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RainDrops

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  1. That's so sad. I am a big fan of snakes. It is nice that it was able to get help. Last year we found one in a city park that had apparently become stuck in bird netting earlier in life and was terribly constricted with the netting embedded in the skin. We were able to cut it off and the snake was probably okay after the nasty wound healed up.
  2. Well I can understand that. Vacuums are unnatural. Just like hairdryers, skateboards, rollerblades, and ducks. Dogs have to look out for us.
  3. Awesome! As a biologist I would love to teach my dog to sniff out different animals some day. Probably safe simple things like box turtles to start though.
  4. I have limited experience with this. I crate my 11 month old when I am not home. Crate training, to me, has been one of the most important things that I have carefully managed. I know that my dog would do unsafe things when unsupervised because she tries to do them sometimes when she is supervised. Things like get into the trash or chew cable wires. These dogs require a lot of entertainment to not get bored, and if they do get bored they are very creative and can be very unsafe. In addition, border collies form habits extremely easily. If you are not there to discourage an activity, the dog having a few hours to enjoy themselves may make it very hard to correct. I think crate training is important to the dog's ability to be safe and content in its position as your pet/worker. My family has dealt with too many dogs with separation anxiety for me to risk anything with Fern. I have worked very hard on her ability to be crated alone both while I am home and when I am away. I think the process of crate training helps the dog develop comfort by themselves that they will need. In addition, it's a good way to teach the dog to relax and have a "time out" when you need them to. I think if I had a 4.5 month old dog I would be very worried if I had not started crate training because as the dog gets into adolescence you might find very different urges start to surface. Your well behaved pup may turn into a more defiant teenager. And if you have not crate trained early, you will have to figure out something to do with the dog. And sudden crating with no prior conditioning could result in your dog freaking out and developing confinement anxiety or isolation anxiety. I think the safest route, as others have said, is to begin with crate training so that it will always be an option. That way the first time your dog tries bad dangerous things, you will likely be able to correct them because you will be there. Then you expand the freedom depending on the dog's behavior. With my dog, I have slowly expanded her freedom. At first she was not allowed out at all unless directly supervised. Now I allow her out as long as I am home, even if I'm in a room she does not have access to. In the future I will start leaving her alone for brief periods of time. But probably not for a while. I have generally heard most people say they start allowing more freedom at 1.5-2 years of age. By that time you can be more confident that they have built good habits and will not endanger themselves. I have had dogs (not mine) die in my arms from eating poisonous seeds. I have saved the life of one of our family's dogs that went into anaphylactic shock after getting into an unknown substance (you're looking at $2-5k in vet bills for something like this). In conclusion, I'd rather use gradual freedom as a form of positive reinforcement for good behavior than have to switch to crating after the dog has had its taste of freedom and failed. Also, I do use crating to "correct" behaviors as you may have seen others refer to. But I only started using it in the past couple weeks because I wanted to be absolutely positive my dog was happy in the crate. It is not a punishment. I simply act as if I believe that barking means she wants to be crated. She picked it up almost immediately, and ended a behavior she has struggled off and on with for a while. And yes, ignoring did work for a while, but the issue resurfaced with determination.
  5. I have just been using a large number of different soft training treats, which I tend to cut in half or fourths because they are all too big. I think a variety of treats is good because it keeps them guessing. I cannot discern which is her favorite though. If I want to give her a big reward I give her multiple small treats. I use different brands (cloud star, blue buffalo, zuke's, train me, pet botanics, etc.) and just buy in bulk when things are on sale on amazon because I go through a lot of treats. When dogs are too hyped up, they may be too excited to accept any treat. But I have found that with my dog, she has gotten better and better at keeping her focus and now she is almost always focused enough to sit and accept a treat when a trigger is a reasonable distance. I have also used hot dog, which I've sliced into little pieces then microwaved (for 2 min) to turn it into jerky. This worked well, but I dislike how salty it is so I don't like to give large amounts of it. But it is a nice way to give real meat treats without worrying about them going bad so fast. A lot of people seem to have luck with cheese, but I also avoid it because of the perishability, since I take treats out on walks and such. If I need something really good, I go with a little peanut butter smeared on a spoon that she gets to lick. That's the easiest thing to distract her with.
