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  A dogs reminder
Posted by: only-borders - 11-01-2017, 04:15 PM - Forum: General Discussion - Replies (2)

I saw this on Facebook and wanted to share it with anyone who might not have seen it. This goes for all dogs not just Border Collies.


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  Ember the Sheep Dog
Posted by: Ember - 10-31-2017, 09:02 PM - Forum: Photo & Video Gallery - Replies (8)

[Image: 22904602_10214937687902659_1536140078278...e=5A6B2819]

Failed Ember's Halloween costume this year due to time constraints. It was still wet when I put it on her (glue, but not on her fur), and the cotton balls were falling off. But at least I got it on her just long enough to take a picture... much to her chagrin LOL.

This dog really tolerates me.

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  Playing with her mat
Posted by: Ember - 10-31-2017, 09:34 AM - Forum: Photo & Video Gallery - Replies (4)

I'm on a cleaning spree and picked up several of Ember's toys for the washer. Well, I guess she had an epiphany...

I looked up from work and saw her nuzzling under her mat. She then propped it up on her paws and was rolling around under it. Of course I only caught the tail end of that play. It's still funny tho.

Just look at that face.

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  SDDA Champion
Posted by: Quirkydog - 10-30-2017, 08:10 PM - Forum: Working Dogs, Sports, & Training - Replies (4)

Draco achieved his Spoting Detection Dog Assoc. Championship this weekend
It was a trial that will always be remembered for Draco being Draco,  a very full on goof ball,  who was referred to as Stomper by the judge.  He was an absolutely trooper when I would not call alert in 2 of the exterior searches to the point he picked up the item and chase me down until I called it.
The other he decided that the arm hanging out of the coffin (which had a hide tucked in the sleeve) needed to be killed not an alert I have trained for,   I certainly laughed hard at this trial.

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  Yay for new walking blues... need a little help
Posted by: Ember - 10-30-2017, 11:36 AM - Forum: Working Dogs, Sports, & Training - Replies (3)

So while we were in Myrtle Beach, I took Ember on a 2 mile walk around a lake at our favorite old haunt. She enjoyed it and walked very well - it's the farthest she's ever gone since I had her (I was actually trying to do it for exercise so we didn't do a lot of sniffing either).

She confirmed one thing I thought I had been seeing, and I don't like it.

Dogs her size and bigger are interesting and can be walked around without a whole lot of fuss - she wants to inspect and shows mild frustration but shakes it off and prances beside me for a few steps before defaulting back to sniffing mode. These encounters have the following attributes:

  • Tail high
  • Ears high
  • Locked on stare
  • Stiff, forward body
  • Tail wags (sometimes stiff and sometimes loose, depending on how the other dog is acting).
  • General bee-line for the dog with a very easy break-up or circle around if I guide her
  • Small sounds of pent-up energy/frustration (whimper, high pitched growl, maybe a bark if she's really worked up).
  • Immediate shake off after passing the dog (I mean, as we pass the dog, she's already shaking it off), looks at me immediately
As I don't like most of these signs we avoid making contact on leash (which is pretty much all the time). However, I am very certain that an issue would only arise if the other dog reacted negatively to the greeting if I were to allow it. Ember's greeting manners are lacking and her stare upsets a lot of dogs, so I simply don't allow it.

Anything smaller than her gets a completely different action, and at first I thought it was herding instinct. However, I have recently taken a motivation course and learned a lot about prey drive and the hunt sequence, and now I'm about 90% sure it's hunting instead. I saw it pretty clearly at the lake today as she had 3 opportunities to display the behavior and did. Here are the attributes:
  • Tail high
  • Ears down
  • Hackles up
  • Head dropped even with spine
  • Locked on stare
  • Direct ever-faster approach
  • Doesn't make a sound until she realizes she can't get closer (end of leash, me stepping between her and the other dog)
  • Then that sound is a low growl
  • Paws clawing on the sidewalk as I move her away
  • No immediate shake-off - instead, her head darts around as she tries to find something else to chase down
  • Stronger frustration at being kept away, louder and louder sounds and harder attempts to push past me
This is the behavior squirrels get, though the ears are different. Her head will dip but her ears will stay up.

Also, this is very new behavior in relation to dogs, only really seen in the past few weeks. I thought it was herding as the head dip is low enough to give her that high-stepping herding prance/run, but her tail doesn't go into "work mode" - it stays straight over her back (it curls, remember).

Notable during this time is that I had really wanted to allow squirrel chasing as premack for training. It's one of the few joys I see her get out of life and I have witnessed her "catch" a squirrel and just kind of shove it along to keep it moving, so I'm not overly worried about wildlife. Also when using premack I am looking only for squirrels who are already at the base of a tree or up it a foot or so - not all squirrels. Also, when she does get one up a tree, she is very happy looking - ears high, tail high, bouncing from foot to foot and loose body as she runs around trying to see the squirrel as it climbs up.

