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Flora & Molly

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Everything posted by Flora & Molly

  1. People rarely recognize my smooth coat as a BC because of her coat and because she has ticking. Most people think she is a mix with a Stabyhoun (very popular breed where I live). I always tell them that for a hunting cross she does remarkably well herding sheep then
  2. Haha I absolutely love that video. Kiran is such a happy dog, would adopt him in a heartbeat!
  3. Definitely! Praise all around for her she is really trying it out, looking back and forth, so I reward her everytime she looks at me. Either with loving eye contact and a pet or a treat. She seems to enjoy these equally (I am glad because I sometimes run out of treats). I'm a teacher and it really works the same with my students. I can make my job a lot easier (and more fun) by creating a positive relationship and making my lessons enjoyable. Although sometimes you do have to send someone out, but before that happens the student always gets a chance to set things right (well usually, unless they do something utterly horrible).
  4. @Pat P I have thought about asking something else of her, but I feel it will add some stress for her. Most of the issues I have worked through with her have been about getting over stimulated/stressed/not knowing what is expected. She might be able to do a hand touch, but I expect she'll be over the top doing it, making a lot of whiny noises (of the wooh wooh roo roo kind- hilarious but sometimes embarrassing) and I feel like that might be counter productive. I have had some success when she sits next to me. No scooching incidents, although she does "smile" at them winningly. She looks back and forth between the strangers and me, which is huge progress to me. We have been lucky though to only meet people that ignore her completely without me having to ask them to. Although this was we can slowly work up to people who are interested in her. @ShellyF This is exactly what I struggle with, I'm glad to know I am not the only one. Really the big difference in training Molly now is that I am more confident that it is okay if I don't want people to pet her. Now every time we meet someone I can see it as a training opportunity, which makes it fun instead of frustrating. Merlin sounds like Molly at that age it took a while for her to calm down even when we wanted to pet her.
  5. We've always let our dogs off leash from a young age, but it means you have to be vigilant. We would call the dog back before she saw the person or dog, put her on a leash and release her again when we had passed them. When this can't be done, either because of the environment or because you aren't quick enough (or you don't want to) I'd say keep the dog on a leash like the others said and practice that way. A dog park is probably not the place to try my method. Too many people and dogs to see. We were lucky to live in a somewhat remote area where we mostly hike in the woods. We would still meet people on the trail, but it was an easy environment to see/hear people coming. We would hide a lot behind trees as well, to teach the dog to keep an eye on us. I still do this when we cross paths with people without dogs (or with dogs on a leash) in case people are afraid of dogs. She knows the drill and sometimes comes and walks next to me before I ask. Practice makes perfect. I just wanted to show my alternative in case it suits you. However, the method described above will also definitely work and is more foolproof.
  6. @urge to herd Thank you, your kind words have really boosted my confidence. You are absolutely right, Molly doesn't pine over not being able to interact with people. Plus most of my friends absolutely adore her, so she receives enough love from them. We haven't met anyone in the elevator yet, but she caught on pretty quickly that we were doing "fun stuff" in the elvator, so she is very focused on me now. The classic "what do you want me to do next?" look. We met a girl while we were entering the building and it went really well. The girl looked at Molly smiling, so Molly wanted to greet her, I told her (in a friendly tone) "no, heel" and treated her when she walked away nicely with me. I was very pleased. Although this isn't the big problem area, because we are able to walk away in these kinds of situations. So Molly usually isn't in full flirt mode. Still, definitely a step in the right direction. My mother agreed to help me tackle the elevator problem. She'll enter the elevator on another floor to simulate a stranger getting on the elevator. Hopefully she can find the time to help me somewhere this week. @Pat P I really like the idea of rituals. I have noticed that it really helps Molly to know exactly what I expect her to do. For instance, she has to wait on the doormat while I put on my shoes and coat to go out. At the moment, I don't want her to greet strangers at all. I just want her to heel or sit next to me depending on what we are doing. Which, I guess, is the ritual I want her to stick to. When friends come over I send her to her place and she has to stay there until she relaxes, she usually calms down when everyone sits and the greeting part is over. Then if my friends want to greet her I ask her to join us. This is still a work in progress, sometimes she calms down immediately, for instance when my mum visits. Sometimes friends stare at her and it takes a while. She does this sneaky thing where she goes up and demands to be petted everytime I leave the room. This is after she has had her share of petting I keep forgetting she does this, because before she does this she is relaxing somewhere else, happy to be ignored, being the perfect dog. Again, she doesn't do this when my mum is here, but I guess that is because she used to be my mum's dog. So she knows the drill. Plus when my mum's here, her dogs are here and that creates a very different dynamic.
