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About AllieMackie

  • Birthday 03/09/1984

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    Ottawa, ON

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  1. I ALWAYS get "are you sure he doesn't have some Burmese in him?" First of all, it's "Bernese". Second of all, no. I'm polite about it, though. I didn't realize how few people have seen a tri-colour BC before. I've had a few friends try to tell me I got gypped when I show them Finn's dad. He's a smooth coat and on the stockier side, and one friend had the gall to say "he's definitely got lab in him... you don't have a purebred." ooooooooo rly. It can be aggravating, but then you get people who get all excited to see a tri BC who make it all worthwhile.
  2. Agreed with all of this. Sometimes Finn is crated when I'm in my office in the other room, and sometimes when I'm gone. He gets at least half his daily meal ration in the form of Kongs - I pack a Kong with kibble, top it with a bit of canned food or peanut butter and freeze. I always have one or two on hand in the freezer and when FInn sees it he rushed into his crate because he knows he's getting a fun treat. It might work for you too!
  3. I have had a similar problem with Finn's house training (he is currently 9.5 months old). I gave him a bit too much freedom, and he developed a little habit of pooping in the upstairs hallway. Now, he goes out every hour on the hour. When it's playtime as well, he can go offleash in the backyard. When it's potty time only, he goes out on his flexi-lead. That way he has free roam to do his business, but it's business only, then back inside. I control when we play outside, and he's now starting tog et that leash = we pee and poop and come back in. I take Finn out every hour and a half to two hours when he's loose in the house. It eliminates guesswork and avoids accidents. I'll extend that time more and more as he grows. Usually when he has an accident in the house, I can figure out why it's my fault. Hope that helps!
  4. I don't feed Orijen simply because I know only one pet supply that sells it, and it's pricey. The ingredients check out though, looks to be quite a good food. Finnegan just got switched to Taste Of The Wild Pacific Stream and is thriving on it. I can get it for a really good price at a local farm supply,
  5. It's been mentioned already, but I also know this from experience; give it time, first and foremost. You've only had her for a week and a bit, she's got a lot of adjustment to do. She's still getting comfortable with her new digs, and I bet a lot of that will loosen up with some time. I know folks who have rescued border ollies and other breeds who didn't really play for months, then one day they just let loose, played ball, fetched sticks... it was like they realized it was home! Definitely keep offering her the opportunities without pushing, but know it can take time.
  6. This is a very true point. In opposition to what I said before, it is probably in your best interest to teach Vala "this is a cat, and you are to leave it be."
  7. First off, let me tell you that most of your dog's behaviours are not herding behaviours, even if they may seem as such. Now that I've actually herded with my dog, I realize that a lot of the things I thought he was doing instinctually for herding, well... he wasn't. He's just being a dog, with perhaps an extra crouch or a bit of extra staring, which is hardly herding behaviour, just bred-in traits. I second what Journey said. The "leave it" is good, but why ask her to help "work" on getting your cat off of counters and such? How is that herding behaviour in the least? Promoting intimidation is potentially dangerous for both of you, and not the correct way to build your dog's confidence with a cat. The crouching and staring, I know too well. When Finn was first getting used to our cat, he would to the same if she was on higher ground - only to chase her down into a corner and keep her there until I pulled him off of her. Finn loves our cat now. They actually enjoy each other's company and they play very well together, but his impulsiveness still leads me to keep one eye on them at all times, and they are seperated when not supervised, as Finn still gets carried away sometimes. It took a month of conditioning him properly to the cat through praise, treats, tethering him to me, and letting the two interact under very close supervision. Even now I provide him with feedback regularily - any obsessiveness over the cat is heavily frowned upon, and he's getting better every day. You definitely want to dissuade Vala from "helping" you, without teaching her that the cat = scary more than she might already think. Treat her for politely visiting the cat, or allowing the cat to visit her. If she shows relaxed interest in teh cat, treat and praise. Focus on praising her for POSITIVE interaction with the cat, and not negative attention like the behaviours when the cat is on the counter. Hope that helps.
  8. OMG! How exciting! Go go you and Moss! Nat let me work Finn just a mbit at our instinct evaluation, since he was taking to it so well - and maaaan, it is HARD to be a handler! It definitely takes some getting used to, but I think it'll be a ton of fun.
  9. Costs will vary greatly depending on the specific trainer, how much you train/devote to the training, etc. As with any dog sport or training regime. Folks have given you good advice on looking up trainers, let that be a head start. A good trainer will evaluate your dog's herding instinct, give you their opinion on where to go from there, and their fees for lessons, you'll have a much better idea on costs then. For Finn and I, lessons are in blocks of $100 for four lessons, or $30 each lesson seperately. I don't know a lot about lower-end trials, only about Open trials. I don't plan on trialling with Finn, this is just a way for both of us to learn something new and for him to get his sheepherding fix. You can always do agility. dockdogs, and other fun sports with your new BC, too. Be sure to check out all that's available to you.
