Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
Kennedy

Rescued in a big city.

Recommended Posts

Hi Everyone, 

About 2 1/2 months ago I accidentally adopted a 50% border collie mix ( peep that pic she is really cute) Ellington woods or Ellie for short. I say accidentally because I really just went to the shelter to donate items and saw that they were going to put her down. So I left with her and didn't have time to think my actions through all the way, emotions took over.  I grew up fostering/ raising German shepherds so thought I could handle a dog with some drive. I was told she was about 4-5 years old at the time, while that was a lie my vet thinks she is more along the lines of 12-18 months. He thinks she was so shut down at the shelter she didn't show her true age, I wasn't really prepared for a puppy but I knew I wasn't giving her back now! Over the past 2 months, we have gone to a professional for leash reactivity and I am wondering if it gets any better with age or time. We are really having our ups and downs with this and she gets worked up and barks and lunges at some people and most dogs if I am not careful and managing her behavior. I have seen so much progress but she is still having outbursts( mostly strangers and other dogs) and I am wondering if this will ever go away?

To give you an idea of Ellies lifestyle/ routine /what we do to manage. We currently live in an apt a little outside a major city but still a busy area(  working on moving just waiting for my lease to be up). I take her out every morning for an hour of fetch with a chuck-it in an off-leash dog area right in front of my apt. She does great off leash there and doesn't go after other dogs. I go to work Monday Tuesday( she goes to a doggie daycare/group day training class from 7am-5pm on Tuesdays)  Thursday and for a couple hours on Friday. When I get home from work we normally do a quick potty break, it is just to busy outside for her to not react at this time for a long walk. I then take her upstairs where we do some training for about an hour ( mostly basics right now and impulse control). Then after it calms down outside we go outside for another 1-2  to run/play fetch/bike. When we do walk though she is pretty reactive and I work a lot on watch me and always reward with hotdogs with she walks by calmly. We do a lot of engage and disengage where if she looks and somthing and calmly looks back to be she gets treats. And if it is not another dog of person scaring her (example those bird scooters) I ask her what is it and when she smells it and comes back gets treats. We try to keep the walks short and just focus on training and trying to keep it fun. 

 

Am I missing any that I could be doing more to help her along? Or is she a dog that just should not live in the city ?She is such a sweet dog to me and the people that know her I would just love for everyone to see the smart sweet side of her. ( or at least for her to not try to eat them)

 

37145298_1719869691382145_2756209736524234752_n.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm certainly not as expert as some of the other contributors here, but I have to wonder if you might not actually be giving her a little too much activity/exercise which may be contributing to her hyperactivity and lunging, etc. Just a thought. Of course all dogs have their own personalities and maybe you happened to fall upon one who just doesn't have an "off switch". Whatever the case may be, I offer you the praise you deserve for rescuing her cute little face, and wish you the best of luck and a long happy life together. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have any specific advice for you, other than to be patient.   You seem to have a good approach to "civilizing" Ellie, and it sounds to me more like she needs more time to grow up and maybe more time to feel more secure that she has you as a safe harbor forever and always than that she is incorrigible.   I had a GREAT dog a couple decades ago that I got as a 2 month old from a breeder who went to great lengths to socialize her very young puppies.  I continued to socialize him and introduce him to all kinds of experiences from day 1.  I thought I was doing really well with him, and enrolled him in obedience training classes when he was about 8 months old. He was so well socialized that I assumed he would be the star of the class and I would be the envy of all the other enrollees.  For the next 10 weeks while all the other folks were teaching their pups loose leash walking and sits and stays and to sit quietly for petting by other people, I stayed in the corner of the room with my obnoxious adolescent just trying to get him to look at me for one f...ing second so I could reward him for something, anything. Then I signed up for another 10 weeks, and by the end of that second session I could get him to hold a sit stay for maybe 10 seconds while the rest of the class worked around us on off leash heeling and  off leash recalls across the 60 ft room.    

And then he grew up.   He became my absolutely unflappable, totally dependable working partner.  He'd help me with chores around my little hobby farm in the morning, go for walks through the fields or along city streets with equal calm and ease, visit nursing homes, demo duck herding at the fair and and then stroll casually down the midway with me afterwards, visit my biology lectures  with 100 students where I would use him and a couple other dogs to illustrate Mendelian inheritance of coat color ....   He did everything, and he was rock solid about all of it.  Just took a while for those last few synapses in his brain to hook up.

Every dog is an individual, so I surely can't guarantee that your Ellie (who is gorgeous by the way) will outgrow every issue.  But, your description of her now makes her sound like a paragon of virtue and stability compared to what my heart dog was between the ages of 8 months and almost 2 years old.  So, patience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've also got an unintended rescue (I was naieve, my first dog, got him off the classifieds and didn't recognize the signs that he was a rescue and not a "normal" dog) and live in the city. After going through numerous online forums and in person trainers and books I've settled in with a behaviorist that I love working with.  So, maybe check in with a behaviorist for some insight and tweaks to your current routine and training plan? 

