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Everything posted by D'Elle

  1. Many people don't realize it, but many if not most dogs have their preferences when it comes to music the same as we do. I have learned this because I do Musical Canine Freestyle and we know that the dog has to like the music you choose to use or the routine will fall flat. I think it makes sense, because their hearing is very sensitive, especially so for border collies. I sympathize because if someone started playing heavy metal music or rap I would start whining, too. I would suggest you not play the music that your dog hates unless he is outside, or at least in another room with the door closed. Or, can you simply use earbuds to listen to it? If your dog hates the music it is unlikely that desensitization will work. You could feed me chocolate every time I heard rap music and I would still hate rap music.
  2. With a puppy who tends to get over-excited and run rampant, I always prefer to play in a more quiet manner. Any play you do with her that ramps her up is counter-productive. Either find ways to play with her that are more quiet, or else try training her to fetch or tug, then do short sessions of that where you are in control of the toy, and when play is over it's over. Very distinct line between playtime and down time. Also remember that intellectual stimulation is every bit as important as play or physical exercise. Take two minutes a few different time in the day to train her to do something, using lots of praise and treats. Then, as with the play, it is time to chill out. This gives her practice at using an "off switch". Also, you can take her on walks. The no-outside-contact thing before all the vaccinations are done is highly overstated. I would not take a pup who has not had full vaccinations to a dog day care, dog park, or let the pup on the floor at the vet office or other place where you know there have been many dogs. But I wouldn't hesitate to walk her just down the street, and into places such as Home Depot, where dogs are welcome. Of course, work on leash walking in your own yard first so that you can train her manners on the leash before she has all the distractions of new places.
  3. You have answered your own question. If you feel she has too much free reign, then she most likely does. If she nips an ankle you need to respond immediately. Don't wait until she has nipped twice. The very first time, say "ow!" or "ah!", or make some other sound indicating it hurt (I like to try to make a dog yelp-in-pain sound as best I can), and then take her gently but firmly to her crate for a time out. This will have to be repeated a hundred times or more so do not get discouraged! Be 100% consistent with this and let it take however long it takes to sink in that Every. Single. Time. she nips she will go into the crate for 5 to 10 minutes and all the fun stops for her. It could take a couple of weeks, could take month. Could take six months. Just keep doing it. Every member of your household must do the same. Remember, it is vitally important that this time out in the crate is not viewed as punishment. Do not have a punishing attitude. Do not get angry or frustrated. These things will only make it worse, guaranteed. Think of it as if it were a force of nature, over which you have no control. It's like gravity: if you jump from a height you will fall to the ground. If you nip at ankles you will go into your crate for a time out.
  4. In your place, I would simply ignore his noise at night. It sounds as though he eventually settles down, so just wait him out. This includes thunderstorms. He will learn, if you stick with it, that his noise gets him nowhere and it will last less time, and eventually will fade out completely. If you continue to get up and go to him or sleep in the room with him it will take longer, because he is getting intermittent positive results which he interprets as "it works sometimes, so I just have to keep trying". If necessary, speak to your neighbors and let them know that this won't last forever, and put him in the room that is the best for sound-proofing, and close the door and window.
  5. The first time I saw Kelso perk up his ears and light up his eyes was when he heard a squeaky toy for the first time, and it remained the one and only thing that would get him happy and excited for some time. His new people used it a lot at first with him to get him to drop his fear of the new surroundings and start to trust them. In fact, I remember the day they met him the first time very clearly. They had seen him lying in a corner of the kitchen, refusing to move or turn his head because there were Strangers In The House. I could tell they liked him, but were possibly a bit hesitant. Then I brought out a squeaky toy and said, "Do you want to see him perk up?" and started squeaking the toy. Instantly, Kelso was up and dancing around me with his eyes bright and happy. They watched that for about 30 seconds, and then told me they wanted him. (Of course, as a disclaimer for those who have not read Kelso's story, I would not have let him go to them just based on that. There had also been a long phone conversation prior to my letting them come to meet him, and there were several solid reasons that I felt they would be a good match for Kelso. They have proven to be the best home he could have had.)
