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Pat P

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About Pat P

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  1. For whatever it's worth, to me it sounds like he was just totally totally shut down when you adopted him, and is in the process of very slowly unfreezing his brain and personality and starting, little by little, in fits and starts, to come out of his shell and be himself. (It is even possible he was like this *before* he went into the rescue system too, so it is possibly he doesn't yet actually know how to be himself or who he really is, if that makes sense). When they're like that, it can seem very random for a long time... bits of hard-to-explain behavior coming out here and there, then disappearing again. As someone said, just try to keep the pressure off... not walking him in strange places (Petsmart is probably too much -- and in a shut-down dog, you CANNOT judge whether they're over threshold by just the fact that they're not trying to flee -- these dogs use sitting like a statue as an escape from the world, and it can actually be a *bad* sign)... and not trying to train him (not even simple things) unless/until he ASKS to play training games with you. Just lots of whatever he finds positive at any given moment. It is great that you are starting to see him initiate interactions and express interest in doing things... let him lead the way on that, and build on it at whatever speed he says. I think it's amazing and terrific that you are being understanding of him, and giving him this chance. He may or may not ever make a good support dog for your niece, but you seem to be a good support family for HIM Good luck, Pat P
  2. How is he being left alone in crate for variable lenght of time, with you elsewhere in house, during the day? Wondering how much of this is a nighttime thing and how much may be a crate thing in general (which is easier to fix). You might try leaving some source of 'white noise' playing quietly in the room... a fan or a radio set quietly on a just-static setting. I find my dogs (only one of which is a bc, though) do a lot better if I ignore them (or shout 'quiet!', which they know means "shaddup, and I'm not coming in there, really really") than if I go in and try to settle them down. The hardest part of getting each of our dogs (all rescues) to sleep thru the night during the first few months having them has always been getting my HUSBAND to quit going in there and talking to them... they may settle some when he enters but start up twice as bad as soon as he leaves. That said, this only applies to dogs with normal worries/grumpiness/anxiety, who are still capable of some level of thinking... there are a few dogs out there (altho it does NOT sound to me like your dog is one) who get so hysterical that it may not be safe to just leave them alone. Good luck, Pat P
  3. I'm sorry you're having trouble and I *totally* hear you on it... I recently got a 7.5 month old rescue bc who was rehomed for exactly precisely the stuff you describe in your post (like, wow, I mean the SAME). The owner just finally recognized that no matter how much she loved the dog (and she really, really did) he was just too much dog for her life situation and training skills. He is doing well with me and turning into an awesome dog, but I have to say, a lot of what you write, I could say MYSELF too... difference being, I know what to do about it (partly thru consulting bc people locally, who can SEE the dog and his behaviors, when I start to have trouble), and am in a position to hang in there as the light at the end of the tunnel gets slowly slowly larger as his training progresses. The thing to recognize is, this is not like deciding what to do about a new car that keeps having mechanical problems, where it's just a matter of how long you're inclined to persist and how many fixes you're willing to take the time to make. It is not a matter of 'have you checked the fuse box' or 'learn to re-do the brakes on your own by watching a youtube video and posting a couple questions". This is really a matter of: if you want to keep the dog and prevent him from developing serious behavioral issues that may become permanent, you have NO ALTERNATIVE other than to step it up and get seriously, seriously interested in very rapidly learning to be about ten or twenty times better dog trainer than you currently are (no offense meant). In terms of learning how/when/how-frequently to reward; in terms of learning what is a reasonable expectation to break things down into; in terms of learning what your priorities need to be; etcetera. For instance there should never ever be any business of him getting frustrated waiting for a treat. This isn't something you're going to be able to learn online or through some helpful tips on a bulletin board or anything like that --- certain books will help some (I recommend giving yourself a crash course in clicker training, even if you arent' going to use a clicker as such, and the Control Unleashed books are great EXCEPT that they assume a considerable degree of experience already) but what you really need is to find a local trainer who really knows their stuff with border collies and whom you can learn from on a frequent and ongoing basis to take a crash course in PhD Dog Training. (I don't mean an actual Ph.D. degree of course... I just mean, most dogs you