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  1. Hooper2

    Failed Obedience Class

    I've posted about this recently in another thread, so apologies for being a broken record. But my absolutely bestest dog ever in the whole wide world started in puppy obedience classes at 6 months and he was horrible . I spent pretty much every minute of every one of the ten fifty-minute sessions off away from the rest of the class just getting him to lie down quietly for a few freakin' seconds. Then we took the class again. Lather, rinse, repeat, except by the end of what was now 20 weeks, and with a pup that was now 10 months old, I could get him to hold a down in the middle of the room for maybe 20 seconds while the rest of the class worked around us. Then we took the class again. Lather, rinse, repeat, except by the end of what was now 30 weeks, and with a pup that was now a year old, I could get him to walk around the room with the rest of the dogs on a (usually) loose leash without lunging (except for when he would) at all the other dogs. Oh, and there was that time when he was maybe about 5 months old, and one lovely early spring morning when we were out in the yard he decided to go gallumping off after something that I didn't think he should go gallumping off after. So I quickly grabbed his collar. His response was to throw a truly epic tantrum - screaming bloody murder, flailing around, biting at my hand, screaming bloody murder, scratching at my hand, screaming bloody murder, bucking like a rodeo bronco, and did I mention screaming bloody murder. This lasted for at least 5 minutes, and my hand looked like I'd been in a cat fight with tons of thankfully superficial scratches and nip marks by the end. I didn't try to "dominate" him, or "alpha roll" him or any of that nonsense, but I also refused to let go because I didn't want him to think this sort of behavior would ever get him what he wanted. This was a lovely early spring morning when everyone was outside, and he could no doubt be heard by anyone within about a 1/2 mile radius. It's a wonder no one called animal control or the police. Anyhoo, this hooligan turned out just fine - a joyful, courageous, brilliant, steadfast, absolutely dependable, rock solid friend and working partner that I could take anywhere, and that I still get teary eyed writing about a decade after his passing. As others have said more succinctly, take your pup to class (but I agree with others - arriving an hour early is unnecessary and is demonstrably not working) and work on what your pup needs to work on and don't worry about how nicely all the other pups are behaving. Your pup just has more imagination than they do.
  2. Hooper2

    Seimur at work

    Thanks for posting these gorgeous pictures. I've been thinking for a while that I really want to visit Iceland - I'm a great fan of aurora borealis. Your picture of your farm makes me think I don't want to visit after all. I want to live there!
  3. Hooper2

    Altercation with a German Shepherd

    I'm not disputing Terrierman's advice on how to break up a dog fight. But I do want to add an important caveat. If you grab a dog by the base of the tail or hind legs and pull you can separate fighting dogs, provided the ungrabbed dog doesn't pursue. But you also have to make sure in your elevated adrenaline state that you don't pull too hard and actually lift the dog off the ground. Because once the dog is suspended in midair he can whip around and deliver an amazingly painful bite. Ask me how I know this. Terrierman describes swinging the dog in an arc, with the feet scrambling along the ground. Feet on the ground wheel barrowing the dog is a really important component of this technique. And it's not as easy as it sounds to simultaneous be pulling a dog away, swinging it in an arc, and not lifting feet off the ground. Not impossible, and it probably gets easier with practice. But as the saying goes, nothing is fool proof, because fools are so ingenious. Voice of foolish experience here.
  4. Having spent a few months on crutches once myself, I strongly disagree with the advice to tether the pup to you, especially if you are non-weight bearing on your injured leg. Leashes can get tangled around crutches really easily and it wouldn't take much of a pull to cause a bad fall. If you are partially weight bearing and can use both legs for balance it may not be as hazardous, but still, it's hard enough to maneuver around on crutches without having a dog and leash underfoot. Other than that, I agree with the advice you have gotten from others here. Just one thought to add about your dog barking at the mail carrier. I've read that one reason dogs are so particularly avid about barking at mail carriers is because it works. The mail carrier approaches, the dog barks ferociously, and the mail carrier leaves! Ta Da - in the dog's mind he's successfully made the person retreat, and the dog gets to reliably practice that success every day. Of course we don't know what's really going on in the dog's mind, but this theory makes sense to me. Mail carriers have schedules to stick to, but if yours is patient and cooperative, maybe you can convince her to remain still and ignore your dog until you can quiet him, and then she continues on her way only when he is being quiet.
  5. Hooper2

    Auditing a Clinic

    Well, of course that is the disadvantage of leaving early - you'll miss the speaking in tongues (Baa Ram Ewe) and the gospel choir. Amy's description of auditing as being part of the peanut gallery is good. You will be basically watching the clinician and handler work the dogs that have been entered. Some clinics have more of an overall theme with dogs at a somewhat uniform level of training, some clinics have everything from very novice dogs to dogs already working in open, and the clinician helps the handler with whatever specific issue presents itself. Some clinicians are better than others about explaining to the auditors and other participants what they are doing and why, but I have yet to audit a clinic that I didn't learn a ton from. It's nice that you are being considerate of the host and not wanting to pester her with lots of questions, but don't be too shy. We've all been newbies at one point, some of us are perpetual newbies, and most sheepdoggers remember that most of the time
  6. Hooper2

