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#1 WetBlackNose

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 07:18 PM

I am still new to the forum, so apologies for starting two threads in my first few weeks, but I did a quick search on this and didn't see anything immediately applicable to my question.

 

As some of you know, we've had our new guy Lucas, our first BC, for a couple weeks. My impression is he's feeling comfortable and gaining confidence (thanks all for your help in this area!). The first few days he had a few chosen spots around the house he would settle in. Now he comes to us for affection, greets us at the door enthusiastically, and loves walks. We've started some basic training and he's picked up 'touch' really quickly. I think he's adjusting well. 

 

He wasn't a 'velcro' dog, even in the beginning, choosing to lie around and watch as we moved from room to room. But now, it seems to me his is forming an obsession with looking out the window to our backyard. There are some baby rabbits who have deemed it the perfect place to start their lives, and I know he can see them from time to time.

 

But this isn't just glancing. Lucas seems to be fixating. He will stare out the window, unmoving, unblinking, for very long periods of time if I let him. During these moments he doesn't respond to his name or even strange noises I make to get his attention. If I'm not engaging him with tricks, a walk, etc. he just goes to the window and stares. If we are training, he will abruptly get up at moments to go back and check the window. His prey drive seems VERY high (but he's not yet interested in toys - no flirt pole or toys that look like animals). We've blocked the window with our curtains and he will stare at the curtains too, when they really only let in light/shadows.

 

Anyway, sorry for the length. Not being as familiar with the breed, I'm looking for insight and/or advice. I know BCs can be very intense and develop quirks quickly so maybe some of my concern stems from that. I'd just like to direct this energy to engaging with us more and it seems this could potentially escalate, which I'd like to be ahead of if that is the case.


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#2 urge to herd

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Posted 03 June 2015 - 09:23 PM

If you're at all concerned, don't let him do it. Block the window from him. Put something in front of it. There's also frosted cling-type film that you can get at Lowe's or someplace similar that lets a good amount of light in, but you can't see through it. Comes in a few different patterns, and isn't difficult to install. You can even take it down and then replace it if you want.

 

For now, call him away from it. You are wise to be asking about this.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs



#3 WetBlackNose

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 10:04 AM

Hi all, just wanted to *bump* this thread as I try to determine if this behavior is something to be concerned about. I've tried blocking the windows, but now he is going to the glass sliding door (which has sliding blinds he can peer through). Thanks in advance for your thoughts! 


Lucas field.jpg

 


#4 GentleLake

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 10:15 AM

If you don't want him looking through the doors, you could use the frosted adhesive film mentioned above on the bottom half of the doors.


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#5 Betsy

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 10:28 AM

I have a border collie who will obsess about something if allowed. It started out about a year ago as shadow chasing on a dark night with a bright street light and lots of foot traffic (i.e lots of bold shadows). While he has generally learned to ignore these, it hasn't come easily. For an entire week after this started, I spent it in a dark room at night, interacting with him, constantly correcting and redirecting him away from any shadows (I was in a dark room to eliminate as many shadows as possible, especially moving shadows). Now, he will occasionally fixate on shadows, or lately, the movement of grass as it blows in a slight breeze. He is easily corrected though and will stop as soon as you tell him to. But even now, when I tell him to stop, I typically give him something else to do (i.e. get a toy or something). I couldn't do that initially, the  allure of the shadows was too great and a simple, "Stop that. Go get your toy." would have absolutely no effect. I had to teach him that there are better / more fun things than staring at shadows.

 

I would venture a guess that your dog is becoming, or already is, obsessed with staring out the window and I would break him of this habit. The first step would be to not allow him to practice the behavior. The more he is allowed to do it, the more ingrained the behavior will become and the greater his obsession will be. Block all access to outside windows/doors. But you can't just block them off and expect him to be all better. You need to redirect him to something else. It won't be easy at first, so you need to become THE MOST INTERESTING THING IN ALL THE WORLD. When he goes to a window, or tries to, simply tell him "no window" (or whatever you want to say) and then be very engaging, whatever this means to your dog - might be food, might be chasing a ball, might be playing tug. Whatever his favorite thing is. Eventually, and this will take awhile, you will be able to tell him "no window" and he;ll then look to you for something to do.


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#6 WetBlackNose

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 11:13 AM

urge to herd, thanks for the recommendation about the frosted film. And yes, GentleLake, perhaps it is something we should install on our door as well.

 

I guess part of my question was just trying to ascertain if this was even something to worry about, if further steps needed to be taken. My past dogs have all enjoyed 'window watching,' and as long as he is not barking or becoming agitated, I wasn't sure if I should just let the behavior go or assume that eventually he would become bored with it. 

