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Flora & Molly

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About Flora & Molly

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  1. A while ago now I met a really nice girl, Indy, of about ten years old when she asked me if she could teach Molly some tricks. Sure she could. Molly never really learned any new tricks from her, but they became firm friends. Now Indy has her own BC puppy, Bobby who is 5 months old. We go on walks together. On our walk today she told me she thought Bobby wasn't a smart dog and probably would never be a dog who could go off leash. I had to disagree. He is very smart, he's just a baby. Plus, he does listen to her mum and can walk nicely beside her. Of course she sees Molly who is 4 years old and is really focused on me and wants Bobby to listen as well as she does, but that took a lot of training and maturing. So I said I would help her out a little with Bobby. As I am saving up to study to become a dog trainer, I thought this would be a nice experience for both of us. (this sounds as if she is paying me - she is not ) I am scouring the internet for fun training games and I thought I would ask here as well for fun ideas. I want to help them bond and help her teach Bobby some basic manners. But most of all, show her how much fun her pup is (and how smart). Some of the issues she has are: - he pulls here everywhere - recall, she is afraid to let him drag a line - biting when you touch his harness - digging: when he finds somewhere nice to dig she has a hard time getting him to walk away with her I am pretty sure these things don't happen or are more easily resolved when her mother is present. When I held the leash he was much more responsive, so I think she just needs some tips/techniques to become his leader/partner instead of only his playmate. One of the things I want to do is play a recall game where we sit down opposite each other and call the puppy to us, treats and praise and then the other person calls him over. Rinse and repeat. Fun for the pup, fun for the child and really easy to do together. I am looking for things we can do with Bobby, but perhaps also something we can do with Molly to show her how dogs learn - and that rewards are really important. I hope you can help me come up with loads of fun stuff
  2. Really nice looking pup, reminds me a bit of my Molly in the second picture must be the shape of the white marking on her body lots of puppy-envy over here
  3. I second that! When I was a teenager we were on holiday in Spain and our dog rolled in human feces. Apparently the builders from the house that was being built next door used the adjacent orchard as a toilet - same place we walked the dog. She was super happy with her new human perfume. I was so glad I didn't have to clean her up Mum obviously wasn't too happy.
  4. If possible I would not give a young pup the kitchen and dining room, but choose one of the rooms to keep her in. I would like my pup to have some space to stretch her legs, but not too much to get up to no good An X-pen is a good idea if you're afraid she might chew on furniture and the like. Did you leave her alone in there at your work? Or were you in the same room with her? If she is used to being alone in there with you out of sight I don't see a problem when you use it at home. Even if you didn't it might not be a problem, but if you could practice leaving her in that set up at home and work up to longer periods that would help your pup. Practice makes perfect
  5. I am sorry you are so frustrated with your pup, it is an awful feeling to have - I have been there, although it sounds like you're in deeper than I have been. What has always helped me is to come up with a gameplan for the things I want to change. For instance my dog used to get worked up before going for a walk, stomping on my feet, whining. I could get her to sit down, but that wouldn't calm her down. I find it difficult to describe the intensity behind it which set me on edge - which I would not have with a happy-go-lucky labrador getting excited for a walk, whining and being boisterous. It took me a while to figure out a ritual that worked. Now she has to wait on the doormat while I get ready, this worked like a charm. I added fetching her leash to it and sitting next to me while I open the door. Small rituals like this have really helped me to calm my dog down. My dog really wants to know what is expected of her, so I make it very clear. For instance she has a difficult time settling when we are at my sister's house. So to help her I attach her leash somewhere where I want her to lie down. This helps her to settle right down. Of course she is used to settle at home and is an adult. But it is a good idea to practice this by having the dog on a leash lying down at your feet while you work/sit at the table/something like that. As for training sessions, 3-4 repetitions is fine. I tend to do something like that with my adult dog, to keep things light and fun. Or I ask her only once before I give her food, or before we cross a street, or at another time that is convenient. Another thing: mindless ballgames seemed to only make my dog riled up and obsessed whenever she saw a ball. I have changed things around and arranged my ball/toy games to engage her brain more. This has made it much more enjoyable for both of us. Some of the things I do are: - hiding toys - throwing something, making her wait and make eyecontact before she can get it - coming up with new "rules" for when I throw something (for instance she has to drop it in a box now between my feet before I will throw it - when she gets it I move the box further and further way) Most of my frustrations with my dog have been about impulse control. Perhaps you can add some tasks/games to work on that too. And lastly, in my experience a BC (mine is also from working lines) is not just having a dog, but a hobby. My dog wants to be involved in everything I do and really wants to work. So I try to involve her in everything as much as I can and to give her jobs. She absolutely loves to fetch my slippers, she really perks up when she feels useful.
