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About vickim

  • Birthday March 22

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  • Location
    North Central Michigan
  • Interests
    Horses, dogs, reading, quilting, latch-hooking, crocheting, cross-stitching, knitting, sewing, jigsaw puzzles

vickim's Achievements


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  1. Stormy is 6 months old. I have inadvertently taught her to ask to go out AFTER she potties on the floor. I should have anticipated that; I"m not an expert but I know enough about modifying behavior that this was going to be, for her, a logical reaction. She is making some improvement, mostly because I am taking her out about every 20 minutes (which is not conducive to me getting anything done around the house, but once she know that she is to potty outside and how to ask to go outside, that will get better). Still, there are times when I get distracted and end up cleaning up a mess. I do not punish her in any way, no rubbing her face in it, no scolding (unless I catch her squatting; a sharp no stops her and then we rush outside where she finishes after about 5 minutes of sniffing around). ,
  2. I've been trying to teach Stormy the words attached to the toys, i.e., ball, duck, rope, etc. I was not convinced that this was going anywhere, but I kept trying. Lasyt night, I asked her where her ball was and she took an uncertain step towards her ball that was right there in plain sight and then looked towards me--I gave her lots of praise. Then, when I asked her again, she went and retrieved it and brought it to me. TONS of praise, affection and a quick game of fetch. It gives me hope since housebreaking is going so slowly (she is making a little improvement, but it is so frustrating). I don't think she has the word 100% yet, but it's a start! I don't think I've been this pleased with someone else's success at learning since one of the student I tutored in writing got his first "A".
  3. I have inadvertently taught Stormy a behavior I do not want. In my quest for house training, whenever she had an accident in the house, I took her outside. Now, she will deliberately potty without even asking to go out {if she even knows how; not sure about this}, just so she can go outside--she LOVES going outside for any reason. I should have seen that coming. I'm taking the mental approach of starting all over and considering a doggy litter pan to her onto the right track. Any thoughts on this? I wanted to avoid paper training, since you essentially have to house train twice (also because she shreds any paper she can find). But the damage is done and I will use what works. Other than that, Stormy is doing really well! She is getting better as basics like sit and down, leave it it, drop it, her name, come, working on stay, working on not jumping up on people, working on sitting and waiting at the door for a release before charging out willy-nilly when it's time for a walk (and she has progressed to the point where she nearly always sits at the door when I open it; I just still have to physically restrain her before i release). She loves walks and our visitor dog (Stitch)is an awesome babysitter--she is willing to play with Stormy, burn off some of that energy, and puts up with a lot of puppy antics that would have me beside myself. While on walks, Stormy likes to plop down on her belly and wait for Stitch o catch up to us and pounce on her. Have I mentioned what an awesome dog Stitch is? I think I want to keep her just for the babysitter duties--she works cheaply! As always, any thoughts or suggestions on training are welcome and appreciated!
  4. They may not be built for pulling, but I bet your dog will do whatever you ask her (him?) to do.
  5. I had to let go of my Whisper this past summer. She was blind and partially paralyzed in her hind end. There was not a night that went by that she didn't somehow mess in the house. That whole last year she bumped into things and kept on going in her new shuffling gait that broke my heart. But she did not seem to be in any pain. The last month of her life, I was watching her carefully, because even though it was her nature to fight every step of the way, I thought I could see her begin to start failing faster and begin to lose her will to live. The last day she couldn't even stand up, though she tried so hard when I asked her to. And even though she was unable to make a sound (I never found out why she couldn't) that day, I could see her try to whine. She had given up, too tired to fight any longer. Your dog will tell you when it is time to let her go. Until then, help her adjust to her blindness, love her, and care for her. If there is any question at all in your mind, it probably isn't time to let go yet. That's JMHO.
  6. Last night I was working with Stormy, and all of a sudden, right after rewarding her for a behavior I wanted, she stopped, considered and if she could speak English she would have said "Oh, THAT'S what you want". It was like there was a switch in her brain that suddenly went into the on position. No one ever told me that there were on switches. Now I just have to figure out how to turn it on again.
  7. Stormy LOVES to jump, and I know better than to let her. Every once in awhile, she just took a blind leap off the top of the steps outside (I forgot to mention that she also knows the word "Outside" and it's the one thing she is 100% reliable on. I say the word outside and she goes to the door. Now we're working on her sitting patiently at the door and waiting for me to actually open it.). Keeping her on a short leash stops this, but I can't wait until she's old enough to do some agility. In the meantime, we have plenty to keep us busy with her basics. Last night she seemed to grasp the concept that if she brings me her ball after I toss it, I will toss it again and she can chase all over again. She was entertained with this activity for nearly three minutes last night, a lifetime in her puppy span of attention. And this morning, she all of sudden seemed to understand down for lay down (lie down? I have a degree in English, but I still confuse those two words). I've tried filling the Kong with peanut butter, but she doesn't seem interested. I"ll try cheese next, or better yet, meat, since she loves any meat product and, in fact, brought home a 'treat" while I was at work yesterday. Apparently one of the family was successful in hunting but not as successful at getting rid of the carcass appropriately as I asked. When DH let Stormy out for a potty break and lost her, guess where she went. When he found her, she was trotting home with a trophy, immensely proud of herself. I've laid down the law about where NOT to dispose of carcasses. I'm looking high and low for a training class nearby for Stormy and I, but the only thing I can find that is nearby is someone that will train your dog for you. I want someone to train me to train my dog. A place where not only can I learn how to train, but socialize her her with dogs and people. Even if I have to go one-on-one for training, I would do that. Anyone have any ideas? There are no listings in the yellow pages.
