Saturday, October 30, 2010


More crappy webcam video, but it's gotta be better than nothing, right?

We worked on Peek. .. but only half my video uploaded. hmm.

We worked on other stuff, and some shaping.

Then I gave him a Linkables full of kibble:

Friday, October 29, 2010

Train train train

Finally, west and I had another clicker session. I'd been busy and tired and excuses, really.

I grabbed a cup of kibble (this is a COFFEE cup, i should measure how much it actually holds. I'd say 3/4 of a cup) and the clicker, and started out trying to teach him to touch a flashlight (my target stick is in the house). Fail. He was willing to play, but he really can't seem to take the focus off me/food yet. It needs work. I think I'll try a paw target or a go-around instead of a nose target. Anyway, I was getting up to get the flash light, which he'd knocked over, and he RAN into his kennel. A little fiddling, and I discovered he wasn't comfortable with me walking around (I guess I usually send him to his kennel or to the door before I get up. I try to do this so the dogs don't LEAP to their feet with my every shuffle. I want the word (outside, or crate) to be the first cue.), especially towards him.
Cool. something to work on.
I did about 15 'step, click, toss treat' then wanted to do some choose to heel. He really couldn't be beside me, so I started shaping him to come around behind me. Then it occurred to be. I want to shape him NEAR MOVING FEET, and UNDER PEOPLE so... I started shaping Peek!
Peek is a freestyle behaviour where the dog stands between your legs and walks there. It's handy for all sorts of reasons, and when he can do Peek, he surely can handle feet near him! I think this will also give him somethign to do other than leap upon me. I hope.
Lured it a few times, and just fed like 15 kibbles in position, building value. Then shaped him there with prompts and well placed treat drops, and fed a bunch on position. Finally, when I thought he had enough value, I just sort of waited.. He would go behind me, click and toss treat between my feet. By the end, he was almost coming into Peek position. Good boy!
As I write this, Archie has found the gumabone I brought out here for West. He's throwing it all around the room and having a grand time. Silly dog. Archie and I have Rally-O practice tomorrow. We're prepping for a trial in two weeks (this is our last practice, with a fun run next weekend, and the trial the one after that!) and while we're basically ready for Novice (he has two Qs and got 184 on his last course except that I NQ'd us by going the wrong way), I'm considering entering him in Advanced. I think it will be just for fun, since I haven't started teaching him a SFE or offset figure 8 or leave while running or moving down.. and a few others :D
We love rally. One day, maybe west can play too :)

Excitement! well.. sort of.

Though his body language does change, West seems to be ignoring people around the carport area. He will run toward the fenced yard if we're really nearby, or else he just turns away. I think this is a good sign, since in a conflict situation, I'd really like him to choose moving away over biting! He saw the care aide who comes to help my grandmother today. I called him (She is very strange with the dogs, so I didn't want to take any chances) and just held his collar while she got in her car and drove away.

After she left, I crated archie and went inside briefly to get some bones for West. Then, I went to find him (when I leave, he goes to the motorhome door and just waits there) and brought him past the car. I took his collar, showed him the meat and opened the car door. He leapt in (I wasn't expecting that!) so I just placed the meat in for him.

He was still way too stressed to eat, so I got in the other side and shut all the doors, then put his Thundershirt and Calming Cap on. After a few minutes, he got to work on his bones. He would eat for a few, then stress for a minute, then eat again.

Overall good progress, I think. I've moved to doing this in the front, since I've read alot of success stories of dogs who hate the car being better when they can see out the front window. Once the car is conditioned as 'access to great places', I'll work on moving him into a crate in the back for safety. For now, I just need a way for him to travel fairly comfortably, and I think this is working.

He sure looks adorable all decked out in his thundershirt and calming cap and dap collar. All he needs now is a Belly Band and you couldn't tell he was a dog! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some REALLY bad photos..

