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Posts posted by coffeegirl

  1. 2 hours ago, GentleLake said:

    There's something different about thunder and fireworks, though. I'd bought a recording of thunderstorms years ago in the hope of desensitizing the very noise phobic dog at the time. He never reacted a bit to it and no thunder phobic dog I've ever had since has either.

    @urge to herd

    This is all cool to think about. Especially the part about his reacting to ones you couldn't hear, and what that might mean. Because I'm sure the reaction of the humans plays some part, consciously or subconsciously, too. A human knows what's on TV or recorded isn't real, so isn't moved, and dog isn't moved. I happen to adore thunderstorms (having been raised in a part of Florida where they were a frequent thing, they just remind me of being a kid). My husband gets pretty nervous, though, and doesn't sleep well (whereas I love being in bed for them!) I think the last one we had I just crated Carmen to be sure she didn't feel vulnerable (her crate's covered in a secluded corner), and she was fine with that.

  2. 16 hours ago, GentleLake said:

    My experience has been that noise phobia doesn't start till about 2 years old, and I just saw that mentioned in an article recently too.

    So you're not off the hook with that one yet.


    That's interesting. Well, here's hoping all the garbage trucks, construction noise, lawnmowers and sirens she's learned to ignore every day will insulate her a little and see her through... Either that, or she'll be the one who goes out to the country and freaks out because it's too quiet. My husband's like that. (I am not. I prefer quiet, but this is the way life rolled out.)

  3. Yeah, you're going to feel really vulnerable while he's little. My pup is almost 8 months now, and I'll say it gets better when they're a little bigger and you don't feel so exposed. When they're bigger, you can feel more peeved when people try to say crap like that (because they're being selfish and making you uncomfortable with their, "deal with it" attitude) and not so panicked and desperate. And of course it's hard, because you do have to get the little pups out and exposed to things, but all you really want to do is avoid this nonsense.

    But it really does get better. Hang in there. You're a good dog mama and this period where you have to growl so much and be vigilant is only so intense temporarily.

    PS--When they start to get a little bigger, you also start to feel more secure that every little thing won't imprint them for life, because you start to see their true personality emerging, and how resilient it is (or where exactly it's unique). And that's a relief, too. (But it's not there until it is.)

  4. :D The move was, "go around."

    Sometimes it feels like she knows what I'm going to say before I even command it. Like I think it, then she beats me to it before I can say it. (Times like this make up for the times I know she knows what I want, but she decides to be a brat...haha) And then there are the times she teaches herself things...like how to open the back door when it's not locked (the cat really appreciates this one.) For some reason, that's the one that impresses our guests most. :lol:

    And thanks! I was thinking of getting one of those plastic baby pools and putting toys in and seeing what happens. I really think she'd avoid the entire area, though. She acts like it's kryptonite! This may be the route we go next summer, as it's already cooling off, and nobody likes cold water when it's chilly...I'm probably not doing myself any favours, though. She hasn't needed much more than a sponge bath (when she got into the BBQ grease---ughhh) but she will eventually, and I'm not sure what I'll do then.

  5. D'Elle is right, you just can't trust off-leash dogs. Take another route that avoids them. For one thing, there's a big power inequity even if you dog wasn't...a puppy. Your dog was on a leash, the other one wasn't, right? That's not a good situation. But that's how you learn, so good on you. B)

    But this is why it's so rude to have dogs off leash in public. It teaches them they're king of the world, and the other dogs will never come after them (because they're leashed). 

    More importantly, let me just say I feel you on the owner's response. I HATE THAT stupid nonchalance. I get that they're surprised and embarrassed, but grow a spine and take some responsibility, you jerks. You don't know that their dog is actually friendly, no matter what they say. You don't know the dog. So when their dog lurches at your dog, it scares the crap out of YOU (not to mention your dog), and that is a violation worth apologizing profusely for. Same goes for these, "friendly" dogs that come bounding at full speed up to your leashed dog. You get to think, "oh, do I have to try to kick off this strange dog now, or is it going to eat my dog?" for half a second. That sucks, and the owner should apologize sincerely. Every time. They need to stop letting their dogs off leash and scaring people--it's so selfish. We share the public space and none of this is acceptable.

    Now if you're at a dog convention or something, and you know off-leash dogs are part of the equation, then fine. You're prepared. (Or you know to avoid it.) But that is not a sailing dock. That is not a public sidewalk. That is not a public no-off-leash park.

    My dog has her friends, and everyone else we just give a wide berth until we know them better.

  6. I live in a large city. We have a beautiful dog park practically in my backyard. It's shady, huge, has rolling hills, a water spigot, is well kept...

    And I do not use it. At all. Ever.

