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Everything posted by Kayleegator

  1. Chiming in late on the discussion... I put my dog Kaylee on Prozac last summer. I've discussed her behaviors on this board in other posts: she's a compulsive shadow-chaser, compulsive to the point of fixating on shadows so hard she couldn't be pulled out of it, until she would just sit, staring, addled and drooling, even snapping a bit if I tried to pull her head away. Prozac has not affected her in any negative way. She still chases shadows or reflections, but not as much, and now I can call her out of it and distract her: she's not pixie-led to the point of catatonia. In general, she's a happy, still-hyper young BC. We're still working on her adolescent issues: this is not a behavior-fixing pill. She's just a lot more amenable to training than she was before. And boy, does she relish the little ritual of her morning 'cheese', a little ball of cheddar with the capsule included. I've had some people think I was joking when I told them she was on Prozac. Some insensitive types think it's funny that a dog is on a human psych medication, I guess. Now I just say she's on a prescription for her condition, if they notice it. And I'll post my warning again: don't EVER play with your BC with a laser light or flashlight! That's what triggered Kaylee's condition. Pair the BC visual acuity with the work ethic, throw in some lack-of-exercise frustration, and apply an impossible target: it's a recipe for disaster. I'm glad it wasn't me that did it to her, I'd be rotten with guilt.
  2. We're baaack... I haven't posted here for 5-6 months, and just want to check in. My Kaylee is now 20 months old, and a fine, sensitive, funny, busy, b/w girl. She's still quirky, but she's smart and loving and generally well-behaved now: we've survived the worst of her adolescence and are doing fine. I see there are a lot of darlin' new puppies on here, and they are all going to be little dickenses. You new BC owners, you are in the right place. I got so much good counsel from this list last year! Kaylee's most concerning quirk has been her shadow-chasing, which she developed when she was about six months old. Word to the wise: don't EVER play with your BC with laser light toys! BCs are so visually acute, it's just asking for trouble. Kaylee lost it with ONE session. She's obsessed with any kind of sparkle or moving shadow, and it got so bad I finally went to the vet for an assessment. She'd be so addled she'd stare for hours if I let her, or try to bite or dig at the wall or floor, or the deck outside. She's been on doggie Prozac now for about six months, and it has helped A LOT. She'll still fixate on shadows or sunbeams, but can easily be called out of it now. I've noted that she resorts to staring at shadows in very stimulating situations, i.e. when she's on leash around a lot of people: she needs to behave, but she needs to be busy: it's a self-comforting behavior. It helps that I am more accepting, too, less obsessed with her obsessing! She still goes into insane greetings of her favorite people, but gets over it within a minute or two. It amuses me to see how hard she tries, she really tries! to settle down when she's so frantically happy to see her friends. She's well-socialized with other dogs, and loves to outrun them. She's a very fast runner, and proud of it. She's fun to hike with. I've been letting her hike off-leash for months now: she's biddable, will recall right away if I ask it, no matter how interesting the woods are. Of course running water is SPARKLY, and she can get a little nutty about it. She can still obsess about swimming, too, but we've learned to manage that: we just walk on. But it's so important to rescue pieces of wood from drowning! They are just not SAFE, floating out there! Car-fixating is not an issue anymore. On leash, every time she began to slink and fixate on a moving car, I asked her to Sit. Over and over. It broke her concentration just enough. She doesn't ignore all cars at this point, but she doesn't fixate or try to lunge at them at all. Snow tires, now, they make a weird noise: I still make her Sit, and give her no opportunity to be off-leash around cars. We've pretty much stopped using her crate except for the rare time-out. She began to balk at bedtime after going straight to her crate on command for a year, to the point that she'd go hide. I thought about that, and decided to just try letting her sleep beside my bed on the liner from her crate. That's all she wanted. We no longer use the crate in the car: the parked car has 'become' a crate. She has never been destructive, never barks, never gets into groceries. I've noted with amusement that she's a great navigator. She recognizes the routes we take to friends' houses, to the dog park, to the closer trailheads, and will 'chuff' with approval if we're getting close to a favorite destination. Cats. We have three old-lady cats. They are still very interesting to Kaylee, who had a kitten to play with at her first home. She will 'escort' them all over the house if they leave their sleeping spots. Sometimes she'll give a little bounce at one, to see if she can get a hiss or a paw swipe, by way of entertainment. We have consistently and sternly told her NO CAT, and she knows very well that she shouldn't bother them. But they're SO interesting! They move, they react, and they 'play chess', watching and waiting for an opening, so they can cruise down the hall. We're still working on this. Play. We play a lot, indoors and out. Frisbee is big these days, although she wants more complex games than just returning the frisbee to have it thrown, i.e: I'll hold the stick out at shoulder level for her to leap for, and then throw the frisbee again. I need to be trained in some fancier tricks, huh! There's only one agility class offered in our area, in summer: hopefully we can get her in when it comes around again. One toy that she loves is a tetherball hung from a big tree branch. She'll tug the rope and shake the ball fiercely, ride the ball with a frisbee in her mouth, etc. This winter we are working on indoor tricks and games: will work for popcorn. The latest trick is "BANG!": she falls down and plays dead... charming! We both need more training, but we're doing much better.
