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Everything posted by KelliePup

  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.
  16. I think we might be quibbling over semantics here. A correction is anything which communicates to the dog "that's not what I want you to do." They can be mild such as using body language a dog understands (ie turning your back for an incorrect behavior... BTW, dogs do this to each other all the time), or they can be more severe such as hard physical contact, and there are varying degrees thereof. With this premise, I again submit that you cannot train a dog without correcting it for an improper or poorly preformed behavior. Correction and Reinforcement are two sides of the same coin and you cannot have one without the other. In regards to canine body language, unless you are just sitting in a room looking through a two way mirror with the dog on the other side, and rewarding for behaviors you want, you are communicating to the dog via body language. To maximize and accelerate the dog's learning, you simply cannot give primate gestures and expect the dog to understand because you are then expecting the dog to know a foreign language; instead, you must incorporate some body language the dog either understands or can quickly pick up on. The dog's brain filters this information through the canine cultural lens of communication and understands or extrapolates what you're trying to tell him and reacts on that information. Because of this frame of reference, the dog sees you like a clumsy, handicapped being. Now we get to the Ego and the Id. The Ego is the essence of self-awareness, typically proven by recognition of yourself in a mirror. The Id is the part that runs on instinct, looks are secondary and you do what feels natural and serves your self interest and survival. Based on that, humans are in possession of the Ego (sometimes a little too much) whereas animals are in possession of the Id (as described in Jean Donaldson's list Top 10 things We Know About Dogs in The Culture Clash). On this premise, if we accept that dogs are not in possession of the Ego, then dogs do not see us as humans per se, but as deformed, clumsy, socially handicapped versions of them, just as they accept the cat that lives in the house as their crazy sibling with tourettes, because we have been accepted into the pack. They rely on us because it is their best interests to do so at this moment in time, it's an easy meal ticket and centuries of selective breeding has made them happy followers, but they could just as easily survive without us, as proven by their cousin, the wolf.
  17. That really is a tough call. Problem with the whole thing is that the Evaluator is only seeing a snapshot of how well the dog behaves. The second issue comes with the fact that not all Evaluators test the same way. What the CGC is supposed to say during those tests is that the dog has been trained and the owner has the dog under control. If you follow the strictest interpretation, the evaluator is only supposed to "grade" the actual test item, not what happens before or after, excluding any aggressive act. Extra problem point is that there some evaluators who don't know an aggressive act shy of an actual bite. That, I think, is a problem too. I've been called a "hard evaluator" because I will not pass a dog if I see any precursor to an aggressive act, but the funny thing about that is, because I take the time to explain to the owner what happened and offer a few pointers to help, the candidates who don't make the grade don't really mind and usually end up enrolling in a few behavior modification/management sessions with me or someone I recommend. I think, when it comes to temperament, the test fails. I know that I, personally, am much more impressed with a dog that earns a temperament certificate than passes the CGC. I also think that it is irresponsible of the owner, knowing the dogs can snap, to continue putting the dogs in those situations and letting the dog take the CGC.
  18. Kristine, have you ever tried learning a second language? What I'm talking about is the filtration process. It's a whole different ball game if you're trying to learn a new language versus having been taught it at a young age. It's that cultural filtration process that makes us, humans and dogs alike, attach meaning to signals, signs, and words. It can be overcome, but it exists and is the basis for my handicapped dog analogy. I think Julie said it best with the "human version." Whether you want to admit it or not, Kristine, you do give signals, perhaps even unconsciously, that your dogs are interpreting through their own culture. If you can manage to bring those to the surface and do them consciously so often that they become natural, you just might discover an even deeper relationship with your dogs. It's kinda the basis of Owen's Dog Whispering.
  19. You truly believe this? I would have to respectfully disagree with your conclusion that dogs are not interpreting our movements as handicapped dogs. For argument's sake, let's take it out of the "human-canine" relationship/communication realm and use another species: cats. What would you say is the biggest reason dogs and cats do not get along unless they have been raised together? Answer: their communication. As two distinctly separate species, their natural language differs dramatically. Certain feline body language and vocalizations (ie purring, direct eye contact/stare when frightened, tail wag when agitated, using their paws to swat, etc.) flies directly in the face of signals that dogs understand. A cat's paw swat to say "go away!" is easily interpreted by a dog to mean "let's play!" and then is made worse when the cat runs because all dogs know that means "chase me!" Fact is that dogs, and cats, filter our body language through the language they know, and, because of that filter, they are essentially seeing us as a handicapped version of their species for the sake of communication. It also creates the need to socialize dogs with other dogs so that they learn canine appropriate manners because we cannot teach them that with us being so handicapped. It is very much like going to another country, or planet, where you don't know the local customs, language and idiosyncrasies and trying to blend in. You can learn some of it, but there will always a barrier in complete understanding. Our domestication of the dog has helped. The dog has developed a remarkable ability to learn and interpret many primate non-verbal communication strategies, but there will always be that barrier in complete communication. Especially if said dog (ie a puppy or a street dog) has had limited experience with human body movements. A dog will correct us as it would another dog (snapping at a child for hugging for example when every dog knows it's rude to put their paws on your back); however, as the higher evolved species (and I question this sometimes), we can recognize that and shift our own body language to somewhat mimic that of the dog to better express our intentions. Of course, there are problems when we make the wrong interpretation re a certain behavior, like the misguided use of the alpha roll, or Cesar's imitation of a bite for everything. There is a real danger there in using the wrong "word" to get your point across.
