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Everything posted by mbc1963

  1. She's been with me two weeks now. Pretty sure - pretty damned sure - she's not a border collie. But the rescue said she was, so I'm sticking around these forums anyway.
  2. I think it's very important to see the difference between the goal and the path we take to get there. My old dog was fabulous for his last five years: he'd let the vet poke and prod him, take treats from strangers, happily walk in crowded parks, joyfully move through the loud, crowded, busy flea market. He lay calmly on the floor while I removed the stitches from his chest after surgery. But in his first year with me? He was muzzled at the vet. He freaked out when close to other dogs. Men looking him in the eye terrified him. Fast movements. Bicycles. Noises. Crowds. He was incredibly stressed by all those things. My main goal was keeping him safe so he would not bite someone and be put to sleep. If you brought home a blank-slate puppy, or a perfect dog who was able to tolerate handling by strangers from day one, congratulations! You're very lucky. The rest of us who have fearful dogs, or dogs with baggage, keep that goal in mind - but in the meantime, we protect our dogs and keep them safe from things that might trigger them to end up euthanized. That might mean muzzling at the vet until fear is conquered. It certainly means keeping them safe and distant from unleashed dogs in crowded, stressful veterinary waiting rooms. I would hope that my vet is willing to work with the simple tools and training methods available, for the few minutes my dog is with her.
  3. Very scary! My sister's little dog came up not wanting to eat one Sunday morning. VERY strange for that dog. We talked about it on the phone. By Sunday afternoon, the dog was lethargic and couldn't swallow. We took her to the e-vet, and they thought it was probably some kind of sore throat/cold thing. Gave her Rimadyl and sent her home. The next morning, the dog had a LARGE lump on the outside of her neck. My brother-in-law pressed on it, and it burst, releasing a bunch of fluid and puss. They took the dog back to the vet, and the vet found a finger-sized stick lodged way in the back of her throat. It had apparently impaled her behind her rear teeth, invisible to our eyes, and then sat there getting more and more infected until the infection ran all the way to the external area of her neck. Removed the stick and gave some antibiotics and the dog was 100% - within probably 12 hours. Weirdest thing.
  4. I'm on the "leash the dogs" side. For the sake of my old dog, who would overreact and snark when any other dog got too close, and for the sake of my new dog, who is just shy and scared of everything, and doesn't need off-leash dogs added to the list of scary things at the vet. I always muzzled my old boy at the vet when I first got him -and for several years after it was no longer necessary. There was no shame in it at all - it stayed in his notes and new techs would ask about it every time they took his temperature until our last visit. Seemed very reasonable to me! I recently met a lady with a lab who had a muzzle on. I asked her if it was safe for me to meet the dog, and she said, "Oh yes - it's not so she won't bite! It's so she won't eat everything she sees on the ground." Apparently the dog had eaten many intestine-blocking items, and even in her old age needed to be protected from her own bad choices.
  5. My old dog always had a medium undercoat, but I do remember a change in his coat when he hit full maturity - maybe at around 5? He got weird tufts of undercoat-like hair where he'd never had them, along the bony parts of his front and back legs. Kind of like hairiness that develops on older humans, whiskers where they'd neve been before?
  6. I wonder how the vet would react if she were unwillingly brought, in pain and after a fairly traumatic surgical procedure she didn't understand, to an intensely smelly building where a complete stranger tried to shove something up her butt.
  7. OMG. Some local kid lost a hand playing with fireworks today. And the local news stations are all saying things like, "Now, authorities want to know WHERE the boy got the explosives!" Um. He got them from his dumbass parents, who drove over the New Hampshire border 10 minutes away and stocked up on a summer's worth of explosives, then put them in the shed where the kids could get at 'em.
  8. Thanks for all the replies. I will go with your advice and my instinct and not push Cricket outside her safe place. And I will start "loading a clicker" today, though I'm going to use mouth clicks, because when I'm walking the dog I often have a full poop bag in one hand and a leash in the other - I've always thought it'd be really hard to time clicks correctly while managing so much paraphernalia! She really is learning quickly: started responding to her new name after 3 days, seems to fully understand "wait" and "kennel up" (maybe was taught at her foster home?), and is happy to stop digging when I say "no digging." I'm trying to teach her the important nouns as we walk: squirrel, birds, supper, front door, cross the street, drink of water, left side, walk. Interesting to think of her as a "soft dog." I'd say she is, more than any dog I've had before. My sister has two American Eskimo dogs - both of whom are very submissive, and one of whom was absolutely terrified of my old boy Buddy - and Cricket is even shy of encroaching on THEIR space. Last night she went face to face with the more submissive one, and gave her a kiss, and even started a hopeful little play bow. I find it hilarious that my new girl is even timid about approaching the least dominant dog I can think of.
