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Lyrically_Speaking

New Here and Looking For Possible Advice

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Wow. I never said you were hitting your dogs, Gloria.

 

But perhaps the difference is for me that I want my dog to know where both correction and praise is coming from when Im connected to them. I prefer that its not a random object so they dont become spooky to random objects. Of course, my strongly preferred method is to just keep them under threshold and train self control (Ive had one dog out of five that Ive actually used a prong collar on and she came as a rescue with ingrained pulling habits)

 

And I will note that there may be no prong collars, but strong leash corrections for dogs not in the proper state of mind, throwing/threatening with stock sticks and generally ignoring puppies until theyre old enough to start training are not uncommon in the sheepdog world. Even with some of the best in the business. The lack of prong collars certainly doesnt seem to be because the culture is opposed to force and strong corrections but rather that they have a different methods and tools for them.

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Why do you feel it is different/better for a puppy to be self corrected by getting hit in the face with a stick than it is to be getting self corrected by a prong collar?

 

The idly-swinging, light-weight stick (normally a 1/2" fiberglass pole or a stock cane, which also tends to be very light) provides a visual barrier that a prong collar does not. In other words, it is setting a boundary that the collar does not set.

 

I have seen dogs and handlers that were benefited by the judicious and intelligent use of prong collars, head collars, and/or no-pull harnesses, all of which were used as interim tools, and by people who knew how to use them properly.

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What to say? What almost everyone else has said - this is a puppy, a baby, and while each pup can progress at a different rate, that needs to be taken into consideration.

 

Now, the source of the lunging? Border Collies tend to be very sensitive and reactive to motion and sound. Fast cars? They provide both stimuli. If the OP got this pup at about eight weeks of age (about two months ago) and began walking the pup where there are fast-moving cars, and eight weeks is often the time for a fear period in puppy development, there's a real recipe for a problem with reacting to cars. And this has been going on for two months, so it's not something easily resolved because it's become ingrained in that baby brain.

 

So I have to ask, what are the OP's alternatives to walking the youngster where there is traffic? When a person is unable to *train* a puppy out of something like this, then *management* to avoid the problem is another strategy, at least for the time being, to give the pup's brain a bit of time to mature and to proceed with training of all sorts under a less-stressful, less-distracting set of circumstances.

 

I remember there was a topic concerning a dog that was very reactive to traffic - the OP asked for advice, took it to heart, tried it, and reported back on the progress as it was made. That was, I think, an older animal. Perhaps the OP would like to do a "search" and read what has been posted in previous discussions on this topic.

 

And last, but not least in my experience, is something I found to be essential with my dogs - has the OP taught the pup a "leave it" command? I have found this to be one of the most useful things ever, and it seems to apply to interesting but disgusting stuff on the ground, moving objects (like deer and squirrels), and other "things" that I simply need my dog to ignore.

 

Whole Dog Journal recently had an article on teaching this in the manner they currently feel is best but I did it the old-fashioned way that I was taught, and I did it with Celt by the time he was eight weeks old. It may be something helpful further on "down the road" for a pup like this (when reintroducing traffic and cars, after other training in less-distracting surroundings and some time to mature a little). I'd sit in a chair (you can stand) and drop a treat on the floor (a lower-value treat). When Celt would approach it, I would cover it with my foot. As soon as he took his eyes off the now-vanished treat and looked at my face, I'd say "Yes" (you can click if you do clicker-training) and immediately give him a more-desirable treat. It did not take many iterations of this lesson for him to understand "leave it".

 

I neglected to do a very good job of this with Dan and he's not as good as Celt about leaving things but he does pretty well. The other day, he picked up something he really wanted and when I said, "Leave it!", he dropped it immediately. I was extremely pleased because, as I said, I did not do my homework with him as I should have. However, this command works for him with regards to deer, squirrels, and otherwise irresistible attractions. It might be worth a try as an additional resource for the OP, that would come in handy in any number of situations.

 

PS - I knew Gloria would never advocate "smacking" a dog in the face with a stick (the OP's use of words) but it's easy enough to not understand how benign and sensible this approach is when done right.

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1) Now, the source of the lunging? Border Collies tend to be very sensitive and reactive to motion and sound. Fast cars? They provide both stimuli. If the OP got this pup at about eight weeks of age (about two months ago) and began walking the pup where there are fast-moving cars, and eight weeks is often the time for a fear period in puppy development, there's a real recipe for a problem with reacting to cars. And this has been going on for two months, so it's not something easily resolved because it's become ingrained in that baby brain.