What is concerning me is this does NOT happen with small dogs. I don't know if it's because I don't let her anywhere near them (so I don't see the looseness as that part of the chain has not been reached). But I really don't like it and it is getting worse.

For now I will stop using squirrel chasing as premack until we have better self control. I have purchased a "21 day to better walks" course from Absolute Dogs that is supposed to handle hunting as well as aggression.

The help I'm seeking is immediate fixes that can help us get past these and knowledge on if I am seeing hunting behavior for sure.

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  The Tall Stranger
Posted by: Ember - 10-30-2017, 11:13 AM - Forum: General Border Collie Discussion - Replies (5)

There was an interesting instance I'm going to try to describe but probably loose to text. So forgive me if you read this and it makes no sense or you can't envision it - I didn't catch it on film in any way.

So as stated in another thread, we had a massively over-populated party in my brother's 1 bedroom apartment (literally almost 22 people). As they were coming in, the first to arrive were people that Ember knew from before we moved. So she was out and happily greeting everyone, though noticeably getting a little slower as more people showed up.

About the 8th person to show up was a new "stranger" that neither of us had met until that day. This gentleman is around my age and about a head taller than me. And solidly built at that. Ember was making her rounds and sniffing legs without really looking up. She went up to his knees and as she sniffed, I guess she realized it was much higher than she realized. As she sniffed, her head came up - and up and up and up. And as her head went up her tail began to tuck. It was this moment "oh crap you're a really big guy" that was very obvious and absolutely hilarious. Still, she sniffed, stood indecisively for a second, then moved away when he decided to try for a pet. No biggie, no harm no foul - and she went on to the next person.

Well, as there was a lull in arrivals and people were generally not moving around a lot, Ember came back to me with a happy wag. So I decided to see where she was mentally and broke out some low value treats to see if she'd be willing to work for them. I asked for really simple stuff like a sit and her default wave / high five. She was working with almost 10 people in the house at this point, ignoring most of everyone. Seeing how well she was doing, I asked her for a spin. She started to go around, and as she did, caught sight of Big Tall Guy behind her (he hadn't moved and he wasn't THAT close, so it's not like he was in her space). Her head completely locked on him and stood still while her body followed the spin around for a few steps - and then froze. She didn't tuck, didn't make a sound, didn't move. Her eyes were wide (but not whale eyed, almost but not that look).

It was the most blank expression I've ever seen on her. Not even her body could come up with something to say.

I tried everything to get her to break eye contact - called her name, waved my hand in front of her eyes. She was literally STUCK staring at him again. And what made it funny was her body language was tight but not afraid - it was like her brain just completely short circuited. I had to push against her neck from one side and walk into her to get her to take a few steps and even then she just couldn't stop staring at him. That's about the time I put her in my brother's room and shut the door to let her decompress but by this time I was laughing so hard. By the time she did break eye contact she waved her tail at me and scooped the treat she had left on the floor up as we walked off.

I have never seen her brain short circuit like that. She literally had no clue how to respond to his presence and couldn't seem to decide if he was worth fearing, was just interesting, or could be ignored completely.

By the end of the night when we let her out again (by her own choice), she ended up sitting with him for several minutes. He was on the floor so that obviously helped a little. But oh man, if you want to know how to blow a short BC's mind, introduce her to some one who's well over 6'.

Even funnier was that there was another guy there who was about the same height and maybe twice the weight of Big Tall Guy wearing fox ears and a fox tail (it was a Halloween party), and she greeted him normally.

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  The definition of “submissive”
Posted by: Ember - 10-27-2017, 10:40 PM - Forum: Working Dogs, Sports, & Training - Replies (5)

I had a brand new realization tonight. Here is the scenario:

We are back in Myrtle Beach for the weekend, Ember and I. When I pulled up and parked at my brothers home, I got out and stood by Embers door. I had to wait several seconds to open it as cars were passing by and she always diverts for the open space of the road when jumping out. Usually this isn’t  problem but when’s we travel she is much quicker to dart out of the car. We have been working on a stay command when exiting but she’s is usually too anxious when traveling  to care. 

Tonight was no exception and she slipped out as I was opening the door. Mean less to say I screamed her name in the most scared manner (I really wasn’t expecting her to be that fast as she never squeezes past anything - ever!). 

She turned on a dime and literally army crawled back to me. She lay facing me, tail going ninety miles a minute. Squinting and grinning. 

