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About KelliePup

  • Birthday 07/20/1982

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Kalamazoo, MI, USA
  • Interests
    My dogs. Trialing, Canine Freestyle, Agility, Obedience, Rally, reading, backpacking, just getting into herding, teaching classes, writing

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  1. It's a delicate balance in life, and I think the better question for being responsible is: what are you will to give up for your pet? If it were all about money, then only the well-to-do who have cash to spare would own a pet, but there would be a sacrifice on the amount of time spent with the pet. Sure, the pet probably has the "best" healthcare, a dog walker, a trainer, a groomer, the "best" food, and generally wants for nothing... except more time with his/her person. Now take the other extreme, a homeless person has nothing to offer a pet except to share whatever scrap of food can be found and time to be a companion. The training and walking happens during the time they spend together. Although there is a good chance the pet will pass away at a fairly young age, there is true mourning of the loss of a valued friend. The poor person also learns what they can to care for their friend so that they are together as long as possible. And, realistically with as many strays there are on the street, why not? I am not rich, and lately my savings have been dwindling, but I have my priorities straight. I've been weaning myself off my two vices - both fairly physiologically painful to do separately let alone at the same time - because I know and have budgeted for the basic needs of my dogs. I know the monthly amount for their food, train and groom and vaccinate them myself, give them a quick exam at least twice a week to make sure they're still okay, and went to a low cost clinic to renew their rabies. This is all to keep the costs down for me. I also recently moved to find a better opportunity because there wasn't one where I was living, but in moving I had to leave Roxie, my 8 year old, 1,200 miles away with my mother because the stress would not have been fair to her and she's a special needs dog. I consider myself responsible because I am willing to make those sacrifices. It might be a struggle, but I give my dogs the best care I'm capable of at the time, and work hard to do better in the future (even though it means I have to cut the time I spend with them). Being responsible means doing the best you can with what you have to work with, doing a job you feel is beneath you because you have another life depending on you.
  2. Actually Karissa, PetSmart just started carrying the Thundershirt in at least some stores, but you're right that most of the time they haven't done enough research into the products to know how to effectively use them. Part of the reason to go with the Thundershirt instead of just a compression jacket is that it is supposed to also help with dispersing any electrical charges which might be in the air. There is a theory that one of the reasons some dogs are so afraid of thunderstorms (and consequently the reason some seek out the bathtub or other tiled surface to 'ground' themselves) is because the electrical buildup in the air delivers a multitude of shocks to the dog throughout the storm. That being said, there's actually very little research done on thunderphobia, but I know sometimes I can feel the electricity in the air, and I've been shocked more than once by my dogs. Personally, I like the Thundershirt for some dogs, but realistically, there is no quick fix ever and you kind of have to try a few different things to see what will be effective. In the times between storms, I would strongly recommend a combination of systematic desensitization and counter-conditioning. If Pavlov, in addition to conditioning a dog to salivate at a bell, can make a dog salivate to an electrical shock (and I'm not making this up) because the value of the reward is high enough, then it's definitely worth a shot. During the storm, the previous advice on a combination of meds and Thundershirt are good ones. Lavender, DAP, and Rescue Remedy are some other natural calming agents for some dogs that might help in the management as you're working on a behavior modification regiment. I'm not so sure, given the age and history, that you'll be able to completely stop the fear, but hopefully, you can get to a point of positive management.
  3. I would most definitely say that it is a fear response rather than a protective, or even possessive, one, and, no, you are not overreacting because it can lead to more serious problems down the road. From her point of view, she's enacting a sort of self protection toward strangers that walk by her home, and it seems to be working. She barks when she sees the stranger, and, wouldn't you know it, they go away. You and I know that the person on the street is just going about their business, but, from her perspective, she's making them leave because she barks at them. I would continue the socialization efforts, but watch her closely for signs that she's had enough. If she gets too stressed, then she's not learning anything new and it could actually hinder your efforts. Try doing it in short sessions throughout the day, no more than 15 to 20 minutes at a time, or possibly less. I would also make arrangements with other people to help you with the process. In fact, this is probably how I would go about it: Enlist your helpers and arm them with very high value treats Have one helper stand far enough away that Willow doesn't feel threatened Have the helper take a few steps forward, say "Willow!" in a happy voice, and toss a treat As Willow goes for the treat, the helper steps back (thereby removing the pressure on Willow) Repeat up to 5 times, and then give Willow a break. Your only responsibility during this is to remain calm and hold the end of the leash. Do not put any pressure on the leash at all, meaning don't gather or tighten it. The goal in this exercise if for Willow to realize that people are pretty awesome and there's no reason to fear them. For that reason, make sure that she only gets those high value treats from your helpers when you're out, not you. Granted, aside