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vaporflowers

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  1. I just watched a video of a woman who is training a competition "heel" command on her deaf Akita. The dog is low energy, generally slow moving and hard to motivate. She is training with food, which she tosses to get some drive and momentum going, and that's working nicely. But as a jackpot, she actually gave the dog a magazine to shred. You could see the instant delight in the dog's face that she had PERMISSION to tear some paper up to her heart's content. Sometimes, you have to go with what works. As a jackpot, I occasionally give my BC a soft toy that I KNOW he will destroy in 0.2 seconds. He doesn't ingest any pieces, just eviscerates until it is nothing but "skin" and piles of fluff. But it's one of his greatest joys, and it is something that we do apart from the other dogs. Rather than tell him off for his destructive tendencies, I found a way to channel it.
  2. If he isn't interested in running and chasing the ball, can you find another activity he does enjoy? If he likes to shred things, bring a puzzle toy stuffed with food (a Kong, an Everlasting treat ball, etc). He is still "participating" in exercise time, even if it's just lying down and working on getting the food or treats out. Feed him his meals out of Kongs. Once you've gotten engagement with the Kong or similar toy with food in it, try tossing it before he settles down to chew. Take a soft toy, like a braided rope or fleece, and see if he likes to tug. Or attach it to a string and see if he wants to chase it. You're going to have to get a little creative and decide how HE wants to play. Once you find what motivates him, you can start having fun together.
  3. I second the over-drinking theory. I didn't know that this was a thing until I started working with retrievers regularly, but within the past year, 5 or 6 puppy raisers have had pups that urinated in their sleep. The pups were cleared for UTIs, and we figured out that several of them had a water obsession and tended to "tank up". I'd always raised dogs who had free access to water, but these pups actually had to be given frequent access to small amounts of water. One even had to have his water measured. In a couple of the pups, the urinating also seemed to get worse with stress. By "stress", I don't necessarily mean fear, just a lot of stimuli and a sensitive pup.
  4. When a dog is engaging in behaviors that I don't care for, I try REALLY hard to not assume that the dog "knows better". Often, they don't. Training is not just about saying "no", but rather showing the dog the right answer, over and over and over again. And you should expect regressions. All of these "bad behaviors" are VERY normal dog behaviors: - Charging up the stairs: dogs get excited and like to run, the stairs may signal a chance to go outside or eat supper or snuggle before bedtime. Stairs can also be slippery or at a steep pitch, so some dogs will rush them to get it over with. Some dogs find it uncomfortable to be slow or still on an uneven surface (especially if they weren't socialized to uneven surfaces as a pup... strange but true!) - Stealing food: dogs are scavengers. They often learn not to steal food when you're around, but the behavior works when you're not looking. Also food is usually worth more to them than a correction. It takes time, patience, and management to teach a dog to not steal food off of the counters. I keep food out of reach, unless I am deliberately setting up a temptation so I can correct the unwanted behavior and also redirect the dog (a down-stay on a dog bed while I prepare food; a verbal NO and hand clapping when he attempts to jump up, followed by a repeat of the down-stay). - Stealing socks and running away: What happens if you catch him? Is he scolded for stealing the socks? Right now, your dog associates human hands with, at the very least, being "whacked on the nose". He gets a sock, sees his owners coming towards him, experiences fear when human hands come at him, does not want to give the sock up, and engages in keep-away or a chase game. He has no reason to stop and politely hand over the sock. I'd much rather teach the dog to trade items (both his own toys and "forbidden" items like socks) for other toys or treats. I play the "take it"/"give" game with my pups. If the dog likes picking things up, channel that into a cute trick rather than trying to squash it. Right now, it sounds like your family and the dog need to enroll in a positive-based obedience class, and perhaps have some one-on-one sessions with a trainer. The dog hasn't had a chance to be correct; he has made some improvements, but it sounds like he's still wildly guessing at what makes you happy.
  5. I do think that, generally speaking, border collies are less tolerant of rude or overbearing dog behavior. They're quicker to tell a rude dog off, and they also don't generally like to wrestle with strange dogs. Many border collies won't play until they know a dog well, and many never really get into the frat-boy/bouncy/in-your-face wrestlefests that other breeds enjoy (retrievers).
  6. The jump from two to three is much different I think than the jump from one to two. You're also talking about getting several dogs in a relatively short amount of time. My goal, as someone mentioned above, is to get my one dog trained to a level I'm comfortable with, because they'll teach habits as well as picking up "new dog" stuff. Border collies also tend towards some body sensitivity, and many (not all) don't like the frat-boy style of play that retrievers bring. When dogs mature at about 1.5 years (in my experience), their true personality and feelings towards other dogs solidifies. Many breeds grow up to be less social than they were as puppies, so it's something to think about. I keep my dogs socialized but I also respect their feelings about other dogs.
  7. Julie also mentioned tethering. My terrier has been helped by the Thundershirt... it's not a miracle but it has taken the edge off. What gets him are the 3am storms with lots of lightning. He'll start pacing, climbing behind the television, or trying to get on top of things. He usually seeks us out for comfort for most storms, but the 3am ones get him riled and he doesn't want us touching him. Tethering him and preventing him from pacing/climbing/etc has been slowly helping. He got a bit worse before he got better, but by not being able to engage in his unsafe, panicked behavior, he's slowly been settling down. It might be a case of learned helplessness, but that's better than the extremely unsafe alternatives he was choosing. I'd say the Thundershirt and tethering are worth a try, along with the medication. Good luck!
