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Deanna in OR

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About Deanna in OR

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  1. I'm so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to get through the death of one of our beloved dogs. It's been 3-1/2 years since we lost Maile, and then Kashka a few months later--the two were the best of friends, only a couple of weeks apart in age, and now they are together at the Bridge. I just finally finished a memory photo quilt in their honor, now hanging in the living room. Perhaps creating some sort of memorial to Sam will help you to remember all the good times you shared. We have had Tenaya (our BC) and Willow (our Collie) since a little after we lost the other two, and our lives are again enriched by sharing our home with our dogs. However much it hurts when the time comes to lose one, I cannot imagine living without a dog or two. Take good care of Bacon--they grieve for their lost friends, too. "We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle; easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we would still live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan...." --- Irving Townsend --- Deanna in OR
  2. Hi Natalie, Even after 3 years of agility classes, we're still going every week and don't plan on stopping. The dogs can learn the basics of the equipment fairly easily, but there is so much more to agility, especially for the human part of the team! A big part of that is learning how to teach your dog exactly what you want. You can learn a lot from Clean Run, but a good trainer is essential if you want to be able to learn to be a good agility team with your dog. It is addictive! Tenaya (our BC) and Willow (the collie) both just starting doing trials a couple of months ago. Tenaya is insanely fast and challenging to handle but fortunately my husband is the one who has to deal with that (most of the time!) Willow is a smidge slower and easier to manage. Deanna in OR
  3. Tenaya's Favorite toys are fron Fat Cat--the Ring toss toy, part frisbee, part tug-toy, part chew-toy hurl-a-squirrel (her official reward when she finds someone in SAR training), and the Fat Cat Skunk Crackler Skunk They are stuffed toys, the skunk with a squeeker and something inside that makes a cracking sound. She doesn't get to have it very long unsupervised, but it's extremely durable with a very heavy canvas outer covering. Deanna in OR
  4. Congratulations to you and Blaze! Alaska said "Someone once told me that learning agility with a BC (as your first dog) is a bit like learning to drive using a Ferrari." I told that to my husband, who is learning agility with our young BC, Tenaya. Tenaya is VERY fast and very impatient with her handler. My husband responded to the comment above with, "That's not entirely true. You can still drive slow in a Ferrari"! Deanna in OR
  5. Any dog who is unknown to you should be considered likely to run if given the chance. Fostering the dog sounds like a good thing to do--just make sure she is in an enclosed area (a fenced yard, with you present) or on a leash or long line, or best of all, in the house with you. If you leave her alone for long periods of time, she may become destructive. Border Collies are really people-oriented dogs who do much better spending plenty of time with their people, not left alone for hours. They usually need some "job" to do, since they were bred to be working dogs. The job might be obedience training, Agility, herding, Search and Rescue (SAR), Therapy-dog, Rally, Freestyle ("Dancing with Dogs")....any number of things. Physical exercise is good for them but mental exercise is even more important. If you have to leave her alone, consider a crate or at least a small, enclosed area with nothing in it to destroy. Leave her a couple of toys that can't hurt her (chew bones of some sort, a frozen filled Kong, for example), and don't leave her for too long. I would not leave her for any length of time in the fenced backyard, alone. She might be great or she might try to dig her way to China, destroy expensive landscaping, or find a way to escape your backyard. Your patience and willingness to spend time with her will be paid back many-fold by the affection, loyalty and love that most border collies show their humans. Border Collies can be great with other animals, or not--it's very dependent on the individual. They can be taught to behave nicely around other animals, like cats. They do tend to want to herd other animals--our border collie, Tenaya, is very nice to our Mom's little mutt Mandy most of the time, but if she thinks dinner is coming, she will work hard to keep Mandy away from us and away from the pantry where the food is kept. Other than that, read a lot here and you will learn more about the range of behaviors that border collies can show. Thank you so much for considering fostering her! Deann in OR
  6. We trained our 2 girls that they have to Sit in order to get a greeting from humans. Jumps are ignored (by turning backs) or corrected if they are really obnoxious. We try very hard with our guests/friends to get them to do the same. Well, we sorta trained them--at 2 (Willow the Collie) and 2-1/2 (Tenaya the Border Collie), they almost always sit as long as we remind them right away, but then Tenaya, especially, still wants to jump up for a kiss. I think it's because my husband lets her do it part of the time..... Deanna in OR
  7. When Tenaya was a puppy, I had a ruptured disk in my back and couldn't bend over to pick up her fetch toy (ball, frisbee, whatever...). So unless she brought it back to me and handed it to me, it didn't get thrown. She figured it out pretty quickly, since she can be obsessive about fetch if we let her--unless she did that, the game ended. We extended that to include a "sit in front" with the toy before taking it (not just a stand nearby with the toy). It's great now when Tenaya and my husband are playing or competing Frisbee--she brings it right up to him, with a quick sit, then he takes it, and only then she can run out to catch another. The key thing is to not play the game unless they play by your rules....ever. Deanna in OR
