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Pat P

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Everything posted by Pat P

  1. if the choking-himself issue is only on the way to and from the park, have you considered a headcollar (halti, gentle leader, etc - I forget the name of the one I have, it is a goofy-sounding name but the item is out in my car and it's snowing and I'm not going out to check it right now :P) ... if you can fit and use it correctly (NO jerking on it EVER) it can be a useful management band-aid. Some dogs don't mind it too much, others (like mine) hatehatehate it but still benefit from its use when you have to get from point A to point B without chaos and explosions. Rather than trying to interpose yourself between him and his trigger, it would probably be better to turn him away from it or get him somewhere he can't see it (behind a corner or garbage can or whatever) good luck... my guy still pulls considerably but not nearly as much as he *used* to, mainly due to a) maturing and b) every time he starts to pull to hard we circle, like longeing a horse... I only walk him on forest trails and can't IMAGINE having to deal with a dog acting like he does in a TOWN :P
  2. also they may grow out of the puppy curliness when the adult coat grows in
  3. the "toss kibble one direction, then when dog's getting it run the other direction and toss/drop kibble there, lather rinse repeat" type game -- Leslie McDevitt's "ping pong" game -- seems to work really well for kids and they enjoy it and are impressed at how much it gets their dogs paying more-constructive attention to them. So maybe that would be a place to start? Dog could be on long line, or just do it over short distances, or something like that, if dog can't be loose. Good luck, that is cool you are helping here out, Pat
  4. yeah, I was thinking you could substitute the names of my 12- and 15-yr-old sons for "my dog" in the original post, and that would be my life right now, right there, LOL. Dogs pretty much the same in this. Have faith :) Pat
  5. also you may need to experiment to find the optimal amount/type of exercise... sometimes they can get like you describe if they have done too much or in a way that leaves them all amped up yet poorly able to control themselves. Kind of like little kids at bedtime I think it's pretty individual to each dog, in terms of what works best so can't make any general recommendation other than experiment! -Pat
  6. specifically, a good way to start nosework type stuff when neither of you particularly knows what you're doing is to play "hide the kibble" or "hide the favorite toy" in the living room. (Don't do it with a toy if the dog is crazy obsessive with the toy, only if the dog likes the toy enough to find it but is not going to start believing that if she looks ahrd enough it will always turn out to be under a sofa cushion etc!) Start putting the kibble somewhere easy and with the dog watching; you will doubtless find that you can very, very quickly proceed to blind hides and less-obvious places. Reading a bit about scent work is helpful at this point, b/c it will give you some idea of how scent moves in the air and therefore which places are likely to be harder and easier. But your dog will also tell you which places are harder and easier, and how scent moves. Also IMO it is worth working on a 'stay' while you hide the kibble, instead of just closing a door or popping the dog into a crate. I think it makes them "thinkier" about the process, which is probably what you want. Additionally, I would recommend trick training as a great way to put mileage on the brain and make the dog feel like they've done something. It is the same concept as doing obedience type stuff EXCEPT that you are likely to have much less personal investment in how the training goes and whether the dog learns things "just right". If they are tricks that YOU make up (nose-touch a target! stand in this box! go around the cone and come back to me! pick up the spoon!) then if you and the dog just don't seem to be communicating and have to bail and go on to do something different, you will not feel bad about it as if it were an Official Exercise like Front, Stand, Heel, etc; and because YOU are the one makin' up the trick, YOU get to decide how it gets performed and can take the dog's interpretations and personality into account rather than trying to force it into an externally-determined mold. Highly recommend clicker training, and either learning to shape behavior, or luring-plus-clicking (the luring just to get things started, then you shape things from there). Tricks do not need to get formalized with names etc... the point is the journey, not the destination :) Good luck and have fun, Pat
  7. I would imagine that if the manufacturer thought it was at *all* defensible to suggest there was CBD oil in the treats, they would, as a sales thing... yet they don't. Hemp =/= CBD That said, if it works for you, it works, whatever the mechanism. -Pat
  8. I think it's a combination of putting on cologne, and just fully enjoying an exciting and wonderful smell :) -Pat
