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arf2184

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About arf2184

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    http://www.alisonschinchillas.com
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    Female
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    Deer Park, WA
  1. Today I said goodbye to my boy who has been with me for all of his life and half of mine. I'm going to miss seeing that smile everyday.
  2. Keep in mind many if not most dogs in rescues were once in a shelter. By adopting from a rescue, you free up space for the rescue to possibly pull another at risk dog from a shelter. So its win win. Not that you shouldn't check out the dogs currently in shelters, but if you have specific things you're looking for in a dog, a rescue might be a better option as they can usually give you a better idea of what a dog's true personality is. Shelters are stressful environments and it can be really hard to get a good feel for what a dog is really like.
  3. arf2184

    Social Anxiety

    My number one advice for you would be to BUILD CONFIDENCE. Don't focus on just getting her used to social situations. Teach her that she can do anything. Work on just general training. Gentle reward based training builds confidence. The more your dog learns (be it the important stuff like sit, down, come or stupid tricks) the more confident she'll become. It can also help her learn to read people better. The better she understands people, the less fear she'll have towards them. When I got Meg at 2 yrs old, she lacked confidence and was afraid of everything (except me). She really had no idea how to interact with people. She knew sit and was learning come, but that was it. She wanted to play, but she didn't know how to play with people. We did a lot of training. In our first class, we had to sit apart from the group because she was so afraid and insecure about being leashed near the other dogs. (Off leash she was ok because she could escape and hide.) Clicker training and agility helped change Meg's life. She learned what was expected of her and she learned how to read human body language better (agility helped a lot with that). Going to classes also helped a lot. It gave us a different environment to practice in, in advanced level classes dog savvy classmates helped her learn that strangers aren't always scary, and she was around other dogs on leash in a controlled situation where she learned she could relax a bit. There are many ways to build confidence. Every challenge you face and overcome makes the next one easier. The teeter in agility was a big challenge for Meg. The teeter took about year (baby steps) to conquer. I almost gave up more than once, but I'm glad I didn't. Once she got it and was no longer afraid, it was easier to tackle other things that made her nervous. Swimming was also a big one. Part of her fear/lack of confidence was that she was a terrible swimmer and struggled to keep her head up. She would not go anywhere near a body of water, especially with a human close by (I think maybe someone threw her in at some point and scared her). After many time of me going in with her (one step at a time on leash, making sure each step was her choice, not forcing her) and her wearing a life jacket, her swimming improved and now Meg LOVES to swim. More recently we had another break through. Meg has been with me for 4 years. It took about 2 1/2 years for her to reach the point where she could handle just about any situation. She doesn't shut down, she rarely hides, and shes now usually happy to meet new dogs and people. She now frequently asks random people to play Frisbee or ball with her. I was thrilled with how far she'd come and didn't really expect any more from her. In January, we took a "Play" class with our favorite trainer. I got way more than I ever dreamed I would have out of this class. We learned to play with our dogs without toys...which isn't as easy as it sounds. It actually took a lot of practice and was way more work than I thought it would be. It was amazing though once we got it. Our relationship was great before this class, but even better after. When we started this class, Meg was at a point where she would happily greet other dogs, but only played with a very select few. I thought she just picky or not really into playing with dogs, but now I think it was more that she didn't know how to play with most dogs and was still a bit insecure. She has her own way of playing and if the other dogs didn't conform to her way, she didn't know what to do with them so ignored them. In learning a new way to play with me, Meg also learned that she could change her play style to suit other dogs. It was incredible watching her gears turn as she figured this out with a friends dog. Now she wants to play with everyone! Its like she's in her 2nd puppy-hood at 6 years old. I guess my point is don't give up. Keep encouraging and teaching her. Work on building up her confidence in all aspects of her life and both you and she will be much happier for it (and will likely form a great bond together).
  4. arf2184

    How far would you travel to a vet?

