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Everything posted by KelliePup

  1. One thing I've done to help with Supervised Seperation with my pups is to "trade" dogs with people I know and trust, and have them work with the dog for about ten minutes or so. At first, we're in the same vacinity/room, then we start taking short walks out of sight. Next thing you know, you can pass your dog off to someone and take off for several minutes or an hour. The really cool thing about this is that we (the humans) are helping each other out. Maverick, ham that he is, buttered up to the woman I left him with for the test. I think he was trying to get treats out of her since that's what always happened when I left him with someone. Point is, he never let on that he knew I was gone, and the more people you practice with, the better. Other than that, it just takes time like everyone else has said.
  2. I also teach down with an upraised hand, but that comes later as a new cue. First I teach a solid down next to me and in front of me. Once that is solid, meaning I can say "down" and/or just point ti the floor and the dog downs immediately, I'll toss a treat either directly in front or behind the dog. At this point, if so desired, I add the upraised hand signal before giving the verbal command and then, if needed, I'll give the old hand signal. The goal here is to have the dog anticipate the other two after the new signal. From there, I'll take a step away, while the dog is in a standing position, and give the signal to down. If the down is solid before this, the dog should drop to the floor immediately and I can toss a treat or other reward. Over the next couple of sessions, I'll increase the distance. Troubleshooting: Every once in a while, a dog will come to the owner and then drop. If this happens, the dog is not rewarded. It might be useful to either tether the dog to a tree so he can't come closer, or set up a "reward station" behind the dog. A reward station can be a lid or bowl with treats in it, and the dog must have a solid "leave" and "take" command for it to be effective, or else the dog will just reward himself. Sometimes having a person ready with treats standing some 5 feet or a little more from the station helps since they can put the treats in the station after you tell the dog he can "take." In a nutshell, make sure you do not reward the dog from your hand when teaching a distance down. Either throw the reward to him or set up a reward station that sits behind him. Do not just reward the dog for downing, you want some distance between the two of you. Start with small distances and work your way up. Have a solid down before adding distance. I'm teaching KZ her distance down right now. The way she's learning, because she wants to stay right next to me, is through use of an "away" command. Basically, I send her to a target, click, and toss the reward to her or behind her so she doesn't come back to me right away. Next, I withold the click for going to the target and give the "down" command. This isn't too difficult since her default command is down and is usually the first behavior she tries when she doesn't hear the click. What makes it more difficult for us is that I don't always want her down, sometimes I'll have her sit, stand, or spin/twist, but then we're working on a dance routine for the BSA Holiday Party.... Hope that helps.
  3. Quick background story: My nephew was diagnoised with Wilson's disease about two years ago. No way around it, at some point he will need a new liver, and guess who's a match and said "sure, just let me know when you need it." Yep, me. I don't mind that at all, I mean, he's family and it's the least I could do. The problem is that I had tried to put off getting a new puppy until after the transplant. Of course, that didn't quite go right because after Kellie was killed, I needed to get Kayzie for my own mental health. So now, my promise to Nephew is quickly coming due. I just recieved word tonight that he is steadily getting worse and the transplant will likely happen very soon. No exact date yet, which I'm seeing as a good thing. This puts me in a bit of a spot with Kayzie. She has made remarkable progress in the month and a half she's been with me, and I've been teaching her to act as a service dog to assist with limited mobility. However, she's also starting to enter that goofy teenage phase. I missed out on some important phases in Kellie's teenage era, and we had aggression issues as a result. I'm concerned that I won't have the time to train Kayzie and curb the unwanted behaviors that crop up before the transplant--and to be honest, I don't trust the people around me to do a good job with KZ since they're ones who looked after Kellie. So, I'm asking, once more, for some advice. Is there anyone here who has had any experience with undergoing a major surgery while a dog was in puppyhood? Is there anything else I should be doing with KZ to prepare her? I want her to be able to visit the hospital and see me, and Maverick too (especially since Nephew loves Mav and, should anything happen to me, Mav will go to him), so we are making visits to assisted living homes and I'm getting them aquianted with crutches, canes, wheelchairs, etc. What else can I do?