  7. Very cute I especially like the last picture, such a nice smile!
  8. Ah yes sorry I read the insufficient reward for "sitting next to me", but ofcourse it is the "stay with me when there are people". And yes, that is probably it. I've only had her for about a year now, before this she was my mother's dog. So I'm not sure where this started, doesn't really matter, the behaviour might have slipped in there somewhere. My inconsistency mostly lies in the fact that I don't want people to pet my dog at all, but that goes out the window when other people are there, because I feel like people don't understand and think I am mean. I have never allowed her to go and greet someone when she is scooching and looking at the person, I would wait until there was a moment of calm and then let her. And then sometimes I wouldn't let people pet her. Plus I feel extra mean because the dog is SO into it. And then there is the nagging doubt that maybe I should let her because she enjoys it so much. I should stick to my guns though, I don't want strangers to pet my dog because it usually isn't the time or place. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one @urge to herd. It is such a weird problem to me, because she does so well in other contexts. I can ask her to lie down and stay, walk quite far away while people are walking past her and she doesn't even look at them. It means she will be able to do it in the elevator as well. And then I have this weird feeling that she doesn't enjoy doing this at all. I certainly am not I did some trick training in the empty elevator today which was a lot more fun than just standing there. I will incorporate looking at me eventually, I don't have that on cue yet, so I'll start on that at home. The freidns thing is a really good idea, plus I will have all the time in the world in the summer holiday (and my friends will too ). Thanks for the advice, I really needed someone to point out the obvious. I was so frustrated when I wrote this, not so much with Molly, but with myself "why can't I train this?!" I have the answer now: because you haven't really been training, silly!
  9. I don't think that is it really. I don't let people pet her a lot. These interactions rarely happen, but if they do happen she is really obsessed to be petted. And by rarely I mean not even once a month where we would meet someone in the elevator. And then when we meet someone I usually don't allow them to pet her. So she might be petted by a stranger maybe once every three months, if I had to put a time stamp on it. Probably even less. When we are alone in the elevator she is fine and sits next to me completely relaxed. Her focus in this situation is on me and in other more distracting situations she is equally focused, relaxed and confident. It really is the person that is triggering the reaction. And I am looking specifically for strategies to help her ignore/relax when someone enters the elevator/when I have to talk to someone when she is with me. The last one I could avoid mostly, but the first one I really can't. Or you know, I could get out of the elevator as soon as someone gets in, but that doesn't solve the problem. If I do that I have to do something else so I can eventually stay in the elevator. I could be working on sitting next to me in different situations until the cows come home, but that doesn't really help me because she can already do that everywhere else.