  3. I second this! My town has no dog park, but it does have a youth ballfield that is used for an hour or two a day at the peak useage, and none at all most of the year. Because it is fenced and grassy, it's been a great place for Kaylee and me to work on recall and retrieval as well as just run around. Like with a human two-year-old, RUN HER BUNS OFF! (age-appropriately, of course) Remember to take drinking water for both of you. Those of us who are middle-aged, soft townies (raises hand) need to tell ourselves every week, every day, that we cannot overexercise our dogs. Walks, even long ones, are more for training/mental stimulation: they barely qualify as exercise for a dog. These BCs are creatures of motion, with hearing and keen vision attuned to movement. The more they run the happier they are. As your puppy grows, you will be astounded at how incredibly fast she can run. (I once met a BC named Flash: now I understand!) Do work on finding a safe place for your little girl to run off-leash, and go there frequently. My yard isn't huge, but I designed it with several island planting beds, so Kaylee's morning stretch involves zooming in and out and all around, and sometimes sailing over them. I'll add some agility toys, if I can find a local class: she's 16 months old now. I'm going to make time to go to the ballfield today, too! Run, Georgia, Run!
  4. My girl Kaylee playfights with one of our cats, copying the cat's paw swing. The cat doesn't enjoy it nearly as much as Kaylee does, but the claws never come out. Well, on a walk recently, we stopped to vist a shop owner we know. Kaylee was approached by the resident aging ShiTzu, a hairy little fellow named Bandit. At first she just ignored him. He was slightly persistent and nosy. Kaylee gave him a long look and then took a cat swing at him, as if to say, "Dude, you look like a CAT!" She's never done that to any other dog. And she smiled up at me, too!
  5. A friend of mine is wildy praising a new bestseller called 'The Story of Edgar Sawtelle', a story about a mute boy and his relationship with a special breed of highly intelligent dogs. The book is very highly praised from a literary standpoint, but a few of the Amazon reviews have been mixed. Has anyone read this yet? Would you recommend it?
  6. I've been gone for a few days and missed the start of this thread: what amazing invention and silliness! Kaylee is sometimes: Miss K, the Kayleegator, Smiley, The Termite, The Penguin, Tweaker, and Sweetie
  7. Thanks, everyone, for talking sense to me. I have a much better idea how to manage Kaylee in the water now: what a reasonable swim session is like, pacing, time-outs, toys and tools (life vest). What a great list this is!
  8. Thanks for your reply, Liz, that's helpful. I so appreciate the experience and expertise that this list provides! I'm very sorry about your poor girl: such a hard decision!
