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Flora & Molly

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  1. I have a dog that borders on obsessive about balls. With other dogs around I enjoy playing fetch with her more, because then they are actually playing: they steal the ball from each other and run around chasing each other. When I am alone with her she can get a bit too intense for my taste and she fries her brain pretty quickly. So standard fetch of human throws ball, dog brings it back is something I can only do for three throws. After that she gets too intense/frantic. It’s difficult to describe, but she won’t be able to listen to anything I ask of her. A bomb could go off and she would keep her focus - but won’t be able to comply with the rules of the game (give the ball in hand). I’m slowly working on getting her to relax a little around a ball or at the very least be able to work for the ball, which is a lot more fun. I keep sessions short, no more than five throws, and always ask her to do something before I throw (mostly heel at the moment). When I work with dummies she doesn’t have the same intensity. I think it could’ve been handled better as a pup, but she wasn’t my dog then. I have noticed too that when we play ball in the water we can go on for much longer, I think because it’s more challenging to get the ball, plus she takes breaks to drink water - which she will never do even when given the opportunity on land. I play a lot of search games with balls instead of always throwing it, because then she can keep the right level of intensity. She is great at sniffing out tennis balls. There’s a large field with tall grass in my neighbourhood and I usually hide around six balls for her to find. She is very very quick to sniff them out. Sometimes I go to the tennis club and search for lost tennis balls outside of the fence. Super fun game, within a minute she usually finds a ball out of nowhere. Once on a walk I met a mother and son with a daschhund who lost their ball in the undergrowth. Their dog didn’t know or wasn’t interested to search for the ball. So I told Molly to find it. The mother thought she wouldn’t know what to look for, but Molly’s ball obsession can come in handy! She knows I mean a ball when I haven’t got the object on me to show her. Very proud moment and Molly got a well deserved treat from the boy who was very happy he could play fetch with his dog again. So for me playing fetch is a bit mixed. Sometimes I love playing it, but I always have to be careful not to overdo it, which can happen super quickly. One of my friends used to walk Molly while I worked, but I eventually had to cancel her because she didn’t listen to my fetch instructions (bring out the ball when she’s uncomfortable with another dog to distract her - throw once or twice when the dog is gone). She would hike in the woods here and play fetch almost the entire walk, about an hour long, with some five minute breaks in between, sure. The result was that Molly didn’t want to sniff on her walks with me anymore even though I didn’t bring a ball. She sent me this picture and maybe I can only see it because it’s my dog, but that look in her eye is not good
  2. I have no experience with carpal pad injuries, but my dog tears one of her other paw pads once a year now (still can't figure out what happens... sigh) Giving it time to heal fully is the only thing that works. I have made the mistake of thinking it had healed "enough" and going for longer walks and letting her off leash only to have them get worse again. The vet was useless and gave me some ointment that would speed up to process but it didn't really do anything - except maybe to soothe ignorant dog owners? Those wraps look great, I tried boots for my dog but that made her chew her paws when she didn't have them on and I didn't want to leave them on all day and night for three weeks or more. I don't think I would mind keeping the wraps on if I had to, I think they might be easier to get used to for the dog than boots. I'm curious if toughening products really work. I'm hesitant to try it, because in my country it's quite difficult to get and I don't think the stuff I have found will actually do anything - I don't think it is the same as the products linked here. So getting those products shipped here will be quite expensive and I don't want to do that if it doesn't help. I would love to hear if it helps your dog.