  10. So I took Molly with me to work today and it didn't go as smoothly as I thought it would go. I work at a highschool and since classes are done now and I only had some students who wanted to look at the feedback on their test, I thought it would be perfect to bring Molly with me. The school is really close to a lovely lake, so I thought we could go there afterwards and swim (which we did and it was great). This wasn't the first time I took her with me and the last few times went pretty well, she was really curious but heeled nicely through the hallway. (I always make sure to time the visit so she doesn't have to walk through huge crowds of students). This time though, she was really distracted and wanted to be petted by everyone we walked past or I talked to. She gets into this flirtation-mode where she won't stay beside me in a sit when I ask her to, and keeps scooching forward, lovingly making eye-contact with the other person. When I try to put her back in a sit next to me she sort of flops down which makes it impossible to get her back in a sit. And then she starts scooching forward again or even pulling her leash trying to get to the other person (and she never pulls, only in this context). She tends to do the same thing whenever we are in the elevator in my flat, although that doesn't happen often because we usually have the elevator to ourselves. The thing that makes this difficult to deal with is that people tend to want to pet her because she looks so freakin cute. Of course I ask them not to and people are usually good about respecting that, but Molly makes them feel like they have this special connection and people tend to make loving eye-contact back and/or talk to her. Which is a very high reward. Sigh. If I have all the time in the world and people ignore her completely she will settle down eventually. But these encounters are short and people keep flirting back at her. After today I decided I really want to work on this. I contacted a trainer and hopefully I can work on this in a group obedience class of some sort. But it might take a while before classes start again as the summer holiday is just around the corner. So does anyone have any tips to start working on this at home (especially ideas for the elevator...)? Or some words of encouragement? Should not let people pet her at all until we sort out this problem? I tend to feel a bit awkward when this happens and I start doubting myself, which of course makes me inconsistent. So sometimes when she calms down a bit I let people pet her, even though really I don't want anyone to pet her. Get your own dog I wouldn't mind so much if she wasn't so obsessed and knew when to quit. The obsessiveness just doesn't make it feel right to me. She is really good on walks and never approaches strangers when she is off leash. It is limited to encounters in close proximity when she is on leash and a stranger might greet me. I feel like she doesn't even really enjoy what she is doing, but that she is unsure and thinks this is what people want her to do. I could be wrong though and might be projecting my own feelings onto her about the situation I won't take her to work again until we have worked through this issue, which only really happens once or twice a year anyway and is just for fun
  11. Interesting. I've never really thought of it that way. I do see the difference in behaviour in breeds, but hadn't thought of difference in instinctual behaviour. I think owners have a huge influence though in helping their dogs be more social. I have met very polite labradors that my dog liked, which almost never happens because most labrador owners want their labradors to be boisterous with other dogs and people and unable to read social cues. (Or at least the ones I meet) I've been told by friends my dogs are boring and don't behave like "real" dogs, just because they are polite. And perhaps because they are border collies and are so focused on me. They expect dogs that "do their own thing" and invade their space and be excited ALL the time. I feel a lot of dog owners are like that and the result is you get a very different dog. Same with children, they have to learn social cues too and if you don't help them it may end in disaster.
  12. My dog doesn't enjoy the company of most dogs we encounter. Most dogs are too "in her face" and excited for her taste. Unfortunately these dogs usually don't listen to her when she asks them to back off politely or walks away, so sometimes she raises her hackles and barks at them to scare them off. With some dogs she does this before meeting. When she starts barking before we meet a dog I call her to me and if I can we avoid the dog or if we can't we walk past them without pausing to meet. Luckily, this rarely happens. I never let her meet a dog while she is on a leash. And because my dog rarely likes to play with strange dogs (and I rarely like to socialize with strangers) I tend to avoid most dogs. I do however try to meet some friendly dogs to practice friendly meetings. I can usually tell from a distance whether it is a dog she will like, the laid back quiet type or most border collies. I keep meetings short, I tend to not pause but walk slowly so she can do her thing. I might stay and chat to the owner if she really enjoys the meeting. Mostly she does the same thing I do: say hello and walk on. I have to say I like it best this way.
  13. @Milkmachine My mother had very similar issues with her Jack Russell. She had a different personality than we were used to. Our normal method didn't work for her. She would listen most of the time, but recall was difficult, especially when she thought it was to go inside, or if she smelled wildlife. My mother was so fed up with the dog's general attitude that she almost sold her. But when we talked it over, and the frustration subsided, we came up with a plan that worked for the dog. We had never trained with treats and to be honest didn't want to. We didn't want our dogs to be too focused on food. But we also felt we shouldn't give up on the dog and we gave it a try. During walks we called her randomly to give her a treat and immediately release her. She quickly realized that coming when called was fun, so eventually she came running whenever we called her, even though we called her to go inside the house or to put her on a leash. Then we faded out the treats. This did not only solve the recall problem, but ever since we started this she has become an extremely loyal dog. My mother and the dog are really bonded now and it seems crazy that she once thought about rehoming her. Look for something that works for your dog, be it treats, a pet, play to make coming to you fun. It may take a while for things to completely change. Hang in there!
