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Everything posted by KevTheDog

  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!
  14. Brilliant, I love this advice - thank you! I just received Control Unleashed and I'm about to start incorporating "look at that" (and more) - and it's such a fair point that intersections are super stimulating. I'm feeling optimistic, it's been about a week since the behavior has had a chance to manifest. Progress! We'll keep at it
  15. Thank you again for these tips! I really like the idea of practicing on all intersections, even the ones that don't trigger the behavior - we will start doing that. Yesterday I used one workaround and one treat session - we walked on a path that did not involve any intersections at all, and so avoided the behavior. And in the other direction, we went into training mode at the large intersection and he was definitely too distracted by the notion of treats to be bothered with my ankles. Train an incompatible behavior - this shall be my new mantra... thanks!
  16. Hi guys! Thanks for these tips. I just want to reiterate: this can happen (though does not necessarily happen) even at the very, very beginning of our walks, so again, I don't think it's just tiredness related. But that said, I acknowledge that he's still a puppy and perhaps we're still going too long, when it happens at the end of walks. Follow-up questions: if we limit ever crossing big streets, how do we teach him the right way to cross them when he feels compelled to do this behavior? Or is the idea that if he never gets to practice the behavior then he will forget he ever did it at all?
  17. Hi all! A while ago I posted about Kevin getting a bit tantrum-y in the middle of longer walks. This was 7 or 8 weeks ago, and we were going out for 40ish minute walks with him at 4 months, and the wise posters here helped me realize that it was just too long for a puppy his age. So fast forward to 6 months (today! Happy birthday Kevvo) and we're back at 40-45-ish minute walks. The behavior I described before still happens on occasion, but now only at specific places: when we are about to cross a bigger street - either kind of big or quite big - and he is either overstimulated by the traffic/humans around, OR if it is toward the end of the walk and he is getting tired, Kevin will - as we enter the street to cross - start jumping to get the leash and/or start biting at my ankles. He doesn't do this to my husband, and he doesn't do it every time we cross a big street, but perhaps about half the time. If my husband has the leash, Kev will go for my ankles. If I have the leash, he will also go for my ankles. Fun for me! :/ I've just realized in the last 2-3 days that it only happens while crossing big(ish) intersections. My plan moving forward is to get an ultra high-currency treat that he ONLY gets when he and I are crossing big streets - I plan to sit/treat, and then treat him as we cross the street as long as he's not being an ankle biter. My question is a two-parter: 1) Why do you think he's doing this? I've thought maybe he's thinking "Oh no, it's dangerous, we gotta get you out of here!" or something like that, but I'm really not sure. I wonder if I know the reason, if it might help how I deal with the behavior. And 2) Do you reckon my high-currency treat idea is a good one or is there a smarter way to go about dealing with this? It happens even if we are at the very start of a walk, so I know it's not just tiredness related. And also...sometimes it doesn't happen at all! Looking forward to reading what folks have to say
  18. Ah, those tantrums sound so familiar - we're still working with Kevin on that. He is 6 months and I think a biiiiiig realization for me (simple yet mind-blowing) is that you have to meet him where he is. It's frustrating not to be able to just go out into the world and take nice, non-stressy walks - but these guys are still pretty young for our expectations to be so mighty as (ha) a pull-free walk! I agree with leash training being its own exercise - and work on it a ton. Because I've grown tired of the tantrums you described, which were a staple of the end of longer walks with him, I've limited our leash walking to only out on the 4ish blocks around our home - that way we can just practice, practice, practice, without the pressure of "oh-no-you're-falling-apart-and-we're-half-a-mile-from-home". Luckily we have a big, closed off courtyard so we can get physical exercise right outside our door. Meanwhile, leash practice is just that: practice. Also: look at that cutie pup!!!!
  19. Hi Rooze! You've gotten tons of awesome and practical advice above, and I'm not the expert that a lot of these other great posters are. However, I am about to throw my froofroo/hippie dippie, but perhaps useful, two cents into the mix: along with the conscious decision to love your pup as he is today, I would add that I think dogs and especially border collies are super sensitive to our emotions and attitudes. So I would also think about (prepare for hippie dippie advice in 3, 2, 1...) consciously cultivating within yourself a mindful sense of "this is where we are right now and that's ok!" optimism. It will take some of the pressure off of you to fix it all now-now-now, and if you feel less pressure/stressy, Max might too. Celebrate every little win you get! Wishing you all the good things!