    I think the city is perhaps the most problematic place for a dog park. Many people here buy or adopt dogs and then get dog walkers in the daytime. As a result, dog walkers fill these dog parks, bringing in 5 dogs at a time. Even the best dog whisperer cannot responsibly supervise 5 dogs. Add to that the stupid culture which has arisen as a result, where the owners play, "nicey nicey" when some dog is aggressive or pushy or even bites their dog and expect you to do the same. They want to let the dogs, "work it out." Excuse my French, but F-that. It only took one time of me having to be a jerk to someone who said, '"they're just playing" for me to realize these people are not my tribe, and never mind the dogs, if this continues I'm going to end up biting someone.

    Also, my vet told me the place is crawling with parasites.

    So what we do is get up at the crack of dawn and take her on a long leash to the baseball/soccer field when no one else is there. I drop the long (30 ft) leash, and she can fetch for as long as my husband's chucker can throw it. Technically, off-leash dogs are not allowed in this park, but no one is there, she now has perfect recall, and I keep an eye on the horizon like a zebra scanning the savanna. On the rare occasions another dog shows up in the distance this early, I recall her and leash her immediately. She doesn't bother people or pigeons or even squirrels when she's fetching, because she's a goddamn working dog and that ball is not going to return itself. Even the city workers who I've seen reprimand other dog owners in the park (thank goodness), ignore us, I guess because we keep to ourselves, she's technically, "on a leash" where I could get her pretty easily, and this dog so obviously has a one-track mind: "Ball. Ball again. I need to watch which way it's going. There it goes again..."

    I honestly don't know what we'd do if we hadn't come up with this (fine and fun) solution. We'd probably have to move. Seriously. If you get a border collie in the city, you have to be prepared to do all manner of madness to make it work, up to and including getting out of the city if necessary. Thankfully, it works great for us, but I didn't know any of this to begin with. I thought dog parks would be the answer, and I was so wrong. (Posting here in case someone needs that experience to come up with their plan B before they take that step.)

  7. Cutie! 

    You're doing the right move. It just doesn't always work right away. It takes maturity for the little brain to make the decision to do the, "right" thing. As long as you're consistent about what that right thing is, eventually, when she has that ability, she'll make that decision. So hang in there, keep doing what you're doing (don't let up for a second!) and eventually, she'll get it. Puppies are kind of a pain in the butt, right? But I think she'll get it when she has the ability to follow through on what she knows is right. B)

  8. We sort of did this inadvertently since I work from home. We didn't use a collar and leash, though. I taught her "get in your bed" which can move around the house, wherever I want her. (That was easy: just treat in the bed. 3 times and she had it.) Then, when I want to work, I just put the bed by my desk and tell her to, "get in your bed." If she gets up to move, and I want her to settle down, I just tell her to get back in her bed. At some point, I'll get up and walk around, she'll get water, play, etc. I'll sit back down, and usually she'll get in her bed out of habit. If not, and she's not being crazy or harassing the cat, I'll just let her wander and do her thing. But when she's starting to get antsy (by this time, I usually am, too) I'll take her out for a while, then tell her to, "get in your bed" when we get back. It all sort of evolved naturally, no dominance required. (But she's naturally a bit submissive anyway, and a real mistress-pleaser.)

  9. Kong makes plushies, too, and those haven't been ripped apart for us, yet. For the other plushie toys, I just take ripping apart as part of the fun. We use a toy delivery service, and she gets three a month. They start to pile up, so with a collection, she rarely spends too much time with any single one of them to disintegrate it completely. I mean, she DOES rip them apart (there's a carcass right at my feet right now in fact) but she still likes them when they're just shredded fabric as well. Sometimes she even likes them better this way. I just throw away the stuffing when this happens, and put the plushie skin back in the toy bin. Some toys (like the kong plushies) come with rope instead of stuffing inside, and they're less of a mess. Also, I keep her with a good stock of chewy sticks (I second the Yak suggestion--my pup really likes those) so that when she wants to really gnaw on something, she has that. Mostly she throws the plushies to herself to play with the sounds in them...squeaking, crackling, etc. and when she wants to chew, she gets a chewy stick.

    My dog never really liked "kong" kongs. :wacko: Stuffed or otherwise. We tried a bunch of sizes, but they're just not her thing.

  10. Quick Mom Brag: Carmen made the trainer blurt out, "holy shit" then cover her mouth at class last night when she learned a new move on the second try. She learns tricks/commands so quickly, everybody just rolls their eyes. #bordercolliebrains #donthatemebecauseimbrilliant

    She's 7 months now. She has hand signals for sit, down and come, she can stay in a group of other dogs off leash while I leave the room, her heeling and recall is really good. She's my shadow and my work buddy, and I can't remember life before her. My husband and I do long-lead fetch at the big park with her every morning, and we still gasp when she does the occasional jump/catch in the air. Can't wait until she's old enough to start on Frisbee!  Now that the kids are back in school, I'm going to start teaching her the names of her toys (which are piling up from her Barkbox deliveries.)

