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Everything posted by jami74

  1. Surely they must have some pictures of him with his litter mates? When I requested photos of a puppy I was sent photos of all the puppies suckling together from the Mum, playing together, sleeping in a pile etc.
  2. I like this comment best of all! For a long while it felt like no amount of consistency, confinement or short training sessions made much difference. But now it's all coming together and even though it looked like nothing was going in to his brain, I can see now that it was and am glad at all the little things we kept reinforcing.
  3. Aw that's lovely! So pleased for you. Hope over time that sort of thing becomes more frequent.
  4. Don't feel bad. You've spotted the matts and are planning to do something about them, that makes you a good dog mum. Our boy is the same with the brush, tries to catch it for a chomp. Not easy and probably not the recommended solution but I've found our most successful brushes is having a chew or tug toy in one hand and brushing him in the other. It can be a bit of a dance around but it gets the brush through him. He has improved and sometimes I can do a few brushes without a distraction now but it's an every other day drag the brush through a few times rather than the long, slow, relaxing, bonding brushing session I envisaged when I chose a hairy puppy. Thankfully we've been lucky and not had any big matts, I wonder if some dogs are more prone to them. He had a small one in the fluff behind his ear which I teased at for a couple of days and then cut out, again probably not the recommended advice but it wasn't going anywhere. Hope you get some sensible de-matting replies soon. X
  5. Yes I felt that way for a while, after all the conflicting 'advice' from vets, pet store, friends and family, puppy trainers, online forums etc. In the end I decided I didn't want to spend more time worrying about what I was feeding our puppy than what I feed the rest of the family and decided as long as he ate, poo'd, grew, slept and played I would keep things simple. That's puppyhood
  6. Our boy was 2.3kg at his 8 week vet check. Over 5kg a month later and is currently 19.5kg at 16 months old. He's not tiny but the border collies we see around look big, maybe because they're older. Our boy looks like he's got some filling out and maturing to do. His stools were always on the soft side, but not diarrhoea. Are you giving cows milk? That can upset little tummies if they're not used to it.
  7. I'm not a vet or a behaviourist either, and I'm certainly not very experienced. But I do very much recognise your feelings of despair because I felt the same way not long ago. Our boy is now 15 months and I think we are past the worst. If you haven't already, buy and read the Controlled Unleashed book. I held off for longer than I should have because it's expensive (where I am, probably cheaper in the US). Our boy also never settled. I think he was nearly a year old when one day he settled down to sleep during the day and slept for ages, I actually thought he must be sick. I'm not saying that life was perfect from this point on, but it was the beginning of him not needing to be watched every second of the day and he seemed to get the hang of laying around. Still high energy, still crazy, but with small periods of relaxation in between. Lead walking: Our boy is reactive to people, cats, birds etc too. And yes, the embarrassment! People are so judgemental. I realised that his reactions are a result of being anxious and unsure and over threshold so we are working lots on having distance between us and them. The improvements over the last couple of months have been huge, possibly helped by being neutered, or maybe just because he's getting older. We keep our lead walks to quiet times of the day and places where we have a good view so can put distance between ourselves and things that trigger the behaviour. We taught a 'leave-it' command with the lead. It was done over a few days and the lead didn't go on him again until he very much knew it mustn't be touched with his mouth. I know other people have similar lead biting problems so it's likely we were just very lucky that it worked so well for us. They hyper-arousal thing is very important I think. We had a forced few days of no leaving the home because of very bad weather and while our boy was a nightmare the first day, by day three he had settled right down. I think we were doing too much with him. Not just physical stuff but also stressful stuff like putting him in situations where he'd start barking and lunging at things, too many new smells and sounds etc. Since then he usually only gets to leave home once a day and while we might be out for an hour, very little of that is actually running around and I try to keep it as low stress as possible. That means recognising when he might start behaving badly and preventing it. Not only is he calmer on one outing a day he pants less, chews less, bothers the cat less and his stools are firmer. Tiring him out seems appealing and may buy a couple of hours of physical exhaustion but in our case too much exercise and stimulation gives us a stressful couple of days as he struggles to come down again afterwards. I've also switched to calmer games at home, eg sometimes making him wait while I hide the ball rather than throwing it. Anyway, I really just wanted to say that I also went through a period of time where I thought that my best wasn't going to be good enough and nothing seemed to get any better but then we turned a corner and while it's not always plain sailing it's easier to see a nicer future.
