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Hooper2

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  1. It's a little hard to interpret what your dog is doing in the video because I can't see what the birds are doing and how they are reacting to your dog's approach. But it looks to me like he's showing a little bit of "eye" as he approaches the birds. "Eye" refers to the sort of stalking behavior that border collies exhibit as they approach livestock, and their use of their intense stare to control how and where livestock moves. Border collies vary in how much eye they show when working livestock, and handlers vary in their preference for intense "strong eyed" dogs vs "loose eyed" dogs that show a much less extreme stalking approach. And "eye" is only one of many components of working livestock. Anyhoo, back to your original question... What your dog is doing is showing a component of herding behavior. If it's interfering with you taking your dog for a walk, distract and redirect him, as you have been doing. That won't discourage him from using that tool appropriately if/when he's actually working livestock. I hope you get the opportunity to work with someone who can introduce you and your dog to working livestock if you are interested. It can be an endlessly fascinating activity if you and your dog have an aptitude for it.
  2. First of all, when you say your dog tries to "herd" ducks and other birds, what is he actually doing? If he's just chasing them, that isn't herding. That's just chasing. Herding involves controlling where the stock moves and at what rate of speed it moves (other than moving away from the dog as fast as it can). Dogs can actually truly herd poultry, so it's not inconceivable to me that your pup is attempting true herding behavior, as opposed to allegedly "herding" cats, cars, bicycles, people, and all the other things that owners think are being "herded" when they are really just being chased and harassed. This misconception about herding comes up a lot on these boards, so please don't be offended that some of us get a bit strident about the distinction. Anyhoo, if your dog is just chasing animals, don't let him do it. I assure you, people who actually work livestock with their dogs, don't allow their dog to chase bicycles, chickens, children.... Don't rain down fire and brimstone on your dog for chasing, but prevent it as best you can, and when you slip up and he takes off after a bird or some other animal, your strategy of distracting him with a toy, and redirecting him to an appropriate activity is exactly what you should be doing. And don't worry that this will discourage him from actually working livestock appropriately when the time comes. I have free ranging domestic ducks and sometimes chickens and sometimes turkeys and every pup I've ever had has initially chased them if given the opportunity. When I start teaching them to work stock, I do indeed use the dog to help me move ducks and turkeys around in a controlled fashion. Interestingly, once my dogs have learned how to appropriately move poultry they lose interest in chasing them. The only time I've ever had a poultry caught and killed by one of my dogs was by a dog who was absolutely worthless as a stockdog (he had other endearing qualities, but talent with livestock management wasn't one of them).
  3. I think your instructor has given you some very good advice, especially regarding having your dog go in and out of the crate frequently every day for very brief pleasant bits of time. Some dogs are fine with spending extended time in a crate pretty early on. But for many pups, if the only time they are crated is for what seems to them like a very boring eternity, then it's not surprising that they will join the resistance when you try to send them to their crate. So, a minute of crate time here, five minutes of crate time with a stuffed kong there, throughout the day should help with her attitude toward the crate. Enrolling in a trick class should be fun, and is probably at least as helpful as enrolling in a basic training class. At this age your goal is for your pup to learn how to learn. She might as well develop that skill doing something more fun than just doing sit/stays and walking on leash. But I STRONGLY disagree that you have to be doing training sessions many, many times a day, and I REALLY STRONGLY disagree that you should be physically exercising your pup to physical exhaustion on a regular basis. First of all, you can't do that. You will keel over from physical exhaustion yourself before you manage to physically exhaust a healthy adolescent border collie (or lab, or golden, or aussie, or springer, or beagle, or....). And even if you manage to hire someone training for an ironman triathalon to exercise your pup, all that you will have accomplished is that you will now have a nice healthy adolescent dog who gets antsy if she doesn't run ironman triathalons every other day. Won't that be delightful. On top of that, it's not good for adolescent joints to be exercised to the point of physical exhaustion on a regular basis. So, you'll have a healthy active dog who expects to run 26 miles a day and then go for a swim and run along beside a bike for a few more hours, but she'll also be in chronic pain. Swell. Likewise, if you give your dog "many many" training sessions, then she will grow up expecting your active attention many many times a day. Every day. For the rest of her life. Take your dog for a couple 45 minute walks every day, and throw in a couple 15 minute physical play sessions/pee breaks in between. Spend another 15 minutes or so a couple times a day training. The rest of the time, she can be loose in the house under your supervision, or tethered to something immobile with supervision, or in a crate, or in an X-pen if you want to give her a bit more room to stretch out. I think what often happens is people think their pup needs this enormous amount of attention and exercise, and so they provide that. And lo and behold, after a couple years of devoting their life to fulfilling what they perceive to be the needs of their pup, provided both dog and owner survive, the pup does finally mellow out and start to learn to relax. And the proud parent attributes all that to his/her hard work. But 75 % of it was just that pup and owner managed to survive until the pup reached maturity. I'm not advocating that you neglect your dog, and certainly regular mental and physical exercise and socialization are important. But raising a dog, even a border collie, shouldn't require your undivided physical and mental attention every waking moment, and if you provide that to puppies you'll end up with adults who demand that.