  6. My policy is to give the pup or new dog as much freedom as I can while making it impossible for him or her to damage anything. How I do that differs depending on where I am and the circumstances. Sometimes that means a pen in the house, sometimes a crate, sometimes shut into a puppy-proofed kitchen. It is a lot easier to prevent behavior you don't want in a puppy than to try to train established chewing behavior out once it is started. Generally an X-pen is the easiest.
  7. Training sessions should be very short, especially for a puppy. three or four repetitions are plenty. Three or four minutes is plenty. Do more session in the day rather than trying to make them longer. Substitute your 10 minute play sessions with 4 minutes of training, lots of treats and praise, and then a 5 minute play session. Crate the puppy when you are not training or playing with him. Your puppy is normal for a border collie his age, or for that matter a lot of puppies his age. The fact that you are so frustrated with him is being sensed by the puppy and is making things a great deal worse. If you can manage to get your frustration under control you can have success with this dog. If you cannot, you won't, and should rehome him before he is ruined. This is not a criticism of you although it may seem that way. A very great deal of patience is needed in a situation like this and we are not all cut out to handle it. Try this: rather than thinking of him as destructive or bad, try to think of him as a human toddler. A two year old human child can be extremely damaging to breakable things in the house. Can poop inappropriately, can throw a tantrum in public and be embarrassing, can do a lot of things that are very trying. But a reasonable person and a good parent will not see this as a bad child or a destructive child, just "the terrible twos". If you can view your puppy in this light it may help a lot. Don't continue to ignore him when he bites you or continues to jump on the couch. Say "uh-uh" once, in a firm but not angry tone, and if he does it again take him by the collar, GENTLY but firmly and put him in the crate for a time out until he settles down. Bring him out without comment. If he does it again, repeat. Repeat. Always with calm and gentle voice and handling. Don't think of it as a punishment, just a consequence. Be calm and patient while being firm and kind. And be 100% consistent with how you handle all of the incidents you see as a problem. This means your partner must do exactly the same as you do. this consistency is necessary in training any dog, and will be the key to making a difference with this puppy. Your pup, like any youngster, needs to have clear direction, clear affection, and clear consequences when boundaries are crossed. Best of luck to you and good for you for wanting to work with this dog and seeking help rather than just getting rid of him. If in the future you decide you are not able to handle him after trying everything that we and a professional positive reinforcement only trainer recommend, at least you will know you gave it your best try.
  8. This is the best approach. I also want to say I second everything Gentle Lake says in her reply to you above. Especially the bit about exercise being less important than not putting pressure on him. I have advised several people who had fearful dogs like yours, and all were heavily concerned about how the dog would get enough exercise if they did not do something that was stressing out the dog in order to get that exercise. It is good to be concerned about exercise for a dog, most especially a border collie. But in this kind of situation letting the dog take his own pace without pressure is the most important thing. Most people I have advised have found the dog was able to come along faster than they thought if not pressured into stressful situations with the goal of exercise. The end result was a dog who could get enough exercise without the added stress, and this is what you want. It sounds as though you are doing well with Toby, and he is a lucky dog. Keep us informed and best of luck.
  9. Not wanting to argue, Gentle Lake, but you are mistaken about the tool I recommended. Not saying it's necessarily the best one for this or any other situation, but it is not a stripper, nor is it designed to take out undercoat. It is actually made with sharp blades, as sharp as and similar to razor blades, that are within the curved bits and designed so that they will not cut the skin on either dog or groomer. These blades literally slice through the mat, breaking it up in the same way that would happen if you cut into the mat with scissors, only the tool does it from the dog's skin outward rather than inward toward the dog's skin. I know this because I recently ordered this exact tool from Ryan's and have used it on mats in a dog's fur. It doesn't pull on the dog's coat whatsoever, because all it is doing is cutting through the mat. It is not advisable to use it to take out undercoat, as it would not work in that application at all. It would probably cut some hair unnecessarily and unevenly if you did that, and would not actually comb out any undercoat at all since it is a cutting tool, not a combing tool. It is to be used only to cut through mats that cannot simply be combed out.