 

So I have to ask, what are the OP's alternatives to walking the youngster where there is traffic? When a person is unable to *train* a puppy out of something like this, then *management* to avoid the problem is another strategy, at least for the time being, to give the pup's brain a bit of time to mature and to proceed with training of all sorts under a less-stressful, less-distracting set of circumstances.

 

2) And last, but not least in my experience, is something I found to be essential with my dogs - has the OP taught the pup a "leave it" command? I have found this to be one of the most useful things ever, and it seems to apply to interesting but disgusting stuff on the ground, moving objects (like deer and squirrels), and other "things" that I simply need my dog to ignore.

 

Whole Dog Journal recently had an article on teaching this in the manner they currently feel is best but I did it the old-fashioned way that I was taught, and I did it with Celt by the time he was eight weeks old. It may be something helpful further on "down the road" for a pup like this (when reintroducing traffic and cars, after other training in less-distracting surroundings and some time to mature a little). I'd sit in a chair (you can stand) and drop a treat on the floor (a lower-value treat). When Celt would approach it, I would cover it with my foot. As soon as he took his eyes off the now-vanished treat and looked at my face, I'd say "Yes" (you can click if you do clicker-training) and immediately give him a more-desirable treat. It did not take many iterations of this lesson for him to understand "leave it".

 

 

3) PS - I knew Gloria would never advocate "smacking" a dog in the face with a stick (the OP's use of words) but it's easy enough to not understand how benign and sensible this approach is when done right.

 

1) Thank you, I am only using the prong collar until i can resume training in an area where there is less stimuli, as I've reiterated, I would like to see him walk on a flat collar. I am simply giving him the time to SAFELY mature further to the point where I can focus on more leash manners and, with the aid of puppy classes, get him on either a martingale (as the next step down potentially) and then a FLAT/STANDARD collar.

 

Unfortunately, I have no backyard and no way to avoid traffic at where I am now, I've had him for 6 weeks and this has been our struggle.

 

2) I will be working on teaching him to "leave it" as suggested. I'm always up for suggestions.

 

3) I'd like to personally apologize and retract my former statement, now with the understanding of what was meant by the swinging stick.

 

4) But perhaps the difference is for me that I want my dog to know where both correction and praise is coming from when Im connected to them. I prefer that its not a random object so they dont become spooky to random objects.

 

And I will note that there may be no prong collars, but strong leash corrections for dogs not in the proper state of mind, throwing/threatening with stock sticks and generally ignoring puppies until theyre old enough to start training are not uncommon in the sheepdog world. Even with some of the best in the business. The lack of prong collars certainly doesnt seem to be because the culture is opposed to force and strong corrections but rather that they have a different methods and tools for them.

 

4) As stated above ^^^^ I would rather have my dog aware that both praise and correction come from ME than from a random object. However, I now do appreciate and understand the stick method

 

5) I have seen dogs and handlers that were benefited by the judicious and intelligent use of prong collars, head collars, and/or no-pull harnesses, all of which were used as interim tools, and by people who knew how to use them properly.

 

5) I have been trained on the APPROPRIATE use of the prong collar and am aware of the additional training required to train my dog, in fact, i look forward to working with my doing to progress to appropriate leash habits once I am back to an area conductive to this training.

 

6) The beauty of a prong collar is that as long as you don't snap the leash to create a correction, the dog is totally in charge of whether he gets corrected or not. If he doesn't like the feel of the collar tightening around his neck, all he has to do is stop pulling. His choice. I really don't see anything unkind about this. It is true that this alone won't teach your dog not to pull on the leash. Pretty much every dog learns pretty quickly when the prong collar is on and when it isn't, so if you truly want a well trained dog you will still have to put in the training time, and that can and should be as fair, gentle, kind, patient, and consistent as you can make it. But the prong collar will allow you to exercise your dog in the meantime, without him continuing to practice an annoying and potentially dangerous habit, and without you having to spend all your abundant disposable student income on physical therapy for your back and shoulders.

 

6) Exactly, at this point I don't expect perfection, I just don't want my puppy to be road-kill in the meantime.

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Maralynn, no, you weren't the one who thought I was smacking dogs in the face.

Anyhow, I think I've said too much already so I'm bowing out. Folks have offered plenty of good ideas here and the OP certainly has her pup's best interests at heart, we all know that. Peace, love and unicorns. :)

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The beauty of a prong collar is that as long as you don't snap the leash to create a correction, the dog is totally in charge of whether he gets corrected or not. If he doesn't like the feel of the collar tightening around his neck, all he has to do is stop pulling. His choice. I really don't see anything unkind about this.

