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Everything posted by gcv-border

  1. D'Elle has great advice. I want to add that Willow may be entering those dreaded teenage years when it seems like they have lost their brains and training and really start testing the boundaries. Just remain calm and consistent in your approach during this time. Pretty dog.
  2. It does sound like she is WAY over threshold, and her brain can not think in that condition. Not only is she in a highly stressed environment (agility class), but it sounds like she loves it (higher excitement), and now you are running away from her (brain blown !!!). :-) Do your instructors run highly motivated dogs - like border collies? If not, then they may not understand that this exercise is most likely needless for your dog. There is a difference in some exercises when it comes to dogs that have a built-in engine. You do not need to pump them up. They are already pumped up. By doing some of the motivational exercises that other dogs need to do in order to learn to love the game, your dog rockets past the ability to think. Rethink, and talk to your instructors, about the necessity of this exercise for your dog. If this were my dog (and yes, I have had a couple of easy-to-go-over-threshold BCs), I would be working on a variation where you try to keep her thinking, not reacting like a crazy dog. Start with shorter distances. Maybe even only 5 feet, and see how she reacts. Also, in the beginning, walk or trot, instead of running. I would want to dial it back to a level where my dog will go after the toy, instead of me. Then begin to slowly work your way up to longer distances and a faster pace. Another change (and this one was suggested to me by a world team member in a video course I was taking) is to use food, or another less valuable reinforcement. My dog loves his tug so much that if I have been playing with him with the tug, and I put it on the ground, he will stand or lie down over it and stare at it. I have tried showering him with bits of chicken (literally, a big handful of chicken which I drop on his head) - which he ignores because he is so fixated on the tug. His brain is not thinking.
  3. More specifics please. What are you trying? And how are you attempting to do it?
  4. My advice is pretty similar to the 2 posts above. Rescue dogs can take a while to settle in - days, weeks, or even months. I am not surprised that he is showing different behaviors as he becomes more comfortable in your house. That is normal. I agree that he may be missing being close to his humans at night. Do you know how he was treated in his previous home? i.e. did he stay inside at night? free run of the house? Funny story: One of my first fosters (I foster off and on for a border collie rescue group) was a BC mix that was used to roaming around her neighborhood because her owners couldn't be bothered to take care of her. She became very social as a result. She did NOT like being kept in a crate in the living room when we went upstairs to sleep at night. 3 straight nights of barking/whining. At least every 5-15 minutes. I couldn't sleep a wink, but my husband was fine because he is pretty deaf and takes his hearing aids out at night. On the 4th night, she started the barkfest again. I said what the heck and went downstairs to let her out of the crate with the intention of moving her crate into our bedroom. The second I opened the door, she zoomed upstairs. I ran after her to see what she was going to do, and got there just in time to see her disappearing under the bed. That 60 lb BC mix just DOVE under our bed, and stayed there without a peep until we woke in the morning. Problem solved for the duration of her stay with us. I agree about trying to keep him in a crate at night in your bedroom. As suggested, a cover over the crate may be helpful depending on how the dog reacts to the cat, and how the cat reacts to the dog. You have to try different tactics to see what works best for your situation. If the cat is feeling very frightened by the dog, try tethering the dog to you inside the house so that he never has a chance to chase the cat (if that is what is going to happen). A lot of dog/cat interaction can sometimes be determined by how the cat acts. If the cat is always going to run because he feels scared, the dog will want to chase. I find that if the dog doesn't chase the cat (and you can prevent chasing by keeping the dog tethered to you), the cat can feel more confident, may not run and therefore, the dog is less likely to chase. This is just one scenario. There are so many issues with the dog/cat interplay that you will have to do your best depending on the tendencies of the two species. I also agree about using a frozen, stuffed Kong for calm behavior in the crate (and other times too). If you bring him into your bedroom, give him the frozen, stuffed Kong when you put him in his crate. Hopefully it will calm him during his first minutes in the crate. And after that, hopefully, we will remain calm. Good Luck.
