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Joni

Meet Joni, My Rumspringa Border Collie

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Joni is just a few months shy of 2 years old and I got her from an Amish man in a large Amish community about an hour away from where I live in Mid-MIssouri.  Joni is a pup from his Border Collie that works sheep on his farm.  He kept Joni thinking that he would train her but he has not had time so he realized he should find a good home for her which is where I come in.  She has been very well taken care of but not much human interaction as he had 5-6 other dogs.  I got her about 2 week ago.

Joni has the same sweet demeanor as my last Border Collie and is friendly and gentle to everyone she meets.  I call her my Rumspringa dog since she is about 14 in human years and has never known a life away from the Amish barn area where she grew up.  She has had a lot of firsts in the past two weeks and I think she is mostly overwhelmed with the world outside of the farm.  She has never been in a motorized vehicle, never climbed stairs, never walked on slick surfaces like wood floors and as a result, she is timid and very cautious of just about everything.  You would almost think she is afraid but she doesn't tremble.  I think she is just nervous from all the new things in her new life and I am willing to bet she will adjust over time as she is catching onto her new digs very quickly.

She is now going up an down stairs like a champ.  She has even jumped into the Jeep twice in the last couple of days but mostly, I have to pick her up and put her in.  She does drool while riding in the Jeep which indicates she is anxious but Saturday, we spent most of the day at different off-leash local dog parks and stopping at some other parks on-leash and practiced getting in and out of the Jeep.  Towards the end of the trip, she no longer drooled and sat up in the seat instead of laying down.  I think she sees the possibilities and likes it even though she won't admit it :)

My bedroom has wood floors which are slick and I have put down carpet remnants in several places so she has little carpet islands to walk around on and is starting to venture away from them on occasion when I call her with a treat.  She is coming around.

What I would like to do is figure out is how to get her to like her crate.  I know how important crate training is for things like trips or the potential overnight stay at the vet or a family/friend's home.  She is not terrified of the crate as I can pick her up and put her in and she will calm right down.  But she won't get close to the crate on her own, and I can't coax her in with food.  If she thinks I'm going to put her in the crate, she stays on the other side of the room or in another room.  So I am feeding her with the food bowl in front of the crate with the door open.  She is timid and it takes a while for her to get the nerve to go over to the crate and eat and she will never do it if I'm in the room.  Over time, as she appears to be comfortable, I plan on putting the bowl inside and eventually at the back of the crate to try and help her like it more.

I have searched and read forum threads here for similar issues but I haven't found any advice on my particular issue yet.

Can anyone shed light on how to deal with this or a better way to work on it with Joni?

Thanks in advance,

Bill

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She's so pretty!!

For the car the drooling might be motion sickness not nervousness... 

For the crate I think you'll need to desensitize/counter condition it, have you ever clicker trained a dog or used a marker word? If I were you I would close the crate door and stand at a distance from the crate where the dog is very comfortable but can see the crate. Then mark/feed anytime the dog looks over to the crate, she will probably move closer on her own, continue to move closer and closer until the dog is fine all around the crate. Then open the door and start over from that safe distance this should go pretty fast. Then, without the dog in the crate make it 'noisy' open and close the door, tap the sides etc until the crate noises predict food. You may need a friend or helper to make the sounds while you guys stand farther away at first. The important thing with this is that the dog tells you when she's ready to move forward and you never push her toward the crate, even passively, by making her move toward the crate to get a food lure. It will be a much more positive association if she is offering the behavior at her pace. This could take a week or it could take a few months. I can probably do a video with my little dog if you want but I am to lazy to try and move my BCs giant crate haha. Let me know if any of that doesn't make sense, I'm happy to clarify. :-)

Also her eating while scared near the crate isn't helping much. Find the point near the crate where she isn't scared and feed her there. And close the door. It doesn't sound like there's any great rush to get her crated so let her set the pace.

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Joni is beautiful - I love the long BC look!

I second what Rigby says above.  Try to capture behaviour you want with a reward, rather than forcing or luring it, and then it is her decision.  This will make her far more confident in the long run.  And of course positive associations are going to be the best possible way for her to learn.

Breaking things down into tiny steps, rewarding even looks, may seem like the slow way but will yield lasting results.

I think Kikopup has some excellent Youtube videos about this sort of training.  Someone posted one about overcoming fear of a slippery kitchen floor in a thread a while back, last year I think.  I you do a search for Kikopup I am sure you will find it.

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I have never used a clicker or marker word before (only basic commands for previous BCs) but I like the idea of desensitizing her and letting her tell me when she is ready.  The way you described it Rigby, seems straightforward enough.  No need for a video... yet :)

I shut the door to the crate and moved the bowl about 2 feet away and she went right up to it tonight and ate so that sounds like a good starting distance.

Also, we went to Petsmart and Petco after work.  On-leash, she jumped right in the Jeep 4-5 times tonight.  When we first started out, she didn't want to go so I was patient and verbally coaxed her a few times and lightly pulled on the leash towards the seat and she finally jumped up when she was ready.  She didn't drool once while we were out for about 3 hours so we are making progress.  That must be because I let her take her time to get in and it was "kind of" her decision.  She seemed happier for it.  Normally, when she sits, she faces me, but tonight,she moved closer to the open windows and felt the rush of wind blowing in her face for the first time.

Lawgirl, I'll check out the Kilopub videos later tonight.

Thanks for the suggestions Rigby and Lawgirl!

