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It finally dawned on me this morning that Molly's insistence on morning walks when she didn't need to potty is due to a strong need to patrol her territory. I think the edges of our yard are an ideal throughway for a lot of wildlife, but especially foxes. We connect a state forest to the sea and some nice meadows and we're the only covered area for this for a bit of a distance. My DH thought the expanded growth of blackberries would be keeping the foxes from crossing here, but Molly found their path this morning. We're also pretty sure we have at least one family of hedgehogs in residence. The magpies during the day are upsetting her even when she's inside. I'm not really sure how or if I should deal with all this. These are the major problems I'm having:


1) She is asking to go out all the time and it is hard to work out a potty schedule. Even when it seems like she should need to go, she has trouble concentrating because she is so busy checking out animal paths. DH is more of a sucker for extra walks than I am and she knows it, so it gets really bad when he is home because she is acting like she needs to go out about every half an hour.


2) Her recall is now extremely unreliable here at home. It had been pretty good for a while but now she'll blow it off and take off in one of the animal trails, which unfortunately run right up to neighbor yards and cross with where they walk their dogs, so she tends to end up visiting the neighbors while I am trying to call her back. So it is now leash only here at home and she misses the opportunity to play and explore off-leash. This unreliability makes me very nervous taking her anywhere else and letting her off leash.


3) She barks a lot at birds and the dogs next door and I don't know what else. I give her time on a line outside if she wants it and if she starts it out there, I try to ignore her and just fetch her in--so I don't reinforce the behavior but also don't let her be outside making noise annoying the neighbors. Inside, I try to ignore it. DH is not as good as ignoring and tends to tell her to quit.



Does anyone have any advice on how I should deal with this or if I even should do anything differently? Molly is an intact bitch and almost a year old. We're both doing a lot to keep her active both physically and mentally, so I don't think it is just boredom, but I guess I could be wrong. My attention is a bit more divided since my horse got home from training and I haven't worked out how to take Molly with on rides, but I try to give her good walks and plays and she seems happy in the kitchen while I am out.

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Not really. I think it would beyond what we can afford to invest right now to dog proof it effectively.


It is only really open towards the woods and a small path between the garage and the fence for going around to the car or the other pasture, but she doesn't show any inclination to go that way any time other than when DH gets home from work.


We had had an invisible fence to help reinforce the recalls, but it quit working. Technically they're illegal in this country, so we can't replace it very easily and so far DH has had no luck debugging it. (it isn't a fuse and it won't work with a short loop of wire)


How much should I worry about her eating droppings from foxes, hedgehogs, and other wildlife? Also foxes here are notorious for mange. Molly is showing no signs but I'm keeping tabs on her. As long as she is healthy, what are the risks of her catching mange from being in the same territory as a mangy fox, assuming we even have one visiting that is carrying it (we haven't seen them this year)?

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Holly has been through her naughty moments, i think that Molly is just adolescent. I am no expert but with Holly she tried her momemts of ignoring me at that age. She is coming up for two in December and is a lot better behaved now but still has her moments (not the same as that time though, just sometimes has that naughty look in the eyes) so i guess she is still adolescent now a little too.


I agree with Pax, could you not fence an area off that she can be off lead in, then you can work on her recall in that bit before she goes off lead in open areas. Holly has been quite good for recall, if she strays a bit i only have to mention tennis ball and she is instantly there. Thank god for that obsession!!!.


We had a really long lead with Holly and so we had some control over her, i was actually scared to let her completely off for ages even though she didn't stray so the lead used to drag on the floor for months. This gave me a bit of security as if she did take off someone could grab the long lead.




The asking to get out thing, we always took Holly for her wee on a lead when she asked to go out. Play was no lead - our garden is fenced so she could go without a lead but i wanted to keep asking to go out for toilet breaks only. So if she asked to go out she learnt that it was toilet on a lead and that is it then back in.


Now she doesn't need the lead, she asks and i go with her and tell her to wee etc and then tell her to come in, in works at the minute with her. I did start letting her come in and out on her own in the summer and plan to give her more freedom for that next summer now i have sort of doggie proofed the garden. So maybe try that, if she asks take her out on lead only, lots of praise when she goes then back in and perhaps just give her a few minutes if she doesn't go but then take her straight back in. They soon pick up that asking for play won't happen. That is one thing i have been consistant with, i have had lots of other things that i have not been consistent with Holly and wish i had though.


We taught Holly to be *quiet*, she did learn that very quick, she is good most of the time but her problem is people coming to the house like a while ago - the electric man, she barks but because he didn't fuss her as she was in a different room she wouldn't stop until i had to tell her to be quiet a few times. That is what i have to work on with her - that she can't see everyone that comes here and greet and meet them.


Good luck



eta - I posted before i saw your reply Bexie, i got sidetracked and so took ages posting it.

