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Everything posted by gcv-border

  1. I agree with another responder that the rescue should work FOR the dog first - not to make the adopter happy. Case in point: I found a hunting hound wandering our property last December. She was skinny, there was snow on the ground and into the teens at night. When I asked around, my neighbors said that they had seen her around for a week or so. I took her in and was able to place her with a local no-kill rescue after 3 weeks when an opening became available. (I was not in the position to add a 3rd dog and unfortunately, my male dog attacked her once - and I did not feel like dealing with that issue. Also, I did not think it fair to this extremely submissive dog to have to be in the company of my male while I dealt with behavior modification for his behavior - which may or may not have worked.) After a few months, the rescue placed her. Yay! Unfortunately the placement did not work out - the rescue required the adopter to return the dog! And once I heard the story, I probably have to agree with the rescue. They have a strict home visit policy before and AFTER the adoption. When they visited the home 2 weeks AFTER adoption, the dog had lost weight and her demeanor had changed - and not for the better. The rescue worker confessed she had to think about it overnight and realized that this was not the best situation for the DOG. Apparently, the dog ran! to the van when she was picked up from her adopted home. The adopter was not pleased since she did not return the medical records. (which is why I learned the story since they called me up to find out if I still had her medical records since I had her vetted.) I applaud the rescuers who have to deal with all sorts of situations and human foibles. They have to make their best call - and hopefully that call will be in the best interests of the dog, not just the adopter. Jovi
  2. Excellent. I have heard of her blog, but never found the time to look it up. I have it bookmarked now for easy access. Thanks for the heads-up. Jovi
  3. It would be great to win the lottery - a big one ! - and build a dream dog facility. One which offers opportunities for year-round obedience training, agility training and trialing and run-throughs, tracking lessons and herding lessons (obviously need a decent amount of land). Also have excellent staff and instructors and offer workshops with well-known out-of-area trainers. And have a dog supply shop - quality food, leashes, collars, etc.) And maybe add in a rehab facility with a swimming tank. Even though I don't think that my area could support such an elaborate facility. Anything else that needs to be included? Although not realistic, I was inspired to dream after reading about lying on the beach with a college-age boy toy. Jovi
  4. If this topic is not appropriate for the category, feel free to move it. I wasn't sure whether to post here or under "Rescue Resources and Dogs" For those who foster routinely, what advice can you give for someone who is interested in fostering? I know that the advice/answers will depend on the individual fosterer's abilities and facilities, but I would be interested in personal experience and general advice. For example, Extra supplies needed? - crates, toys, etc Facilities? - extra rooms!?, fenced runs or yards How to become associated with a rescue (mainly to be able to spread the word as widely as possible to get the foster a great home) What are the qualities that are associated with someone who is able to successfully foster dogs? The good and the bad of fostering dogs. I am sure I have left out some topics so feel free to comment. My approach would be to treat the dog as my own for the period of time it was in residence -- i.e. same food, training, interaction, vet care, socialization, etc. with the understanding that each dog has individual needs. Is this naive? Thank you in advance for the input. Jovi
  5. I think the previous posts have covered all the main points -- and have done it very well. As a small addition to the issue about home insurance and rottweilers, pits, GSDs, etc., I have definitely heard of that before. Heck even large dogs can sometimes raise the antennas of the insurance companies. When I moved to NJ with my 60 lb BC X lab, the insurance company really grilled me on the dog - personality and breed. By extension, I just ran into another issue. My husband and I and 2 dogs (one BC and one sheltie X) are spending a week at a private rental cabin next month. When making the reservation, I was asked the breed of my two dogs. The cabin's owners' insurance policy will not allow them to "rent to" pits or rotts. So, if you plan on taking vacations with a Rottie, you may have to carefully investigate where you go and stay. Jovi
