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aprilandjax's Achievements


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  1. Oh lord, look at him! What a heartbreaker. The pic of him giving paw with that big grin is too much! I agree, no such thing as too soon -- if you're ready, you're ready. Or if you're suckered
  2. I do use clicker training to shape and reward small steps toward good behaviour, also some of kikopups advice on passively rewarding calm/relaxed behaviours. When I'm there, e.g. in the office yesterday, except for play/toilet break he lay on his bed and slept/chilled out for 5 hours. (edit to add: thank you for the reminder that boundaries are freaking boundaries. Your comment about crating made me realise I had to be clearer to really instil the 'no is no' inevitability - I put him on the leash and if he started the pawing-to-hump bed routine I got his attention and just drew him to sit by me on a short line for 5 mins instead of taking the bed away and it was like a lightbulb in his head. Last night I only asked once for leave and he slept on his bed from the off! Of course, we all have Good Days but I will just keep it up and hopefully he can have his bed back to himself!) I don't own this particular book but do have some others in a similar vein -- Is it that you think he might be getting destructively stressed because of the mild s.a.? He 100% did struggle with it but we work super hard on overstimulation and very rarely get over the threshold now, only sometimes if something way too stimulating happens like a dog or kid has to pass us super close on a leashed walk. I definitely hear you on the 'wait till the trigger is done then go destroy something to relieve the pressure' though! I think, if it isn't teeth I will work with the assumption that he's stressed and try to help him feel more safe and calm. We haven't really changed routine at all from when he seemed fine, but I have read lots of stories here about pups getting older and worsening/developing new stressors. My SIL has a high-strung rescue BC that takes CBD for car rides and has some OTC tablets put in her food as well, so I will ask her for advice if we do go that way. Thank you for taking the time to offer advice.
  3. Thank you for the advice. Sometimes petting overstimulates him, but yes, most times he does enjoy it - a good chest scratch seems to almost hypnotize him and he goes into this eyes-half-closed bliss I will definitely learn more about it and give it a try! That sounds like a very sweet way of creating calm.
  4. Ah... I feel for you so much. I'm sorry I don't have any good advice for your emotional state. I too read everything I could and tried to go by the book. & There have been times when I felt very down and hopeless because I knew the solutions existed long-term but I still had to work with what I had and I at times felt like my pup was out of control, especially at 6-7 months. I can't say, having Jax, who is now 9 months, that I am the best owner for a BC to have (which is extremely hard for me to say) -- my BC cross is my first BC, is extremely bright and energetic (I live on a family farm with two other BC's and they call my dog "the electric dog" because he is so wildly excitable) and although on paper me and my partner are a very good fit for a BC, in real life he has been a very steep learning curve for me. I have to agree with some above who have said it's us that need to quickly become better. If we really want what's best for our pups we need to find out what skills we don't have and acquire them. I do think a dog can be wilfully "bad", but only in the way a toddler is. It's creativity and playing with the world to see what happens and sometimes that playing means staring at you and then trying to push a piece of ham into the DVD player, or listening to you say "leave" desperately and then snake-swallowing an entire dead hedgehog you spotted too late. It's helped me to think of him as a human child and to take some time every day to think about what we've done well, because there is a direct correlation between how I feel about him and how well I think he's progressing. My hopelessness would come from the fact I felt I was giving all this time to him until I was completely emotionally drained, and then every second I wasn't 100% there (and some I was) he was being a whirlwind of destruction, and I felt I didn't have more to give. I would say that if you feel the same, you may have had my problem. I was using my time ineffectively and I was doing a bad job of implementing structure and boundaries. Too many of our activities were too low engagement/intensity, and too much of our training and boundary setting was after-the-fact. If we go full out for tug and chase in the garden for 15 minutes and I play vigorously with him with really good structure (like you must drop when asked and sit and wait for throw/retrieve), he may be content to chew a bone for an hour and take a nap. If I use that same time to potter around the farm or just throw a ball for him with no qualifiers it means nothing to him and when we get back he will still be looking for something to do. We used to go walking/light playing for 45 minutes and he would come back ready and willing to chew everything in the vicinity, bark at every noise... Now, we go for a walk to do heel training for 10 minutes and play hard for ~15, and last night he fell asleep from 7:30 - 9:00, got up and chewed his bone, and then went to bed at 10pm (but he isn't ready for sainthood yet, he did wake up manic at 7 and I have posted here for help because he has started to be very destructive again recently). My structure was not enough because as others have said my BCX wants to be involved with everything I am doing & he needs to know what he should be doing. & I was giving him all these toys and trying to let him play unstructured a lot as I worried he would be bored. He doesn't really want that. He's much better if he has to work for a toy and toys are to be played with together. And I'm working on chews just being a treat in the evening too. If he's frustrated your training isn't working, and if you're frustrated your boundary setting isn't working. You shouldn't be at breaking point -- if he's wrecking something all the time, clip him to you or crate him (I am giving advice I am learning the hard way, btw!). If he wants options and freedom he can earn those through trust. I wish you lots of good luck. This is not easy. Remember to breathe. He won't be a baby forever and you will probably, believe it or not, miss these times later.
