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jami74

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  1. Play the wipers game! Step 1: First, person 1 (the person who usually drives) says "Wipers!" in a cheerful upbeat voice and then person 2 shoves 2 or 3 small treats in dogs mouth, enough to keep dog busy for 3 or 4 seconds. You'll probably only need to do this a couple of times before dog realises that "Wipers!" equal treats. Step 2: Play the same game, but in the car. Step 3: This time, person 1 says "Wipers!" and while person 2 is shoving treats in dogs mouth person 1 activates the wipers just once. You might need to alternate steps 2 and 3. One time make the wipers work, one time don't. Might be best to avoid driving in the rain if you can. If it goes well dog stops reacting at just one swish of the wipers and after some practice can wait to have the treat when the swish has finished rather than needing the treats shoved in. At this stage, maybe start increasing the wipers to two swishes. Over time build up the number of swishes and reduce the amount of treats.
  2. Ah, I just need some runners in fluorescent lycra or kids on bikes willing to help me with that one then Actually it's a good point. We've been practicing nice lead walking in a low distraction place whilst one of us cycles around and since then he barely bats an eyelid at passing bikes. Maybe if I can get my teens running I can practice sending him and recalling him etc. Thanks for your help
  3. How's she doing now? Have you learnt any more about her?
  4. @Milkmachine my first dog would turn himself inside out to do whatever I asked of him. And I had him from a pup. Never used treats either, the sound of my voice was enough. He was the reason that we got another border collie pup. Completely different. He's a year old now and is calming down, like CptJack we do many positive recalls a day and while he is good, I wouldn't ever put "call off chasing rabbits or deer" to the test. What I do try to do is avoid calling him when it's time for the fun to end, if I want him for something not fun I ask for a down and then go to him.
  5. Yes us too! Things disappear and then when he's bored and we're ignoring him suddenly he'll be going mad trying to dig something out from under or behind the sofa. The sailing boat sounds lovely!
  6. Hi Shelly Our boy has completely recovered from his op. The trazodone made no difference in keeping him calm/quiet and we did not get a few calmer, quieter recovery days. If anything he was more wired the week after. We had a good week of lead training and no off lead outings, he is getting better with traffic, people and bikes although I still need to be very vigilant. We're still having the odd jump and bark but not so much. Originally I taught him a down position for passing distractions but I've found if he puts himself into that position and zones in then he will react so I lure him back up to a sit and ask him to look at that and then back to me for a treat. If I don't break that stare then he'll react. We have a car park close by which is empty evenings and weekends so I've started getting someone to ride a bike or scooter round there while we are practicing our walking and I think this is helping to make him less reactive to bikes/scooters. Certainly would not be trustworthy off lead but will now sit and watch them go past instead of trying to rip my arm out. He really struggles to walk calmly next to me, if I turn around when he starts to pull he thinks that's a fun game and just runs faster to the end of the lead each time resulting in us going in circles. What seems to work okay is if I stop or slow right down, he bounces back to my side where he knows he should be and we set off again. We have just started letting him off lead again and he has lost some fitness so runs less before getting tired. I don't want him getting very fit at the moment as he's not trustworthy to be off lead for long periods of time, so he's allowed off for a couple of ball throws and some running/sniffing and then goes back on. Even when he's tired he runs ahead and flops down waiting for us rather than walking along. I am trying to keep him out for longer but not running, so we spend longer in the car and then find somewhere we can sit and watch. Yesterday he had two trips out about two hours each and was lovely and tired in the evening. At home he is the perfect dog. Does many tricks, is loving and gentle, can settle, does not take anything or destroy stuff. It's unfortunate that he's challenging when out because he's missing out on fun dog stuff. I am sure we would all love to go hiking together but there is nowhere we can hike where we are guaranteed not to meet other people, bikes, traffic etc.
