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i had to make some difficult choices when i adopted my rescue b.c. nova., as we also have a cat. one was nova had to sleep in a crate. that was hard because i've never done that before and the other dogs don't sleep in crates. at night tho, she'll look for the cat or if she hears me shifting in bed, she'll come around and keep putting her face in my face. for the sake of getting any sleep, she has to be crated. our cat rarely sleeps in our room, nighttime is hunting time, but if she does wander in, the crate keeps nova nice and calm.

for a long time, if nova became obsessed with the cat, circling and staring, we would put her on a leash. i would either tie her to me or a chair so she couldn't obsess. the cat is very dog savvy so she usually manages to sleep through most of her antics!

as for training, there's nothing like a good class or 2. there is no way you can get any reliable training done at a dog park. first, a nice positve reinforcement obedience class, then move on to something more challenging like rally or agility. not only do the classes occupy the mind and body, but they build a beautiful bond between you and the dog. i also try to train around the house. keep a few small treats on you. ask for a sit or a down around he house. practice heeling in a hallway. train a trick or new command. just keep it short and spontaneous. 5 min here and there. only when i got her very reliable on recall and lie down, did i try it at the dog park. and once again, i always bring treats. she still gets very excited and herds the dogs, but i'm able to control it now. tho if the other dog doesn't mind (usually a lab) i let her do it to wear her out. we practice our lie downs, that'll do's and here's. at home and at agilty, our (my) preferred sport (we also sheep herd and dabble at rally) i use fabulous treats- chicken, cheese, hot dogs, etc, this really keeps them focused on me and does translate later down the line to lesser or no treats when needed. good luck.

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It is a little frstrating at night when she's on my bed (which Archie hates), and he's spending the whole night running around looking at her and she's jumping and hissing if she gets too close. But it's getting slowly better (I'm actually sleeping through the night now).

 

 

Woops, I missed your other post. Have you considered crating Archie at night? I know it may seem unfair, but if he's up all night haunting the cat, he's NOT learning how to leave her alone. He can't get the message that daytimes when you're watching he must behave, but at night when you're asleep anything goes. Consistency is the key for any training. The same rules must apply all the time. No kitty means no kitty, daytime or dark. It may take crating for a little while to get him un-tracked from his nocturnal fixation, but it would simplify the message you need to give him.

 

Best of luck!

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

P.S.

I second that dog parks are not a good place for any training. There are far, far too many distractions. It'd be like trying to teach a kid math at Disneyland! It would probably be better to work on his social skills in more controlled settings, at dog classes or among dog-savvy friends, before you attempt him at a dog park.

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Ok, I guess I must not have been very clear in my post. I'm not trying to train him at the dog park - when I'm working on him learning something it's at home with few distractions. However, I do take him to dog parks. While there, it's very hard to get his attention and he simply won't come when I call him if there are other dogs around that he's interested in. I need some help and advice correcting this, since it's important that he always responds to me, whether he's having fun with another dog or not.

 

As for crating him at night, that will be my last resort. He is getting better about not harassing the cat at night, and he does respond to me when I tell him to stop, it's just that he waits about thirty seconds before going back to her. Now, he can sleep for 5-6 hours without pestering her, but it's usually around 5 or 5:30 in the morning that his pent up energy gets to be too much. Also, I never let him just sit and stare at her closely. If he's close to her, I correct him, since getting that close and staring at her is him obviously building up his prey drive.

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Ok, I guess I must not have been very clear in my post. I'm not trying to train him at the dog park - when I'm working on him learning something it's at home with few distractions. However, I do take him to dog parks. While there, it's very hard to get his attention and he simply won't come when I call him if there are other dogs around that he's interested in. I need some help and advice correcting this, since it's important that he always responds to me, whether he's having fun with another dog or not.

 

I understand what you're saying, but these dogs are so smart that even when you aren't training them, you ARE, you know what I mean? :D

 

Something that really helped my recall training was a bit of advice someone gave. I forget who said this, but they had the metaphor that a solid command is solid because you have a lot of money in the bank on that command. Meaning, for every time you give the command and the dog executes it successfully, it's like putting a dollar in the bank. When you have lots of "money" in the bank, the dog is likely to always perofrm the command. When you don't have much "money" in the bank, the may or may not perform the command. When you have no money in the bank, the dog is not going to perform the command, at least without an immediate reason to do so, i.e. treats, rewards, pressure, or correction.

 

So, practice makes perfect in training, because as you practice the command you are training you build up your "bank" - really just a store of experience. But if the dog DOESN'T do what you ask, like if he blows off a recall, it's like subtracting $10 from the bank - much more impactful than each individual success.

 

Keeping this in mind, I changed my recall command, figuring it was kind of ruined - it was fine in my house but had become associated with too many blown recalls in medium or high distraction situations. Then, I became SUPER protective of my new recall for a few months, and when he was off leash, only called him when I was pretty darn sure he would come.

