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Everything posted by MickeyDogs

  1. You said she flares out when the sheep head down hill. Are the sheep picking up speed then? If so, she may be flanking to their heads to stop them. I agree with Ray that controlling your dog's pace is better than using flanks. If the pressure is hard enough and if I don't hitch her before she gets going, my dog will head the sheep to stop their forward movement. She does it driving, though, not on the fetch. If your dog was use to working on the flat, working on the hills is a whole new ballgame for her. It sounds like she's trying to figure out the pressure of the new field.
  2. Hi Carol! My dog is overly pressure sensitive (a topic for another thread ) and if I send her into the pressure at the top of the outrun she overflanks to cover the pressure of the set out which causes the lift to be pushed to the side. For example, at the last few trials and at a away-from-home practice I sent her come bye which had her coming into the pressure of the set out pen which was around 1 o'clock. She overflanks at the top, sometimes slightly, sometimes more, and the sheep lift off to my left - enough for a 1 to 2 point deduction on the lift and then I struggle to get them online for the fetch. She's got enough eye that I don't stop her at the top and actually have been working on having her come in stronger. So my questions are: 1) how do I handle this at a trial, and 2) are there any exercises to help her overcome this? Thanks in advance!!
  3. Be sure to have your sound on - the music just adds to the delight.
  4. I pick my dogs up by wrapping my one arm around their chest, through the front legs and place my forearm and hand on the bottom of their rib cage for support. My other arm wraps around their butt between their tail and the hocks. Most of their weight is on my arm under their rib cage. I've seen dogs picked up with an arm under the belly and that makes me cringe - seems it would squish the belly & other organs. Looks uncomfortable to me but, hey, if the dog's happy, I'm happy. Both my older dogs now need help getting in the car. Oscar is smart enough to put his front feet on the seat then I can just boost him in with an arm under his butt. Jill isn't into that method so I just pick her up. Getting a dog to accepting being picked up when they're not comfortable about it takes a number of steps. If they don't like to be touched, ya need to work on that first. Once they're ok with that, work on them accepting being hugged. Then turn the hug into a mini lift, just lifting them enough so their toes touch the ground. When they're ok with that, lift a little higher and continue in steps until you can lift them up and carry them. Treats and praise are always good here. I'm with ya there! I used to hike with my dogs for hours on end and for that reason size was one of the reasons I choose the breeds I did. Nothing like hauling a 100+ pound dog out of the mountain!
  5. Here's an article on crating you might find helpful.
  6. Sounds like she's a quick learner! Flyball is very stimulating and it can be amost impossible to keep a dog quiet when she's right there while others are running (agility can be almost as stimulating). Jill could get mindless fairly quickly and IMHO often that's what the barking is - a mindless reaction. What I did was work to keep my dogs focused on me in the middle of all the mayhem. For my two treats were the key; maybe for yours playing with a ball or a tug toy may be the answer. Starting as an eight week old puppy Oscar has always told me what he thought (did I say he likes to bark? ) so early on before we became involved with flyball he learned the meaning of the word "quiet". He also learned how to settle in a crate. He wasn't as stimulated in the crating area so he wasn't motivated to bark but if he did, I could tell him to be "quiet". I encouraged him to voice his excitement when we were on the lanes racing but I expected him to be quiet & mannerly in the crating area. Some don't care about things like this but it's just the way I am. You'll need to teach your dog how to accept being crated and staying quiet while you're not around and that could be a whole 'nuther thread.
  7. My two older dogs LOVED flyball. Oscar, the non border collie and he-who-would-like-to-be-noisy , could bark all he wanted while on the lanes (but not in the crating area) and Jill (border collie) loved running fast. The one thing I would recommend is to be sure wherever you go for training they teach the swimmers' turn on the box. My two came to flyball before the swimmers' turn became vogue and their method was to hit the box straight on (ouch!). Jill's front feet are now arthritic and whether or not that was from flyball is hard to say, but a good turn on the box is safer & less stress on the dog. Oscar picked up the game very quickly. Our first exposure was a one day seminar. By the end of the day he was going over 3 jumps, hitting the box, and bringing the ball back over 3 jumps. This was 10 years ago (egads!). Teaching a good turn on the box will take time but it's worth it. Jill took a little longer get the game. So if you don't mind A LOT of noise, and frantic, fast running dogs having fun, flyball could be for you! We had a blast. Here's Oscar playing the game