  8. I was also thinking playing with the food dish was not a good idea. I've also noticed that she does not play with the dish at all if I put the kibble on a plate (no glass; I don't use glass for feeding pets) and, in fact, she seems to prefer eating off a plate. I don't know if this is a good alternative or not, and certainly won't work with water, but until I get to the store this weekend and can get a larger bowl (I'm thinking she doesn't like a smaller bowl) it will do. The idea of a heavier one that she can't pick up is a great one! I will definitely have that in mind when I go to pick one. She will not touch the Kong I got her. I even got the one you could fill with tasty treats. Maybe it's too tough for her right now? I did find some somewhat softer spiny rubber-like balls that she enjoys and I look them over every day to make sure that nothing is coming off of them. She loves her squeaky toy. She has not tried tearing it apart, which means that so far she has not lost the toy (I don't know what the batting they stuff the toys would do to her digestive tract but I can't imagine that it would be anything good). She also loves to chew on bones, and to combat her food aggression, I will randomly pick a moment where I will walk up to her, say her name if she has not looked at me so I don't startle her, and then take the bone away for a minute or two. As long as she does not react badly, she will get it back quickly. Also to combat her food aggression, and for some extra one-on-one time, I hand-feed her one piece of kibble at a time. So far she has not offered any further food guarding behavior. Stormy also nips at heels. I don't know if this is an attempt to herd or just puppiness. Since I don't want her doing this I tell her no, and give her something appropriate to chew on (This procedure worked very well on the furniture; she mostly leaves the furniture alone now. I just nee to remind her a few times a week now instead of several times a day. The heels are taking longer).
  9. Last month, I brought Stormy home to live with my family and me. I posted pictures then, and I apologize for not updating this time around, but I will soon. Puppy raising is a lot of fun, and a lot of work. So far I've had no luck with house training. I got off to a great start--she was crated whenever everyone was out of the house and never messed in the crate. As soon as she came out of the crate, she was taken outside and she went potty outside. Then my husband decided she was big enough and left her out of her crate. As he is the last one to leave for work (and the one to let her out at lunch time), if he decided he is not going to do it, then it is just not going to happen (think brick walls). I let her sleep in bed with me at night and she usually hops down and pees on the floor at some point during the night. Now that I see the pattern, I know that I have to get up and take her outside when she hops down. If I catch her in the act and say "No", she will stop and we'll rush to the door and she'll finish outside. Not crating her is going to significantly delay her house training, I know, but my DH is NOT going to work with me on this (he's the type that believes that dogs should be free as possible and doesn't even put a collar on his own dog). All I can do is praise her when she does go outside and clean up when she does not make it outside. Stormy knows her name, knows the words "No" (though doesn't always listen if she is feeling full of vinegar), "Sit" (both verbal and hand sign; in fact, I think she does a bit better with hand sign than verbal though I have noted no hearing impairment--I just teach both verbal and hand just in case of future impairment), "Come" (though just can't come if there are too many distractions; we're working on this. I keep telling myself she is just a baby). She also knows "Leave It" and "Drop It", though is not reliable with it--for that matter, she is not 100% reliable on anything, but she is just 12 weeks old. She is a lot of fun--one of her funniest quirks is how she barks at her food dish. Doesn't matter if it's empty or full; she will bark at it. If it's empty, she barks at, pushes it around the room at breakneck speed, catches it in her mouth, and charges around the house until it flips over so that it is upside down. Then she can't catch in her mouth anymore, so she barks so more, and pushes it around even faster. If the food dish is full, she barks, play bows, hit the edge of the dish with her paw so that food goes everywhere and then meticulously eats each piece of kibble. Her favorite toy is the big dog's collar (did I mention how DH refuses to even a collar on his dog? Every time I put one on, he takes it off. Anyway, Stormy found the collar and LOVES it). She picks it up, shakes it and then tears around the house with it. The big dog (Zeus) hates this, as the collar as one tag on it and makes the collar jingle and he does not like a lot of noise. Stormy is very friendly with people and other dogs. It's hunting season, so right now the extended family from downstate comes up every weekend. Now that the dog ban is lifted, they bring their dogs. Stormy has done very well with all of them, and they have been very tolerant of her puppy antics (though a correction here and there does occur, and as long as the dogs aren't trying to kill each other, I let them settle their own differences. I just stand ready to intervene). One thing that does have me a bit concerned: Stormy appears to be a bit food aggressive. Zeus backs off the food in question most of the time if she wants it, unless it is high value, then he growls like he means business, and she does listen to him. One time she nipped me hard when I bent down to retrieve something she wanted (I forget what it was; something I was going to let her eat; I just wanted it in smaller pieces. I didn't even think about it: I tapped her on the nose hard enough to make her yip. Whether it hurt or she was just startled, I don't know. I didn't mean to tap her, I just reacted, but on the other hand, she has not offered such a behavior again. I'm trying to get her acclimated to food being taken away at unexpected times (My stepson's daughter is two and will being coming to visit at some point. And you know how kids can be. I don't want that child nipped), and Stormy has not offered so much as murmur against me. One behavior that she has offered that I did not teach at all; she just did it: when we are out walking and I stop, she will sit nearby me and then look up at me to see what it is that I want next. I wouldn't even know how to teach this, but I have praised her up for this. I do wish she would sit a bit closer to me. Feedback on anything I am doing right or wrong is welcomed--please be kind; this is my first time raising a puppy and it is as much a learning experience for me as it is for her.