  10. I agree that you shouldn't be too hard on yourself. You were and are doing your best with a dog who doesn't like the brush, and these things happen. I am not so sure about using an undercoat rake with the mats, even if you cut them in the direction of the hair growth first. There can still be considerable pulling, which could undo all the good work you have done to get him to tolerate grooming. If it were my dog I would just get in there with scissors and very carefully cut off the mats close to the skin. I'd get someone to help me by feeding the yummiest treats possible to the dog the whole time I am doing this, and speaking constantly to the dog. In the future, you might want to try a mat breaker such as this one I use it on one of my dogs whose fur mats very easily and it works very well, because it cuts through the mat in the direction of the hair growth and does it better and faster than scissors do. I have not had a dog react badly to this myself, so far. This needs to be done as the mats are forming, preferably, and won't work as well once they are at the stage your dog has right now. The two-brush idea is brilliant and I never thought of that. May try next time I have to groom a dog who hates it.
  11. I don't know your situation or your house set-up. But pulling him out of the crate is not the best idea. You don't want him to continue the submissive urination, and pulling him out will exacerbate it. As long as you are doing that, I don't think there's any way to get him comfortable enough that he stops the urination, because it is not an easy thing to remedy. Force never works. Is there any way you can shut him into a certain area and add a dog door? Then you could forgo the need to get him out to potty before you leave? I suggest thinking creatively to see what you might be able to do that would not put that stress on him. Shut the crate door at the right time so he cannot go in there and then lure him out to potty with the most yummy treat you can create? You may have to take some time to get him gently out the door. This may mean getting up earlier so you have that time. Is it necessary to put him into the car? Can you simply take him for a walk that doesn't need a drive to get there? If this is possible at all, then I would not force him into the car again until you have gone through a desensitization protocol with him and the car. Even though he likes the end result, your forcing him into the car when he is scared is not beneficial, as it is very unlikely to result in his ever wanting to get in on his won, and that is what you want. Think of it this way: Say you are deathly afraid to fly in an airplane. If someone physically put you on the airplane once a week and you ended up in a nice place, you'd like the nice place. But that would not have in any way addressed your fear of flying, which would persist until it was addressed. I know that the walks you drive to are better walks and he likes them. But I still suggest that you work with him to get him comfortable with getting into the car and don't put him in there until you have done that.
  12. Hi there, and thanks for adopting this dog. I am the person who had Kelso, and I am glad you are reading that thread. There are more things Kelso taught me than I can ever say, but here are the most important ones for you: Everything, and I mean everything must be taken at the dog's pace, not at yours or your daughter's. It seems nice for your daughter to pet him, but it was not nice to him. With a dog like this you have to put the dog's needs first, and this means over your daughter's needs. If the dog is not ready to be petted, and clearly he is not, then he needs more time before that is attempted. Everything must go at a snail's pace no matter what. Pushing him in any way (and even the slightest most gentle and innocent thing can be too much for a dog like this) will only set him back. Another thing is that I very strongly recommend is not be ambitious for this dog in any way. I found that my expectations of Kelso were only making things harder for both of us. My ambitions for him, my set times by which I thought he might be able to do X Y or Z, even my hopes for him, all were things I had to let go completely. The only way to be with a dog like this and to help him is to accept him 100% in each moment, and not ever to want him to be anything different from what he is now. What he is now will change from day to day, sometimes seemingly going forward and sometimes seemingly going backward, but it has to happen in the dog's time, and that may be a very long time. I had Kelso for a year and a half, and he had made great progress, but was still uncomfortable outside my home and terrified of everyone in the world but me. Your job with this dog is to the best of your ability create and maintain for him an atmosphere within which he can make his own progress or lack thereof and to love him the same no matter what. This means loving him from a distance if that is what he needs. Rather than going to him to pet him or talk to him, let him come to you. If he doesn't, let him be as he is. I started out