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Update on Joni.  She is jumping in the Jeep now and really enjoying the rides.  She is climbing and descending stairs like she has done it all her life.  She can traverse slick floors easily now but still has a little trepidation at first but she gets over it once on the slick floor.  As far as the crate is concerned, nothing has changed other than me not trying to push it on her.  It's a nit at this point.

About a week ago, she started having runny poo and getting me up a couple of times a night.  Plus she was scratching on occasion.  The diarrhea was only a couple of days after she had all of her shots for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvo, parainfluenza and bordetella and I figured that she was adjusting to the chemical concoction floating around in her body.  She was scratching when I got her and the vet nor I could find any flees or bites so she said to try benadryl which I did for several days without change on the itching.

I did some research about food and allergens and decided to change her diet.  I was feeding her Purina One Chicken and Rice kibble.  After spending many hours online reading about dog food and another hour or two and the two local pet stores, I choose Pro Plan Focus Sensitive Skin & Stomach Salmon & Rice kibble mainly because they were one of the only brands claiming to have a formula for sensitive skin and stomach and called it out on the package.  Marketing does work, lol!

So, due to time or the new diet, I don't know which, her poop firmed up and she is back to normal.  I just bought a 5 lb bag so now I need to think about getting another bag of the same formula or look at other brands.  Of course, I continued to research food and there is a lot of good information on this board but I also found the Dog Food Advisor site which only gives Pro Plan Focus 2-1/2 stars out of 5.  After more reading about ingredients, I can see why the Pro Plan I picked may not be the best choice, but really, how bad is it?

Now I'm wondering, should I buy another bag of Pro Plan to keep things consistent for Joni and once it's almost gone, look for another food?  Or should I switch to a better food on my next bag and switch sooner than later?

I'm leaning towards Taste of The Wild as it gets good reviews, is readily available locally and has decent pricing.

Here is another pic, the day after I got her.  Funny how the camera angle makes her head look so huge :)

IMG_20190601_120305.jpg

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I like to go to the Dog Food Adviser website for recommendations on dog foods. They do the right kinds of research and analysis, and you can read up on any brand you want to try and see how they rate it. I only feed dog foods that have a 4.5 or 5 star rating with them. Marketing lies, the Dog Food Adviser website doesn't. 

Just have to say you have a particularly beautiful dog, my opinion. That is one of my favorite looks for a border collie. It sounds as though you are doing well with her and she is coming along nicely. Love the crossed-paws.

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Another thing you can try with the crate is to remove the door (depending on the crate you have). I got my dog from the shelter and she was verrrry hesitant to go anywhere near the crate, and didn't trust bathrooms or closets either. Taking the door off meant it freaked her out a lot less.

I started feeding her all her meals near the crate but far enough away she was relaxed, moved her food closer and closer each meal as she got more comfortable, then fed her first at the front of the crate and then moved the bowl towards the back. I only put the door back on when she was totally happy hanging out inside. Then fed with the door propped open, then with me moving it, then with me hitting it against the frame but not actually latching it, then opening and closing it a couple times while she ate. The last step was to actually shut it the whole time she was eating, and then start giving her more and more time before I opened it again.

This sounds like a lot but I think the whole progression only took 2-3 weeks, and by the time I'd started feeding her in the crate she'd go running in while I walked over with the bowl. I always escalated a little slower than necessary so that she was really enthusiastic about the whole process, and by the time I was playing around with the door she was completely unconcerned with it. You want your dog to be relaxed and happy to eat, not freaked out the whole time. Mine is a total food hound so that probably helped...

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5 hours ago, D'Elle said:

I like to go to the Dog Food Adviser website for recommendations on dog foods. They do the right kinds of research and analysis, and you can read up on any brand you want to try and see how they rate it. I only feed dog foods that have a 4.5 or 5 star rating with them. Marketing lies, the Dog Food Adviser website doesn't. 

Just have to say you have a particularly beautiful dog, my opinion. That is one of my favorite looks for a border collie. It sounds as though you are doing well with her and she is coming along nicely. Love the crossed-paws.

Thanks D'Elle.  Looks like Taste of the Wild is up on the 5 star rating on Dog Food Advisor so it will probably be the next one to try.

3 hours ago, MeMeow said:

Another thing you can try with the crate is to remove the door (depending on the crate you have). I got my dog from the shelter and she was verrrry hesitant to go anywhere near the crate, and didn't trust bathrooms or closets either. Taking the door off meant it freaked her out a lot less.

I started feeding her all her meals near the crate but far enough away she was relaxed, moved her food closer and closer each meal as she got more comfortable, then fed her first at the front of the crate and then moved the bowl towards the back. I only put the door back on when she was totally happy hanging out inside. Then fed with the door propped open, then with me moving it, then with me hitting it against the frame but not actually latching it, then opening and closing it a couple times while she ate. The last step was to actually shut it the whole time she was eating, and then start giving her more and more time before I opened it again.

This sounds like a lot but I think the whole progression only took 2-3 weeks, and by the time I'd started feeding her in the crate she'd go running in while I walked over with the bowl. I always escalated a little slower than necessary so that she was really enthusiastic about the whole process, and by the time I was playing around with the door she was completely unconcerned with it. You want your dog to be relaxed and happy to eat, not freaked out the whole time. Mine is a total food hound so that probably helped...

Thanks MeMeow.  I appreciate your story on crate training your dog.

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