Jump to content
BC Boards
Lenie

Styles of training

Recommended Posts

 Lottie is in a class right now in which the trainer keeps telling me that I need to be the alpha and teach her that I'm the alpha and that Lottie has an "alpha personality". I don't claim to be very experienced in dog training, but I was under the impression that the research on training methods shows that teaching the dog who is "alpha" is not effective and the preferred method of training is now positive reinforcement. I may be opening a can of worms here, but any thoughts on that?

I also think (again, this trainer has far more experience than I do!) that she may be misinterpreting Lottie's behavior as Lottie trying to be in charge whereas to me Lottie is stressed out because she gets anxious around other people and dogs and she's getting distracted and overwhelmed by everything that is happening all at once with so many other people working with their dogs. At home, Lottie is very focused and obeys the commands and enjoys training. She seems to love learning new things that earn her cookies, her tail is always up, and you can just see her little brain working trying to figure out what new exciting thing we are doing today that gets her the much loved cookies. In class, her tail is down, she occasionally relaxes enough to lie down calmly beside the handler, but she's quick to shy away or be watching the person next to her (I imagine to make sure they aren't coming to "get" her!). She's also only six months old so she's just a puppy! 

My fiancé has been her handler in class because I thought it might help them work together better, but the trainer asked me to work with Lottie last night instead to see how she is with me. Lottie did better with me (I'm with her practically 24/7 and her primary handler) but she was still anxious and she acts flighty. The trainer says it's because she wants to herd something--like the other dogs--and if I love Lottie then I will get her some sheep.

I guess I'm asking if I should trust the trainer who has far more experience than I do with dogs or if I should go with my gut. My gut says this class isn't good for Lottie because it's too much for her to handle right now--learning new commands while also being anxious about the new people, dogs, and environment. My gut also says that Lottie isn't an alpha personality and she's too sensitive to respond well to that style of training. 

But the trainer is respected in this area and has been training dogs and teaching classes for many years. Since the members of this board are probably more familiar with border collies and their specific quirks, I thought I'd ask here.

Also including a photo of Lottie because I like to show her off every chance I get! ;) 

Thanks everyone!

fullsizeoutput_870.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Did the trainer explain to you why she thinks Lottie is alpha? Is it just because she is not responding to commands? Or is it her body language?

I don't know what to think about "alpha personality". I don't know much about it. I think personalities are more complex than that. 
Sure, some dogs may need a little more convincing that you can be a trusted leader and some are easier to persuade. Anyway, I am not sure I can explain my thoughts on this very well. 

What you describe reminded me of when I took my dog Molly on the train with me. I didn't realise she had never been on a train before (she used to be my mother's dog). She normally is the perfectly trained dog, but on the platform she was very distracted, not paying attention, looking at everything and everyone but me. I think it was the crowd and the noise and all the different smells she just wasn't used to. So I think your gut might just be right :)  if Lottie is enthusiastic while training at home then I think it might be the environment that is too much. 

I would ask the trainer to explain why she thinks what she thinks. That way you can do a little research and ask around and see if maybe her way of thinking is outdated, or that there is some truth in it. Although I have a feeling your gut is right, it never hurts to make sure.

I can see why you want to show Lottie off, she is a very nice looking dog! ;) 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go with your gut. The single comment that sends a warning flag up for me is the instructor saying that 'Lottie is nervous because she wants to herd something and that if I love her I will get her some sheep.' IMO, utter hogwash.

If Lottie is doing well at home, responding well to training and eager to learn, then the evidence is right in front of you ~ she's nervous/anxious in this new environment and can't focus with all that's going on. I'd ask the trainer if Fiance could simply take Lottie off to one side and quietly work with Lottie learning to focus on him while the others are working with the instructor. If the instructor won't allow it and insists on doing it her way, I'd seriously consider leaving the class.

You don't say what kind of life you have at home. Are you out in the country where it's quiet, or in a suburb or city? If it's either of the latter 2, you could ask Fiance to start walking Lottie and working with her on the walks. Asking her to sit and look at him when a car goes by, or there's a loud noise in the distance, etc., will go a long way towards strengthening their bond AND give her a second human to trust.