  3. My dog acts differently depending on who she is with. She knows exactly who will tolerate what. Sometimes it's a case of getting more excited with certain people because they represent fun fun fun (ball! endless cuddles!). A friend used to walk her every Tuesday while I worked from home. It was really interesting to watch them walk off through the window: Molly pulling, walking on her left and then on her right, jumping up. Completely different dog. With me she never ever pulls, always walks on the right unless I ask her to walk left and she wouldn't dream of jumping up. Molly is a very sweet and attentive dog who really wants to please people, but somehow my friend's timing is off or her heart isn't in the correction. She will tell Molly no, but doesn't really notice that Molly is not complying fully - you really have to wait for her to relax a little for instance. She also says "good girl" at the wrong moment, yes Molly might be sitting down but she is still super hyper and whining - good girl will only teach her to react this over excited every time. These are all things that are very specific for my dog of course, it took me quite a while to figure out what worked best for her - and I am still learning. My dog is definitely very unforgiving in novice hands, I mean, she is still a super sweet dog but every mistake you make you will notice because she will take full advantage to be super over the top. Other dogs I know (of different breeds mostly) are way more forgiving and have a more stable disposition. I have to work quite hard to maintain a calm and attentive dog. My friend thinks I worry too much and I am too obsessed with having a well trained dog, but honestly, if I had a easy breezy couch potato golden retriever I wouldn't mind things so much: excitement when guests arrive, sure why not, because that golden retriever won't be at the level my dog is at and it probably won't escalate over time. Friends who have no interest in dogs are usually the people that have great control over my dog. There is something calm and assertive over them, because they do not want to cuddle and they don't worry about "offending" the dog. They don't feel bad at all. So when my dogs comes up to them they ignore her or send her away (when I'm not there to do it) and she listens immediately - because they mean it. Friends who love dogs only send her away because they know that is my rule, but they secretly really want my dog to come up to them and crawl onto them, because it makes them feel good and special and loved. Their heart isn't in it when they ignore her or send her away, and so she will persist. It sounds like you have a sensitive dog like mine who picks up on subtle differences in intention and acts on it. I think your partner has to figure out what works and training more with the dog will help to figure out what works. And it might not be something simple like leash handling skills, it could be insecurity that the dogs picks up, or feeling bad for the dog or not standing behind the method fully. Having a super sensitive dog like this is great though and I wouldn't trade her for the world. Once I found what worked for us a whole world of possibilities opened up and we have a lot of fun training. She picks up things so so fast, she usually knows what I want before I ask her. Plus I found out hand signals work way way better than words ,as she apparently never listened to the words I said anyway but always read my body language, clever dog. Huge difference in training now as I know where her confusion comes from. Edited to add: I also noticed that some people read my dog wrong. They thinks she is happy when she is excited and anxious, or think she doesn't understand something when she just doesn't want to do it. Or they might think her reaction to another dog was her fault while that other dog was overbearing or staring at her "menacingly". Reading her wrong almost always means not reacting to her accordingly/not handling her correctly. An example: my dog knows to deliver the dummy/ball in my hand when we play fetch. My friend has huge trouble getting her to give it to her, Molly just spits in out at her feet. My friend thought it was too hard for Molly to do, but I know it isn't, Molly just knows my friend will throw the ball regardless of her giving the item or spitting it out. My friend thought I had the same trouble but was very suprised to see Molly deliver it perfectly to me every time. If Molly spits the ball out at my feet I end the game. My friend thinks she does the same, but she will start the game again after a couple of minutes. After a while Molly stops delivering the ball in hand, game stops, a couple of minutes later game starts. Molly knows my friend likes playing fetch too much and will eventually give up and throw. ( I have stopped using her as a dog walker because of this, she won't listen when I ask her not to play fetch as much and in this way).