  4. I'm so sorry to hear this Make the most out of the time you have...
  5. Sounds like a "trainer"in this area who has a Masters degree in Animal Behavior. This person has taken so many bully breeds with minor problems and turned them into mega-reactive dogs with his methods. I usually get them after he's done with them and I have to go through and undo everything he's done. Talk about a major headache. The really sad thing is that I don't have the "degree" or certifications (I'm almost completely self-taught and the only claim I have is that I spent some time down at Purdue), so people keep taking their dogs to him, but I understand that he has determined that bullies can't be trained and he doesn't allow them in his classes anymore. I suppose that's a good thing. We have another training center here that does the same thing and claims it's right because of years of experience and titles and ribbons...I wonder how many dogs failed their course. They call it "sucess" training; I call it abuse. Good luck with Tobey! You've gotten some excellent advice!
  6. I have a bigger problem with the Red 40...gives Maverick seizures
  7. You can count the calories and feed him less in his meal, you can give smaller pieces of the snacks, replace the snacks with something non-consumable (ie ball, rope, frisbee, etc, or you can start a more intense exercise program. Swimming is a good way to burn off those calories. My pups get a lot of exercise and I rotate what the reinforcer is going to be. This helps in keeping them guessing and more interested in the game. If we have a day that's heavy on treats, I'll cut back on their meals. I also use pieces of kibble in training.
  8. The most important thing to remeber about reinforcers is that the dog chooses what's high value, not the human. There are many people and a startling number of "trainers" who believe the dog is "being stubborn" beacue he doesn't want the piece of hotdog they cut for him. The dog isn't "stubborn" or "defiant," he just might prefer a tennis ball. In that case, the ball is a reinforment that has "higher value" than the hotdog.
  9. Oh yes...I see your point. It's also the reason why I don't go to any of their clubs despite being invited. Definately a different metallity and method that had some disasterous results with Kellie. After having Kayzie a month, she already behaves better than most of the dogs in their "advanced" course. And without the "training collars."
  10. Welcome to the boards! I'm just learning the ins and outs of working stock, so I can't help much on that front. This interests me Deb. I can understand the bit about not getting herding lessons, but why not obedience? I think it might have something to with not really having control at a distance with distractions and/or off lead? Or, if the dog is always looking back to make sure he's doing right, a lack of confidence on the dog's part that the trainer didn't help with/maybe made worse? I know I became a much better trainer when I started training completely without using the lead, starting in a small area and moving to a larger one and so on. So, for advanced obedience I can see not using a trainer who doesn't fit those qualifications you set forth. How about Basic? I can see some damage in the method of training, and more with the trainer not really understanding the breed and treating a bc more like, say, a golden or a lab. The other danger I see is becoming attached to your trainer who really isn't a good fit with where you want to go with your dog and is perhaps set in her ways or unwilling to learn more (we have so many of those types around here, I deem some of the things they do as abuse). Is there another issue you see? A bit of a side note real quick. I competed with Maverick in Rally-O at the UKC Premier this past June, just for something fun to do. There was a dog there going after his URO2. My understanding of obedience says the dog should be attentive to me no matter what's going on. Maverick and I were up for the second leg of his URO1 while an Ultimate Air Dog demonstration was going on 20 feet from the ring. Maverick, despite loving discs, ignored the show and we finished with a score of 90 because he pulled a little and stopped to scratch his ear. Either way, I was very proud of him. But this other dog, the one attempting his URO2, was way too distracted over Maverick chewing on his rope to pay attention to his owner. We were asked to leave the ring vacinity! Sorry, but I think if you're going after a higher title, your dog should perform better than a dog at his first show! That's my rant for the day. ETA: We were a good 30 feet away from the ring and the Ultimate Air demonstration was over.
  11. I've worked with several dogs that have trouble with going down. There are a few different methods I use depending on the dog. In no particular order: 1. Catch the down. Observe her during the times she normally lays down and reward it 2. Tunnel method. If the dog follows a treat, lead the dog under something such as your hand or your leg. Reward when elbows hit. 3. Sit and wait. With some dogs, you can put the treat on the ground in your hand and have them figure out what makes your hand open. 4. Shape the behavior. I usually do this with dogs that give up on the treat. What I want them to do is follow the treat to the floor, so I'll start out bring the treat down to about the dog's chest and reward. Gradually, I'll make the time the dog has to keep his/her down longer and longer, and lower and lower. Once that is accomplished, I'll start rewarding any bending of the legs, and then more bending, and so on. The end result, and usually it can be accomplished in 1-2 sessions, is a dog that will follow the treat to the floor and down. 5. Position the treat differently. Some dogs work well if you bring the treat to the floor and slowly move it away from them, others work better if you push the treat toward the dog's chest, and others still like a "wrap around" where you bring the treat to the dog's side and push it under the tummy between their front and back legs. Hope that helps. I might be able to take some video if you're confused on any of them. Good luck!