Still no camera batteries (I know..) but took some webcam ones when he was on the bed with me tonight. They're crap though! :)

And he HATES when the webcam 'flashes' white when it takes the photo. Thus all the avoidance stuff. Poor guy.. he decided cuddling with me was worth it though!

manners minder attempt 1

I finally got the MM out to play with West. my battery in the remote is way dead, so i have to hold it in my palm to warm it up before it will let me press a button. If anything, I think this has helped me give him more time between reps and not be impatient!
He was initially curious about the machine, and I made sure he was as far from it as reasonably possible before I activated it the first time. He still leapt pretty far, but did go in for the cookie relatively quickly. We're about 1.5cups of kibble later, and he's actively backing up and looking at me, for the cookie. He still jumps most of the time when I activate it, but dives straight back in for the cookie. Good progress! I'll have a new battery tomorrow!
I'm hoping to use the MM, thundershirt and calming cap combination wiht a Mat to create a VERY SAFE space that is portable. Then, it will just be a matter of fading the items one at a time, carefully. Good stuff, west!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

shit happens.. but it's sure nice when it ends well

I needed to run into the house to get some water to drink, and carefully counted where people were and decided that no one should be coming into the yard. Given that, I brought both Arch and West out and left them outside while I ran into the house. I was only inside maybe.. 90 seconds or so, and I thought it would be good for West to spend a little time alone outside the fenced yard.
I came out and the first thing I heard was "HI!" Vikki was home!!! She'd had an exam and was out early, and was home an hour before she usually is! She of course didn't know West was out, but she said he just came and hopped up on her for some pets and was fine! Wahoo.
It was dark, too, so that's really nice. I think he's starting to really settle down. Time for some more structured 'humans are okay' work i think.
It could have gone WAY WAY worse. As Vikki said as we were chatting 'I'm just glad he didn't bite me!!' Good job, West. Good boy.

Calming Cap attempt 1

Since I'd already done some value building for the fake calming cap (infant onesie leg), I slipped this one on West and started feeding him. He pawed at it a bit, but the nice thing about this (vs the fake one) is that it stays on even when he paws a bit, so I let it extinguish. What he hasn't figured out is that he can open his mouth with it on, even if he's not actively eating a treat, so he's lying at my feet panting a very wet gurgly pant with his mouth shut! silly boy. He's actually accepted it quite well. He walks around a bit with it on, and I toss him kibble now and then. Sweet!


West is growing on me. He's more affectionate (rather than frantic) and certainly more relaxed. I got a thundershirt off a friend and got my calming cap back, so we'll be working on that. Once he can sit decently without trying to scratch off the calming cap, I'll take some photos of him in it.
Plan this week is to start sitting outside with him on a leash and conditioning a word (probably 'Surprise!') to mean cookies are falling. This is going to be hard for him, cause he isn't very good at finding food on the ground. I'm also going to start conditioning another word ('friends') to mean cookies are being stuffed in his mouth. This will help bridge the gap when I start doing Open Bar/Closed Bar with strangers at a distance (probably with some BAT mixed in) I hope. We're still working on wearing the GL and hand touches and staying out of my space (that one is coming along brilliantly!)
West accidentally threw himself in the pond today chasing Archie. He seemed quite frantic trying to get out of the water (it's only about 1.5' deep and about the same across.. he was in no real danger) so I have to wonder if he can/will swim? It's too cold now anyway, really.
I also got my Manners Minder back, so I will start working with that to ensure he isn't afraid of the sound, then to work on mat-behaviour. He has a lavender essential oil candle under his bed, his DAP collar, his Tshirt, the thundershirt, the L-theanine, the calming cap, the gentle leader, TADE music, and a covered crate. How much more relaxing can life get? :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010


West and I have a good routine now. Not much to write about. He saw Jon and Chris out today, and due to proximity and the fact that he saw both very close together (Time wise), he almost barked at Jon. I called him and he came running without a second thought, and we just moved further away until Jon had gone back in. Very successful.
That's about it, really. I'll try to get some photos soon, since I haven't anything much to write about!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The day is one big adventure!

