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Posts posted by drharps

  1. So my BC has become a Harry Houdini in a "wow that's amazing," and a "oh boy, that is bad" way. It started where she figured out she could cut screens with her nails and started breaking through open windows. Now she has learned glass is breakable and is breaking the glass out of windows to escape. She doesn't run away - as she's always broken into the yard - but I obviously can't trust her at home now (I just moved to a new spot a week ago). 

    Any advice is welcome. What are people's thoughts on e-fences so I can leave her in the yard when I'm gone and while the fences are secure, the e-fence may offer an added sense of security? 

    I've never really crated her when I leave but may have to do that. Do craters have any thoughts? I recently separated from my girlfriend so I've never had to crate her while gone, and don't like the idea of her being locked up. 

    Some of this is likely nerves as we just moved and I bet she's spooked, but I also can't risk her hurting herself and I can't keep taking these financial hits from this darn dog. 

  2. So I posted on another thread about needing a good ball recommendation, and it elicited a number of views on the issues with fetch as an activity. It got me to doing some research and looking more into the issue. What do people think of the activity? Is it good, but only when limited to 30 minutes a day? Is it good, but best when it's on a schedule so the dog knows, for instance, fetch happens in the morning and that's it? Is it something that is a great exercise for the dog so do it when and where you can? 

    Some of the studies I found indicated it can lead to a nervous, anxious, and reactive dog because they essentially become a junkie and it affects their brain activity when they aren't playing. Other trainers/vets I've read say it's a natural and great activity for dogs.

    Would love to hear what people think because fetch is one of those things I've considered as 'dog-like' as the name fido and love of bones. 

  3. Lots of interesting takes in this thread, did not expect it to go this way. For the record, I also do training, walks, hikes, nose work, beach, etc. with my dog. That said, she LOVES fetch and when we go in the yard (which is small) it's a great activity where I can sit and do work and periodically throw the ball for her. When we go to a dog park, all she wants to do is fetch with the toys there. It is undoubtedly her favorite activity outside of something more active, like hiking. 

    Based on some interesting food for thought in this thread, I'll greatly reduce her fetch, but cutting it out doesn't seem like something she'd want, or I'd want, as it's a good way to exercise her when I can't do something more engaging. 

    And for the record, the Champion Sports Extreme soccer ball lasts no longer than any other ball. 

  4. I'm wanting to buy a soccer ball (or size 3) to kick for the dog. I bought a regular ball to see if she'd like it and she loved it, but tore it to shreds in seeming minutes. I've tried the jolly ball and we use it only for inside because the plastic is too unpleasant to kick barefooted. 

    Any recommendations? I see chukit has a ball. There are also 'tougher' soccer balls out there. Curious if anyone has tried any before I buy. 

  5. Anyone have any tips on when your dog gets excited how you calm them down? 

    My border gets overly excited when a random stimuli happens - say someone talking outside the house, or on a walk a bus's brakes squeal, or the neighbors come out when we're playing frisbee in the yard. She then starts barking and fluffs her tail and runs around the yard or pulls on the leash.

    When that happens or has happened to you, what did you do to calm them? Did you make them lay down and stay until they relaxed? Start training them to divert their energy? Thoughts? 

  6. What are people's thoughts on these, and have they had any experience with them? Our fence isn't secure, so we've had to build a makeshift one cutting off half the yard to our border, and unfortunately she, when fired up, can still get over the fence. (We rent so we're not interested in making a heavy investment for legit fencing.)

    The yard is pretty small and I'd love to let her run the entire area, so I'm thinking of getting a wireless or underground fence to 'block off' the problem areas (low points in the fence, gaps, etc.). 


  7. Thanks everyone for the incredible advice! I've already started with the training, and will dig up the assortment of old clickers we have laying around. We used the clicker when she was younger so she'll pick it up quickly. One thing that will be interesting is I've trained her that when I click with my mouth, she needs to look at me. Hopefully she doesn't confuse the two, but they're distinctive enough I think it'll be fine. 

  8. 6 hours ago, D'Elle said:

    As I said in my post above, I don't think one or the other is better.:

     "This same thing, I have found, can be applied in many situations. Not saying it is "better" than the LAT, but is another good technique to know."

