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  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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?
  4. 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?
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. Yes! I am also very excited to have my walk-all-over-town-with-me buddy, and I have to remind myself that even though he's starting to look like a big boy, he's definitely not yet - he's not even lifting his leg yet! So I know I have to slow my roll. Which Joey reminds me on the daily too, ha We've added practicing with the 3 of us in the courtyard as well, because Kevin seems to think that if all three of us are on a walk together, then he must joyfully announce it to the neighbors and the rest of the world in no uncertain terms - "It's all of us! Bark! What a joy! Bark!" The super intensive courtyard practice fortnight has commenced!
  8. @tamapup Ha maybe Kevin and Tama are distant cousins - Kevin is this way too, and it's so weird! I would think he'd associate getting his harness on with getting to go outside, because he never does anything fun (like chase the ball in the courtyard) without his harness on. This behavior has evolved for him a little bit; he tends to look like a sad, resigned bunny as he's having the harness put on by me, but not by Joey (?? why Kevin, why!?). He will walk slowly away from me as I follow him calmly around the apartment in an effort to put it on him ("If I walk slowly, she won't think I'm trying to escape"). Joey is the harness putter-onner most days, so maybe that has something to do with it. In any case, long story short: this behavior was worse before and is a lot better now; it was just kind of a slowly-but-surely thing for us. Certainly a desensitization protocol would make the process go by faster. He's more or less ok with it all now. Keep us posted on Tama!
  9. Eeeee beautiful dog!!! Another suggestion: for a little while, I would suggest only saying "go potty" the instant before he is obviously about to go potty. Do this for a month or even two. This way it will definitely connect the action of going potty with the words "go potty". Once it's ingrained, the cue will have an effect - but right now it's possible that "go potty" means everything to you and zero to Dougie. Once the cue kicked in for Kevin we were like, hallelujah he's a pottying genius!
  10. Good advice, I appreciate it! We will recommit to our courtyard practice for a couple weeks here - I think the "one tiny step at a time" reminder is a good one.
  11. Hi everyone! We're continuing to work on Kevin's (who is 7 months today!) leash walking skills, and we've slowed waaaaay down. I did a couple weeks with lots of leash training both at home and out in the world, and Kevin was successfully able to occasionally mentally click in to "oh, now if I walk right by your side, then I will get treat, treat, treat, treat." At times this has gone very well. But I have two issues: 1. I can't reliably get him to tap into that mode every time we go for a walk, or throughout the entire walk. Often he will be by my side for one or two treats very attentively and then he will surge ahead, or stop to sniff, and ignore my "keep up!" or "slow down!". Issue no. 2. I don't actually want or need him to be walking in a tight heel, constantly staring up at me for a treat (especially the latter part). I'm ok with him in a close heel like that, but what I would prefer is for him to be a few feet ahead of me, loosely, without pulling like a mad man. I praise him when he gets into that desired position, but it's a difficult position to treat since he's ahead of me at that point. I feel like we're at a plateau now. Sometimes he's very successful, if perhaps overly attentive and right by my side, getting treated, and other times I'm not able to get his attention at all. It's kind of one extreme or the other. So last Fridayish I decided to back up and I started working with the instructions in this article: https://www.clickertraining.com/loose-leash-walking-part-two It talks about first working on getting lots of eye contact, then getting a good "leash stand", then clicking 1 step forward, then 2 steps forward, then 10 steps etc., then adding in distractions. We can fairly easily walk across our distraction-free courtyard, much of the time, on a loose-ish leash (though he is still overly attentive in the courtyard as long as he knows I have a treat in my hand, which I basically always do). But the instant we step outside onto the still fairly quiet street outside our building, it's way harder to get him to keep his attention on me because the smells are so smelly and the people are so exciting, etc. So how do I bridge this gap? Obviously I've not reached the part in the article of throwing in controlled distractions because I don't feel like I can always successfully get his attention back on me in the courtyard, so I don't think we're quite there yet. But I'm also not fully convinced that slowing down to this extent is definitely necessary, since he can at times walk close to me on leash. I.e., it feels silly to take 2 steps forward and click him for those 2 steps when I know he can do 10 (and in a moment when he can do 2, then he can also do 10. It's when he can't do 2 that he can't do 10.) I feel like we have taken what ought to be a chronological series of events, thrown them into a bucket and lost all sense of order, and have successfully achieved some while totally missing others. But I can't tell what the missing pieces are. Thoughts? Ideas? Advice?
  12. Hear, hear! I think celebrating tiny victories is key. Also, whenever Joey and I find we're going nuts with Kevin (who is 7 months today), we google all about how the adolescent period is the most difficult and feel validated . It is not always going to be like this! Kevin is our first border collie puppy, but he's not my first border. The other two were rescues, both of whom came into my life at 10 months, and neither of whom had this much crazy-driving-capacity. I'm not saying it will all get better at 10 months necessarily (wouldn't that be nice?) but it is evidence that things definitely improve. This too shall pass!
  13. Hey hello! I feel you! Kevin is a little older than Tama but his issues are similar and I definitely feel your pain. I started doing something recently that has helped: we've practiced an off-leash side-by-side walk inside (I guess a heel) where I just treat him constantly: good boy, treat, good boy, treat, as we are walking in circles through the kitchen, living room, bedroom, hall, over and over. We did this inside a handful of times before I took him out into the courtyard and we started doing it there - walking in zigzags; it's a bit harder for him to stick with me here but such is the nature of the fun outdoors. I did both of these exercises about 3 times each per day (first 3 times inside, then 3 times outside) for not very long each time - 3 minutes each maybe, for a few days in a row, throughout the course of the day. But now when I use the same command to start us off outside on leash ("Let's walk") - he is much more responsive and he truly has been pulling less. Kev is almost 7 months and I'm not sure if his responsiveness to this method would have been the same two months ago (Tama is 5 months? Is that right?) but on the other hand, maybe he would have done way better sooner if I had started this approach earlier. For your own sanity: set yourself a little time-limited challenge. Like: We're going to do this every day for 5 days and then reassess! Then it doesn't feel like this endless wall of never getting to do anything fun like go for proper walks. Good luck!
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