I've got a now 11 yr old bc that came from a working background, got him when he was about 3. It took a little ingenuity to get him used to suburbia, but it really wasn't that difficult. He's got a lovely personality, shows only normal border collie eccentricities, and has several human friends who love him. He shows no ill effects from 'not having his own sheep'. I take him to outdoor restaurants that allow dogs and visit other types of dog friendly locales as well. If he's suffering at all, he hides it very well.

Enjoy your girl and leave that instructor behind.

Ruth & Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Flora & Molly said:

Did the trainer explain to you why she thinks Lottie is alpha? Is it just because she is not responding to commands? Or is it her body language?

I don't know what to think about "alpha personality". I don't know much about it. I think personalities are more complex than that. 
Sure, some dogs may need a little more convincing that you can be a trusted leader and some are easier to persuade. Anyway, I am not sure I can explain my thoughts on this very well. 

What you describe reminded me of when I took my dog Molly on the train with me. I didn't realise she had never been on a train before (she used to be my mother's dog). She normally is the perfectly trained dog, but on the platform she was very distracted, not paying attention, looking at everything and everyone but me. I think it was the crowd and the noise and all the different smells she just wasn't used to. So I think your gut might just be right :)  if Lottie is enthusiastic while training at home then I think it might be the environment that is too much. 

I would ask the trainer to explain why she thinks what she thinks. That way you can do a little research and ask around and see if maybe her way of thinking is outdated, or that there is some truth in it. Although I have a feeling your gut is right, it never hurts to make sure.

I can see why you want to show Lottie off, she is a very nice looking dog! ;) 

 

She seems to think Lottie is trying to be in charge by not listening to her handler and often pulling on the leash to go somewhere else. Loose leash walking is definitely something that Lottie struggles with--if she wants to sniff something she will pull to go sniff it but that's my fault because I haven't really focused on loose leash walking. That's a failure on my part but the trainer appears to think that Lottie doesn't view us as the alpha of the pack and therefore isn't listening.

Molly's train experience sounds exactly like Lottie in class! I can almost see her brain just going into overload trying to listen to the command, wanting the cookie, but the trainer (AKA scary person) is walking towards her, there's a strange dog beside her, this spot on the floor is where a puppy peed in the last class, why are the other people in the room calling to their dogs, what is happening! She seems more overwhelmed and confused than rebellious to me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, urge to herd said:

Go with your gut. The single comment that sends a warning flag up for me is the instructor saying that 'Lottie is nervous because she wants to herd something and that if I love her I will get her some sheep.' IMO, utter hogwash.

If Lottie is doing well at home, responding well to training and eager to learn, then the evidence is right in front of you ~ she's nervous/anxious in this new environment and can't focus with all that's going on. I'd ask the trainer if Fiance could simply take Lottie off to one side and quietly work with Lottie learning to focus on him while the others are working with the instructor. If the instructor won't allow it and insists on doing it her way, I'd seriously consider leaving the class.

You don't say what kind of life you have at home. Are you out in the country where it's quiet, or in a suburb or city? If it's either of the latter 2, you could ask Fiance to start walking Lottie and working with her on the walks. Asking her to sit and look at him when a car goes by, or there's a loud noise in the distance, etc., will go a long way towards strengthening their bond AND give her a second human to trust.

I've got a now 11 yr old bc that came from a working background, got him when he was about 3. It took a little ingenuity to get him used to suburbia, but it really wasn't that difficult. He's got a lovely personality, shows only normal border collie eccentricities, and has several human friends who love him. He shows no ill effects from 'not having his own sheep'. I take him to outdoor restaurants that allow dogs and visit other types of dog friendly locales as well. If he's suffering at all, he hides it very well.

Enjoy your girl and leave that instructor behind.

Ruth & Gibbs

I live in a quiet neighborhood and we have a large fenced in backyard. I have started getting my fiancé to walk her and she is doing better at listening to him, but she shows a preference for me because I am with her so much. I was hoping with the class that he would learn how to handle her better and enjoy it, but I think he's getting a little frustrated in class because she is being such a handful. 

