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  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. Hi! This was a question we debated a lot before adopting Kevin (who we took home as a puppy, my first BC pup after two rescues). I think the key thing to consider is that you're committing to a BC lifestyle when you adopt a dog who needs to have brain work and physical exercise every day. But if that's your jam, then awesome! And with agility as an interest, it sounds like it is. The space inside the house isn't where dogs get physical exercise anyway, I'd imagine. So the fact that a living space is small shouldn't prevent you from choosing to get a high energy dog - as long as you're into dedicating a couple hours a day to giving doggo what he needs. Kevin gets at least 40 minutes a day of brain work (games, training, etc.), off leash running time, and a longish walk or two (4 or 5ish miles a day). When he's ready, he'll be my running buddy too (though his leash skills aren't quite there yet - but improving by the day!). We live in a city apartment most of the year, with summertime in a house in the country. Also, fun fact: of the 3 borders I've had in my life, 2 were besties with dachshunds and didn't care about any other dog breed! (except other borders). I think it can be a nice combo! Yay dog friends.
  6. Hello! Does anyone have experience with training the "look at that" game from Control Unleashed? I'm new to training this game and I'm having trouble figuring out when it's time to move on to the next step - how do i know he is ready, or has internalized what it means? Right now: Kevin sits/lies down across from me and I hold out a neutral object away from my body; I make sort of a "whoosh" sound to get him to follow the motion of my arm. I click/treat him for looking at it and I've made sure he hasn't interacted with whatever object it is (i.e., I don't use a toy or anything too fun). I know step 2 is incorporating the cue, but after that, what exactly is step 3? Do you take it outside from there, or maybe start using "look at that" with something you aren't holding? I'm also a little uncertain about reorienting to me for the treat - I haven't exactly been getting eye contact before treating him every single time, mainly because I've already clicked and it seems unfair at that point to wait for him to do something else before treating him; he's done the work I've asked and should be rewarded for that, it seems to me. Anyway... does anyone have any stories on how they did this and how it works for them in the real world? I would love to hear more.
  7. Hi Jessica, congrats on your new puppy! When my husband and I picked up our bc last October, the breeder gave us some SUPER smart advice as we were having some last-minute, holy-cow-what-are-we-doing-I'm-excited-but-scared jitters (I don't have kids but I imagine this is analogous on some level to what it feels like when parents drive their infant home for the first time): he said you shouldn't have to adapt to your bc; he needs to adapt to you. I think this is especially important in the very beginning, because this is when your dog learns about dealing with frustration. There will be times every single day where puppy is demanding your time and attention, and I think it's great for YOU to be the one to choose when you and your family give her those things, not the other way around. It'll feel like something to get through at first (she's frustrated and barking, argh), but as long as she learns to deal with her frustration from the get-go, then when she's a grown up, you'll have a nice patient and polite dog (this is perhaps somewhat oversimplified; lots of other factors go into this too, but I do think it's a good factor to keep in mind!) Happy puppy times!
  8. Hi all! Spring has FINALLY arrived here in Stockholm, and our courtyard has tables and chairs for sitting outside. Kevin and I have been practicing Control Unleashed style mat training and he's getting pretty good, though, at 7.5 months, he has not fully figured out yet that he needs a release word before getting up from the mat. I'm hoping that will come with patience, practice and maturity, but it does lead me to my question: I would like to sit outside to work and today I did it! I brought out Kevin - who had been relaxing inside, so he's definitely in calm boy mode - the mat, a chew and some treats and for the first 10 minutes, he just lay on his mat and chewed his toy; it was awesome. But after about 10 minutes he got up to do some sniffing of the furniture (which is new to him, understandable). When the teeth came out to chew on our shared-with-neighbors outdoor furniture, he got a "no" and I redirected him back to the mat a few times. And then suddenly his leash looked very delicious and he started chewing on that, and generally being a bit more distracting for me. None of this behavior is surprising; it's the first time we've started treating the courtyard as we treat the living room/office inside (a place where I work, and Kevin settles down). But I'm trying to figure out just how to approach our time spent outside with my computer ("time to work"). Should I bring him inside before he starts to get restless? Or wait for the restlessness to begin and then go inside (in a "we don't get to stay outside if you're wandering about" sort of way). I don't expect him to be perfect at chilling in a place where he hasn't spent time resting before, but it's a very low-key scenario in the middle of the day - we're on our own, just outside instead of in. Maybe I should give him a chance to sniff around and then ask for the settle? I'd love some ideas! I want him to get into the habit of seeing me with computer outside = he settles down for a rest or a chew. We are out there a ton for play time, so he needs to learn how to distinguish between play time and work time. Thoughts?
  9. It sounds like he's becoming a teenager, weee! Also, is there a fear thing that happens around 6 months, where things that were fine before suddenly aren't? Or, do you think it could be related to when he got his mouth stuck on the grates?
  10. Ugh, I feel for you!!! That is super scary! It seems like some kind of attachable cross-hatching is a good idea as long as it can't get bonked off and be an added danger in some way (I don't know how that would be, but you know, gotta think of everything). When Kevin was like 12 weeks old, I was walking him down the block and he came underfoot - I stepped on his tiny 12-week old paw! He cried out and it wasn't just like "YELP this hurts right now!" but "YELP YELP this continues to hurt and i'm scared!" - and I immediately plopped down on the city sidewalk (gone were my fears of sitting in whatever random delights you might find on a city sidewalk,) gave him a rub-down to check for broken bones, comforted him, totally in tears myself (probably not very comforting for him, in hindsight). I'm in Sweden and I immediately called my mom in Hawaii to tell her what happened and get mom advice for what to do (she's a bc mom herself)... anyway, he was totally fine within a few moments but I was SO shaken. And I felt doubly bad because it was my fault! It's the worst feeling. Good to take comfort in the fact that moments later, a pup can be like "What's the big deal? I'm fine!" Dogs!
  11. I agree, it seems a little early for this to necessarily be a permanent problem. Do you have any slightly quieter streets around your home? If so, you can start by just going there, hanging out for a minute or two, having treats, being calm, going back home and then venturing a little further/to slightly busier places every few days.
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