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pansmom

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Posts posted by pansmom

  1. Forgive me if this advice is too basic and you’ve already tried it, but can you carry a REALLY high value treat and offer it only when this sound comes? She may not take it at first, but over time an association between the ice cream truck and food might form which could lessen her anxiety. 

    —Mary 

  2. Thank you both! I will research Look at That. The situations that I’m talking about are usually when a stranger or another dog is near our property. I don’t mind the initial warning—that’s great actually. Even though we live in a city neighborhood, if he wants to be a guard dog, that’s cool with me. But the problem is, when I come and see what it is and tell him it’s fine, he still won’t stop. Ultimately I want him to take cues from my behavior: alert me to the potential problem, sure, but when I say it’s fine, believe me, don’t keep going on about it.

    I’m wondering now that I type this up if this isn’t a result of not enough socialization due to COVID. He is really confused about why we are social distancing I think. He’s pretty skittish around new people even when I throw them treats from six feet away to give to him. We got him March 1; he probably doesn’t remember much from before the pandemic.

  3. Flora & Molly mentions some great basics, all of which I've taught my Maldwyn by 4 1/2 months!

    Other things I think are useful for teaching a pet BC puppy an off switch and to be calm in the house:

    - "Kennel up" (I use this term when feeding in kennel and then, when Maldwyn was misbehaving for attention or to amuse himself, ask him if he needs to "kennel up" and follow up with a few minutes of crate time with a toy to let him calm down--I've seen others use the term "time out," I'm sure that works too)

    - I don't remember what this is called, but basically catching the dog sleeping calmly on the floor and throwing a treat at him so he learns you get treats for calmly relaxing in the house. 

    - Watching for behaviors you like (sit, down, relax, touch, etc), giving a name to them, and then teaching the dog to do the thing on command. It's been my experience that BCs as pups can learn vast vocabularies of words and that they enjoy learning words and figuring out what you want, keep it positive

    - Hide and seek game (teach the dog the names of toys, and then to stay, and then you can tell them to stay and go hide a toy in another room. Come back and ask the dog "where is _____(name of toy)?" It will take a sec to get it the first time, but if you help him look the first couple of times, they will pick up real quickly and then you can progress to harder and harder hiding spaces where the dog will literally spend 15 minutes methodically and obsessively looking for a toy you have hidden in the corner of the couch under a pillow. Just make sure you get SUPER excited when they find it. I flip out with joy and say "YOU FOUND ____________! OMG WHAT A GREAT DOG YOU'RE SO BRILLIANT [immediate hugs, pets, huge smile]" I find this game really helps to tire them out mentally, which is super useful in teaching them to be calm in the house

    -Stay calm and do not react if they get anxious or react to strange sounds. Eventually they will look at you and follow your lead, and you can basically teach them don't worry about that. BC pups can be very sound reactive or anxious, so it's important for their handler to be calm

    To give you an idea of the type of things they can do, by 4 1/2 months, Maldwyn can:

    - 100% recall off leash for a special whistle (taught by BIG treats and HIGH praise every time I use this whistle, and never using the whistle when I think he won't come the first 50 times because I needed him to understand that this is a special thing and a great thing whenever it happens--now when I use the whistle he stops whatever he's doing--it's a two note whistle, and on the first note he freezes and looks at me waiting for the second note and then comes running)
    - Hike offleash
    - do basic agility tasks like jump on things on command and even run an obstacle course putting his paws on various playground items at the park (a suspension bridge of little circular steps, go down the slide [????????? he taught himself that watching kids do it], etc.)

  4. Yayyyy! So relieved to hear this. Give that guy a hug from me!

    I want to thank you again for sharing your journey, because it inspired me to move all my meds from the counter to a really high shelf where I used to keep cookbooks. My Maldwyn is getting super tall and has stolen various items off the counter already (an apple from a bowl, a plastic straw, a napkin). It was only a matter of time before he could reach the basket of pills, and this guy likes to savage things and eat plastic, and we have psychiatric meds, antinflammatories, and god knows what else in that basket. It could've been horrible!