Lottie does have a lot of drive and comes from a strong working line. She came straight off a working farm where her parents, grandparents, etc. all worked cattle. But she has not been around livestock since she was six weeks old so she doesn't know what she is missing. ;) I'm fortunate to work from home so we get to take lots of breaks to play and train during the day and I think I'm doing a good job of keeping her busy. She has become obsessed with tennis balls and loves to chase them. That is her favorite thing to do! I also take her anywhere that is dog friendly and I actually don't go many places that aren't. We have lots of trails to hike and she enjoys that as well. I think she's happy! 

I had intended to do agility with her once she gets older but after going to the local training club (where we are taking the class) I'm just not sure Lottie and I care much for the social part of it and I think I'd do better teaching her tricks at home rather than taking her to the club to train agility and/or competing. It's not that she hasn't been socialized, she just doesn't like people she doesn't know getting close to her or trying to pet her and I don't blame her! :) I think it's more personality than training at this point and I think she will always be standoffish with people she doesn't know. I think that's reasonable and I'm not worried about it.

She is such a joy to work with and the most responsive and intelligent dog I've ever had. To be honest, that class has me forgetting that and if I can't enjoy or be enthusiastic about the class, I can't expect her to! Actually, one of the other people in the class was asking me last night if I thought the instructor enjoyed teaching because she doesn't act like she even wants to be teaching the class! I just feel a little like maybe I should stay in the class because maybe the instructor really does know better and could help with Lottie's training. I don't want to assume that I know best and potentially miss out on a good experience for Lottie.

Thanks for the advice! It's much appreciated! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Lenie said:

She is such a joy to work with and the most responsive and intelligent dog I've ever had. To be honest, that class has me forgetting that and if I can't enjoy or be enthusiastic about the class, I can't expect her to!

I think that really says it all. Learning should be fun for both you and your dog. It sounds like it just isn't the right fit.
You are asking all the right questions and I completely understand that it is difficult to tell if you're being stubborn of if you are absolutely right. I know I have had moments like that.
From what you said I think you and Lottie have a great bond at home so I really don't believe she is "blowing you off" at class. I think urge to herd's advice is really good: let Lottie become accustomed to the class environment. Any good trainer should allow you to work slowly on something like that.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My money is on your gut. I think your comments about your dog are more insightful than the trainer’s, irrespective of how many years your trainer has been in the business. Trust your gut.

Also, great shot of your dog. She is lovely!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our boys behaviour was very similar in the puppy classes we started when he was 3 months old. All the other dogs were far more 'ploddy' than our boy, happy to be lured by treats and after numerous repetitions were on the way to doing whatever they were meant to. Our boy had no focus, was dragging us all over the place on the lead and couldn't stay still for more than 2 seconds. I found it embarrassing having such a 'badly behaved' puppy compared to everyone else, at home he could already do everything the class were trying to teach plus more. I wanted to continue the classes, to go all the way through obedience then agility and then whatever other classes we could do but after taking advice from here did not immediately book onto the next course. Instead we enjoyed that hour walking loose and playing (in a safe place) and went home happy and relaxed instead of stressed.

I also thought the poor leash walking was my fault. Whenever we took him to new places on the lead he would tug as hard as he could, was deaf to our voices. He would try to grab the lead in his mouth or jump and bite at our hands, it was mostly easier to pick him up and carry him. Someone commented to me that it was because he 'wanted to be in control of me', but it didn't sit right with me. So I practiced at home and found he could do very nice leash walking, then I stepped out the front door and when we got to the end of the path the tugging and panting and grabbing started again and I realised it was not disobedience or bad behaviour or poor leash training, but his reaction to being in a new area and not feeling safe. So we practiced up and down our path, going one or two steps further each time. Now we can walk ten minutes to our local park and back without the tugging. And we're practicing in new places, very slowly and calmly with lots of praise and rewards.