  5. everyone's pictures are brilliant! Mine adores a good roll in long grass or dry dirt. He also enjoys lying on his belly in cows**t churned mud despite the 14°C weather. I will try to fish out a pic. Oh, and dead birds. Which ... smell very very bad.
  6. Hooper2 has an absolutely genius suggestion. I just wanted to say I feel for you on the thought he has more patience than you! I went through the same with Jax. We go for walks by driving a lot and as soon as he saw the car park it would be bite the leash o' clock. I definitely picked him up and carried him on more than one occasion (I'm sure other people saw me and thought I was off my head carrying this lanky dog around under my arm ). So I started making our walks go by the van more than once - basically going back to the van, getting in for a minute, then getting back out - walk x2! We also would sometimes just get in the van at home for no reason then get out and play a game in the garden. It worked really quickly. Good luck with yours! There's nothing like getting your arm ragged about at the last hurdle to make an otherwise good walk sour. It passes! Mine has lots of other methods of driving me nuts now
  7. @Hooper2 Thank you for the laugh! I too am 12. Also unfortunately Jax is 9 months as of Saturday so I'm not hopeful for second teething, however between your and @urge to herd comments I am definitely seeing a link between mouth issues and his behaviour. When he was puppy teething his mouthing was almost compulsive and he would just chew whatever was near his face. Last night he was leaning against the cabinet to watch me cook and just constantly putting the cabinet handle in his mouth almost without realising it. I will book him in to the vet and see what she says.
  8. Thank you for your help and advice. The teeth problem is an angle I didn't consider and I will definitely book in to see my vet and check. He has always enjoyed chewing but he suddenly seemed to "forget" everything I taught him about what to chew recently. I'm not sure how normal his level of enthusiasm for chewing is. We do do silly tricks and clicker training, plus basic obedience. I find it hard to gauge when he's 'mentally satisfied' as it seems like he can just go and go -- for example learning a brand new trick like go around a cone in a direction, he will happily train until I run out of treats, he doesn't get frustrated or lose focus for anywhere up to 10+ minutes (although I limit as advised to just a few minutes normally). I agree I would benefit from fresh eyes. I will try to find a trainer in my area, but we are so rural I'm not sure -- our closest puppy class was an hour's drive away. I would love for this to be the solution but right now we are still working on positive association. From day one he hated the crate. After a week of sleepless pup nights we followed advice to let him cry it out -- he is just a pup and will get used to it -- but he cried for hours on and off the first night we tried "tough love" and after that wouldn't go near it even in the day. We had to start feeding in it, slowly working to touching the door while he was near it etc... We are working on making that better and he can now take naps in there/sleep in it at night if I'm in the room, but if I leave for too long (more than a few minutes right now) he goes back to square one. Maybe I'm messing something obvious up? I will buy a collapsible folding pen to try something fresh, but as he can jump our 5ft gate I didn't think it would stop him. Thank you! Maybe I do need a specific command, I will try -- preempting it seems to be key.