  14. We taught an adult dog who was fear aggressive to be fine around the cat. We kept her on a leash for the first few days tethered to the couch or to us when we weren't in the living room. When she was used to us humans we started to pet her and then pet the cat and switch hands so she could smell the cat on our hands. This worked very well. She understood that the cat was part of the family. Cats outside she still thought were scary. It took my current dog a while to be relaxed around the cat, even though she grew up with cats. She just really really loves the cat and could be a bit "too close for comfort" for the cat. She didn't chase, but tried to lick the cat's face for instance. We kept a close eye on her, sending her away when she wanted to approach the cat and she eventually learned to ignore the cat, and let the cat come to her to make contact. So I'd say it really depends on the dog and how you approach it. My current dog was (and still is ;)) a very bold pup, I know her much mellower sister never had any trouble leaving cats alone. I'd discuss your situation with the person you are going to buy the dog from, whether it is a breeder or the rescue, they can help you choose the right dog. It is definitely possible
  15. I wouldn't say dogs get more biddable as they get older, but they do calm down. Or at least our dogs always have. At 9 months my dog listened well, but in a very intense way where she would anticipate a little too much and go a bit too fast, which would sometimes mean she didn't do the thing we asked her to do or would do a lot of things and end with the right thing, which could be exhausting. We were very patient with her and at 4 years old now she has calmed down a lot, she still anticipates and sometimes guesses wrong, but I am getting much better at letting her know to wait for what I am going to ask her. That said, you have to find out what works for your dog. For instance, I can train my BC mostly with praise, because that is enough for her. She loves working with me. My mother's Jack Russell wouldn't come when we called her until we started training with treats. We phased out the treats and she still runs full speed when my mum calls her. 9 months is still young and your pup still has a lot to learn. If you can describe some of the behaviours you have problems with we could be more specific in helping you. Raising a pup always requires some hard work and patience. And you'll see lots of people on here who ask for help on certain behaviours, so you are definitely not the only one.
  16. I don't have any experience with rough coated dogs, but my smooth coated dog can shed a lot. A lot more than my mother's Jack Russell terrier, who doesn't have an undercoat. Someone once said to me (can't remember who) that long and short haired dogs shed the same amount, but long hairs will form a little bundle on the ground that is easier to pick up, whereas short hairs tend to stick individually (and can be more annoying to clean up). Not sure if this is true though but I sure have to vaccuum a lot with my smooth coated dog and a cat.
  17. I am training my dog to retrieve like a gundog. Before I had my BC I bought this great book about training retrievers, thinking I wanted a hunting breed (silly me ). My dog loves to retrieve and this makes it more interesting for both of us. Some of the things we are working on at the moment are: - memories: where you drop/place a bumper and walk on, turn around and send the dog back for it. (really fun with multiple bumpers and/or distractions) - delivering to hand: my dog knows the 'give' command, but we are working on a more calm and stylish one where she sits and holds the bumper - holding/carrying the bumper around - steadiness: waiting before retrieving, sometimes denying a retrieve, really good for patience - marks: where I throw the bumper in very long grass/thick cover, she really has to pay attention where the bumper falls and she has to learn that I line her up and she has to go in a straight line to get the bumper - retrieving from water - jumping over logs to get to the bumper - high bumpers: where the bumper is not on the ground and she has to search higher up in trees (obviously where she can still get at them ) Apparently some trainers use an e-collar to teach their dogs to retrieve, which is so unnecessary. For my dog the retrieve and my praise are enough. She absolutely loves it. The book I use is called "Sporting dog and retriever training the Wildrose way". I've also taught my dog to fetch useful things around the house for me, like my slippers, the leash and her bowl. I started teaching this by teaching her to give me the ball when we played fetch. Now she knows to give me anything I point at and we are slowly working on distinguishing certain objects. We are at a point where she knows what "slippers" are as long as they are in their usual place and the leash or her bowl are not nearby. Still a work in progress, but lots of fun and very useful
  18. I'm in Groningen, which is on the other side . It is about two and a half hours away, in Dutch terms that is far, haha. Luckily my mother lives about an hour and a half away. Thank you, I will definitely go!
