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Everything posted by mbc1963

  1. That's wonderful! What a great feeling that must give you. There's something about these "challenging" dogs - when they take a step forward, it's just so rewarding! Mary
  2. Ohh.... that's so hard! I can see both points of view. And I do believe that dogs can re-bond, form new homes and live quite happily, despite our human belief that they have to be with US. Also remember there are lots of BCs on these boards who live in apartments and who are happy and joyful, being with the people they love. FWIW, I knew people who'd adopted a dog from friends five years before. He was a happy dog. But if the friends came to visit, the dog was still ready to hop in the car and go off with them. Good luck in making this decision. Take some time. Don't make it overnight. And your heartbreak means something, too, you know! I can't imagine. Mary
  3. My dog is usually in the room with me, and even when he falls asleep, he'll leap right up to follow me if I move into another room. For the first few months, he always came upstairs to bed with me, but after a while he mellowed a bit and would stay in his own downstairs bed if he was in a sound sleep. He will eventually come up to bed, though, and is always with me when I wake up in the a.m. Luckily, Buddy is happy to be in the same room, and doesn't need to be touched all the time like my sister's dog! Mary
  4. My dog is probably 3 - 5 years old, and he is very mellow for a BC. He gets a 30-45 minute walk in the morning - at a park, sometimes on leash, sometimes off, with some dog friends he doesn't play with. Then in the afternoon, he gets a good walk, off leash, in the woods, for about an hour. Sometimes he gets another walk just before bed, sometimes not. So... not too much exercise, and most of it is walking and sniffing, though he will run to catch up with me or to chase a squirrel or stick. As far as I can tell, when I'm at work, the dog is sleeping. He eats about 1.5 cups of Canidae a day, and he maintains a nice 43-lb weight. Occasionally, he'll go through a picky period and lose a bit of weight, and in the winter he seems to gain a bit, though it could just be the undercoat making him thicker. Mary
  5. Huh! Who'da thunk! No string cheese in Australia! String cheese is just mozzarella cheese, in the shape of a small sausage. When they form it that way, you can tear "strings" off it, the long way. Most people don't tear the strings, though... I think most just bite the end off. Dogs do LOVE it... though it gets mushy and messy in my pocket if I try to carry it! My Buddy would leave me for Casey's mother, who carries string cheese in her pocket every morning. Mary
  6. OK... so... my dog likes to get UP on things. "Up" is one of his favorite commands. He'll walk a fallen log or plank with no fear. But what surprises me so much is how well he can climb nearly-vertical surfaces. There are lots of big boulders in the woods around here, and he'll easily scale up the side of a really tall rock without seeming to have any difficulty. I'm talking rocks more than 5 feet high. **Flash** he's up there, and I haven't even seen him make the leap! Does anyone else have a billy goat-border collie? How the heck does he climb like that!? Mary
  7. I also really love reading the HrrGrr updates! Please keep posting! Since you can't put the pentagon along a fence, what about draping two or three of its sides, and maybe part of the top, too, so there's a sense of being in some kind of enclosure? Plastic tarp is pretty cheap. My dog will choose 100% of the time to be in a corner, tucked away, with his back up against something, if possible. Better yet if he can be UNDER something. It's the old denning instinct, I think. Or... what about a crate in the chain link area? Do you think that would give him too much of a chance to 'hide?' Congratulations on your work. Once this dog figures out that life can be safe, I think you'll see huge strides. My trainer remarked that my dog had learned to believe I keep the world safe for him. It's a big responsibility, but it has huge payoffs, too! Mary
  8. Grrr! That bothers me both as the owner of a reactive dog and as a schoolteacher! One of the constant and growing problems we run into is kids whose parents won't control them, and who scream at the world when the world tries to teach their kids how to behave. Sounds like you need to "anonymously" send your sister a copy of that "South Park" episode where they call in Cesar Millan to deal with the out of control kid. It is HILARIOUS! http://loadup.ru/video/view/?id=v161506a3e Mary
  9. My male dog has some of the same tendencies. He's not overly social, and can be downright mean when he's grouchy - I have to watch all his new meetings closely, in case he gets tense and goes after the other dog. But there was a tiny black lab puppy at the park where we walk, and after they walked near each other for a few minutes, Buddy got absolutely GOOFY with him! He let the puppy "hug" him around the neck while biting his face, let the pup hit him really hard, and would even fake roll over three times, as if the puppy had really knocked him for a loop. It was hilarious to watch. So, maybe not a surrogate mother, but a surrogate "fun uncle?" Gotta love the way they give puppies a break. Mary