So, my sore finger and I decided to take advantage of the almost-empty house today and bring West into the 'real' house for the first time. I'd like to eventually give him a bath, so if he's comfortable at least in the rest of the house, maybe I won't have to drag him. He was nervous of the doorway, but came in with some coaxing. The dogs (Ben, Sheela and Candy) were barking at the gate at him, which I think didn't help. Once he was in and I shut the door, I opened the gate. They sniffed, West asked me to save him, I told him he was fine, they sniffed some more. I set my things up in the living room, convinced all the dogs to be on the same side of the gate at the same time, and shut them in the living room with me.

West and Ben began playing again (they played hard last night) and had a ball. West was quite nervous, but settled in. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to get him comfortable there even with some background noise of other people home etc. Video:

a bite, a car and a pork hock.

This morning was a bit of an adventure! Finally, something to write about.

I've got the boys into a nice routine now of going out at 730 or 8 for 5 minute pee, then letting me sleep till 9 or so. We went out to play ball and all was pretty normal. I've been meaning to start West's car DSCC, since I'd like to start bringing him places as soon as he's up to it, and I don't want the car to be a bad bad place.

I came in and without thinking, let both boys in together. No problems. Tucked archie away with a pork hock and grabbed one for West. Headed out to the car. He stayed with me nicely until I opened the hatch, then he took off. I just called him back, showed him the delicious meaty bone and sat on the edge of the car. He hopped in!!! I expected I'd at least have to shape him in.

It took him quite a while to relax enough to eat the bone, but he did. I played a bit with closing the doors while he ate, but that put him too close to threshold (he quit eating), so I just sat with him. He then decided it would be good to try and see if he could take his bone OUT of the car. Obviously, that destroys the point, so I just got the bone from him (i had him on a short leash, but wasn't using it except when he was out of the car, to keep him from taking the bone far far away!) and put it back in the car, and waited. He always decided (eventually) that bone+car was better than I felt he was a bit scared or upset by the leash tightening though, so I decided to hold his bone so if he left the car, he couldn't bring it with him.

Long story short, this pup has NO bite inhibition. No idea that human skin isn't biteable, and is quite fragile. He sunk his canine deep into my right (of course, my dominant hand) pointer finger, and I hollered OW! ... Then he ran to the end of his leash, quivered, and didn't want to come near me OR the car :(

Sigh. Next time, I'll put the bone on a rope, and tie it to the car. And also, won't yell at him. And also, will probably have to start all over again, since now he probably thinks the car is where I trick him into going in then YELL AT HIM. Jeez. Poor dog.

We came inside and I put the GL on him and gave him the rest of the bone. He doesn't seem to care about it at all as long as the bone is there. I tried the makeshift calming cap first, but it was way too much for him to eat with it on, so the GL is a better solution. Plus, he's already chewed it up, so if he accidentally BITES IT, no one will mind.

On the bright side, at least he's cute? AND the boys CAME INSIDE TOGETHER and Archie didn't eat West. That is a good thing! I think the car process will go pretty quickly, actually, as long as he doesn't feel trapped before he's really happy there. I'm lucky that I have a LONG driveway, so if needed, I can drive slowly with the hatch open and if he gets uncomfortable, he can have the option of leaving. .. After I've redone everything from today, to undo the Yelling-car association.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Puppy puppy puppy..

This dog really needs to wear a sign that says "Hai! I'm a PUPPY! Don't forget!"

He didn't destroy anything else, but he thinks about it often! :) He's decided tugging on the seatbelts bolted to the floor is a great game. And chewing the table leg. And the floor! I heard a noise, and he was CHEWING on the FLOOR. How is that even possible?

Mostly, he doesn't SWALLOW anything, just chews it up. He's liking playing with the round Linkable and the big red Kong, but gets bored of them in typical puppy fashion. He needs to get out to do some hiking, as soon as my back is better. He could also use a bath, but I don't think that's a wise idea until he's more comfortable here.

We went out this morning and played some fetch. I found a couple holes in Archie's leg, so I think West must be grabbing him without me noticing. I was watching closely today, and didn't see any time when he came close enough to have sunk teeth in, though. Jon came out of the house (Quite some distance away) and West didn't react, though I think he did notice. He ran into the yard, but was willing to come to me. Then we went in. Good step for West to have easily chosen avoidance over approach/bark/bite.

