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  1. Had the same matty experience over the summer, including the part where I felt mad at myself! Managed to cut them out and he looks pretty normal now Don't beat yourself up!
  2. These are all great ideas! I really appreciate the reminder for consistency and to only do things when we have the time to do them properly. In many ways I feel like the process of training Kevin is like a constant meditation - I am endlessly having thoughts pop into my head ("What if we do THIS thing that I think will be super fun that you almost certainly won't be capable of and it will all go horribly!?") and then reminding myself "Nope, let's just do what he *can* do." And sometimes I have to remind myself of that multiple times on the same walk. Thank you everyone for these suggestions and reminders!
  3. We've done nosework and Kev loved it! I would also suggest naming your toys and having pup collect each one by name - we play "Where is ___?" every day and I find that it's an excellent way to get him to tap into a focused state, and it tires him out. I teach him the name of the toys by first showing him the toy, saying "Pickle" or whatever I've named it, hiding it in one room with the door closed, then I open the door and say "Where is Pickle?" and after 2 or 3 rounds of this, he knows its name. Then I can put both Pickle and Tire in the bedroom and have him retrieve them individually. We pair this with a "Clean up" trick where he has to drop each one, collected by name, into a basket (which I trained separately). But that aspect isn't really necessary, I don't think; just having to search for a specific thing is tiring. Also: trick training in general is probably a great way to tire your pup out! I really love Kikopup's videos.
  4. Hi all! Kevin's walking skills have vastly improved in the last few months but still aren't perfect. Recently, he's developed a habit of jumping up and biting/tugging at the leash just at the very last block of our walk - so, we're two minutes from home. Don't judge me BUT yes I have given in (I know, I know, it's bad and sanctions the game in his mind) a few times and just tugged him home, the end fo the leash in his mouth, so that we can just get there. I have tried: - changing my voice to get his attention sniffing something else - shifting his focus into a series of sit/down/wait and tossing a treat for him to leave first, then go get - doing nothing, not making eye contact, just letting him kind of tug me home without responding. My efforts to shift his attention often work in the moment while we're holding still, but as soon as I attempt to walk again it's back to leash tug. He seems to think this is great fun (ah, dogs.). I do not! What is the right thing for me to do here? Sometimes I'm not really in a rush, and I suppose if someone wise says I need to wait him out, i could try - the problem is that he is SO much more patient than I ever am! Hard to wait him out; I feel that he could wait me out for an eternity - and then tug me all the way home.... wisdom much appreciated!
  5. Are there some moments where you can up the treat currency? For example: we've started using steak (in tiny pieces) to do things like cross busy streets. If Tama can't pay attention then I know sometimes even the best of treats won't work (been there, for sure) - but in moments where you can get that attention! Steak. (If you feel like you need a higher currency treat, that is. Otherwise I'd save it for when it's really going to be necessary.) That sense of "whyyyy is it like thiiiis!" sounds very familiar. We have also gone in and out of very good periods and really, really frustrating periods. I once read someone's comment on a post, a while back, that said something like: all the training in the world doesn't make them older, which only comes with time. Sounds like you're training a ton (yay!) but also, I think it can be comforting to remember that time will also help.
  6. You've gotten some great advice here! I wonder if adding in an additional structured activity might be helpful, like nose work for example? As a supplement to training time, I'm thinking. This could be another way to activate the brain with something fun that gets him tuckered out. We took a nose work class and I found it very helpful to incorporate the exercises we learned there into our daily training sessions.
  7. Hi all! Earlier this year, when Kevin was about 4 months old, he had to wear a cone for about a week for a toenail issue. He didn't love it (*especially* at first) but he got used to it and eventually acted more or less like it wasn't there. We would give him occasional breaks and getting it back on him was always a hassle - the artful dodger - but it worked. Fast forward a few months, Kevin is just about 1, and he Will. Not. Let. Me. Put. It. On. He opens his jaws really wide so that it just goes into his mouth, and then he air snaps at me/us as we continue to try, and runs away, repeat. It's not going well, but he's licking at a rash on his stomach at night and it's keeping all of us awake. I know I've already earned some negative points by going at him with the cone when he thinks it's scary, and I've started some cone desensitization training (look at the cone/click/treat, nudge the cone click/treat, put a treat just inside the cone, yay good boy)....but I'm feeling a bit impatient and I think this method will literally take months to get him to the point of actually letting me slip the cone on his head without him trying to chomp me. Does anyone have any advice for speeding up this process, or is there not much we can do? I'm using the highest level treats we have (STEAK. Yum, says Kevin.). Thanks in advance! Update: for what it's worth, he IS willing to poke his head through the cone (with what feels to me like an "oh-my-gosh-am-i-gonna-do-this-yes-i'm-doing-it-i'm-doing-it!" energy) for steak - the cone doesn't end up all the way on, but he'll put his snout through for the treats. So that's promising I suppose.