  4. I had a huge breakthrough today that I wanted to share in case anyone is going through something similar with their dog. My dog Molly has always had issues with meeting strange dogs on walks. She is great with the dogs I dogsit and grew up with guest dogs at my mother’s house as she dogsat as well. I’ve had her now for almost three years now, before that she was my mother’s dog. When I first got her she used to run up to strange dogs on walks at full speed and “regret it” when she arrived to greet them. Running away from them, hiding, cowering. Sometimes she would try to bark dogs away with a woo-woo bark - which most dogs would ignore completely (so not really something I would call an aggressive bark). Running up to dogs like that would usually put her in some awkward positions with dogs not reacting too kindly to it (I don’t blame them ). Tension all around. I tried working on it but didn’t really know how, but managed to call her back before reaching a dog, this did not help much with the overall tension/anxiety with strange dogs on walks. I started LAT training which was a game changer. A calm dog sitting beside me looking up at me. We avoided most dogs and if we couldn’t I got out the ball and she would focus on the ball (dog? What dog? Ball!). Sure we had some setbacks, mostly due to human error - meaning me not paying attention or failing to bring a ball or treats. Or a dog coming round the corner as we leave the house - that still gets a woo-woo-woo when it’s too close. But we had such a win: Today she played with another dog and was actually very happy to see him. And not just any dog, but a dog that has been infatuated with her and annoying her by sniffing her bum and never wanting to stop sniffing. He belongs to a former colleague and we usually talk for a bit (he leashes his dog to give Molly some breathing space - and then she is fine). We came across them today and Molly was so happy to see him, another strange dog joined us and Molly was relaxed and playful. Best feeling in the world. She hardly ever plays, not even with guest dogs. I don’t think the training will ever be quite “finished”, and Molly might always stay a little tense around strange dogs, but man I love the place we were at today! Took us three years, but completely worth it. And thanks everyone that has mentioned Control Unleashed here on the boards, I would have never thought to buy it if it wasn’t for you!
  5. I really enjoyed reading about your progress! That must be a great feeling. She looks very happy with her peanut-buttered muzzle!
  6. Until she learns to be quiet and relaxed in the garden I wouldn’t let her be alone there. When she is alone it’s easy to chase after cars and bark which is self rewarding behaviour (as the cars move off when she does this - mission accomplished the cars are scared off!). What worked well for one of my mother’s dogs was to call her to you when she barked in the garden. As she only barked and did not chase she wasn’t too far over threshold and could still come when called - although we sometimes had to call twice. When she came we told her a friendly “that’ll do” or “thank you” and go about our business. Repeat when she barked again. Another thing you can do is to either have her drag a long line so you can reel her in when she sets off or to keep her tethered to you. That way you can give her a time out or distract her when she barks. Once she understands that barking and chasing cars is not allowed you can start leaving her out on her own again while you’re in the house.
  7. Such a nice looking dog! Love that look while she is “relaxing” haha!
  8. She is doing her best trouble is she always wants to do things as quickly as possible and at a run if she can! Or she tries to get out of the way (mostly out of my way) when she doesn’t need to and bumps everyone in the process (imagine her walking backwards circling around me whilst hitting everything and everyone with her butt). Although I don’t think she really tries to avoid the other dogs. I’ve never seen a dog just step into other dogs as Molly does, she seems oblivious. I do try to manage and let her wait, but when I am dogsitting that can make it tricky. As she is great off leash and I live in a safe neighbourhood I tend to either let her out first and make her wait or go out first and ask her to come out later. She sometimes still manages to walk over the other dogs, who let her without so much as a growl, usually because she thinks I’ll ask her to heel next to me - and the other dogs are in the way. And sometimes I am lazy or forget. I can be more diligent in managing it. If I could teach her to slow down a bit that would help. When I release her from a stay she jumps to her feet and runs as if she is at a racetrack (impressive outdoors - especially at quite a distance!) Real eager to please, such a sweetheart and tries so hard she overdoes things sometimes. If that’s just who she is than that’s who she is. I don’t mind managing so the cat and the smaller dogs don’t get hurt. Just wondering, because we love to train new things, if there are things we can do. I have been training her to walk up to her tennis ball very slowly, which is a great success. Not sure how to translate that to inside the house/hallway as I needed a long distance to the ball to make her understand what I meant - also wondering if I even should. [edit: somehow the quote is missing and as I am on my phone I can’t bring it back easily - it was about the wait cue] I will have to practice this more when I’m at my mum’s house or when her dogs are with me. Molly is great on her own, but needs some practice in different situations and with different dogs/people around. Thank you! It really helps to look at it a bit differently.