  9. Well, there *are* sportbred ones that are great around the house, but you'd need to know where to find them, and it can be harder to intepret (IMO) what the flyball/agility set say about their dogs, because they will often put up with a lot more "mental complications" in exchange for a crazy-driven dog! That said, an awful lot of really good agility dogs come from working (farm dog) parents, which is probably as it should be and not surprising -Pat
  10. and for health things that can't be DNA-marker screened for, like epilepsy, you need the breeder to know allll about its presence/absence in their lines, and in similar breedings. -Pat
  11. since you mention agility as a possibility, be aware there is a third food-group of border collies, bred not to work or for foofy show purposes but for flyball/agility purposes. For what you want, I'd steer clear of those breeders (tho they certainly do produce some dogs you'd probably enjoy) b/c you are more apt to get a rocket-fuelled maniac and have to be extra careful of epilepsy etc. (That is not an insult to sport breeders, I'm basically an agility person myself, sorry everybody <g>, just saying that sport-bred dogs can be a pretty different kettle of fish and really suited best to sports) The socialization thing is fairly easy to deal with, just don't get a puppy from someone who hasn't socialized them and really if you can talk to people who have grown-up dogs from whatever breeder you're thinking of, that will probably answer any lingering questions you have on that score. Also consider rescue! Good luck and have fun, -Pat
  12. The big thing is to try to keep him under threshold when you are doing your training on these issues. Once he is at the end of his leash barking, things have already gone wrong... the game is to try to stop *before* that will happen, and do your training *then*. Obviously you will not always guess right :P and that's ok, just get him out of the situation as quickly as practical (go away, behind a bush, round a corner, put yourself in front of him, whatever situation allows) but I mean the idea is to keep the number of oopsies low, if you want the behavior to decrease rather than increase. -Pat
  13. when finding out about temperaments/personalities/quirks of the parents (and grandparents, and siblings of parents, and older dogs of same breeding if any) make sure to ask for *descriptions*, not *judgements*. "So, what does <name of dog> mostly do in his spare time?" is more likely to give you useful information than "what's <dog> like?". There is a really really wide range of variation in border collie brains compared to many other breeds, and one person's "funny, loving" may be another person's "hyper-busy, won't learn to take no for an answer, drive ya nuts". Similarly, quirks like obsessions etc may be unimportant to one person but really important to try to avoid for someone else. "Quiet" can mean floppy calm switched-off-til-needed, or it can mean "sits in corner and stares at dust specks all day, or waits for the cat to come by to chase and bark at". Just having as loooong a conversation as possible can often tell you a whole lot, just let the other person do the talking :) JMHO, -Pat
  14. is he truly lying down like HIDING (scared), or is he just crouching and EYEING the oncoming dog? Which are two totally totally different things. the sniffing is hard to say anything about without being there, because the idfference between "I smell wonderful smells" and "my nose is glued to the smells so that I don't have to deal with the big disturbing world" can be pretty subtle. If he is *licking*, too, though, then I would bet it is not fear (at least not at those moments)... is it infrequent enough that it is maybe licking girl-pee (which they do)? Given that there is never any guarantee of how a dog's going to act after neutering, personally I'd consider waiting and seeing if the behavior changes with more maturity and training... unless it is driving you and him *bonkers*, in which case he is at least old enough now that would not be an unreasonable age to fix him if you were so inclined. Good luck, Pat
  15. >> And if there's a weird thing your dog loves, use that << Yes, this! I had a dog go thru a phase where the best toy I could offer was the cardboard tube from inside a roll of paper towels to tug on, or from inside a roll of toilet paper for him to just rip it up and disintegrate it :P Also, two of my dogs learned all their fast-difficult weave entries (sorry guys, we do agility :P) using dead moles and voles that they'd caught. (I would manage to get the corpse away from them, then use it as reward to motivate their weaves). Worked *great*, other than, you know, the unreliable availability of dead rodents LOL) It is, though, important to realize whether you are (at a given moment in time) using the treat as a lure to *manage* distraction, or whether you are using it as a reward to *train attention*. The two are not the same and although each has times when it is appropriate they do lead you down different paths. -Pat