  9. Hi everyone. I just wanted to say first that I am so thankful for the insights offered here constantly. Reading other people's issues and solutions really helps me to put Jax's behaviour into perspective and helps me to be thankful for the things he is good at that not every pup is. Thanks to everyone's previous help, Jax settled beautifully for day naps and now self-settles at about 9/9:30 almost every night. He also sleeps in the living room without us, which behaviour he led himself and he's very relaxed with it. His barking is better and he has stopped getting so overstimulated. We have two problems I could use help with, one more urgently than the other. He has discovered the wonders of humping in the last 3-4 weeks: dog, person, and inanimate. 95% of the time he will listen to me and leave a person alone when we are walking, but the 5% that he sees someone he 'likes', if he is allowed to (it goes without saying I remove him from the situation immediately if he does) he is completely focused on humping and is quite rambunctious about it. He has to be taken away because he will not calm. If it's in the house he has to stay in another room the entire time that person is there. Humping dogs is our real issue, though. He has very, very good recall, and I was confident in having him off lead for our very rural walks before this, but now he is on lead at all times. Around known dogs he is allowed to play, but with stranger's dogs I stopped allowing free play, as there was one occasion when he started to play hump another dog and quickly became manically overstimulated and they had to be physically separated and I felt he was distressing the other dog. I wanted to keep allowing greeting, but recently he has tried to hump other dogs during greeting and they have been let's say, pee'd off by this, but he doesn't moderate behaviour, and so we have stopped allowing greetings so as not to put other dogs in this position, which feels awful for his development. I need to know how to move forward with this, but I don't know where to start. His bed is a real issue now for this. I tried to let him work it out himself at first -- new hormones to get used to, teenage stuff, and all that. But he can't really hump it, he just flips it over and over and quickly becomes frustrated so he progresses to trying to rip it, and he rips things -so fast-. I then tried requesting "leave it", which worked the first week, then quickly escalated to him leaving the bed for shorter and shorter periods (even though leave with other things remains successful). Now I remove the bed from the room the first time he starts to fuss with it, and only bring it back in when he has calmed down, but it's at the point where I take the bed away within a minute of bringing it back. At night I have to wait for him to fall asleep on the floor or chair before I can reinstate the bed otherwise I'm worried he'll just have to sleep on the floor all night or shred the bed. Speaking of destruction -- I feel this is where I'm totally lost. He has started to destroy everything he can. There were a few months where he seemed to get that only toys were fair game but in the last few weeks he has destroyed countless objects and he now destroys the van when left alone for short periods. (We have a camper for work, he has always been more comfortable in that than left at home before now, and usually would mainly sleep or watch the world go by calmly) I left him yesterday morning for 30 minutes with a tripe filled bone (early when he is normally napping) and he chewed through a leather seat cover and a seat belt, leaving the tripe untouched. I did very nearly cry. I can't afford to replace these things and I need the seat belt. Already in the last week he's chewed through the dashboard plastic, the window opener, the rubber runner for the window, bits of the woodwork in the van... I took furniture out of the rooms we use because he started to annihilate anything that he could, so he just pressed his face to walls and chewed them, dug the carpet... We haven't changed routine in this time except he's now allowed longer walks, so I assume it's linked to his hormones, but I'm at the stage where I can't afford to replace the things he destroys and I'm out of options for where to leave him. I He's in the office with me today and we stop once an hour for 10 minutes to play tug or simple training and I treat him passively for relaxing or choosing his own toy/settling on the bed, but he will try to tear up bits of the floor even when he's right next to his favourite treat if I stop watching for more than a minute. He's on his lead now as I can't let him back in the van and he can't be left at home. I know these things are never a quick fix but I need to start doing something I feel will help as now I feel very helpless and it is definitely putting strain on my attitude to one-on-one puppy time which was up until recently a joy for me.
  10. Not at all! So interesting. And I love that it's reinvigorated the town. France has some really lovely examples of this because they are so proud of and respectful of their local heritage that many towns can be supported this way -- of course, it is France, so much of the local colour is cuisine and produce! Just an update, pupper is sleeping in the crate now! He's happy to get in and settle himself with the door open, he's not always popping out. You were right about increasing duration, and I also did a few sessions just increasing the crate's positive value, and practising 'in your bed' and settle. He's also much quicker and quieter to settle at night if the closed door is needed. I still don't use it for time outs -- he is really really good at 'place', so I use that instead. It helps that I read the signs of over-stimulation much better now and can ask for incompatible behaviours. Also for anyone that reads this and is trying to stop barking before it becomes a problem Kikopup has a great article -- we've been working on rewarding if I hear a noise and he doesn't react to it, and capturing calm while noises/distractions are present, to show him he doesn't need to react. Outside he can still be a pain in the bum but inside where I've been able to be consistent he has really improved, so it's working! Plus starting some flat work and body awareness training has been setting his little mind fizzing. Here he is growing up into the most handsome good boy he's almost that blurry in real life!
  11. Oh my goodness. Those are some beautiful dogs. The reason we considered a kelpie was because a farmer friend of mine got one from AU. I haven't seen her in a long while now, but such a wonderful and loving dog and so good on sheep, unbelievably fast. I can't believe the record price! Is this because of lineage and breeder etc. or are these dogs with specific stockwork training/credentials? I couldn't tell from the article, sorry to ask! It's brilliant that they have made such an event from the breed birthplace as well. Do you go yourself?