  5. Oh, I don't mind him being big at all, and I will love him no matter what for sure! I'm already completely smitten with him, and he with me. He's a really kind and beautiful dog--he walks like a jaguar with waggly hips--and he's whip smart and so eager to please. (During the past couple days he even seems to have finally grokked the idea of walking calmly on leash. I've been working with him on this since he was 2 months old, doing the whole stop and stand like a tree every time he pulled, but last week I taught him heel, and yesterday instead of getting overexcited and distracted when a leaf blows by and pulling, he proudly pranced at my side intermittently looking up at me as if to say, "See how good I'm being? I finally figured out what you want I'm so proud this is fun!") I love working with him, and we're very bonded. He's sleeping on my foot right now. 

    I just wanted to know if 50 pounds is something that can happen with parents who are both about 35 pounds (I met them).  It's good to hear about others' similar experiences, especially the 70 pound dog with 48 lb and 36 lb parents. He's just going to be a big guy! :)

  6. Thanks, everyone. Maldwyn is the best-behaved puppy I've ever met. He wants to please so bad and is sooo treat- and praise-motivated it's just so easy to train him. He doesn't chew on anything but toys and treats anymore in the house--granted, the floor is scattered with chew toys and bones at this point, because we had to buy a bunch of different textures to redirect him from eating the kitchen table, the coffee table, the throws on the couch, and our clothes--but he likes playing hide and seek with his toys, knows the names of his toys (Squeaker, Rope, Bottle, Squirrel, etc.), and his vocabulary is amazing for only 4 months (Are you hungry? Do you want to go for a ride in the car? Use the restroom outside? Upstairs, downstairs, off, out, sit, down, stay, shake, the list goes on). His recall is so solid after two months of practice at the local park that we went hiking today with him dragging a leash and he did perfectly fine, checking in visually with me every time he got about ten feet away from us and always coming to me when I whistled for him (I have a special super-serious recall whistle that always results in lots of praise and treats--it's the praise that matters to him most). He did lots of really fast running in circles at about a ten feet distance from us, like he was running an agility course over fallen trees and hills and the like, stopping and waiting for us to catch up before he ran off again. (We went to a really remote park to hike. We are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and there was no one around, so social distancing or worrying about him running into a road wasn't an issue.) 

    He is getting HUGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does anyone else have any 50 lb+ male border collies?  What were their weights at 18 weeks? That's what he is now and he's 27 pounds. He was 25 pounds at his 4 month vet check, and unless he's growing really early and is going to plateau, according to the growth charts, he's going to hit 50#. His birthday, according to the breeder, is supposed to be January 5. The breeder says pups from these two parents usually reach adult size by 9 months instead of one year, and she wouldn't expect him to be 50 pounds since both his parents were only 35 pounds. 

    But here is a recent pic for size comparison. He's HUGE! The terrier I'm holding is 25 pounds. This was 2 weeks ago. My last BC, Vala, was 27 pounds full grown? Maldwyn is the same size at her and no way he's finished growing at only 4 1/2 months... And he's already taller?
     

     

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  7. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry this happened! Wishing you and he the best. This is so scary. Keep us posted and sending good thoughts.

    I have a four-month-old BC pup (almost five!) and he is big too and already a counter surfer. I'm going to move all our pills to the top of the fridge or something so he can't get to them! We have tons!

  8. I'm not sure if anyone will remember me, as I haven't been on these boards in quite a while. My beloved border collie rescue, Vala, passed away this summer from congestive heart failure. She was somewhere between 12 and 15. It's hard to say how old she was, because when we originally got her, the vet could only estimate that she was between 3-5. We had her for ten years and she was an amazing dog and excellent big sister to my daughter who is now nine. I'm attaching the last picture I ever took of her on our very last walk together.

    68856769_10108837551597559_94236779384668160_o.jpg

    The whole family was devastated when she passed, so my daughter and I started volunteering at the local animal shelter. We ended up fostering, then adopting a huge terrier mix named "Rizzo"--he looks like a Yorkie, but he's 25 pounds--who showed up there with congestive heart failure; since we had already dealt with it with Vala, we thought we could make sure he had a good end-of-life. He is still with us--six months in. Here's a pic of him.
    82439561_10109307691722979_6137020933224792064_o.jpg
    Rizzo is helping me raise the newest addition to our household, our 9-week-old border collie puppy, Maldwyn. I got Maldwyn from a breeder up here in Michigan, where we live now. His mom is a very calm and loving pet who comes from working lines, and his dad does agility. (I got to meet them and they were both amazing animals.) I love Rizzo to death--he's a great dog, terriers are such wonderful staunch little creatures, steady as you go--but I nearly cried tonight when Maldwyn came into the living room, bumped me with his nose, and went to lie down. This is the first time he's ever done that--and I'm thinking it's probably because we did a couple hours of training today, working on "sit" and "down" and crate training, as well as a bunch of housetraining stuff and walking on leash. But I remembered how Vala used to do that, and my first BC mix, Pan, when things were going well. I absolutely love the way this breed is so present with you. I have really missed that.