  4. I was just about to post this same advice. Over the years I've always alternated between boy dog then girl dog then boy dog... on the theory that boy/girl combos are more likely to get along than same sex combos. But, sometimes I've had three dogs, and it wasn't possible to have them each be a different sex, and they all got along anyway. My latest addition is my first deviation from the boy/girl alternation - an unneutered 11 month old male who gets along fabulously with my 7 year old intact male. At 11 months, I suppose it's possible that the youngster's puppy license may still expire with my older male, but I see no signs of it. My crotchety 13 year old spayed bitch hates them both, because she''s old and dignified and getting frail and they are both doofuses. As Journey said, get the puppy/dog you like the best.
  5. I rinse off surplus eggs and toss (well I don't actually "toss" them) raw into a Ziploc bag and freeze them. They do crack as they freeze, but I cut them in half while still frozen and give both dogs a half eggsicle, with shell, a couple times a week. The dogs think they are yummy, and it allows me to feed eggs year round without wasting the spring bounty.
  6. Gave my young dog an antler to chew. Paid $1700 on root canal to treat broken tooth. Just sayin'.
  7. Well, this is one of many places where you could have him genetically tested to see if he's a double merle, although if he's anywhere near 50 % pigmented, I would bet that he's not. Of course, determining if he's a double merle doesn't really answer your underlying question about the unequal pupil size, but if you find out he's not a double merle you could at least rule that out. You don't say how long you've had your dog, or how old you think he is, but I'm wondering if this is recent or if his eyes have always been like this. If it's a recent development, then I would definitely be concerned. Is there a canine ophthalmologist near where you live? If so, I would go there rather than to a general practice vet.
  8. I was just going to post the same thing D'Elle did about crate training. Even if you never use a crate at home, dogs are much safer being crated in a car than riding loose. And you really don't want the first time your dog has ever been crated to be when he's like five years old and suddenly has to spend a night at the vet, or worse, has to spend an extended period of time recuperating from an injury in a crate. Crate training doesn't mean your dog has to spend significant time there on a daily basis. But he should be sufficiently used to being crated that if you have to confine him in a crate for a few hours it's no big deal. For training ideas, do a search on youtube for nosework or scentwork and you'll find lots and lots of videos on teaching your dog to find hidden objects by scent. Dogs love it (sniff around and get treats! what's not to love?!), you can do it for 5 minutes or 30 minutes depending on how much time you want to spend, you can do it outdoors or in your living room if the weather is icky, and even though you may only be doing it to entertain yourself and your dog, you get an appreciation for what goes into training actual bomb/drug/truffle/arson/cadaver/wildlife detection dogs. And unlike "tricks" that are just cute (not that there's anything wrong with that) but totally artificial, scentwork uses the dog's natural instinctive behavior.