from your roommate, you really can't do that procedure inside the house. A few alarm barks are okay, but she should learn to back off and settle down when you tell her to. How focused is she on you in the house? Does she respond to toys or treats or body blocking? Have you tried teaching her a "quiet" cue? What is your response when she starts barking at the window? How is her body set? (Ears, Eyes, Tail, body forward/back) Right now, I would deny her access to the window if you can, even if it means you have to tether her to you. There are a lot of different things you could try, from redirecting her attention to instituting an "emergency down," but I know I would like more specifics before recommending to try this or that or something in between. IME, if you don't correctly address the actual emotion with this type of conditioning, then you're just putting a band-aide on the problem and it could crop up again 10 times worse than before. I think it's definitely fear, but I would like to be sure, and know what you've done so far, before recommending a plan of action.
  4. It depends if he can control himself enough to think. There's nothing wrong though to use food and only pull out the tennis ball for an exceptionally good response.That way, he's really learning to control himself
  5. Sounds like he was never taught to settle. My advice would be to work it slowly. Catch those momentary downs and reward heavily to start. You can also try something like a "match my energy" game. Basically, you get all excited and play by running back and forth, and then you stop suddenly and become calm. As soon as he chills out, ie stops moving, give him a high value reinforcer, wait a few more seconds, and then play the game again. As the game progresses, start requiring longer periods of calm before the reward. It shouldn't take too long before he starts taking his cues from you. Another option would be to try massage and/or Ttouch. Good luck!
  6. Nope. That's just crazy, but then she only needs one person to sign up for it to really turn a killer profit. Have to wonder what her usual rates are... ETA: Have to admit that it's a bold, possibly brilliant marketing strategy, having refused to teach it until the method was "perfected" and then only to a maximum of 5 in an intense 3 weeks. Wonder how it'll turn out.
  7. Where does the time go? Seems like only yesterday I picked up my little parvo survivor to foster... and I was his within 1 minute of holding him. He might be a little redder with more white around the muzzle, but I'm looking forward to many more laughs, loves, and years with my goofy boy! (I'll see if I can wake him up and get some pictures later)
  8. IDK, maybe. I'd have to see if I kept her vet records from that far back.
  9. Get a good boar dog to take it down? But seriously, point taken and I'm done.
  10. I had a similar problem with Kellie having an allergic reaction to anesthetics. In the end, after a lot of back and forth with my vet, Kellie was spayed under a very light anesthetic... I wish I could remember what it was. Even with that, there was still a real danger, but her unpredictability during heat cycles was worse. She still got sick afterward, didn't want to move for a full week. At present, the advice to keep them separated stands, and I would still check into a behavior modification and focus class of some sort to gain a bit more control over her.
  11. Then you can understand my frustration at being misquoted and having things taken out of context to further an argument.
  12. RE Body language Apparently analogies, metaphors, and similes are lost on some people. I never said dogs see us as dogs, I said they interpret our movements as if we were handicapped dogs, meaning they translate our communication efforts into a language they can understand. Body language and voice tone and pitch are critical elements in dog training, and understanding and utilizing some of the ways dogs communicate can give us a richer relationship with our dogs, not as master and dog, but as pack members (through the dog's eyes) with the human as the firm but fair leader. Patricia McConnell has an excellent example in The Other End of the Leash of an owner not using her body to really "talk" to her dog, and it resulted in the dog ignoring the owner because the dog "just heard static."
  13. What Julie and G. Festerling said. FYI, the one minute thing. The reason behind it is that 1 minute will give the dog enough time to cool own while still recognizing he/she is in a time out because of an infraction. Longer than 1 minute, you run the risk of the dog forgetting. Sooner than 1 minute and the dog may still be aroused. It does not, however, work with bitch-to-bitch aggression, especially when one is in season. That's a breeding rights issue, and there have been cases where one bitch will kill her rival. I recommend separation and management. A few CU and BAT classes with the younger dog aren't a bad idea either.
  14. You missed the pack thing, Kristine, and that is a paramount point. We are family, a wild rabbit is not. A dog can see humans as prey as well, but we've been accepted into their social structure. Further, the truly awesome thing about dogs in general is that they are so docile that they will let humans, cats, sheep, and even rabbits into their social circle. I might also add that this is not my theory, nor is it my own conclusion, but has been purposed in numerous books by some of the top trainers, behaviorists, and psychologists in the world. I'll be happy to reference them for if you'd like, I just have to dig through my library.
  15. Personally, even though my heaviest kid is only 50lbs, I like using something stronger than PVC. I also have to consider the weather extremes here and longevity since everything is primarily outdoors right now (anyone want to buy me a polebarn? ), and I've had PVC crack and break just on the tire jump. I certainly wouldn't want the base to fail while my dog was on the teeter, that would not be fun to retrain. I have plans for it somewhere around here. All I did was modify the PVC plan to wood, add a pivot to make it adjustable, four eyehooks, and two chains with latches.
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