with Kelso simply sitting about 3 feet away from wherever he settled down, sitting on the floor, reading a book. I didn't even look at him. This dog is not ready for any kind of training whatever. Any attempt at obedience training or anything like that will be counter-productive. Sending him elsewhere would be a bad move. Let him decide when he wants to start taking treats. Forget training him at all right now. You have to get him to trust you enough to look at you and again that has to come in his time and not yours. I sat with him on the floor and then finally started putting my hand out toward him and just leaving it about 2 feet away. He ignored me. Eventually he started sniffing at my hand, which I kept still. Then I would reach out with a treat, put it on the floor, take my hand away. And so on. All vary tiny steps, and over weeks of time. I would strongly recommend that you not think of this dog as an emotional support dog for your daughter. If you really need that, get a different dog. I am serious about this. Kelso, although he is a happy-go-lucky dog and utterly secure in his home, still hides when a stranger come in the door, and will although he lets me near him when I visit he will never be really comfortable around anyone but his 2 people. This dog you have may go farther than that in time, but equally may not. To expect it or even hope for it is unwise. If your heart is set on keeping this dog, explain to your daughter than the way to love him is to leave him alone and love him from a distance because that is what he needs. Remind her it is not about her and is not because the dog doesn't like her. He is not able to like anyone yet. Try not to let her set up expectations for the dog, as she may only be disappointed. I let Kelso go to the people who adopted him because they told me that they wanted him even if he never came any farther out of his shell than he was when they met him. At that time he was terrified of going anywhere, of strangers, and of breaks in his routine. He only trusted me. In time, he came to trust his new people but will never be outgoing. I do recommend reading the whole Kelso thread, long as it is. And if you decide to keep this dog feel free to ask for help. I will do my best to assist you. One thing I can say is that helping Kelso to become a dog is the most rewarding thing I have ever done and I'd do it again for another dog in a heartbeat. You just need to decide if all members of your household and all your visitors are able to handle having this dog without expectations or pushing him, without trying to get him to come along faster than he can. It's not always easy. If you do decide you need to pass him on, please be sure the person taking him knows and is willing to do all the things that he needs to come out of his shell. If you keep him and take the time he will need, you will probably feel it was worth it.
  13. Liz P, thanks for that info, which I read carefully. I have been in a quandary lately, not knowing what is best to feed my dogs. I want to give them the best I can afford, but genuinely don't know at this point what that is. I am not prepared to feed an all raw diet, and fear that if I did I would be missing essential things. I have been feeding grain-free, but not the super expensive brands because reading the ingredients labels shows me their ingredients are no better than what I am feeding. I now wonder if I should switch off grain free, and my next bag will be a meat-and-rice kibble. I supplement the kibble with things like cooked chicken, canned dog food, cooked beef, cottage cheese, yogurt, hard boiled eggs, to add protein and yummy for them. Still don't know if that is the right thing. One source said that as dogs age they should have a little more protein, then someone told me that's wrong and they should have less. I know better than to fall for marketing hype, but did get on the grain-free wagon which I now am thinking might have been foolish of me. Now, I just don't know who to believe.
  14. I always say "That's all!" or some other phrase to signal to the dog that the session is over, whether training or play. Then I say "let's go outside!" in an upbeat voice, and let the dog out to potty. Few minutes later, dog comes in and I settle down to what I am doing. If the dog insists on getting my attention I ignore. If the dog brings me a toy, I pick up all the toys and put them away. If the dog ups the ante and puts a paw on me or something of the kind, then I take the dog very gently by the collar and put him in another room and close the door. Five minutes later, let the dog out and go back to what I am doing. Dog repeats attention-seeking, I repeat the time-out. No punishment or correction about it, just calmly letting the dog know that if he settles down he gets to be with me and if he doesn't he has to be elsewhere. Be 100% consistent with it. He just needs to understand that, while his behaviors are good he will only be rewarded for them when he is cued to do them and the rest of the time throwing behaviors at you won't get him what he wants. A smart dog like yours will catch on very fast.