 

I know this sounds like exactly what you DON'T want, as you've said that it's really important to you that he comes no matter what he's doing. You'll get there eventually, but your description indicates you're not there yet! Keep working on the recall every day in higher and higher distraction situations. In situations like the dog park, when you know he's not likely to come to a command, either go get him or try running away while clapping/whistling and calling his name until he chases you, like a game. Wait until he is more tired, done with playing, and has run himself out there before giving the formal recall, if you really want to give it. It he blows it, you'll have to walk him down - no smiles or yelling, just walking walking walking until he lets you get a hold of him, which could take a very long time but is effective at getting the message across that a blown recall doesn't lead to anything fun and doesn't work in the long run anyway. In this case realize you've made a "withdrawal" - which is not the end of the world but requires you do a good amount of practice somewhere else where he can be successful to build up your account on that command again. Just keep telling yourself it will happen - you need time to install this command successfully and make it long-term reliable, plus build your relationship together.

 

This is what worked for us. Eventually, I got to the point where he was solid enough with even high distractions that I would correct him with a "HEY" if he looked like he was maybe going to blow me off, but I didn't start that until I was sure he knew the command and I knew he should be capable of dealing with the distraction at hand - you could try that at the dog park but right now I'm not sure it'll make him want to come at all, and may really damage your recall. Recalls are very tricky since the dog has the power to make the decision whether to obey or not, so in my mind it was all about convincing him over time coming to me was the best thing in the world, and not coming was not an option. That took time. Now mine comes with a very, very solid recall, unless he thinks his sheep are getting away :rolleyes: Good luck, thank you for rescuing this guy - he is very cute!

 

ETA -one last piece of advice, when you are able to call him away from other dogs, reward him by immediately releasing him to go back and play. Let him realize coming to you doesn't always mean the fun's over. That seems to help a lot!

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ETA -one last piece of advice, when you are able to call him away from other dogs, reward him by immediately releasing him to go back and play. Let him realize coming to you doesn't always mean the fun's over. That seems to help a lot!

 

Amen!

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Ooky, that's a lot of really great advice, thank you for taking the time.

 

I have been trying to make sure that if I call him with other dogs around that it's not always to leash him up to leave - I think that's part of what he thinks is going to happen.

 

I also think it's just a much longer bonding process than I had expected, especially given my past experiences with dogs. Archie's just taking a lot longer to trust and understand me. Part of that it probably my lack of skill with him, I admit. He definitely is leagues better now than he was when I first got him. That first month was rough.

 

Today I took him to the park again, this time to a large park with off-leash hours so there are just dozens and dozens of dogs. He loves it, because wherever he looks there's always one or more dogs he can chase after and try to herd. When they get tired, he finds another set. It's a great way for him to get tired out, even if it takes five or six times longer than every other dog there :rolleyes:

 

I called him some, but was careful not to call him if I was sure he'd ignore me. I tried to make eye contact with him before I did, as well, which seemed to help. I also got him to stop a few times and just pet him and then let him get back to running so that he didn't associate me as always just wanting to leash him up.

 

He's ignoring the cat more and more at home, but generally gets antsy if he can't at least see her. The same is true with me, actually - he dislikes not being able to see or get to me as well. Today while cleaning he was sleeping and I tried closing the door to the room I was in. He instantly got up and came over and tried to get in - he knows who's in his house and needs to make sure we're all where we're supposed to be. I just wish he's sleep later, but I suppose that's always going to be a pipe dream.

 

Any more suggestions for mentally-engaging indoor games I can teach him?

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Oh, one more thing! I met another BC owner at the park the other day, and she passed along two great tidbits:

 

1. There may be days where you feel like you made a mistake getting a BC, but don't ever believe it for a second. You have as much to learn as he does, and it takes time.

2. Doing some actual herding will do you both a lot of good.

 

She told me she used to go up to a farm in CT that had sheep and ducks, but that the woman running it doesn't do it any more. I'm in NYC and can travel easily to anywhere within an hour or two - does anyone have any suggestions about where I might go for something like that?

 

Thanks again for all your help

 

EDIT:

 

Rather than posting for the third time in a row, I thought I'd just make an edit :rolleyes:

 

Last night I tried something a little new. After giving Archie a bath, I left his collar off for the evening, thinking that maybe not having the sound the jingling as he runs around the bed at night would at least help me sleep. Turns out, it helped everyone. Seven was much less nervous throughout the night without the sound of Archie's jingling. Archie did his usually 10 minutes of checking on us in bed, then just laid down and went to sleep because there was nothing to worry about. Since Seven wasn't fighting back and hissing at him (much), there was just a lot less activity.

 

They were both up at 6am anyway, but that's just going to happen. He's full of energy, and she's hungry and annoyed and that's just going to mean some morning chaos, I think. But otherwise, it was one of the more relaxed nights we've had, which I think is a great sign.

 

Still working with Archie responding with other dogs around, but that's just going to take time, I think.

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Sounds like things are going really great with bonding and getting everyone used to one another! And the tags jingling is a good thing to stop - it really does contribute to edginess in my experience. I taped my dog's tags together with duct tape.

 

ETA Thanks, Gloria!

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