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john landry

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    Manseau, Québec, Canada
  1. Lili is a tricolored 3-year old. Part of her coat is rough, very thick and wavy, especially her behind. The curls have spread in the last year. In all, it is a difficult coat to groom. To top it off, Lili loves swimming and fetching in the river that borders my property – she is wet from May to November! The problem: she becomes heavily matted no matter how often I brush her down (Ok, I admit to being guilty on this count). Last year, I had her groomed by a professional –it was very difficult for all involved since Lili is fear-aggressive. Grooming time is back again. DW suggested that I might try grooming Lili myself since she (DW and Lili) has total confidence in me. What do you think? And if I did go ahead with this… any tips? The “grooming” would be limited to clipping the most matted, tangled parts. john landry
  2. Attended a three-day clinic last month. Even though this man trains exclusively for stock work – and my dogs are not working dogs – he finally accepted to help me improve my training approach. We worked together with my two dogs every day in a fenced-in part of his property. After spending some time with me, the trainer would work his stock dogs in another part of his property but in full view of my dogs… (Yep, you probably can see it coming…). To make a long story short, the first time my nearly 3-year old Alice cast her eyes on the sheep, you could literally hear her whisper “OH wow!” When the trainer’s dogs were brought in to work the sheep, well Alice cranked up a few decibels – “Hey guys, let me in!”. The trainer had previously informed me that he would not let my dogs get a taste (metaphorically speaking!) of sheep since I had no intention of going in that direction – I totally agreed with him then and still do. BUT… the next day, the trainer made a single, huge mistake: he freed the sheep without checking if my dogs were leashed down. Alice was not! Alice spotted the sheep, jumped the fence, and with zest and glee, went “herding” on her own! We finally got her back to this side of the fence after a few, long, and admittedly satisfying minutes – for Alice and for myself! My ego was sinfully puffed up the size of Grand Canyon (although it has no merit at all in what Alice did – instinct). Seeing the Cheshire cat smile on my face (DW had a hard time hiding her own grin of satisfaction!) while calling Alice away from the sheep, the trainer grudgingly joined the party: “Yep, she has great instinct!”. Now, that does not change anything – I do not have sheep, will not have sheep, nobody around here has sheep… Yet, I believe that deep down, most of us who adopted non working Border Collies have wondered, more often than not, if our dogs had “the” instinct. To get a albeit very incomplete answer to the question is extremely satisfying (and very childish, I admit). john landry PS. Throughout the 3 days, my other dog, Lili, never even gave the sheep a second look.
  3. Hey thanks for all the replies. I enjoyed the candour with which most members responded. Your thoughtfull answers put training my canine friends in better perspective – “The Super Dog Trainer” doesn’t really exist! john landry
  4. I keep reading on the Boards and elsewhere that the human side of the man/dog equation is generally if not always accountable for any unwanted yet theoretically correctable behavior (faulty recall, pulling on the leash, etc.) that may exhibit our canine friends. Let me be clear about this: I wholeheartedly agree that the onus is always rightfully on the dog owner – me, you. If after several attempts, my dog still does not behave the way I want it to, then it’s my fault. OK, I buy into this. But… just sometimes… once in a while… after repeated attempts and some frustration (my own as well as my dog’s)…, I can’t help wondering: Is the dog never at fault? Are there dogs that just never reach a proper understanding of what is to be achieved, no fault of your own (at least no obvious one)? I have an otherwise perfect dog (Alice) but who for the sake of me just does not respond well to recall (by this I mean, she responds too late for my taste – I too often need to walk her down) if the environment contains some excitement. I have two Border Collies – Lili responds to a recall in near perfect fashion, not so with Alice although I’ve tried everything (I think). This thread is not meant to elicit suggestions as to how to get Alice to respond to recall commands – I’ve even attended a personalized three-day clinic on this. There are two questions I would enjoy some feedback on. 1) Have some of you, somewhere down the line, given up (more or less) on some issue (pulling, recall, attraction to cars, etc.) and have simply learned to live with the fact that it just will not happen, not in this lifetime. If so, how do you feel about this? Do you enjoy your dog any less so? Is it a big deal? 2) For those of you that have older dogs (3 years or more) that, younger, did have behavior issues: As your dog got older, did the problem behavior disappeared or at least abate somewhat? john landry