  6. I just finished reading the "kennel woes" topic and can certainly sympathize. I find my dogs do OK at the current kennel I use (much, much better than the previous kennel). On the flip side, I have convinced hubby to bring the 2 dogs with us on a 6-7 day vacation this year. I am sure there are places that allow pets and have reasonable rules for bringing pets, but trying to find a place has been an education. We wanted to go to the NC coast. About 15 years ago, we went for a week with one dog and had no problem with renting. Now you almost have to sign away your first-born to afford the "pet friendly" rates. I understand that the owners of the vacation rentals most likely have had bad experiences with renters bringing dogs - which makes it so much harder for those of us who believe we are responsible dog owners (dogs do not destroy the house/furniture, crates are used, dogs do not sleep on furniture or beds (at least not in someone else's house), we pick up dog poop, dogs are leashed outside, etc.) Like I said, it has been an education. "Pet-friendly" rentals should be renamed "Pets allowed" since they are not really pet-friendly. Here are some of the restrictions: Only one pet Pet may not be more than 50 lbs Pet not allowed in the house Pet fee of $150 or $200 or $300 per week per pet !!! OMG! Anyway, we have decided to rent a log cabin in WV for a week. Still with a few pet restrictions, but at least they are reasonable. Jovi
  7. I definitely agree with finding a specialist. I have a similar story: After a little bit of off again-on again limping (for a period of less than a week) and a negative TBD test (to rule out joint issues due to tick disease), my regular vet took X-rays of both rear and front. Based on his diagnosis, Torque had OCD in BOTH the right rear hip and left front shoulder joints. His "treatment" suggestion was for two surgeries with each surgery followed by a 4-6 month rehab period. The total cost was going to be in the neighborhood of $3500-$4000. The cost was hurtful, but what really bothered me was the time required for rehab - up to a year !! I thought arthroscopic surgery should be less invasive and called around to find a specialist who could perform arthroscopic surgery. An over-the-phone initial consultation with his vet tech indicated that they could perform both surgeries the same day and that the rehab shouldn't be much longer than 3-4 months. Way to go !! But the story gets better. When I brought Torque in for a hands-on consultation with the specialist vet, he watched his gait, manipulated his joints and took his own set of Xrays (gotta love those digital X-rays). His diagnosis - a strained ileopsoas (groin) muscle that only required a specific set of exercises once a day for a couple of months and no crazy calisthenics (jumping, toy-catching, agility training, etc.) for a few months. Total cost: $400 plus one day of my time (8 hour round trip). Jovi
  8. Is "sit like a bunny" the same as "sit up" i.e. butt on ground and front legs off the ground in a begging position? If so, Torque did not really learn to "sit pretty" (the phrase I used) until he was about 2. When he was younger, I tried to teach him, but (a) he didn't seem to have the back strength since he kept flopping off to the side and ( he would get so excited about whatever treat or toy I was using that he just couldn't concentrate enough to do a controlled exercise. So after trying 4 or 5 different times over a period of a month, I decided to go on to other skills and come back to the "sit pretty" later. Once he hit about 2 years old, he had the strength and the mental control to pick it up pretty fast. Back strengthening exercises: backing up and ladder work. Or put a tracking harness on the dog and apply a slight backward pressure so that they are having to engage their back legs -- for both flat work and going uphill. A real power move (advanced): once your dog is "sitting pretty", get them to elevate and stretch for a treat or toy (without the front legs touching the ground). I wouldn't do this until your dog is fully grown and muscled. I do believe that "sitting pretty" really helps strengthen the spine. Growing up, my family had a couple of dachsunds and my mother always taught them to "sit up" (her term"). And since we occasionally threw treats from the dinner table to the dog (Hey guys, this was in the 60's and 70's), the dog learned to beg --- i.e. he would "sit up" by the dinner table for 5-10 minutes at a time. Quite a feat for a dachsund!! Of the 3 dachsunds we had, we never had a single back issue. Either we were very lucky, or the "sit up" exercise helped strengthen their back. Jovi
  9. I do not have personal experience dealing with a dog with true OCD, but I think that OCD may be a catch-all term for a fixation behavior that may range from slightly annoying (a behavior quirk or pattern) to very serious. The dog may just be bored and trying to find something to keep its interest. From what I have read, if a dog is both mentally and physically challenged, many of the OCD behaviors diminish. How much exercise and training does the dog currently experience? Or is it left to its own devices? I am sure you will get much good advice from this forum, but also try to find a dog behaviorist to consult. Best of Luck, Jovi