  12. Your story is definately helpful! I can see Kellie in Clyde the way you describe. Knowing that Kellie was insecure, I can say with almost complete confidence that the paddle probably made her nervous and she reverted back to attack first and figure it out latter--which is what she used to do before. The reason I say this is because I don't think I'm very good at switching directions yet, and the paddle always seemed to get between me and Kellie when we switched back to the right. I wouldn't say that Kellie prefered going anti-clockwise, she spent most her time turning back clockwise and seemed to want to go that way provided the paddle wasn't between us. I'm also certain that Kellie didn't show the same regard for me in the roundpen as she did when we were walking down the street, playing frisbee, or running an agility course. More than once I left training feeling there was a lack of respect she had toward me in the presense of sheep, and it puzzled me that we really didn't seem to work on getting that respect. The training we do at home--not herding--involves correction, redirection, and praise/reinforcement, and of course good timing. It varies with the dog I'm working with, but Kayzie is being trained differently than I trained my other dogs. With her, it isn't "I don't want you to chew on my shoes" it's "bring me the shoe" if that makes sense. So I'm not extinguishing any of her behaviors, I'm modifying them to suite my ideas/needs/desires, and she loves making me happy. In teaching "wait at the door," I'll put pressure on when she tries to bolt out and remove the pressure (step back) when she's behind the threshold again, and she's learned it without the use of treats or any other external rewards. It sounds like working stock runs along that same principle with the addition of me not just reading my dog, but reading the stock as well? That opens up a whole other world I need to study since my stock sense is virtually non-existant. So am I starting to get the idea, or totally off base? And I appreciate everyone's responses.
  13. Okay, I'm trying really hard to understand. It never fitted right that I would have to use punishment on Kellie to get her to do what I wanted, none of her other training was that way. For dangerious behaviors, I was always very pro-active in getting her attention back to me through positive reinforcement and removal if the situation got too intense. Kellie was always very insecure and prone to a fight response when she was uncomfortable. I had worked very hard to find her triggers and desensitize her to them. A combination of triggers would still get her anxious and set her off to bite (ie being a strange place+wearing boots+a strange person coming close to me+said stranger reaching over her head to pet=fear bite, vs. stranger=fear bite, which is where she used to be). There was a lot going on in her mind I'm sure. We went from a dog that used to bite people and other dogs on sight to a dog that solicited petting and invited other dogs to play She was almost 5 when we started stock, so just this year before she was killed, and this is my first exposure as well. She never would work for the trainer, just me, and I'm a visual learner so that complicates things a bit. She was definately more proned to grip a sheep's hock when we turned to circle clockwise...I'm trying to remember if it was every time, but I don't think it was, just most of the time. It usually took her about 5 minutes from the time we entered the roundpen for her to get out of play mode and into work mode. I never did see any of her usual displacement behaviors that indicated when she was afraid or uncomfortable or frustrated, but that's not to say she hadn't developed a new one based on the situation and I didn't catch it. I just know she was going to bite when she turned her head in. I suppose looking in hindsight now is very difficult. All I have to go off is my memories. I just feel like she still had so much to teach me, and I know Kayzie is better for the instruction. I also don't know a lot about Kellie's breeding, or if she was all bc. I adopted her shortly after she and her 15 littermates had been dumped in a Montanan shelter at four weeks old (and yes, this did cause plenty of problems throughout her lilfe including health and temperment/behavioral). I know she came from a local ranch in the area, mom was a bc, and that's about it...and the man that owned mom had relinquished several other litters averageing about 4 a year. So there have been a lot of unknowns. I'm just hoping to continue learning from some of the things she did to help me with future dogs...plus I don't like unanswered questions. I still think I'm missing some paramount aspect, even after reading those other two threads. There seems to be some underlying philosophy regarding stockdogs that is different from the obedience training and behavior modification I have been practicing, and I can't decifer what it is. I really would like to figure this out; what is the fundamental difference?