  9. I know I remember reading a book about treating difficult dogs (maybe by Nicholas Dodman?) where they specifically discussed the sudden increase in thunder and fireworks phobia at the average age of 7.
  10. My vet told me the other day that I should watch for mammary tumors, since my new dog had at least one litter before being spayed. He said that the risk of mammary tumors in dogs who've had at least 2 heats goes up 25%. (I commented that that seems evolutionarily counterproductive. Seems as though evolution should, over millennia, favor dogs who are fertile - only dogs who reproduce leave their genes behind. But I suppose historically most dogs would likely have repoduced and died before tumors became their cause of death.) That SkeptVet article was helpful. Not all the evidence in these studies is reliable, and it's all over the place depending on whose studies you choose to believe.
  11. VERY loud this year! And all of Friday and Saturday evenings and nights. ::Sigh:: I had brief hopes for a rainy July 4th... but the rain came through and passed with plenty of time for people to explode things. The new dog Cricket doesn't seem overly stressed, thank the universe. I tried to leave her loose in the house for her first night, though (she doesn't like being upstairs), but with the noise she was pacing and whining. When I brought her up to her bedroom crate, she ran in happily, as if relieved.
  12. OK! My new dog has been home for a week now, and I'd like some general advice about early training. She's a shy girl, and quite submissive as far as I can tell. It took her 2 days (of longing looks and invitations) before she would sit next to me on the couch. She won't go near her food until I'm explicit that it is HER food, not mine, and that she is welcome to eat it. She won't take chicken from my hands if she is at all spooked by anything (quick movements, a loud noise, a stranger on the road). She will leave me to explore the yard, but quickly runs back to me for reassurance when she realizes she is 30 feet away. So, in general, still quite hesitant. But, she's getting less so every day, and showing more frisky behavior, and having fun in general, each day. My question is: when doing early training ("sit," "lie down," "stay," etc.)... how much should I push, and how much should I back off and let her acclimate? All the books say that she should do a natural "sit" if I raise food over her head, close to her. This has worked maybe 3 times, when she was on the couch and had nowhere to go - otherwise, she will not sit, but will back up and back up. The hand over her head seems threatening to her, as does pushing on her rump. My putting hands on her (to push her rump, tug her towards me, etc.) seems to scare her and send her back two steps as far as feeling happy and fearless in my house. I'm concerned that any whiff of chicken - for training - is going to make her hesitant rather than eager. My instinct - the voice I hear 90% of the time - is to let it lie and wait until she trusts me better. Not knowing "sit" right now is hardly a big concern. Also, attempting training when she can't participate (because of fear) reinforces her not participating in training, which could work against me long-term. Instinct is countered by a smaller 10% voice saying, "Maybe you're teaching her that she only has to do what she feels like doing - that she can opt out of things she doesn't enjoy." OK, smarter dog folks: what is your take?
  13. To be fair to the stereotypers, before I got Buddy I only knew what I'd read about BCs from reading literature put out by BC enthusiasts! And I was distinctly avoiding the breed, because of the stereotypes: will herd and nip children, incredibly intense energy needs, needs a job, will drive a normal working person crazy. I understand the desire to not have BCs placed in unsuitable homes, especially after "Babe" and the sudden popularity of the breed, and the inevitable glut of ignorant people getting in over their heads. And I think those stereotypes are largely true when comparing BCs to... say... labradors. It's fair to teach the public what they should consider before getting a dog. But we can't blame the public for believing us when we "educate them" about the breed. I was in the local shelter recently, and heard a worker explaining to a young guy that: "If your dog isn't doing well in your home, he's going to do less well in the shelter. Shelter environments are not good at all for herding breeds." I forgive young adults the mistakes they make; it's how we all learn important truths. I'm sure the guy picked up a cute puppy and was overwhelmed by the time and attention a young herding dog needed. After I left, I deeply regretted not hanging around to link the poor guy up with a local or regional herding dog rescue group, which could have probably fostered the dog while looking for a new home or at least courtesy-posted him.
  14. This might belong more in the thread of "when did you know your dog was YOUR dog?"... I brought my new rescue dog Cricket home this past Saturday. She's skittish and shy - when I walk her on leash, she is constantly looking at me, as if to make sure I'm still there. If another person or dog approaches, she hides behind my legs. Everything is potentially dangerous to her - her Kong, the little flat squeaky toy I bought for her, the kitchen sink. She moves slowly and cautiously around everything. I introduced her to my sister's dogs (two small American Eskimos) with a walk the other night. She seemed much more relaxed and happy, having a "pack" around her, and she's giving my sister the trusting look, too. But last night! We walked with my sister's pack along the streets of our suburbs, and then I suggested taking a path that leads under the bridge. To get there, we cut through a much-overgrown old train track: there's only a single body's width of passing space in the grass and brush that's growing there. Something about being in that densely-packed brush, with many scents and no open space and two other dogs, turned a switch. It was like I could see her real self settle on her: she got quick in her movements, darting around and smelling, she started putting some tension on the leash in her excitement, her whole body was quivering with happiness. Completely relaxed and alert - not looking for dangers, but expecting something exciting to come her way. When we got home, I put her in the back yard, and she had official, unbridled zoomies for the first time since she's come home.