  9. My dog Molly isn’t very sensitive about walking all over others (literally). When I go out for a walk she and the cat goes outside with us she sometimes bumps into him when she makes room for me in the hallway. The cat doesn’t seem to mind and knows to watch out, but still I’d like her to be a bit more sensitive to the presence of other animals and people in tight spaces. She never bumps into me like that, but sometimes will bump into my mother. This is usually when we go out and we have the other two dogs and two humans in the hallway. Molly tries to make room for me/get out of the way and in the process walks over/into the other dogs or sometimes my mother’s knees. I’m not sure if I unconsciously trained her not to bump into me like that or that I simply don’t put her in a situation like that usually. For instance, when my mum opens the car to let the dogs out she doesn’t make them wait, whereas I do, which means not getting run over by Molly. To be fair my mum’s dogs are a bit more... dainty and calm- Molly is a tank - so for her dogs it’s not strictly necessary to make them wait (only in situations where it is safe to jump out of the car of course). I’m not sure how to teach Molly to be less of a “tank” mowing everything down. She just throws her ass around when reversing to get out of the way. It’s a great quality when she’s around sheep as she won’t budge or be intimidated by them. But around cats, small/sweet dogs, my niece and my mum’s old knees... I always have to watch out. Any ideas how to train some body awareness? Or perhaps calmly getting out of the way? Staying at my side to manoeuvre out of the door when others are in the hallway?
  10. I’m glad I could reassure you! Most general advice out there is catered to the “general puppy” or “general dog” which doesn’t always suit a sensitive border collie. That’s why I like it here so much everyone has their own quirky BC and there is usually someone with a lot of BC knowledge or someone who has a dog similar to mine. Sure an outgoing Labrador puppy might be able to just take life as it comes and go to new places every walk without being fazed, but that doesn’t mean any pup can.
  11. I think waking her up to go for a walk might be what made her go over the top. She probably was still a bit too tired for a walk and then lots of things happened which spurred her over excitement. A good rule to follow is to never wake a pup up to go for a walk (unless it’s for a quick pee and then back to bed). Don’t worry too much about the pressures of socializing. (Easier said than done- I know). I still sometimes have to remind myself that I know what is best for my dog, or who I trust to ask if I’m not sure. Seeing other dogs when she is on a leash but not interacting with them is a very valuable lesson. Meeting some well behaved dogs off leash is important too, but I’m always careful with the dogs I meet (even for my adult dog who doesn’t particularly like other dogs). I don’t know if a dog park is the best place for that, some dog parks attract very rude dogs and people tend to stand around and watch their dogs play and I am not a fan of that. I prefer meetings dogs off leash while walking, I do stop for a sniff and would stay for a minute or so if my dog does want to play, but I keep it short and sweet and move on after that. There’s no harm in turning back if she is too excited or spending some time waiting/hanging around to see if she can calm down. It depends on why she is so excited. If she is simply too tired turning around is the best thing to do, but if she has a lot of energy it might get better by walking on a bit. Exposing your pup to lots of new things is important, but it’s easy to overdo it. It really depends on the pup how much is too much or too little. A new route every walk seems a bit much. New adventures can be lots of fun, but a set routine is important too - and on a familiar walk there is still lots of new things to see and sniff: new dogs, new people, new pee spots to sniff, maybe a cat or a bird. So it sounds as if you are doing the right thing! She’ll get better with age. And sure she’ll know walks with the two of you usually is extra fun because you go to great places and that’s okay. My dog knows everything will be more fun when my mum’s dogs are around and she is a bit more excited when we go out the door. I don’t mind, but I do keep an eye out if it gets too out of control and then I know I’ll have to revisit some of the training again. It’s been a while since I have had a pup and then my mother did most of the training. So I can’t remember all the specifics, still, I hope I did help you not to worry too much.
  12. People usually ask me follow up questions when I say she is in training. “Ooh what kind of training?” I think they expect something “cool” like servicedog or detection dog. I guess most people don’t know anyone who actually trains their dog to be a “calm dog you can take places”. I usually say I am training her to be an awesome dog - which seems to confuse them but stops further questions.
  13. This happened to one of our dogs when I was sixteen. She got stuck in the movable electric sheep fence (the orange net kind), I had to rescue her and she never looked at sheep again. We tried her on sheep when she was a little bit older and she pretended the sheep weren’t there and just sniffed the grass. As it was intended as a hobby we tried twice but after that didn’t push her on it.
  14. I love stories like this! Thank you for sharing sounds like she found a great home with you!
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