  15. I am glad you are seeking help from a good behaviorist. You also want to have a vet check him to see if he has some imbalance that can be helped with medication. In the meantime..... The crate is your friend in this situation. Your dog sounds as though he goes over-threshold very frequently. The key is not to allow him to get to that point if at all possible. I suggest that you stop any activity that you are doing with him that revs him up at all. So lively play, no high pitched or excited voices. Everything calm and as quiet as possible all the time. Study his behavior so you learn the little cues he will give with his body when he is about to go over threshold. If you can stop him before he goes manic you will have better success at retraining him. When he starts any of the behaviors you don't want, including annoying the cats, he goes immediately into the crate and is left there with the crate covered in a blanket for enough time that he has settled down and/or taken a nap. If possible, put the crate into the other room where the door can be closed and it is dark and quiet and then ignore him no matter the barking or other behavior. Leash biting. First, don't take him again for even one off-leash walk until you have the manic behavior under control. Can you just walk him on leash within a short distance of your house? I know that's not as good as a walk away, but the point is that he cannot be allowed to continue on the walk if he bites the leash, let alone your trousers. I would also try a chain leash to discourage his biting or it, although use your judgement on this. If you think he'd attack the chain with gusto then don't use it. You don't want him to break a tooth. So, on a walk very near the house, the moment that he starts to act up in any way you turn abruptly around and take him back to the house and pop him into the crate. What he needs to learn (and it is imperative that 100% consistency be used in this) is that the minute he acts manic or any of these things you don't want, all the fun stops immediately and he goes into the crate until he settles down. Now, this part is important. The crate is not a punishment. Do not yell at him, or act angry or say no, no to him before putting him in the crate. Just do it matter-of-factly or even cheerfully. something like "OOPS! You need a time out now." and into the crate he goes. Give him a good chew toy in the crate and leave him alone. Dark and quiet. Even if he carries on a long time at first, if you keep doing it he will eventually learn that carrying on won't get him anything and he will learn to settle down in the crate. This will take a long time. But if you are consistent with it eventually his behavior will change. It's worth it.
  16. I second everything that Gentle Lake says above. Baby dogs and other animals learn how hard to bite in play from their pack-mates and parents, who will do just as GL suggests: make a hurt sound and walk away. For most puppies, and especially border collies who are hard-wired to interact with human beings, being separated from you is enough, and the "ouch!" is a marker sound to tell him what has caused the separation. Very important to use a calm demeanor when popping him into the crate for a few minutes. Do it right, and it will not make a bad association with the crate. Welcome to the boards! And let us know how things are going. :-)
  17. I know of no method for dealing with this that will work for every situation. I think it's more a matter of doing your best to be very sensitive to the needs of both dogs. You don't say how long you have had the puppy, so I don't know how long this has been going on. I have a rule that if a new dog comes into the home, the established dog(s) get extra attention. They are not allowed to push in between me and the new dog, but then I don't tolerate that between any of my dogs, as I consider it rude and will put an end to it. No one gets petted until everyone is behaving calmly and politely. I think if I were in your place, I would greet the BC at the door with lots of petting, and then say a verbal hello to the puppy but without petting the puppy I would, with a very cheerful voice and manner, put them both outside for a few minutes. This circumvents the problem of the greeting. I would not let the puppy onto my lap while the BC was able to observe it. I would choose only times when she was asleep or outside, and if she came in or woke up I would pay attention to her. Another way to deal with it would be when the BC comes up on the couch with you, you tell her to lie down on the other side of you from where the pup is, and then praise and pet her. If she tries to get in between, repeat the cue to settle down on the other side. She needs to know she is #1 dog, but at the same time she should not be permitted to behave aggressively toward the pup. If you scold or correct her for doing so, however, it will only make the situation much worse. In your case if something starts unexpectedly, a verbal correction for the behavior your BC has needs to be the most mild thing possible. Just a little "Uh-uh " in a nice tone of voice, and followed by distraction like a short game when she moves away from the pup. But whenever possible I think avoidance of the circumstances is the way to go for now. If you can find ways such as that to avoid the circumstances, it's possible that in time the jealousy will ease off. But you have two female dogs and it is possible that there will always be rivalry between them.
  18. Run, don't walk, away from any trainer who suggests a shock collar for this (or anything else). It is guaranteed only to make things worse. Consider the dog's point of view. He is showing aggression to other dogs because he is confused or afraid or wary or feeling for some reason he has to keep them away. Now, on top of that every time he sees another dog he gets a shock! So now he associates other dogs with getting a shock. Clearly this will not improve the behavior. Ditto with pinch collars (throw those away) or any other "leash correction" or form of punishment. All will only cause the dog to associate negative things with other dogs and increase thereby his desire to keep them away = aggressive behavior. Get the book CONTROL UNLEASHED. Follow the "look at that" protocol. It is designed for reactive dogs and has proven to be effective and doesn't require another person and dog to participate, nor does it use "correction".