  14. So I consider myself a fairly decent obedience trainer with a fair knowledge of canine behavior. One method I use with dogs that become overly excited/frustrated at seeing other dogs/people/cats/insert object here to the point of becoming aggressive is to remove the dog the instant the transgression occurs and reapproach. Getting closer to the object is always the reward for staying calm and doing what you're supposed to do. One problem I had with Kellie when we were taking lessons was that she was a shark on the flip. We tried smacking the ground with the paddle coupled with a verbal warning when she turned her head in to bite, but it seemed like it was only somewhat working. She would be alright for a couple of flips, but would go back into shark mode. Granted, she's no longer with me, but I always wondered if perhaps we needed to switch gears on the training method. That type of correction, to me, wasn't working and, seeing as how she loved working, I had started to wonder if perhaps removal might be the better way in that situation? The idea I had, and I really wish I had the chance to try it, was when Kellie turned her head, I would issue a verbal correction and then, if she didn't straighten her act and went in for a bite, she'd be removed from the sheep for a period before trying again. I know with obedience, I only have to use removal 3-5 times before the dog gets the idea that they have to behave a certain way or they don't get to even see the object they really want. Any thoughts on this? I think it would only work on a dog that really loves having the sheep as the reinforcer. Has anyone here tried it? I'd like to hear some feedback and/or experiences.
  15. I'm getting constantly asked if Kayzie is an Aussie. The really funny thing about it is that she's "working" when they ask. Head nice and low, giving one of the other dogs the eye. Her stance is absolutely gorgeous--I can't wait to get her on sheep. Their whole reason for guessing Asssie is because "she had the colors like an Aussie." Ummm....bcs, aussies, collies, corgis, and shelties all come in merle, and then you have the dappled breeds that are similar too...boggles the mind. Then I have an Aussie from working lines, Rogue. People ask me if she's a bc that lost her tail when she clearly moves and carries herself like an Aussie. To some point I can understand that though since she is from working lines and doesn't really have that blocky show look Ausies have. Maverick is a bcXboxer (borderboxer?) and I always get asked if he's a pit....and we won't even talk about all the wrong breeds I got with Kellie. Kellie also carried her tail over her back most of the time. It came down when she was on sheep or waiting for the disc, but other than that it was up. Kayzie carries her tail high when she's playing too.
  16. Since she's already transfered the behavior from the crate at home to the portable crate, I'd be a little cautious about taking the crate away. A dog can tranfer the behavior to other things, like under the bed, behind the couch, etc. That's exactly what my sister's dog did when we were told to take away his crate. Check out Pryor's "Click to Calm" and Donaldson's "MINE!" both are fantastic, and a good behaviorist can set you on the right track. The other thing is, before getting antianxiety meds from the vet, try Bach's Rescue Rememdy (a flower essence you can find at health food stores) or some form of DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) that you can get either from your vet or at any petstore--I think one brand is called Calming Zone. If you do deside to go with meds, do your research since different drugs will do differeent things. For example, there's one antianxiety med out there that will tire out their body, but leave their mind still racing. Not good. Best of luck, and find yourself a great CAAB, or at least a great CPDT.
  17. I really recommend Patricia's McConnell's booklet "Fiesty Fido." It has a lot of really good tips for working with reactive dogs, and keeping your dog safe when there's a reactive or dumb dog around/charging at you.
  18. Kellie would talk back quite a bit. Her "quiet" command was "That's enough. When I want your opinion, I'll ask for it." Kz is turning into a talker too. She complains while she walks herself all the way to her crate when I tell her "it's time for bed." Once she's in there she's fine.