  16. well, there you go... BALL is his reward!! For training, that is... not for acclimation. Meaning, NO BALL while he is hanging out absorbing atmosphere and getting *ready* to pay attention to you. But, once he can voluntarily pay attention to you (e.g. remembers you exist <g>) then BALL! Then not ball, and he has to work to get more ball. Admittedly you cannot play fetch on a crowded sidewalk, but with a ball-on-a-rope you can probably find *some* sort of game he will at least kinda get into. But it is still really, really important to invest a bunch of time in getting him used to the world (no ball)... otherwise he will at best remain reactive to unexpected things, and potentially get worse as time passes. He needs to be able to notice the world enough to learn to cope with it, right? So, no ball during *that* process! But, ball very very useful for all sorts of other things. I will leave the amount of exercise question to those who've raised more bc's than I have... but although I tend to err on the side of caution with young athletic animals (and if they're going to be chasing a ball, IMO it needs to be still moving forward rapidly when they get to it, not stopped so they have to put on the emergency brakes) I totally understand where you're coming from, and some days I definitely do significantly more with my young guy than I'm entirely comfortable with, because it is either that or KABOOM! :O Sometimes we live in an imperfect world IMO. Perhaps take it easier if you don't have water, though, because the more tired and pant-y they get, the less careful they are with their bodies. Pat
  17. I wonder whether your using his name or 'watch me' or whatever is inadvertantly putting extra pressure on him, when he is already feeling overwhelmed by the great wide world. I knwo it takes a LOT of self-control and self-reminders not to say anything to the dog, but maybe try just rewarding (with something he considers really high-value) any glance in your direction *without* trying to cue it in any way. Honestly, you cannot expect training to happen when he's too overwrought to think, and it sounds like mostly he is (except in your apartment, which is fine but should not be expected to carry over in any way to other environments at this point) Also, you have mentioned a lot about what YOU want him to do, but what does HE like to do? (I mean, that's constructive LOL). Find and USE the things he likes. Games, tricks, ways of being petted, ways of hanging out with you, particular toys, particular activities, etc. There must be SOMETHING he does that you and he can agree on and use as common ground :) Good luck and remember this too shall pass ;), Pat
  18. Oh, and the other thing that's helped with our boy is encouraging him in his choice of "offices" outside of his crate... his choice not ours... he seems to like being on the yellow chair next to his crate, and underneath the bench under the front window (we call it his cave!) and by the gate that separates the front of the house from the back of the house for cat reasons. And sometimes the right end of the sofa. I figure if those are the places he feels more comfortable for whatever reason, then those are the places that I *particularly* want to reinforce him for being! Pat
  19. Good advice... just wanted to comment that when he *does* get all uncontrollably overbusy, putting him in the crate to reboot his brain is probably still a good thing. Then when he comes out you can work on training relaxing behavior. (A little at a time, probably). Because, when he needs a nap, he needs a nap, period... and if right now he relies on *you* to provide the nap (i.e by closing him into the crate) then so be it You can also experiment with noise levels (maybe a quiet radio in the background, maybe turn *off* the radio/tv, see what he needs) and also experiment with leashing him to you when he is in the house. Honestly I think the single thing that helped most with my own 11-month-old wild child (who sounds kind of like yours, tho perhaps a bit less so) is going outside and just sittin' in a lawn chair with him on a leash... with a mixture of occasional kibbles and constructively ignoring him he figured out fairly quickly that he could just flop down and watch the world go by, which seemed to then translate into a better (altho still limited!) ability to do so indoors as well. Pat
  20. From what you say he does not sound to me like he is ready for ANY training outdoors at all... what he needs is *acclimatization*. (Or however you spell that!). Go to the place where he least loses his mind and just sit there with him for a short while til he starts to relax. You can talk idly to him if it makes you both feel better -- "so, that's the guy next door coming home from work, and there's the plumber coming through, wonder what he's going to fix, and oh look, he forgot to hike his pants back up..." -- but you're not trying to soothe or train him, just let him figure it out. Then, go back home. (If you stay too long, it tends to reverse and they get all overwrought and you lose the benefit). Do that a jillion times or whatever's necessary to get to the point where you can go to THAT ONE PLACE and sit down with him (or stand there with him) and have him relax within a minute or two and be willing to lay down floppily or look at you or look at a treat. Until you get to that point -- the point where he is capable of organized thought in that environment -- you just biologically CAN'T train him there. Cuz, training requires him to be able to think about what's going on so he can make choices. Can't do that when all the brain cells are flapping in the wind going "aaaaaagh!" :) IME the hardest part is having patience and faith (and making sure to pick a place where he does have some chance of getting chill about it within your joint lifetimes!), and making yourself do SHORT increments of exposure. In future, you would work towards expanding the number of places where you can get him to be relaxed and thinky, and thus trainable... but that's *then*, not now. The first part takes the longest... once he starts to get it, it kind of snowballs and other environments will take less time for him to settle in (assuming you've chosen them well) -Pat