    87956413_10109485343701989_6156253839725953024_o.jpg

    I thought I would sign in and share this update, because I googled the nose bump to see if it was a breed-specific thing and the first hit that came up was a 10-year-old thread on these forums where I posted a comment talking about Vala and Pan doing the nose bump. 

    It is so good to be working with a BC again. <3

  9. Glad to hear Bobby found a new home. I was coming here to say--and I'll post it in case anyone else needs the advice--that an easy fix for dogs that bite whenever you touch their collar or harness is that you hold a treat in your other hand and treat them immediately after they let you put the lead on. Putting on the lead immediately becomes a positive experience for all, and the pups quickly learn not to be reactive to it. Learned this trick from a veterinary behaviorist. 

  10. I am having trouble with this, this year, too, and didn't last year at all. I use Advantix. During the summer, I have to reapply like every three weeks (vet said that was okay--Louisiana is TERRIBLE for fleas). I also use a bio-spot repellant spray toward the end... Pest control guy is coming Monday to Talstar the front and back yard...

  11. Man am I glad our back yard is fenced in and I have never seen a skunk in these parts!

     

    Dunno, but when it goes 8 hours without much attention or even a bathroom break and the baby is screaming, I can definitely see Odin longing for a bachelor lifestyle a lil bit. :rolleyes: But then he gets to lick her feet and all is forgiven. I think dogs are much more forgiving and patient than most people :D

     

    Hey, I was wondering about you, Ooky! You're back! Haven't seen you around! Congratulations on the baby!

  12. not sure if you did or not, but someone did. we may look in to getting one. we'll see how this keeps working and reevaluate in a week or so. we're supposed to have tstorms all next week so we'll see how it goes.

     

    That is so great that things are going better with your dog! So glad to hear it. FWIW, I actually ended up writing my old veterinary behaviorist about Vala last week (Dr. Lore Haug out of Houston) and she advised me that once you get the dog to this calmer way of dealing with storms, Dr. Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol can help if you do it in the spot where the dog goes to ride out the storms. Also, she recommended the whole slow desensitization to storm audio with a storm CD thing too. And a thundershirt. I've started the Relaxation Protocol with Vala, haven't purchased a storm CD or thundershirt yet. I'd prefer not to give Vala xanax forever, so I'm looking to help her stay calmer eventually without meds.

  13. Eileen,

     

    I once had a cat that could stand on his hind legs and twist doorknobs to open doors with his paws (he was very tall and big). I didn't teach him this. He figured this out on his own. (We lived in an apartment at that time with cheap doors that were easier than average to open--didn't latch well, etc.) It has been my experience that border collies are a lot more perceptive and creative problem solvers than cats. Therefore, I have no question that Grace was intentionally and methodically trying to open your door. And honestly what is most impressive to me is not that Grace learned how to open the door, but that she learned how to do so during a thunderstorm, while scared, working on the problem instead of going over threshold. But I agree with others that she probably wasn't renovating the doorknob; rather, she was just trying to grip it with her teeth and could tell she was getting a better grip as the metal changed shape.

    What a smart dog. How sad that the bitches can't get along!

  14. One quick comment about muzzling...There is nothing wrong with a dog learning to be muzzled, matter of fact it's not a bad thing for 'any' dog.