 

I won't disagree for normal dogs but for those who are reactive and fearful, particularly out on sidewalks on busy streets, I don't see this as "his choice".

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On prong collars: one of my Border collies had bilateral shoulder surgery at 6 months for OCD. The rehab vet was adamant that I not let him pull on a leash - she was worried he'd jeopardize proper healing of his shoulders. She recommended a prong collar. I was horrified - they looked like medieval instruments of torture. The rehab vet was adamant that no other choice (e.g., any sort of halter) would work - any twisting of the neck would compromise healing of his shoulders. I got reassurance from several here (Journey was one) that it would work, that I could use two collars (a plain and a flat collar) with two leashes, he wouldn't pull and I could transition to the flat collar. It *did* work like a charm. It didn't take long before he no longer pulled, even with the flat collar. His shoulders healed fine. (Oh, and I have occasionally known highly skilled sheepdog handlers to use a prong collar).

 

I also found he was "over threshold" if walking on a busy street - the moving cars were too much for him. I backed off and restricted our walks to quiet areas until he matured a bit mentally. We also played the "look at that!" game (the OP should definitely purchase "Control Unleashed"). It helped A LOT. He's not been reactive to (most) traffic for years. I still have trouble when I walk out of my office (I work at a university) to find myself right in the middle of a pack of elementary school children on break from tutoring - they're all running around, screaming, and kicking balls. He goes from calm to "over threshold", wanting to participate, in a nanosecond.

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Currently our schedule looks like, as I'm in college (well exam time for 2 more weeks):

 

Morning (upon wake up at 6:30-7:30am)

  • a 10-15 minute walk outside to get him a chance to use the bathroom
  • he gets his breakfast in a Kong Gyro treat puzzle ball while I eat my breakfast and get ready for class
  • 5-10 minutes of trick training/practice
  • in crate with frozen peanut butter to top the rest of his breakfast in a standard puppy Kong. (I don't leave till almost 8-9)

Lunchtime (12-1pm)

  • 20-30 minute walk
  • break from crate to play fetch or play with toys and cuddle
  • 2-3 baby carrots in crate for afternoon

Early Evening ( following class at 4-5pm)

  • 1 hour + of walking and fetch/run in a fenced soccer field depending on weather
  • Dinner in Kong Gyro
  • Training of tricks
  • Play throughout the evening
  • Bathroom breaks as required throughout the night

Before Bed (9:30-10pm)

  • 20-30 minute walk for bathroom and to wear off any last energy
  • crate at 10:30pm (he tends to sleep through the night fine)

I'm just here to see what else, as I'll be out shortly for the summer, I can do with him or teach him. I'm interested in getting him the Jolly Ball Egg to kick around our backyard at home with my parent's dog (12 year old miniature cockapoo). Also, I'm looking to get into running again this summer (a knee injury threw me off track this past year) so that I'm back up to par for next summer to start running with him (so that he doesn't over-stress his growing joints) and I'm looking to build him an agility course also to start next summer.

 

Currently,m we are working on the stay command, not chasing my cat (2 year old tuxedo cat) and, as I said, slowly working on integrating the Halti so we can progress to having him focused and WORKING while we are on walks.

(Emphasis added in bold italics by me). I'm surprised no one else is commenting on the amount of exercise. I've always heard that the rule of thumb should be "five minutes max per month of age" for duration of walks. Moreover, no one should play "fetch" until its growth plates have healed (stick with a couple of "rollers" only). Too much exercise before then will destroy the dog's joints. Any exercise involving jumping in the air is particularly bad.

 

Unfortunately, there seems to be a myth that Border collies require a LOT of exercise, and many new owners believe they're "bad" owners unless they provide a LOT of exercise. In fact puppies are better with mental stimulation, in addition to learning a clear and consistent set of rules, than with exercise and a regimented existence. I sense the OP is trying hard to be a conscientious owner. I know they are taking pains to avoid falling in the trap of "entertaining" a young dog the whole time (yep, people need time for themselves, whether it be for studying or relaxing or working). Relax the schedule. Teach a new trick every week, be consistent about "manners", and reward calm relaxed behavior. And enjoy your pup!

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(Emphasis added in bold italics by me). I'm surprised no one else is commenting on the amount of exercise. I've always heard that the rule of thumb should be "five minutes max per month of age" for duration of walks. Moreover, no one should play "fetch" until its growth plates have healed (stick with a couple of "rollers" only). Too much exercise before then will destroy the dog's joints. Any exercise involving jumping in the air is particularly bad.