  9. OK, here's my girl Kaylee's latest trip... she's 14 months old now. We've been taking her camping lately. We have stayed in public campgrounds with the six-foot-leash rule, but have been able to choose places where she can either run free on the beach (wheee, wow! The speeeeding bullet!) or swim in the lake, to get those BC yayas out. We live near a river, which is usually too cold and fast for her taste, so she hasn't had a lot of swimming experience. But last weekend we were at a lake, where the swimming was fine for us all. It was probably the third time in her life that she'd been able to really swim, and she went for it. The Fetch game was taken VERY SERIOUSLY, to the point that Kaylee was trying to swim out into the middle of this big lake looking for a stick that sank, and her recall is so-so at the best of times. She eventually turned around, but I was stressin: she had been in the water for a long time, like two hours, swimming for most of that time, and I could tell she was really wound out and tired. We got her out of the water only when she could see another stick in my hand, and had to take her back to the campsite, as she wouldn't stop crying for more swimming. The car is the crate: she accepted that a long time ago, so was able to settle and rest, while I did, too. Obviously, we do need a toy that floats, instead of the unreliable stick supply, and I need to keep working on her recall. My husband has been trying to tell me diplomatically that for me to obsess over my dog's OCD is unhealthy, and irritating for him: there's a stress chain there. I'm doing the best that I can with the dog I've got. I'm actually learning to appreciate her shadow fixation as a sort of 'off' button: i.e. on her first canoe ride, she got bored or overwhelmed, I can't always tell, laid down in the bottom of the canoe and stared at shadows. Didn't rock the boat, anyway. At the rowdy campfire party, there was too much stimulation for her, and she laid down and stared at shadows from the fire (I did crate her after a while). She does this whenever she's in a group of people. Like an autistic child that retreats from the world, it's her coping mechanism. I have given up trying to engage her interest in such situations, although at home when it's just us, I still do try to distract her from obsessing. Was I over-reacting to be concerned about my dog swimming herself into an exhausted state? More suggestions for this team of psychos?
  10. Oh, dear, it was a grizzley, cleverly disguised as a green squash. That explains a lot! We'll keep our eyes (and noses) peeled: them grizzlies is clever beasts! Try showing Kylie what you look like with a T-Shirt over your head! BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!
  11. We don't have room for Kaylee's crate in our car for camping trips. Do you have a favorite pop-up, folding or tent-style crate to recommend that is reasonably sturdy? She only needs it for sleeping...
  12. ...bees, flies, shadows, bluejays, hummingbirds... and a PUMPKIN??? Kaylee's a busy girl these days, with so much to protect her yard from. I finally had to move the hummingbird feeders to the front yard, as the fiesty little things were having way too much fun taunting Kaylee, and she had worn a deep swale in the mulch on our paths with her running after them. But last night, she was barking ALARM! in the corner of the garden, and it was a green pumpkin that had appeared there, that DIDN'T BELONG and was SCARY. I petted the pumpkin and reassured her that it was harmless, but she is still doubtful about it... Silly goose!
  13. Kaylee's last name has evolved into Leaveit! Or sometimes Thatsenough! She manages to get called Kaylee NOCAT! at least once a day. I knew a guy who had a pretty, merle-spotted BC mix named Tanny. I asked him how Tanny got her name. He smiled and said that her full name was TanYerHideIfYouDon'tBehave!
  14. Hah! Gotcha, Patty! I did that on purpose... My husband makes a mean Dirty Martini. I just loved this image, because the olive is sooo BALL-like, and I know, if she could, Kaylee would chase it...
  15. Kaylee stopped pretty much by the time she was 7-8 months old. She'll still pee a bit in submissive display when she's meeting a big new dog at the dog park, but that's it. My vet suggested waiting until she was 7 months old to spay her, just to give her a bit more developmental time. Very rarely, there can be urinary complications from the spay.
  16. Well, it looks very much like this... from a print currently for sale on Ebay.
  17. My husband is an acupuncturist who has treated lots of sports injuries with great success. If this doesn't go away soon with resting the arm, a few acupuncture sessions can help. Just a suggestion!
