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Kayleegator

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About Kayleegator

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    Dunsmuir, CA (near Mt. Shasta)
  1. Chiming in late on the discussion... I put my dog Kaylee on Prozac last summer. I've discussed her behaviors on this board in other posts: she's a compulsive shadow-chaser, compulsive to the point of fixating on shadows so hard she couldn't be pulled out of it, until she would just sit, staring, addled and drooling, even snapping a bit if I tried to pull her head away. Prozac has not affected her in any negative way. She still chases shadows or reflections, but not as much, and now I can call her out of it and distract her: she's not pixie-led to the point of catatonia. In general, she's a happy, still-hyper young BC. We're still working on her adolescent issues: this is not a behavior-fixing pill. She's just a lot more amenable to training than she was before. And boy, does she relish the little ritual of her morning 'cheese', a little ball of cheddar with the capsule included. I've had some people think I was joking when I told them she was on Prozac. Some insensitive types think it's funny that a dog is on a human psych medication, I guess. Now I just say she's on a prescription for her condition, if they notice it. And I'll post my warning again: don't EVER play with your BC with a laser light or flashlight! That's what triggered Kaylee's condition. Pair the BC visual acuity with the work ethic, throw in some lack-of-exercise frustration, and apply an impossible target: it's a recipe for disaster. I'm glad it wasn't me that did it to her, I'd be rotten with guilt.
  2. We're baaack... I haven't posted here for 5-6 months, and just want to check in. My Kaylee is now 20 months old, and a fine, sensitive, funny, busy, b/w girl. She's still quirky, but she's smart and loving and generally well-behaved now: we've survived the worst of her adolescence and are doing fine. I see there are a lot of darlin' new puppies on here, and they are all going to be little dickenses. You new BC owners, you are in the right place. I got so much good counsel from this list last year! Kaylee's most concerning quirk has been her shadow-chasing, which she developed when she was about six months old. Word to the wise: don't EVER play with your BC with laser light toys! BCs are so visually acute, it's just asking for trouble. Kaylee lost it with ONE session. She's obsessed with any kind of sparkle or moving shadow, and it got so bad I finally went to the vet for an assessment. She'd be so addled she'd stare for hours if I let her, or try to bite or dig at the wall or floor, or the deck outside. She's been on doggie Prozac now for about six months, and it has helped A LOT. She'll still fixate on shadows or sunbeams, but can easily be called out of it now. I've noted that she resorts to staring at shadows in very stimulating situations, i.e. when she's on leash around a lot of people: she needs to behave, but she needs to be busy: it's a self-comforting behavior. It helps that I am more accepting, too, less obsessed with her obsessing! She still goes into insane greetings of her favorite people, but gets over it within a minute or two. It amuses me to see how hard she tries, she really tries! to settle down when she's so frantically happy to see her friends. She's well-socialized with other dogs, and loves to outrun them. She's a very fast runner, and proud of it. She's fun to hike with. I've been letting her hike off-leash for months now: she's biddable, will recall right away if I ask it, no matter how interesting the woods are. Of course running water is SPARKLY, and she can get a little nutty about it. She can still obsess about swimming, too, but we've learned to manage that: we just walk on. But it's so important to rescue pieces of wood from drowning! They are just not SAFE, floating out there! Car-fixating is not an issue anymore. On leash, every time she began to slink and fixate on a moving car, I asked her to Sit. Over and over. It broke her concentration just enough. She doesn't ignore all cars at this point, but she doesn't fixate or try to lunge at them at all. Snow tires, now, they make a weird noise: I still make her Sit, and give her no opportunity to be off-leash around cars. We've pretty much stopped using her crate except for the rare time-out. She began to balk at bedtime after going straight to her crate on command for a year, to the point that she'd go hide. I thought about that, and decided to just try letting her sleep beside my bed on the liner from her crate. That's all she wanted. We no longer use the crate in the car: the parked car has 'become' a crate. She has never been destructive, never barks, never gets into groceries. I've noted with amusement that she's