  10. I have put all the shoes up to avoid chewed up footwear, but I couldn't resist snapping this picture. I think she has already learned some words! She appears to know Let's Go, Come and possibly her name, though not really sure on that one.
  11. She loves to go for walks and tries so hard to keep up with the "big dog" but is just too small for it right now. I've had her since Saturday and I think she is already bigger!
  12. As promised, here are pics of Stormy, my new puppy. I'm hoping she keeps the bi-color eye, but won't be surprised if the color changes.
  13. I found my new dog! I was pretty certain that I did not want a puppy and positive that I wanted another Border Collie. What I went home with was not only a puppy, but not really a Border Collie! Stormy is a blue merle Aussie cross (maybe with Border Collie, maybe not. When she is a little older and her features become more defined, it may be more obvious) with one greenish-brown eye and one bi-color eye that is blue and greenish-brown. She's 8 weeks old. I've never raised a dog from puppy-hood before and I am alternately thrilled and terrified, but consistently in love. Thrilled because I have another canine companion who is adorable and loving as only a pup can be. Terrified because what if I mess up and she's scarred for life? With Whisper (the sweet girl I had to say goodbye to a month or so ago) all I had to do is tell her not to do something and she didn't do it. Stormy is too little for that yet, so I have the frequent trips outside for potty breaks--and I don't get them all. Lot and lots of praise the times she does make it, and no feedback for when she doesn't make it. And the re-focus of the chewing behavior. "don't chew the chair leg, " i tell her, "chew this" and hand her an appropriate chew toy. And I take her on as many walks as I think she can manage. I've got grass that is taller than she is so I am watching that she gets tired, but not to the point of exhaustion. Anyone who wants to share puppy-training tips or even specific Aussie training trips (or horror stories and especially great stories of how awesome the breed is) would be greatly apprecaited. I will post pics of Stormy later this week. Vicki
  14. DH brought home a Pit Bill mix last week. We said goodbye to my sweet girl last month, and I lifted the dog ban (Whisper did not get along well with other dogs when she was 100%; when she became blind and partially disabled, I levied a ban on any other dog entering the house). The people next door to where his business is had to re-home their Pittie because of a city ordinance. I insisted on meeting the dog before it was brought home--mostly to meet the people who had the dog more than the dog itself. I belive in there being no bad dogs, just bad owners. I gave a stamp of approval--the dog was for DH, not for me. The dog is named Zeus, and is a five year old male. He is very friendly, seems to get along great with other dogs (though small animals seem to be for chasing) and. it was amazing to see, might have a talent as a tumor dog. We had a visitor yesterday that Zeus greeted and then started licking and licking a spot on the man's leg. As it turns out, the man as a skin cancer in that same spot. It wil be interesting to explore this. Zeus is attached to DH, and it made me realize how much I miss my girl to the point where I am now actively looking. I want another Border Collie and would prefer a female, though it is not mandatory. I don't want any puppies, but other than that age is of no concern. I'm checking out local shelters, but BCs seem to be hard to find. If you know of any, send me a note, please! I miss my girl, but I am ready to devote a lot of love to my next dog.
  15. Yesterday I had to take Whisper infor her last appointment at the vet. I did not want to, but she was no longer even able to stand, and when I tried to pick her up, she tried to cry but could not even whine. She refused all food and while she drank a bit, she was too tired to keep trying. I know it was the right thing to do, but it does not make it easier. The house is so empty without her. DH is all for getting another dog right away, but I refuse to consider it. Yes, I will get another senior female at some point, but not right now. Unless there is some needy dog out there that needs to be placed immediately...she won't be my sweet girl, but I can loe another dog.
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