  6. How old is your dog and when did the behavior start? I've got another thread - I experienced something like this with my dog, and I suspected it had to do with adolescence. She used to be totally fine at the dog park and would put up with anything, but then she gained the confidence of a teenager and suddenly stopped putting up with stuff and reacting in an excessive way. I dealt with it by stopping taking her to enclosed dog parks, at least for now. I discovered that in off leash areas she is much more relaxed with other dogs. I think it has to do with the dogs not being able to escape each other in the fenced area. They cannot get away from an annoying dog, and a bored dog has nothing to do but annoy other dogs. At the off leash areas, I have to be much more careful about keeping an eye out for things that she may behave inappropriately toward, so it is more work for me, but I have found it is much better for her and we have not had any troubling behavior for a while now. About a month(ish?) after the snippy behavior started, she has gone into heat, so I do think the hormone cycling has caused behavior fluctuations. I do not know what fluctuations may occur following the heat, and I can't say what her "normal" behavior will turn out to be at this point. But I do know that fences made things worse, so I would also suggest that the fenced dog park is not best, at least for now. A lot of bigger dogs seem to have issues with small dogs. Small dogs tend to be quick to aggress, possibly because they feel threatened by larger dogs. Or it could be that your dog feels dominant due to size, and is more willing to throw her weight around with an opponent she knows she can overpower. To me, I feel that I can't expect my dog to completely ignore rude or aggressive behavior from another dog (especially stuff like mounting), but I also feel that there are appropriate and inappropriate reactions. I agree with others that I would not risk putting a dog in a situation where it is likely to cause harm to another animal. If this is a chronic problem, or if you truly feel that injury is likely, then I would heed the advice in these responses about finding a behaviorist.
  7. Fern was fascinated with her tail at that age, and would chase it and catch it like a toy. I haven't seen her do it in a while, so I think she aged out of it. But I wouldn't have been surprised if she also tried to chomp on it like a toy. Hopefully it'll grow back in correctly.
  8. Here are some photos from the past 3-4 months of the little rascal. Sorry, not sure why this one won't show upright. Trying her best not to fit on the bed
  9. It's a constant struggle to keep Fern busy. She finds antlers boring most of the time. She loves bully sticks. I also let her have the porkskin chews because they seem to be a safe, 100% digestible rawhide alternative, and they last a similar time to the bully sticks. She has himalayan chews and sometimes likes them but also gets bored. I buy bully sticks in bulk, 50 at a time, online for around $80. So it's like $1.60 a piece. I haven't been able to find a better cost efficiency when it comes to entertaining her. She usually gets a frozen stuffed kong and a bully stick when left in her crate.
  10. Thank you, this is a good reasoning for why I should teach her both of them. I will keep at it and see how it goes. She seems to be changing a whole lot lately, and hopefully her confidence is improving.
  11. I will try to keep you updated on my progress with Fern (see that thread). We did go to the park yesterday without incident, though most of the dogs there were her regular playmates. I am currently looking at how my behavior might be influencing hers, and seeing if a modification on my part will influence her possessiveness. I have been reading the book Click to Calm (recommended on here in some other threads) and I have been trying to start using these methods to encourage calm behavior in response to exciting stimuli. From reading the book, it does sound like the methods could be very useful to your dog, as it is intended specifically for dealing with dog reactive/aggressive dogs.
  12. If you think she's a sport prospect, I would check to see if you can contact rescues that deal specifically with performance dogs. Given her fear issues, she will have the best chance of finding a good home if she can work with an experienced trainer who can help with the fear issues before she goes to a final home. There's an "adoptable performance dogs" group on facebook that might be able to point you in the right direction or hook you up with somebody who has the experience to work with her.
  13. I've read a lot of these discussions in the past, which led me to think 18 months would be a better time to do it. If I stick to this plan, is there a good chance she will chill out again after going through these hormonal mood swings? I'm only concerned with what will allow her to live a happy healthy life in the long run.
  14. I am wondering if she may be coming into season, given how sudden it is. I was going to wait until ~18 months to spay her, but if she has an early heat it may make more sense to do it earlier. I don't mind if she isn't super fond of other dogs, I'm just not cool with her picking fights with any dog that approaches me due to possessiveness. I know she doesn't care for rude behavior and that's totally understandable as long as she's using appropriate behavior to indicate that, as she has always done before now. If I am going to spay her earlier than intended, does it make sense to do it sooner or to wait until she settles down again after a heat? I'm also wondering if this bout of reactiveness is just due to me leaving her with a sitter for a week. The first night I got back, she seemed very out of sorts and was super submissive. I wouldn't be super surprised if it made her more possessive of me, though I'd hate if she made a permanent change.
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