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Everything posted by Vickkers

  1. Have faith... and patience... Finnegan was afraid of EVERYTHING when we brought him home at 9 weeks. Good grief. He was our 4th BC and I'd never had one who was afraid of any new thing he was introduced to. He's turning 3 in September and he grew out of his fear. The one thing I can say is try and keep everything as positive as possible and go slowly. We made a HUGE mistake of introducing him to the 'small dogs' dog park thinking it would be a good way to socialize him since he was so small at 12 weeks old. The small dogs thought they could jump all over him and of course, it freaked him out. Even though he has lots of good dog-dog interactions now, he still gets freaked out if another dog tries to wrestle him... but that could also just be him not tolerating rude behavior... I don't know. Now, he is active in Flyball and Agility and has done a little tiny bit of herding but seemed less scared of the sheep than my other non-scaredy-pants dogs....
  2. oh yeah. Let's see .... I was at a friend's house for a party when I got a call on my cell phone "hi, we found your dog Clover wandering around the neighborhood"... Oh crap. DH had let everyone out to pee while I was out and forgotten Clover outside and she saw people (her most favorite thing in the whole, wide world) and decided to leave our porch to go say hello. Called DH and he went and got her... Next time, it was my fault. Let all the dogs out to potty at night and thought I counted everyone back in...turns out one of my 2 red girls, Zena (the other is.... surprise, Clover!) had gone out and in and out and in again and so I thought Clover had come back in. Our dining table has floor to ceiling windows and there we are eating dinner and I see these sad eyes peering through the window from the porch and a soft "woof". Oops. Came home one day and found one of my males, Zeus, chilling on the front porch. He had decide to stay inside that day when everyone else wanted to be out back when DH went to work. DH had apparently not shut the front door all the way and Zeus decided he wanted to hang out on the porch instead. Neighbor said later that he had seen Zeus hanging out on the porch all day and thought about trying to put him in the back yard but didn't want to accidentally let the other dogs out since he wasn't sure they'd listen to him. Door was not shut all the way but unless he'd gone up to it, neighbor wouldn't have seen it and Zeus is too polite to shove the door open. I feel like a huge asshole, just like RDM said, but it still seems to happen every once in a while. Hasn't happened for several years and I'm hoping to keep that record clean. Feel like I need one of those safety signs (it's been xxx many days since you left a dog outside)...
  3. I feel your pain Katrice. I would recommend a behaviorist as well. If North Carolina is close enough, NC State has a Behavioral Science program <NCSU Behavioral Medicine>. I saw a Resident there but they have a (non student) Behaviorist or two on staff as well. My Resident(Dr Hopfensperger) was excellent but she's going into private practice in the next couple of months and won't be with NCSU anymore... you might be able to find her online. I have one dog who is fear aggressive and one dog who is obsessive like yours. The fear aggressive dog is doing WONDERFULLY on Prozac and behavior modification techniques taught by Dr H. I tried taking her off of the drugs for somewhere around 2-3 months and just working on the behavior modification to see if I could wean her off and get the same results... nope. The difference between her on Prozac and off Prozac when everything else is the same is amazing. Clover (that dog) just completed a beginning agility class a couple of weeks ago and is getting ready to take her second level of classes. I never could have had her in a situation like that before. Clover does not do well with negative reinforcement... however... Zeus on the other hand. Zeus fixates. He gets VERY intense and will shake with his intensity. With him it is about exposure, exposure, exposure...in super small amounts at a time. At one point Zeus regressed to the point where any time he saw another dog that wasn't part of our pack he went bananas. With him positive reinforcement doesn't do squat. A little negative reinforcement or even a preemptive reminder to behave when he starts showing any sign of focusing too much has become the key to keeping his head from exploding. He still can't handle Flyball tournaments (which we do with 2 of our other dogs) but we're going to start doing the beginner agility class with him on Tuesday in hopes that we can slowly work up to more stimulating situations. The nice thing about the agility classes I'm taking is that they accept dogs with behavior issues and everything is on leash so there's no chance of harm coming to any dog and if your dog gets over stimulated then there is a time out area where they can decompress. We did not go to a behaviorist with Zeus but I used the techniques I learned with Clover for Zeus. I had to modify a little when he didn't respond to the positives like Clover does. I also went to a Leash Aggression workshop held at Paws4Ever in Mebane, NC. That was with a travelling behaviorist I believe and that has helped a TON with Zeus. She taught techniques for holding the leash to maximize hand freedom and bracing your arm to calm the dog and keep him/her from pulling like crazy and encouraging the frenzied behavior. That workshop was