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Gloria Atwater

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Everything posted by Gloria Atwater

  1. Wow, that is one heck of an interesting mix you have there! Nothing about her behavior sounds border collie specific in my experience. I think what you've got is mainly a complicated mix of two high energy, high drive breeds. I'd expect that to be rather challenging, given this particular mix. But from what you describe, she also brings along some personal issues, and that I think is what you're seeing. My guess is that you're right, it is anxiety of some sort. Without seeing your situation, I think letting her go somewhere to chill out and decompress for a little bit may be a good idea. You haven't had her that long, so she's still adjusting and there may just be times where her brain gets full - whatever the stimulus may be. Time out, calming, settling, learning to be quiet - all sounds like valuable things. Other than that, I'm not sure what else to suggest, but until she really settles in with you, that may be the easy way for her to just go let her brain relax. ~ Gloria
  2. Jason, how certain are you that she is a border collie? Did you see or meet her parents? By her looks, and if she weights in at only about 8 pounds at around 3.5 months old, I suspect she is a Shetland Sheepdog. Which is fine! It just may mean she will never be a big dog. ~ Gloria P.S. Oops, looks like Jason is gone ...
  3. Maralynn, no, you weren't the one who thought I was smacking dogs in the face. Anyhow, I think I've said too much already so I'm bowing out. Folks have offered plenty of good ideas here and the OP certainly has her pup's best interests at heart, we all know that. Peace, love and unicorns.
  4. Vet checks are always good, but I read "new baby" and my eyebrows climbed. It is not at all uncommon for dogs, especially border collies, to end up re-homed or in rescue after a new baby enters the family. Think about it from the dog's standpoint. One day, out of nowhere, this tiny thing appeared in the house. It's alive, but what is it? It smells funny, makes all sorts of noises - baby screams and shrieks can freak dogs right out - and the humans are now reacting in new and unusual ways to the things this little creature does. The household daily routine has dramatically changed, the nights are no longer silent, the days are punctuated with baby-oriented behaviors and goings-on ... Then as the baby grows and learns to walk, the dog may be alarmed at the baby's erratic movements, weird behaviors and unpredictably loud vocalizations. So far as the dog knows, she just acquired a shrill, smelly, erratic, unpredictable, unstable and completely incomprehensible alien life form as an unexpected roommate, and that has turned the humans' into kind of weird, sleep-deprived versions of their old selves. Which is not meant as a slight to you at all, I'm just trying to illustrate what an enormous change has come into this dog's life. Heck, I was at dinner with hubby and a friend last night when a toddler child let loose a shriek in the booth behind me. I almost jumped out of my seat! That can be a lot for a dog to contend with. I would thus echo what others have said. Carve out a lot more little moments and special times for the dog, the same as you would for a first child, and possibly look at the long term ramifications for her. Wishing you nothing but luck! This is a hard situation to face.
  5. I'm not smacking the dog in the face. I'm not hitting the dog. I'm using zero force. The stick is just idly swinging in front of me. The dog bumps into something and the thing is the correction because it's mildly annoying. A prong collar IS the correction and the dog knows it comes directly from you. I train my dogs for work and trial. I have worked with and around some of the best in the business. I have never seen a prong collar used by the sheepdog trainers or handlers I know. In fact, I've seen trainers tell students to take them off and stop using them. But if people want to rely on the same training training techniques a German shepherd or Rottweiler might receive, so be it. A prong collar on 4 month old puppy? This is me, over and out.
  6. Border collies can also be sensitive and quirky, so it's not a breed-specific thing at all. As for the towel, again, border collies can be quirky and often exhibit behaviors that look cowering but have nothing to do with being abused. Some BCs just don't like certain things, like flappy stuff or scary hats or dark glasses or heavy coats or backpacks ... the list can go on! Train the dog and not the breed - that's the best advice I've heard lately! Also, I'd say keep him on a long line if he gets into hunt-mode. I have a 14 month old purebred BC who will take off after jackrabbits as if launched from Cape Canaveral. So she's on leash in jack rabbit country.