  8. Hi @tamapup ! Tama's looking lovely Kevin was having similar I-can't-stand-walking-you-on-leash-because-you-pull-like-a-madman issues, and I did Emily Larlham's (aka Kikopup) 6-week leash training course - and HOLY WOW, it works very well. It costs, but it was 100% worth it - truly, Kevin walks like a nice guy almost all the time now. Her website is called Dogmantics. Dedicating time to these exercises most days (usually 5 or 6 days a week, but in like 10-12 minute training sessions) was aaaaa huuuundreeeeed perceeeent worth it
  9. When I saw this headline the other day, I told my ma and we took a walk in Chaser's honor. 15 years is a long life!
  10. An update: I think we came in a little too hot with the scissors yesterday; what we probably need to start with is about a week of just calmly fiddling with the mats and giving him treats for not being chompy. He so clearly wants to be A Good Boy - it's like he tolerates it for a minute or so and then puts his mouth on my hand and I say "AH ah! Kisses," and then he licks my hand, goes back to resting, until he gets fed up again. So current game plan: spend the next week working on just getting him used to having his mats handled, and if I happen to feel like it's safe to cut one out while he isn't looking, I will do so. When my husband arrives here in the countryside next week, I'll see if he and I can cut them out while feeding steak treats. But I'm worried that Kev is going to continue being chompy and make it impossible for us. We should have started the session yesterday with just the petting and soothing, because as soon as we pulled out the scissors he was like "No thank you no thank you!" I want to get him to the point that while I'm just feeling around on the mats, he doesn't start panting out of anxiety. A follow-up question: would it be wrong, if I can't get him to stop chomping, to use a soft muzzle while cutting them out? I feel very iffy about it; I don't want to break his trust and I'm ok with taking the time to train him to accept me doing what needs to be done with scissors, but right now he just will baaaarely let it happen, he's so skeptical. And eventually we're going to have to get down to the business of actually doing it, and not just practicing. Thoughts? Also: thank you for the tool recommendations!
  11. Thank you @jami74 this actually makes me feel quite a lot better. I'm currently on summer vacation with my parents (woo!) who have had two borders and one beardie - and my mom said "What are you so worried about! Dogs get mats! We'll take care of it." So also, yay moms. I'm planning on cooking Kev up a steak (cooked by vegan me, ha) and I'll take care of the chompy mouth end with steak treats while my mom does the mat detangling. Fun times!
  12. Hello everyone! Kevin is about 11 months now and he is a handsome guy. I work a few times a week with him on getting used to brushing - we did it a lot when he was a young puppy but I (very regrettably) fell away from it at some point and as a result, he's really, really not keen on being brushed. For the last few months, I will brush/click/treat, brush/click/treat him maybe 10 strokes a few times a week, but he still tends to get chompy (he's aiming for the brush, quite clearly). So now I have realized that his hind quarters are pretty matted - the fur there seems to be quite thick and his top coat looks normal but when I feel around, I find that his undercoat has matts and I feel absolutely terrible. I know it's not comfortable for him, and I'm not sure how long it's been like this - I really can't express how awful I feel; I made this discovery last night and basically didn't sleep (when I did sleep, I had dreams of the YouTube videos of dematting that I watched before bed). So my question now is: is this something I can deal with at home? Some of the matts are smallish but I felt at least one that was like a handful size. I'm not sure if I need to take him to a groomer - an idea I'm really not keen on; he trusts me and I think that with someone at his front end feeding him treats, I could do it if it's a wise idea. I'm thinking thinning shears and a slicker brush, and hoping for the best. I would love any words of wisdom. I feel like a failed dog mom - he is in general the sweetest and funnest boy, but the fact that he finds it so hard to tolerate any grooming just feels like a huge failure on my part, and I can't stop thinking that he must be uncomfortable, even though in general he is a very cheerful dog (his behavior doesn't indicate a lot of discomfort, but still.) Agggh.
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