  8. I'm never quite sure how to end things. I'm talking about little training things we do ad hoc that only last for a few minutes. At the moment we're practicing transitioning between low energy and high energy stuff for example Go to place, a few tricks, some running around find or fetch types games and back to place to settle. This can all be done in five minutes or less and then I give the release command and say that we're all finished and try to go about my business, but our boy is desperately offering me behaviours to get my attention because he wants to carry on. He'll be throwing himself onto his place, bringing me the toys we play hide n' seek with, sitting next to me gazing into my eyes etc. If it's a day that I am at home then I might take a short break and then start again so we get several very short but intense training sessions so can't give him a Kong or chew every time. I love that he wants to work but how do I make it clear when we are working and when he needs to leave me alone for a bit. He doesn't live in a crate so putting him away isn't an option and I don't want to just leave him in his place waiting because eventually he'd have to get up for a drink/pee/find a chew.
  9. I am not as experienced as most on these boards so I can only tell you about some of my experiences with our boy who is nearly 16 months old. At six months old our boy got frustrated very easily, especially if being restrained. Thankfully he never bit any of us but could throw a complete hissy fit, especially if already over stimulated. We responded by trying to avoid situations where he might throw a hissy fit and trying to keep him below threshold. Now he is older he can cope with more stimulation and I am better at recognising when it's better to ease back (eg ending the walk early if cars are starting to bother him). He also has better self control, at six months old he just reacted, now there's a split second of consideration before a reaction which is enough time for me to interrupt the chain of events. It sounds like you are doing well with cars. At six months our boy was terrible and each attempt was worse than the previous. We took a break from lead walking because every experience seemed to reinforce that lunging and barking was the thing to do, then we started again very slowly from scratch. We eased into traffic very slowly. Lots of walking practice in places where the cars were far away and slowly (over time) moving closer, but retreating again if he started reacting. I would suggest if you are having to restrain him (however gently) when cars go by then you are too close. My aim is that eventually any car can pass us however fast/noisily/close and the lead will remain slack. Therefore I try to keep enough distance that we can achieve the slack lead when a car passes, because this is the behaviour I want. I was very guilty of trying to rush things and push him into more challenging situations, it is always tempting if things are going well to go that bit further but now I've learnt that if things are going well it's a good time to stop. Since I've been challenging him less, progress has been quicker. If I get it right we have a successful walk with no reactions, if I get it wrong we both arrive home sore, wide eyed and spitting expletives. There is something called trigger stacking, where a little thing (like a car zooming past) might not be too bothersome by itself but each car causes a little bit of stress. All the little stresses add up until the dog can't take any more and has a reaction. Like the saying 'The straw that broke the camels back'. Maybe that's what happened when he bit you. I don't know what the recommended advice is for dealing with a dog that has bitten but my thought is that while absolutely unacceptable, he was in a stressed and frustrated state, if it was me I'd be aiming to avoid letting him get to that state again. The length of time our boy is exposed to cars on our walks depend on how his day has gone up until that point. Some days it'll be the twentieth car to pass that causes him to stiffen slightly, other days he'll start getting jumpy at car number 3. Do you think you'd be better walking and asking for a sit to watch a passing car rather than sitting down with him? Our boy seems better when moving and doing something than when expected to just sit. At six months old he found sitting still very challenging. Wonder what upset him about 'over the road'. Does anyone else ever walk him? Could his harness have pinched him or something at the exact moment you said those words? We have adjusted words and phrases if they trigger an undesirable behaviour. This border collie ownership thing is certainly a long term, work in progress project. I've got a feeling we'll be tweaking things for the next ten years.
  10. The boat sounds so good. I really wish we had somewhere to go where we could watch the world go by from a safe distance. I can't think of a public place round here that allows dogs that wouldn't have loose dogs or kids running at us. The find and fetch game was easy to teach as he already had all the individual skills; sit and wait, fetch and retrieve. The hardest part is sending him back to find the next one and sometimes I needed to take him out and indicate where to look. Spending so much time swapping things out for a treat when he was younger really paid off, although means that if he wants attention he'll bring me something that he's not meant to have. The rag idea sounds fab, our boy loves shaking and throwing things. We've had to limit some things to outside only because when he lets go they go flying at the TV, or us. He was really lead bitey for a while and was managing to chomp through them. We bought a new completely different looking lead and taught a 'leave it' command on it and didn't use it properly as a lead until he very much could leave it, since then he's been okay.