Now he's playing with his toys. Oh, and also, he slept through the whole night! Woot! Still waking up early, but I can adjust to that, I think. He doesn't seem to mind going to bed earlier, so I can just shift my sleep schedule around a bit.

On that note, my camera's batteries are dead, so no pictures till I remember to bring out more batteries. I also apparently need to stock up on baby tees, since he's wearing this one out rather quickly. He doesn't mind it, and something is  helping him, so I'll keep it up.

Here's a link with some more info on the DAP Collar

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Independent and confused!

Not really related to the rest of this post, I put West out in the yard to pee ALONE. It occured to me he'd only been out with Archie. I'm going to make an effort to get him spending 5-10 minutes on his own out there and be comfortable with it. Wish him luck! :)

Anyway, today was certainly less boring than yesterday. I had to leave first thing, so I peed the boys then tucked West into his crate with a kong stuffed with RAW CHICKEN SKIN (we skin our meat before we eat it, and he's thin, so..) and went to town. When I returned, we had a good play around noon outside. We then came in and I put archie up so West and I could just chill.

He did some toy play, and some OMG I CANT TAKE THIS PANT PANT PACE PACE, but eventually, he did some nice relaxed downs and some 'lets play that fun clicker game' asking. I explained a bit about not putting muddy feet on the bed without permission, and overall, it was really nice. He also didn't destroy anything and stopped chewing the table when I asked him nicely. It was nice.

I see some dramatic change in him the last couple days, and while I can't directly credit the DAP collar, the timeline fits. So maybe that's working!

Back in the crate while I took Archie to CLASS OMG he hasn't been to class in MONTHS AND HAD TO PEE ON EVERYTHING OMG OMG OMG!.. he was insane, but it was good for him.
Just got home, and plan to spend another hour or so just chilling with West and letting him play and hang out. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

A boring, boring BORING day.

Today, I was gone most of the day and the dogs did nothing.
They got a brief fetch session this afternoon, and spent the rest of the day alone. This evening, west is playing with his food toys and now cuddling on the bed, wishing I was gonna take him out in the dark. The boys can't play in the dark cause Archie ends up rolling head over heels due to tripping over a certain half-ferret border collie, so sorry, no fetch tonight.
Maybe i'll live till morning. Maybe they'll eat me in my sleep. :)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Reply to comment

I was just going to reply in the comments, then this post got a little long, so I'm putting it here.

I have two questions:

One: I think there was a thread quite some time ago on BC-L (border collie list) about letting one's dogs (bc's specifically) chase chickens (or other farm animals). Many said it was a bad idea since not only did it stress the animals being chased (note I didn't say 'herd')but allowed the chaser to satisfy it's prey drive without human direction. What do you think about this argument? Note - I'm not criticizing, just curious. Bottom line is you know your situation best.

Two: What do you mean about the last thing you would do with a fearful/aggressive dog is feed him from a bowl? I don't think I've heard this before and other than the obvious issue of guarding, what is its failing (no work/thinking involved for the dog?) and how do you actually feed? Esp. if its raw and hard to offer without a bowl ... :c)

Hi Ailsa,

Question 1

I should probably clarify what I'm actually doing with the chickens. First of all, I'm certainly a herding novice! I have a bit of theory, and a couple dogs who work decently, so I just pretend I know what I'm doing!! I do think that chicken chasing is overall a pretty harmful thing. We do not allow out of control 'im gonna eat you' chasing here, at all. We've had huge success with slowly desensitizing the dogs to the chickens, and though a couple would and have caught and killed them when unsupervised, all except the little shih tzu are fine now as long as someone is with them. The shih tzu is a whole 'nother blog! :)

Anyway, West and I walk down to where the chickens live, and I encourage him to explore them. The chickens are (rightly) nervous of him, and move away. Depending which hens he's looking at, they might flap and squawk a bit, which initially scared him, but now entices him to chase them. The actual chase portion is probably less than 2 seconds, he doesn't pursue them at all. I'm encouraging ANY interaction with the chickens at this point, though I try to set him up so he's going around them rather than through the flock. I have no round pen or anything like that, just a tree where they tend to hang out, so I'm certainly not organized in all this. At any time, if he starts to get too eager about the chasing and isn't looking like he's even TRYING to herd them, I just call him off and we go play ball with Archie instead.

