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mbc1963

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Everything posted by mbc1963

  1. I took Cricket back to that park yesterday, very early in the morning (in hope it would be more solitary). We stepped far off the path a couple times, which usually cues other owners into the fact that we don't want to meet their dogs. One big dog came trotting up, and the owner (too far to do anything) called, "He's friendly!" I picked Cricket up and said, "She doesn't know that!" The owner apologized. I ran into the big black pyrenees/flat coat mixes, too, and picked her up. That one dog is VERY big! The owner was all, "He just wants to play!" I said, "Well, she's very frightened!" Again, embarrassed apologies. My dog is pretty good if she can meet a dog slowly, on leash. She'll relax. But if she's on leash and they're not, she gets fearful and tries to run away, which triggers the other dogs to chase her around me, and things get stupid really quickly as I get tangled in the leash and I'm trying to manage my dog plus one (or two or three) others. I want to help my dog desensitize to meeting other dogs, and NOT pick her up like that... but I also really don't want her to practice and reinforce the "dogs=fear=running" behavior. I think I'm going to get some cards printed showing the big dogs surrounding a tiny or fearful dog on leash, and then showing the HUMAN equivalent of that scenario: a 92-pound middle school student surrounded by a college football team. All the linebackers are poking and teasing the kid, just "being friendly." What amazes me is that the owners really have no control over their dogs AT ALL, once they spot another dog and start approaching. They generally stand there calling their dogs' names, louder and louder, as their dogs completely ignore them and continue doing whatever they were doing before. It would be more helpful if they'd run away quickly, calling their dogs; at least the dogs would likely follow them. (Shameful note: the first dog who came at us yesteday - barking and charging! - was a border collie. His owner said, "He's not aggressive; he's just doing his border collie thing." Oh, I could have given her a lecture about how border collies act!) I think I'm going to just get all assertive, and speak some truth to these people, even if they see me in the future and think, "Here comes that female dog!"
  2. Grrrr. I have written SO MANY posts about my old reactive BC Buddy, and the stupidity of owners calling, "My dog is friendly" as their big, idiot lab charged at Buddy. Setting me up to be leashed in the middle of a dog fight, or their own dog to get a punctured ear. Last weekend I was walking my new dog Cricket in a local wooded park. The rules of the park are posted at every entrance: dogs are to be under control of owners at all time, and should be leashed when approaching others. Because even if your dog is friendly, OTHER PEOPLE MIGHT NOT WANT TO BE APPROACHED BY THEM. So, I'm taking my TWENTY-POUND dog for a loop of the woods. Two women approach with big chow-types. "Could you leash your dogs please?" "Oh, OK." Followed by the "They're actually friendly," and I reply, "Mine is terrified of dogs rushing at her. But if they meet slowly, she's fine." They watch the dog as she attempts to flee their dogs, and say, "Oh, I can see how she is. Yes, let's let them meet slowly." All is nice and sweet, dogs are all fine, taking treats and sitting together. But right up the path come three women with three Pyrenees/flat-coat-retriever sized dogs between them. I call, "Could you leash your dogs, please?" They don't hear me. So, I pick Cricket up and walk on. As the dogs pass us, one stares at my dog in my arms and starts growling at me. I say, "No. No growling." The dogs move on, and I'm contentedly away from them. But, as the very large dogs meet the chow-type dogs, back where I was, I hear a massive dog fight break out - owners shouting, dogs obviously going at each other. Probably took two minutes for them to break it up. Later! Other side of the same park. The big black dogs running far ahead of their oblivious owners are passing me again. I actually had to walk off the path, into poison ivy, to get far enough away that the lead black dog won't pick up our sense and come charging at us. Down the path, I run into another woman with a small dog. We start to complain about how the little dogs don't have any CLUE that the big dogs are friendly, and how they get terrified being surrounded by a pack of big dogs. Then ANOTHER small dog owner joins us, comments that we are the only people with leashed dogs in the park. GRR! We had all had the exact same experience with the stupid gang of black dogs. It is SO FRUSTRATING how people think their dogs' fun trumps the rights of all the other dog owners. If you want to let your dog off leash, do it. IF you have a good recall and IF you really have control of your dog. Which those types never do!
  3. I'm not a huge fan of having a dog in my bed. I like my bed clean, smelling like summer breezes. I let Buddy in, because thunder terrified him, and the only way I could get any rest was to ease his barking panic by resting my hand on him. With this new dog Cricket, I have been strong. She hasn't been invited up. She sleeps on the couch or in her crate. (Crate if there's a critter outside and she's scared. She will "kennel up" herself for reassurance.) But last night! At 1:30, something spooked her bad. She jumped off the couch and ran into my bedroom and jumped right into the bed, then proceeded to be her cutest possible self: rolling over, giving me her belly, snuggling right up against my side for comfort from whatever had frightened her. And looking so damned pleased with this new arrangement. I got her off the bed and went to the bathroom, only to return to the bedroom and find her curled up in a ball, right in the middle of my pillow. This is a tough opponent, my friends. Only time will tell who will win this battle.