This is very different from the avoidance behavior I usually get. 2 thoughts hit me at once.

1) OMG I have THAT power over my dog! ( and the subsequent “I never want to use it again” feeling that came with it)

2) She actually wanted to make amends! The dog who only cared about self preservation for 2 years finally showed a sign that what I think of her matters to her! It almost made me cry. The closest I’ve ever gotten to seeing this is the “obedient to a fault” behavior I get when trying to play or train her. 

And suddenly I understood true submissiveness. Not avoidance, not “I’ll make you happy so you’ll leave me alone”. It is a true partnership where she is willing to play a role FOR ME and for no other reason. 

Embers normal disposition is “please don’t hurt me - I’ll lwave you alone if you leave me alone”. Tonight, she clearly asked “what can I do to make it up to you?”  And it shocked me to the core. 

Disclaimer. Up until tonight me being in the doorway of the car is enough to body block her so I can grab her leash before getting out. I’ve always had some form of control over her when getting out of the car but have been trying to work on helping her make the right choices so I don’t have to control her. Tonight she completely didn’t but care and squeezed through the smallest openings. Turns out she just had to pee really bad.

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  Messing with Language
Posted by: Ember - 10-25-2017, 10:36 PM - Forum: Photo & Video Gallery - Replies (8)

Today I was in a rare mood, and Ember was being mopey. So I decided to play with certain words that I know have meaning to her to figure out how strong that meaning is and if anything gets a "better" reaction than other words.

Ember's Vocab Showcased:
- "Go" = "Go Run!!!" (used in racing games to build energy and allow chasing of critters)
- "Com'ere" = "Come"
- "Gotcha" = "I'm chasing you" (even though here I lied, and you can see the result)
- "Ember" = "Come immediately without fail"
- "Hungry?" = "Dinner's coming"
- "Here we go" = "Something's about to happen"
- "Ready..." = almost always pre-empts "Go"

I was also experimenting with frustration levels (yes, I deliberately see what it takes to frustrate my dog so I can see where her threshold currently stands - not all the time though!). I wanted to see where she was giving up, and what might bring her out of giving up. For reference, when I first moved into this apartment 3 months ago, very little brought her out of frustration - even the "promise" of food. I would have to physically produce food to bring her out of hiding if I frustrated her. You can see here the conflict is still very real but she has a better grasp on what different words mean and is contextualizing better, in my opinion.

Oh, and this dog LIVES to eat. Even if she doesn't want to eat a given meal (she skipped yesterday for no discernable reason), she will still get excited about the presentation of it.

ETA: please don't judge the condition of my house... it's pretty dirty lol

ETAA: also Sharkey is now a stuffless stuffy LOL

So, what do you see?

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  I really can't figure out what she's thinking...
Posted by: Ember - 10-24-2017, 02:37 PM - Forum: Photo & Video Gallery - Replies (4)

Playing in my parent's back yard... thoughts on this?

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Exclamation Fear Aggression / anxiety / male dominance help!
Posted by: kristin92 - 10-24-2017, 11:55 AM - Forum: Working Dogs, Sports, & Training - Replies (12)

Hey everyone!! I'm hoping some of you can help me. I was wondering if any of you have any suggestions or know of any articles on helping Chance with his fear aggression and his like new people new places anxiety that he gets. As well as his over the top protection when it comes to me. Plus we found out just recently that he's a very male dominant dog and doesn't care all that much for other male dogs... or at least the one that my ex was looking into adopting. 

He's leash reactive with some people when we walk by them, others he could care less about. He jumps and nips people when they come into the house ESPECIALLY if i'm in the room. He's not a fan of meeting new people and I would like him to meet new people and not be afraid he's gonna bite them. He's also super protective of me, so like new people he's very skittish about and gets really aggressive and is always on watch. With my ex he isn't as protective over him as he is with me. 

Another thing is he's very male dominant. my ex was looking into a 9 month old husky mix who wasn't fixed yet and Chance apparently barked the whole time, lunged towards the dog on the leash and his fur was standing up on his back. They brought in a female dog and he calmed down drastically. now i know that dogs tend to not like certain dogs and certain sexes, kind of like humans, so i get that. but if there is any way that i can help calm him down with that and to help it so he's not so dominant that would be greatly appreciated !! 

i'm just very concerned for Chance and the people that he will be around in the future and I know there will be children (my exes nephews) around in the future and I just want to make everyone's experience together a memorable one for the right reasons. i want my dog to feel safe and not scared all the time and I want to be able to feel at ease and not worried when and if he's gonna bite someone. 

So please any advice from research or past experiences or from previous training sessions, please feel free to share them. along with any articles that i could read that would be beneficial and help us.  Heart

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