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I don't know. Whenever I've seen a mangy fox I've shot it. I haven't seen a lot of them.


I grew up with fox hounds and fox hunting. I've never had a fox related dog health issue, unless for some reason one gets bitten, but that's pretty rare because in the fox hunting I've done.


Funny about the electric being illegal, particularly if it's buried.


Does your boarding barn have an indoor? I've used the indoor as good turnout space for dogs in the winter.

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I sort of wonder about the eating poop thing, Holly won't get to fox poop i don't think but she loves rabbit and sheep poop. I am glad she doesn't feel like trying any other doggie's though, that is yukkey.


I have tried stopping her but i think that is something i wont be able to stop. That is the only time she ignores me off lead - at the local big park/water place we use there is a lot of rabbit poo. She will come to me when called and not stray but will still eat it really quick before she comes back to me, and acts like like she has never been fed and this rabbit poo is the best thing ever - again yuk!!



So what sort of things can they get eating other animals poo?

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This is what I would probably try.


I would set up a long line outside in an area where it would be safe for her to wander a bit, but still be contained. I would prefer fence - even if it were a small area - but if that were not possible, I would go with a tie-out.


I would take her out on leash and give her 2 minutes to do her business. If she did not, back in she would go without the opportunity to go exploring.


I would do this as often as she asked to go out at first.


Once she did go, on one of these trips outside, I would immediately put her on the long line and let her have a while to explore. I would supervise only to make sure she didn't get tangled or wrapped around a tree. After a while, I would call her in. If she did not come, I would simply go catch her (very neutrally) and put her back on leash and bring her back in.


What I would be looking for her to learn is that I control the access to her exploration and she can have it on the condition that she does what I want her to do (in this case, potty quickly when taken out on leash).


Once the dog figured this out, I would attach a cue to "we are going out to potty".


Once I go the potty issue sorted out, I would use access to exploration to work on recalls. Same principle. I would put her on a long line (but hold it this time) and let her go sniff. After a minute or so, I would call her. If she comes right away, I would release her back to exploring for a few minutes. If she did not come right away, I would neutrally go get her, snap the leash on, and take her back in.


This approach takes some time, but once the dog gets it, it's wonderful because it really sets up an understanding that "listening makes good things happen". And then you can transfer that to a lot of different aspects of training.

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Pax, we don't have a boarding barn. We have all 5 here at home. We don't have an arena at all and primarily trail ride. I got permission from the neighbor to ride and train on his hay field this winter so I can work Ria effectively now that she is home from the trainer. He let the military use it for an exercise for a week, so they totally destroyed it anyway. So me doing a bit of longe work and training won't really impact his chances of getting decent hay on it next year (the flattest ground is where the military killed everything).


Here it is rarer to see a healthy fox than to see a mangy fox. Denmark has been having horrible problems with sickness in the foxes. I've actually seen several healthy foxes in the past few years, so maybe things are finally improving, but I have no idea what is passing through here. I must admit that I hate going out at night with Molly because I worry that we'll run into it.


Molly doesn't get to play when she asks to go out, but getting to her primary potty area is at the far end of her home territory. So we have to walk along the wooded edge of it most popular to wildlife to get there. We can't really change that part of the route either, because it is determined by vegetable garden, property lines, horse pasture, and natural terrain. :-( I can't see how I can expect her to do her business if I don't let her sniff around to find a good spot, but that sniffing seems to be a source of distraction.


For a while there, she could be off leash a good bit. I would have to go with her on a potty trip because she can't figure it out without someone telling her where and when to do it, but she could go off leash and would get lots of treats and praises for coming and going nicely. She could be loose in the yard while we were outside (not unattended) and would stay mainly in the grass and would stick very close by. But after the plums ripened and attracted lots of critters to come eat them, she's gotten very unreliable. She'd be fine for several days then take off. Then be fine again for a while, repeat. At this point I don't feel like I can trust her at all at home. Last week was a holiday here, so I couldn't try it, but the week before, I could take her to the beach and let her run around and play and drag her leash and she had a good recall and I felt confident letting her off out there. But at home, no way. Not even just to run home from the potty spot afterwards and I'd been doing that when she was little.


If she seems like she just wants to be out, I take her in from a potty walk first then go back out to stake her out. Play sessions and long walks are on my time line, not hers. So it isn't like she gets to play on her own schedule. Yesterday at my in-laws in their fenced yard, her recall was pretty good. I really think the problem at home is the wildlife somehow. Either her recall isn't strong enough to overwhelm the fascination of it somewhere she really feels safe (the beach is dangerous enough that she needs to be near me for safety so checks back a lot) or she is getting really bonkers about them invading her territory and is trying to chase them down to tell them to stay off her turf.


Or am I trying to read too much into my "teenage" pup's antics?

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