really helpful with Zeus, who is/was the leash aggressive one. Keep in mind...I've been working with my dogs for YEARS on overcoming these issues. I encourage you not to give up and to definitely explore all of your options. I understand that some people really do not believe in negative reinforcement and I am not trying to push my values or beliefs on anyone but I have found that some dogs, like Clover, only respond to positive reinforcement and will shut down if you use negative reinforcement which does *not* solve the problem and can make it worse. BUT, some dogs like Zeus need a heavier hand and using only positive reinforcement doesn't work. A note about gentle leaders: they work for some dogs. Unfortunately for Clover they exacerbated her fear issues and it took a LONG time to undo the damage that caused. They work great for Zeus though. As far as exercise goes: I agree with SecretBC... a walk is a JOKE to my dogs. We go cross country hiking in the morning through the woods and streams and hopefully go again at night and we play chuck it... but there are a couple of things that I have found that work wonders. Clover LOVES water. She used to play in kiddie pools but she'd burn holes in them digging and splashing and playing so we were only able to get a few play times out of each pool. Now we have horse troughs from Tractor Supply... they have black heavy plastic ones that hold up extremely well and Clover will spend hours playing and getting rid of excess energy there. Zena, Zeus' littermate also loves the trough and will play there too. We also invested in a treadmill from Craigslist. We maybe spent $75 on a cheap treadmill and taught all of our dogs how to run on them. Now in the morning when I do yoga I will put a dog on the treadmill at 2.0 mph while I get my mat set and video in etc... then I turn it up to 3-4mph and have the dog run for 20-30 minutes while I do my yoga and then cool down for a few minutes at a lower speed. I also play with the incline. The dogs have to concentrate or they will fall off so it helps with mental as well as physical stimulation. I rotate the dogs so they don't do the treadmill every day but it's an excellent tool for those dogs that seem to have never ending energy. It's also great for when it's super nasty out and you can't go outside for more than a potty break. Good luck!!!!! You're doing a wonderful thing trying to help rehabilitate that dog
  4. I have a couple of 50-lb lap dogs, a dog that will give run-by-lickings....another that will come and sit with his butt on the couch and his front paws on the ground. Border collies are the best
  5. I have found that playing Chuck-it, Frisbee, garden hose, etc it great and all for my two regular Border Collies but it doesn't really tire out my two highest energy kids. The only thing that will get those monkeys to settle is a nice hike in the woods. We go off leash and they like to run ahead and to the side and play in the stream and the trees. Every few minutes I will quietly stop and the dogs come racing back along the paths looking for me. I trained this behavior when we first started these hikes by praising and treating them every time they would come back to me without asking after running off. I’d ask them to ‘wait’ until everyone had checked in and then I’d say ‘OK’ and they would all run off again. They quickly learned to check in with me on a fairly regular basis and now they just get the praise and an ‘ok’. I really enjoy this because I don't have to worry unless I haven't seen them in a while and I’m not constantly calling for them. Sometimes I will walk off the path in a different direction and we play a game of "find me" the next time they come looking for me. They seem to really love that. Finding me when I’m off the path usually gets them extra rubbings and more praise. That game also encourages them to run back and forth using extra energy. The trail we follow usually takes about a half an hour to complete. We used to do a longer trail but the shorter one has a creek in the middle and they like to play in the creek and run up and down the banks along the way and generally seem more tired after that hike than the longer one. If the dogs aren't showing signs of being super tired by the end then I usually 'fake them out' and start down the path again and then as soon as they are out of sight i will stop and be perfectly silent and we play ‘find me’…. There is a large mowed field in between the entrance to the trail and my car and on the way back I will make them stay fairly far back on the path and they have to wait in a down stay (no matter how many people are playing in the field or whatever other distractions there are). It usually takes a few minutes to walk from the entrance of the trail to the car so they have a long wait. I will open the back of my SUV and only when I yell “ok” do they get to get up and race each other to the car. If they try to come up before then we go all the way back to the start and they have to wait again. Now I usually don’t have to go back unless one of my boys tries to sneak up. The whole trip takes maybe 35-40 minutes and will make them way more tired than the same time spent in any other activity….even swimming. They also end up with huge grins on their faces which is nice because I have one dog who has a tendency to sulk. I hope you can find a place near where you live that you can try something like this. I think the combination of running, playing and tracking/mind games all work together well and it’s realistic for an after-work activity.