  7. This. I don't need a 4 month old puppy to be an obedience champ. At 4 months old, my pups drag me wherever because they are like toddler children. If I don't like them forging, I may shorten the lead and walk with a light stick, and just swing it gently pendulum-style in front of my legs. The pup gets tired of bonking his nose on the gently swinging stick and corrects himself. Also, if the pup is pulling THAT HARD, I'd consider where I'm taking him. If he's so completely over threshold that he can't think and pulls like a Kenworth, maybe he doesn't need to be in that situation yet. Maybe he's over-stimulated and just can't think. Do we want to fry their brains at toddler age by asking them to behave like adults? Or do we want to just let them grow and mature until their minds are able to absorb lessons of restraint and calmness? It's not fair to put a pup in a situation that's overwhelmingly exciting and then try to correct him for reacting to it. If a place or situation sends him into orbit, don't take him there for a while. Let his brain grow up. It's a 4 month old puppy. Let it be a puppy. Raising a dog is a marathon, not a sprint and border collies are not bred to be shoved into pigeon holes of behavior before their joints are even closed. At 4 months old, I'm happy if my puppy will come when called, sit when asked and sleep through the night. That's it. Last but not least, Lyrically, are you incorporating plenty of down time in that schedule? Are you making sure your pup has enough time alone to just quietly play with his toys and hang out without interaction from you? An "off-switch" is invaluable to a young border collie.
  8. Leave her alone. She's playing in the way that makes her comfortable. Also, it may be safer if she's not the chaser, because sometimes the way border collies chase can become obsessive or it can annoy other dogs. If they are just running without thinking, you can end up with a really physically fit lunatic who obsesses on every move the other dogs make. Be happy she doesn't do that! Border collies don't need tons of mindless running and chasing. They do best with things that entice and challenge their brains. Consider teaching her games, tricks, little jobs like picking up things for you. There's a reason we see so many border collies doing clever things on commercials and YouTube!
  9. This. They can't or shouldn't diagnose him with a parasite, treat him for it and then recant the diagnosis later! I'd say clarify this conflict first, because Giardia can relapse and can be a nasty bug to pin down a second time. I would want to make sorting this out a priority before looking to diagnose something different. Just my two cents' worth.
  10. I'd also wonder if she wasn't suffering a hearing loss. My old Jesse lost most of his hearing by age 14 and he did a lot of staring off in the wrong direction. I could accidentally startle him sometimes, if he didn't know I was there and I came up behind him. If she's not distressed by anything, I'd say just keep doing whatever you do to keep her happy and comfy.
  11. I'd say start over, keep faces out of reach, do the yelp-and-ignore tactic and put her on a time out if she can't calm down. Over excitement is a big contributor to that sort of thing. They think they are just playing, but even older dogs won't tolerate too much puppy-biting to the face. I also have no aversion to an actual physical correction and a big NO, sometimes. I don't mean beating the puppy, but when my little female kept trying to leap up in my lap to bite my nose (!!!), I got the light cardboard roll from a roll of paper towels, and if she didn't take a verbal correction, she got a light bop with that. It wasn't traumatic, didn't hurt, wasn't abusive and got the point across. There really is no harm in just saying NO.
  12. You are right, sheepdogging geezer. We can't stay hidden. But it's hard to know when it's safe to peek out. Where I live, HSUS and their ilk got the ear of Washoe County lawmakers. A new law was passed governing exotic animals, how and where and if they may be kept. Today on Facebook I saw the heartbroken post of a man who was having to give up the beautiful ball python he's had for 23 years - longer than his son has been a live. An animal he's used all that time to educate and inform children and local groups. But now the regulations won't permit him to keep her. He has no way around it. So he must let that beautiful snake go. How do we know when it's safe, when it seems nothing is safe any more? It's so hard to know. The AR Monsters are out there, working hard and making bad things happen. But I will carry on with my dogs, as we all will. We do what we can, speak when we must, educate whenever we are allowed.