Our boy was way too over stimulated in the puppy class. Now we're learning together what things are exciting and how to manage ourselves. We will get back to classes, but not until we have better learnt how to focus and not be over-stimulated by everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, Lenie said:

Lottie does have a lot of drive and comes from a strong working line. She came straight off a working farm where her parents, grandparents, etc. all worked cattle. But she has not been around livestock since she was six weeks old so she doesn't know what she is missing. 

My current guy is from good working lines, as was my departed Buzz. Both had sheep dog training. Neither had the enthusiasm for it that their previous owners needed. From what I've read on these boards and a couple other places, good working lines are no guarantee of a love or even an ability for stock work.

Gibbs is sort of reserved, but will warm up with a little effort from dog savvy humans. Again, this is pretty common in border collies. Buzz fell in love with every single human he ever met. Except toddlers. Toddlers sent him running away. Samantha, my first bc, LOVED kids, any size at all. They're all different.

My point is genetics is no guarantee of character, ability, or drive. Not in humans, nor in 4 legged beasties either. From your description, Lottie likes to learn, is well-bonded to you and is a young, somewhat socially shy/anxious dog. That's not uncommon at all in border collies. It sounds like she is bonded to you and likes working with you. That's a great place to start and build a strong, healthy bond from. 

The process is up and down, like sooo many things in life. 

Ruth & Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah - this is why I don’t like puppy classes and I won’t be taking our pup to one. Unless you find an amazing trainer it can be a **** show. 

A neighbour of mine was extolling the virtues of our local class and criticising me for not taking my pup to learn recall. ‘It’s so you can teach him recall properly’ he said. Well I know how to teach him but also know that he’s not ready to be off leash yet as his recall is unreliable and I refuse to be rushed in this regard.  

Anyhow, this neighbour then tried to get his perfectly trained dog to sit and of course the dog wouldn’t (probably because he only behaved in class) and then the guy was shoving his butt down in frustration. It was soooo tempting to say to him ‘you should take him to puppy classes so they can teach you how to get him to sit’ hahaha! 

Anyhow, sounds like the guy at your class is talking ********!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My six month old is a fantastic wee dog. Loves meeting new dogs and people and thinks everyone in the world is there to pay him attention. BUT at the same time simple things can make him back off and look to me for guidance. He always drops down and waits for other dogs to get close before greeting them and if people approach too fast he backs off. After a couple of seconds he usually is happy to meet all.

We live in an urban area so I only let him off leash when we are well away from traffic. He will obey commands and unless really distracted will come back when called without problem. I know that at six months although he responds to commands it will be quite a while before his responses become solid. He is a puppy and needs to play and feel secure in his environment. It took many hours of walking along busy roads for him to stop jumping every time a car passed but now pays little attention to them.

I did consider Puppy classes for him but then thought with all the other dogs and people around his poor little brain would overload and he is better learning at our own pace. At six months I think it is too early to be tagging puppies with personality labels and your trainer is not showing good sense.

Best of luck with your pup and enjoy

Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this sounds strange on a board dedicated to working border collies, but if you want to socialize your puppy, take him to a beginning conformation class if you can find one.  Those classes tend to be far less chaotic than your typical puppy class, they emphasize having the puppy learn to focus on you and ignore the other puppies, teaching the puppy to calmly accept a stranger approaching and gently running their hands all over the pup (including very private places on the males ;-) ),  and on having your puppy "gait" nicely on leash.  All useful puppy skills without all the alpha nonsense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Conformation class...? Come on man :wacko:.

'Gait nicely on a leash', you mean thet ridiculous showwalk where the dog strains his neck to constantly stare at the face of his proud owner? No thanks.

And no strangers are allowed to run their hands all over my dog, let alone their " very private places":blink:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I reckon your gut is right, as someone else said the comment about needing sheep and herding is a big red flag. If you both enjoy training at home but not at class, then don't go, there are loads of online courses like Fenzi Academy to provide structure. Or watch Kikopup videos. Border collies are notoriously sensitive, my young dog is developing into a great agility dog _ at home_ in a competition environment he is stressed by all the activity plus the travel and sleeping in strange places. Every competition we go to he improves and shows a little more that he capable of. I am very patient, make sure he has success and don't ask to much of him. 