  6. It must be the name! One of Molly's halfsisters is the spitting image of your Molly, except she has prick ears. Can't seem to find a picture of her unfortunately...
  7. People rarely recognize my smooth coat as a BC because of her coat and because she has ticking. Most people think she is a mix with a Stabyhoun (very popular breed where I live). I always tell them that for a hunting cross she does remarkably well herding sheep then
  8. Haha I absolutely love that video. Kiran is such a happy dog, would adopt him in a heartbeat!
  9. Definitely! Praise all around for her she is really trying it out, looking back and forth, so I reward her everytime she looks at me. Either with loving eye contact and a pet or a treat. She seems to enjoy these equally (I am glad because I sometimes run out of treats). I'm a teacher and it really works the same with my students. I can make my job a lot easier (and more fun) by creating a positive relationship and making my lessons enjoyable. Although sometimes you do have to send someone out, but before that happens the student always gets a chance to set things right (well usually, unless they do something utterly horrible).
  10. @Pat P I have thought about asking something else of her, but I feel it will add some stress for her. Most of the issues I have worked through with her have been about getting over stimulated/stressed/not knowing what is expected. She might be able to do a hand touch, but I expect she'll be over the top doing it, making a lot of whiny noises (of the wooh wooh roo roo kind- hilarious but sometimes embarrassing) and I feel like that might be counter productive. I have had some success when she sits next to me. No scooching incidents, although she does "smile" at them winningly. She looks back and forth between the strangers and me, which is huge progress to me. We have been lucky though to only meet people that ignore her completely without me having to ask them to. Although this was we can slowly work up to people who are interested in her. @ShellyF This is exactly what I struggle with, I'm glad to know I am not the only one. Really the big difference in training Molly now is that I am more confident that it is okay if I don't want people to pet her. Now every time we meet someone I can see it as a training opportunity, which makes it fun instead of frustrating. Merlin sounds like Molly at that age it took a while for her to calm down even when we wanted to pet her.
  11. We've always let our dogs off leash from a young age, but it means you have to be vigilant. We would call the dog back before she saw the person or dog, put her on a leash and release her again when we had passed them. When this can't be done, either because of the environment or because you aren't quick enough (or you don't want to) I'd say keep the dog on a leash like the others said and practice that way. A dog park is probably not the place to try my method. Too many people and dogs to see. We were lucky to live in a somewhat remote area where we mostly hike in the woods. We would still meet people on the trail, but it was an easy environment to see/hear people coming. We would hide a lot behind trees as well, to teach the dog to keep an eye on us. I still do this when we cross paths with people without dogs (or with dogs on a leash) in case people are afraid of dogs. She knows the drill and sometimes comes and walks next to me before I ask. Practice makes perfect. I just wanted to show my alternative in case it suits you. However, the method described above will also definitely work and is more foolproof.
