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Everything posted by MaggieDog

  1. I thought I'd add my two cents: My Maggie is 19.5" at the shoulder and weighs around 32 or 33 lbs - she is at what I consider ideal for her build. I purposely keep my dog on the light end of normal because she runs agility and the less weight her joints must carry, the better. I constantly monitor her weight by using the rib check method described by others and adjust her food intake accordingly. I feed her 1 to 1.5 cups of Eagle Pack Holistic split into two meals. If I use a lot of treats I'll adjust how much she's fed to accomodate the extra calories. If she's bugging me about being hungry (i.e. getting the dog treats off the top shelf of my desk and eating them while I'm gone - lol) I'll give some carrots to fill her up but not add extra calories.
  2. Have you actually trained your pup to like the crate? Some people just put a pup in a crate and expect things to go smoothly - sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't. If you haven't trained your pup to like the crate, here's how I do it with some of my foster dogs/pups: 1. feed dog in the crate (start w/ door open and then gradually leave it closed for longer and longer periods 2. periodically during the day toss yummy treats - like cheese or liver pieces - in the back of the crate and show the pup where they are 3. Confine dog/pup in an exercise pen or another room when you can't watch him until the dog/pup is comfortable in the crate. 4. Take small steps - going fast can actually slow you down because the positive association with the crate isn't quite as strong. Another way to get a dog to like the crate while still using it for confinement is to give the dog/pup a special treat or toy (like a stuffed Kong) only when he/she is in the crate. I've found this works quite well, but it's harder with a little pup since they'll need to go out to potty soon after because of the additional food. Hope this helps.
  3. Atlantis sounds kinda like my Maggie...today we had some thunder and she did her usual 'let's bark at it and make it go away!' and of course it eventually listened to her! Mags used to be afraid of storms...hiding under things usually, but all of a sudden she started giving thunder what for and has been happy to ensure that the thunder leaves when it should - lol.
  4. Wow, this discussion is pretty interesting. I love the different perspectives. Anyway, I thought I'd mention that I actually fade out the treat in the click=treat equation once the dog is performing the behavior I want reliably. Many people, my agility instructor included, don't think it's good to do that, but it has worked very well for my dog and I. In agility for example: we're working on contacts, but Maggie understands them pretty well so if she hits them she gets a click (or a 'yes') but no treat. Her treat will come after we finish the course, and probably after a few more clicks. Yes, I still reward her, although much of the time it's with lots of verbal praise rather than food or toys. In a way, she is working for the click alone and the praise 'jackpot' from me (praise from others doesn't work BTW) at the end of the run.
  5. Bill, thanks for explaining things; I think I get what you're saying. I definitely agree that in herding work a clicker is pretty stupid to use...I thought you were talking in general, not specifically herding. I really wish Maggie and I had access to sheep - the special relationship between a shepherd and their dog and the amazing things that they can to together have always amazed me.
  6. Bill, interesting point of view. What do you mean when you say 'I don't believe in training dogs to perform certain behaviors as an end in itself'? Do you mean just training behaviors to train behaviors w/o a specific use for them? I use a clicker, but I am a crossover trainer. I have found that my BC is much happier learning w/ the clicker than more traditional methods. For example: when trained w/ collar corrections and no food rewards, Maggie would lag badly, w/ ears back and tail down as well, when heeling both on and off lead; now that I've retrained heeling w/ a clicker she actually forges a bit and her tail is up, eyes bright, etc. Definitely a much happier dog. How do you train basic obedience type behaviors? Maggie knows about 80 behaviors/commands; I've trained most for agility and advanced obedience, but I've also worked on training service dog type behaviors so she can help around the house. The more that she knows, the more jobs I can give her since I don't have access to sheep. You say, "Rewards -- also known as bribes -- interfere with real communication between the dog and the owner." How have you come to this conclusion? I haven't found this to be true, but I don't use food as a bribe either. My dog will work for me regardless of whether I have food or not - she isn't lured into doing something, the food is only doled out after the behavior is completed. I hope you don't think I'm trying to start an argument or debate, I just like understanding where other people are coming from when I see something differently.