 

Betsy, your post was really insightful and incredibly helpful. THANK YOU so much!


Lucas field.jpg

 


#7 GentleLake

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Posted 09 June 2015 - 11:32 AM

It would depend on whether it's truly obsessive behavior.  If it is, I wouldn't allow it to continue.  If it's just a way for him to pass the time and he's easily called away and redirected, then I might not worry so much about it.


"People in your life always come and go all the time; the dogs are always there for me. Always." ~Samantha Valle


#8 Zach

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:05 PM

I know this is an old thread, but it's right on target with my issue, so hoping to consolidate answers by reviving this one.  

 

I have a new BC who is doing this also. She is 2 years old, and I've only had her for about 5 days now. She came to me with ALL the parasites that my vet checked for from a fecal sample. So, I haven't been able to take her to the off leash area (dog park) for good exercise (too contagious). I am hoping that she's only picking up obsessive behaviors because she's under-exercised, and nervous about her new home.

 

Wednesday she will be parasite free and the park will be open, so that will be the day I finally get to tire her out. In the mean time, I don't know what I can do to keep this from getting worse.

 

I take her for a lot of walks, as many as can be done with a heat index of 112 today, that is. My other dog won't play with her because she starts humping him whenever she gets excited. I did get her to play a 5-8min game of tug with with me today, before she went back to the windows, and I called that a win. I can't cover the windows, I am renting and the blinds are very expensive, so must stay out of reach (she opened them with her nose and feet). I don't think a stick-on film would go over well either. She just today learned her name, so she isn't to the point where she can just be told to do something else. She likes food, but not enough to keep her away from the windows.  

 

thanks for any pointers.

 

Cheers.



#9 urge to herd

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:16 PM

Zach there is a relatively inexpensive film that adheres to glass with plain water. It's very easy to apply w/2 people, a little trickier if you're doing it yourself. It comes in a few different patterns, and lets enough light in for my 3 low light plants to thrive.

 

I got mine at Home Depot, I've seen it at other similar places, they might carry it on Amazon. It comes off very, very easily, and you can take it with you when you move.

 

I'd give that a try right away.  Good luck,

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#10 GentleLake

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 09:21 AM

The cling films are removable so shouldn't be an issue in a rental property.

 

If this persists past when you're able to get more exercise for your dog, you might want to consult a good positive reinforcement trainer (I wouldn't recommend punishment for this) or certified behavior consultant.

 

Very best wishes.


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#11 Zach

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 06:23 PM

This morning we tired her out and she took a nap, we were so happy thinking this was the key. She doesn't know fetch yet, so can't get her as tired as our other dog yet, but we thought we'd nailed it! A few hours of napping and the window patrol began anew. She paces back and forth between the front and back of the house windows. I took her for some errands, no help. We took her back to the park and gave her a bath, but when we got home she sprinted to the windows and began again. So, I installed blinds, and the house is a very dark cave. This isn't a long-term option. My wife and I work at home. That's good for the dogs, but we can't work in a cave.

#12 urge to herd

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 10:33 PM

Window film, available at Home Depot/Lowes and probably Amazon. Give it a look.

 

Ruth & Gibbs



#13 diane allen

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:55 PM

I'm glad your dog is healthy enough to be "out and about" - though dog parks are the very last place on my list of places to go with dogs. YMMV, depending on your location/situation - I'm not saying you shouldn't go, but be cautious.  Watch out for any inclination to obsessive behavior there as well - circling other dogs, staring at cars outside, etc. etc.

 

That said, there is a LOT to be said for "tiring" out dogs with mental exercise.  There are all sorts of "tricks" on the internet to keep dogs calmer when they're recovering from injury, surgery, etc.  There are commercial "puzzles" in which you can hide treats, or you can make your own (think:  muffin tin, with treats under tennis balls....then you lots of tennis balls!).  Teach the dog to "find" things in the house.  Or - just teach tricks!! 

 

None of this is likely to stop the window obsession - but it will keep the dog busy and maybe tire out that little brain!

 

Good luck!

diane



#14 Zach

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:19 AM

Thanks for the comments.

Re:parks. The bunnies are everywhere now so walks on a leash in neighborhoods don't mean less distraction, it's just a different game than at the park. We also don't have sidewalks in most of my town, thanks to the infinite wisdom of the designers of the neighborhoods. Anyway, we do walks also for variety and leash training, but park walks and dog park trips are the fun stuff. The one trip to the dog park went mostly well, though she was easily intimidated by friendly dogs. She stayed close to us and enjoyed the socialization, especially when we moved to the small dog side. We don't have another option for off leash play, so it's important to work this out so we can eventually move up to off leash play outside the dog park, and good games of fetch.

