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Everything posted by TheWoman

  1. Ok, I think the bolded statement (my emphasis) makes my point. Thanks for your thoughts all, but I think we just have a fundamental difference in how we view dogs. I'll respectfully bow out of your forum because I just really don't agree with the apparent majority perspective here. Different breeds have different needs (resultant from generations and generations of selective breeding and genetics), and I choose to train with that in mind. Of course Border Collies have BC specific needs. The same as huskies have husky specific needs, and labs have lab specific needs, etc. A BC pup is very different in how it views the world from a lab puppy, and so my training will necessarily also be different. You all might feel that this is a universal 'puppy' trait, but how it manifests is breed (or type) dependant, in my opinion. I can promise you, how this BC pup behaves is dramatically different than how a working sled dog pup behaves, because they are selectively bred to have different characters. Yes they are both dogs, and might both have similar 'dog' behaviours, but the why and the how of those behaviours is quite different. If I want a happy, well adjusted adult dog, understanding that 'why' is critical, IMO. Over the years I've had 20+ dogs come through my life (and my pack has been upwards of 5-6 dogs at any given time), not to mention my professional life, wherein I've seen dozens more (with many other species to boot). I just see dogs in a fundamentally different way, I guess, and that's ok. I'll look for a community that better suits this perspective. All the best.
  2. Great, thanks! This is my experience w him so far (a well placed treat seems to do more than a harsh rebuke), so I appreciate the thought.
  3. Guys, I didn’t say I was accepting this behaviour, or that I was only training w positive reinforcement. Regardless of whether it’s herding behaviour or not, I’m obviously interested in getting rid of it.... that’s why I made this post. No one is excusing it or allowing ANY biting, nipping or chasing. My point was that I firmly believe that the best kind of training addresses the dogs motivation for doing something, thus addressing the underlying behavioural reasons FOR that action, and countering it w something else. I’m not a newbie to dog (or animal) training (I’ve done graduate level research in animal psychology, along w 20+ years of training work), I’m just not a breed-specific expert to herding dogs, who are universally acknowledged to have their own set of challenges for ownership. Heck, that’s why forums like this exist. BC’s are different from labs, or huskies or chihuahuas. Which are different from mice, donkeys, birds or squirrels. They have a high prey drive/chase drive/herding instinct. Call t whatever you want, but that behaviour is what I’m seeing manifest, and what I want to stop while he’s a pup, and not when he’s a 60lbs adult I asked the question because you all have years of experience w this breed, and I was hoping someone had breed specific advice. I don’t need to be convinced that it needs to be addressed, I was hoping for concrete tips on what’s worked for others to determine if I’m on the right track.
  4. Yes, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about the standard puppy ankle biting (which I agree, is DEFINITELY a thing!). I'm talking about the herding behaviour of running after something, barking and nipping at its heels to get it moving. It's accompanied by the border collie stare at the beginning, and is clear herding behaviour. The other is just standard puppy behaviour, and I've no issues training that out (I've been training dogs for 25+ years, and worked in animal care/training in a zoo setting, training animals for shows w the pubic, so my animal psychology background isn't too shabby). I'm talking about the herding instincts kicking in (his parents are both working BCs, and he def has a high drive). My cats have stopped him from doing it to them with a few well placed scratches/swats, but the kids don't have pointy feet!
  5. Yeah, it's been a struggle to get my kids to play in a calm, productive manner, rather than just getting the pup worked up (like your son). Luckily we worked on it for a couple of months with my parent's newest pup before we brought Dodger home, so we really only had a couple of days of me reminding them that wrestling with a puppy might be cute, but wrestling with a 60lbs adult dog is going to hurt!
  6. Yes! We've got a long tug-toy that I use for nipping at fingers (which has been all but eliminated), but I didn't want to reward the heel nipping, because it's not just misdirected nips (like a finger nip), but clear 'get moving in the direction I'm telling you to!' behaviour. I wonder if it would work here too. Thanks!
  7. Ah, I didn't even think of the overtired angle. I was thinking overstimulated, but just like a toddler he does get more obnoxious when he's tired (or has been playing for a while), now that I think of it. Maybe stopping play sessions sooner would solve some of this. Well, yes, it's puppy behaviour (he's 12 weeks), but it's herding dog puppy behaviour. Of all the many dogs I've had in my life, the only ones to do this are the herding dogs. Since it's been nearly 20 years since I've had a herding dog pup, I don't remember what worked in the past. I'm hesitant to use the crate as a 'time out', since he's already having difficulty adjusting to crated time, and I'd like it to remain a positive experience.
  8. Absolutely. To be clear, I wasn't attaching any labels to THIS dog, but rather to my own. I'd never presume to label someone else's dog (esp one I haven't met). And yes - when I used NILIF with my dog, it was because she was a SUPER dominant alpha female (we had been through half a dozen trainers who refused to even work with her because of this), and I had tried every other system under the sun. A modified version though is something I've since used with all my dogs (from all points on the dominance spectrum) with great success. I think it gives the ones with less confidence MORE confidence, because they've done something and are rewarded for their efforts. If done correctly, it IS a gentle approach, and one that can help a dog blossom (In my experience, anyway).