  8. 1. Like everyone else said, she's a babypup! I start training early with my guys, but it's at their own pace. If they just want to hang out and be a dog most of the time, then that's ok! At first I thought we were talking about an adolescent dog... at this age, I would put most of your focus onto socialization and exposures. Gradually introduce her to people, crowds, traffic, city environments, country environments, livestock, screaming children, unsteady surfaces, strange underfootings (metal grates, sewer lids, etc)... the key here being GRADUALLY. Make the big wide world a fun, relaxing place to be. 2. I want my dogs to CHOOSE to work with me. There are some things that are non-negotiable, as you mentioned, like the come command, but generally commands are things that I've chosen for them to do. So I want a dog who enjoys the work. Again, this is a babypup so I wouldn't stress too much about this now. But what I might do is crate the puppy for 20-30 minutes with a chew toy right before dinner time. Then I'll collect their dinner or some treats and go out into a safe, enclosed area (whether it's the living room or the backyard, I'm not picky, as long as it's safe and there are no other dogs who might steal the attention). I have the puppy off-leash or on-leash but with it completely loose, I load my pockets with treats and a toy. I let the puppy sniff around for a while while I stand there totally silent. If and when they choose to acknowledge me, I offer them a tidbit. This isn't anything that's on command... they are OFFERING the behavior of attention. If after 10 minutes or so, they still haven't acknowledged me, I might use some verbal encouragement and reward any attention I get. If not, I'll just collect the puppy and bring him inside for his dinner. I repeat this exercise in the same environment. Eventually, sniffing that same tree becomes less interesting than soliciting my attention and asking for work. I let the dog choose his own timetable to get interested in me. When I get some interest, we do short training sessions of "find heel" (meaning I start walking and reward the dog simply for being at my left side... no commands or signals given). I slowly start adding commands, using luring, molding, or shaping techniques... whatever the puppy feels like doing that day and is responding best to. This is a very low-pressure way of training. Young puppies will vary in their attention spans, they shut down easily, and also go through a fear period. I want a dog who finds work intrinsically rewarding. I work in the same environment over and over again to get what I call "default behaviors"... the default behavior I reward for the most is attention of any sort, and attention in heel position. Once the dog enjoys the training sessions, we take it "on the road" and start working the same way in different environments, and GRADUALLY it gets easier and easier... over a time frame of months, not weeks. Enjoy your puppy. I've learned to stop playing at my dogs and to find out what they enjoy on their own time, so I can start playing with them instead.
  9. I LOVE the Easy Walk. It really simplifies teaching loose leash walking. Glad it worked out so well for Kelso!
  10. One thing I learned with the broad jump is to mix it up A LOT. I stand at various places all over, not just in front or to the left. I stand all "around the clock"... on the right, behind it, in front of it... I also run past it. I also vary what I throw be it treats, toys, or nothing, and at what point during the jump I throw it... but in a band-aid situation, I'm throwing crap all the time, hahaha. I RARELY work on the fronts now in conjunction with the broad jump in practice. Scorch did the same thing (at trials, ugh), missing the jump entirely when he normally loved it and come to a perfect front. He's always thinking 10 steps ahead.
  11. Hmm, I don't know if I'd want a "wooly" coat replacement hahaha. (If what you mean by "wooly" are those soft, fluffy, tangle-y hairs) But I do miss my boy's mane! Intact: 100_0391 by VaporFlowers, on Flickr Neutered: IMAG0210 by VaporFlowers, on Flickr He's been neutered for 2 years, and it doesn't appear to fluctuate much seasonally.
  12. I would argue that the secondary sex characteristics of male dogs certainly get more "set" with later neutering. I've seen it repeated many times within the guide dog population at the school I work for. Intact males have larger heads, more muscle tone, larger "equipment", and in certain breeds (when we used Aussies, for example) more coat. Males neutered at 6 months or earlier had smaller heads and were less "thick" than their brothers who remained intact. Males neutered later would often lose some of the bulkiness to their muscle, and sometimes the excess coat would die down as well, but they did have a different appearance than their earlier-neutered brothers. The larger head is the most obvious at first glance, and there are multiple clues that can help in identifying an intact dog (BESIDES testicles I mean). Taller dogs when neutered earlier...? I've never seen that in my 3 years working with a large sample of guide dogs, although I've never measured them officially to find out. Narrower when neutered earlier...? That I've noticed, although how much is testosterone-influenced muscle versus actual structure, I'm not sure. It's enough of a difference that our on-staff vet now prefers not to neuter until at least 10 months of age. (That goes for females too; he's convinced that the benefit of hormones is real) My own dog that I left intact until 2.5 definitely had a ton of mane, muscle tone, a wide head, and a larger package than any of my early neutered males ever did. He's lost some of the mane and maybe some of the muscle bulk too. He's kept everything else. For me, just the fact that there is such a difference in appearance (in general) between early-neutered dogs and intact dogs, versus the smaller difference between later-neutered dogs and intact dogs, shows that hormones are having SOME effect on growth (at least in the growth of the head, muscles, and coat). Even without the studies, that's enough to make me want to wait and allow my dog to develop fully.
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