  20. Maybe it would be possible to have some interactions with 1 or 2 other puppies? Unless you're frequenting super busy dog parks, I don't see a huge need for a dog to absolutely be comfortable with 20 (!! which is a lot) dogs at once, but maybe you can work slowly with a couple other dogs so that he's comfortable with one or two. Sometimes I pet the dogs we meet out in the world to show Kevin that they're nice guys and he can think so too. Also, two of the three borders I've had in my life have really had a positive thing for dachshunds, maybe because they're kind of petite. Perhaps you can make friends with someone with a dachshund! As for your 24/7 issue, I hear you on this one - I work from home too and I'm with Kevin all the livelong day. But! From the age of about 12 weeks, we've made sure that Kevin has at least 2 hours (well, only 2 hours at that age; now at 6 months he has up to 3ish) of home alone time a day. I think this is really important because eventually, you're going to want puppy to be comfortable while you aren't there. Don't feel guilty! Consider it part of his training. I also am accused of being a coddler so I feel you on that front too! But hey, they're our babies Trust your intuition!
  21. We're keeping it up with shutting ourselves into a space away from him for now - this seems to be, if not fully working yet to keep his teeth off us (again, to clarify: I'm not talking scary biting, I'm talking "we are playing, whoops got my teeth on you" OR "air bite, air bite, stop fiddling with my paws"), it at least has an affect in the moment ("Where'd you go, ma?"). I would say this: no obvious effects yet, but it's been about 3 days of this protocol so I imagine it'll take some time. As far as his nail goes: we've been trucking along with the sneak attack method. Unfortunately though, while giving him a shower last night we got a really good look at it (poor guy was too disturbed by being in the shower to be concerned about us looking at his toe) and it doesn't look great. So my husband is taking him back to the vet on Monday for a follow up, sigh. And doggy boot shopping this weekend. May this snow melt and begone! Our streets are just disgusting right now, I feel bad for all the dogs.
  22. Around this age, we started playing hide and seek with Kevin. Our place isn't huge, so here's how it would work: if Kevin is with me, Joey will go hide. I say to pup, "Kevin, where's Joey? Go find Joey!" and then Joey would say "Kevin, come!" and Kevin has to go find him and when he does he gets a treat. Then Joey says "Ok, where's Amanda? Go find Amanda!" and when he finds me, he gets a treat, and repeat. Now when we play, we no longer include the "Kevin, come!" part - he knows what "Go find Joey/Amanda" means -- so much so that it's become an excellent way to distract him from biting his leash when we're outside, even if we're a few blocks away from home. Now I can say "We have to go find Joey!" and the response is instant work mode (in as much as an easily distracted 5 month old can slip into work mode, ha). Another fun thing to do is what are called "contact exercises" here in Sweden (maybe that's an English term too? Not sure). This is where Kev gets rewarded for eye contact in various contexts. For example, I hold two toys (or two treats) out in a T with my arms, and when I get eye contact, he gets the treat/toy. We've now turned this into a whole process of 1) "down" (from standing!! I'm so impressed), 2) "look at me" - and then when I get that eye contact, he gets the toy thrown. Also, teaching names of toys is great, we incorporate "Where is Phyllis" or "Where is rope toy" with this (half of his toys have human names. They may be inspired by The Office. Why not ) Good luck!!
  23. Also a positive update! During our training this morning, about 3 times Kevin's teeth got on me (no pressure at all, just general excitement about his toys and getting at them) and each time, I swiftly gathered up the two toys and my treat jar, and popped myself into the bedroom and closed the door. I waited there for a good minute or so, during which Kevin waited just outside the door, barked once or twice...when he was quiet again, I came back out and said "Ok, this time without teeth." While we certainly didn't have a teeth-free training session, I do think that my leaving made him think, "Hey, this sucks, I was having a good time." I think this is good!
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