  10. Makes sense to me! Thanks! I'll have to research the heck out of it when the time comes - you can be sure I'll be pestering you folks as well.
  11. Haha, to be honest, a knitter friend told me that hair sheep was used to describe fibre sheep. I trust you guys over her. I haven'rt researched much about sheep breeds yet, amd have only spun Corriedale and Mohair thus far!
  12. haha, we'll see - for now this is all for fun. However, I LOVE getting out there and watching trials - I'll have to check these out. Amanda Milliken, right? I can probably make it to one or both of those trials just to cheer you all on. haha, I so am sunk.Two hours in the pen today and I'm addicted. As for a farm, well, it IS my long-term life goal to own a hair sheep farm, as I also spin and knit wool as a hobby.
  13. Hey folks! I know I've been quiet lately, mostly because Finnegan and I have just been doing normal doggy things. Lots of walks, fetching, visits to the dogpark, obedience classes... ...until this morning! Finnegan and I went out to Rockland, ON to visit Nathalie Labelle to be evaluated for herding lessons! Okay. So. Wow. First off, no pics this time. I really wanted to focus on what Finn was doing and listen to what Nathalie had to say... however, Nat said next time, she'd be happy to stop instructing for a few minutes here and there to snag some pics of Finn and I making mistakes. So I'll definitely get some pics. Second off, please forgive my terminology and such. I've only read up a bit on herding, and donb't know massive amounts about it yet. I'm eager to learn it all as I go, so pardon any terminology errors! If you want any movements clarified, I'll do what I can. So... Finn not only passed his evaluation, but Nat said she hasn't seen this much focus, drive and instinct in a ten-month old dog in a long time. This is not to say Finn did perfectly. Right off the bat, Nat let 6-7 ram lambs into the pen, and told me to let Finn loose so we could see what happened. Finn got overexcited, flanked harshly, and drove them right through the breakaway gate out of the pen. I was mortified at first, but Nat said that's extremely common, and that's why they have a breakaway gate. So I leashed Finn on the long lead again, and this time Nat brought a group of 12 or so rams, including some adults. This way, she explained, the group is a little more intimidating for Finn and will hopefully make him take pause and watch the sheep's movements and how Tyke, Nat's border collie stockdog, works the sheep. It worked. Finn flanked far, and mostly kept an eye while the sheep moved and Tyke motioned around. Nat then started working a little with Finnegan. He naturally took to flanking the sheep, moving in a semicircle behind the sheep to keep them moving in a straight line forward. Nat was extremely impressed by his natural balance with flanking. He gets very defiant when moving to the handler's right, and moves all the way around and behind the handler. He didn't listen well to the handler cane, but Nat said that can be very common in the beginning, and that Finn is nowhere near as bad starting out as many dogs she's trained. She worked with him some more, telling me what she was doing as she was doing. She then asked me if I wanted to try! I certainly did. I sucked royal, but listened carefully to Nat and did my best. Finn listened well except for the aforementioned right rounds. Nat said I was doing well for a beginner. It's definitely tricky to multitask controlling the sheep, controlling the dog's movements, and keeping on track, but that will get better as I practice and as Finn practices and learns commands. So overall, Nat loved Finn, thought he has a ton of potential (she even said it was disappointing to hear he can't be bred now, haha) and she's eager for me to start lessons! She's good friends with Mary, Finnegan's breeder, and Nat is excited to be able to train a Mary Thompson dog, since her dogs rarely make it to eastern Ontario. Nat was going to call Mary after I left just to gush at what a great herding dog Finn is going to be. It's going to be a great experience for both of us, I think. SO yeah. Pretty amazing. Guaranteed photos next time, we're hoping to have our first official lesson beginning of September sometime. Now for the adrenaline to wear off. I am SO PROUD of my boy. He did SO well, and I can now feel that I can call him a sheepdog in training. It's great to have Nathalie living a short drive away so that I can let Finn do what he's bred to do. I'm eager to do more and see us both progress!
  14. Haha, love it. They really are too smart for their own good.
  15. Here's the short story: Finn has met two cats, and was good with them. They were full-grown and dog-savvy. Matt (the BF) has just rescued a 3-month old kitten. As Finn likes the cats he's met, and the kitten is new to dogs, I feel that if introduced properly, all will be well, and they'll at least be tolerant of one another. My only issue is Finn's typical impulsive BC behaviour. Matt held the kitten tonight, and the kitten showed curiousness in Finn... until Finn leaped at Matt's legs trying to get to the kitten, tail wagging away. The kitten hissed and tried to clamber up Matt's shoulder. We made a mistake in "introducing" them that way, I'm sure, and I wanted some advice before we proceed any further. Finn's sit-stay and down-stay are usually pretty solid, but he forgot it as soon as he saw the kitten. Since Finn is so over-impulsive and the kitten -is- curious about Finn, and I don't want her to be frightened of him, what do you folks feel is a good way to introduce them? The kitten is staying in our bedroom for the time being until she receives her next booster next week, so keeping them apart for now is no problem. We're doing a "crate and rotate" so the kitten has safe time to explore her new surroundings. I've read a few articles on the basics of cat-dog introduction, but I was looking for some BC-savvy advice. We're also thinking of waiting at least another month or two before re-introducing them, and introducing them with Finn on lead, especially since she is so small, that even if Finn just tries to play with her, she may be harmed too easily. Thanks!
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