So, more directly, I don't think these hens are particularly stressed. They know the ropes and are free to leave, to climb into the tree, or to peck the dog. They're mostly VERY socialized and don't mind moving around a bit, though I expect they don't appreciate the real chasing. They deal with all kinds of things (cars, hawks, dogs) that I would expect to be far more stressful than the few seconds of West, though, so I'm alright with that. I do think that chasing without direction is a BAD BAD idea, and if West at any time decided NOT to listen to me, the game would end, and we'd be connected by a leash or long line until he'd proven he could listen. I expect that as he gains confidence, this will become necessary, but right now, i can just whisper his name and he comes flying back to me, mid chase, so he's very much still responsive.

Question 2

Generally speaking, fearful or aggressive dogs tend to also be under stimulated. It's WAY more relevant to dogs fed commercial food, raw or kibble, though. If the dog is eating in 45 sec or 1 minute, that's a huge waste! Billie, my previous foster, would spend 30-45 minutes on each meal (kibble in a toy of some sort)! That's over an hour a day of thinking exercise! If I'd fed her in a dish, she would have taken, maybe at most, 2 minutes per meal. Ground (commercial) raw foods can easily be stuffed into (different) food toys and frozen to prolong the eating time also. Licking, as most dogs do to finish off a Kong of food, is well known to be relaxing for dogs, so that's also a great plus when you've got a fearful or aggressive dog.

However, that said, I feed prey model, so the dogs eat whole pieces of whatever. I also almost always feed them frozen, so it takes longer to chew up. Archie is VERY efficient at eating, and he has Resource guarding issues, so I tend to let him eat as quickly as he wants. He will go through a frozen chicken quarter in a couple of minutes. I recognize it's a waste, but it sure beats trying to get him out of a crate when there's still food in there!

West is still learning and developping chewing muscles. It takes him about 20-30 minutes to eat a chicken quarter, and longer for larger pieces. I've even been thawing some meat and putting it in a kong for him (thawed) to encourage him to eat a bit more, cause he's awfully thin! FL assures me its a teenage BC thing, and I believe her, but I would still like to see just a bit more meat on him!

Does that answer everything? Also, a good chunk of this post is opinion rather than fact. If you (anyone) specifically wants facts I can back up, let me know and I can pick through it and point out what's me and what's proven. Don't assume it's fact :)

DAP Collar unboxing

I know some of you are very interested in the whys and hows of the various treatments for West. This post is for you.

I was able to acquire a DAP collar via a connection from school. Thanks! So I went for coffee and picked up the collar. I wanted to get it on him right away, so I photographed the process and applied it immediately.

Here's what was in the box. The collar was inside the tin packaging. The instruction paper offers tips like "If your dog should eat the collar, call your vet!"

Here's the collar unwrapped. I used the box as a backdrop, and was using sunlight instead of a flash. That's why it's on my floor. :) It was wound up REALLY tight. I dunno if the makers think these things through, cause after being stuffed so tightly wound, the rubber has quite the memory.

See that little staple? Sigh. it's quite well stuck in the collar, and really sharp. Took me a while to get it out.

Note to anyone who may use this product: Don't stick it through both sliders. Just put it through one, fit it on the dog, then slide it through the other. Once it's through both, it's REALLY hard to adjust.

Way too big!

Let's cut the extra off.

That's alot of leftover! It says in the packaging that refridgerating might slow the release of the pheremone, and that it will not release pheremone when wet. I don't know if either one is true, but I put the extra in the foil package and filled it with water, then put it in the freezer. Maybe it'll still have some pheremone left in it by next month? I figure it beats throwing it out! If Archie seems to like it (the package warns that it may cause other dogs to find the wearer 'interesting') then I might try to attach it to his collar somehow.

And out we went for ball:

Worst agility dog ever. He runs straight into the jumps on a regular basis while chasing Archie. Oh, and his Tshirt really needs a wash :)


Saturday, October 16, 2010

A big step!