  6. I have 2 girls from the same line... one is always a nice deep red and the other always fades to a pale red/orange. They both spend the same amount of time outside and I think it's just their individual coats...
  7. Thanks for the recommendation, Julie... and this is an interesting topic... lots of things I didn't think about when it comes to sheep and what is best for them. I am definitely going to look into starting Treibball here...
  8. I don't have an answer for you but OMG she is adorable!!!
  9. Have you thought about getting an in-home sitter? I don't have specific advice about boarding kennels because I personally wouldn't do that...it's not right for my kids' temperament. With 5 dogs it's also a lot cheaper to have someone come to the house
  10. Considering the fact that I drive an hour and a half each way now... no, it's not Thanks!
  11. It took one of our dogs 3 exposures and going from 3 sheep to an entire flock of sheep for her light bulb to come on... don't be discouraged!
  12. Wow- I just read the article by Suzanne... I *WISH* that I and/or the trainers that I worked with when Clover was a puppy had read and/or known about this. This is exactly what *should* have been done with her and what I have only recently (4.5 years later) started to do because of a suggestion my herding instructor gave me... Clover is what some people call "dog aggressive"... but in reality, she just has zero tolerance for rude dogs...probably because we, at the direction of our dog trainers (yes, we went to multiple) forced her to be in situations that made her uncomfortable and made the problem worse. She is the sweetest dog in the world but unfortunately, in our ignorance, we took what could have been a potentially fixable problem and made it worse. She's scared of other dogs. She would much rather leave the room/park/yard if any dog other than our pack or those she's known since she was a puppy are there. But...if forced to be near them, if they give her a stare down... not even to the point where they have to invade her space now (used to only be that) she will run over and scare the crap out of them. Based on the article...since there has only ever even been one minor tooth scratch on a puppy's face (who deserved it by trying to jump all over her) I gather that she really is just saying, stay the heck away from me. It's sad that it took so long for me to learn (and then be verified by that article) but it's never too late to try and make your dog comfortable and feel protected. Even an old owner can learn new tricks...
  13. I am looking for a herding instructor in the Raleigh area. My kids have had several herding lessons (and we even successfully penned some sheep at our last lesson) but I have the most difficult time getting up with the instructor and getting sessions scheduled and it's an hour and a half drive each way. I like our instructor a lot and she's a good teacher but being ignored when I request lessons makes me feel like we're not wanted as clients and I'd rather find an instructor who would like our business. Any suggestions?
  14. That's funny. My DH and I just started watching the X-Files on Netflix from the beginning... (i was kind of young when they first came out and didn't get to watch all of them). Loving Scully and Mulder
  15. First local tournament of the season this weekend and I've got Flyball fever! Zena (the red one in the avatar) gets to do Single Dog Racing tonight and warm ups this weekend... if she does well (doesn't dodge the jumps or chase any of her friends) then she'll get to run her first real race (team GoDogGo)!!! I must admit I'm a little nervous... I have this horrible picture of her running amok! She's such a good girl though that I'm hoping she'll do just fine...and if not, oh well Good luck to everyone participating!
  16. Cutie pie! She has the same facial expression as my Zena. Love it!
  17. Oh no! I'm sorry to hear you were laid off and I *hope* Jody doesn't put two and two together...
  18. When Zeus and Zena were 12 weeks old we watched Zena grab a toy out of Zeus' paws and go into her kennel with it. Zeus went over to the toy box and grabbed another toy and laid down in front of Zena's kennel with it between his paws and looked at her. She ran out of her kennel and grabbed it out of his paws and took off and he went into her kennel and stayed there with the toy, happily gnawing away. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen for a 12 week old puppy...
  19. Mine is also boring... my husband and I started dating in High School 12 years ago and it's always been his nickname for me
  20. Not that this is helpful... but I was in the back yard a couple of months ago and a piece of banana came sailing over one of the fences and one of my dogs grabbed it while I was standing there flabbergasted (we feed our dogs bananas so they think nothing of a piece flying at them). I share a fence with 5 neighbors (our fence is longer than everyone else's) and looked in everyone's yard but there was *no one outside*. It was the middle of the day on a weekday so I didn't expect to see anyone but I was still bewildered and couldn't figure out what the heck happened... I don't have any suggestions on the onion...but that just reminded me of it.
  21. Tanisha and Blaze *are* awesome! I will definitely relay your hello!
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