  5. Apologies in advance for the short reply, but I have limited time. Just wanted to give a little feedback. I am sure you will get excellent replies from others. Even though you are on crutches, keep him on a long line - and tethered to you - when outside. Long line can be 20-30 feet. If he starts to act up, you can reel him in. No one, even with a healthy ankle, is fast enough for a baby border collie. This is a management technique, not training. Agreed - do NOT hit him. Work on building trust. Has he been outside your yard during walks with your children? When he was younger, getting out and about (appropriate socialization) would have been helpful to introduce him to strange items, humans and sounds so he is not so reactive as he matures. It sounds like he would benefit from densensitization techniques. Until he is comfortable and more social with unknown people, I would put him in his crate, or a closed off room, so he does not get agitated with your clients when they come. Again, this is a management technique until he can be trained. It also protects you from the repercussions if your dog was to bite someone. "but he will constantly bark aggressively at visitors, we try reassuring him and stroking but he is fixated." Again, I wouldn't let him see visitors until he is socialized better. He is just practicing inappropriate behavior. Also, by stroking him, you are reinforcing his behavior - whether good or bad. Yes, he may be scared, but don't feed into that. At this stage, best to prevent the behavior with management. Be proactive and try not to put him in situations where he will act out. i.e. if a friend is visiting, put him up before the friend arrives. Is there a dog behaviorist (not a dog trainer) that you can consult? It is so hard to give advice on behavioral problems online since one can not 'see' the behavior and the nuances associated with it. The best advice would come from a professional who can do a home visit to observe first-hand.
  6. Ah yes, the fresh scent and texture of a super runny cow pile. I had a girl that would seek them out. (My neighbor doesn't have very good fencing for his cows.) The worst time (IMHO) was when she rolled in a pile so sloppy that it was still dripping off her when she returned - and then she wanted to SHAKE! And her attitude was exactly as described by urge to herd - bright eyes, proud bearing and a tail that wagged so hard, her whole body shook. Luckily, it was summer, and I could use the outside hose to bathe her.
  7. I have had luck with using the treat to lure from a sit to a stand (your method #1). If she keeps scooting, move the treat so she has to take a step or two before giving it to her. If she still wants to sit when you give her the treat, I would keep her moving while giving her the treat - at first. Once she has the idea she doesn't automatically have to sit when she gets a treat (you have probably rewarded heavily for sit/treat. We all do.), you can start treating her earlier i.e. after 4 steps, then 3, etc. The goal is to keep her on her feet while rewarding. Also, don't use the command word until she understands what she is supposed to do. (General rule - teach command before naming it.) Which means that the entire sequence described in the paragraph above is practiced without using the stand command. Feel free to praise/click when treating. :-)
  8. It sounds like this is a pretty good foundation course. Not all techniques work for all dogs - i.e. running through the cones to you. Without seeing what you are doing, I am having a hard time understanding the method. But it doesn't matter because there are so many ways to teach agility skills that the instructors should know how to adapt for your dog.
  9. Good to hear about a controlled study, but I would not have enrolled my pharmacoresistant epileptic dog because I would not to take the chance of being assigned to the placebo group. Having said that, logically it probably would not have mattered since nothing worked for her anyway, but I needed to feel that I was doing my best to treat her.
  10. I agree with the strong possibility that she may be overtired. Particularly if she is "not listening to your commands." On the other hand, I wouldn't expect most/many 3 month old pups to have the mental wherewithal to listen to commands when in an overexcited state. Their little brains are overwhelmed.