  10. I will agree with the others that have said that "at her age, give her whatever she wants". -- but within reason of course. I believe that a quality kibble SHOULD provide complete nutrition. I routinely add a couple of tablespoons of canned to my dogs' meals (ages 3 and 10) plus a bit of water, then mix to make a gravy. I also agree that if you want to cook up some human food as a topper, go with it. I just found a website www.dogfoodadvisor.com that assesses the quality of dog food based on the quality of ingredients. It is an interesting read, and it is nice to have all that info collected in one place. You can make your own judgements after reading it. A quick note about feeding cats (sorry to get off topic): There has been recent research that feeding only dry cat kibble is leading to earlier expression of diabetes and other chronic diseases. And a higher incidence of kidney disease, another common feline problem, is also thought to be linked to dry kibble and the propensity of cats to not drink enough water. My vet has suggested feeding more canned food to increase fluid intake and to reduce the amount of corn/corn meal ingested in dry kibble. I think he has finally come around to my way of thinking after 3 years --- 3 years ago when my 17 year old cat was diagnosed with renal failure, my vet sold me a kidney prescription diet of kibble. I bought it, then read the label when I got home. eeuww! I tossed it out and fed another brand that was higher in meat content and without corn, wheat or soy. My cat lived another 2.5+ years after having been given an estimated life expectancy of 3-5 months by my vet. Jovi
  11. I will be interested in any suggestions too. Even though I am training for running contacts - after doing the 2o2o contacts - I am always interested in training techniques since I want to expand my understanding of a variety of techniques. You never know when one may apply to a particular situation. Perhaps because of my inexperience with training agility (I am training my first dog), I am still not clear as to how to and when to train handler focus vs. obstacle focus. Jovi
  12. THANK YOU everyone for your suggestions. Alaska, I did not know that Sylvia Trckman had a new website. I will certainly check it out. Also -- I definitely need to read through any instructions more carefully and then, go back and read them again - and again. When I read them through the first time, it sounded so simple. I think it is, but as another trainer has said "It is simple, but it is not easy." So true. I started using a tossed reward to focus forward - or so I thought. Also, I saw a Daisy Peel video where she was tossing the reward, and supposedly she was using the ST method. I will start again and this time use the methods of the master. Jovi
  13. I am stymied by the timing of throwing the treat/toy forward -- in that, he is so fast that if I throw it forward before he looks at me (he starts looking at me about 1/2 way over a 12 foot board), he gets so revved to get the treat/toy that he then springs forward without touching the rest of the board. So I end up treating him when he jumps. (Torque is very good at having his own 'private party'.) I REALLY like the idea of a bait bag or similar. I can put it out there or throw it, but unless he strides through the yellow zone, he doesn't get his reward. I will also reinforce with a click. A little more work on my part, but I need to run more too. ;^) Thanks, Jovi
  14. I am considering purchasing a Manners Minder to help train running contacts in agility. The reason I am thinking about using a Manners Minder is because it is a remote reinforcement system. I am trying to use the Sylvia Trckman technique for training running contacts, and Torque drives through the running contact nicely as long as I am waiting in front of the contact to reward him. Once I begin to move towards the side or slightly behind him (because I want him to continue to drive ahead of me off of the contact), he turns his head to focus on me because he is waiting for his treat (food or thrown toy). He tends to make more mistakes when he is not focused forward - not surprisingly. I was thinking that a remote reinforcement system like the Manners Minder might help him keep driving forward off the contact. (Actually, another person would be helpful too, but that is not in the cards.) Does anyone have experience with using the Manners Minder? Pros and cons. Can you use your own kibble or do you have to buy special kibble from the manufacturer? I am also open to ideas as to how to keep Torque's attention focused forward when doing running contacts. Jovi Larson
  15. I like the looks of this tug toy for general tugging. It looks to be durable too. How much does it stretch? Torque likes to "fly". When I am playing tug with him, I say "Wanna fly? Wanna fly?" and then will use both hands to pick him up while he clamps down on the tug hard! and twirl him around a few feet. I think he likes it - at least he keeps the tug in his mouth & still wants to tug after he flies! I need a non-stretchable tug for this. (Please note: Torque is probably never more than 6-12 inches off the ground since I am not that tall, nor that strong.) Jovi
