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Everything posted by AlexandZucchini

  1. Hi! She's soooo adorable. I have a border collie puppy (turns 11 months on Thursday!) that is also obsessed with fetching/chasing a ball. I use it as a reward for engaging with me. So, I'll take him to the park and he has to heel to get there, then lay down, then sit, then turn in a circle, then I'll throw. Then more heeling, perhaps a throw and a 'leave it!' then touch, then released to get it. The older he gets the more tricks and criteria I'm adding for him to get the throw. We had some arguments right around when he was 6 months old wherein he thought if he stared at the ball and stood there and ignored me that eventually I would throw it. His record of ignoring me after I asked him to sit was 7 minutes (I timed it so that I could laugh about it instead of dropkick him to the moon). We stood still in the middle of the park, him staring at the ball and occasionally barking, me holding the ball and standing perfectly still and waiting. But eventually he figured out that that he has to listen and engage to get what he wants, and now our fetch games are physically and mentally taxing for him. Side effect is that now I can call him off annnnnything by asking if he wants the ball - motorcycles! dogs! drones! I wish my older one was as ball crazy as him.
  2. I've loved reading about him! Pictures?? I totally sympathize with having a border collie in the city - I have two right now, a 3.5 year old girl (Zucchini) and a 6 month old puppy boy (Fennel). They are hard dogs to have in the city. Not really because of the energy levels, but because of the sensitivity to evvvvverryything. Zucchini became very very reactive around a year old to dogs and to some extents cars and trucks, particularly when it's raining. I've worked for two years to resolve the issues and she's mostly calm and happy now. I credit pretty much all of it to Leslie McDevitt and the book Control Unleashed (and the sequels). I think their brains just get overwhelmed and they have to think and think and move and move. And if there's not enough directing their attention the rest of the world creeps in and overloads everything, which I'm sure is scary. Two different things worked for the two dogs. Zucchini was at the point where stepping outside resulted in tension. She might have looked calm, but she was ready to lose it at any point. I did BAT (behavior adjustment training) with her and encouraged her to sniff as much as possible, because sniffing let her tune stuff out and relaxed her brain. We also did a lot of pattern games from Control Unleashed. For Fennel, he's not reactive but he IS a crazy puppy. He definitely wants to pull and race to the park! Pattern games have REALLY helped with him. As long as walking near me is a fun game and he's engaged, he's happy to interact with me instead of the world and doesn't want to pull ahead. Examples: we do hand touches all over the place as we walk along, rewarded with kibble - down low, up high (jump for it!), behind me, on the side. I'll ask him "ready?" and then throw a piece of kibble behind me for him to find as I continue walking along (this is easier with a slightly longer leash, like 8 ft instead of 6 ft). He's learning leg weaves with a tug toy reward. My goal is for the walking part to be as fun as the park. We are at the point where I'm starting to fade out the constant playing and he's still happy to stick with me. That said, I'll probably continue at least a little bit because it's fun:) Hope any of this helps!!
  3. Hi! I cannot possibly recommend all of Leslie's books and programs highly enough. It completely changed how I approached training my dog, my relationship with her, and her self-confidence and focus. And I started out doing R+ training, so this wasn't a pivot away from collar pops. This is definitely not just for competition dogs. I'd argue that almost everything she teaches is giving a dog life skills for living with people in a loud, confusing, sometimes overwhelming world. Control Unleashed will absolutely help with "high-strung" and "won't relax". The best part is it elicits the dog's cooperation so that it's their choice to do it and figure it out. She recently published an update to her book (https://www.amazon.com/Control-Unleashed-Book-Reactive-McDevitt/dp/1892694441/ref=sr_1_1?qid=1558712654&refinements=p_27%3ALeslie+McDevitt&s=books&sr=1-1&text=Leslie+McDevitt), which is excellent. I also love her puppy book (https://www.amazon.com/Control-Unleashed-Program-Leslie-McDevitt/dp/B0077BTNFS). Full disclosure: Zucchini and I spent ~6 months taking lessons from her. It was hands down my favorite animal training class I've ever taken, ever.
  4. You got this! That is a similar schedule to what I did with Zucchini. She came home at 8 weeks and spent two 4-hour shifts in her crate pretty much from Day 1. She had a hard time holding it for the full 4 hours for the first few weeks so I enlisted friends' help to let her out after 3 hours and shifted my lunch hour but thereafter she was in the crate in 2 4-hour shifts until I started trusting her loose in the house around 6 months of age. She was totally fine and has no separation anxiety issues (she's almost 3 years old now). Puppies sleep 18-22 hours a day anyway. If he's got plenty of stimulation in the time that he is out and you are home, he'll be fine. Tired dogs are good dogs, but over-tired puppies are destructive stressed-out wild tornadoes. Do you give him a chew toy or something else fun to do that he only gets when he's crated?