  19. I really like that quote it definitely applies to Molly. She is the most difficult dog and the best dog I have ever had. On the one hand she listens to me perfectly, but on the other hand never wants to give up control. I'm definitely the weak link here. Me + sheep is okay, me +dog is good, but me, dog and sheep is difficult. I'm looking into my options now and have looked up all trainers within a reasonable distance. I feel I might have to go some place else. There are not a lot of good options, because the Netherlands is such a small country and I don't have a lot of money to travel very far. I hope I will find someone that I feel 'gets' my dog. And perhaps a place I can volunteer at and get some more hands on experience with sheep. Or where I can observe. All this research is actually pretty fun. I saw a vacancy for a "city shepherd" to help manage the herd that grazes public land in a city nearby. Of course I am by no means ready for that whatsoever, but man I would love to do that in the future. So I guess I am going to try to worm my way into the stockwork-world here. Most people that train where I train now are people who do it as something fun for the dog. Or at least that is the vibe I get from them. Whereas I am training so my dog is ready when I can either buy a small farm and keep sheep or when we are good enough to manage a city flock. Thank you for your reply, it really has helped me think about what I want and need again.
  20. Didn't the OP say they were now training with a long line? The dog won't be approaching anyone anymore.
  21. Right, like everyone who is acknowledging that the OP's viewpoint differs.
  22. I have had a reactive, fear-aggressive dog. I know what it is like.
  23. Refusal to take responsibility? The OP said they are working with the long line now. That is taking responsibility.
  24. So I thought I'd report some of the progress since it is getting a bit more difficult. Everything went really well until we started working with commands. Things slowly deteriorated. Molly is very pressure sensitive, as in, pressure from me. Sessions started to be frustrating, something just wasn't clicking anymore. Molly did not look happy, I did not feel happy. I did not know how to make her understand what I wanted and she clearly was frustrated and would eat a lot of poop to show me that. So the second to last training I trained with the shepherd (usually train with his wife) in the smaller field and I was not allowed to speak, unless it was praise. And I was very happy to see that Molly got her mojo back and was very happily working the sheep. Instead of being so focused on doing the right thing for me, she used her brains and figured it out. The shepherd worked with her a little bit to show me what it is supposed to look like. He made it look so easy, like a dance with the sheep and the dog. My attempts were less graceful but it was a really good session. Unfortunately last session wasn't so great. I worked with the wife again and from the start Molly was... weird. Very distracted, weird look in her eyes. Near the end of the session she was okay again, but it was very strange. We did have some success teaching her to keep her distance, but we didn't enjoy ourselves. Before the "no-talking-allowed" session I wasn't sure I should continue. I thought maybe I should wait until I have my own sheep to practice with, so I can do shorter and more frequent sessions. Then we had that amazing sessions and I couldn't wait to go again. After that, a horrible session. I have hope, but I feel I should do something differently. Molly is very focused on me and a perfectionist. Which is great for obedience type things, but it can make stockwork difficult. Perhaps I am so focused myself on doing the right thing and reading the sheep and reading Molly that I am not as happy-go-lucky when we are training. (I guess Molly and I are very alike ) How do I lighten up? What are some small goals I can focus on? And is there anything I can do at home to give Molly some independence and confidence in herself? I feel this dog really has potential. She is not afraid of anything. Sheep stomp their hooves at her and she is unimpressed and stands her ground. Should it help her to be worked by someone else?
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