PS both my dogs have awful leash manners its just not something that is that important to me, as long as I can walk them I am happy, but they both know loads of agility skills and the youngest is developing some great running contacts because that is what is important to me.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/1/2018 at 4:21 PM, jami74 said:

I also thought the poor leash walking was my fault. Whenever we took him to new places on the lead he would tug as hard as he could, was deaf to our voices. He would try to grab the lead in his mouth or jump and bite at our hands, it was mostly easier to pick him up and carry him. Someone commented to me that it was because he 'wanted to be in control of me', but it didn't sit right with me. So I practiced at home and found he could do very nice leash walking, then I stepped out the front door and when we got to the end of the path the tugging and panting and grabbing started again and I realised it was not disobedience or bad behaviour or poor leash training, but his reaction to being in a new area and not feeling safe. So we practiced up and down our path, going one or two steps further each time. Now we can walk ten minutes to our local park and back without the tugging. And we're practicing in new places, very slowly and calmly with lots of praise and rewards.

This sounds familiar! I thought Lottie had bad leash manners because we hadn't worked much on it but she could be like your puppy. I'm going to try this with Lottie and see if she improves. Thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/1/2018 at 5:10 PM, urge to herd said:

My current guy is from good working lines, as was my departed Buzz. Both had sheep dog training. Neither had the enthusiasm for it that their previous owners needed. From what I've read on these boards and a couple other places, good working lines are no guarantee of a love or even an ability for stock work.

Gibbs is sort of reserved, but will warm up with a little effort from dog savvy humans. Again, this is pretty common in border collies. Buzz fell in love with every single human he ever met. Except toddlers. Toddlers sent him running away. Samantha, my first bc, LOVED kids, any size at all. They're all different.

My point is genetics is no guarantee of character, ability, or drive. Not in humans, nor in 4 legged beasties either. From your description, Lottie likes to learn, is well-bonded to you and is a young, somewhat socially shy/anxious dog. That's not uncommon at all in border collies. It sounds like she is bonded to you and likes working with you. That's a great place to start and build a strong, healthy bond from. 

The process is up and down, like sooo many things in life. 

Ruth & Gibbs

Yes, I'm not sure if Lottie would be good at it or not! Her littermate was kept on the farm to be trained to work and I keep meaning to call and see how her sister is doing and how similar she is to Lottie. More out of curiosity than anything because I really don't plan on training Lottie to work livestock. I had considered doing what you did--get a dog who hadn't been doing well as a working dog and needed a new home. Mostly because while I love puppies, I find adult dogs easier to live with! You don't say how old they were when you got them, but did you have any trouble getting them to bond with you?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/2/2018 at 5:08 AM, brihop said:

My six month old is a fantastic wee dog. Loves meeting new dogs and people and thinks everyone in the world is there to pay him attention. BUT at the same time simple things can make him back off and look to me for guidance. He always drops down and waits for other dogs to get close before greeting them and if people approach too fast he backs off. After a couple of seconds he usually is happy to meet all.

We live in an urban area so I only let him off leash when we are well away from traffic. He will obey commands and unless really distracted will come back when called without problem. I know that at six months although he responds to commands it will be quite a while before his responses become solid. He is a puppy and needs to play and feel secure in his environment. It took many hours of walking along busy roads for him to stop jumping every time a car passed but now pays little attention to them.

I did consider Puppy classes for him but then thought with all the other dogs and people around his poor little brain would overload and he is better learning at our own pace. At six months I think it is too early to be tagging puppies with personality labels and your trainer is not showing good sense.

Best of luck with your pup and enjoy

Brian

Did you work on the nervousness about cars by doing something or just walking? Lottie is a tad bit nervous but a couple times has lunged at a passing car and I'm not sure how to handle it. I want her to have a healthy fear of cars but I also don't want walking along a road to be a scary experience for her.