  5. After two years of hard work, my Lili is still slightly fear-aggressive albeit a lot less than when rescued. What has happened during those two years? She has trained me! She finally got me to understand that some situations bother her greatly and will for the rest of her life, that she really wants me to be the guy who will be responsible enough to avoid putting her in such situations, and if by accident, such situations become unavoidable, to know how to manage them. The long and short of my two years with Lili is that I now understand that I’m the one causing the problem, not she. After two years worth of bonding, I should know that reading her (tail wagging, etc) in such situations is not an option: Lili says: “whenever people approach, keep me on a very short leash. Please!” I only have to listen… and then she is very proud of me. john landry
  6. My neighbor is 93 years old and believe it or not, still takes care of his 52 year-old son – call him Harry - who suffers from trizomic mongolism. Well, one of my dogs, Alice, has a hard time staying on our side of the hedge any time Harry is out. Alice will bark anytime she believes that anyone is even thinking of maybe, eventually, some time in the next century, venture even an inch onto our property/her territory. Not so with Harry. When she is totally silent for more than a few minutes, I know Harry is out there, patting Alice, both of them with nirvana on their respective faces. The extent of Alice’s joy when with Harry is something to behold. I do not have a very extensive experience with dogs so I keep wondering what exactly they sense in Harry. If Harry could take care of Alice, I think I would leave Alice with him – she could not be happier. I think dogs know when someone is ego-free, has no interferring ego to protect - the way dogs are naturally. john landry
  7. WOW! So much information already! There's a lot in there that I was not really aware of. So thanks Kristine, for the info and the way of implementing the reframing. john landry
  8. We live on the outskirts of a small village. When going out with the dogs, within minutes, we are walking on dirt roads with, obviously, no sidewalk. When walking down these roads with my dogs on leash, one of them, Alice, will get aroused by any oncoming car (mostly panel trucks) – she will hear them long before I even get to see the car, shift into a “Border Collie stance” and keep advancing in such stance, totally concentrated and pulling somewhat, unless I stop walking (If I do stop walking, she will just lie down and “eye” the oncoming car.) If I keep on walking, Alice will maintain her posture until the car/truck is within a few feet from us and, while not really lunging, will move toward the car/truck. She does this whether its daytime or evening. Alice is 2½ years old and this has been going on nearly from the start. It’s no big deal (at least, we have never really considered it to be so) and we have learned to live with it. Still… it is irksome. Contributing to my confusion is the fact that bicycles and snowmobiles don’t bother her at all. To top is off, Alice does not behave this way when walking on sidewalks. A solution? While re-reading Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed, more specifically her description of “Reframing the picture”, I wondered if we might be able to modify Alice’s roadside behaviour this way, by reframing the picture: “A car is coming toward you. This must mean we are playing the Car in Your Face game! Hooray! Here’s your favourite treat! I love this game!” My spouse and I have been discussing the pros and cons of this approach – we do not want, out of ignorance, to aggravate Alice’s behaviour. I first thought of running toward the car – keeping on the side of the road! - making a loud, happy fuss about it and then treating Alice. Apart from my eventually getting in great shape doing this, would I be making things worse? I would enjoy any input into how I could implement this “Reframing the picture” principle in this context. Comments and suggestions please. john landry
  9. Like many other board members, I’ve been reading with great interest the “Signing Off” thread. The intensity of the exchanges has brought me to consider what I had gained – above and beyond a bagful of tricks and very useful training tips – from being a BC Boards member (albeit a rather recent one). Before joining the Boards, I was (still am?) one of those dumb human beings who decided they wanted a dog and without knowing much of anything about dogs, went out and got a Border Collie/BC/sheepdog/stockdog (I hope I’ve not offended anyone)! Dumb luck – We get along marvellously! AND THE MORE SO SINCE I JOINED THE BC BOARDS. So how have I benefited from all of you on the Boards? 1) Your sheer knowledge, experience and, sometimes, wisdom – Can’t buy those! The Boards have helped me understand the numerous training philosophies, none of which I had an inkling existed before joining. Thinking of ways of implementing these philosophies during training is helping me find my own way as a “dog owner who trains his dogs”. This has in turn contributed to my getting all the assistance I could get from knowledgeable people. 