  10. I'm dying to see HrrGrr, but all I get when I click on the link is a blue blur. Am I missing something? Mary
  11. That's great! I know that the first time my dog played, I was overjoyed. It's like they're shedding some kind of fearful skin, and letting themselves relax for the first time. Mary
  12. LOL! Those are hilarious stories... though painful! I think I have the opposite dog. He's terrified of walking into or close to things if they have even the remotest chance of tipping over, bumping him, or making a noise. It's a wonderful trait, because he won't put his feet up on a chair, table, etc.. unless he's sure it's absolutely fixed and stationary. Mary
  13. Wow! Tough case, but I agree that it sounds like your plan is a good one. My dog wasn't that bad off when I got him, but he was very fearful of dogs, humans, the sound of a leaf dropping... Slow and gentle was much better than fast and hard, in almost all introductions to things. Good luck! Mary
  14. Lots of dogs around here definitely hump during play. I've seen a daisy chain of humping when a big group of dogs was wrestling... and none of the humpers/humpees seemed particularly irritated by it. My dog will not tolerate humping in any form except from a very close friend, who fake-humps a bit to get Buddy irritated enough to start chasing him around the field. The shelter dog does sound like he's neurotic about it, though - I wonder if it's a stress reaction, and the stress of the shelter is throwing him into overdrive? Or maybe it's the reason he was brought in? This article seems to focus on humping as the behavior of an emotionally overwhelmed dog: http://www.petsalley.com/newsdoghumping.html Good luck! Mary
  15. Update: After two days of regressing pretty far back into reactivity, Buddy seems to have turned the corner again. A Very Large Dog approached us in the woods today, and Buddy was on leash, but he didn't react. Ditto later with a small dog. Buddy seems to be happy to see other dogs again, or at least neutral - rather than aggressive. I'm crossing my fingers that this was all a couple days of just not feeling good! I'm definitely going to have to watch Buddy really closely in the future, and keep his stress levels really low when he's feeling sick. Boy, am I happy to have my almost-mellow dog back. I didn't really enjoy saying hello to that reactive dog I used to live with! Thanks again for everyone who offered suggestions. They helped my psychological state, if not my dog's! Mary
  16. I have a pet theory that the ticks around here (NE Massachusetts) have become immune to Frontline. My sister uses it, and she's always pulling ticks off her dog. I use Advantix, walk daily in thick underbrush, and I don't find ticks at all. FWIW, Frontline DID work for me for about 4 months, before it seemed to become useless. Also FWIW, I've found (anecdotal evidence, again!) that Advantix lasts much longer than a month. Mine seems to work at minimum six weeks. If I find a crawling tick on the dog, I dose again... but so far this summer, I think I've given only 3 doses since March 14 (first warm day). For us, May and early June, then again in the fall are the worst times, so I pay a lot more attention then. Mary
  17. I've been to classes with a BC who isn't so much happy to see dogs as really angry. The dog is highly reactive and wants to go after anything that moves the wrong way. The handler does an AMAZING job keeping him focused by bringing a tug toy on a short braided rope, and using that to both get/keep his attention and to reward him. Any time the dog gets distracted, she squeaks or shakes the toy, and the dog returns his attention immediately. Don't know if your dog is toy-crazy... food works for Buddy... but maybe something like that? Mary
  18. Thanks a lot for all your responses! I'm just being really careful and not putting any stress on the dog - hoping he'll regain his sense of equilibrium. The dog who was hurt went to the vet yesterday and was fine - no stitches, just some antibiotic cream, and the owners were really nice about the whole thing - thank heavens! Mary
  19. True Confession: When it's really hot and sticky and muggy, my dog likes to sit by my computer and lick the sweat, inch by inch, off my calves and lower thighs. And I let him. It feels really good. Mary
  20. I've never had a dog with an ear infection, but I remember reading somewhere that there's a very effective homemade treatment. I Googled this, and found a number of sites that recommend a vinegar and water wash... I don't think this is the one I read about before, though! It was something really simple, and apparently took care of the problem for good. Good luck. Mary
