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Everything posted by Ninso

  1. This is a REALLY common issue! Here is a great blog post by a friend of mine with several ideas. She's a service dog trainer and obedience competitor so she has a ton of experience with teaching a hold:
  2. That was adorable! He looks like he's having so much fun!
  3. My blind dog did a couple of nosework classes! I practiced at home with all three dogs and they all adored it! It's a lot of fun!
  4. C Crocker, check out the Pet Insurance University link in the first post which gives reviews, comparisons, and links to several different companies. They are not all the same--not even close. I think Embrace does have age limits to enroll, but others don't. Hopefully you can find something that works for you!
  5. My dog developed separation anxiety and started being destructive around the age of 3.5 to 4, but there was a medical cause for it. He has PRA and is now blind, and the anxiety started around the time his sight started to get really bad. He could previously be left loose in the house for any amount of time with no problems. Now I have to crate him. And for awhile he was even chewing up his plastic crate pans out of anxiety, but now that he is on Prozac that has stopped. He still has to be crated, and he barks out of anxiety and digs at his crate sometimes, but the destruction has stopped. He also developed noise phobias around the same, which would lead to the same types of behaviors. I hope for both your sakes there is an external cause or it was just a momentary phase!
  6. He is quite the looker! Reminds me of my Lok. Congrats to both of you!
  7. What a pretty girl, and wonderful dog! Sorry for your loss!
  8. Rollzuki, My reactive dog never stares/stalks in any other context either. Unfortunately I cannot really use a verbal "leave it" with her as she is deaf, but I have been working on an attention cue that I can use when she's not looking at me (two taps on her butt with a finger). Like anything, it takes time and if she is over threshold she will not respond. It has to be built up in gradually more challenging situations. It sounds like you've only had this dog a few months? For some perspective, I've been working hard on these issues with Jun since January (I've had her for 3 years, but unfortunately the issues are somewhat new) and have made some progress, but still have a long ways to go. We still have setbacks on a regular basis And sometimes it takes a few tries to find the best approach for a particular dog. I have a cattle dog who is also reactive in different ways and for different reasons and I work these two dogs in completely different ways! I really think you might benefit from LAT (Look at That). To simplify, start out in a below-threshold situation with the trigger far enough away that she won't go into a stalk/stare. When she looks at the trigger, even momentarily, click the look. You want to click right away, vs. letting her look for awhile. A clicker-savvy dog who is not over threshold will look back to you for the treat/reward. Do this until she is consciously offering the look at the trigger, and then gradually increase the difficulty level, trying always to stay under threshold. I believe the CU book puts the look on cue, but I never have. I like it to be automatic--look at a trigger and look back at me. What you are essentially doing is "re-framing" the trigger from something to be stared at/reacted to into something that can be looked at, but doesn't need to be obsessed about. I have had GREAT success using this method with my Cattle Dog. With my Border Collie I do auto-watches--similar, but the look back at me is emphasized over the look at the trigger. In practice, there is almost no difference, and the only reason I don't use LAT is because of the inability to use an audible marker with her. You may want to check out a couple blog posts: Patricia McConnell recently did a reactive dog case study on her blog, on a dog who sounds similar to yours. A trainer friend of mine with a reactive dog blog has done a great job explaining LAT and Auto Watches in this post. She also has several posts on impulse control games, and a lot of other great reactive dog content. And one of the best dog training blogs around is Reactive Champion, which tells the story of the writer's highly reactive dog and their journey together, in addition to doing GREAT write-ups on the many training seminars the author attends! It's the next best thing to being there! Best of luck! It sounds like your dog is in great hands!
  9. The book Control Unleashed has a lot of good impulse control games. I would probably work a "leave-it" in gradually more challenging situations. You might also think about teaching an auto-watch or doing some LAT in addition to doing BAT. I have a deaf border collie that is fear-aggressive with people and she would stare before reacting. It was very difficult to break her out of the stare, as anything I would do would set her off. We just had to keep it under threshold and teach her that looking to me anytime she saw a scary person got rewarded. We are still in the early stages, but her look-away and back to me is getting pretty strong and it is really helping to cut off the stare if I keep her appropriately below threshold. We are doing BAT too and it's really helping her. With reactivity issues, you may want to re-think using the toy. Toy play increases arousal and can actually be counterproductive if you are trying to teach the dog to be calm and control her impulses around scary stimuli.
