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mbc1963's Achievements


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  1. Nah... just working on the process and skills. I love making patterns.
  2. I've been teaching myself some pattern design (digital art), and decided to make some border collies in memory of my old boy Buddy and the folks on this forum who taught me so much.
  3. This girl will probably be adopted quickly, but she is so beautiful. https://www.facebook.com/GreatDogRescueNewEngland/posts/10155620238918451
  4. This girl will probably be adopted quickly, but she is so beautiful. https://www.facebook.com/GreatDogRescueNewEngland/posts/10155620238918451
  5. This little terrier mix I have now was pretty much kennel-bound and shaking for two days after I brought her home. At one point, I just picked her up and held her on my lap for five minutes or more, hugging her and assuring her she was safe, as she trembled. I honestly thought maybe she had Parkinson's. She is so ridiculously spoiled and feisty now; I can't believe she was every that scared dog. Go get that little man.
  6. My brother has a specimen at his house he calls the "$3,000 acorn." His old springer spaniel got very ill, and a lot of expensive tests followed by surgery revealed an intestinal block caused by the very large acorn, swallowed whole. It's a really odd event; we have millions of acorns every year and this is the only time I've ever heard of this happening. Just be aware!
  7. I wanted to respond to this line. I don't discount your experience with this one dog, but as someone who previously owned a fearful and reactive border collie, I've gotta say that this line of advice is not at all helpful. I brought my old dog Buddy home at 2-3 years of age, knowing nothing about his issues or about reactivity in general. He was terrified at the shelter, and beautiful, and I felt bad for him, so I adopted him. And BAM! What a surprise. I walked into our first few weeks with blithe confidence: I'd owned many dogs, and none of them had had issues. I treated Buddy like a "normal" dog - and watched as he attacked other dogs I let approach, and lunged and growled at other people we passed. I didn't enter into our relationship with fear and trepidation - I had total confidence. And after a couple weeks, I GAINED fear and trepidation, based on the very real scenes I had witnessed. Of course I was nervous when strangers insisted, "My dog is friendly!" I knew my dog was going to attack theirs, and that I was going to be in the middle of a dog fight (3 stitches and 3 hours in the ER for me thanks to a "friendly" dog, 2 paid emergency vet visits for other dogs who ended up with punctures). The most comforting thing anyone ever said to me came from my trainer, who had also owned a reactive dog: "Until you've owned a dog like this, you have no idea what it's like." With years of work, Buddy led a relatively "normal" life. I could never let him loose with strange dogs; he could never relax and play with more than one dog at a time. He eventually stopped lunging and growling at strangers and would even let them approach. And during all the time he acted "normal," I still had my internal fear and trepidation running; I never stopped being on guard and watchful with him. But, oh, the countless people who 'knew better" than I did about how to work with my dog. The guy with the pit bull, who couldn't control him on leash, and who insisted that we had to just "let the dogs work it out; my guy's a lovebug!" as the two dogs postured to do death battle. That annoying woman I would meet in the woods, who would literally bend down and put her face in Buddy's face, to try to "teach me" that you just have to "push through" the dog's fear. (Honestly, if anyone was going to end Buddy's life, it was going to be her, after her bit her face off!) Now I have a new dog. Ten years of background with Buddy influenced the way I entered interactions between Cricket and the world. I walked her with fear and trepidation early on, not knowing how she was going to react, and wired to expect behaviors from her that I saw from Buddy. And guess what? SHE ACTED LIKE A NORMAL, HAPPYISH DOG. She's simply not wired like Buddy, and things don't ruffle her. Fear and trepidation are normal responses to dogs who display extreme behavior - often the result of the extreme behavior, and not the cause of it. I wish people in the world would be more cautious about finger-pointing at owners who are trying their very best to deal with the cards they were dealt when they took on a challenging dog.
  8. Oh, dear... good luck. My old dog was very reactive, and what worked for some of his triggers (dogs passing us, for example) was giving him an alternative command and then rewarding. When we saw a big dog coming, I would walk him off the path and have him lie down, then treat after the dogs passed. Within a few months, he started taking himself off the path when we saw other dogs, and lying down without being told to... it seemed like he believed that was a protective behavior that made dogs passing safe. Can you get her in a position to listen to you in a command before the elevator door opens? Is there some noise that indicates to you that it's about to happen? Maybe that will give you the lead time to set her up for success.