  9. Hi all, I tried to do a search but nothing concrete came up. Ideas about how to get Dodger to understand that people are not sheep, and that chasing people, barking at their feet and nipping at toes to get us moving is not polite? He mostly does it when he's worked up from playing other games, and people aren't quite as excited as he'd like them to be. So far, I've just been stopping all play, and walking away. When I have a pup chasing after me as I go, nipping at my heels, I ignore it completely. If it gets intense, I'll give a firm 'NO!' and stop moving completely until he stops. Then I'll carry on to my destination. I'm hoping he'll connect that nipping/barking/herding actually has the opposite effect than intended in people. Not sure if this is the right approach though. Other than this, he's a fantastic little dog, and has fit right into our family. I want to help him nip (ha!) this behaviour in the bud, before it becomes a habit.
  10. Check out the 'nothing in life is free' method. I had a VERY dominant shepherd years ago, and this was the only technique that kept her from being aggressive. Whenever she started to resource guard we upped the training and it worked beautifully.
  11. Also re: daytime and barking. No, neighbours confirmed that he barked almost the whole time we were gone that day. We were only gone for about 45 minutes, it wasn't hours or anything. When I left him yesterday though, he was quiet when I came home, so here's hoping he's getting used to it. I've tried my best to get him slowly used to being alone, and I haven't left him for longer than an hour yet. I'm slowly leaving him for longer periods, hoping that it makes it easier on him if it's phased in gradually.
  12. Thanks folks. The crate is in a corner of our kitchen/dining/living area (open concept). Putting it in my bedroom is out (I don't like dogs in bedrooms as I'm a VERY light sleeper, but also there's simply no space. We've already got our toddler's crib in there.) The night after this post I put a cover over the crate and that seems to have solved the problem completely. He's slept right through every night since, with no crying at all. He whined a little when I put him in, I gave him a firm 'no bark' and told him goodnight, and he hasn't made a peep in the crate at night since. Daytime is another issue entirely, however. He's happy to go in during the day if the door is left open (he often chooses to sleep in it, and also enjoys taking chew toys in there to chew on rather than to his bed in the living room. But as soon as you close the door he cries. I'm sure we'll get over it (I hope?!). Also, re: separation anxiety - I know that this behaviour ISN'T separation anxiety yet... my point was that I don't want to reward behaviours that could turn INTO separation anxiety, or encourage anxiety around being separated from me. He already often cries when I'm out of site, regardless of whether there's another family member in the room. I want to help to curb this behaviour now, rather than reinforce it. That's what I meant.
  13. Hi all, So for those who remember my introduction the other day- we brought Dodger home this week. He’s generally a fabulous puppy, has picked up house training like a champ (only 2 accidents in 3 days, both of which were human error, not his fault), and has bonded really strongly to me already. Herein lies my question. He’s a fabulous pup if he’s near me - follows me, is eager to please, watches for any sign of a command and does his best to immediately adhere - but he HATES being separated from me already. His first night here he cried in his crate a bit, but settled after 10 minutes or so. Yesterday night he settled quickly. Today we went out to the store and I strongly believe he barked/cried the whole time. Tonight he will NOT settle in the crate. It’s been half an hour and he’s still going strong. If he can be with me he’s great. If he can’t see me he throws a fit. (And it’s ME, not just ‘a person’). Suggestions? Obviously I’m not interested in setting him up for a lifetime of separation anxiety. How do I nip this in the bud? I’ve never had a dog SO bonded so fast (or at all, really).
  14. thanks! The freckles were the clincher for me. I fell in love.
  15. Very interesting. Thanks for this perspective. Makes sense to establish one before another.
  16. Thanks everyone! I appreciate the thoughts. You’ve reinforced what I thought, so it’s good to know I was on the right track. And by popular request, I’ve attached a pic of little Dodger :)
  17. Hi all, I'm new here, but not new to BC's. I grew up with the breed, and my parents have owned BC's and aussies for most of my life. My sister still has a BC and a BC cross. I, however, deviated from my family and owned huskies over the years. When my last husky passed away 4 years ago, I swore I'd never get another dog (2 young dogs dying suddenly from congenital issues very close together will do that to you, I guess). Fast forward and my kids are dying for another dog, and it's getting harder and harder for me to keep my 'no dogs' wall up. My oldest son has such a natural talent with dogs and training that I wanted to get one that would be a great match for his desire to get into agility (he's been practicing his training techniques on my dad's newest aussie pup, and when we go to my parents' place for a visit I won't see him for an entire day because he's off with the dog somewhere). One day I opened up my computer and saw a litter of BC/Aussie cross pups and I knew it was a sign (mom is a working BC, dad is a working BC/Aussie cross). One of the pups has freckles that look identical to my childhood BC, and I fell in love. Little Dodger comes home next week. Along with agility, I'd love to do herding trials, since there's nothing like a herding dog doing what they're born to do. There's a farm a few minutes from our home that has training classes and sheep rentals for folks in our situation. My questions - it's been a lot of years since I've had a young BC. How much time do you spend on exercise when they're young (and may have a tendency to over-do it)? With four kids at home, this pup will have no shortage of play partners to throw a ball or go for a run (for reference, we have a very large yard, as well as a ton of hiking trails and a dog park nearby). With my huskies, they'd run until they physically couldn't anymore, which I know isn't a great thing health wise. I'd love if you could share your experience - what did you find optimal in terms of enough (and maybe type?) of exercise to wear your BC out enough to be happy, but not to the point of exhaustion. Also, does anyone do both agility and sheep trials with their dog? Am I asking too much to train for both? Should we only focus on one? None of my BCs/aussies were trialing dogs, but all did basic agility, and all learned basic herding commands for fun. It's been a lot of years since I've shared space with a trainable dog (huskies are supremely, and maddeningly UNtrainable for much of anything except sledding), so I want to make sure we do right by him! Thanks everyone!
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