  7. Aw I'm sorry it's feeling hard for you right now. Not very helpful comment from your vet. I think it's easy to blame the last big thing to happen for any changes, but they might have happened anyway. Our boy went through a really awful stage in the car a few months ago and we experimented with a few different ways of travelling him, all of which seemed to make him worse. I did some minimal desensitising (literally we got in the car a few times but didn't actually drive anywhere). Not using the car at all is not an option as his road walking isn't good enough and I don't want to spend our exercise/training time sitting not going anywhere. We now often make a point of not driving away as soon as we get in the car and not getting out as soon as we stop, we'll sit and chat and he often lays down and listens to us. And I make a point of taking him in the car with me if I need to go to the shop, so he gets a journey without the excitement of going anywhere interesting. I think of our car journeys as training/mental stimulation so sometimes a drive is as good as a walk and tires him out as much. He is now pretty good, he stands and watches but doesn't make much sound. We recently went on a longer journey (two hours each way), I gave him a chew and a few times he laid down with it but he mostly stood. It meant he didn't sleep all day so he had a very sleepy day the following day. I don't know what made the difference or why he suddenly got better again, he just did. I don't know why he suddenly got odd about it in the first place either. How long ago did Merlin get neutered? I don't think testosterone suddenly disappears, although production of it stops there is still testosterone circulating in the body and I think it can take a few weeks for this to be completely gone. It makes sense though that it throws other hormones out of balance initially and I guess these can affect things too. I was sort of expecting at least a month for complete recovery but I'm not sure as I've never had a dog done before. I was going to ask at the pre-op but he was such a handful I forgot to ask anything. I've not personally heard any negative experiences from real life people so can only go on experiences that people post on the internet. I've read a few articles/blogs of regret for doing it in the first place and a few that wished they hadn't waited so long. I guess there are lots of people that just do it and don't notice any huge difference.
  8. Yeah, I knew someone would pick up on that. I have done lots of research and examining of our situation and I am aware that neutering may or may not affect his attitude either way, but as it is an inevitable consequence of living where we do and our lifestyle I am happy that the time is right now he's 14 months old. His reactivity when out on the lead has improved so much, when we are both concentrating. Sometimes one of us is not or something catches us by surprise and he'll lunge and spin. While it feels like we are still years away from being able to walk calmly through bank holiday crowds we are at least managing to do some sensible lead walking ignoring people and traffic. I think part of our progress is due to him maturing but also like to think it's also as a result of my patience and the hours I've put in. Obviously I'm not expecting neutering to instantly fix those last few lunges but a week of him feeling a bit quieter than usual and needing only lead walks won't do any damage.
  9. Oh thank goodness! I worried after I posted that you might be offended. I've really taken on board other peoples advice here about mental stimulation being more tiring than physical and I think for our boy everything outside of our home is mental exercise whether that is sniffing in the grass, practicing lead walking and not reacting to things or being in the car. I've even been practicing settle in different outside locations and while he's getting better at laying quietly he is certainly very alert listening and watching and sniffing and needs to have a good sleep once home to process it all. It also seems to tire him out more if I am at home all day as I move around doing housework and he follows me watching what I'm doing, helping me (picking up things I've dropped or carrying rubbish to the bin), doing a few tricks as we go. On days that I'm at work I'm told he sleeps most of the day, then he's a pain in the backside most of the evening. I am finding the exercise balance hard though. If we have more trips out that don't involve loose running he calms down, pants less and becomes more responsive, but then when I do let him off he's more likely to go crazy, ignore recalls, and be restless the next day. If he has some off lead time every day he is less likely to run himself crazy and his recall is better. A little bit of off lead time seems to de-stress him but too much stresses him out. So everyday is an experiment to find the perfect combination of outsideness and running. I am also intrigued by all these border collies I see walking nicely with their owners, either on lead near traffic or off lead in the countryside. Even when our boy has run himself stupid and flops down waiting for us, he never walks he gets back up and runs. I would love for us to go for a nice relaxed hour long walk.