    Auditing a Clinic

    I've found that it's pretty rare for clinics to go for less than 8 hrs, and that's not including the lunch break. On the other hand, there's no rule that says you can't leave early if you need to. It's not like you need a hall pass , and I don't think it would be considered rude, especially if you thank the host and explain why you have to leave before you take off.
  7. Hooper2


    I've had 9 dogs. Eight of them went through the expected frantic chewing stage at around 4-8 months, seemed really trustworthy by a year of age, then regressed for a month or two at around 15-ish months. At some point I read that the first chewing stage correlates to the easily seen stage when permanent teeth are emerging through the gums. The second chewing stage corresponds to when the teeth are becoming firmly embedded in the jaw bones. Since this isn't so easily observable people think that the 15-ish month chewing binge in just naughtiness, but there is an actual physical reason for it. If you aren't sure of your dog's age, this could be what you are seeing now. On the other hand, my ninth dog is seven years old. I'll be sure to post and let you know when he outgrows his need to eviscerate toys.
  8. Hooper2

    Elderly dog's possible seizure?

    Not much to add, but I had a dog once who had three seizures (that I'm aware of) that were very similar to what you describe. They happened with no warning, lasted maybe a minute or two, and when they were over they were over. She just got up and walked away like nothing had happened. All three seizures happened when the dog was between the age of 2 and 4, and I never witnessed another one after that, although given how quickly she recovered, she could have had other seizures while I was at work that I wasn't aware of. The first one occurred while we were on a walk, and the other two occurred in the house. I thought to offer her a little food after the second and third seizure, and she was ravenous - I didn't know about the effect of seizures on blood sugar at the time, but have read about it since, so as Ruth suggested, you might consider carrying a small packet or two of honey with you just in case.
  9. I like maintaining the celestial theme, but I'd worry that the name Dipper would morph into Dippy. How about Rigel, the brightest star in the Orion constellation (bonus- the star is classified as a blue giant!)? Or Sirius, the faithful dog star following Orion?
  10. Hooper2

    Rescued in a big city.

    I don't have any specific advice for you, other than to be patient. You seem to have a good approach to "civilizing" Ellie, and it sounds to me more like she needs more time to grow up and maybe more time to feel more secure that she has you as a safe harbor forever and always than that she is incorrigible. I had a GREAT dog a couple decades ago that I got as a 2 month old from a breeder who went to great lengths to socialize her very young puppies. I continued to socialize him and introduce him to all kinds of experiences from day 1. I thought I was doing really well with him, and enrolled him in obedience training classes when he was about 8 months old. He was so well socialized that I assumed he would be the star of the class and I would be the envy of all the other enrollees. For the next 10 weeks while all the other folks were teaching their pups loose leash walking and sits and stays and to sit quietly for petting by other people, I stayed in the corner of the room with my obnoxious adolescent just trying to get him to look at me for one f...ing second so I could reward him for something, anything. Then I signed up for another 10 weeks, and by the end of that second session I could get him to hold a sit stay for maybe 10 seconds while the rest of the class worked around us on off leash heeling and off leash recalls across the 60 ft room. And then he grew up. He became my absolutely unflappable, totally dependable working partner. He'd help me with chores around my little hobby farm in the morning, go for walks through the fields or along city streets with equal calm and ease, visit nursing homes, demo duck herding at the fair and and then stroll casually down the midway with me afterwards, visit my biology lectures with 100 students where I would use him and a couple other dogs to illustrate Mendelian inheritance of coat color .... He did everything, and he was rock solid about all of it. Just took a while for those last few synapses in his brain to hook up. Every dog is an individual, so I surely can't guarantee that your Ellie (who is gorgeous by the way) will outgrow every issue. But, your description of her now makes her sound like a paragon of virtue and stability compared to what my heart dog was between the ages of 8 months and almost 2 years old. So, patience.
  11. It's very normal for momma dogs to shed most of their coat when they have a litter of puppies. It's especially noticeable in long haired/rough coated dogs. Combine the normal post-partum shed with probably poor nutrition, and probably both ecto- and endo- parasites and it's no surprise that Caper's coat looks pretty sparse right now. Give it time, give her decent regular meals (and some fish oil supplements can't hurt), and keep her free of fleas and intestinal parasites, and I predict she will have a lovely coat in a few months. I'm certainly not sure if she's pure border collie, but if I saw you with her and you told me you knew she was purebred, I'd see no reason to doubt that. As she settles in and you get to know her behavior and her style of movement better, you may get a better sense of how border collie-ish she is. Keep us posted on her progress.
  12. Hooper2