     

    the key is to desensitize a dog so that he learns to "love" the muzzle, AKA "treat basket"

     

    i agree, but only if you can desensitize them... occasionally this is easier said than done! i know pan was not normal, but i went soooooo slow with muzzling her, way slower than the vet behaviorist recommended, tons of desens for weeks, working with the vet behaviorist in email and on phone, and pan still hated it and growled and snarled... we had to LEAVE it on 24/7 since she was so aggressive and getting it on and off in the end was so stressful for her! it would ruin our relationship for a day or so. i remember i had to make a cozy for her muzzle so she wouldn't hurt herself leaving it on all the time and get sores. it was very sad. but yes--most dogs i bet could learn to love the muzzle if you introduced it right! i could see myself teaching vala to wear one very easily--of course she has zero need for it.

  15. Okay thanks. Rowen is about 50lbs. (I think he must be a border/australian mix b/c of his larger than most border collie size.) We're still working out what to do dosage wise on the clomicalm. I can't afford name brand clomicalm ($50+ a month from them), and so hopefully they can work something else out for us so I can get it from somewhere else. Been playing phone tag so we'll see.

     

    there are purebred BCs who weigh in at 50. my vala is on the small side.

     

    o i can't afford the clomicalm either! generic is clomipramine, get your vet to write you a scrip. call around. wal mart has it and so does walgreens.

  16. Okay, so I was able to get xanax and clomicalm (generics). Well, I got the xanax already, waiting to figure out what to do about dosage size for clomicalm. Vet prescribed 40 mg tabs and the pharmacies only have 25, 50, 75. So when the vet gets back from lunch we'll figure something out. Wish us luck, because I don't know what I'll do if this doesn't work. I know it takes time for clomicalm to start working, let's just hope it really does work for him. Thanks for all of your fast responses! It really means a lot. I'll keep you posted.

     

     

    For those of you who use xanax, how much? This vet prescribed 0.5mg pills... one every four hours as needed SPARINGLY. I only question as this wasn't the main vet and this one is sometimes a little ditzy. Does that sound about right?

     

    Clomicalm--Vala is 31.5 pounds and on 50 mg daily (two 25 mg pills, both taken in the morning). Vala started at 25 mg for two weeks and then we upped her to 50 mg. (Like any longacting psychoactive drug you get them up to the optimum dosage slowly to avoid ill effects.)

     

    Xanax--Vala takes 0.5 mg as soon as she gets upset (she used to predict storms 3 hours before!!!). Now she only gets upset when the thunder rumbles or it starts raining... In the beginning, if you can beat the actual storm -- like 1/2 hour before, so the medicine kicks in first -- that works even better. Your goal is to get and keep the dog totally under threshold during storms so the dog can stay calm and do some enjoyable activity like eating a kong or ice cream as another poster suggested. My vet had me start Vala at .25mg, because she is very sensitive to medication, which is 1 pill; that didn't work though we saw some improvement; two pills does the trick. Apparently Xanax is tricky and the optimum dose is different for each dog. The one thing you have to watch is it does cause negative effects in some dogs so I'd give him 1/2 a pill first (.25 mg) and wait fifteen minutes to see what happens and then give another half a pill if no effect, continuing until you get an effect. I would expect an effect at around .5 mg if your dog is the same size as Vala but some dogs need more. But keep in touch with your vet and ask him before you defy the prescription advice. The limit on Vala at her weight for Xanax is 4 mg in a daily period (dogs need way more Xanax than people to get an effect--that's sixteen pills) but we never remotely approach that. The most she's ever needed is 1 mg (that's two doses of .5 mg, about 12 hours apart, during a really heavy stormy day).

  17. I want to thank you too for giving Brodie a chance. He is a beautiful dog and looks so sweet. Fear agression is so largely misunderstood by the populace at large. The nose touch thing truly breaks my heart. When we were trying to rehabilitate my Pan, that was one thing she picked up on really quickly and it was a healing thing for her. Unfortunately, in the end, we couldn't rehabilitate Pan, but she was much much worse off than Brodie and you are intervening in all the right ways far earlier than we ever knew how. Brodie sounds like he may actually recover, and I think it's wonderful that you are doing all the right things and have come so far after only 7 weeks. For what it's worth, Prozac didn't help Pan, at all (in fact it made things worse for her), but carbamazepine did somewhat. Every dog is different though, and Pan's aggression was almost epileptic--and the carbamazepine is used to treat siezures. I second the notion that other drugs might work if the Prozac doesn't or is too hard on his stomach.

  18. I could be wrong, but its my understanding that Clomicalm and Prozac are more long term anxiety drugs, you need Xanax or Valium.