  11. We have a new favourite game! Based on our boy keep 'finding' and bringing me the plastic things that go in the washing machine. We have four of them so he sits and waits inside while I hide them in the garden, then he goes and finds them one at a time and brings them back to me. He loves it. Another one is making him wait while I throw 3 balls, then he fetches them back one at a time. He finds it quite hard to sit and wait while I throw balls. We are managing some longer road walks. Usually at very quiet times of the week/day, certainly not during busy times. Cyclists just don't seem a thing anymore, he is totally not interested in them since we did some training ignoring them with a volunteer. If I see one coming I'll ask him to sit and 'look at that' and he'll look all round trying to work out what he's supposed to look at while the bike goes past . This feels huge because for a long few months I worried about not being strong enough to hold him if he gave chase. Some cars are invisible to him, some cars he tenses up at and gets some support from me and occasionally a very noisy/fast vehicle provokes a reaction but the reaction is fairly stifled. People, are noticed and ignored if they are on the other side of the road or sat and looked at if closer. Still not great if people or runners want to brush past us (why do people do that?) but I plan routes to make sure we have enough space that it shouldn't happen. Off lead stuff is limited, partly because at the moment I don't want a high level of physical fitness and partly because if he's off too long things start to go wrong. Places where I can see for a long way and know there is unlikely to be any distractions (kids/runners/bikes). It'll start with on lead walking and sniffing, then be off lead for a run, some recalls, some fetch, a swim and back on for some more walking and sniffing. I've found that when I let him off lead he waits for guidance from me, he wants me to give him a command and if I don't then he'll run off and do a big circle around something and ignore me. So he only stays off lead for as long as I can think of 'jobs' to give him. When I think there may be people walking with or without dogs I put a muzzle on him. He doesn't like it, but it means if I see people instead of panicking and trying to get to him and him wondering what all the panic is over the people and needing to go and bark at them I just cheerfully call him to come with me and he might start to go towards them for a look but then realises they're boring and comes away. I realise this is my issue but with the muzzle on I'm confident that he can't bite anyone and because I don't react, neither does he.
  12. She's gorgeous! Our boy has the same fluff around his ears.
  13. That's great CptJack thank-you. I find videos so helpful. And your dog is beautiful.
  14. Ah that's interesting, thanks. And sounds very doable. Our boy sometimes gets raw ground beef and occasionally a raw chicken piece or a whole raw egg. He mostly gets a mixture of kibble and canned meat in his kongs topped with a dollop of peanut butter. And cooked sausage for training treats. He doesn't seem to eat much but isn't underweight.
  15. Ooh what do you cook? Our boy doesn't get much food in the way of meals but gets quite a lot of training food and kongs. He's not especially food motivated but it is something I have become reliant on so I'm trying to reduce the frequency and quantity of treating when training.
  16. Ah, our boys are so similar! Yesterday had the best training session ever. Not reacting to bikes and runners (volunteer helper) passing quite close and even trying to catch us by surprise. He was even wagging his tail the whole time of 'look at that' and not reacting. Then further tested (and passed with flying colours and a wagging tail) with a real cyclist passing quite close. Got home and had the zoomies followed by half an hour of very vigorous chewing of his chew toy. We are now going with off lead walk/run/training only on alternate nights. He gets plenty of fetch and playing at home through the day so while he doesn't get loads of physical exercise compared to others I feel he's getting enough. Then on the other nights he gets quite challenging lead training (traffic, bikes, new place, etc). It's like he's ready to work now and that getting it right is becoming more rewarding for him than chasing/barking/lunging.
  17. It's like suddenly my training is effective. Or he has somehow changed into a more 'normal' dog. He's now 15 months old. I just wanted to say it, because I have read these forums back years and followed advice and guidance given both here and elsewhere and attended group classes and private sessions with different people and for so long it has felt like none of it has worked properly. One day I'd think we were making progress, then the next would be worse than ever. People would ask if he was a rescue, sounding full of admiration as they stood too close watching him freaking out, and then their attitudes would change when I admitted I'd had him since a puppy and they'd tell me I should do some training with him. Now everyday I find myself realising that we are doing things that we couldn't have done three months ago. Obviously we still have a long way to go, but I'm spending less of my nights thinking, worrying, reading, planning. We're not quite a success story yet, but maybe if there are other people with crazy young dogs they'll be reassured to know that it can get better.
  18. Play the wipers game! Step 1: First, person 1 (the person who usually drives) says "Wipers!" in a cheerful upbeat voice and then person 2 shoves 2 or 3 small treats in dogs mouth, enough to keep dog busy for 3 or 4 seconds. You'll probably only need to do this a couple of times before dog realises that "Wipers!" equal treats. Step 2: Play the same game, but in the car. Step 3: This time, person 1 says "Wipers!" and while person 2 is shoving treats in dogs mouth person 1 activates the wipers just once. You might need to alternate steps 2 and 3. One time make the wipers work, one time don't. Might be best to avoid driving in the rain if you can. If it goes well dog stops reacting at just one swish of the wipers and after some practice can wait to have the treat when the swish has finished rather than needing the treats shoved in. At this stage, maybe start increasing the wipers to two swishes. Over time build up the number of swishes and reduce the amount of treats.