    Stinky Border Collie Puppy

    Definitely consult with a vet about any unusual and recurring odor with your dog. But if there is no obvious medical explanation, I pass this on as just my anecdotal experience. Many years ago I had a dog that developed an overall "body odor" that got gradually worse. The odor would go away for a day or so after a bath and then it would return. I tried several different doggie shampoos, including a couple pretty costly ones - it was a while ago so I don't remember which ones, but I tried quite a variety. Nothing helped. Then I read that the odor is caused by a specific bacterium, and that conventional doggy shampoos will wash most of the bacteria away, but that there will be enough survivors left on the dog's skin that they will quickly repopulate and the odor will recur. The recommended solution? - a bath with human anti-dandruff shampoo. So, I bought a cheap (compared to what I was paying for premium doggy shampoos) bottle of Head and Shoulders, and poof! The odor was gone and never returned. Some disclaimers here: a) I have no idea how reliable my original source of information was. It was just something I read on the internet, and as we all know, anyone can post anything on the internet, b) Most people recommend NOT using human shampoos on dogs. Something about differences in optimum pH in dogs vs humans, c) I'm not a fan AT ALL of the great anti-bacterial fad. But anti-dandruff shampoos aren't anti-bacterial. Anti-dandruff shampoos do contain an ingredient that is anti-fungal, so I kinda sorta suspect that the offending odor producer is a yeast, not a bacterium, d) I'm not a vet, nor do I play one on TV. Reread my first sentence in this post, along with the advice of several other posters. But plain ol' Head ahd Shoulders worked for my dog, it's cheap, and I only had to use it once so it's not like a one-time exposure to human shampoo did any damage to my dog's skin or coat. If you do try this, please let us know what the result was. Oh, and edited to add: I'm a huge fan of ACV as a hair rinse both for my dogs and myself, and it was the first thing I tried with my stinky dog. Didn't help with my dog, but again it's cheap, and can't hurt to try it.
  13. Hooper2

    Fearful Border Collie *UPDATE*

    Thanks for taking the time to give us an update. It always frustrates me when someone new posts here about a problem, people take the time to offer advice and support, and we never hear the outcome. It's great to read about progress and success. And you tossed in a puppy picture as well. You earn a gold star!
  14. Hooper2

    walking backward

    Well "ruin" is a relative term, but I think it's pretty safe to say that it is extremely rare for someone to train their first sheepdog to anywhere near it's full potential if the dog has any real talent. I've heard that it's typically more like your fourth dog before you become fairly proficient at bringing out the best in a talented sheepdog. Of course there are a ton of variables including the natural talent of the trainer, access to sheep, access to a good mentor, time and money available to commit to training.... But, bottom line, yeah most sheepdog trainers feel that they came up way short training their first dog or two or three. But, so what? You gotta start somewhere, and you'll only learn by trying, and it's not like Spillo cares if he becomes the best sheepdog he can possibly be. If you and he enjoy your interactions while training, and the sense of partnership you develop improves your bond with each other, and the sheep you train with are treated fairly and compassionately and you have a serious goal of improving your skills and learning more about using dogs to manage sheep, then do your best and enjoy the challenge. On the other hand, if you (general you, not you personally) are just doing this to collect "titles" after your dog's name, or you have some romantic notion that your dog pines to live up to his heritage, or your dog yearns for the fulfillment of working sheep, or you just consider an occasional session on sheep to be entertainment for your dog, bear in mind that sheep are sentient animals that would rather not participate in providing your dog with a play day no matter how nicely you treat them. Truly, I'm not trying to discourage you from continuing if you have a serious interest in improving your ability to work sheep with your dog, even if just as a hobby. I'm a hobby herder too. And the fact that you initiated this conversation, have taken the advice offered to heart, and have continued the conversation indicates that you are serious about improving. But I feel sort of compelled to remind every newcomer to the sport (I was one myself) that sheep are not dog toys, and if this is just something you (general you) are just doing as an occasional fun day with your dog, nosework is fun too, is way less expensive, can be done in your living room, also uses your dog's innate abilities, offers a s..t ton of letters to place after your dog's name if you choose to compete, and doesn't place stress on any other animals.
  15. Hooper2

    Trazodone for Dogs

    Going to a specialist in veterinary dentistry is a good idea if you have access to one, and can get a prompt appointment. There's a decent chance that once your regular vet actually looks in your dog's mouth that your vet will refer you to a specialist anyway, so if you have the opportunity, go directly to the specialist and skip an intermediate step. But the vet/dentist is still going to have to look in her mouth, and your dog is not likely to be any more cooperative in a new location with a new person than she is someplace where you've spent a year desensitizing her to being handled. So call the vet dentist, tell them about your dog's previous issues with being handled, tell them that your current vet gave you Trazadone to give before the next exam, explain why the vet gave you the Trazodone, and ask if you should give it before the visit with the dentist. Otherwise, you are likely to be wasting a visit when the dentist can't look in your dog's mouth either. I understand your reluctance to medicate your pup, but really, what other options do you have?