  12. @urge to herd Thank you, your kind words have really boosted my confidence. You are absolutely right, Molly doesn't pine over not being able to interact with people. Plus most of my friends absolutely adore her, so she receives enough love from them. We haven't met anyone in the elevator yet, but she caught on pretty quickly that we were doing "fun stuff" in the elvator, so she is very focused on me now. The classic "what do you want me to do next?" look. We met a girl while we were entering the building and it went really well. The girl looked at Molly smiling, so Molly wanted to greet her, I told her (in a friendly tone) "no, heel" and treated her when she walked away nicely with me. I was very pleased. Although this isn't the big problem area, because we are able to walk away in these kinds of situations. So Molly usually isn't in full flirt mode. Still, definitely a step in the right direction. My mother agreed to help me tackle the elevator problem. She'll enter the elevator on another floor to simulate a stranger getting on the elevator. Hopefully she can find the time to help me somewhere this week. @Pat P I really like the idea of rituals. I have noticed that it really helps Molly to know exactly what I expect her to do. For instance, she has to wait on the doormat while I put on my shoes and coat to go out. At the moment, I don't want her to greet strangers at all. I just want her to heel or sit next to me depending on what we are doing. Which, I guess, is the ritual I want her to stick to. When friends come over I send her to her place and she has to stay there until she relaxes, she usually calms down when everyone sits and the greeting part is over. Then if my friends want to greet her I ask her to join us. This is still a work in progress, sometimes she calms down immediately, for instance when my mum visits. Sometimes friends stare at her and it takes a while. She does this sneaky thing where she goes up and demands to be petted everytime I leave the room. This is after she has had her share of petting I keep forgetting she does this, because before she does this she is relaxing somewhere else, happy to be ignored, being the perfect dog. Again, she doesn't do this when my mum is here, but I guess that is because she used to be my mum's dog. So she knows the drill. Plus when my mum's here, her dogs are here and that creates a very different dynamic.
  13. Very cute I especially like the last picture, such a nice smile!
  14. Ah yes sorry I read the insufficient reward for "sitting next to me", but ofcourse it is the "stay with me when there are people". And yes, that is probably it. I've only had her for about a year now, before this she was my mother's dog. So I'm not sure where this started, doesn't really matter, the behaviour might have slipped in there somewhere. My inconsistency mostly lies in the fact that I don't want people to pet my dog at all, but that goes out the window when other people are there, because I feel like people don't understand and think I am mean. I have never allowed her to go and greet someone when she is scooching and looking at the person, I would wait until there was a moment of calm and then let her. And then sometimes I wouldn't let people pet her. Plus I feel extra mean because the dog is SO into it. And then there is the nagging doubt that maybe I should let her because she enjoys it so much. I should stick to my guns though, I don't want strangers to pet my dog because it usually isn't the time or place. I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one @urge to herd. It is such a weird problem to me, because she does so well in other contexts. I can ask her to lie down and stay, walk quite far away while people are walking past her and she doesn't even look at them. It means she will be able to do it in the elevator as well. And then I have this weird feeling that she doesn't enjoy doing this at all. I certainly am not I did some trick training in the empty elevator today which was a lot more fun than just standing there. I will incorporate looking at me eventually, I don't have that on cue yet, so I'll start on that at home. The freidns thing is a really good idea, plus I will have all the time in the world in the summer holiday (and my friends will too ). Thanks for the advice, I really needed someone to point out the obvious. I was so frustrated when I wrote this, not so much with Molly, but with myself "why can't I train this?!" I have the answer now: because you haven't really been training, silly!
  15. I don't think that is it really. I don't let people pet her a lot. These interactions rarely happen, but if they do happen she is really obsessed to be petted. And by rarely I mean not even once a month where we would meet someone in the elevator. And then when we meet someone I usually don't allow them to pet her. So she might be petted by a stranger maybe once every three months, if I had to put a time stamp on it. Probably even less. When we are alone in the elevator she is fine and sits next to me completely relaxed. Her focus in this situation is on me and in other more distracting situations she is equally focused, relaxed and confident. It really is the person that is triggering the reaction. And I am looking specifically for strategies to help her ignore/relax when someone enters the elevator/when I have to talk to someone when she is with me. The last one I could avoid mostly, but the first one I really can't. Or you know, I could get out of the elevator as soon as someone gets in, but that doesn't solve the problem. If I do that I have to do something else so I can eventually stay in the elevator. I could be working on sitting next to me in different situations until the cows come home, but that doesn't really help me because she can already do that everywhere else.
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