only need to have sort of reached a third grade level of competence as a trainer and you'll generally be fine, but a busy young BC like yours really demands that you quickly rise to the postgraduate level, so to speak) If you want to do that, and can find someone to help (hint: contact whatever Border Collie rescue(s) cover your geographical area, they will know who to recommend you to for training help!!) then I do absolutely think it's doable. I think anyone with an open mind, willing to seriously commit and LEARN, can get to be a pretty good dog trainer. On the other hand, if you do not have the time/energy/interest level for that (which is not a knock -- everyone has different interests etc in life)... then honestly it is not a bad thing to just accept that you have a square peg in a round hole and it would be kinder to find a square hole for him to be happy in I have to say, I *totally* get why the previous owner of my guy surrendered him (and why it was so hard for her!), but I totally think she did the right thing. So it just depends. But, best of luck with whatever you decide! :) Pat P
  4. if you feel "nervous" about what the breeder tells you about whether this is the kind of dog it's being billed as, then how much do you trust them on the probably-much-more-important subjects of health and temperament of parents and relatives??? Personally I would not buy a puppy at a distance if I didn't have implicit trust in the whole shebang. There is not really a shortage of border collies or border-collie-type dogs in this world... wouldn't you rather have one that you can be sure (well, as sure as one *can* be in this world) will have the health, personality and temperament/abilities you want, and most importantly NOT have major problems in those departments? JMHO, good luck, Pat P
  5. agree with all the above! It will be harder to get yourself a bc, but should be still quite do-able. The thing I wanted to add is that you'll need to make certain that the dog you adopt is not overly rambunctious with your dachshund (some bc's are standoffish and not much inclined to play with other dogs, but others are total play machines), because the dachshund will be more vulnerable than most other dogs would be to being injured (bowled over, squashed, folded rapidly in half by a pounce, etc). I have found I have to be careful with my 9.5 month old rescue BC (who is more towards the total play machine end of the spectrum, and probably always will be) when he's playing with my 16 lb dachshund-chihuahua cross. Fortunately my guys go to the chiro every 3 wks for maintenance *anyhow* (agility dogs), and knock wood nothing too traumatic will ever happen, but the long back really is an injury magnet, considering my particular BC's style of play. So, just another thing to add to the checklist Good luck have fun, Pat P.
  6. I unfortunately have nothing useful for the original poster (other than maybe it is time to have a consult with a serious behavioral-modification specialist) but I can confirm that dogs CAN see/notice/react to the moon (and thus I'm sure the sun too)... whenever I take my young rescue out to pee in the evening and there is a moon low over the cedar hedge or western trees, we have to stare and stare at it for some time before he can turn his attention to bodily functions. It is always and only when the moon is there at that time of evening, and he's clearly staring at it. (The first time, he kept looking back and forth between it and me, like "hey lady, do you see that amazing thing in the sky? isn't it amazing? do you see it? isn't it cool?" :P) -Pat
  7. another thing that might help out, in addition to what others have said, is to install a very specific ritual for meeting people. Such as, sit in front of them and they give her a kibble (that you've given them first)... or perhaps, a nose touch on their knees... or whatever seems suitable to you. Train this with a friend first so you can work out teaching her what the ritual is and what the cue for it is, without the potential overstimulation of strangers... then you can start practicing it with "prepared strangers" and move on from there. Dogs in general really seem to like knowing exactly what is expected of them rather than 'I know I can/should do *something* now, and I want to, but what?" Good luck, Pat P
  8. My BC is too new to have been to hotels yet, but the three previous non-BC dogs I've had were always crated at night except that once or twice a year they got to experience Fancy Life in a Hotel, With Big Bouncy Hotel Beds (!), and it never had any consequences for their behavior at home. I bet you'll be fine
  9. if you put a crate in the room with the computer, you could play an-and-out crate games with her from time to time whenever she's there with you (you'd have to get up to close the crate door sometimes, but on the whole, it wouldn't interrupt your work) which would make her feel much happier about going into the crate since 99% of the time she'd get a treat and not get long-term incarcerated... plus which, it would mean you don't have to take her as far when she DOES need a time out. Maybe even have several crates at different places in the house. I know it can be a pain in a small house, and inconvenient and not necessarily what your decorator would recommend, but think of it as a temporary thing to get her thru this stage!
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