  13. Tears here again. I'm so sorry, Tea. What a rotten heartache.
  14. I can only speak from my personal observations in my corner of the world and from my arena/ranch trial days, but here goes. Border collies are sweeping, athletic and stylish in their movements and affect their sheep by their presence, their physical movement and their "eye," the latter of which can be kind of a veiled threat or projection of their presence. Working border collies carry generations of instinct and natural ability, though of course it varies by breeding and individuals. Shetland sheepdogs of today tend to be upright, bouncy, fast and often barky on livestock, and often don't have a strong sense of how to handle livestock. They've been bred for generations as pets and for show, which has diluted whatever original style they may have had. They are small, also, so they can't do the big outruns and long distance work of the larger dogs. I wonder if perhaps they may have been droving dogs who worked at pushing flocks or herds along country lanes, rather than gathering hills and fields? Australian shepherds are a much younger breed, created the US around the late 1800s or early 1900s. There's a lot of mythology around their origins, but despite the name, Australian shepherds are not one of Australia's breeds: they are a purely American creation. Aussies can have some variation in type and working style, although they all seem to work a lot closer to their livestock than border collies. The show types are full-coated and bigger boned, and in my observation have an upright, bouncy, flouncy style of work with occasional barking and hit-or-miss natural talent. They can be enthusiastic, but may lack focus and long-term attention to work. These would probably not be suitable for everyday farm work. Aussies from more truly working lines can be somewhat lighter and leaner, with less coat. They also have a more upright working style and work close, but I've seen a very few that almost work like border collies, showing eye, clean flanks, a decent outrun and hints of a crouching style. These dogs rarely bark and can be quite keen, although they may require a firm hand to handle them, as they can be quite independent. The thing with Aussies, though, is that if one wants an actual working dog, they need to research and learn about what families or bloodlines they come from, as the show types are diluted in natural ability and even the working lines can be iffy. That's my take, anyhow! Others' mileage may vary.
  15. You're welcome! Be mindful that removing dew claws is quite painful and not a minor surgery. You are in fact amputating a toe, even if the toe is not entirely functional. So unless it's a medical necessity, I would not advise messing with them. Just keep the claws themselves tidily trimmed. ~ Gloria
  16. Hi there ~ Are Molly's dew claws troubling her? If they just need a trim, you can do that yourself or ask a groomer or your vet to do it. Otherwise, unless they are a problem for her and causing pain issues, I'd think you could just leave them alone and merely trim them as needed, just as you would the rest of her toenails. Does this help?
  17. Every time that comes on TV, my hubby and I do a collective "WFT?"
  18. I recently read some data to the same effect. Wolves go for the internal organs of large game first, yes, but they favor the heart, lungs, liver, etc. As for the stomach and intestines, the report I read said they are more apt to tear and shake those to dislodge the contents and then eat the linings. Which makes sense to me. Of course wolves will eat small prey whole for simplicity's sake, but the argument out there that wolves deliberately eat half-digested vegetable manner is apparently incorrect. Whatever they eat is incidental to the meat they prefer. My two cents, anyhow. Although historically speaking, we could say that domestic dogs over the past 15,000 to 30,000 years have learned to live on almost anything, since they've spent most of that time living on our midden heaps and leftovers. (And in much of the developing world still do.) The concept of a balanced diet for dogs is new only in the past 75 years.
  19. Mr Donald, I think it may already be too late for that. I've already seen too many instances of rabid evangelical vegans and animal rights extremists hijacking even the most innocent internet discussions. Someone could post a heartwarming video of a farmer saving his sheep from a blizzard, and the lunatics show up in droves to rave about how the poor innocent sheep are just going to die horribly with their throats cut, anyhow. Or the latest I saw was a UK farmer posting about a dog attack on his sheep. Again, the lunatics showed up to scoff and scorn because the mean ol' farmer was only raising those sheep to murder them later. I honestly fear the outside world learning any more about sheepdog trials than was showed in the movie, "Babe." There are too many loonies. As I said, they are already going after circuses, zoos and even FFA kids and farm shows. I'd really hate to see sheepdog trialing get within their reach. Yes, I am becoming a pessimist in this regard.