2) Realizing how problem free my dogs are! Or at least have become… I guess I wanted my dogs to be perfect and was often frustrated that they were not – from my point of view of course! Ego!. I finally understood how problem free they really are (from reading some of the Help! threads). How really disciplined they are. Realizing how beautiful (soul) creatures they are. (And how funny they really can be!). If my dogs are to be problem free, I need to TEACH them to be so. And teaching is mantra for so many Board members. 3) Awareness of the socio-political issues of animal rights. This gives context and substance to my having dogs. It is what convinced me of rescuing instead of getting another puppy. Had I known more, both my dogs would have been rescued. 4) Through your love of dogs…an increased awareness of the depth of feelings my fellow human beings are capable of. 5) Literature that has a direct link to my day to day life with Alice and Lili.. All things considered, that’s not bad for a few minutes of reading the threads everyday. Long Live BC BOARDS! john landry
  10. Hi, My experience with dogs (I have two BCs) is not really that impressive – slightly less than three years. Nevertheless, I feel the need to read something deeply different than the usual “teach your dog zillions of tricks” and the “step-by-step training” manuals. I’m looking for something more introspective, the (more or less) serious musings of an experienced owner/trainer/handler, his or her highs and lows, the soul-catching moments of living with dogs (preferably Border Collies). Any suggestions? Thanks, John Landry
  11. I finally got around to reading On Talking Terms with Dogs: Calming Signals (by Turid Rugaas). It is a short book, simply written yet very much to the point. After reading it, I was left with a strong desire to put my observation skills to work and most importantly, to use the calming signals to communicate with my dogs. I did not have to wait very long. One of my BCs has this really unmanageable hair – although we groom her frequently, she stills gets these dust carrying (and potentially, disease carrying) knots on her behind. Our land is bordered (no pun intended) on two sides by a small river. Lili just loves swimming, so she’s in the water all summer and therefore wet all the time. We towel-dry her as best we can, but it is never a perfect job. So this morning, I took her to the groomers who had no choice but to shave off a fair share of her behind (the hair that is). Lili is a rescued fear aggressive BC making stupendous progress but having her sensitive behind shaved and by a stranger to boot, brought her fear-induced aggressiveness to the forefront. This is where Turid Rugaas comes into the story. Once on the grooming table, Lili started shooting all those calming signals (especially licking her nose furiously; she had a muzzle on, so she could not really yawn). She was making all these calming signals and I UNDERSTOOD! I started yawning like the sandman and licking my lips like a porn star. SHE UNDERSTOOD! No kidding, she calmed down to the extent that the grooming was over with before we knew it. I was proud of her! And talk about bonding! Three cheers for Turid Rugaas! John
  12. Thanks for the information! Went out this morning to buy stuff for the garden and came this close to buying a new product on sale... Guess what it was! Didn't buy it - too expensive. But I was tempted... chocolat LOL!!! John
  13. WOW! Intense! Sharing my life with a dog is quite new to me – I had never owned one until my retirement two years ago when I moved from Montréal to the country. I’m well over sixty and my two BCs became “the rest of my life” project. What a conscience awakening encounter! Never did I expect the depth and intensity that I awake to every morning and that carry through to the next day. I now fully comprehend the potential impact of zootherapy. The relationship with Alice and Lili grows every day and I get to acknowledge sides of me I had not suspected existed. My dogs are not quite two yet, so the probabilities that they will "retire" (the FINAL retirement) along with me are rather high. Their “taking on age” is a measure of my getting older and older. Yet, every new day is pure, undiluted pleasure – even when my inability to communicate perfectly with them frustrates me no end. But then, I have the rest of my life to reach them. John
  14. For 1sheepdoggal, Thanks for the advice. Will try. John
  15. My two BCs are not stockdogs (yet?). We will attend (as spectators only) herding trials (in Ontario) for the very first time this summer. Aside from the sheer esthetics of herding (as seen on some DVDs), I know absolutely nothing, nothing of the strategies and tactics involved and just about nothing of the vocabulary employed. In short, any suggestions on what I should be reading in order to become a knowledgeable spectator? John
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