  4. So sorry to hear this! She was dearly loved, and as shown by the photos, loving.
  5. Sorry... just saw your request to know how to save a search on eBay. I just did a search for that book, which did not show up as available. But right at the top of the results page, there's a link to click for "follow this search." I think if you sign in to eBay with your account, it will let you keep that search in records, so when a book comes available, it will notify you. (It used to be called "saved searches" but I think it works the same way.) Good luck!
  6. So sorry to hear this! You haven't been with him nearly long enough. Good wishes for a stable future.
  7. She's good, thanks for asking. The original age estimate was 5 years, but based on her interactions with my sister's dogs, zoomie speed and occasional bouts of frustrated yapping when she doesn't get her way, I'm guessing she's more like 1 or 2. She was definitely a teenage mother. She's starting to be willing to meet other dogs face-to-face, as long as they're not tugging to get at her. As far as I can tell, she never reacts aggressively to dogs - she just backs away as much as she can. It's a whole nother world, having a dog who can be bumped into and touched by dogs and people without being reactive. It's going to take me some time to get used to this more normal way of existing.
  8. I have had my new dog just about two months now. She came out of a hoarding case in the south; the owner had 50 dogs on the property when he was evicted and animal control took them. So, i don't think she had a background particularly rich in human interaction or language and commands. She was with a good foster home for several weeks before I got her, but even in that home she was among many foster dogs. In the 8 weeks I've had her, I'm AMAZED at how much she has come to understand - especially the normal daily language (verbal and body) interactions humans have with their dogs. I wanted to write this as a marker, to take note of the incredibly steep learning curve she's had. From knowing almost no human interaction, she now knows and very clearly understands; Sit Lie down Stay Go for a walk Go out in the yard Supper Ride in the car Get in the back (car) Raccoon (toy) Blue (toy) Give Come Let's go Jacques (the bird we're watching) Kitty Bird Squirrel Up Bone Kennel up Zoomies Almost more than the actual words, though, I've been so amazed at the quick ability to learn "the ropes:" the patterns of our daily lives. I take a shower before bed every night, and then have Cricket kennel up. It took her maybe only 3 or 4 days before she would run to the crate when she heard me get out of the shower. (She's anticipating treats.) The morning pattern is greetings/cuddles on the couch/go out in the yard/get breakfast. Again, 3 or 4 reps and she had the whole pattern down. Shoes out? Better run to the front door because we're going somewhere. She's running into the store? I can jump in the front seat of the car, but I'd better jump back into the rear when I hear the "unlock" beeps. Going for a walk? We'd better go to the convenience store where they give dog treats, and we'd better stop again at Brian's house to get more treats. I've always known that dogs have an amazing ability to learn and understand us and our patterns. My old boy Buddy had a vocabulary of hundreds. I guess I've never fully processed how very fast their brains can acquire this vocabulary and understanding of how we operate. Go dogs!
  9. Buddy got sprayed once, top of his head, not near his eyes, and I used the skunk remedy above. It completely removed the odor - five hours after the spraying, I had him at the flea market and no one could smell skunk on him. The other time he got sprayed, it was all over his face, so I couldn't really drench the fur where it needed drenching and YES, we still got a whiff of odor every time he got wet... right up until his next shed. I think a lot of the success has to do with whether the oil from the skunk has time to absorb into the dog's fur. The Dawn does a good job of emusifying the oil so it can be rinsed away; the H2O2 and baking soda actually cause a chemical reaction that splits the scent molecule into molecules that don't smell. Another note: the time I used this stuff quick and effectively, the peroxide did bleach the hair near Buddy's ears. The black was reddish, gain until he shed that coat and grew a new one. My neighbor's dog had the same "highlights" that year.
  10. I was sitting in my yard when I heard a high, loud scream from the yard two houses away. Then I heard absolutely panicked screaming from my neighbor and her son-in-law, who live in the house. They were shouting the name of their large dog, Lola. Shouting it in absolute panic: LOLA! Get away! Lola NO! LOLA OFF! Screaming like you don't hear coming from adults except in footage of terrible news events. I pictured Lola attacking a small child who was visiting. The screaming continued. I ran over to see if there was anything I could do: watch the other dog, watch the children if necessary. Only it wasn't a small child Lola was clamped onto. It was a skunk. She was shaking it and tossing it like a rag doll. Ultimately, they got Lola away from the skunk. The skunk is alive and circling their back yard right now, looking for an escape route. I smell because I stood in the general vicinity of the dog for five minutes. My clothes are in the wash. Lola, unfortunately, is foaming wildly at the mouth and much chagrined at her fate. She is being soaked and bathed in skunk remedy. This stuff really works, if you get it on immediately and let it sit for a good long while. http://home.earthlink.net/~skunkremedy/home/sk00001.htm And that concludes the annual late-August broadcast of the skunk remedy public service announcement.