  18. Hi, there! I've got a 13-month old BC named Kaylee who has been a shadow-chaser since she was about six months old. Somebody played with her with a laser light: one session is all it took to make her obsess. I began to work with her immediately, but seven months later, it's still an issue. I've been to wits' end and back with this, but this is what I've learned. This is an OCD, an obsessive-compulsive disorder, which in dogs is called "canine stereotypy". It is a neurological condition which has been linked to small seizures in the brain. You may not be able to train your dog out of doing this behavior without medical support. Here's an article that explains it well: http://doglinks.co.nz/problems/barry_place...0stereotypy.htm I took my dog to the vet for this, and she did a careful exam of Kaylee's eyes, then put her on a six-month run of good ol' Prozac. It's not a pill to prevent shadow-chasing, but it will make your Hailey less anxious/frustrated and more distractable from the OCD, so that you can then train her attention to other things, see Eileen's good suggestions. Watch your dog carefully to see if there are triggers in your environment that stress her out, or if she's really, really bored. What happens right before she starts staring? If nothing happens, it's because nothing is happening, and she needs something to happen. UP THE EXERCISE! Get her out of her usual environment every day, even if it's just a slow walk around the block, to sniff every bush. Run her buns off, make her run/play hard every day, if you can. Create challenges at home: hide things, play games, play ball down the stairs or down the hall (aka Collie Bowling). My vet has me feeding Kaylee every meal out of a Kong, a challenge for her busy head. PLAY TUG A LOT! Let her win: it's a frustration-buster. Socialize her: play dates with other dogs are great, Dog Park is great. She won't be chasing shadows if there are other dogs to chase. Bones are good, too. I keep them in the freezer. They keep Kaylee busy for a long time. I am betting she is an only dog: is that the case? (Mine is, too.) Can you consider another dog, who would fascinate her and bug her to play all day? Do your best to minimize the shadows (keep blinds drawn, etc.), do not yell at or punish her for the behavior, just do your very best to distract her with good things, food, toys, games, over and over and over. Teach her "Look at me!" and treat him or click him the second he makes eye contact. Do this a lot, it needs to be a strong command. It helps with all training, not just dealing with the OCD. The Prozac is helping us a lot. But now I have to figure out what to do: she is shadow-chasing to get my attention, so I'll play with her. I've noticed that she only does it now if somebody is watching, especially if there are guests in the house, and she's overexcited and wants attention. She's still psycho, but it's shifting, and she's a smart little minx... Keep checking in here with your progress. I'll help if I can, and there are others with lots of experience and good ideas that will be supportive. Good luck! She's still a good girl, she just can't help it.
  19. When I was nine, permission was granted for me to get a puppy. BUT FIRST, I was required to spend my whole summer vacation "working like a slave", doing house and yardwork without complaint, to demonstrate to my Mom that I was mature enough to care for a dog. Well, my birthday's at the end of August, so we went on down to the animal shelter, and there was a litter of b&w pups, and we were assured that they wouldn't grow up to be very big... and being the great-hearted girl that I was, I picked the little runt of the litter, and named her 'Lucky'. Lucky was mostly b/c, but had a bit of Spitz in her: curly tail and thicker coat, good for the Maine winters. I actually did do all the care for her, cleaning up after her, housebreaking, feeding and training her all by myself, with instruction from books. I was even allowed into the surgery when she was spayed, having earnestly explained that I wanted to be a vet when I grew up. I was tall for my age, I'm not sure they realized how old I was! I was absolutely fascinated by that glimpse of vivid, colorful innards, shiney and alive and full of purpose. Lucky was my heart dog. I have many, many memories of Lucky and me, tramping through field and forest, rousing woodchucks or squirrels or just generally playing. I confess, I do have an old photo of her baby self dressed up and bonneted, asleep on her back in a neighbor's doll carriage. Once, in an enthusiastic attempt at a backyard circus, I trained her on an 'agility course' made of old planks and wooden boxes, which she would dutifully walk, with no enjoyment at all. She was smart and funny, constant and stubborn, loved the snow and hated the mailman. I've wanted another b/w masked marauder ever since. And it turned out that my husband has had two bcs in his life, and wanted one, too. And in spite of all that, we didn't know what we were committing to, and are still learning.