    I think it all depends on how well you like the vet and your vehicle situation. I drive 45min-1hour to get to work everyday so its no big deal to me to drive that far for a vet. I have in the past. I live in a small town. We have three vet clinics. Two of them I do not like and will not go to {I'd rather drive to the nearest city). The third is my dog vet and is just 5 minutes away. I really like her. She costs more than some of the vets in the nearest city but is still reasonable. The main thing I like about her is her patience with the dogs and the way she presents options ('these are our options...1, 2, 3 and this is roughly what each will cost, and this is what I recommend') and leaves the decision up to me without being pushy. She's also not afraid to say 'I don't know'. Bear does not like car rides so having a close vet is less stressful on him, but I would make him tough out a 30-45 minutes ride for a good vet if I had to. Our bird and chinchilla vet is about a 25 minute drive. My second choice for an "exotics" vet is a little over an hour drive.
  5. Petsmart is also no longer going to carry treats made in China.
  6. Does she play with other dogs outside of your household? If so, does she do the same with them? Meg plays different with dogs she knows well vs dogs she recently met, much like you and I behave different with strangers vs people we know well. We know those who are close to us and what is acceptable and what we can get away with. Just wondering if this is the case with your girl. As long as its clearly play and the other dog doesn't mind, I wouldn't worry about it much. If she's is interacting with other dogs, just make sure they are ones that will give her fair warning if she goes too far.. Be ready to call her back and end the play session if she is warned by the other dog and doesn't heed their warning. Much like a kid, its best to let them sort things out for themselves, but you should step in before things go too far. especially when someone else's dog is involved.
  7. Some people... Poor Rievaulx. When Bear was younger I had a couple people on different occasions ask if he was available for stud. He was/is a good looking dog, but he's 100% mutt, neutered, and has bad hips (which I've always thought was noticeable in the way he walked).
  8. Both http://www.freewebs.com/jumpinwfarm/ and http://www.handhills.com/ had a couple pups available a month ago. Not sure if they still do but it doesn't hurt to ask. Both have very nice working dogs so you might ask about future litters as well.
  9. We get up at 4:30 or 6:30am depending on which job I work that day. On 4:30am days, they go out to potty then go back to sleep until Dad gets up around 8am. On 6:30am days, they potty while I get ready then we go for a walk before I leave for work. Bedtime is usually around 8pm. Bear sleeps most of the day; he's old. Meg naps here and there, in between walks, play (with people or by herself), car rides, staring at passersby, playing through the fence with the neighbors dog, chasing birds, etc.
  10. Our "with me" is about a 5-7 ft radius. I just said "aht ah" when she got further away than I wanted and "yes" when she was back in the radius I wanted. Meg figured it out very quickly. She takes off like a rocket when I use our release word.
  11. arf2184

    Why all the negativity?

    Here's what I do. If its someone I won't be seeing often, I just smile and nod. If its someone I see regularly, I agree that Border Collies aren't for everyone and say I am prepared to give this dog plenty of training and mental and physical exercise. If I'm feeling ornery and I have some time, I go into a long detailed explanation about the history of Border Collies, how they are purpose bred working dogs, and how irresponsible and/or ignorant people are most often to blame for the issues that arise...not letting the person get more than a word or two in during this long explanation. Unless the person is a true obsessed dog lover, usually they don't bring up Border Collies again...ever. :-) Not all Border Collies love agility, but many do. My Meg is like your German Shepherd. She like going to agility class because she gets to ride in the car and gets play with her 'boyfriend' (an Aussie) afterward, but the actual agility is just ok. She prefers Frisbee and Rally. I like agility and hope to get another Border Collie pup to train when the time is right. For now, Meg humors me and I try to keep it fun for her. We're taking a break for a while though because I started a second job and we both have to adjust to my schedule change.
  12. Make noise! Most problems arise when the wildlife is surprised by your presence. Make some noise so they know you're coming. I'm fortunate enough to have two dogs that don't chase deer. We often come across them, sometimes when the dogs are off-leash. The dogs just hang back with me and watch until the deer runs off...then they go sniff the spot where the deer was. I've not encountered bear or cougars while the dogs have been with me, but I hope I get the same reaction if we ever do. I worry more about moose. I've seen several close to home, in town and in the fields. My dogs don't mess with them either, but moose do as they please. They don't scare easily like the deer. When we see a moose we walk back the way we came. Occasionally we come across coyotes. My dogs are big enough that the coyotes around here don't caret to mess with them (there's easier prey). One of the many reasons I do not want a small dog...they are prey for the coyotes and large birds. Bear learned his lesson about skunks the hard way and it seems to have stuck. Porcupines and raccoons are another issue...so far we've managed to avoid the porcupines. There was a raccoon hanging out in the yard this winter, but fortunately it seems to have moved on.
  13. arf2184