  12. I'm not sure but I'll offer an anecdote of what we did to help my sister's nervous collie deal with groups. First, we put a safe space for her in a quiet room, and started to teach her to go there by asking her to go to her place when we saw her get worked up. Two rambunctious teens, a loud deep voiced man and a cat were enough to make her apoplectic even on a normal day. Eventually she knew that if she did get anxious or overwhelmed (door slams, one of the teenagers yells, cat bolts through room, people get too rowdy etc.) she would be able to offer her behaviour: go straight to her place, where she would get two nice rewards -- a chewy or 'licky' treat, and her own quiet space. Moving her crate into the utility away from everything seemed mean at first but it helped her to calm down immensely. To do something proactive about the coughing you can use counter-conditioning. I'm not an expert but Breagha was very afraid of car door noises so this is what we did. I would probably have a stooge 'cough'. Start when she is chilled out and when you think it will least affect her. Have your stooge cough as far away from her as you can in the room she feels most comfortable in. You need to see what is the least scary option - if she finds men more scary than women, coughing more scary than sneezing etc. and start with the least scary thing. If she freaks out, wait until she is calm and lower the difficulty by having your stooge cough/sneeze even further away/quieter. Breagha would be inside at the french doors and I would quietly open and close the car door outside, and if she even stood still instead of running away she got lots of calm reward. It took a long time. Stood outside the house with a person closing the door of a car at the end of the lane 35m away was a big, big improvement for us. Now the car door slams and she flicks her ears and that's it. If you use clickers, if the stooge coughs and she looks even a tiny bit toward them without anxiety, or even if you see her ears flick the sound, without negative body language, click and reward her gently. Then start to click looking at the person, then moving toward them. And if she 'fails' i.e. gets anxious and searches for a cat, we trained 'if you see the cat go to your bed' as well, so that when the cat wants to go through the dining room the dog sees her and gets in her crate without being asked. You can also redirect it so if she 's anxious and searching for an outlet she can bring you a tug toy or something instead of bothering the cats if that's something you're okay with. Does any of this help?
  13. Lawgirl thank you so much for your helpful advice. I agree with you, he is sooooo. freaking. cute. His dad does look almost exactly like the middle dog in your picture (but with the doberman markings), but I had the same thought - he looks far more like a Koolie cross, even in the face shape as he starts to get a little more grown up. I would guess his dad has some mix in him somewhere as his mum is 100% true-to-type blue merle BC. Also your friend's dogs look like some serious good boys haha, those grins are adorable. I have had a couple of Australians cross streets or tap on my car door asking if he's part Kelpie, they always seem thrilled to see him so I assumed they were pretty popular over there he certainly likes them! Your advice for the crate is spot on, I feel I must have amped up the "difficulty" too fast. I knew he was getting the wrong association because the crate seemed to wake him up rather than put him to sleep! It does have a curtain over it but it's not the most blackout type, so maybe it's not dark enough. I'll look for a wool throw or something around the house I can try. He is really good about the crate considering, I'll just need to up the ante on actively training duration. I also agree with you on the prey drive thing. I am watching for that moment where he crosses the boundary and "forgets" commands or just gets too caught up. He's so good sometimes it's hard to remember he will be a teenager soon! I almost always have the 10m line over my shoulder so at least I can hope to jump on it. Have you found that you need to wait out the worst of it to get back to good recall, and do you just essentially take the difficulty back a few steps and re-proof as if you were training it against a higher distraction (i.e. hormones + stranger, etc.)?
  14. Hi, BACKGROUND INFO (NOT NECESSARY TO READ) Quick background: I have had older dogs before (12yo Weimaraner and briefly two 8-10yo SBTs). I'm very close with my OHs family and his sister's family got a rescue 5mo collie, totally unsocialised, underfed, kept in a small shed from birth until she was adopted -- I adored her and living next door I helped a lot with her training/walks. I learned a lot about R+ techniques and counter-conditioning in order to help her. She doesn't have many typical dog behaviours and it took months just to teach her that we were trying to interact, that we could be fun, that playing was a "thing"… but I loved her waggy butt and I knew for sure I was going to get one when I was ready. DOGGO INFO I see a lot of you are USA based, so I hope it’s okay, but I'm from the Highlands of Scotland. I got my pup Jax nearly 12 weeks ago – he’s a Scottish BC X Australian Kelpie. He's 6 months old on 5th July. I have attached some pics that hurt my heart below. I live on a sheep and cattle farm and help out there, but I don't intend to work him. I primarily work building trails, MTB tracks, and footpaths in remote Scotland so needed a dog capable of handling the weather and terrain I work in. I also spend almost all of my leisure time in the great wet outdoors. While I'm essentially in a totally new world, on my version of bed rest as he can't go any distances with me or get into too much at work, I need