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About BrittClarke

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    Atlanta, GA
  1. She does breed working herding dogs too (her dogs are all active working except for the one who is an excellent service dog for her brother), but if the variation from that is out of line I apologize.
  2. How far are you willing to travel? I know of a sweet woman in Kentucky who specifically advertises that her border collies are great as service dogs and companions. In the past she's had litters of blue merles, black and whites, red and whites, and blue and whites, and her prices are very reasonable.
  3. Update: I'm heartbroken. We found out after finally getting in contact with his breeder that Declan's issues are genetic. We're talking through our options--any possible managing/training methods--but I know that for dogs with genetic aggression issues, the outlook is bleak.
  4. That's exactly what this sounds like. We're in the middle of testing for other things, but it's comforting to know that it's not necessarily a symptom of something larger.
  5. His parents were both black and whites. I recall the father had a very thick, fluffy coat. It's hard to say how shiny it was because when we met him he was dusty from being around on the farm.
  6. Hey everyone, My current pup is my first border collie and is now 9 months old, so this is really the first time I'm seeing what kind of seasonal shedding I can expect from him and his breed. He's been shedding a lot lately, which I assume is normal for the season, but his coat has definitely changed in appearance. I've attached some pictures. Am I going crazy? Does it look to those of you more experienced with the breed that there is some thinning going on around the sides? Maybe some dullness? Or does this look pretty normal?
  7. Thanks, guys. That was very, very helpful. Our vet is going to call us on Tuesday to check in, so I'll discuss thyroid with him again and see if we can get that checked out.
  8. I keep reading about thyroid-related aggression, and it sounds like him, but since the vet ran his blood and said 'no' I guess I discounted that. What is the likelihood that our general vet would miss it? I'm certainly willing to get it sent off to CA, but I feel like I'm just shooting money blindly in all different directions at this point. Declan does have some of the signs of a dysfunctioning thyroid, but no weight gain, no lethargy (until the increase of Clomicalm), and if anything his appetite has decreased. He does drink a TON (always has), has the dull/ashy appearance to the fur underneath his tail and under his hind legs (again always had that), and just recently we noticed he's been shedding like mad, way more than he ever has, and he is very itchy. I'm trying not to "create" symptoms in my mind, though. And to the coaxing him out from under the bed with treats, that does work. That is the method we have to use when we forget to leash him, but it takes a little while, so the leash has been the preferred method.
  9. I apologize for updating so frequently, but the input and support from each of you is invaluable. In earlier posts I believe I mentioned that Declan likes to sleep under our bed sometimes. He'll go under there during the day for a nap or at night to wind down with us before going into his crate. A month ago when this all began he got in a good snap when I went to lead him out from under the bed to get him to his crate for the night. Since then he's been left on his leash when he goes under there, and we just nudge him out with the leash when it's time for bed. That had been working just fine for the past month, but last night, for the first time, he growled when my husband gave the leash the little tap to get him to come. That is the first time he's ever growled over something over than being pet. For a little context information, we haven't been pushing him (hardly petting him at all) for the past 5 days because the increased dose of the Clomicalm is making him very tired. We're waiting for that to adjust in his system before we get to working with him again. If this growling under the bed was just an isolated situation it wouldn't be so concerning to me. My concern is that his larger problem is escalating. And perhaps it's not really a fear thing? What would you make of it?
  10. I might do that if I expect him to wear it for any long period of time, but at this point it's just for 10 minutes (or so) of training, and I'm not exactly wanting him to be thrilled about it. I don't want him to fear it, but my intention is to reward him by removing it (coupled with treats) when he relaxes while I'm petting him. It seemed to work well today. And he can still take bits of cheese through it for smaller victories, which I like. I highly considered the basket muzzle, though, so I am definitely not discounting that if he ends up needing it for longer periods of time or if the nylon one doesn't work out.
  11. The past couple of days have been bad. I didn't want to do it, but I went out and got a nylon muzzle for training. I wasn't comfortable leaving my hand exposed anymore. Surprisingly, he didn't freak out about it. With a little clicking and treating for cooperating while I slid it on, he did just fine. He's definitely more reactive to being pet by the oven mitt and long, wooden back scratcher we've tried. He wouldn't tolerate a light touch anywhere with either, so I tossed them aside and went back to my hand. I suppose after the terror of the mitt and spoon my hand seemed great, because he laid there quietly with his muzzle on while I scratched his belly. He definitely didn't seem to like it, but he didn't react, so FINALLY I had the opportunity to click and treat for the right behavior. Then the muzzle came off, and he continued performing tricks happily. It was nice to finally end on a good note. That was just round one, though. I'll keep updating on our progress.
  12. Thanks for the responses. There's never been a limp or any sign of pain. It didn't seem too farfetched that he might be disguising it well, but after two trips to the vet and two thorough examinations with x-rays, I'm convinced it's not pain. Or if there is/was any pain, that's not the bigger issue. I actually use an oven mitt if I feel I'm at risk and have to touch him somehow, because if I do get a snap I don't want to have to jump away. Usually, though, I meet him when he's happy with treats. Your suggestion about letting go when he calms is good, though. I think that would be doable for us. He's also getting good at hand targeting, so maybe these small things will do some good over the next 2 weeks.
  13. Hey, friends. I could use some input. (See last update of previous post.) I'm worried about the setback with Declan's snapping when pet. Again, it's not all the time even now, but it is much, much worse (more frequent and more intense) since his vet visit yesterday morning--no question about that. Do those of you with more experience suspect that if we get back on the progress track that seemed to be working before the visit he will once again improve? Or might this be a more permanent setback? It's quite upsetting seeing him like this. It breaks my heart every time.
  14. Thank you guys very much for your continued attention to our boy! Update 8/20: Today as I was working with Declan, I could tell he was a little less thrilled about it than he had been the past couple of days. We've been doing only the most basic training at this point: treating for behaving well when pet. I've been suspicious of some sort of sensitivity about his front limbs, so I begin with petting his rear, then his back, his belly, his head, and his neck--no reaction. The very first time I tried to pet and treat for his front limbs, he gave a pretty good snarl. We'll have him on Rimadyl for the next few days leading up to his appointment with our regular vet, and his activity is going to be very limited. We'll see if that makes any difference. Update 8/26: Our appointment with the vet was yesterday. THANK GOODNESS he reacted in front of the vet this time. We told him about our honing in on the front limbs, so he and an associate sat down with him and manipulated the front paws a bit--that's when he started the growling. I thought, "There we go! It hurts him!" But our vet looked up at me and said, "I'm not even petting pressure on. His pupils are dilated; he's terrified." He continued to move toe-to-toe without any pressure as Declan's behavior escalated. Then he moved to the back limbs--no reaction. Moved back to the front limbs--no reaction this time. He didn't suspect Declan was feeling any pain, only fear. So we got x-rays done of his front paws, and they confirmed his suspicion that nothing was wrong with them. My heart sank, because I'm dying to put a name to what's going on with him and because I knew that if it was a physiological problem the experience at the vet would probably set him back. And it seems to have. He's snapped at me a couple of times in the last 24-hours since the vet visit, breaking a streak of 4-days. The vet has upped him on Clomicalm and wants me to keep him on Rimadyl--both for the next 2 weeks before we decide the next step.
  15. An update for you guys: I've been trying to get an episode on video the past couple of days, but even with a little bit of pushing, we've had no instances of even a snarl. His appetite also seems to have increased (it changed a bit after we moved here, but he would eat at night, so we weren't too worried--figured he was just too excited to play) in the past couple of days. We'll see how the next days leading up to his vet visit go.
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