  8. I'm just glad to see a German Shepherd whose structure allows it to move like that! Don't see that too often.
  9. Good for you! Border collies & games - it's a perfect match!
  10. Great advice and great book suggestions! I would add one thing... Along with working on all the other triggers I suggest you also work on those things the dog doesn't like but will come up against all its life - like being patted on the head. People will be people and there will always be those who should know better and those who don't coming to your dog to pat it on the head or kneel down and hug the dog. It's just human nature and no matter how we try to run interference we can't always prevent it from happening. With positive training your dog might come to welcome that attention or, at least, calmly accept it, and that makes a happier, safer dog. My dog Jill was a fear aggressive reactive young dog and one thing I discovered about her was she didn't like to be touched anywhere by anybody. Period. Not on the head, not on the chest, nowhere. The way I helped her was to play tug with her and while we enjoyed the game I would touch her head, her sides, gently grab her tail or a leg. It all became a game to her and she learned that human touch is a good thing. She now is the biggest cuddle pup with people she knows well, loves massages, and she also calmly accepts pats & hugs from people she doesn't know. She sometimes even goes up to people she doesn't know for petting. But the best thing is she's no longer fearful of being touched and is a much happier dog. Very cute picture, BTW
  11. ^^^^^^^ What she said! Yowzer! my head hurts!
  12. Heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy my hand isn't THAT big! Signed Deb Mickey (yep, that's my name!)
  13. I use the commands "come by" and "away" so the "c" in come by reminds me that come by is clockwise. Given this logic you'd think it could also be counter clockwise, but I don't let my mind go that far It took me awhile for those commands to become automatic but I still find myself giving the wrong flank command (did I say I'm getting up there in age? ). Sometimes my dog takes my wrong flank and I at some point see the error of my ways, and other times she's more on the ball than I and goes where she's needed. Probably Julies method of left & right is easier...
  14. Sorry this is long... "Never reward or baby a fearful dog” Using treats or play may seem like we’re rewarding the dog’s fearful behavior when, in fact, when used correctly, they are distractions from the fearful stimuli. If the dog is food or play motivated enough, they are also a tool to help change the emotion of the dog. So treating a fearful dog in an uncertain situation can take the dog’s focus elsewhere (the treat or the game), and may take the dog from a fearful state to a more joyful emotional state which the dog may then eventually relate to the stimuli. Our reactions. It doesn’t take much of a reaction on our part to reinforce our dogs’ fear. Just tensing our body and/or holding our breath, or frantically (note I said frantically) trying to stuff treats into our dog in an attempt to “help” them we convey fear to our dog and reinforce their fear. Our emotions need to be pure and honest in these situations. It is our emotional state, no matter what our actions maybe, that influences the dog. Fear, phobia, socialization, genetics. Odin’s fear of the location where he was attacked is a logical, understandable fear. He had no inexplicable and illogical fear of the location beforehand. If he did, that would be a phobia. A bad thing happened there and he logically associates the location with the attack. If things continue to go well (and the attacking dog keeps away) Odin’s fear of that location may soon disappear. On the down side, one bad experience at that location may set him back and unravel some of the good that’s been achieved. Dog are interesting in what they associate with an aversive experience. A dog may be initially be leery of new situations. Notice I said leery not fearful. I think there is a difference. The dog’s temperament, previous socialization, and the experiences he has in the new situation can determine how the dog will eventually handle the situation. Temperament matters more than socialization, however. My example is the two pups my friend and I got from the same litter. Oscar’s temperament is bold and outgoing; he thinks every outing is an adventure and he’s never met a stranger. His sister is more timid and easily stressed outside her normal environment and might be termed noise phobic. Both pups were equally socialized. Some dogs are in between, which it seems Lok is. Tentative at first, but with good experiences, easily overcame his initial reaction to being in class. The positive experience the dog has is one of the fringe benefits of attending positive motivational classes. (Not to answer for Kristine, but I think “threshold” is the point where the fear has pushed the dog over his limit and he’s no longer thinking. Up to the threshold the dog may be frighten but still thinking. Beyond that point the dog is only reacting.) Genetics, of course, trump just about anything. Maybe I’m stubborn but I want to give the dog every opportunity to live his life as fear free as possible and I’m going to try just about anything to help this dog. It may be knowing when to give into the dog’s fears and not push him, but it also means arranging positive experiences and positive exposure to many new stimuli, behavior modification, and building trust. Trust in me that I will not let anything bad happen and even if it does, it’s not that bad. Once that trust is earned, I am the dog’s safe place. My dog Jill was a fear aggressive young dog – fearfully nipping people and dogs alike, scared to try any new physical feat (like wadding in the still water of a creek), generally scared of life (Jill is the aunt to SoloRiver’s Solo – isn’t there something about apples not dropping far from the tree? ). Genetics counted for Jill’s behavior but so did the lack of proper early socialization and her basic temperament. We were lucky that a year of intensive (and I do mean intensive) work helped Jill if not overcome then learn how to deal with many of her issues. We were able to enjoyably & successfully compete in flyball, agility and sheepdog trials. She was able to lose her fear of dogs (she loves those big males!) and learn to accept people petting her and (gasp!) actually hugging her. She sometimes even solicits petting from strangers. This is not to say things don’t bother her. An overly rambunctious dog will have her coming and sitting quietly beside me but she enjoys the dogs at dog parks too. Her trust in me is complete. On my soapbox now (sorry). I really don’t understand why any instructor would let a novice dog have a bad experience with a teeter (yes, I understand sometimes it can't be helped but prior planning and good technique can prevent most of it). A bad experience with the teeter can screw up the most solid dog. Sorry, that is just irresponsible instruction to me. Off my soapbox now… thanks for letting me vent. The beauty of dog training & canine behavior is that not one thing works for every dog and the science and our understanding of dogs continue to evolve. My motto: remember each dog is an individual, be opened minded, be thoughtful, “read” your dog, keep what works, drop what doesn’t and be your dog’s trustworthy partner.
