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Tegan and Oden

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  1. A quick update: It's incredible the difference in temperament even a few weeks have made since I posted this. I chose not to use the e-collar (at this point) and to just sit back, take a deep breath and continue on with my training. During this time I decided to loosen the leash so to speak and give him a chance to really prove himself. Now I know this goes against what is recommended but I felt I had really hit a wall with his training and was sensing some frustration from him. He... has... been... wonderful! We've been camping with him off leash the entire time (with breaks in the crate). I've been doing more off leash walking with him (albeit him on a 15 ft line following him) and have had him loose more on our property. All while doing this I have been religiously working on his recall and responsiveness to my cues. He has been wonderful, (have I said that already?) I've been so proud of him and I can really tell how hard he's working to prove his new found freedom. Maybe it's because he's maturing, maybe it's because he's settled in to his hormones post neuter I don't know but we're both really enjoying this part of the adventure. The highlight was this morning when a big buck decided to wander through the property. This was Odens first real encounter with a dear whilst being loose. While containing my internal freakout I came out and yelled "Oden, leave it!" He gave a few alarm barks and some very unsure charges in the dears direction BUT no chasing. He stood there waiting for my direction and calmly disengaged and came to me. I was so proud of the guy and this only proved we are on the right track. Of course if we have a relapse back in to some bad habits we'll reel things in and start from scratch but for the moment I'm on cloud 9. Thanks to everyone who took the time to give me advice, I am always grateful for your words of wisdom
  2. Thank you for this Journey. Yes our property is fenced and I like the idea of the coin cans to help snap him out of it. I can get a down out of him if I show him the frisbee or the chuck it but he struggles to hold it. I need to be faster on snapping up the long line before he takes of again. I do throw the frisbee to bring his attention back to me...I hope that is ok or am I just jacking him up even more? I figure I have to throw it if he gives me his attention otherwise he'll figure it's not worth it if I give him nothing in return. I will start the conditioning of the e-collar. And yes, I am in no rush with this...there's no room for mistakes so we will take our time. He's such a punk, but that's one of the traits I love most about him, even if it does drive me nuts!!
  3. Bit of background. I have a (newly) Neutered 14 month old BorderAussie. Since day one when we welcomed him in to our home at 8 weeks I have followed Leslie McDevitts methods of training religiously along with reading other animal behaviouralists and trainers books all using Positive re-enforcement methods. We've also been to a pile of puppy classes and obedience classes. Oden is a wonderful, mostly well balanced dog who adores his family.... We've worked through arousal issues (not there yet but greatly improved using LAT and other methods. The problem that I'm struggling with at the moment is managing his motivation to chase. As mentioned in a previous post I've been struggling with his intense prey drive which has improved somewhat around our cats and chickens but that is only on leash and with strict supervision. If given the opportunity I wouldn't put it past him to attempt to kill a chicken that strayed too close. I've since come to terms that we do not have a dog that I can casually have loose around the property while the smaller critters are out and have set up a 100ft trolley long line for when he can't be supervised outside. We live on property with tonnes of wildlife...moose, deer, bear and camp often in remote areas. He's not had the opportunity yet to chase game but in the off chance he's loose and spots something how do I work on that recall under intense distraction. When he's at home on the property and I'm outside with him I have him on a long line (15-50ft) and have trained him on whistle recall which works wonderfully when he's at a distance. When he comes dashing back I'll switch it up by playing tug (which he loves), throwing ball or high value treats BUT if say a person walks down the road with their dog he'll wildly fly up and down the property line. Not so much from aggression but just for the freedom of chase. He loves it! More than anything I can offer, and will blow off my whistle call 95% of the time. Even with the long line I can't catch him fast enough to stop him in his tracks. When I do catch him I will say oh oh! and place him in his crate for a time out. I know as it is self re-enforcing I shouldn't allow him to practise this but he can't be on a long line his whole life. Or tied to a line when we're camping? Or am I fooling myself and this is our reality. I've read many books on "humane" e-collar training and most say that under these circumstances (life or death if he's chasing game) it could be a powerful tool. I've even purchased a top of the line e-collar but I can't bring myself to start the conditioning process with him. We have such a beautiful bond I'm terrified of losing the trust we have built. Any wise words would be greatly appreciated. Tegan and Oden
  4. I purchased both books. I read the pup one first and then read the original. Unlike what most people have said I actually found the original book easier to follow and more in tune to my adolescent dog. It was also a nice refresher to have read the puppy book first and then read the second. I found I was still learning new things with each book. I'm also in Canada and purchased both books from Amazon.ca. Such great useful books.