someone to just ... tell me that I'm doing okay, or correct me before I make any major mistakes. MY QUESTIONS Some concerns I have: Limiting exercise: I understand about limiting exercise for his growth plates. We go out to work in two hour stints, but he is off-leash and is able to self-settle when tired so he sets his own pace. He's never forced to go significant distances, and my work progresses at a pace of 50 or 70 meters in a day so we aren't "walking" anywhere, but the space he can typically explore is huge and sometimes he does seem to run about exploring for a lot of the time. Is off-leash okay with a nearly 6-month pup? Could this still be damaging? Prey drive: We hang out a lot off-leash in (privately owned) woodland, and sometimes he sets off after deer or hares or rabbits. He has fantastic recall and we are very remote, so usually I let him follow a scent or animal for 100m or so before I ask him to come back to me, which he has done 100% of the time at full tilt so far. Am I setting him up for failure as he becomes more independent if I let him do this? He loves it and I love to watch it but I would hate to think as he gets older that he will be put in danger by this drive. Can dogs tell the difference between behaviour that is okay at their home and when away? Barking: The working dogs on the farm are barky, and I have noticed a trend in Jax starting to bark more than I'm okay with. I can ask for "enough" and he stops immediately 80-90% of the time, but the trouble is I don't know how to pre-empt it and stop the first volley of barks. If he goes out to toilet in our enclosed yard I don't go out with him every single time, but he sometimes barks at the swallows or the tractor/UTV/other dogs running past the gate. If I go to the back door and say "enough" he stops and goes about other stuff, but he'll start up again 30 seconds later. If I'm out back he will still bark for his bestest friend in the whole wide world who passes by us loads of times a day. How do I nip this in the bud asap? Biggest Issues Crate Training He still won't settle in his crate in my room. When we are at work, we are remote sometimes and stay in my camper -- his bed (same one we use at home) is in the void below mine, and he will self-settle to his bed there totally fine at 9:30. In the house, he will also self-settle to his bed for day naps, or if I'm still downstairs at night he will self-settle, often getting off the sofa with me to take himself to bed. When I first brought him home he wasn't keen on the crate and had some separation anxiety that I am working on. I fed his meals in the crate and made a game of getting in and out of it, lots of treats and praise etc. until he was comfortable in it, before I asked him to sleep in it all night (took a couple of weeks because I preferred a night’s sleep to max. progress). However, every night at home now, when we go up to bed I ask him to get in his crate, he goes in and lies down, I shut the door, all is quiet for between 30 seconds and 5 minutes, then he barks/whines loudly and sometimes digs for anywhere up to 10 minutes before he settles to sleep. I am trying periodic random treating for quiet settling and we go upstairs and get in the crate and do treats for little quiet stints in the day, but it has made no difference to this routine so far, it just pushed back the length of time he waits before starting. I can’t leave the crate door open at night as he lays down for 2 minutes then gets up and goes around sniffing the room, scratching the corners and investigating and has to be asked back into his bed on a loop for 30+ minutes (the longest I have managed to try it in one night as I am bleeping tired!). He can also easily (and quickly) get onto our low bed and then constantly has to be given the "off" command, sometimes up to 20 times before he stops for a break. I know I need to disrupt him before he gets on, but our bed has no foot or headboard so he can get on from anywhere so difficult to body block him. What else can I do? He doesn't sound freaked out but it’s load and disruptive and he doesn’t do it when settling outside of the crate so I just feel a bit like a monster and want to know if I’m doing something wrong. Excitement Threshold The other difficulty is that sometimes he works himself up trying to get me to play when I won’t give him attention (cooking, after we have already had our morning walk/training/play and I have to do office stuff, in the evening when I’m trying to get him to calm state) and gets jumpy/rough, he won’t listen to “get down” commands or “off”/“sit”/”down” commands, sometimes won’t even go “get a toy”. In isolation he will bark/whine for up to fifteen minutes (I feel awful to leave him longer to try and settle down, and I don’t use the crate yet because of the previous issue). I just wait for a 15 or 20 second quiet to let him out. He will sometimes start the cycle again shortly after being brought back downstairs, sometimes not. What can I try in that moment? This ‘problem’ is the most upsetting for me. Sometimes I get to the point of very deep breaths/teary frustration as he gets destructive looking for any/negative attention and will bite walls, rip carpets, pull my laptop off the table getting tangled in the cords zooming round the room, trip me getting underfoot, tear my clothes trying to jump at me, and sometimes by accident hurts me by scratching me, jumping into me full tilt, headbutting me as he is a wriggly worm et. (he has fantastic bite inhibition, just a bit of puppy mouthing). Will he grow out of this? Things I can do in the moment would be most helpful, but are there related activities or games I can do to work on managing emotions/excitation? I am sorry this is a tome, hopefully the puppy pics help!
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