  10. He's being done in a fortnight. I'm hoping that it reduces his reactivity a bit. With playing fetch I favour shorter throws so our game is more about retrieving and returning than running and we don't always take the ball. We don't have dog parks, but we have countryside and we come across other dogs. We've never stopped to play with another dog for a whole 15 minutes, I don't think our boy could play for that long. Also from my very limited experience (mostly YouTube videos) of herding it looks like the dogs do intermittent running, even if they're working a large flock they seem to run a bit then lay down then run a bit etc. I'm trying to replicate this a bit with our boy because if encouraged/allowed to just run and run he seems to go into a different zone that just doesn't look healthy and takes him hours to come down from. For comparison this is was our boys day yesterday. I'm not saying it's right, I keep tweaking things trying to find the right balance of exercise and training. On our morning outing I did a couple of ball throws and then sent him to sniff, he then had a five minute play with a dog who matched him in age and energy before moving on for more sniffing and peeing. He ran around a bit (he likes to run a circle around clumps of bushes) and we did a couple of recalls. He saw another dog and they approached had a quick sniff and moved on. A couple more ball throws with a bit of direction/stays/tricks and then we sat down for a rest as he was panting lots. Then we saw a person with three border collies (big ones who walk along sensibly with their owner), he trotted over to have a look at him and they looked back. Then he did more sniffing back towards the car park, barked at a lawn mower and was put on the lead for some practice. He was probably out of the car for about 30 minutes. With the journey each way and our little lead practice before and after he was out for just over an hour. During the day he had a little bit of tricks/petting/treats with the other inmates and freedom to go outside to pee, play or chew. In the afternoon he had his pre-op visit at the vets, we were out for less than 30 minutes but he found it highly exciting and exhausting and went to sleep when we got back. He probably would have pretty much slept through until morning but at 10pm before bed he got some more lead practice, a bit of tree sniffing and lots of treats, about 20 minutes worth. Food wise he had two Kongs stuffed with peanut butter, kibble, mince and wet food, lots of training treats and access to kibble in his bowl which he didn't touch. He weighed in at 19kg, he is short and stocky and very hairy but I can feel his ribs and some of his spine knobbles. His stools also go loose after excitement/stress.
  11. I'm sorry Shelly I don't have anything to add about what it could be but wanted to reply as our dogs are similar age. Our boy sleeps as much over night as yours now and will also have one or more longer naps during the day. Sometimes, if we've done something particularly busy (not necessarily exercise related, maybe just been out for much longer than usual in the car or visit somewhere new) then he'll flop to sleep and still be tired the next day. But this is a sometimes occurrence, maybe once a week or less that he tires out that much. It does sound like Merlin gets a lot more exercise than our boy, but I'm sure 3 ten minute exercise sessions shouldn't exhaust him. I hope you soon get to the bottom of it, it must be so worrying.
  12. That's such a helpful thing to read, thank-you. Sometimes it seems that the experienced owners here would never have the sort of problems and behaviour that newbies are go through with their puppies. Where I am crates aren't really a thing with pet owners so please do not be upset or offended by anything I say, I am genuinely ignorant. It looks like your dog spends about two thirds of his life in his crate, is that a lot or is that about normal? My one year old boy is calming down and things are getting easier at home, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't sleep two thirds of his life. And even when he does have long sleeps they are broken by him waking up stretching, walking to another place and laying down somewhere else to go back to sleep. Sometimes he'll have a drink of water or find a rogue kibble en route or walk around checking where everyone is before settling down again. (Actually it's really nice being able to say that, six months ago he was either fast asleep or being manic, I think age really has played a huge part) Maybe with your puppy the penny just hasn't dropped that it's okay to sleep anywhere else other than the crate, when he's out of it he's always doing something or given attention. I don't know how you'd teach him that though. Our boy will go to sleep if he thinks we're asleep, when he was younger we used to trick him into having a nap by all pretending to be asleep. I don't know if that works for anyone else.