  20. I have to laugh at this because it's so true! Funny enough, I do use the clicker on my nieces and nephews when helping them with their homework. You have to understand that they are ADHD and their minds flight from one fancy to the next, especially late in the evening, so we use the clicker to help keep them on track. What we found was an increase in the amount of homework they were able to complete and subsequently higher grades. I would love to be able to take one of the classes that use this regularly. Biggest difference I noticed is that I could just tell them what I was going to do, I didn't have to load the clicker like I would an animal. I might also add that they are now far more capable of concentrating on a given task because they have trained themselves how to focus their minds. And then they became teenagers. Sigh, back to the drawing board. (BTW, I still get the label of favorite Aunt My mom keeps telling me I'm going to be a great mother someday, and I keep telling her I already am, my kids just have four legs and fur)
  21. Just something as a quick side note: There are ways +R trainers use a dog's natural communication method. Let's get away from correcting a dog as another dog might and look at calming signals: not making direct eye contact, blinking, turning your body sideways, not leaning over the dog, yawning, letting the dog approach you, etc. All of these are ways to help defuse situations and prevent a bite, especially when you're working with a fear aggressor. Knowing these signals, reading the dog, and even implementing them has saved my bacon more than once. These are methods +R trainers use regularly. Now, with a dog that knows how to speak canine, and there are some socially inept ones that don't know, I can apply a very effective correction for over-excitement by stiffening my body, widening my eyes, and tightly pursing my lips. That basically means: back off! and if that doesn't get through, a quick turn in dog's direction and a shout usually does. That is using the dog's natural communication to work for me (I should add, only use with some dogs that know you and aren't "hard" and accept you as the leader, otherwise you're asking for it because there is a strong possibility of the dog reacting back). That's at the other end of the spectrum. Generally, trainers, whether they are conscious of the fact or not, will incorporate some canine body language mimicry into their training. This includes body blocking, turning from the dog, squaring shoulders and stepping in (a form of body blocking, usually seen when teaching stay or wait, sometimes with jumping up), and leaning in among others. There is also body language we use unconsciously that can hinder our training, such as leaning forward on a recall, turning our shoulders toward the dog when in heel (this will cause the dog to lag in most cases) and staring at a dog during a long duration and distance stay (always a fun one to watch at dog shows BTW). Any one of these, especially in the ring, can cause a poor performance. So, whether we want to admit it or not, our body language is pretty paramount in training. Our dogs read off us, and if we know how to use those subtle cues, then we can speak dog in a way they will understand, even if we speak it with an accent. Just because you're a human doesn't mean that your dog isn't interpreting your movements as if you were a handicapped dog. They speak their language first, much the same way we would have to translate a foreign language into our native one (luckily, we have Rosetta Stone to help us with one). To think otherwise, if you'll pardon me, is just arrogant and akin to looking down on another language just because it's different than the one you speak (ie sign language vs spoken).
  22. Number 1: Enroll in a puppy class, preferably where the trainer has border collies and understands them because you simply cannot train a bc the way you would a lab or a golden. BCs are far too smart and ADD for too many repetitions in a row. If you're not planning on working sheep (or even if you are) try clicker training with catching and free shaping to work her mind. No 2: Make sure you have some down time during the day. It is vital that she learns how to settle down. Sometimes, I give my pups massages during our quiet times, other times I just put them in their crates, and still others I give them a food puzzle or a Kong to work their minds. No. 3: Institute NILIF (nothing in life is free). Make her work for everything. For example, sit to put on the leash, sit and wait for food (if she tries to rush it, pick the bowl back up). You decide when it's time to play, not her. You are the human, so control the resources and don't let her have too much freedom around the house. She should be in the same room with you under direct supervision, or in her dog-safe area (ie blocked off kitchen, crate, pen, etc.) No. 4: If she gets too rowdy, it's okay to give her a time out (only about a minute or so) to give her a chance to calm down and then resume play or life as the case may be, just don't over do it. When she bites hard, give a sharp yelp. Try to target just the hard bites and let the others slide for now because you want her to learn to have a soft mouth. You can go back and target the other ones later when she figures out jaw pressure. If she keeps coming after the yelp, you may want to consider having her drag a line that you can pick up and either tie some place or lead her to her time out area. If the infraction is small, you can try giving a verbal correction or clap your hands to startle her out of it. No. 5: Don't forget to tell her what a good girl she is when she's doing something right, even if you didn't tell her to do it. If you start paying more attention to her when she's doing something right, then she'll start doing correct things more often. No. 6: Don't get emotional or stressed. My experience has been that dogs feed off that and it just winds them up further. If you have time this Friday and a facebook account, the APDT is sponsoring a free chat Common Dog Behavior Problems (Barking, Digging, and more) at 4pm eastern where you can ask specific questions. I haven't attended one of their chats yet, but it looks promising. I also have a host of book I could recommend, but, since she's your first puppy, I strongly suggest a trainer over book. This isn't all inclusive of everything you could do, but hopefully it'll give you a starting point. Good luck!
  23. No worries, Kristine. I can think of, and have used, dozens of other techniques for this type of reactivity. The most extreme R+/P- one being with my own dog, Kellie, and it wasn't the one I put above. The reasons behind the decision to do it was that nothing else was working in any way, shape, or form. It was painful and personal for me, but it worked because of Kellie's value system. I don't typically advertise it because it is extremely difficult on the owner and the dog, and most people don't have the constitution to reset the relationship like I had to with her. To my knowledge, no trainer recommends the procedure and protocols I put into effect with her. That experience, for me, formed my belief in canine individuality and the need to be, as others have put it, flexible in training methodology. Other dogs since have only solidified it.
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