  15. Carla, does Skye like to play tug or any other game? I found with my shy timid dog that using play was more successful than using treats. Jill is a big tug player and I would start the game when I saw her begin to get worried. Her leash has the teethmarks to prove it! (gotta love leather - 7 years later and still going strong!) . I used the leash since that was a tool I almost always had with me. The game distracted her but also, I believe, changed her emotional state toward what once bothered her. And we both had fun! Tug is a game you could use as you enter the building (which would make coming into the building a good experience for Skye) and when the noise of banging teeters starts to get to Skye. Distraction is a great training tool in many ways. About whether to flood or not to flood, I think that depends on your read of your dog. Each dog is a individual. Actually, instead of flooding, there is exposing the dog to the stimuli (good) and overly exposing the dog to the stimuli (bad). Jill originally didn't like gunshots but then we moved close to a rifle range where every weekend gunshots could be heard. I didn't make a big deal of it and soon neither did Jill. I think she's like the rest of us; none of us even notice the gunshots now. Try to keep your mood upbeat and the experience light and fun. Ignoring nervous behavior (and I don't mean being unaware of it) is certainly better than overreacting to it. How we react can aid or hurt. Keep us posted!
  16. I agree with Clarie24 - no corrections. I would toss a treat into the crate as the other dog passed by. This would do 2 things: distract Ruby from acting out and hopefully start to change Ruby's emotional state from aroused to accepting of a dog passing that close to her crate. I'd set this up but also have treats ready for when it just happens. Ruby's problem may be due to the tight space between the bed & the crate. Be sure to praise Ruby when she doesn't react to the passing dog and also when she settles down after a flair up. To me it's a good sign that she respected your quiet command - be sure to praise her then. I'm with Claire24 that between being crated in a new place and it being dark she was intially startled. Good luck!
  17. For the dog I have now it's stop the flank, turn in to the sheep and walk up. If I had a pushy dog it would be stop the flank, turn in to the sheep and stop.
  18. I was fortunate to have my last dog's end come in my car with my arms around her. I drove to the clinic, at 2 in the morning no less, and the vet came out, did the deed, then discreetly went back inside while I said goodbye and composed myself. Then she came back out and took the body inside. Later I picked up the ashes and paid the bill. I was lucky in many ways; there was no doubt it was time and the end came easily (RIP Jessie). Dogs are amazing in so many ways and one of them, at least to me, is how gracefully and accepting they age. They don’t seem to mind losing their hearing or their sight and seem to continue their puppy-like enjoyment of life until the end. Our burden is knowing when the time has come and being selfless enough to do what they need when they need it. It’s been my experience it’s seldom that they go quietly in their sleep and my one dog that did should have been helped a couple days earlier, for her sake (RIP Nifty). Losing a young dog is a whole different ball game (RIP Katie) ... Planning is good; dwelling on it robs us of enjoying their old age. I love old dogs (good thing – my 2 are pushing 12… ).
  19. I'm a big Ian Dunbar fan. Thanks for posting those links.
  20. OK... that got me... so typical of his writing (teary-eyed sitting here on the couch). Hee! One year during lambing a ewe was unable to deliver her one huge lamb - his one foreleg was folded back not letting him out. When I got there my first thought was "What would James Herriot do?" I have to say that did help and I was able to stick my hand up into the ewe to pull the leg forward and "Little Debbie", as my friends named him , was born. In the early 90s we were in the Yorkshire Dales. They were lovely, if wet. We were there 17 days and we had only 3 days that were totally dry. We didn't care though - beautiful countryside, friendly, warm people and fun pubs! Hey Nancy, can you make that reservation for two?
  21. I just rediscovered the wonder and delight of reading the stories written by James Herriot (pen name for Alf Wright). I read his books in the late 1970s & 80s and recommend them to anyone who loves animals, the Yorkshire Dales and the amusing autobiographical perils of being a young country vet.
  22. Yowlzers, Bob! Thanks for the great input.
  23. Thanks, Ooky, for the explanation on stem cell treatment. It's all very interesting and sounds so hopeful. Good luck with Odin!
  24. Jill says "you go boy! It's in the family!"
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