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The Stare, The Stop, and the Stubborn

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Our 3 1/2 year old Carson is recovering from a Sept 6 post op FHO...just started really walking well...and still bunny hopping...vet says he's fine....


On another note- we rescued him and have spent lots of time with him since we did that at 1 1/2 years old...problem is, we've not been very good at giving him obedience. He will come when he wants etc and barks, barks....we need to get moving on this before the window of opportunity is gone for young training. We don't know where to begin. Money is limited- we spent it all on surgery and rehab!


Just recently, wearing his halti leash...he will out fox me and get out of it at times....other times, he will just stop and stare and what ever. There is nothing that we can see but he sees or smells something and that's that. How can we get him to cooperate. What about those collars that pinch a little when he pulls? I want US to be in control and I dont want him to pull me over, we need to walk him thru this winter and I'm scared of getting pulled down cuz of lack of cooperation.




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My sister has a rottieX that was abused and not socialized for the first year and a half of his life... He LOVES other dogs to the point that he will pull, jump, bark, growl, and in general go crazy if he's on leash and sees another dog. He is big and STRONG, and the only thing that lets us keep control over him is a halti. We had the same problem too, when he realized that he could back out of it. So we still use the halti along with a choke chain, and clip the leash onto the choke chain and the halti at the same time. So when he tries to pull back, the choke chain prevents him from slipping out, and even if he did, he'd still be attatched to the leash by the choke chain. If your dog is one that consistently pulls, I wouldn't reccomend getting a pinch collar since they're meant to be used for a quick correction and then let the leash go slack.

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Hi CarolAnn,


First, two comments on the Halti - 1) if Carson can get out of it, then it isn't fitted properly to him. 2) I prefer the no-pull harnesses over the head halters. The reason being is that a dog who suddenly pulls can injure his neck if wearing a head halter. It is the same problem as giving leash corrections while wearing a halter. DANGEROUS. You can get EasyWalks by Premier, Sense-bles, or you can even make your own Cahill for very little money. PM us at stewardrobbins@comcast.net and I can send you directions. I don't recommend pinch collars, especially for Border Collies as they are sensitive. ( By sensitive I do NOT mean fearful. )


Carson's FHO was just exactly one week before Molly's! She, too, is sometimes bunny hopping, mostly when she is tired. Her muscle mass in that leg was non-existant at the time of surgery and is still building up. It is fine to do obedience training with Carson at this point. Some of the bunny hopping is just habit and seems to be less and less often. One thing you need to do when you begin training is to alter your perceptions of Carson's behavior. He is not refusing to cooperate with you! He just sees, hears, or smells something so intriguing that you are taking second place. This is absolutely normal behavior for a dog. And a Border Collie's attention is often triggered by motion. They are herding dogs, and herding behavior is based on prey behavior.


If classes in your area are cost prohibitive, I would highly recommend a book called "Control Unleashed" by Leslie McDevitt. She devised this program for folks who wanted to do agility with their dogs but did not have enough control on them. As it turned out, the program has many other applications, and is just a fantastic all-round foundation program for obedience. It begins with attention (on you) and proceeds from there. She describes the entire program so folks can do it themselves if there is no access to classes. Believe me, it really works. I have used it. I don't always have to use a no pull harness on Ruby, my red tri, and she was much worse than Carson from the sound of it. We DO have bad days, of course, usually the ones where a squirrel runs right in front of us right after we have arrived at the park! So I go prepared for anything.


If you decide to take the "do it yourself" route, do give Carson opportunities to socialize with other people and other dogs as often as you can. Going to classes does add a dimension to a dog's development that is very important. So you have to make efforts in this area, like a home-schooling Mom does, so that social development continues as well as the learning.


Good luck and keep us posted on Carson's progress.


Kathy Robbins

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