  15. Bath picture = to die for! Good luck with those manipulative puppy eyes!
  16. OK, evidence that the dog Cricket is perhaps smarter than I am: Yesterday, I left her in the back seat of my car while I ran into a store. I have a whole hammock-slung back seat cover that is supposed to keep the dog in the back, keep them from falling into the seat well, etc.. When I came out of the store, the dog was in the FRONT seat of my car. I took her and led her back where she belonged. Next time I ran into a store, her leash (which I'm leaving attached for now until I know her better) was dangling over the hammock sling. I thought that was odd, and tossed it back into the back seat with her. This morning, I left her in the back, ran into the store, then unlocked the car with my remote, from a distance. When I got back to the car, the leash was again dangling suspiciously over the sling into the front seat. Apparently, Cricket is climbing into the front seat while I'm in the store, and then jumping back into the rear seat when she hears the two beeps that indicate I'm unlocking (and returning to) my car. She has been with me, riding around in my car, for FOUR days. This may be trouble.
  17. D'Elle, I got tears in my eyes remembering Kelso and how great it was to follow his story!
  18. I agree that reading up a lot before even considering a shock collar is a great idea! I was one of those "weird" dog walkers with my "weird" old boy, who was fear-reactive and didn't like being approached by strange dogs. My dog had a very solid recall, and was 100% reliable to stay calm as long as I could keep a little distance between him and strangers. But when other owners let their dogs charge at my dog, they put me in the middle of a dog fight, attached to it by a leash. It's my job to monitor MY dog - no one else's. So, you are absolutely correct to not want your dog approaching those people whose dogs are on a leash.
  19. So, I named the little girl I adopted - she will be Cricket. She was part of a group of dogs removed from a hoarding situation in South Carolina a month ago: http://www.wbtv.com/story/29420800/aiken-county-animal-shelter-still-recovering-from-may-hoarding-case#.VY_srZT0YrU.facebook I have been looking for a dog since April, and as the end of my school year approached, I realized that a temperament match was more important to me than a breed, and that I needed to meet a dog before comitting to bring her home. (I had seen some beautiful dogs online, but when I visited a couple, they were just bad matches: one had really intense energy, and another one described as "shy" actually charged, growling, and put teeth on me when I was let into the field where he was playing.) This little girl and her non-heartworm-positive relatives popped up on a local rescue last week. She was described as a border collie/terrier mix. (I'm skeptical... though some of the other relatives did look definitely BCish. She may have some collie back in her lineage.) The rescue told me that if I met her at the transport and liked her, I could bring her home. So, I drove to Connecticut and she was as sweet in real life as her online description. I opened my car door and she jumped in, lay down, and slept for the 3-hour car ride home. She's 18 pounds soaking wet. Has had at least one litter, not in the distant past. She is completely housebroken and crate-trained. A bit shy - but she bounces back from scary things very quickly. Walks beautifully on a leash. Does not know any commands AT ALL: no sit, no stay. Won't play with toys. Scared to touch the treat-loaded Kong. Has barked twice in three days, when the neighbor's todder ran at the fence. Not the long-haired border collie beauty I was expecting... but probably the right dog for me.
  20. I have no name for her yet. She weighs 18 pounds. The rescue called her "border collie/terrier mix." Her family that came with her look to have some BC in their background. So, hey - she gets in on a technicality. Don't call her a labweenie! Call her a labweenie COLLIE!
  21. I had to drive my dog to my father's condo in the over-62 complex last year, and stay till midnight. (That was during the official town fireworks - all the "smaller" neighborhood festivals were just tiny meltdowns.) I am OK with folks around here breaking the state law forbidding fireworks. Whatever. I just wish they would do it in the week before and after the 4th... and from sunset till 10, say. What is the POINT of fireworks at 10 a.m. anyway? ::Sigh::
  22. It sucks to learn that! But I agree that sometimes overknowledge isn't helpful, especially when there's no guarantee of symptoms. Good luck!
  23. Big decisions for me to make. I'll let everyone know the outcome - probably after I've had a dog home for 15 minutes.
  24. Another great foster bio that clearly illustrates the personality of the dog! I'm happy that these are getting posted here on the BC forums. I like all the breed rescues on Facebook, but this is a good all-purpose place for anyone who's interested in a BC, a nice source for sharing! Good luck.
  25. Chan: that is a FANTASTIC video! It clearly highlights the dog's personality very well. As someone who's been looking on rescue sites for 2 months, I can tell you that you did a most excellent job there. Good work. Mary
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