    You have to be quick with the clicker. If you click too soon or too late you will be clicking while she is barking and you don't want to do that. Only click when she is silent for one second. If you time it right, your dog won't think she is being rewarded for barking and will catch on that it is when she is quiet that she gets rewarded. If you are not familiar with the clicker, practice so you get good at the timing. Make sure the dog is nowhere near, of course, and then practice instant clicking when a friend suddenly lifts her arm, or whatever.

    I explained how that works, and how it worked with a very barkey aggressive foster dog, but you don't have to believe me if you don't want to.

    And again, the dog learns that being quiet gets rewarded. As long as the dog is quiet you keep giving treats. It stops when the dog barks. As for your dog barking and then stopping to get treats, I would watch her and see if she is barking at something or if she is just letting out a bark or two randomly, then stopping and looking at you. If she is doing the latter,  I would ignore her. It's like training a certain behavior like fetching something for you. You would not reward the dog every time she brings your slippers, or that's all she would do all day. You'd only reward when you told her to get them. 

    Thanks D'Elle. I'll give this a try first, and slowly work towards LAT as well. Until I get her trained on LAT, I'll try rewarding her when she pauses.

    One other question: there are times when I don't have the clicker on me, and instead wait for the break and say, "YES, good girl," and reward her. Is there something magic about the clicker, or is it the praise she receives at the right moment to indicate the action we want, regardless of whether it's a click, a tongue click, or a "good girl." 

  9. So is one better or easier than the other (click when she pauses/Look at that)? 

    Also, D'Elle, was there concern you were going to reward and reinforce the bad behavior? She absolutely loses her mind and goes vicious when we park by a dog in our car, and I'm afraid if I click when she breathes or pauses, she's going to think it's a reward for the barking/aggression. I'm also afraid she's going to learn that if she barks, she can look at me and I'll click and reward because she stopped (I've had that happen in the past).

  10. So my dog who has always been reactive to noises on the street, but she is becoming more and more reactive to any noise she hears outside (this is when we are in the house). Usually what happens is she hears a noise, her head goes up and she concentrates, when the noise comes back she lets loose and barks to her heart's content. 

    I know the general rule is get some distance between her and the noises and reward her when she doesn't react, but that's not possible given the small lot size of the houses around me (even when in the basement away from the street we can still hear trucks, people, etc.). 

    What I have been doing is either A) as soon as I see her pick her head up, make a weird noise or something to get her to look away then reward her the second she looks at me or looks away, or, if she won't look and she's freaking out, b) stand up and get in-between her and the door and basically back her down away from the windows/door, then reward her when she quiets. 

    The issue is, she's getting worse so I fear one or both of those techniques is a failure/reinforcing something bad. I also sometimes poke her or pet her when she looks away to try to calm her. 


  11. Thanks. Yeah, we have frisbees and balls for outside, but she comes in and we're trying to think through some good toys to keep her occupied if she's still loaded with energy. We had some squeaky toys but she was completely uninterested. Maybe we'll do more tug of war. We also have bones but she plows through those. 

    We have some of the puzzle toys but as you mention those can be time consuming to put together, and have a shelf-life (once the treats are obtained, she is done with it). Have you found any that are especially time consuming and good? We have Kongs and the puzzle game (8 compartments with treats inside). 

  12. Out of curiosity, does anyone else have a dog that barks throughout training? Has anyone had success teaching them to stay quiet? Our trainer dismissed it saying, "some borders get excited and express themselves via barking." 

    And for background, it's not aggression or annoyance or anything in that vein. She simply, when we go through the routine of 'sit, down, etc.' barks THE ENTIRE TIME. It's not harmful or concerning, it's just super annoying and  we live in a place where the neighbors no doubt hear her every bark and squeal so if there's a way to minimize it, all the better. If it's simply, "welcome to life with a border," so be it.  

  13. 1 hour ago, urge to herd said:

    The best treat dispensing toy I've found is a rigid plastic ball that twists apart. You put kibble or small hard treats in it, put it back together and the dog noses it around and kibbles falls out randomly through a hole in the ball. There's enough obstacles (in the form of furniture, corners, etc, that it frequently takes Gibbs at least 10 minutes to empty the ball. He's taught himself to nudge the ball out corners that it gets stuck in and various other 'sticky' situations. Worst comes to worst, he stares at it 'loudly' and I go get the thing unstuck for him.