  19. I go through the same thing every time I bring a new dog into the house. I use play as reinforcer to start with. This means I teach the sit/stay. To start out, the stay is only going to be about 5 seconds (trying to set up for success and it wil become longer) before I say "All done! Go play!" For us, "go play" means I'm completely done with you for right now so you can have some free time. "All done" means the stay is finished, but I might want you to do something else. It helps to vary between the commands so my kids don't get the idea that "all done" means "go play." If the dog breaks the stay or leaves before I say "go play," then I issue a verbal correction (uh uh) and place the dog back in the sit/stay in the same location. To call a dog off is a bit trickier. Of course your dog needs a good concept of come, or at least know her name and have a positive associate with it. Either way, I always say my dog's name first, then "come," and I make sure have their favorite toy with me. So, for example, if Maverick is playing with the other dogs in my pack, I'll say "Maverick!" He looks at me. "Come!" And, a few seconds after the command, I'll pull out his ball as extra incentive. At first, he'll get the ball everytime, but soon I'll start to with hold it so he only gets it sometimes. The best time, in my experience, to begin training your dog to come off the other dogs is a little bit into their playtime when they're starting to slow down. The distraction isn't as great then and you're more likely to get a response. After 20 or so repetitions of this, you can probably start calling your dog before they start to tire. Hope that helps! It's worked for me in the past. I also make sure that I control all the resources so my dogs have incentive to pay attention. ETA: I would also spend some 1 on 1 with the fosters teaching them this too. This way you'll have complete control. BTW, I only say the dog's name if I want one to come, otherwise it's just come to get them all. Sorry if this isn't very coherent...I need to go to bed.
  20. Again, I hope Jin heals quickly. I know what it means to be down to one sad paycheck a month. I was on worker's comp for a knee injury for over year, and it was at that time that I slammed Kellie's tail in a car door. Some very nice ppl came together and helped me out financially to get Kel the medical attention she needed, so, now that I can, I'm going to pay it forward. DR, do you have a paypal account that I could send a donation to and help you out? Feel free to PM me.
  21. To be honest, I make sure I mess with my dogs' food/bowl/dog plus their toys/chewies/etc., and I guide my nieces and nephew in doing it. I'm looking at therapy work, and there is a good possibility that I will need a service dog down the road since my knee isn't getting any better. I know that not all kids are well behaved around dogs and I don't need my dog snapping at a kid or stupid adult. I don't do it every day, and most of the time I'm just running my hand through the food to deposit some extra special goodies. What's really cool is that I can tell Maverick to "drop it" and he will spit out a chicken leg another family member gave him immediately. Sadly, most ppl don't know what they're doing when they get a pup, or worse, they think they know it all because they grew up with a dog (guilty!)
  22. Spaying does not affect personality. All it does is remove any sexually driven behaviors. Example, Kellie was a very independant, dominant puppy before she was spayed and equally so after. She lifted her leg and shot as high as any male dog.
  23. You've got some pretty good reviews here. Just thought I'd add my vote to snatching that baby up, I think she'll be great!
  24. Kellie's ears were pricked and other dogs didn't have a problem with her. I think that woman was thinking about cropped ears. There is a problem there since cropping damages the muscles thereby killing the range of motion. Since the dog can't use the subtle movement of the ears to communicate, misunderstandings between the dogs arise. That's completely different from natural pricked ears though. In my dealings with various short nosed dogs, I've found many of them, but not all, to be just plain rude. Whether it's staring hard--even in puppyhood--or tackling another dog, or biting too hard. Maverick doesn't care for any of the short nosed breeds with good reason, he's been attacked way too many times.
  25. So it's been a good long while since I posted anything on the BCboards. I've been extremely busy getting Maverick where he needed to be to compete in UKC Premier (He did fantastic! It was our first show and he got two legs for his URO1 title!) Then we had herding lessons with Kellie, I know she had a lot of fun and I'm glad we did it. Unfortunately, Kellie is no longer with me. Two weeks ago, August 18th, we went for our morning walk and she was hit by a kid flying down our street at 80mph. Near as we can figure, he wasn't paying attention. He came over the hill past the white line and we just didn't get out of the way in time. I hate the road I live on...it's a wonder he didn't hit me or my nieces...and then he came back andstarted ranting about the dent in his car. I know I have every right to be angry and upset with him, but it just doesn't matter, it won't bring Kellie back and I'm just now climbing out of the dark place it left me in. Be at peace Kellie, may Sirius be your guiding light, and I'll see you again at the Rainbow Bridge...and try really hard not to harass St. Peter too much Now I've been going a little crazy the last couple of weeks, so I got what turned out to be the best therapy in the world. I'll post more on that soon...I have to go hug my dogs again...
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