  16. Dogs can get so excited about tug games, but I feel that they have to be taught proper "tug manners". I do agility and a lot of agility people play tug as a way to interact with their dogs more closely than tossing a toy or even giving treats. A couple of trainers have emphasized to me the importance of teaching tug manners. First - the dog should never put his teeth on your hand when you present the tug (they need to control their excitement) and Second: the dog should "drop it" -- you should not have to forcibly pull the tug out of their mouth. I generally use a fleece tug toy, BUT I only tug with it. After tugging games, it gets put away. Torque is not allowed to have a "private party" with his fleece tug. (He grasps the fleece tug between his front feet and proceeds to rip it apart systematically.) I learned the hard way after he passed pink and purple bits of fleece in his feces. Jovi
  17. Yep, that was somewhat similar to my logic - until I went through rehabbing a strained ileopsoas muscle (groin muscle) on Torque. (not sure if the downhill throwing caused the strain, but it certainly can easily cause injury). Observe how your dog runs uphill and downhill after a frisbee and when they are coming back to you. Torque runs like crazy after a frisbee or ball and then the scary stuff happens when he catches up to it. He so desperately wants to get it, that he has tumbled downhill, flipped, whipped his back end around uncontrollably, jammed his front legs and so forth. He does not do these crazy gyrations when he tries to catch a ball after an uphill run. It is a more controlled catch. And of course, they don't usually run as fast back to you - so running downhill towards you (a stationary object) usually will not cause the crazy motions of a downhill catch. In order to try and prevent his frenetic motions, I would roll the ball or frisbee downhill- with insignificant change in his behavior. He just wanted that toy soooo badly. When he started rehab for his ileopsoas strain the rehab vet told me that he was using his front too much since his rear end was not as strong. After carefully observing him, I thought I could see what she was talking about. She gave us exercises to build up his rear muscles, and I do believe I can see a difference in how he uses his limbs. I rehabbed Torque for about 4-5 months and he has been fine since - but I take care NOT to throw downhill and a couple times a week will work on back & rear strengthening exercises. Rehab consisted of things to do and not to do, walking on leash for a while, NO throwing of any objects, joint supplements - nothing really drastic. I learned how to be more aware of how Torque was using, and abusing, his body and how to modify his activities. Except for a couple of days of intermittent limping, which I had checked out by the vet and led to his diagnosis (another long story and learning experience), he never showed any pain or signs of injury to my eyes. Now I return to the rehab vet every 4-5 months for her to check him out since he has such a high pain tolerance, he may not show the signs of small injury(s) which could lead to chronic problems. From this experience, I learned that not all dogs have the smarts to protect themselves - at least Torque doesn't. When they want something so badly that they can hurt themselves (very common in BCs), the human can modify their behavior for their own good. I don't think Torque is as prone to injury now (fingers crossed) because his body has matured, but as a younger dog (12-18 months old), there was a higher potential for injury when he did some of his crazy antics. Good Luck with Emma. Jovi
  18. Gorgeous dog. It looks like she loves agility. Please do not quit agility without a good reason. I concur with the general consensus of the replies so far. I do not believe that agility causes as many injuries as some people believe, but that the injuries can be from lack of conditioning, lack of correct performance on the obstacles, lack of control, sometimes bad luck, etc. OR the dog could be injured while engaging in some other activity, but the injury does not show up until they run an agility course since that is a more strenuous activity. OR if the injuries are similar and sequential, perhaps the dog did not have enough time to completely heal from a previous injury. I went through an injury time-out with my dog starting when he was about 17-18 months old. A long story, but I learned a lot: BCs can be so focused (catching a ball or frisbee, jumping, etc.) that they do not consider the consequences of their actions. (I like to think that my dog will 'smarten up' as he matures, but it is a slow process. He will still gyrate into crazy positions when trying to catch a ball - particularly if it has taken an unexpected bounce.) As a consequence of the above - DO NOT throw a ball or frisbee down a hill. (on advice from my rehab vet) I confess that I did that since the ball went farther and I thought that the dog would get more exercise by running farther. WRONG! He strained his groin muscle with his frantic runs down the hill. Throw ball UP the hill. Your dog will get just a much exercise (and in fact, will really strengthen the hind end) and will not take tumbles or over-extend as they frequently do when chasing balls downhill. Jovi