I wish I had thought puppy classes through like you did and not done the class! It's actually Lottie's second, but her first class she was the only dog who signed up (which is why I signed up for that class! :) ) so it was a very nice quiet class. Unfortunately, the trainer was a little young and inexperienced but we did learn a few things and Lottie had a safe area to get to know a new person. At the end of six weeks, Lottie still wouldn't let the trainer pet her though. 

Your puppy sounds wonderful! They are fun aren't they? Lottie keeps me busy and we've had lots of problems but I wouldn't trade her for anyone!

Share this post


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

'Gait nicely on a leash', you mean thet ridiculous showwalk where the dog strains his neck to constantly stare at the face of his proud owner? No thanks.

Ah, is that what they are trying to teach me in the class? I wondered! They are very particular about where the dog's head should be and that your dog is looking up at you and I thought it was very strange.

Share this post


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

I reckon your gut is right, as someone else said the comment about needing sheep and herding is a big red flag. If you both enjoy training at home but not at class, then don't go, there are loads of online courses like Fenzi Academy to provide structure. Or watch Kikopup videos. Border collies are notoriously sensitive, my young dog is developing into a great agility dog _ at home_ in a competition environment he is stressed by all the activity plus the travel and sleeping in strange places. Every competition we go to he improves and shows a little more that he capable of. I am very patient, make sure he has success and don't ask to much of him. 

PS both my dogs have awful leash manners its just not something that is that important to me, as long as I can walk them I am happy, but they both know loads of agility skills and the youngest is developing some great running contacts because that is what is important to me.

 

Thank you for the resources! They are much appreciated. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on and I hadn't come across those yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, Lenie said:

Did you work on the nervousness about cars by doing something or just walking? Lottie is a tad bit nervous but a couple times has lunged at a passing car and I'm not sure how to handle it. I want her to have a healthy fear of cars but I also don't want walking along a road to be a scary experience for her.

 

We taught ours to lie down for each passing car, bike and pushchair. As a precaution we step on his leash while he is in the lie down position and tell him to stay until the car passes. If he watches it without trying to get up he gets praise (and in the early days a treat). Once the car has passed we say ‘walk on’. This can get tiresome when a lot of cars drive by but we are in a burb. He’ll now ‘lie down’ automatically when he sees a car. He’s six months. We may reduce this command to cars that pass only on our side of the road as he gets more confident. 

It’s worth noting though that when we leave the trail to return home via the road he bites on the leash or scoops up mouthfuls of gravel - so ya- anxiety! I have found the best solution is to hold his scruff securely while he is sitting and I ‘chat’ to him in a calm voice. I then walk him close to heel to remind him that ‘I got this’ and then once I see his anxiety release I say ‘go sniff’. On days when he is tired I may have to repeat this a few times. 

When we walk only in the woods (zero vehicles) we have virtually no leash issues. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really wish people would let go of the useless dominance myth. Even Dr. L. David Mech, the wolf biologist who originally proposed it, has debunked it's usefulness in understanding wolves and has said it was never meant to apply to domesticated dogs.

So, understanding that the alpha paradigm is useless in understanding dog behavior and therefore training, my advice is to get your overstimulated and distracted pup out of this trainer's class and look for someone who's kept up with the science of behavior and the training techniques that have grown out of it. Not only will they be more effective, you'll have a much better relationship with your dog than if you set out to intimidate her into submission and maintain dominance over her. Look instead for someone who understands the mechanics of learning and motivation that encourage learning appropriate behaviors instead of trying to bully them away.

Wishing you and Lottie the best.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

Conformation class...? Come on man :wacko:.

'Gait nicely on a leash', you mean thet ridiculous showwalk where the dog strains his neck to constantly stare at the face of his proud owner? No thanks.

