a border collie in the city.
  4. Hello everyone. Thank you again for all your advice. We had a rather traumatic day yesterday but the long and short of it was that our foster dog has now been taken by the rescue and rehomed with another fosterer, who has more experience with border collies and lives with direct, I think even private, access to acres of fields outside her house. Yesterday morning we decided to take him on our road trip. It was just a day one so even though a fair bit of driving, we knew we'd be coming home in the evening. He bounded into our hire car and into the crate we had set up in it. But, and this is something noted by someone else who had transported him, he was fixated on everything that moved and the journey just seemed to be so stressful for him. Not only though was he fixated, but he barked uncontrollably at everything. After about half an hour of this, my wife burst into tears, we pulled off the motorway and she rang the rescue centre and said he had to go today. We took him home, and the rescue were great and found a place quickly. This just meant us driving for another 1.5 hours to hand him on. Again, he barked all the way there. I have to say, we felt relieved waking up this morning. But we also feel sad that he's been moved on to yet another place and that we couldn't seem to help him. But the new fosterer is interested in adopting him if it turns out well, so we're really hoping it does. We're going to take a little break from fostering. But it hasn't put us off completely. I'm still keen on a border collie (my wife less so), but we both agree that if we do foster or adopt we need to be very careful about who we accept, and we will probably look for an older, mature, one. If we're back in border collie world then I'll be back here, and hopefully gather enough experience to be able to contribute more.
  5. Sorry, just to be clear, we wouldn't bring him into the house. We'd each take turns walking him while the other saw the baby. Both houses are in the countryside, so he would also be able to get a good run in the fields far away from other people. But if this is going to be a terrible idea for his well-being then this is obviously a major consideration. The other option is for us to go separately, with each of us taking turns to stay at home with him. This wouldn't really be ideal for us, of course. We just took him out in the car as a test run, and we are worried. He didn't appear very comfortable at all. He was hyper the whole time, staring at everything and did appear agitated, and he was also salivating a lot. As I write this, it is becoming clearer to me that a car journey with him does not appear very wise.
  6. Thank you so much everyone for all your advice and reassurance. We really, really appreciate it. It has been particularly helpful to have our own view confirmed that we should not be fostering this dog. We asked the organization (a dedicated BC one) for an easier case to begin with. The dog was at a previous fosterer for 3 months, someone who was a trainer, had five dogs of her own, and lots of experience with BCs. But for some reason (we're not sure exactly what) the organization decided to move the dog to us. In their defence, the report, which we also read, from the previous fosterer did not identify the issues we've come across. But the environment was very different. There was direct access to acres of fields at the back of the house, and we also wonder if the presence of other dogs was a distraction from any outside noise. Our house is pet free, and the front door also opens directly onto the street outside, so there are always noises of people walking past and talking which disturb him. Not only are we too inexperienced to deal with the problems, but it has become clear that the environment we live is going to make the situation worse. We don't have a car, so it means that every time we want to exercise him we have to walk to the park and he is faced with all the triggers both on the journey to it and in the park itself. We'd love to just go to the park and go running with him, but as soon as he sees anything he is in a frenzy. And even if not, when we start running he actually jumps at us and nips us. It feels that even though we could get a professional trainer in to help, its not going to be much help as the environment is so unsuitable. We very much agree that he deserves a more suitable home and more experienced fosterers. We've been speaking with the organization and they have been trying to find another fosterer. We said we'd give it until Wednesday (so two weeks with us) to see if there will be any encouraging improvement but I can't imagine there will be much. There is another issue. We have two nieces that have just been born on either side of our family, and we need to see them both this weekend. They are far away so we've had to hire a car to go and visit them. Our thoughts were always that we would travel with him, with him in his crate (covered with a blanket if necessary) and stop frequently for walks with him on the journey. But we're thinking that this could actually be very cruel considering his current stress levels. We don't know what to do. We're considering finding a very good boarding kennel/spa (the cost is not a concern) and putting him there for the weekend. But this is yet another change for him which again would not be good for him. Any thoughts what the least worse option is? Thank you again for taking the time to reply and help us.
  7. Hi, We are desperate for some help. My wife and I have been fostering a 14 month year old male dog for a week now. In many ways he's great, he's quiet in his crate at night is always eager to be trained and loves a game of fetch. He came from another foster home that had a lot of dogs, and the fosterer didn't think he was getting the attention he needed and thought for the first 10 months of his life he'd just been left to his own devices. But the other fosterer didn't have the issues we're encountering. Although it had been noted that he has a strong herding instinct and watches everything very intently. His previous fosterer also said that he had no fear in having a fight with her other dogs, but settled down after that. Also, if relevant, he was neutered less than a month ago. This is our first border collie, and in fact, the first dog we've fostered and we don't have any of our own. We both really wanted a BC, and we were prepared for the amount of exercising and mental stimulation it would need. But we weren't prepared for the behaviour he is exhibiting. We've also got a few books (Click to calm, Feisty Fido) and we've been watching some videos on youtube (e.g. kikopup). Now, we do understand its just been a week but we would really like to know if what we're doing is right, and when we might start to see some improvement. So the main issues seem to be: - Barking - he seems to be on high alert mode almost all the time. When he first got here he would bark every time somebody walks past the window, even if he can't see them. We think we have controlled it a bit with trying to treat him when he hears the noise but doesn't bark. But some days this doesn't seem to work. We were told by the previous fosterer to have a 'bad bed' (mat in another room, 30 secs to 2 mins isolation) where he could be sent if he got particularly bad. We've used this a bit but don't know if it's working or not, or whether it's the right strategy. - Aggression outside - this is the biggest problem. As soon as out of the house he's straining at the lead, looking at EVERYTHING and lunging at most things. Cars are particularly bad, but when he gets himself worked up, it can be people walking past him, children especially, as well as bicycles and dogs. We have a 'canny collar' which helps but we need to get him to burn off some energy and so take him to our local park and put him on a long lead. But if a dog is there, even 150m away, all hell breaks loose. He's barking, snarling, hurling himself into the air to get to the dog. Our only solution is to try and be at the park when nobody else is there, but this is rare. It's not just dogs but people (e.g. playing basketball) that causes him to get into a frenzy. We thought we'd give him a break from all the sights and sounds of the city and we've kept him in the house a couple of days, doing fetch on the stairs to tire him out and some tug in the garden but we know this isn't enough. We're trying to teach him the 'watch' command and also try and scatter his food on the ground in the park to distract him and calm him down. Is there anything else we should be doing? - Jumping/biting/snapping - he does this a lot in and outside the house. We try and ignore the jumping, turning our backs and folding our arms, until he is calm which works a little. But just the last few days he's started to snap and growl a lot more when he doesn't seem to get his way. He'll jump up and try and bite coats, arms etc. No drawing of blood yet though. Or even if you're stroking him he can suddenly snap his teeth and lunge a little towards us. We're obviously reading his body language wrong but not sure exactly how yet. But he does get a little scary sometimes when he's like this. Apologies for the length of this message but really hope somebody can help. Thank you.
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