  13. Our boy calmed down around ten months old, it was like he suddenly realised that it was okay to sleep during the day and that it was okay to walk across a room instead of ricochet off the walls and furniture. One thing which we have recently done is to restrict his off lead crazy running and ball play. I have to admit that during the winter when it was dark and cold and sometimes wet our outings were short and to make up for that I did lots of ball throwing to try and get in as much exercise for him as I could in a short a time as possible. Now we have daylight and milder temperatures we can be out for longer, but unfortunately he still thinks that off lead means running as fast as he can for as long as he can, to the point that I have worried that he might explode. And then he'd be crazy all evening and demanding again the next day, like he never properly came down from the high that he got from running. Now we don't give him so much freedom to run like that. At home he can run down the garden and sometimes he gets a ball thrown for him, but only 2 or 3 times, not over and over again. We try to stop before he gets intense, then play find-the-toy or do some tricks for a few minutes to transition into less energetic behaviour. Our outings are now more on lead in grassy areas (so not too many things to take him over threshold), lots of freedom to sniff and if he starts panting and pulling I drop treats in the grass for him to sniff out which slows him down again. To start with I felt really guilty that I wasn't letting him off to run every day as he seems to love it so much, but very quickly he became calmer at home (we had a couple of days of really bad weather which meant we didn't go out and by day 3 he was so much more relaxed). He stopped panting all the time and his poo has firmed up. He's always been a panter and always had soft poo, I'd never related it to exercise and stress. He also seems more able to focus and less quick to reach threshold when we practice walking near people and cars. We do still have off lead exercise, once or twice a week, (although I try not to let him run himself stupid) and afterwards he is restless and demanding for the rest of the day and some of the next.
  14. It's not a huge problem as we try not to see too many dogs while we're working on the lead but I'd like to understand what might be going on and what I can do about it. Our boy is generally fine when loose. Some dogs he'll greet playfully and then play chase with, other dogs (generally older calm looking dogs) he'll have a quick sniff greeting with and then we'll be on our way, and yet other dogs he chooses not to approach or acknowledge at all. Generally we don't have problems and as he seems to respond differently to different dogs I thought his dog manners must be okay. On the lead things go differently. He doesn't look to me like he's doing anything wrong but it seems like the other dog takes offence. The last two incidences went like this: 1) Neighbour had a visiting dog and wanted to introduce him to us on the leash. He looked calm and sensible and friendly and interested in our boy. Our boy was excited to see him and there was tail wagging on both sides with them inching towards each other. They sniffed noses and then our boy went for a good sniff at his undercarriage, after a few seconds the other dog stiffened and then snapped at him. Our boy went to retaliate, it was fairly mild but hackles were up. We both walked away in opposite directions and they've since seen each other through the fence with no aggro. Guessing our boy was being rude sniffing for too long and I should have ended the greeting sooner. 2) We were practicing our nice leash walking in a quiet area with lots of space. I saw an owner and a small loose dog, we were in a big space and not in their path so I asked our boy to sit. I am working on him being able to not react to dogs/people/cars walking past and he's doing so well. I thought the owner would see we were on the leash and sitting nicely and encourage her dog to go round us. Instead she walked past staring at us and her little dog came running up to our boy, he stood up and the little dog started snarling and snapping at him. Our boy started snapping back and the little dog turned and trotted away after its owner. I don't really know why loose dogs come up to us and then start growling, but it has happened a few times. Obviously I try to avoid places where there might be loose dogs if I am not able to let our boy loose, that last example was in a car park. We've even had it when we've tried walking away from the other dog and then run after us trying to have a go. I understand that our boy is at a disadvantage if he is leashed so might get defensive, if we are in an appropriate place and I see a friendly looking loose dog approaching I'll let our boy loose so he can play, but I don't understand why loose dogs approach us and then get growly and snappy at him. It's such a shame and it's not possible to end greetings with loose dogs sooner as they just follow us if we walk away.
  15. I feed our boy as much as he wants, he is also very lean and I can feel his ribs and spine. If he starts gobbling his food and asking for more I treat him for worms, then he gets back to his picky self again.
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