  21. Priced for the kijiji, pet, might-otherwise-buy-a-something-doodle-poo type audience! -Pat
  22. Yes definitely sounds right! FWIW, I've been kind of surprised how useful it's been to just sit outside the house in a chair, with my own 10-month-old wild child on a leash, for 10-30 min at a time... somewhere calm enough that he can fairly quickly settle down and just lie next to or under my chair. Did it for practical reasons mostly, but it seems to give him practice in absorbing new sounds/sights/etc from a 'home base'. Fairly quickly that transferred to being able to just stand or lie near me (while I'm stationary but standing) in the same way. Which was a big advance for him. Not quite the same thing as loose leash walking per se (which is still a work in progress... but he's a rescue and I've only had him a few months) but I think it's a related concept, you know? Good luck and have fun with your handsome guy -Pat
  23. if you are familiar with Control Unleashed (enough to do it correctly/usefully), "look at that" can be used for noise reactivity too. The sound (I mean, misc. sounds in general that worry the dog) become cues for him to look at you and you treat him for that. (edited to be clear: you are feeding him for looking at you before barking, i.e. *without* barking. Don't feed him for barking! :P) All your training sessions (in this, in loose-leash walking, in anything, especially things he finds mentally-difficult) really need to be SHORT and KEPT UNDER THRESHOLD. If you let him get all whacked out -- pulling like a train, barking and trying to run around, etc -- make a careful mental note of the circumstances (including when in a training session it happened) and then do everything you can manage to stop FUTURE training sessions BEFORE you get to that point. Even if it means taking him out for a "walk" twenty-five times in a day, each "walk" being thirty seconds long -Pat
  24. For whatever it's worth, to me it sounds like he was just totally totally shut down when you adopted him, and is in the process of very slowly unfreezing his brain and personality and starting, little by little, in fits and starts, to come out of his shell and be himself. (It is even possible he was like this *before* he went into the rescue system too, so it is possibly he doesn't yet actually know how to be himself or who he really is, if that makes sense). When they're like that, it can seem very random for a long time... bits of hard-to-explain behavior coming out here and there, then disappearing again. As someone said, just try to keep the pressure off... not walking him in strange places (Petsmart is probably too much -- and in a shut-down dog, you CANNOT judge whether they're over threshold by just the fact that they're not trying to flee -- these dogs use sitting like a statue as an escape from the world, and it can actually be a *bad* sign)... and not trying to train him (not even simple things) unless/until he ASKS to play training games with you. Just lots of whatever he finds positive at any given moment. It is great that you are starting to see him initiate interactions and express interest in doing things... let him lead the way on that, and build on it at whatever speed he says. I think it's amazing and terrific that you are being understanding of him, and giving him this chance. He may or may not ever make a good support dog for your niece, but you seem to be a good support family for HIM Good luck, Pat P
  25. How is he being left alone in crate for variable lenght of time, with you elsewhere in house, during the day? Wondering how much of this is a nighttime thing and how much may be a crate thing in general (which is easier to fix). You might try leaving some source of 'white noise' playing quietly in the room... a fan or a radio set quietly on a just-static setting. I find my dogs (only one of which is a bc, though) do a lot better if I ignore them (or shout 'quiet!', which they know means "shaddup, and I'm not coming in there, really really") than if I go in and try to settle them down. The hardest part of getting each of our dogs (all rescues) to sleep thru the night during the first few months having them has always been getting my HUSBAND to quit going in there and talking to them... they may settle some when he enters but start up twice as bad as soon as he leaves. That said, this only applies to dogs with normal worries/grumpiness/anxiety, who are still capable of some level of thinking... there are a few dogs out there (altho it does NOT sound to me like your dog is one) who get so hysterical that it may not be safe to just leave them alone. Good luck, Pat P
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