Re: window film. I've been vetoed on that...

Re: mental workouts. Yes, I need to put more effort into this. With the blinds up, she might actually stick around for it! My other dog is very happy that the treats are out again, since he mostly gets praise for tricks anymore. Training two, or ratherf, is a new experience for me, and I'm not yet as effective as I am with Zorro alone.

#15 rushdoggie

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 11:09 AM

Funny mild obsessions not stopped in their tracks can become problematic obsessions eventually.

 

Border Collies tend to fixate on things, develop patterns/routines etc. Its a genetic thing, and I assume its related to the things that make them ideal sheepdogs.

 

When any of my dogs do thing (BC or not) I stop it by preventing access to the object of their obsession and creating a new pattern that avoids it.

 

Just tiring out a puppy won't reduce the obsession.

 

If you want it to stop, you must block the windows. You can block access to them via gates and shut doors in the rooms they are, block the view with cling film already discussed, put ex pens or curtains in front (use the spring loaded rods and you would be surprised what you can block off), etc.

 

Then when she goes for the "window TV, engage her in something else ( a play game, a stuffed kong, something nice) and then move her into another area afterwards. Lather rinse repeat.

 

Eventually the pull of the window will lessen, and you can reduce the barriers making sure she can't get back to them.

 

We had this problem due to squirrels in our backyard when someone was a teenager, this was my solution. He tended to go to the front window too, but it has an opaque blind so I could keep it shut for a while.

 

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Now as an adult (omg when did he get to 7??) he doesn't have any issue with either.


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#16 D'Elle

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 03:11 PM

Wouldn't cling film applied with water be better than a cave-like dark house?

 

Or, try Rushdoggie's idea of blocking only the lower part(s) with opaque film or something of the kind. I like that idea. Maybe even a curtain that only blocks the bottom part of the window? Get creative and you can make it something that doesn't look bad.

If he gets up on the couch to look out, just block off the couch with doggy gates or an X-pen stretched out.

 

Remember, this won't be forever.

It's like potty training. You would absolutely not want to clean up after dog messes in the house for 15 years. But you don't have to, it's just a stage. Handled properly this will also only be a stage. Not handled, it will probably be a life-long and unhealthy obsession.

 

Best of luck!


D'Elle

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#17 rushdoggie

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 06:44 PM

Its not a cheap or easy solution, but my friend Carol has shutters on the lower half of her picture window. It looks terrific, blocks people from seeing in easily and dogs from staring out easily. but allows in light.

 

If this was an ongoing solution for me, I would buy the shutters


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#18 Zach

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 07:44 PM

thanks for the replies.

 

That film looks better than I expected. I might be able to get it by my better half after all.

 

 

Rushdoggie, and anyone else who has successfully moved past this or similar issues, how long did it take? Lily is 2-ish now, a brand new adoptee, but not a very young puppy. If it is a phase, does it require a concentrated effort to train away the issue or will passive strategies like blocking the window with some rewarding of going for other activities, combined with time, be enough? I'd like Lily to get some enjoyment from watching the squirrels, like Zorro does, but Zorro's enjoyment looks nothing like Lily's infatuation. How do I get there?

 

Thanks so much.



#19 rushdoggie

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:48 PM

thanks for the replies.

 

That film looks better than I expected. I might be able to get it by my better half after all.

 

 

Rushdoggie, and anyone else who has successfully moved past this or similar issues, how long did it take? Lily is 2-ish now, a brand new adoptee, but not a very young puppy. If it is a phase, does it require a concentrated effort to train away the issue or will passive strategies like blocking the window with some rewarding of going for other activities, combined with time, be enough? I'd like Lily to get some enjoyment from watching the squirrels, like Zorro does, but Zorro's enjoyment looks nothing like Lily's infaget there?

 

Thanks so much.

 

"a while"

 

 

which is a non answer...Argos stopped soon after the film went up at the back door but its stayed up as I ended up liking the privacy. He stopped at the front window with consistent re-orienting after a week or so, but I still kept the blind down for a long while after.


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#20 urge to herd

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 09:11 PM

Zach the cling film comes in a lot of patterns ~ some quiet and 'bland' some with a little oomph, (visually) and others that are pretty bold. There's a lot to choose from.

 

Ruth & Gibbs




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