  19. Ah, I just need some runners in fluorescent lycra or kids on bikes willing to help me with that one then Actually it's a good point. We've been practicing nice lead walking in a low distraction place whilst one of us cycles around and since then he barely bats an eyelid at passing bikes. Maybe if I can get my teens running I can practice sending him and recalling him etc. Thanks for your help
  20. How's she doing now? Have you learnt any more about her?
  21. @Milkmachine my first dog would turn himself inside out to do whatever I asked of him. And I had him from a pup. Never used treats either, the sound of my voice was enough. He was the reason that we got another border collie pup. Completely different. He's a year old now and is calming down, like CptJack we do many positive recalls a day and while he is good, I wouldn't ever put "call off chasing rabbits or deer" to the test. What I do try to do is avoid calling him when it's time for the fun to end, if I want him for something not fun I ask for a down and then go to him.
  22. Yes us too! Things disappear and then when he's bored and we're ignoring him suddenly he'll be going mad trying to dig something out from under or behind the sofa. The sailing boat sounds lovely!
  23. Hi Shelly Our boy has completely recovered from his op. The trazodone made no difference in keeping him calm/quiet and we did not get a few calmer, quieter recovery days. If anything he was more wired the week after. We had a good week of lead training and no off lead outings, he is getting better with traffic, people and bikes although I still need to be very vigilant. We're still having the odd jump and bark but not so much. Originally I taught him a down position for passing distractions but I've found if he puts himself into that position and zones in then he will react so I lure him back up to a sit and ask him to look at that and then back to me for a treat. If I don't break that stare then he'll react. We have a car park close by which is empty evenings and weekends so I've started getting someone to ride a bike or scooter round there while we are practicing our walking and I think this is helping to make him less reactive to bikes/scooters. Certainly would not be trustworthy off lead but will now sit and watch them go past instead of trying to rip my arm out. He really struggles to walk calmly next to me, if I turn around when he starts to pull he thinks that's a fun game and just runs faster to the end of the lead each time resulting in us going in circles. What seems to work okay is if I stop or slow right down, he bounces back to my side where he knows he should be and we set off again. We have just started letting him off lead again and he has lost some fitness so runs less before getting tired. I don't want him getting very fit at the moment as he's not trustworthy to be off lead for long periods of time, so he's allowed off for a couple of ball throws and some running/sniffing and then goes back on. Even when he's tired he runs ahead and flops down waiting for us rather than walking along. I am trying to keep him out for longer but not running, so we spend longer in the car and then find somewhere we can sit and watch. Yesterday he had two trips out about two hours each and was lovely and tired in the evening. At home he is the perfect dog. Does many tricks, is loving and gentle, can settle, does not take anything or destroy stuff. It's unfortunate that he's challenging when out because he's missing out on fun dog stuff. I am sure we would all love to go hiking together but there is nowhere we can hike where we are guaranteed not to meet other people, bikes, traffic etc.
  24. Aw I'm sorry it's feeling hard for you right now. Not very helpful comment from your vet. I think it's easy to blame the last big thing to happen for any changes, but they might have happened anyway. Our boy went through a really awful stage in the car a few months ago and we experimented with a few different ways of travelling him, all of which seemed to make him worse. I did some minimal desensitising (literally we got in the car a few times but didn't actually drive anywhere). Not using the car at all is not an option as his road walking isn't good enough and I don't want to spend our exercise/training time sitting not going anywhere. We now often make a point of not driving away as soon as we get in the car and not getting out as soon as we stop, we'll sit and chat and he often lays down and listens to us. And I make a point of taking him in the car with me if I need to go to the shop, so he gets a journey without the excitement of going anywhere interesting. I think of our car journeys as training/mental stimulation so sometimes a drive is as good as a walk and tires him out as much. He is now pretty good, he stands and watches but doesn't make much sound. We recently went on a longer journey (two hours each way), I gave him a chew and a few times he laid down with it but he mostly stood. It meant he didn't sleep all day so he had a very sleepy day the following day. I don't know what made the difference or why he suddenly got better again, he just did. I don't know why he suddenly got odd about it in the first place either. How long ago did Merlin get neutered? I don't think testosterone suddenly disappears, although production of it stops there is still testosterone circulating in the body and I think it can take a few weeks for this to be completely gone. It makes sense though that it throws other hormones out of balance initially and I guess these can affect things too. I was sort of expecting at least a month for complete recovery but I'm not sure as I've never had a dog done before. I was going to ask at the pre-op but he was such a handful I forgot to ask anything. I've not personally heard any negative experiences from real life people so can only go on experiences that people post on the internet. I've read a few articles/blogs of regret for doing it in the first place and a few that wished they hadn't waited so long. I guess there are lots of people that just do it and don't notice any huge difference.
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