  8. One other suggestion--go to dogwise.com and get this book: "MY DOG PULLS. WHAT DO I DO?, by Turid Rugaas" It's short and sweet and based on extensive observation and experimentation with a large number of dogs and handlers. Deanna in OR
  9. Glad my post helped a little, Zoe. Like the others said, a physical cue can help. Tenaya knows that when her vest is on, she is doing SAR. Both dogs know that when the harness is on, they can pull (I use harnesses with Flexis to walk both together when my husband isn't around--I don't want them thinking it's OK to pull with a regular collar on). Thanks for the complements on our girls--I don't have any video of them available on-line, sorry! Deanna in OR
  10. One other thing--they may want to test you on the teeter or tunnel like you describe because there could be situations where your dog is in a very precarious situation and you want him to move slowly and under control, for his own safety. For this reason, they probably want to be sure you can keep him moving slowly under your control in those situations, not just charging ahead like he would on an agility course. He'll be able to do it! Our dogs are smarter than many people give them credit for. Deanna in OR
  11. Tenaya's SAR training doesn't include an agility test as such, but the issue you bring up is one we have addressed in the context of training similar behaviors for different situations. Many dogs get kind of freaked out by the teeter at first, and what you describe for the SAR teeter test isn't too different from how we trained our dogs to do it (Tenaya and Willow the Collie, who is 5 months younger than Tenaya). It looks like a dogwalk to a dog at first, and they can just go charging up it and get worried when it suddently goes down under then after they hit the pivot point. So we would tell them to go up it and then quickly say "Down!" as they just got to or just past the pivot, then tell them to continue after their weight brought the teeter down to the ground, with a "spot" (two-on-two-off) at the end of the teeter. After they got used to it, we slowly stopped including the "down" at the pivot, just saying "easy", then just letting them go all the way to their "spot". Willow especially is great now at just charging over the teeter to her "spot" at the contact zone. Tenaya is still a little more tentative going over it. But I think if I told either one of the dogs to "down" at the pivot point, they could do it, especially if we were approaching the teeter slowly from a heel, since that is how they learned it to begin with. I wouldn't worry about it affecting their normal fast run over the teeter. A lot of people worry about dogs getting confused if you train two different sports at the same time or in the same place or with the same equipment, where a different behavior is expected. In my experience (and I've only been seriously into dog training for a couple of years), dogs cue a HUGE amount from the handler's behavior, and they can easily distinguish what they should do based on that. Some dogs do it better than others, but they can definitely learn. A couple of examples-- We do Rally and Agility (and are working on Obedience), and of course Tenaya does SAR. There are jumps in Rally and Agility, but in Rally, we are doing heel work and the jump is very controlled, with the dog having to return immediately to the handler's left side. I can at one moment be doing heelwork with Willow, send her over a jump, and call her immediately back to heel (we sometimes do this while waiting our turn in Agility class); then 30 seconds later, take our turn on the Agility course and she has no problem running out and away from me around the course including over the jumps. She knows the difference based on whether I am running or walking, and on what I ask her to do. I use the same command for the jump in both cases ("hup"). Tenaya has an incredible "stay"--great for OBedience but also great for the start line in Agility. But when it is time to run, she is like the wind! My husband is constantly testing her start line and contact-zone stays--she is like she's glued in place, until she is released--but then the next obstacle is called and she is amazingly quick once she is released. And of course she can work at quite a far distance for SAR, but stay right there in heel for Obedience and Rally. If you are worried about Dylan getting confused, just use a different command for the teeter or the tunnel, depending on how you want him to take it. But your body language will already be different--you'll be walking not running--so he will probably cue off of that without you needing a different command. It just depends on what you reward, and how consistent you are in the two different situations. Hope that long-winded answer helps! Deanna in OR