  19. I agree with Pippin's Person - it is too early to definitely know how he will connect with you. I have heard a very well respected handler say that it takes AT LEAST a month for a handler and new dog to become comfortable working together (and that is for a dog with a decent amount of training on sheep). I don't know what your timeline is for making a decision, but perhaps a bit more patience? particularly considering Dagur has basically come from a deprived environment. As to how his current behaviors might indicate future working ability, I will let others more experienced answer to that. Jovi
  20. It sounds like you have a great partner. I don't see any wrong with your current pattern. Once she is 18-24 months old, I might even add another 10-15 minute session during the day as long as she is still eager to train. I like the fact that you are adding in other activities. One of Europe's top agility trainers/handlers, Sylvia Trckman, believes that teaching your dog tricks (she says teach them 100 tricks - I can not even THINK of 100 tricks) will transfer to better agility handling and a better bond. Another viewpoint: my rehab vet says that freestyle moves (particularly where they have to know where their hind end is) helps them physically, in addition to mentally. (I just can not get excited about freestyle so I do a few backing exercises with my dog to keep his back and hind end strong and leave it at that. I should probably do more.) I am sure you have read the recent posts on motivation. I really like the ideas about breaking up agility training with fetch, frisbee, etc. At home, I will run a few short sequences, then throw a toy a few times. At class, he can re-do sequences many times without a problem, but class is only once a week (sometimes even less depending on the weather.) Keep up the good work, Jovi
  21. YES! I heard that the National Sheepdog Finals were in VA about a month ago. They are on that little peninsula that is connected to MD in the north. (I sure do wish that they could have found a site in central VA.) Since I am in Roanoke/Lynchburg area, it will be close to a 5 hour drive. BUT, I mentioned it to my husband and surprise! I expected a grunt in reply, but he said it might be fun to go out for a day or two. Actually, he loves the ocean so he is thinking that he can check out the shore while I am at the BC trials. That is OK with me since his tolerance for these dog events are about 45-60 minutes. If I can't get there, I hope that my somewhat slow internet connection will allow me to watch the webcast. Jovi
  22. Greetings, I have been reading the Boards for a while and have posted a few times in recent weeks, so it is probably time that I stop lurking in the background and introduce myself. I apologize if I did this backwards (i.e. maybe I should have introduced myself right away). I have a 10.5 year old rescue Sheltie mix, Ritz (at the time we adopted her, my husband said he didn't want a BC. He thought they would have too much energy, be too much work, etc. etc.) AND and 3 year old BC male, Torque. I finally got my BC!! I have wanted one for almost 25 years. When I was MUCH younger, we adopted a cute B&W dog from the local pound. About two months later, someone asked me if she was a BC. My answer was "What is a BC?" Please remember that this was before the Babe movie and all the neat agility and flyball and obedience stuff that has emerged. Anyway, I did a lot of reading about BCs (again, limited books were available). Over the years, we would attend a couple of herding trials (as observers) per year. I knew that with school and work, I did not need a BC, but it was something that was always a goal. I got Torque as an 8 week old puppy, and we have been through the puppy obedience and beginning obedience classes. Torque is a great dog, and we have fun at agility, some tracking and just general stuff. I would love to train him for herding, but time is still at a premium - plus it is easier to train for agility with a few obstacles in my backyard. I have enjoyed reading all the posts and have learned a lot - and have also been entertained. I plan on keeping up with the posts and know that I will continue to listen and learn. Best, Jovi Larson
  23. I am SOO glad I moved out of NJ (about 4 years ago). I lived in a town where they actually hired somebody to visit every house to check if they had dogs and how many. This was done every other year. I was speechless when it happened the first year after I moved there as I had never heard of such a thing before. I lived in that town for 7 years - therefore had 3 visits. Luckily, my one dog (at that time) was licensed before each visit so I do not know what would have happened if the opposite was true. Jovi
  24. Awesome! Mr. Tweedpants and Miss Piper look very proud too! Jovi
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