  11. Yes, I am on the fence about this. Pre-existing conditions has prevented me from even trying to get insurance on one dog. (I had his hips x-rayed at 15 months, and he had very bad hips - although he has not shown the slightest sign of it at 4.5 years old). Another dog is 11 years old. A time when vet costs rise just because - well, old. Even if I could get insurance (again I haven't tried), the premiums would probably be astronomical. My puppy is now 7 months old, and I will be researching the different possibilities again. I know that one company, and others?, have several options for plans -- from paying for everything from wellness exams to catastrophic as the most inclusive, to paying for only catastrophic events (and one would have to look carefully at their definition of catastrophic). On the other hand, experiences like Maralynn's makes me think seriously about insurance. I know someone else with a similar experience - one (of 8) dogs had a serious digestive issue related to some bizzare grass-eating incident that required 2 surgeries. Also with over $8K in vet bills. Not sure exactly what she was reimbursed, but it was at least 75-80% of the total. Confused here too.
  12. Congrats to Molly. I saw a couple of her runs, and, as you say, she looked normal. Your hard work is paying off. And face-kissing? Molly showed great restraint. :-D
  13. A beautiful, and happy, boy. Continued happy times with him.
  14. Oh my. What a cutie - and smart too. Ons suggestion is to have a chew toy or a semi-stuffed Kong handy for the next time she wants to jump up next to you. Maybe a bit of a distraction will help get the message across. But such a method may not totally 'cure' the behavior. These guys are persistent, and sometimes I have to resort to using a leash and tie them to a place where they can't bug you like that. Some people will use an X-pen to keep them contained at times.
  15. Agree with using the Black Kongs. Buy several of them - I have 4 or 5. Stuff about 1/2 full and freeze. I usually have several in the freezer at one time. I also like West Paw items, but have not used them as much. What I have used has been sturdy. Firehose 'indestructible' toys are not. To the extreme - a friend with Rottweilers that loved to chew would buy toys used for the bears, etc. in a zoo. I have not yet had to go to that level.
  16. A couple of weeks ago, I read that chicken compost should not be spread on fields used by grazing sheep. After a few days, I tried to find the reference again, but could not. So I am here in hopes of getting more input and/or confirmation (or not) of that statement. Reason quoted for not using chicken compost: since chickens eat and excrete higher levels of copper than is required by sheep, the compost would cause copper toxicity in sheep eating grass that has been fertilized with chicken compost. (assuming that the grass takes up the copper in the compost). What say the sheep owners here? Is this a realistic worry? How much chicken compost would be required to be harmful to sheep? How long before the copper would be 'diluted' in pastures to a safe level for sheep grazing? I ask because my next door neighbor hays our fields and uses it for his cows. (It is crappy hay, and I don't want to use it. At least the fields remain clear). He will usually spread chicken compost once a year on these fields. I don't mind the smell so much, but have to keep the dogs off the fields for a month or two until the compost degrades even more because they LOVE to eat the stuff. Now I am wondering if I should be worrying about the application of the chicken compost if I ever want to use those fields for grazing sheep in the future. There is probably not a black & white answer, but best guesses would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  17. So your pup is used to 'serious play fighting'. OK, but maybe he tried it, or started this 'serious play fighting', and the experienced lab wasn't having anything to do with it and corrected him. It may be a non-issue, and you don't know until the next time your pup sees a similar dog. If he does show fear, or fear aggression, IMHO I would start densensitizing him.
  18. Beautiful dogs! Welcome to the Boards.
  19. A heck of a lot better than Wyoming. He may actually have a few skills by next year, but not time enough to progress through the levels since I don't trial that much.
  20. I am glad you got a dog that suits you from a bad breeder. Having said that, based on what you say the dog's purpose is, is registration necessary? I know it would be nice (and when one buys a purebred dog, having it registered is usually expected), but it sounds like it may not happen. One of life's lessons.
  21. Very handsome dog! Another voice to say that the coat issue is minor. A good brushing - I am in agreement with amc regarding raking out to get rid of the tufts and dead fur, continued brushing, a good shampoo and conditioner and a good diet. The coat should turn around within a few months. And I am with CptJack in that it is 'just fur'. Who cares what the coat looks like (as long as it is well cared for) if the dog is healthy and has personality and the smarts to please you?
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