  19. I adopted a 2 year old border collie when I was living in a small space in LA with no yard. The rescue let me have Jester because they had gotten to know me over the course of several months and they believed I would do right by the dog, and I did. It meant I spent every moment that I was not working or sleeping doing things with the dog, and he got two very long walks a day that included frisbee retrieving. I had to be dedicated, but it worked fine. Some rescues will not adopt to someone in an apartment but it should be taken on an individual basis. As a rescue worker I have approved adoption of a border collie to an apartment dweller when I believed the person would make the effort to give the dog a good home. Your agility experience will go a long way toward convincing them you will. In case you have not, please familiarize yourself with the info on these Boards concerning breeders and how to choose a responsible breeder if you intend to look into that as well as adopting a rescue.
  20. I would suggest you avoid that park entirely until you have her training farther along. I also suggest using the "look at that" game from the book "Control Unleashed". You have to take this kind of training very slowly, one tiny step at a time. You cannot train the dog when the dog is over threshold of aroused the way she gets in the park. The more you take her to the park, where she throws the training out the window, the more you un-do all the hard work you are putting into training the cue to leave it.
  21. My advice is don't take her to dog parks. I am personally not at all a fan of them for many reasons, and several people on this forum are of the same mind as I on this issue. dog parks are dangerous because you never know who will be there with what kind of dog, how they will or will not manage their dog, whether or not the other dogs are carrying disease or fleas or ticks, and so on. Additionally, it has always seemed to me that taking a dog to a dog park is like taking someone to a loud and raucous party where they know no one and are expected to fend for themselves. Some dogs do OK with this, others don't. Your dog doesn't sound from what you are saying as though she is enjoying it. If she is rolling on her back when other dogs approach her, that is not "having no problem with other dogs". That is being intimidated and trying to appease the other dogs because she is frightened. Finally she starts growling and barking. She was very unlikely to be protecting you; she was frightened and trying to protect herself because you were not protecting her. Find a different way for her to get exercise.
  22. D'Elle

    Old dogs

    Willikers, it is all worth it as you say. As I see it, my dogs give me more every single day than I could ever give in return, so whatever I need to do to make them healthy and happy is little to ask me to do. Thanks for the Balance It info; I went to the website and am going to use info there to make meals at times for my dogs. I had to say good buy to my Kit this year as well. She was also 17.
  23. Love that video. Reminds me of my Jester, who would exuberantly retrieve anything (literally anything) that anyone would throw for him. He would have been happy to retrieve a can opener. One time there was nothing for him to find for throwing in a yard when we were visiting a friend, so he brought me a leaf, spit it out at my feet, and backed up with his "you gonna throw that?" look. It was hilarious. Especially as he would have been perfectly happy to retrieve the leaf, even if it had only gone a few inches away. (Disclaimer: Jester was also trained to settle down and not ask for something to be thrown and was very obedient to that once told.)
  24. I have never heard of a dog being afraid of the moon or the sun, and it's very hard for me to believe that this is the case here. First, I am wondering if this is actually fear at all or if it is something else, and second I don't think the moon or the sun would be causing this, as they are simply too far away for a dog even to see or be aware of. Without observing your dog or having a good deal more information I can't advise on what the dog is reacting to. What does he do when you have him out on a leash taking a walk? Does he constantly jump up barking and growling at the sky? If not, his behavior at the fence has nothing to do with the moon or sun. If so, I still don't believe it's caused by reaction to celestial bodies. Even if you don't find out right away what he is reacting to, you can't let it go on as it may become obsessive behavior. Don't permit the behavior at all. Prevent it by not leaving him alone in the yard. Only let him out when you can be with him, distracting him or playing. Maybe only take him for walks, on leash, and don't let him in the fenced yard at all for a time until you have broken him of this behavior. When you cannot be there to work with him, take him back inside.
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