  7. Thought I'd mention the i-click clicker...I just got one and have been playing around with it. This clicker is very quiet and can be clicked in any position - very nice for uncoordinated people or in agility class when I'm running. I've heard good things about using it with sound sensitive dogs. Naomi, a clicker is a device that makes a distinct 'click' sound. When a dog is trained to understand that the sound means something good is coming, the click can be used to mark a behavior you like - like sit or down for example. For more info check out www.clickersolutions.com or do a google search for 'clicker training'. Bill, obviously you aren't a big fan of clicker training. Any particular reason why? Just curious. Your thought that maybe the dogs are telling us something is good - some dogs aren't suited for clicker work given sound sensitivity, but the method still works well when a marker word is used...no reason to 'throw the baby out with the bath water' so to speak.
  8. Maggie's very flexible when it comes to food treats - she'll work for almost anything. Her favs (which we use in high distraction areas and agility class) include: liver, lamb lung, string cheese, salmon, chicken, and beef 'power bone' pieces. She'll also work for grapes and banana pieces at home, but they aren't portable enough for travel. I'm working on getting her more toy motivated for agility. Currently we use a 'jackpot' toy (treats can be stuffed inside) and she's starting to focus on it more. I just got her a new tug toy and we're working on tugging rewards as well. She usually only tugs when she's really hyped - hit or miss in agility class right now since it's so distracting.
  9. I have a BC that does the same thing...seems to be common in the breed given their controlling nature. Tonight at agility class a nosy poodle ran over, got in Maggie's face, and tried to take a toy I had in my hand. Maggie snapped at him. I made the mistake of getting in the way and I now have scratch on my arm to remind me to watch where I put my arm. I'm lucky Maggie has great bite inhibition, plus she stopped and tried to make up to me as soon as she realized she had gotten my arm. I guess what I'm saying is to be aware of your dog and her reactions - some dogs just don't like others and that's ok as long as you can take control of situations like the one above. I should've been paying more attention to the other dogs in this case. The agbeh yahoo list has been quite helpful for me as well.
  10. You might want to check out the agbeh yahoo group...they've really helped me w/ my dog's dog aggression a lot.
  11. Ok, you've clarified something for me. I didn't know that a split was desirable, but now that I know why it is, it makes a lot of sense. I am inclined to agree with those who say that a split is good, and that no matter what happens in the breed ring, it's not good. BTW, I don't think that you can judge a dog by its looks - I didn't mean to come off like that - I know the only way to judge ability is to see the dog work.
  12. I didn't realize how strong a response I'd get to my posts... I think it's better for judges in the ring to have enough knowledge to put up moderately coated, more lithe dogs for several reasons: breeders will hopefully moderate their Barbie collie lines to support a more natural look and the dogs will hopefully be a bit healthier since their traits aren't taken to the extreme (like GSDs). I know breeding for looks is awful, and I totally agree with people who say we should breed for herding ability rather than looks - but not everyone will now that dogs are involved in conformation. We can't turn back time to before AKC recognition, unfortunately. I posted so that you all might see that, if there must be people out there who insist on breeding for looks and not ability, there might be a way to slow the division of the breed into "Barbie" and normal border collies - obviously not what we all would like, but still a small blessing. I don't mean to upset anyone, I just wanted to offer another point of veiw.
  13. I know that a conformation judge that is familiar with border collies isn't going to do a whole lot to moderate things, and yea it would be nice if BCs weren't in the conformation ring, but isn't it just a little better for some people who refuse to put up heavily coated, un-BC like dogs to be in the ring? I personally agree that conformation is creating a Barbie collie group of dogs - it would be better if no dogs were bred for looks alone, and you can't judge instinct/performance in the ring - but at least there are some judges with more knowledge than just what the AKC puts out for judges. Just my 2 cents...
  14. I just want to add that I watched a conformation show a few months ago and talked to the woman whose dog won BOB at the show. Nice red BC, more of a working dog build, although a bit chunkier, no excessive coat (actually a medium length coat), and almost upright ears. The judge is a border collie owner - the woman whose dog won mentioned that this was probably one of the reasons her dog did so well; she knows the judge hates huge coats and likes a leaner dog. The dog that went BOB does compete in AKC herding events and is doing well according to his owner. Just thought it might be nice for everyone to hear that there are some more knowledgable judges out there. If there have to be Barbie collies, then it's nice to have some people who might be able to moderate the standard.
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