  20. She never did either. I put her in a Down/Stay next to me, while my husband and I are eating, so she won't roam around, bother cats, beg, bark or otherwise distract us from our meal: good manners. This is a longstanding rule of the house, that she's been pushing lately. She knows what the expectation is, and I continue to reward her if she makes it through the meal without getting up. What she is doing is protecting my dinner table (her potential resource) from the cat by leaping up to chase the cat away, even if the cat is a good 15 feet away from the table. Enough already! At this point, the Stay is reinforced by the leash under my foot. She has never taken anything off a table, never growled at me, ever. So far the leash is not helping her to control her impulse re: keeping the cat at a distance from the table, although it restricts her movement once she tries. I'm looking for the right training tip here. Food bits from the table just reinforce her possessiveness. At this point, I have moved the final reward for a complete Stay from the table to the kitchen, giving her leave to get up after we are finished. 'Picking the battle' may be the way to go. Maybe if I put that chicken-head, Maow, outside before dinner we'd have some peace for a little while! Ruth, I appreciate you sharing your experience with Shonie. It sure sounds like familiar behavior to me. I have not instituted a Mat in my LR/DR area, aside from the space beside my dining chair, and I think it would be useful thing, if I can find the right spot: I'm also training the Sit/Stay when the doorbell rings, to prevent the teenaged dashes for freedom that she's tried twice now, or overenthusiastic greeting of guests, another of Kaylee's issues. A Mat with a really powerful BC Butt-Magnet in it would help sooo much! I have already been putting her Down/Stay on the mat by the kitchen sink when I'm loading her Kong. (Vet's orders: she's fed totally via Kong to provide a bit of a daily challenge). I finally realized (Duh!) that she's made a habit of patrolling the space to make sure that Maow is nowhere nearby. (Cat by itself = watchfulness. Cat + Me = High Alert. Cat + Me + Food = Serious Action Needs to Be Taken) I have also learned to put the Kong in the crate, to reinforce crate goodness, so she stops resisting bedtime, like a good teenager. I am learning, every week, how to read my dog a little better. Thanks for your input!
  21. No, no, Kaylee is not eating her food, I am eating mine: and I want her in a down/stay beside the table, behaving herself. She is apparently perceiving MY food as her resource: no cats allowed near. She's a teenager, challenging the rules. Kaylee is fed separately, at other times, via Kong.
  22. OK, here's the picture. For months now we've been training Kaylee to Down/Stay beside my chair for meals. I have rewarded good Stays with training treats or tastes of people food, at the end of the meal. For a while she was doing well at this, but for the last month or so, she's started breaking Stay when one of the three house cats walks by. And of course, one of the cats is a chicken addict, so if there is bird on the table, she will show up. We don't feed her from the table, but she's always hopeful. At first, we crated Kaylee for this, especially after repeated breaks and ignored commands. For the last few weeks, I've been putting her back on the leash during the meal, as though she were six months old instead of 13 months: now I think that might actually be making her more defensive, rather than less. I didn't get it at first, that she had started 'guarding the resource'. Shall I matter-of-factly just crate Kaylee during meals, or is there a work-around you can suggest? Crating the cats is not an option, although Kaylee would approve! Kaylee will bother the cats: fortunately they all have dog-proof havens. She stares them down, plays 'chess' to control corridors and food access paths, etc. She will sometimes get into a 'bat fight', where she playfully trades clawless air swipes with one (the same chicken-head), in particular. I interpose, interrupt and redirect whenever I can, but this is incessant. To some degree, I will let them work it out. The cats are no longer afraid of her, but can still be bothered into hissing a warning to get out of their faces. She has never hurt a cat, but will chase them outside, given the chance. They don't give her the chance, prefering the other side of the fence. FYI, for those that have advised in the past: Kaylee is slowly outgrowing her interest in moving cars. One has to be especially loud or sudden to even warrant a glance, although headlights will grab her attention. I redirect her to 'Sit!' the second she fixes, to interrupt the reaction, and that seems to be working. She's also been on Prozac for two months, and is gradually losing interest in her obsession with lights and shadows, learning, with lots of encouragement, to prefer other, normal doggie activities and toys. She's not out of the woods, but there has definately been progress there. I so wish I could take her to sheep, but that just is not an option for us. We have a working dog in a pet household, and are doing our best to adjust.
  23. Kaylee was a submissive pee-er as a pup, and my vet counseled me to wait until she was a full six months old to spay her, as he's seen a very few females develop some incontinence after spaying. He thought it was safer. That's about the age the peeing stopped, at least indoors, meeting people. Sometimes on meeting a new and big, nosy dog, she'll pee a little, still.
  24. Kaylee was doing this, and scraping the floor in front of the bowly with her nose, until this list alerted me that she was trying to BURY her food, to save it for later: she wasn't hungry then. I started picking up her bowl right away if she did that, and also, I cut her feeding down to once a day, instead of twice. Lately we've gone back to two feedings a day, but they are both given out of a big Kong toy, for the entertainment puzzle-solving value. Now she doesn't even HAVE a food bowl.
  25. What a cutie! We could take her on, in a bout of Zoomey + Bitey Face!
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