  11. I agree about trust, and also about the other dog thing. I looked at a lot of rescue websites and a lot of dogs this year, and many rescues will only rehome fearful or timid dogs into homes with another "balanced" dog, because the second dog is so good at building the confidence of the shy one. Play also seems to help. My new girl was "perfect" for about five weeks. She wouldn't touch anything in the house, wouldn't play with the toys, would only walk with me and lie on the couch or in her crate. Five weeks in, she had gotten over her timidity enough to play with a squeaky toy, and that seems to have opened the dam. She's playing with toys and with me now. (And getting a bit of an attitude - so be careful what you wish for!) I'm also taking her to a safe open space a lot to let her run off leash. There's something about this that's helping her confidence, too - she really loves darting off to explore, and then coming back to find me still there.
  12. OK, let me add this: What are the best books I should read? I'm guessing "Control Unleashed" is going to be #1, and I'll order it tomorrow. What else, to train a solid, well-mannered dog? Thanks!
  13. OK, y'all! You were such a huge help in my working with my old boy, Buddy. I know Cricket (the new girl) technically doesn't have much to recommend her as a border collie, but she is most definitely a DOG, so I'm seeking your help now. I've had the girl 2 months. She was so incredibly soft the first few weeks that she was scared to sit in front of me, scared to get on the couch when invited, scared to touch the toys I'd bought her. She is definitely still tentative in the world, but she's getting much better. She'll meet new smallish dogs happily with only a little nudging, she's learned "sit" and "lie down" very solidly and will immediately go into a "sit" when she meets people, because she's learned that people=treats. She is ALL OVER toys now. Best things ever invented! I'm having friends work on head touches while treating, to get her less hand shy. So... she's definitely coming out of her shell, and very recently she's going from super-timid with me to having a bit of an attitude. Two issues I've noticed: 1) The last couple days, when she wants to play, she'll actually play bow and get sassy and start barking at me. (Um... she is SO a terrier!) This is DEFINITELY a bossy, entitled little behavior that I want to curb. 2) She's been showing some protectiveness over her "turf." The little boy next door comes over to help train her, and today I had him go into the back yard ahead of us. Seeing him open the gate, she gave a little growl and bark - definitely cluing in that the yard was her territory and he didn't belong there. (I had her on a leash, and I did "happy talk" and just moved her back without making a fuss.) Territoriality is also definitely something I want to discourage! I don't mind her barking a little alert when strangers come to the door, and the dog is solidly crate-trained, so thats an option. But I also want her to be able to calm herself and manage visitors. This is particularly challenging because I live alone and there aren't many people coming and going. I think Buddy could have been much better with guests if I had run a more active household - and I want Cricket to be easier with it. Thanks in advance for any advice and help. The wisdom of the collective is far greater than my own. (Resistance is Futile.)
  14. Another thought... Contact those Amazon book sellers, too. They have a copy of a book that might sell in 4 years for the price they're asking. Or it might not. If you make a reasonable offer well under their asking price, they might just be happy to get what they can right now. Bird in the hand and all that. Prices on old things really, really depend on the storage capacity and brokeness of the seller as much as the empirical worth of the thing.
  15. Yeah... Those prices are crazy. I used to sell antique books on eBay. People on Amazon can list a book for whatever outlandish price they want, but if the book doesn't sell, then it isn't worth that price. One suggestion... go on eBay and make this an item you're looking for (saved search). Then, if a copy pops up, you'll get an e-mail notice. SOMETIMES people pop a valuable book like this up for $20 because they just don't know why anyone would want a not-really-old border collie book.
  16. It seems strange how our journey through life continues like a story, but the supporting characters change in the middle. I keep looking up as I do something, and thinking, "Last year at this time, Buddy was here." Glad to hear you're on your way to recovery, and that you have a new companion for this section of your story.
  17. OMG yes, energy level is through the roof. My father had a husky mix. I was super-healthy back in the day and would do these 8-mile walks once or twice a week, and the dog came with me. A good chunk of the time she'd be off-leash, making GIGANTIC circles around me the whole time. I do not doubt that she would run 30 miles to my 8. And not be particularly tired when we got home. In fact... now that I think of it... that husky/shepherd mix had MUCH MORE energy when she was young than my border collie had. Something to consider.
  18. I think the video idea is FABULOUS! If you can catch a variety of situations where the dog reacts, you can look for commonalities and patterns. It's a great (and scary) world where we all have video capabilities at our fingertips, all the time. It'd also be cool if someone else could video the situations occurring, so you can watch your own and family members' behaviors - also look for the dog's body language immediately prior to the "snap."