  5. I started training Zucchini to run with me when was about 8 months. To start we did 1/4 mile "runs" where we would run a block or two then turn around and loose leash sniff our way home. I upped it to 1/2 mile 2-3 times a week at 10 months and then 1 mile when she turned 1 and her joints closed. And worked up from there. I always let her choose the pace, which when she was 1 for me was "argh slow". She was always great about wanting to just run on trails, but sidewalks/city were challenging. One thing that helped was I bought her a special "running toy" and took her to a soccer field and took turns chasing her and then encouraging her to chase me. Seemed to help her get that we were doing a running game not a jumping up game. That said, it really just took a year for her to mature enough to have the attention span to go for a run where she was concentrating on running in a straight line lol. Took some patience, but she's a fabulous running dog now at 2.5 years old! Which is good, because her #1 job in life is to accompany me on as many runs as she can. CptJack I agree with you, but it's definitely something I've struggled with. I think because I just feel guilty- all of Zucchini's sources of entertainment involve me or my boyfriend (that said, would I really feel differently if I had a yard that she could wander around?). We are getting a puppy next year and I think that might help me be a bit tougher if she wants attention and I don't want to give it, because "go play with your dog-brother if you're that bored" will be an option.
  6. Well this is my favorite thing to talk about and I need a brief break, so here goes. I'm giving you a week since it varies quite a bit day to day. We live in a second floor apartment in the middle of the city, for context. I'm not including quick trips outside for potty breaks. Zucchini is a 2.5 year old bc from working parents. Sunday - went for a 5.5 mile trail run with our Sunday running group, drove a couple of hours to visit extended family for Hanukkah and Zucchini played with the children all afternoon, (every other Sunday we take "herding lessons" in the afternoon) Monday - 20 minute walk around the neighborhood with freedom to stop and sniff interspersed with working on heel and leave it and look at that dog! and here, Zucchini snoozed around the apartment while I went to work, came home at lunch and we went to a soccer field a couple blocks away on a 50 foot leash and worked on herding commands with a ball as the "sheep" for 30 minutes, snoozed the afternoon while I went to work, 15-minute walk around the neighborhood in the evening and ate dinner, then my bf and I went out to dinner and a show. This was a pretty light day for her so we did zoomies and intense wrestle-play for 10 minutes when we got home before bed. Tuesday - 5 mile run down the river and around the city in the morning, 30 minute walk around the neighborhood at lunch, 10 minutes of indoor training and random toy play through the evening Wednesday - 25 minute walk around the neighborhood in the morning, 30 minute frisbee play at lunch at the soccer field on the 50 foot leash, 35 minute walk with my bf in the evening and lots of pets Thursday - 5.25 mile run offleash on trails in the morning, short walk at lunch, going to treibball lessons after work (we've also taken Control Unleashed Classes and agility classes) Friday - might go for a 5 mile run or we will just walk, walk at lunch, maybe some training after work Saturday - Saturdays are quiet days. We will go for ~3 mile walk at some point. Might take her with me to run errands and work on her polite down-stays in public spaces. She's usually pretty content and quiet in the house unless we are playing, but she's not really "busy" inside. That said, if we have a few days where it's just walks or little mental stimulation, she will start to go stir-crazy and stand staring at me and give a really quiet 'woof' at me every five minutes in the evening. I run 30-50 miles a week so she has the option of running more with me if she wants, but she has limited interest in running in the city so I try to get her on trails for at least 10 miles a week. She runs 15-20/week usually. Summertime she'll come out with us in the evenings if we go out with friends etc.
  7. Thank you all for the advice!!! I'm letting her go at the pace she wants and keeping the runs short. I did take her to a giant grassy park on the 4th and followed her around for 2 miles - she averaged ~9 minute miles! So maybe she just needs a bit more entertainment. We are going to go to the woods this weekend and see if she's enthusiastic about woods running (she loves hiking). I'm definitely going to wait to get a second pup until Zucchini is around 2. And maybe she doesn't need a sibling. A more laid back rescue pup might be a good choice
  8. Hi everyone!! Anyone else have city border collies living in Philadelphia? I'd love to meet other collies and my girl Zucchini would very much like meeting other dogs that appreciate her style of play.
  9. Hello everyone! I'm excited to join the forum! I've been following (silently stalking?) since last August when my BC came home, and it's been so wonderful to find answers and advice unique to these crazies. If you experts and more experienced owners would, I would love your opinions or advice on the following: 1) Does anyone run with their collies? I'm a marathon runner and my plan was to have Zucchini run with me when she grew up. She's over a year old now, and I've been taking her on short little one or two mile runs once or twice a week. She walks about 2 miles every day, gets about 20-25 minutes of fetch or playing with a doggo friend each morning, goes to one obedience class and one agility class once a week, and goes hiking on the weekends. She doesn't lack for fitness. So far, though, she seems not too interested in running- she'll jog along at around a 12 minute mile. She doesn't need to do my faster runs with me but it'd be great if she would trot or lope some 9 minute miles. I think she'd be happier on trails, so I might try that. Anyone else have this problem? I don't want to force her to do something she has no interest in, particularly if it could harm her. We don't do anything outside more than walking if the temp is above 75. 2) My bf and I are considering getting a second dog next year when Zucchini is two. We are thinking a male Aussie as opposed to a second BC. My concern is will two bcs feed on each other's intensity? Zuc is pretty dominant, easily offended by other dog's manners, and resource guards toys (I'm working on it to the best of my ability without having a second dog to work with). But she also is about as typical bc as you can get, I think. I've taken her to get a herding test and a one-day herding clinic and she has 'strong' eye and really good focus on the sheep. We live in a two bedroom apartment with no yard in Philly. Would a second bc potentially result in interpersonal problems between them as opposed to a slightly less focused and intense breed? Or perhaps she'd be happier with no 'sibling' at all? Thank you all!! Picture for fun.
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