a great navigator. She recognizes the routes we take to friends' houses, to the dog park, to the closer trailheads, and will 'chuff' with approval if we're getting close to a favorite destination. Cats. We have three old-lady cats. They are still very interesting to Kaylee, who had a kitten to play with at her first home. She will 'escort' them all over the house if they leave their sleeping spots. Sometimes she'll give a little bounce at one, to see if she can get a hiss or a paw swipe, by way of entertainment. We have consistently and sternly told her NO CAT, and she knows very well that she shouldn't bother them. But they're SO interesting! They move, they react, and they 'play chess', watching and waiting for an opening, so they can cruise down the hall. We're still working on this. Play. We play a lot, indoors and out. Frisbee is big these days, although she wants more complex games than just returning the frisbee to have it thrown, i.e: I'll hold the stick out at shoulder level for her to leap for, and then throw the frisbee again. I need to be trained in some fancier tricks, huh! There's only one agility class offered in our area, in summer: hopefully we can get her in when it comes around again. One toy that she loves is a tetherball hung from a big tree branch. She'll tug the rope and shake the ball fiercely, ride the ball with a frisbee in her mouth, etc. This winter we are working on indoor tricks and games: will work for popcorn. The latest trick is "BANG!": she falls down and plays dead... charming! We both need more training, but we're doing much better.
  3. I second this! My town has no dog park, but it does have a youth ballfield that is used for an hour or two a day at the peak useage, and none at all most of the year. Because it is fenced and grassy, it's been a great place for Kaylee and me to work on recall and retrieval as well as just run around. Like with a human two-year-old, RUN HER BUNS OFF! (age-appropriately, of course) Remember to take drinking water for both of you. Those of us who are middle-aged, soft townies (raises hand) need to tell ourselves every week, every day, that we cannot overexercise our dogs. Walks, even long ones, are more for training/mental stimulation: they barely qualify as exercise for a dog. These BCs are creatures of motion, with hearing and keen vision attuned to movement. The more they run the happier they are. As your puppy grows, you will be astounded at how incredibly fast she can run. (I once met a BC named Flash: now I understand!) Do work on finding a safe place for your little girl to run off-leash, and go there frequently. My yard isn't huge, but I designed it with several island planting beds, so Kaylee's morning stretch involves zooming in and out and all around, and sometimes sailing over them. I'll add some agility toys, if I can find a local class: she's 16 months old now. I'm going to make time to go to the ballfield today, too! Run, Georgia, Run!
  4. My girl Kaylee playfights with one of our cats, copying the cat's paw swing. The cat doesn't enjoy it nearly as much as Kaylee does, but the claws never come out. Well, on a walk recently, we stopped to vist a shop owner we know. Kaylee was approached by the resident aging ShiTzu, a hairy little fellow named Bandit. At first she just ignored him. He was slightly persistent and nosy. Kaylee gave him a long look and then took a cat swing at him, as if to say, "Dude, you look like a CAT!" She's never done that to any other dog. And she smiled up at me, too!
  5. I just picked up this thread, and Oh, what fun! I grew up in Maine (Orono, just north of Bangor) and spent many happy times all over Mt. Desert Island. How I would love to be there with Kaylee now! But we're on the West Coast, not the East, sigh. Is that the top of Cadillac Mountain in your photo? There is good hiking on the Island: if you are not up to climbing the Precipice Trail (dogs couldn't manage the ladders), walk up little Flying Mountain: it won't take long, the dogs will love it, and the view is spectacular, for such a short climb. Here's a cool story for you. When I was in my early teens, my family was picnicing on the shores of Echo Lake, in the center of Mt. Desert Island. My curiousity overcame me, and I went over to another family who was playing in the water with their pet SEAL! The seal was a rescue: the dad worked at a marine mammal research center. They let me SWIM with him, holding on to the loose skin on his back. He towed me fast and deep, through the cold, clear water of Echo Lake. Peak experience! Thanks so much for posting the lovely pix, you've brought back many fine memories of camping there and exploring the shore. You should see Sand Beach in January, with the sea ice hanging from the cliffs! Next time you go, take the ferry to Swan's Island and go out to the beach there, great secret place!