 

Unfortunately, there seems to be a myth that Border collies require a LOT of exercise, and many new owners believe they're "bad" owners unless they provide a LOT of exercise. In fact puppies are better with mental stimulation, in addition to learning a clear and consistent set of rules, than with exercise and a regimented existence. I sense the OP is trying hard to be a conscientious owner. I know they are taking pains to avoid falling in the trap of "entertaining" a young dog the whole time (yep, people need time for themselves, whether it be for studying or relaxing or working). Relax the schedule. Teach a new trick every week, be consistent about "manners", and reward calm relaxed behavior. And enjoy your pup!

 

Well, yeah, I think we all got caught up in the collar issue and missed this. Too much is as bad as, or maybe worse than, too little because it can be harmful to growing joints and bodies and it sets the dog up to require needless and endless levels of activity.

 

Moderate physical exercise along with short sessions of mental exercise (as you are doing) is the key to developing a healthy, active, engaged companion.

 

And I've never tended to be so regimented - I know it's a necessity for some people's circumstances but I also feel that a certain level of spontaneity and unpredictability within a reasonable schedule, is a healthy thing. You don't want to be programming your dog to "need" activities of a certain level at a certain time every day, but you do need to work within your own personal needs as well.

 

Best wishes!

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I was horrified - they looked like medieval instruments of torture. I got reassurance from several here (Journey was one) that it would work, that I could use two collars (a plain and a flat collar) with two leashes, he wouldn't pull and I could transition to the flat collar. It *did* work like a charm. It didn't take long before he no longer pulled, even with the flat collar. His shoulders healed fine.

Thanks Lynne...I don't really have time right now, lambs.., to write it all up again. However, it sounds like the OP has gotten some good training on how to use the prong. I start with only 2 or 3 inward. If more is necessary then I can adjust accordingly. I also use a flat collar in conjunction with the prong. Two leashes, one on each. It's like reining 😉 you can either clip to the upper ring or lower on the prong, or both, for steady pressure. You can also teach body awareness as well using it. LL, lower ring, left hand lead. Right hand has the upper ring lead. I've taught all of mine how to side pass, back, move off pressure, etc...its simply a tool. Yes, when it's life/death, that's the first thing I'd turn to. Once you have his *mind* your training can begin. Without him in a receptive mode, paying attention to you, you won't get anywhere. It's not that he's over the top, it's that he's a puppy. Oh, and lots and lots of good treats, bite size soft, should not need to say but jic..

 

I find people are afraid of what they don't know or perceive wrong. You don't know what you don't know. Glad the OP is game to try, it sure does beat roadkill...

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Oh, I've a bitch that figured out the cadence of my stick...she did however learn that if I can pinch your butt you're wrong!

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Yep, that's exactly what you told me, in a nutshell. And of course I meant a *prong* and a flat collar, not a *plain* and a flat collar.

 

Lambing, yes, I can relate ... just FINALLY came indoors at noon from "morning" chores! (And I wonder where my day goes at this time of the year). HALF of my ewes this year have decided that at least one lamb is an Alien Invader (only had this once in previous years), and the mother of my second set of triplets was slow coming into her milk. The very first day of lambing I walked out to the barn to find two ewes who had just given birth and FIVE lambs. One ewe was trying to mother four of them - the fifth (doing its best imitation of a dead lamb with the membrane still covering it) was lying behind the ewe that I suspected was carrying triplets. THAT took a while to sort out...

 

Thanks Lynne...I don't really have time right now, lambs.., to write it all up again. However, it sounds like the OP has gotten some good training on how to use the prong. I start with only 2 or 3 inward. If more is necessary then I can adjust accordingly. I also use a flat collar in conjunction with the prong. Two leashes, one on each. It's like reining you can either clip to the upper ring or lower on the prong, or both, for steady pressure. You can also teach body awareness as well using it. LL, lower ring, left hand lead. Right hand has the upper ring lead. I've taught all of mine how to side pass, back, move off pressure, etc...its simply a tool. Yes, when it's life/death, that's the first thing I'd turn to. Once you have his *mind* your training can begin. Without him in a receptive mode, paying attention to you, you won't get anywhere. It's not that he's over the top, it's that he's a puppy. Oh, and lots and lots of good treats, bite size soft, should not need to say but jic..

I find people are afraid of what they don't know or perceive wrong. You don't know what you don't know. Glad the OP is game to try, it sure does beat roadkill...

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