     

    I feel your pain, I lived in Charleston SC with Lacey, a Golden Retriever, officially the most thunder phobic dog I have ever met.

     

    I adopted Lacey 2 years old, the story was she was an outside dog and as an adolescent during a storm lighting hit her owners garage and caused a small fire and the circuit box to spark. She had been terrified ever since.

     

    I knew she was afraid but I had no idea HOW afraid she was when I adopted her. Lacey destroyed not one, but two clothes dryers ripping off the doors trying to get in; 5 interior doors trying to dig through along with 5 rooms of carpet because the digging meant she dig down through the carpet and pad; a Varikennel; several window screen and once a glass window. Her goal was ESCAPE ESCAPE ESCAPE at all costs. She nearly got out of a second story window that had been left open a crack and in the process broke the glass and got seriously cut up, she destroyed several of her own teeth trying to tear down door; she tried to escape the Varikennel and managed to pop off several screws holding it together (they just flew off with all the pressure) and tried to squeeze between the 2 halves and nearly strangled herself. She got loose twice over the years (usually because she could hear the storm long before we could and would break a screen and run away) and each time I found hr several hours later she would be MILES away.

     

    She was a legend to all the local vets.

     

    After 5 years of stress, a couple of thousand in repair bills and tearing my hair out, what worked was massive doses of Valium and assistance and company to the bathtub.

     

    We found that of she couldn't escape she would try to hide in the tub or behind the toilet.

     

    So for almost a year, whenever I heard a storm was imminent, I would sedate her with valium, and once it hit I would help her into the bathtub, turn the radio on inside the bathroom and feed her spoons of Breyer's all-natural vanilla when she would take them. Yup, I got up at 2 am several times and sat in the bathroom with her for 2 hrs until the storm passed. I would leave work early or my husband would, and ensured that she made it to the tub. After a while, I found that she started going to the tub on her own, or at least the bathroom. A few months after that, I could medicate her, help her into the tub and then leave after 15 minutes. A few months after that I could just go check on her to make sure she got into the tub OK (hey, she was taking a lot of Valium), a few months after that I dropped the dose a bit.

     

    One day I woke up in the middle of he night to thunder and found her in her tub in her "zone" riding it out.

     

    After a couple of years we moved to southern CA and in the desert we had very few thunderstorms and she was much happier in her old age (plus she went a little deaf).

     

    Talk to your vet and see if you can find a safe place for your dog, and teach him to go there.

     

    Yes! This is great advice. Use the fast-acting pharmaceuticals (xanax or valium) to teach the dog that someplace is safe (recommend the bathtub or bathroom--unless you're scared of destruction--then yes, crate, but with positive things for him to do like a frozen PB stuffed kong) and eventually with the repetition of your taking them there and making it nice, they learn to go there on their own. (Others are right, Clomicalm takes time, it's just something I'm doing to help her long term, in addition to the Xanax... so she needs less xanax as time goes on. It's to make her more confident and calm so she doesn't need the Xanax as much.) Vala's case isn't as severe as Lacy's or your dog's, katieh, so this worked really quick for her. But coping with storms on their own is something that can be taught, with the right drugs and behavior mod, and the drugs don't have to be forever either--they're just a teaching tool.

     

    ETA: It's also important to be positive (but not to the point that you are coddling--Vala actually got worse early on if I pet her, because it's like I was feeding into her idea that something was wrong). When thunder rolls for example outside, I say in a very happy tone (as I hear Vala typically getting up in the next room nervously) "You ready for your kong? Kong is going to time out!" (time out is the bathroom). And at this point instead of trying to dig frantically in a panic through the floor, she actually will come watch me stuff peanut butter in her kong or just trot happily to the bathroom. I'll give her the kong and then look at the weather to see if it's going to thunder for a while. If it's a long day of it, I'll give her the xanax too. If it's only a half hour or hourlong storm, I just give her the kong and shut the door. She doesn't shake anymore or tremble. She doesn't drool. She is learning that thunderstorms aren't all that scary--as long as she can get into the bathroom she's good--she just wants to lie in there by the bathtub and work on her kong. I think it helps that I give her the xanax in peanut butter too--xanax is so fast acting--peanut butter seems to have become this godsend comfort food.

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