  21. I've told Buddy's story before, but short version: rescued at 18 months after being a street dog, came home VERY fear reactive to humans and dogs. I did a lot of reading, had a good behaviorist, worked on calm behavior, and he's come a long way. He can still be reactive when meeting strange big dogs and strange big humans, but he's predictable. Generally, when we're at a park away from his "home territory," he meets well, and his "leave it" is pretty reliable. Last night, I took him to the park and he was walking kind of stiffly and slowly. I thought he looked like he was sore or sick, so I turned around to take him home, because I didn't want to do a long walk. On the way to the car, he met a tiny puppy on leash. Met fine, but growled a bit when the puppy jumped at him, so I took him away. As we left, the puppy got loose and CHARGED at Buddy, who was playing with a stick, got protective, and noisily corrected the puppy as she hit him. Just some saliva on the pup... PHEW! I don't usually do corrections for situations like this, because it's a natural instinct for a dog to be protective when another dog is charging at him like that, so I didn't sweat it too much. Since Buddy had missed his long walk, I did take him over to the little green space where his friends congregate, thinking he needed some exercise. There were lots of dogs he's fine with, but a woman took out some chicken in the crowd of dogs, Buddy got jostled, and he went after a little Boston Terrier - the dog ended up with a cut under his eye. I agreed to pay for the vet and all, and the guy is very honorable and nice, and everyone said, "These things happen with dogs." So today I avoided places with lots of dogs, thinking Buddy was feeling off and that he needed a calm walk in the forest. A couple dogs did cross our path, though, and Buddy wanted to take them all on! (Luckily, I was able to tell the owners ahead of time to leash their dogs until we got by.) I'm just bereft, and don't know what to do! Obviously, I will avoid all "near occasions of sin" for the next week or so, to give Buddy a chance to feel better if he's sick with the doggie flu or something. I will take him to quiet woods in off hours, and maybe do on-leash walks with dogs who are very calm and ones he trusts. If he still seems "off" in 3 or 4 days, I'll take him to the vet, and I'll also call my behaviorist if he's still reactive/aggressive in a week. How I deal with this depends on what's going on, obviously. If it's an "I don't feel good" thing, time should take care of it. But I'm wondering if the incident with the puppy charging him - no possible protection from me could keep him from having that pup come flying at him - and then having a big tussle in a crowd of dogs last night has "reset" him psychologically? Has anyone else experienced something like this - where a dog takes a big step backwards after moving mostly forward for a long time? I also think - though maybe it's my own imagination - that he's more frightened around strangers again today - tucking his tail down more quickly when people move to pat him, etc.. Certainly, my solution in the park today (hold him back away from the dogs, all tense) didn't help him - I know they read body language and leash tension, and I know I was sending all the wrong signals. I want to avoid getting myself into situations like that until I trust my dog again, so I don't reinforce his fear. Any and all suggestions or possibilities are welcomed. I trust the people in this forum, and think some of you must have been down a similar road. Thanks in advance! Mary
  22. Er.... Am I supposed to have vegetables more than once a day?! Mary
  23. Thanks for the suggestions! I like the sound of the Earthbath stuff. Today I was reading a decorating book, and they showed a mudroom where the owners had a slate floor and a tub sunken into the floor several inches, just for bathing the dog! Someday, when I win the lottery! Mary
  24. Shameless bragging: My dog is scared to go in water deep enough to make his feet leave the ground. In real heat, he'll wade in until about half his body is underwater, but he always wants his front legs on solid ground. Tonight I took Buddy to the reservoir, and threw sticks in the water. His big favorite stick went too far out - he couldn't reach it without going in too deep. To my surprise, he looked down through the water, to the bottom of the sloping pond, and found some large submerged rocks he could walk on. This raised him up about 15 inches, so he could go out further in the pond and not get scared. I just thought that was particularly clever problem solving for a dog! Mary
  25. I just had my bathroom redone, and now have a fiberglass tub and shower, replacing the old iron and ceramic tiles. The old ones were ugly and meant for the garbage, so I didn't worry about bathing the dog in the tub. Now, I'm worried about scratching the new one. Has anyone had any success finding something to use as a tub liner for a fiberglass or acrylic tub/shower? I can't bathe Buddy outside during the cold months, and occasionally he does get into something stinky. Also... the dog shampoos I've used have SUCH strong scent that they make my eyes water after Buddy dries off. Mind you, I have really sensitive eyes and skin, but I imagine that if the scent bugs me, it must be many times worse for Buddy's sensitive nose. Has anyone found a relatively inexpensive, mild shampoo that doesn't have a strong, lingering scent? I can't pay $15/bottle - my science/skeptic mind knows most shampoos are chemically identical, and I only pay $.99 per bottle for my own shampoo - but I just want something that's not designed to make the dog smell like pine trees or lavender or something! Thanks! Mary
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