  20. I hear you, Ruth. My good Nick will be 10 years old the 2nd of May. I see him slowing down, pacing himself, pausing to grin while the younger dogs tear around like crazy things. I'm retiring him from sheepdog trialing very soon - one, maybe two more trial runs, and that will be it. He'll still work at whatever he wants, but our days of walking to the post together are soon ended. I'm glad he still has his sense of humor, though, still gallumphs around with his big jolly ball while I work in the yard, or carries not one but TWO toys with him to his breakfast. And we're going to get back to hiking when we can later this spring. Cherishing every day, that's what it's all about.
  21. Good to hear from you, sheepdogging geezer! However, I must also respectfully disagree with the idea of sheepdog trial Olympics. It's sad to say, but in this day and age, I would not like to see it. I reckon the World Sheepdog Trial is close enough - at least then it's among "our people." But given the rabid evangelistic fervor of the vegan crowd now, as well as underhandedness of the AR extremists, I think the longer sheepdog trialing stays under the radar, the better. AR people are going after circuses, rodeos, zoos, FFA kids, farm shows, exotic animal parks ... I'd rather sheepdog trialing avoid their line of sight as long as possible. Sad, ennit? But the enemy is out there and there would surely be someone to raise hue and cry about a sport that involved dogs chasing poor little innocent sheep around....
  22. Good to hear! A friend of mine just found an older German shepherd mix dog that had gotten out of an electric fence - the poor thing was running around in a street dodging cars. Fortunately she found the owner and sure enough, there was a dead squirrel just outside the e-fence perimeter. Dog got out, couldn't get back in and ran away because it got scared and disoriented. Just luckily my friend scooped it up in time! I'm glad you made that choice. Also, a safe fenced area is great in the event your dog is ever ill or injured and you want to keep her close at hand, or if the weather turns really awful.
  23. Hi there! I also live in a rural area and the only fences I trust are fences that keep the right things in and the wrong things out. I would never trust an electric "invisible" fence because they are basically a bluff. If a dog decides it really has to chase a deer or squirrel or whatever, they're going to break that barrier - and when the chase is over, they can't get back in their yard. Your dog cannot come home. If a coyote or stray dog decides to go after your dog, again, she has no protection. And if the invisible fence somehow fails or the collar stops working, your dog is on open range. I simply would not risk it. Our place came with a chain link fence dog yard, but I also like no-climb wire horse fence or something similarly sturdy. It's not cheap and it requires work to build, but the dog is secure. My thoughts, anyhow! ~ Gloria
  24. Quite true! All we can do is get online and grouch about it when they do.
  25. John, I think the point of contention is that in the AKC world, herding has stopped meaning "working with livestock" and more rightly means "working a dog when livestock are present." People "go herding" as a means to give their dog something to do or get titles on their dogs. Witness the differences in the AKC and USBCHA statements: The AKC says: "The purpose of the competitive herding trial program is to preserve and develop the herding skills inherent in the herding breeds and to demonstrate that they can perform the useful functions for which they were originally bred. Although herding trials are artificial simulations of pastoral or farm situations, they are standardized tests to measure and develop the characteristics of the herding breeds." Meanwhile the first paragraph on the USBCHA's "Trial Rules" quotes from the ISDS: "The Objectives For a Trial: To test the ability of a dog, as part of a team with the handler, to manage sheep properly under the differing circumstances that may be encountered in daily work. Hence the various tests such as Gathering, Driving, Shedding, Penning and Singling which are all tasks which may be necessary as the shepherd goes on his daily round." The former speaks only of the dog. The latter speaks first of properly managing sheep. I think that in a nutshell explains why "herding" coming from the AKC world tastes a little sour to those who are not of it. It speaks of people for whom the livestock are just dog-broke vehicles for getting titles on their dogs. My two cents, of course. ~ Gloria
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