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Hi All, This is my beautiful 10 month old boy, Winston. He is my first collie & I have posted on here a few times for help and always gain so much knowledge from all the experienced owners! Winston is a very friendly and gentle pup. He is however, quite aloof? LOVES other dogs, but isn't overly affectionate toward me. I know border collies love to please, but that doesn't seem very evident with our boy as he really doesn't like praise or pats that much, just food. This makes it a little difficult to train him without food - or get him to listen to any commands without food. We have been working on all sorts of commands and tricks since he was a puppy, and he learns very quickly, but lately he seems to be going backwards. He can't sit still for training and he seems to get stressed when we ask him to do something and darts off barking or whining. Things that he used to know how to do (down, roll, stay, paw etc). We can continue to work on this but my main issue is, chasing bikes!!! He is obsessed with bikes & people running. He lunges and barks & would probably nip if he got the chance. We have tried to teach a "leave it" command with treats and praise and all the rest, but it keeps getting worse. I would say he prioritises bikes over everything else in this world. Today, my worst fear came true. Winston's lead didn't attach properly and half way through our morning walk he saw a bicycle, lunged, and broke off his lead. He took off down a major road of traffic chasing bikes, people and completely unaware of surrounding cars. He wouldn't come back when I called and he ran from everyone who tried to get his attention. It was awful. We did catch him, and he is completely fine, but I realised how incredibly important his off-lead control is and breaking this habit. Looking for any advice on training please! Or success stories... I haven't spoken to anyone who has had a dog with a bike obsession before. Thanks
Hello all, First, I would like to thank everyone for their contributions to this site. I've lurked for a long time, learned how to find a pup, and solved just about every puppy issue I could think of from reading these forums. Second, my dog is Pivo--a 19 month old male who is living large in the city that care forgot (New Orleans). He is from working parents, and is pretty much a wonderful ideal pet for our family. He is actually pretty laid back in personality, very sweet and loving and has learned lots of things in terms of house manners, city manners and safety, and silly dog tricks that are just fun. Our only "issue" (and it's not a terrible one per se just getting more annoying and worsening) is walks. Initially, Pivo pulled on the leash. An easy-walk harness and a loose leash command solved that mostly (the loose leash command isn't super strong and the harness solved our problem and I didn't press the issue, i.e. Mistake #1). He also, as a little puppy jumped at certain points in the walk (the same points oddly). A firm "Let's walk" command and maturity solved that issue. Now, the walk: Our walk is about 4 miles (sometimes as much as 6) in the Garden District in New Orleans, so a touristy area with lots of people, distractions, traffic and such--especially right now as we are entering the high season. We have always walked this route (before Pivo), and while I never assumed that simply "walking" Pivo would be enough mental stimulation for him, he seems to really enjoy seeing all the different "sights" and smells of the city. Plus, it's great exercise for all of us. Around a year old, we noticed Pivo crouching and lunging at joggers, but ONLY when they were coming toward us (coming with us was fine). He also got agitated at bikes on the sidewalk (like his owners for what it's worth). Then, bikes on the street, then mopeds and the most hated of all: skateboards. Mostly, it occurred when people were coming at us, but it's now extended beyond that. He also now hears the streetcar on St. Charles Ave. and gets agitated. He anticipates certain streetcorners as well and lies down in advance of bikes, joggers. Now, I realize this is NOT new Border Collie behavior, and I've read lots of forum posts on herding instinct/prey drive. So, in the last several months to a year, we have tried lots of things. 1. Putting him in a sit/stay, which sometimes works. Give lots of treats when it does. Problem is that something that is a really BIG trigger, I feel like he'll actually make the mental decision of what is more "worth" it. 2.The "Look at that Game"--Pivo is really food motivated, which is helpful. But, I had trouble finding a target "look" that was either a trigger but not TOO much of a trigger to train the command. I thought I had found one in the vacuum cleaner, but it's slow going. Not to mention, LAT only works when I have treats (he knows when I have them, too!). If I don't then he makes the decision that it's not worth listening. I should note he has a good recall and good self control. I got him to drop a found piece of funnel cake at 6 months old! 3. The "let's walk" command kind of works with treats, but again, with this and the LAT game, I feel like I'm "bribing" him constantly. It doesn't feel like positive reinforcement. Also, I feel like he's running the cost-benefit analysis in his head. A lower trigger means he'll take the treat (jogger). A higher one, forget it (skateboard, moped). Here's the real kicker in ALL of this: He ONLY (more or less) chases on the walk. If these things pass in front of our house, we get no response. We often stop at a bar during our walks (the longer one's) and when Pivo's in "bar" mode (we live in New Orleans, so, yes, our BC has a "bar" mode), he doesn't lunge either. We often praise him then as well and he looks at us like "What's the big deal?" Is it possible that he sees the walk as "work"? I realize we've made some mistakes here, and I thought this was improving (it wasn't--it was just winter and there were no tourists). This isn't a huge issue as when my husband accidentally let go of the leash on a busy street with triggers, he stopped and looked at us immediately. And, he doesn't chase cars (thank goodness). But, I am open to any suggestions--minus a prick collar. I am sure I would do something wrong there. Thank you in advance, and I apologize for this being so long! WaveProfesora