    One challenge: she has water phobia. Serious...serious...water phobia. She doesn't even like being splashed with a water bottle. I've watched Youtube videos on how to deal with it, but honestly, we just don't live with easy enough access to bodies of water to train it up. Maybe next summer? Hope that's not too late...

    But as far as anxieties go, I think we got off pretty lightly. That's really the only one. She's fine in the city, doesn't pull the lead, no longer lurches for attention with people, is unmoved by cars and trucks and even the subway that you can hear under the park like thunder. Oh yes, and she's okay with thunder and fireworks, too. Not thrilled, but she's not terrified.

    Sometimes when she's running hard after the ball (usually on the return) she coughs a little. I was thinking of taking her to the vet, but anybody have ideas on what this could be? Could she be allergic to grass? It's gone on for some time, and she really only does it when she's running hard at the park.

    Ugh, this was supposed to be quick. But you all know how it is when you start talking about your dog...:rolleyes:


  11. Thanks for that info, GentleLake! I've never heard of that procedure before, but there's someone about an hour out of town who does it, so I'll look into it for sure. I'm so grateful for this site and your help.

    And yes, D'Elle, she's practically trained to respond with clownish rollover antics to squealing teenage girls. Just like the Beatles. :lol:


  12. Don't let her glamour pose fool you: she's a filthy beast at heart...

    Updates: we're having fun at obedience training. The dog park idea was a total fail: it's like a doggy meat grinder. Tried three times, never, ever again. It's a real eye opener what happens to dogs with "dog walkers" though. So no dog park unless it's pouring rain. Fortunately, she has no problem with city noise (even the subway rumble under the park, after looking to me for reassurance), so we do long leash work at the other park, and her recall is really getting good. She's Miss Popularity still with all and sundry on walks, but now that she's learning to heel, it isn't as big an issue. Still, I kind of wish we had a Cloak of Invisibility when we go out, because sometimes you just want to be with your dog, eh?

    I tried to search up "spay" on this site, but the search function is wonky. Hopefully it will straighten out soon, or maybe one of you sages can just pop in with a quick age comment. Don't need to start a controversy on that, but can't access what controversy there is, and the vet is asking.

    So Carmen's just swell! She's a love bug, sometimes full of beans, but we're having a great time!


  13. A comment I get a lot from people when I tell them my puppy is a border collie is, "oh, has she started herding the cats/dogs/kids in your house yet?" And then what they go on to describe other dogs doing is just...rude dog behaviour. Pushing others around. Nipping. That's not herding, is it? I've even seen this printed in breed descriptions on the net. Doesn't that kind of suck?


    I've seen a few things in her that I suppose would be useful in a herding context: the stare. The stalk. (We are actively discouraging this regarding the cats). And obviously, the energy. But just being pushy isn't something they're bred for, is it? It's just not being trained.


    I mean, leave it to genius border collies to come up with this swell PR campaign whereby their rude behaviour is excused as "they can't help it." But...really?


    In other news, I'm so glad it's the last puppy class. Carmen's come out of her shell, and now she is so athletic she literally can't play with other puppies which are mostly smaller "city" breeds (she's just too fast and too tall for them). It's so sad, because the little guys do want to play with her at off-leash "free" time, and she with them, and she's totally not aggressive, and she even gamely rolls over to show them she's not a threat sometimes...but then in her natural state, she's just this superdog romping monster compared to them. (Not complaining! I do love her so. Her abilities are just so cool.) One time, she did have a great class when an adorable Old English Sheepdog puppy was there, so really they just need to be appropriately sized for off-leash.


    What else? She's mastered the "down" on walks when strangers want to come and pet. She may pee while she's down there out of excitement if the strangers are squealing girls, but she's down. So that's good.


    And one form of "work" she's been able to do: we've had a problem with a little maple tree in our backyard. In the spring, the squirrels had been fond of eating the young leaves, and it damages the tree. This spring, however, the tree has been kept safe. B) It's lovelier than ever.

  14. As for whistle, my favorite is a small metal one with a very loud high pitched sound. Google ' I.C.E. Whistle' to find it.

    (don't know why they are calling it that).


    This is exactly the kind of recommendation I was looking for. Thanks a lot! I'll give it a try.


    I'm also going to try the hand thing. Or maybe just one finger. (Index, not middle...)

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