  6. A friend of mine is wildy praising a new bestseller called 'The Story of Edgar Sawtelle', a story about a mute boy and his relationship with a special breed of highly intelligent dogs. The book is very highly praised from a literary standpoint, but a few of the Amazon reviews have been mixed. Has anyone read this yet? Would you recommend it?
  7. I've been gone for a few days and missed the start of this thread: what amazing invention and silliness! Kaylee is sometimes: Miss K, the Kayleegator, Smiley, The Termite, The Penguin, Tweaker, and Sweetie
  8. Oooh, good camping place! Tell us where it was? My DH and I relocated to the area near Mt. Shasta two years ago, and we are exploring campsites in Oregon, as well as Siskiyou County... but the Sierras always beckon! I bet that water was just too cold for Odin: get him to a warmer lake, and I bet he swims like a champ!
  9. Thanks, everyone, for talking sense to me. I have a much better idea how to manage Kaylee in the water now: what a reasonable swim session is like, pacing, time-outs, toys and tools (life vest). What a great list this is!
  10. Thanks for your reply, Liz, that's helpful. I so appreciate the experience and expertise that this list provides! I'm very sorry about your poor girl: such a hard decision!
  11. OK, here's my girl Kaylee's latest trip... she's 14 months old now. We've been taking her camping lately. We have stayed in public campgrounds with the six-foot-leash rule, but have been able to choose places where she can either run free on the beach (wheee, wow! The speeeeding bullet!) or swim in the lake, to get those BC yayas out. We live near a river, which is usually too cold and fast for her taste, so she hasn't had a lot of swimming experience. But last weekend we were at a lake, where the swimming was fine for us all. It was probably the third time in her life that she'd been able to really swim, and she went for it. The Fetch game was taken VERY SERIOUSLY, to the point that Kaylee was trying to swim out into the middle of this big lake looking for a stick that sank, and her recall is so-so at the best of times. She eventually turned around, but I was stressin: she had been in the water for a long time, like two hours, swimming for most of that time, and I could tell she was really wound out and tired. We got her out of the water only when she could see another stick in my hand, and had to take her back to the campsite, as she wouldn't stop crying for more swimming. The car is the crate: she accepted that a long time ago, so was able to settle and rest, while I did, too. Obviously, we do need a toy that floats, instead of the unreliable stick supply, and I need to keep working on her recall. My husband has been trying to tell me diplomatically that for me to obsess over my dog's OCD is unhealthy, and irritating for him: there's a stress chain there. I'm doing the best that I can with the dog I've got. I'm actually learning to appreciate her shadow fixation as a sort of 'off' button: i.e. on her first canoe ride, she got bored or overwhelmed, I can't always tell, laid down in the bottom of the canoe and stared at shadows. Didn't rock the boat, anyway. At the rowdy campfire party, there was too much stimulation for her, and she laid down and stared at shadows from the fire (I did crate her after a while). She does this whenever she's in a group of people. Like an autistic child that retreats from the world, it's her coping mechanism. I have given up trying to engage her interest in such situations, although at home when it's just us, I still do try to distract her from obsessing. Was I over-reacting to be concerned about my dog swimming herself into an exhausted state? More suggestions for this team of psychos?
  12. This sweetheart has been known to jump all the way up on a kitchen island to steal a whole roast chicken! Of course, she is PERFECTLY well-behaved most of the time! And yes, I need some more Kaylee pix, who looks like Maya, but trimmer. Forthcoming!
  13. Here's a picture of my cousin's lovely b/w, Maya, posing for the camera. Isn't she a pretty girl? I really wanted to take her home.
  14. Oh, dear, it was a grizzley, cleverly disguised as a green squash. That explains a lot! We'll keep our eyes (and noses) peeled: them grizzlies is clever beasts! Try showing Kylie what you look like with a T-Shirt over your head! BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA!
  15. We don't have room for Kaylee's crate in our car for camping trips. Do you have a favorite pop-up, folding or tent-style crate to recommend that is reasonably sturdy? She only needs it for sleeping...
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