  12. Here's an idea for dealing with this-- If he is OK with the jump against the wall but does the "uber-focus" thing once it is away from the wall, try moving it away from the wall in tiny increments (like an inch at a time). See if you can note at what point he starts to notice it in the way you don't want, and make a note of that. Next you'll need his most favorite thing in the world--a favorite toy, raw fresh liver, steak, a sheep (which you will now reserve for only this situation for a while). Have it at hand, then go by the jump at a bit of a distance while it is in the position just before where you earlier noted that he noticed it. Reward him for ignoring it, have a party with the special thing or treat! Repeat a few times, perhaps doing your heelwork, each time getting a little closer to the jump. Then move the jump a centimeter further from the wall--repeat, and if he can ignore it or even if he can turn his attention back to you, again "have a party" with the special treat or thing. If you lose him, you've moved too fast and go back a step (maybe moving yourself further from the jump. Also, if you lose him, just turn your back and ignore him completely until he stops (perhaps someone else can get him and bring him back to you, or remove the jump itself when it happens). The idea here is two-fold--classical conditioning of "jump nearby means really yummy favorite thing" and operant conditioning of "when you pay attention to me instead of the jump, you get the really yummy favorite thing". But you've probably got to do it gradually. If he is clicker trained, you might be able to include that when he doing what you want (ignoring the focus on the jump) as part of the operant conditioning. We do Rally and Agility, and Tenaya our BC has her RE (we would do APDT Rally-O if there were ever a trial within 100 miles). She doesn't have quite the distraction with the jump that Speedy has, but she always barks when she goes over the jump in Rally and wants to be crazy, but we can get her back in heel soon enough to make it through the rest of the course. She definitely wants to take the jump when she shouldn't (out of order on the course) so we really have to read her body language and communicate more with her on the course if we are heeling past a jump to keep her attention. Do you have an "attention" command? It might be her name, or "heads-up!", or something that you train independent of all else. You need something that is ALWAYS rewarded with high value treats when he looks at you, especially from heel position. It's also very useful when there is popcorn on the Rally course (I encountered this in our 2nd trial!), or horse-poop on the course (3rd trial!) or other distracting smells like the dog before who peed on the course (c'mon, stewards, sprinkling a bit of water over it won't get rid of the smell!). I think you can re-train his behavior around jumps as long as you are patient, take it in very tiny steps as a distraction, and start over from scratch EVERY time you encounter a new version for a while (a new PLACE, a different-looking jump than you started training with, etc). Try to do your training with the actual kinds of jumps used in Rally (panel, bar and broad)--they look different to a dog from a PVC jump used in Agility. I could also suggest some practice that includes a shorter long-line and a pinch collar, but try the purely positive methods first--they are better at maintaining the relationship with your dog, which is why you're doing Rally, right? In the meantime, if you can at least get his attention back to you at a Rally trial, you should be able to get through it--maybe not placing but at least qualifying! Moving up from on-leash Novice to off-leash Advanced (and to the evil jumps!) is a big step! Deanna in OR
  13. Zoe, it sounds like this last training session went really well! My husband started out with "run away" games with Tenaya when he started the official training, where someone plays with a toy, then runs away a bit and hides behind a building or something, while he kept Tenaya, then sent her to find the person with her toy. We frequently play hide-and-seek games with her in the house, hiding one of her favorite toys in a different room while she is in a sit-stay in one place. It has done wonders for her "stay" and she gets lots of "nose" practice. We hide the toy high or low, and lately we might hide 3 different toys and she has to find the right one. When she brings it back, she gets an intense, short play session with that toy. There is one toy that is reserved for SAR only--she ONLY gets to play with it when she makes a find. Tenaya is partly clicker-trained. The clicker is a great tool to teach/shape particular behaviors, and to occasionally reinforce them (mainly in Obedience and Agility). We drop the clicker once she shows she knows the new bahavior, only going back if she needs help to generalize it (she takes a while to generalize a new behavior to other places or apparatus). I'll watch for your question on Agility and SAR. Deanna in OR
  14. The group my husband was training with for mostly-wilderness SAR used bark alerts almost exclusively....ca couple of people use a "jump on the handler" alert, instead. My husband's mentor in the group was a German woman who had used Border Collies in Europe for SAR and used the bringsel alert, and that's what Tenaya was taught with, but bark alerts seem to be pretty common. Like INU said, a consistent and reliable alert is more important than the kind of alert itself. Also, as the handler, you will probably NOT be the "victim" for your own dog. You will play victim for others in your training group. It sounds like Dylan has a great play drive and that you've already taught him behaviors useful for SAR. Good luck! It's a lot of work and commitment (and I hope the "fragmented organization" doesn't become a problem...it did in my husband's case and they are taking a break from SAR for now). Deanna in OR
  15. The prong collar can be a great tool to remind the dog of what you want, and to keep them from pulling, if it fits correctly and is used correctly. One advantage of a prong collar is that you can wean the dog off of it over time, by using 2 leashes, one on the regular collar and one on the prong collar. The prong collar is used then to deliver a quick little "reminder" signal if the dog pulls on the regular collar/leash. AFter some time, the dog will respond to the pressure of the regular collar and will no longer need the prong collar. It sounds like you are off to a good start in training your dog. When he does something like you described here, coming back from a big distraction, make sure you really "have a party" and reward him big time. Deanna in OR
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