And no strangers are allowed to run their hands all over my dog, let alone their " very private places":blink:

Well, true, a lot of what's involved in training dogs for conformation is weird, and you do have to associate with people with weird priorities :rolleyes:.  .  The puppy socialization class I thought I wanted to sign up for was full, and the person at the dog club in charge of registering for classes suggested the conformation class the next hour as an alternative.  Maybe I just lucked out with my experience, but the instructor understood that I was not interested in actually showing in conformation (to put it mildly), and provided exactly what I described - an opportunity for my pup to practice focusing on me when around other young pups and practice in walking/trotting on a loose lead admidst lots of distraction while watching where they are going (the show walk you describe is often seen in obedience, not conformation).   And I have had to allow the veterinarian (who thankfully is pretty much a stranger to my usually very healthy dog) to run his  hands all over my dog, including looking at teeth and ears and palpating in private places and the veterinarian appreciated that my dog accepted that calmly.    

Yeah, the whole concept of actually showing in conformation is stupid, and I can understand someone not wanting to support it in any way, not even by attending a training class tailored for that activity.  But, I found the one I attended suited my goals  of giving my pup practice behaving calmly around a bunch of other dogs much better than a class where puppies are required to "play" with each other whether they want to or not, and much better than an obedience class where dogs are actually trained to crane their necks to stare at strings of cheese dangling from the handler's mouth.

Plus I got a lot of practice at exercising my eye-rolling muscles ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Lenie said:

Yes, I'm not sure if Lottie would be good at it or not! Her littermate was kept on the farm to be trained to work and I keep meaning to call and see how her sister is doing and how similar she is to Lottie. More out of curiosity than anything because I really don't plan on training Lottie to work livestock. I had considered doing what you did--get a dog who hadn't been doing well as a working dog and needed a new home. Mostly because while I love puppies, I find adult dogs easier to live with! You don't say how old they were when you got them, but did you have any trouble getting them to bond with you?

 

Buzz was around 1 yr old. He was an owner turn in to local animal control. I had a friend at the time who worked for a private non profit animal shelter and she did everything for me. Because animal control knew her, they let her look at his surrender paper work, and the reason given by the former owner was that the dog had no interest or not enough interest in work. My friend picked him up, took him to work with her that day so she could watch his behavior at their offices. He turned out to be a great fit for our little pack, and lived with us for about 10 years before dying of cancer. He was Mr. Outgoing, and everybody who knew him, even if not very well, mourned with us.

Gibbs came to us from a member of these Boards. We were down to 1 border collie, my then-husband wanted another dog like Buzz. I asked here if anyone knew of a youngish bc who would work in a pet home, and got my answer within an hour. Gibbs was almost 3 and integrated almost seamlessly into our home. He's just turned 11 a few weeks ago, and continues to charm and wheedle his way into everyone's heart, even though he is the aloof type of bc, almost the exact opposite of Buzz. He is bonded tightly with me, but I was very pleasantly surprised a few months ago when I invited a roommate into my home, a man, and Gibbs took to him very nicely. It took some effort on Roomie's part, but he's a dog lover and fairly dog savvy guy. He's lived here for 5 months, and has made a practice of rolling around on the floor with the dog, 2 or 3 times a week. Gibbs LOVES it, and last night, when Roomie stretched out to play with him, G laid down, face to face w/Roomie, then laid his chin on Roomie's outstretched arms and wagged his tail. I am soooo blessed and fortunate with this situation.

Maybe more than you wanted to know, but I couldn't stop. The short answer is no trouble at all to bond with any of my dogs, all of whom have been at least a year and sometimes older when they came to me. I've had 5 dogs in my adulthood.

Puppies are a LOT of work. I'm in my 60s, work is very erratic in nature, and my life would have to be hugely re-arranged to accommodate a puppy's needs. So, grown-up dogs for me. 

Ruth & Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our last dog was 18months when we got her (we were 4th owners). The first gave her up because they didn’t like the mess she made as a pup (they left her on her own during the day - uncrated). The second were an older couple and when he died his widow (who was frail) couldn’t manage a dog on her own. The third owner was a policeman who reluctantly had to give up the dog to care for his sick father. 

Despite this (and coming into our home where at the time we had a sick child) she became the most perfect companion dog that one could ever imagine. She was also super easy to be with. 

So yes, bonding is possible in even difficult circumstances :) 

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.


×
×
  • Create New...