  9. Well, I propose we actually test that hypothesis. I volunteer to be in the "eat lots of ginger snaps" treatment.
  10. Ditto to everything Alligande wrote. I also find that nosework in particular can be good mental stimulation to calm down a bored high energy dog. There's plenty of online information on it, and it can be anything from formal nosework training for specific competitive programs to simply having your dog play find the cookie (or toy) hidden in the house for a few rounds. And it can be done indoors, in any weather, and can be squeezed into quick little 5-10 minute sessions a couple times a day, or longer sessions. It won't instantly make your dog calmer, but it's one activity you can do that won't just give you a high energy dog who's now also been endurance trained by providing ever longer and ever more frequent walks. And as has been said here before, no amount of training will make your dog a year older. I have a young dog now who is a slightly less extreme version of how you describe your dog. Mine doesn't scratch and fight about being put in a crate, but the over the top hyper stimulation when he sees multiple dogs and people is very familiar to me. The only reason I'm not at the end of my rope over it is that for me it's a matter of "been there, done that". When I look back at my favorite dogs over my lifetime, the real heart dogs were all monsters as puppies. This too shall pass.
  11. I am by no means any expert in working dogs on sheep. But, I'll pass on a couple comments I've heard from others who are experts. First, regarding whether it would help to have someone else work your dog. An instructor once told me that when working sheep you have three entities to consider: the dog, the sheep, and the handler. And when training, at least 2 of those entities need to know what the heck they are doing. So, for example, with a new inexperienced dog, the sheep should be very used to being worked by a dog, and the handler should be experienced working stockdogs. If the sheep are completely unfamiliar with dogs, then both the handler and the dog better be pretty savvy at their job. And, new handlers should start with a dog that at least has some basic training, and begin by working on dog broke sheep. A novice handler with an untrained dog on a group of lambs that the handler purchased for the purpose of dog training - disaster! Of course many of us novices take our untrained dog and hope the two of us can work and learn together, and we may make progress. But, at least in the US, it is very common for people who have aspirations to have some success beyond the novice level in USBCHA trials to purchase a dog that has already been well started by a good trainer, or hire a trainer to start their dog for them. It's certainly not a hard and fast "rule", but it's pretty common. As for your observation that your dog is a perfectionist and is very sensitive to pressure from you, I've seen this quote from a very successful North American trainer/trialer: "If your dog is afraid to be wrong, she'll be afraid to be right." It's one of the great challenges of training to know when to correct a dog for bad behavior, and when to let your dog learn from his/her mistakes. I think the ability to make that distinction, and the ability to set up training situations so the dog learns from its own mistakes as much as possible is one of the hallmarks of a really good trainer. For sure, it takes lots of experience to develop a sense of when to apply pressure and how much pressure to apply, which brings us back to the advantages of the dog learning from an experienced trainer, and the handler learning from an already experienced and well trained dog.
  12. We're all rooting for you in the sense that we all hope you can raise this dog to be a safe reliable companion that you will spend many happy years with. But that won't happen if your dog continues to bite people and that's what you are setting up to happen by allowing strangers to approach your dog. In two of the four biting instances you describe, your dog was apparently off leash and had the option of backing away from you if he felt stressed/anxious/fearful. Instead he chose to bite you, the person he knows best in the world, once hard enough to draw blood. In the other two instances your dog was apparently on leash, but again he chose to bite two people he knows well (you and your dog walker), and again one of those bites drew blood. If he has repeatedly chosen to bite people he knows well rather than back away when he felt "anxious", why do you think it is suddenly safe for total strangers to approach him? Without seeing the dog over a period of time I'm certainly not going to try to predict how "fixable" your pup is based on a brief description on the internet. I commend you for going to the effort and expense of working with a vet behaviorist, and for being committed to doing what you can to give this pup a normal happy life. And yes, he needs to be socialized with other people to build confidence. But that socialization needs to be done systematically, and given your own inexperience (not a criticism -good judgement comes from experience, and most experience comes from poor judgement), you need more guidance on how to do that than a single visit with a behaviorist. Again, all of us are rooting for you, but part of rooting for you is to make sure you understand that allowing strangers access to a dog who has chosen to bite people he knows well is not going to lead to a happy outcome. It will lead to a heartbreaking outcome.
  13. It's actually the Vet School at Washington State Univ that does the MDR1 test, not Univ of Wasington. That distinction matters to Cougar fans
  14. I was struck by the total lack of any evidence to support the author's very confident assertion.
  15. My nearly 1 yr old pup's current favorite toy is an empty plastic jug. It was pretty expensive, but on the plus side the $22 toy came filled with free olive oil.
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