    Your Off-Leash Border Collie

    I adopted Meg at 2 years old. We worked on recall for a couple months before letting her loose. With me, she ran as fast as she could for quite a ways the first time before she realized we weren't with her and she turned around and came back. We we're in a field and I could see her the whole time so I did not call her back until she stopped running. When my dad let her off leash by himself for the first time, she took off completely, leaving him worried that he lost her, only to find her waiting for him at home. When working on recall off leash (indoors or out), if you know your dog is not likely to listen (and is not in any danger), DON'T CALL HER. On-leash you can give a little tug or reel her in if needed, but off-leash you have no way to make her come. You don't want to teach her that she only has to come if she feels like it. Be sure to reward her every so often for coming to you even if you don't call. Work on recall around distractions while she's on a long line. With Meg we have a straight recall "Come here" that means come now all the way to me. I also say "I can't see you" which is Meg's cue to get to where she is more visible (not behind a tree, over a hill, or in tall grass). Usually she just gets back on the trail and looks back at me for a few seconds. Its not a recall...just keeps her in sight and out of trouble. You just have to learn to trust your dog (or not as the case may be). A long line is a good idea. When you're ready to go without any lead, I'd go to a dog park (an empty one if possible), schoolyard or somewhere that has a wide open space, but is fenced, that way you have a bit of a safety net. She may take off at a full run enjoying her new freedom before she remembers that you're there too. Or she may stick close because without the leash she has to pay more attention to know where you're at.
  14. arf2184

    Iditarod 2014

    Thank you for the updates! What a race...what a FINISH! I couldn't believe it when I read that King scratched that close to the finish. That has got to be a hard thing to do, but I'm glad that he and his team are ok. I am very sad that Aliy did not come in 1st AGAIN...2nd to a Seavey three years in a row. Second in the Iditarod is AMAZING, but I sure hope she comes back and wins it next year. What an INCREDIBLE run by Dallas. To come up from behind with just 6-7 dogs in those conditions at the end and win it is just mind blowing. I love that he didn't even know he was in the lead and I hope he gets a well deserved good nights rest soon. I hope all the teams still heading toward Nome finish safely with no more injuries!
  15. Many years ago we had to give up a dog. We found her a very nice home in our town where she was a much better fit for the household. They said I could come visit her anytime. I did visit three times over about 6 months, but I didn't really think the visits were beneficial for either me or the dog so I stopped. I did however still want to know that she was happy and well so I drove/walked by whenever I was over that way just to see her. Sometimes she would be in the yard and I'd see her playing with the kids or the other dogs. That was much easier for me. I knew she was well and I didn't have to say goodbye again. For about ten years I would look for her in the yard. After that, I didn't see her anymore so I assume she died (she would have been 14-ish). I'm happy knowing she had a good life. I would not arrange anything, but I would mention the dog. Perhaps just simply say you saw Joey or talked about Joey with 'so and so' and he's doing well. Then if he wants to know more, he can ask and maybe you can put him in touch with the the new owners and let them figure it out from there. This dog was his family and he has a right to know that his family is well.
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