  10. Wow! I just read through this thread. I'm sorry for what you and Lacee have been through the past several days! I completely understand the rollercoaster emotions, having gone through something similar with my dog last week. Best wishes for continued healing and recovery for Lacee!
  11. This is a public service announcement . . . With three dogs, I had looked into pet health insurance before and it never seemed to be worth it. It seemed like it cost too much and covered too little. All the people I had talked to seemed to think the same. I figured my dogs were pretty healthy and I had some money saved, and the money I would pay in premiums for three dogs would be better off in my savings account. Then last week I almost lost my dog Lok after a (simple) obstruction surgery which led to a major infection, 4 nights in the ICU, a second surgery, a bunch of meds . . . needless to say, the bill was quite painful. I found out after the fact that there actually ARE some pretty good health insurance options available for pets, and I just wanted to post a link a friend sent me so that others can avoid my mistake! You never know when your healthy dog is going to go blind, get epilepsy, get liver damage, almost die from a simple surgery, etc (yes, that is all one dog, and in less than 4 years). So here is the link: Pet Insurance University I found what I was looking for with Embrace, and though Lok has lots of pre-existing conditions, anything new will be covered, and my other two healthy dogs are totally covered. I can't believe I had no idea this was out there!
  12. I felt the same way before I added my second, and it truly does change your relationship with the first, though not necessarily in a bad way. I think my first dog would have been perfectly happy being an only dog for life, and is not necessarily thrilled to share with two other, but he has adjusted and is fine. I really liked having just one, and wasn't looking to add, but they came along and seemed meant to be part of my family. I have heard people talk about a "heart dog" but all three of mine are equally special to me. They are all so different and add to my life in different ways. I can't imagine being without any of them.
  13. I would consider my dogs pretty obedient and I personally don't chatter to them much. Usually when I do, it is something relevant to them "ok dogs, we are going to do training first and then go to the park." I really don't know if it makes a difference or not. I do work on some type of training with them nearly every day, and I am guessing that makes more of a difference than anything in building a relationship and making them WANT to listen for things that pertain to them.
  14. I've never had an old dog. My oldest is currently 5. But I do have a blind dog, and I wouldn't let the visual impairment worry you. Most can never tell that my guy is blind, he gets around so well. He doesn't run into things unless I move things around on him. He learns a new environment the first time he is there and remembers it every time we go back. He does need a little extra patience in unfamiliar places and guiding around obstacles. I imagine with one functional eye, Sasha would need a lot less of that type of special treatment.
  15. You may get more replies if you post this in "general border collie discussion." I have a dog with separation anxiety. (I'm not sure if your dog's fear is linked to you being gone or just being alone when scary noises happen). When I leave him loose when I am home, he will destroy the house. When I started crating him, he was ok for awhile, then he began licking his paws raw and chewing up his crate pans (I went through 5 or six of them). He will bark and drool and the floor around him will be covered in spit. He would hurt his gums sometimes. There was nothing I could really do as far as behavior modification--my work schedule isn't flexible enough to gradually build up the duration of time I was away from him. I ended up talking to my vet and getting him on Prozac. It has really helped a lot. He no longer chews up his crate and the licking and drooling has stopped. He still barks in his crate for awhile and if I leave him loose by himself he will destroy things, but in his crate at least the destructive behavior has stopped. It's about the best I can do without taking him with me everywhere I go, and unfortunately that's not an option for me. You may want to check out some noise desensitization protocols or separation anxiety protocols and/or talk to a vet about medication. In the mean time, try the thundershirt (an anxiety wrap). His issues may be too severe for it to help, but it has worked miracles for lots of dogs and really helps my other dog with anxiety issues.