    I've got another treat dispenser that does take him about a couple minutes to get all the food out of. I use it, but I won't buy another one.

    I'll sprinkle kibble in an old bath rug or towel, roll it up, maybe even tie it in a knot if it's worn out enough and give it to him. That does keep him occupied longer. I'll take the cardboard left from a toilet paper roll or a paper towel roll, crimp one end, pour some kibble in, crimp the second end, then give it to him to demolish. If your dog likes to eat cardboard, this is not a good thing. And I do have to clean up slightly slimy cardboard, but not a big deal.

    I haven't had any luck with the other toys that promise 'hours of fun for your dog!'.

    Ruth & Gibbs

    Thanks. We have one of those balls that you put kibble in. It's been a long time since I've used it but I'll try using it for her meal tonight, mixed with a few treats. 


    Yeah, the puzzle we got took her no time to figure out (basically they created a short cut where, if turned upside down, the treats can fall out). She figured that out and that was that. I'm thinking of using peanut butter this time so it doesn't fall out easily and she has to technically 'solve' it. 

  14. With lockdown, the ability to take the dog out and hike/beach/etc. is pretty challenging. Have people used any of the puzzle toys for dogs, and had good success or lessons learned? I bought mine a Nina Ottosson Advanced Puzzle game and it is underwhelming. It takes her about 5 minutes and she's solved it for the treats. 

    So do people have other toys they give their dog to keep them occupied mentally? Or toys in general that the dog just loves playing by him/herself? 


    19 hours ago, dananicb said:

    drharps - how did it go? I am planning to start my 2yr old to accompany me on a jog (have been training to keep up with her). Any tips?

    She's still reluctant. The only way I can get her to go is if I walk with her in the opposite direction and take a different route for the run. And even that is 50/50 on working. What worked for me was starting her on a tight leash. When she had too much leeway, she would cut behind me or pay too much attention to stimuli and potentially trip me. Now that she's used to running, I can give her more leash and she maintains well. 

    What I wish I did differently was treat her a ton more. I would start running and only treat when I stopped. I wish I had treated her randomly throughout the run so she would have a better enjoyment of it. 

  16. I can't diagnose anything as I'm just a casual dog owner, but my dog did the same thing and a lot of it was solved by simply giving her space on walks from stimuli, and with time she calmed. She still lunges when there are too many triggers (e.g. last night, thanks to waves crashing and spooking her, she lunged at a biker), but with time she learned to ignore them and I can take her on walks, runs, bike rides, etc. without her caring about others. 

    Also, when she started running, barking, biting (I have gone through multiple pairs of shorts), I would immediately step in and start training her - down, sit, heel, between the legs, etc. Our trainer said to distract her and redirect her focus to something constructive. Some of that was also 'down and stay' so she would slowly calm. 

    I am reading the book BAT 2 and really find it helpful. Worth a look. 

  17. My 2.5 year old Border mix is a typical border in many regards. High energy, loves having a task, can go all day, etc. What has been weird, however, is she has recently shown a dislike of going for a run with me. We only go for 3-4 miles, but the first 1/2 mile - 1 mile she pulls behind me and often tries to stop. The last 2+ miles, she is great. 

    I know people can't diagnose over a message board, but have people had issues with something like this before? It's not an energy thing, so I'm curious if it's a breed thing (not enough stimuli), potential injury (though she'll play frisbee all day), or there are ways people have 'taught' their dog to like jogging. 

  18. For the most part, my 2-year old BC mix is fine with being left alone. She goes into the basement and sits until we get home. For the past few weeks, however, she has gone into the kitchen and pulled things down from the counters. She doesn't often do much with them - yesterday she pulled down two dry pasta bags and a veggie broth box, chewed holes in each of them, then did nothing else. 

    Sometimes it is because she hasn't been exercised properly, but there's now enough regularity that her energy level seems to be less of a factor. 

    Thoughts on cause? Solutions? We can of course block her from the kitchen, but given the layout of the house that's an option we don't want to exercise. We are also putting things out of her reach more, but there's simply too much stuff for her to be completely devoid of temptation. Strangely, she has never pulled down her bag of food which is the easiest to reach. 

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