  5. We live in Northern BC Canada where temps can get as cold as -30 degrees Celsius. My older BC actually prefers to be outside even when it's well below zero (celcius). I find the only time I really start to see my dogs raise their paws when on the snow is when it's reaching -15. Both of them grow lovely thick fur around their paws which I'm sure helps. I often have to trim there paws in order to prevent ice balls developing when we're cross country or down hill skiing. I was worried about my 13 year old girl getting too cold this year and spent a bunch of money on outdoor heated dog beds and winter jackets. Turns out as per usual her wooley double coat has been more than sufficient. I bring her in on the super cold evenings to snuggle on the couch when I'm sure she'd much prefer to curl up outside at the front door. My young guy who also does fine in the colder temps thankfully is happier to oblige.
  6. By "physical pressure" I'm mean body blocking him when he gets off his mat so I am in front of him, then using my body to persuade him to go back to his mat. Often this works when it doesn't I take his collar and put him back on. I will stop with the treats when correcting (makes total sense!) And only reward when he has sat quietly for a period of time. He is totally a juvenile delinquent and I think the great responses I have received from people in this forum have made me realize that I need to switch gears from training a puppy to training a pre-adult who needs a little more oomf when being corrected. Thanks again for these great responses.
  7. Thank-you Journey. Using the muzzle is mostly for my own piece of mind as sometimes the cats will approach him while he's on his mat. He has not reacted negatively yet but that's because I am always there with him. I think I will consider using a prong when working with the cats and chickens. He is not a sensitive dog like our other older girl and although he does respond well to treats.... when he's "locked" on to the cat a cue and treat doesn't always work and I'm using physical pressure to move him back to his mat. I think possibly the collar could work in this scenario to get his attention back to me and then treat. Thank-you for giving me hope that this could have a happy ending. I am determined to make this work. He really is such a good boy.
  8. Thank you D'Elle, I have been using the flirt pole to work on his "leave it" training. We are at the point in training were I can be luring him with the flirt pole and say "leave it" and he will stop mid flight and wait again for my release cue "ok" before he continues his chase. I also ask him to return to his mat and make eye contact before I release him for the chase again. He is making great progress and my intention behind this game is to have some form of control when he chases something like a cat I can cue him to disengage. Maybe this will come with age?? I don't know. I think you are right and maybe for the moment I should stop this kind of play along with tug and see if things improve and possibly re-introduce at a later date. The games I chose to play with him are ones that don't get him too worked up so he stays below threshold. He's my daily running partner and I also walk him. He loves fetch and playing hide and seek with his toys. Again, I appreciate all the advice you give.
  9. Thanks D'Elle for your response. I am 100% determined to try to make this work and am realistic to the notion that it could take many more months or even years. I have read from people in similar situations that it could be puppy exuberance and things may settle as he ages. He is just such a great well rounded sensible dog in every other aspect and when he's in the house with cats on the couch he is fine (although it's still a very controlled environment). He just can't help himself when a cat runs. Have you had experience using flirt poles. Am I doing the right thing by using one? Or could I be making things worse? I was told by my obedience trainer that in order to have a "soft mouthed" dog I should not be playing games such as tug or using a flirt pole but this goes against a dogs natural instincts. Don't they need an outlet that can be allowed such as this as apposed to taking his frustrations out on something not allowed? As devestating as it would be we would consider rehoming in the event that we continue to not see progress. I don't want to be ultimately responsible for the death of our beloved cat(s).
  10. Ok so a bit of background info: We've had our intact male 8 month old Border Collie since he was 8 weeks old. His parents are both working stock. Since day one I have been following Leslie McDevitts Controlled Unleashed and Dr Overall religiously. He is crate trained and I use the crate periodically for "time outs"). He's been to puppy classes and obedience classes and gets plenty of mental and physical stimulation on a daily bases. We also have a 13 year old border collie who we rescued as a 2 year old that was incredibly reactive and fearful but over the years she has developed in to a well adjusted confident dog. Oden our pup however is incredibly confident, something I am not use to so ive had to adjust my approach to training. He is an utter joy to be around and a total love bug with the entire family but the cats well that's something else. He has been introduced to the cats since he has been 8 week. We live on acreage and the cats have the run of the place but since around 4 months of age he started showing serious aggression toward them. To the point I had to get him off the cat, 100 percent convinced he was in for the kill. Since that last episode I have kept them seperate, only introducing the cats every...yes every...evening with him muzzled on a long long with plenty of high value treats and playing games like "look at that" and "leave it". I also have been using a flirt pole to work on his "leave it" and general impulse control although sometimes it just feels like I'm making him more excited to chase. He's as smart as a whip. He is not loose on our property unless the cat's are locked in the house. He is kept on a long line while I can't watch him as he will also go harass the chickens but that's another post for another day. Today after nearly 6 months of work and training a cat slipped out the front door and he managed to get a hold of him. All that work undone! The cat's ok luckily but I'm at a loss. I feel like he might just be a cat killer and I have to accept it. I really don't want to re-home our beloved cat with whom our kids adore but this is exhausting and after today I feel like he just hasn't learnt anything. I'm totally adverse to the idea but should I consider an e-collar or something of the like? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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