  16. A firmer voice is not going to do anything for you next time a biker "comes out of the blue." You need to take a structured approach to training in this situation or not let the dog off leash. You wouldn't let a car chaser off leash on a road where you didn't think a car was going to come by. If you thought wrong, you end up with a dead dog. In the situation of bikes or joggers, if you guess wrong you could still end up with a dead dog, or an injured dog, or an injured person, or a lawsuit. Definitely look into some of the solutions that have been proposed in this thread, make a training plan, and make sure he is solid before he is allowed off leash in an unfenced area.
  17. Keeping him focused on you with the frisbee is good, but doesn't do much for you when there is no frisbee around and a bike goes by. I have a car/bike/jogger/everything chaser. With him, it has just been a matter of teaching him an alternate way to respond to these stimuli and teaching him some impulse control. I have used the "Look at That" game that has been referenced earlier in this thread and had great results with it. We started at a distance he could control himself at and gradually got closer, but once he understood the game things moved very quickly. He is about 95% reliable now when on leash. I still would not trust him off leash, but we have not practiced much in that situation.
  18. Too cute! I love the pic on her back with all 4 legs straight up in the air!
  19. My 5 year old dog was not afraid of anything until he turned 4. Then he became thunderphobic (and developed separation anxiety as well). He'd keep me up at night during a storm, walking all over me in bed and was inconsolable. I highly recommend the thundershirt! I've had great success with it! It would probably be a good idea to do some counter-conditioning during storms as well--yummy treats every time there is a thunderclap.
  20. Have you tried confining him to an area other than his crate when he needs to be confined? My 3yo female is restless in a crate and will "scream" as you describe it, and bite at the bars. As with your dog, there are certain situations where she is totally fine in a crate (e.g., in a parked car, but not a moving car). Again, as with you, I have tried everything to stop it. It all worked for a little bit--every new strategy seemed to change the picture for her enough that the behavior stopped for a bit, but it would always start back up again. The only thing that has worked pretty much completely is when I started confining her to the bathroom instead of her crate. She is a lot happier with this arrangement. As a couple of other people have mentioned, we finally saw a vet behaviorist for this as well as some more serious anxiety issues and she recently started anxiety meds as well. Good luck and I hope you find a solution! I know how nerve-wracking the constant barking can be!
  21. My cattle dog more or less did this naturally. He "bounces" a lot and also loves to be held and cuddled! It didn't take too much encouragement to get him to bounce next to me. Then I just caught him. It is now his favorite trick and, as you mention, it is a very handy reinforcer when I don't have treats or toys on me. My other dog learned the same way as the previous posters, but she hates being held, so to this day she is hesitant to do it and sometimes "grumbles" when I catch her. I stopped asking her to do it. I figured, she doesn't like it and there is no NEED for her to do it. My third dog hates being held even more (not to mention is not a very agile jumper) and we never even accomplished the "jump on my lap while sitting down" piece. He prefers to get his love with all 4 feet on the floor, and that's fine with me.
  22. I can't recommend Boomerang CollarTags enough! They slide onto the collar, so no jingling and the engraving looks the same three years in as it did they day they came in the mail! Definitely worth the price. I did have one get bent somehow and fall off the collar (very unlikely, as they are heavy duty) and they stood by their guarantee and sent me a replacement for free.
  23. Cheap and healthy: buy a family pack of chicken legs, bake them, then strip the meat and cut into tiny pieces. I will make about 6 legs at a time, divide the chicken into several zip-lock bags and freeze them.
  24. Just to answer your one question about tugging (as you've gotten so much great advice already and I won't bother repeating any of it) . . . YES! Let her win! Almost every time! My dogs are disc dogs and tugging is a huge part of our training. Letting her win will build her drive for the game, thus increasing her attention span and resulting in longer play and more vigorous tugging, wearing her out more. In addition, tug can be an awesome way to teach self control, in addition to the other strategies you're using. Wait for any calm behavior (sit, down, standing nicely and giving eye contact or even a nice controlled hand target), mark it and reward with a tug. Let her win, get it back from her, and repeat. My dogs will automatically offer me calm if I have a tug because they know that gets them the reward being allowed to play with it. They are allowed to be pretty wild while tugging, but they must not grab the toy without permission (I use "get it") and their teeth must not touch my skin. Either results in stopping the game. I also want to say that I have been really impressed with your dedication and thoughtful analysis. Sunny is very lucky to have you!
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