  19. I've been watching "Dog Reunion" videos on YouTube. It seems like there are an infinite number of dogs who go missing during fireworks or lightning storms and are found hundreds of miles away. Some of them, thanks to a microchip, are reunited with owners they haven't seen in months or even years. So, given that dogs can get lost and roam very far, I think it's fair to at least have him scanned for a microchip, in case there's some heartbroken owner somewhere who's been looking for the dog. If he's been on his own for a while, it would explain the notches in the ears and the bad condition of the coat. if my dog were lost or wandering, I would desperately hope that someone kind would find her and make an effort to reunite her with me. If, on the other hand, you make your best effort and can't find another owner, then you'll feel good about your decision to keep this dog. FWIW, my old boy Buddy generally didn't like other dogs. And huskies invariably tried to do the "let me hump you" introduction, which made Buddy crazy. BUT... once the initial weird energy and humping thing was over, Buddy LOVED huskies. He had several good husky friends his whole life. So, BCs and huskies don't necessarily have to be enemies.
  20. I was out walking Cricket the other night. Was walking with an old dog-walking friend - we've both lost our old dogs and gotten new dogs in the last year. She saw another guy up the street with a pit bull, and said what a sweet, 14-year-old pit bull it was. I vaguely recognized the man from walking Buddy many years ago. I didn't have any solid memories of him - only remembered thinking he was a self-centered, ignorant guy whose dog drove my fear-reactive dog crazy. So, whatever. The dog is 14 now. It's been ten years. I happily walked up to the guy with my friend. His pit bull charged forward, still strong but under control of the leash at least. (Ah... I remember now. Ten years ago, the guy couldn't control his dog.) My little dog is shy and fearful of big, boisterous dogs; she was behind me, at the end of my leash, as far from this other dog as she could get. The guy was all, "He's FRIENDLY! He won't do anything to your dog!" I said, "If my dog wants to meet, she'll move forward." The man waited maybe 15 seconds - maybe 10. Then he said, "Oh, let them get a little closer," and gave his dog slack to approach my dog - who promptly moved further away as I backed up. I just continued my walk, moving away from the man who was obviously - even after ten years - never going to learn anything about his dog's behavior from anyone. MAN, I thought I wasn't going to have to start quoting "He Just Wants to Say Hi" again. People are so ignorant.
  21. My instinct is also "pain." I wonder if he hid his pain at the vet - my old dog could be entirely stoic at the vet and show no reaction to pain at all, but be the biggest wimp in the world at home. (I think he felt he was under attack at the vet, so couldn't let his guard down.) I also wonder if something didn't happen when he stayed with your relatives - some weird coincidence that he remembers and no one else does. (Shock upon being pet? Stepped on accidentally while being pet?) Keep paying attention to when the snapping happens, too! I've heard so many people say that their dogs' reactions seemed completely random, out of the blue, but when they were observed carefully, they followed very specific patterns. Good luck!
  22. Someone recommended that book before I brought my rescue dog home. I bought a copy cheap off the Internet, read it, and would be happy to pass it along if you'd like. Message me your address and I will put it in the mail. I agree with the "not understanding commands" piece. My dog Cricket had been in a hoarding house in the south before being brought north to rescue. I suspect she had litle human interaction before getting into her foster home. (Though... she loves the couch and the car, so it's also possible she had some good human interaction during her life.) Anyway, she didn't know any common commands: no sit, stay, lie down, etc.. I worked on "sit" for a while! She wouldn't let me touch her or push her down, and she wouldn't sit on her own with the "raise the treat over her head" trick, because I think sitting put her in a vulnerable position. I told my family I felt like Annie Sullivan trying to teach Helen Keller what all the finger spelling was about! If only I could break through and let the dog know that my word/sign had a meaning!! My trainer suggested waiting until Cricket sat on her own, and then saying the word "sit" and making a big fuss. Meantime, folks in the forum had suggested loading the clicker, so I did train that "click" meant treat. Once the "click" was in place, it only took a day to teach "sit." Cricket just had to make the link between my saying the word/doing the sign and her sitting. Once she knew, she really WANTED to do what I asked. At this point, as soon as we run into human beings anywhere, she does a strong and solid "sit." It's awesome!
  23. I love the name Maple for a dog. My neighbor's son recently brought home a new pup named Maple. Excellent name! (I don't make shapes from fur... but have seen companies that will actually take your dog's shed fur and spin it to yarn and then make you a hat or something out of it!)
  24. So sorry to hear about Cash! That little girl in my avatar is my new dog, whose name is also Cricket. Lost my old Buddy in February, and the space for him in my house is still empty. But the new dogs always create their own space, don't they?
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