And, I think Hooper2 may be on to something. ☺️

It sounds like you're doing great work. If you are around to offer updates as time wears on, I'm excited to hear how things develop!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Caesg I will give updates cause I think it might help me mentally through this! I talked to her trainer and actually ended up buying her a doggie treadmill, which she adores. That way she can work off some energy indoors in a less stressful environment and when we are outside we can really focus on her reactivity and begin to address it in shorter spans of time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reactivity in border collies and all herding breeds is very common, look for a book called "controlled unleashed" by Leslie mcdervitt, you want the puppy edition, same material just written better. 

Border collies thrive on mental stimulation, the best advice I read when I also accidentally fell in love with a pretty face at a shelter, was that you get the dog you create, if they get 2 hours of intensive activity every day then that is what they need, if they get a leisurely walk for 40 minutes they will be happy with that. Dogs relax with a walk, let them sniff, smell and pee at their speed, if you spend the same time playing ball, they get amped up and don't relax. The best example is one of my dogs who was 3 when we got him and had never really been made to think, 10 minutes of learning a trick would exhaust him, while he could hike all day. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, alligande said:

Reactivity in border collies and all herding breeds is very common, look for a book called "controlled unleashed" by Leslie mcdervitt, you want the puppy edition, same material just written better. 

Border collies thrive on mental stimulation, the best advice I read when I also accidentally fell in love with a pretty face at a shelter, was that you get the dog you create, if they get 2 hours of intensive activity every day then that is what they need, if they get a leisurely walk for 40 minutes they will be happy with that.

Agree with both points.

Learn techniques for calming your dog vs. feeding the need for excessive exercise.  A rehab vet that I used told me about a client of hers that had an over-the-top hyper dog (more hyper than my young hyper dog at the time) who HAD to be quiet after a surgery and during rehab. The owner taught the dog to lie in a curled position. This is a common position dogs use for sleeping. And when the dog assumed the position, it did calm down.

Of course, all dogs need some exercise. Some more than others, but many dogs don't need as much exercise as some people think. Of course, if you are conditioning your dog to pull a sled in the Iditarod or run a double lift at the National Finals, the exercise requirements are higher since you are conditioning the dog for a specific purpose. Being fair to the dog and you, what are your goals for your lifestyle with your dog and work towards that. i.e. don't let the dog drive the decision for unfocused, mind-numbing exercise. Trick training is great mental stimulation and very tiring for the dog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Caesg said:

didn't recognize the signs that he was a rescue and not a "normal" dog) and live in the city. ☺️

 

A lot of "normal" dogs end up in rescue through no fault of their own - divorce, allergies, military service, etc.  Just sayin'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, gcv-border said:

A lot of "normal" dogs end up in rescue through no fault of their own - divorce, allergies, military service, etc.  Just sayin'.

Exactly the point I was going to make. Rescue dogs are not abnormal. Any and all kinds of dogs end up in rescue for any and all kinds of reasons. By no means  all, or even most, of them have issues or problems. Most, in fact, are fine dogs who just need the right home where they will be appreciated. Some are in rescue because they got lost; some because the owner died. Please don't make assumptions about them. I was a foster home for border collie rescue for many years, and have adopted rescue border collies, as have many others on this forum, and we can all attest through experience that there is no assumption that should be made concerning rescue dogs as a whole.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

2 1/2 months isn't that long for a dog.  I noticed a real difference with Lucky at the 1 year of adoption anniversary with him - he calmed down noticeably.  Then we took him on  a trip to see my dad down south, then came back home and he seemed like a different dog.  I think all of the times before he'd gone on long trips he'd ended up living somewhere else, so he realized he was home!  Basically, give her some time to settle in.  He also changed a lot when he turned 2.   Lucky is leash reactive and will probably always be that way - we realize that and have a way to manage it when we do run into other dogs.  It can still be nerve-wracking sometimes when it does happen though. 

I also agree that you may be giving her too much exercise/stimulation. Lucky cut his carpal pad and we had to stop playing fetch with him for 2 months while it healed, and he actually calmed down during that time.   Luckily we have him trained now to stay in our yard and we can let him off leash when we are outside with him.  He loves just poking/sniffing around - not real 'activity' but just being a dog.  I know that's hard in the city, but maybe you can find a place you can let her off leash without other dogs that can become a regular place where she feels comfortable to explore and sniff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/23/2018 at 11:12 AM, gcv-border said:

A lot of "normal" dogs end up in rescue through no fault of their own - divorce, allergies, military service, etc.  Just sayin'.

Yes! Where's the like button?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, LuckytheDog said:

2 1/2 months isn't that long for a dog. 

And this.

I'm not sure where the 2 week honeymoon period notion came from, but it's a very idealized length of time. There's a Karen Pryor Academy faculty member near me who has a special interest in working with rescues. He says you should count on at least 3 months for a new dog to settle in. The last dog I adopted as an adult seemed to adjust pretty quickly, but he was still offering new, more confident behaviors for a full 6 months after I adopted him, so there was obviously still adjustment going on for some time.

Leash reactivity does not have to be a lifelong issue, or at least not to the degree you're seeing it now. Look into the Look at That (LAT) protocol first introduced by Leslie McDevitt (this is the correct spelling of her name). But there are plenty of other trainers using it and lots of info and videos about it on the web.

And, yeah. Might be a good idea to reassess the exercise.

Best wishes moving forward.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone! I am reducing her exercise and am just gonna keep trucking on with the training and confidence building. Hopefully in a couple months, a year, however long we will see a big difference :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...