  9. Oh, my... I love her. She looks so much like my old boy.
  10. Wow, that is a beautiful girl. Stunning. Good luck with her! And I'll tag on with everyone else: my biggest mistake with my old reactive boy Buddy was trying to go too fast in the beginning. In a couple weeks, I realized that my pushing was just another thing that was making him scared. When I stepped back and gave him space and time (literal space and time, not metaphorical!), is when we started becoming a partnership.
  11. I was running around to yard sales and doing errands this morning. I brought Cricket with me because she likes to be a ride-along dog. I ran into Home Depot and when I came out, noticed that Cricket was trying hard to squeeze out the open half of the passenger window in front. (She's just 20 lbs and could probably fit, but she's usually quite content to stay in the car.) I guessed maybe she had seen a squirrel. When I started to drive away, I noticed she was panting really hard and acting strangely. Even though it's coolish outside, I panicked and thought maybe she had overheated or gotten really thirsty while I ran into the store, So, I pulled into McDonald's at a busy intersection, took my water bottle in and filled it with water and headed back to bring it to the dog. Only... Cricket wasn't in the car! I thought she had hopped into the front seat, but when I called her name, I heard her tags jingling OUTSIDE the car. I hadn't noticed that the side window was rolled down about 2/3 of the way - she had jumped out. She came right to me, and I tried to get her back in the car, but she was really reluctant to get in. Only then did I realize that she might be sick. So, I leashed her and walked her, and sure enough, she had a bad bout of the runs on the little grass strip of McDonald's. Such a good dog - broke all the rules because she didn't want to poop in my car. So scary, though: if I had gone into McDonald's for a burger, anything could have happened to her!
  12. I was walking Cricket in a busy park yesterday. I've been known to go rogue and let her off-leash when there aren't people around, but yesterday definitely wasn't that day, so she stayed on leash. Young guy with large pitbull-mix puppy let his pup charge us. The pup was only about 4 months old, but already outsized my little girl. I called, "She might get snarky!" (though she doesn't, too often), and the young guy kept assuring me that HIS dog was super-friendly, wouldn't do anything. Too soon, that pup is going to be a VERY large dog, and is going to get into a pretty serious fight. I probably should have put on my teacher hat and tried to explain that to the kid, but really - just out enjoying the afternoon.
  13. My little terrier mix ("border collie mix") Cricket is a pretty easy dog. She meets and greets people well, mostly plays well with other dogs, and stays with me off-leash with near 100% predictability. HOWEVER: I live alone. There aren't a lot of people coming and going in and out of my house. And lately, when people enter the house or move unexpectedly in the house, she is darting forward and nipping at their heels. This isn't a fear issue, from what I can tell. She does this to people she sees all the time outside the house, and people who have been outside, walking with us. She'll accept treats and give kisses to people in my house once they are seated and she is used to their presence. She also meets strangers in other people's homes with a wagging tail. She calms well in her crate - even sleeps - when visitors are in my house. So, I'm figuring that it's a resource guarding/territory guarding behavior. (I do remember that with my old reactive dog, Buddy, the threshold situations were always most tense.) Cricket is home without me while I'm at work, and she will bark at the mailman or doorbell. She definitely has chosen the mantle of "watchdog," though she's not obsessive about it and is easily redirected. I've been pretty successful stopping Cricket from barking at other dogs on leash by correcting her, putting her in a "sit," and treating for calm behavior. She seems to understand the expectations... though that is a work in progress. The nipping thing has only happened three times (and maybe there've only been three occasions where she and I were situated correctly to trigger it), but obviously I don't want it to continue. This last time, I had her on leash and corrected her strongly when she moved forward. (Strong tug and loud "NO!") She honestly seemed surprised by my correction: kind of like, "Why would you correct me for THAT, lady?" It might be that she simply needs to be told it's not acceptable. Problem is, I don't know how to "tell" her that since there aren't many people coming and going. I would love to find a way to teach a new and appropriate behavior when visitors are entering or leaving. Does anyone know of a protocol for this specific thing? I do have a neighbor and sister who would likely be willing to enter my front door repeatedly while I keep Cricket on a leash and practice. I will likely call my trainer when I have some time off this summer. (Right now lots of issues with my elderly parents, so not a lot of time for this dog stuff!) Thanks in advance!
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