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Everything posted by mbc1963

  1. Hi, Tricky, but not impossible, I think! When I first got Buddy, he was horrible with other dogs, period. My sister has the wimpiest dog in the world, a little Eskie, who stays at my parents' during the day while her owners are at work. So, every time I visited my parents, we had a Buddy/Snowy issue. The first few visits, Buddy would decompress if Snowy even approached me. (By decompress, I mean react AGGRESSIVELY with snarling and teeth bared.) Eventually, they learned to just sort of ignore each other: Snowy comes running to greet me and gets all the hugs and kisses she wants. Buddy generally goes off to greet my father and get some treats from him. Only once in a very great while, if Buddy feels Snowy's making too much extensive eye contact with him, he'll let out a low growl, but he'll even drop that when I give him the signal. I think the trick was gradual, slow exposure - Buddy and Snowy together with nothing bad happening, until Buddy learned he can trust her not to do anything stupid like take his toys or jump up on him. (If your mother's dog is submissive, I suspect this will help a lot! She'll know what not to do to avoid setting your dog off.) Also, I think that Buddy figured out another dog around ME frequently meant treats for the other dog and for him. As he got better with Snowy, it also improved at the dog park. He can handle six dogs all getting treats from one guy, now, where before he used to blow up if a treat was near and another dog approached. (Life on the streets taught him that, I think.) I don't know about the toy problem - since Buddy lives alone with me, he gets full access to the toys unless I put them away. I think he would melt down if Snowy came over and tried to take them... but that situation just doesn't come up. (Because of his background, I think Buddy needs to be an only dog.) There are lots of good articles around about "resource guarding," which this sounds like. Maybe if you can't untrain the guarding him by then, your mom can just be careful to separate the dogs when the toys are around? Baby gate? Bedroom? Good luck! Mary
  2. I bought my house with about 1/4 acre yard, in part because I knew it would be ideal for a dog. After 2 years fixing it up (hazards and construction everywhere) I got my dog and promptly put in a $4,000 chain link fence so he'd have a safe place to run. And where do we stand? Buddy will NOT poop in his own yard, so I have to walk him come hell or high water. And he will not stay out in the yard entertaining himself - wherever I am, he wants to be. So... I may as well live in a studio apartment. I say go ahead and get the dog. You'll end up spending your life giving him exercise either way. Mary
  3. Interesting! I'd never heard of them either, but this is an interesting website: http://www.flyballdogs.com/personal/mcnab.html Apparently, they're not really border collies, but a unique breed. Mary
  4. Slow but steady... I had a dog who was really people and dog shy, and would growl and bark at everyone for a few months. He almost bit my father the second day I had him; my father was trying to force contact. (Dad later felt horrible, but we had both just come off a RIP dog who was well-socialized, and neither of us knew what we were doing!) Early on, I had to be really careful about telling people Buddy was very scared, that they should stay away. His barking and growling at them helped give the message. Luckily, we walked at a very friendly park, and people were willing to let us trail behind them and their dogs 10 or 15 feet, and eventually we got to the point where people could toss Buddy treats, then let him take treats from their hands. The walking behind really helped Buddy, for some reason - I think he could sniff strange people and dogs and "take them in" through his nose, without ever having to face eye contact or direct approach. We did a LOT of high-reward treating, too - even at first, when things were touchy, from a distance. Buddy began to associate the presence of people with rewards. Now, on a good day, he'll approach people and do a polite "sit," hoping he'll get something from them. He'll probably never be excited to greet large, deep-voiced male strangers, but they don't make him panic, either. My biggest mistake early on was trying to push Buddy too hard. I had to train myself to watch for signs of stress and learn to remove Buddy from situations before he got overanxious and fearful enough to react. It's really hard to go slowly when everyone else has a "normal" dog and you want one, too! It's really easy to think you've made a giant leap forward, only to find out you've taken two steps back! Aiiee! The best thing my trainer told me was to show Buddy I'd take care of the stressful situations, so he didn't have to. I'm not sure what they call it - cuing, maybe? - but having Buddy do a specific action instead of what he wanted to do worked to give him that "I'll take care of this" message. Like, when he got scared by bikes, I started walking him off the path, and eventually he learned to walk himself off the path and do a "sit" when he saw a bike. (Same with scary dogs - walk off and do a "down.) I think he thinks it's protective magic. All this stuff is in the good dog books - McConnell, as suggested, and also "Bones Would Rain from the Sky" by Suzanne Clothier. Good luck! You can do it! Mary
  5. My dog has the opposite problem: he doesn't like any dog to come at him fast, "in his face." But if it's a tiny puppy, he'll tolerate anything. There was a 2-month-old lab puppy at the park a couple weeks ago, and the thing was hugging my dog's neck, biting his face, rolling him over, and nipping his legs. Mean old grouchy "reactive" dog Buddy just stood there with a stupid grin on his face. By the way, your dog looks a lot like Buddy:
  6. Good advice, Anna! A few months ago, I saw an ad for a local "sheep herding clinic" at a big dog facility nearby. Knowing NOTHING about this, but thinking it sounded fun, I called the place, and was assured by the secretary that it would be a PERFECT place to bring my dog, just to see if sheep were his thing. So, I paid the $95 and drove up (an hour both ways). It became immediately apparent, after I spoke to the actual herding trainer for 20 minutes, that he, like you, wasn't interested in herding for my dog, because I had no sheep, no farm, etc.. It was just going to annoy him and his sheep to have me there that day. I really wish the person I had spoken to on the phone had known this, or if she knew it, been honest with me. I can take the "your dog doesn't belong in herding, with your lifestyle" easier than the missing $95! I don't think Buddy suffered at all for having been with sheep one day. I'm fairly sure he doesn't remember it. I take him to look at goats and cows, at a pasture near a local park. He likes to look and sniff, but I don't think he's dreaming of winning a championship someday. Mary
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