I know I've posted too many times already today, but West was just able to PLAY WITH A TOY WITH ME! Not for very long, mind you, but it gave me some good insight into how he would like to play, so hopefully now I can find something that will work!

I handed him a tissue, just to see what he'd do with hit. He had a great time shredding it and spreading it all over the floor (Don't worry, Archie will eat it up later!), so i grabbed another and offered it for him to 'tug' with. He was willing to grab and shake it from my hand! Of course, it tore up immediately, so I got a small stuffy and placed some tissue on the stuffy.. from there it was just a couple of seconds until he was chasing/grabbing the toy in my hand and tugging a little!
Woot! How cool is that?

I've got a sheeps-wool tug toy that I think might entice him, and is sturdier and safer for my fingers than the little stuffy, so I'll try that next. We're gettin somewhere!

He also learned Hand Zen tonight in about 15 reps. He's figuring out this clicker thing. He still can't visually track falling treats at all, but he's getting better at just assuming there's one on the floor and looking for it. I also worked again with the GL and he's very willing to stuff his nose in it for cookies. All good signs.

I was thinking about calming caps and I have the legs off the other baby clothe for him. I looked at it, and decided it looks almost exactly like a Calming cap, so I lured him into it and fed him some cookies. I think it will be a good thing to use in the meantime until I get my Small one back from the client I lent it to. Woot!

Various treatments for West

I got a comment asking for more details on what all I'm doing (and planning to do) for West, so I thought I'd post it.

The very first (and most important, IMO) thing I did for West was to keep him WAY under threshold. This wasn't super easy when he was still very nervous of me, and I expect he's still near or over threshold much of the time when he's out chillin' with me inside. But now, when crated, he almost immediately relaxes, even if he's awake. He doesn't feel the need to leap up into a stand every time I type a letter or shift positions or bite my apple. I do think that he is under threshold most of the time now, which is SO huge. Stressed out dogs release a lot of Cortisol which changes the way their entire body functions (it's a steroid, like prednisone). I expect that's part of why West urinates and drinks so much.

The next things aren't in any particular order.

- L Theanine, a supplement marketed to pet owners as Anxitane, was started the night he arrived. I've seen great results with it with a dog I was assigned in school, and have heard others express great results. I got his from the health food store, since it's the same and far less expensive :) He's getting 150mg once a day at the moment, since that's how big the capsules are.

- Tight fitting baby tshirt. The idea behind this comes from TTouch and various research. If you've seen the new Temple Grandin movie, you'll know a bit about how this works. The idea is that the tactile sensation is calming and centering. They make vests for human children affected by autism, and ADD/ADHD with good results. Thundershirt is a brand that has a really nice, snug fitting product, marketed mostly to pet owners whose pets have fear of thunder (thus the name). They're $50, so this .99c baby shirt is more affordable :)

- Crate cover. This is partly just cause Archie is such a jerk, but if someone else needs to come in here, or when he was more afraid, I could cover West so he didn't get any visual stimuli. It's also handy so that Archie doesn't spend all his time staring/menacing him. Sigh.

- Calming Cap. I lent out my small, and haven't got it back yet, but this product REALLY works for dog with visual arousal issues. It will take him some getting used to, so if I ever remember, I'll bring my Medium out and start getting him used to that.

- Gentle Leader. This is as much for safety as for treatment. There is some theory/evidence that the pressure the GL puts behind the head may be relaxing, and I also think the tactile distraction can work similarly to the tshirt when it's well conditioned. It also gives me absolute control over where his teeth are, which, for a dog with a bite history, is very important.

- Muzzle. This is on the way. I gotta order a bunch of them, but I need to measure everyone first. I like the JAFCO muzzles best. He'll be conditioned to wearing it so that in case of emergency of any kind, he and those around him can be safe. It will also be handy later on if he gets to the point where he's being introduced to children or other higher risk individuals.

- DAP Collar. This is the Dog Appeasing Pheremone. My ex-instructor and friend was able to get one for me, and I hope to pick it up tomorrow. I've also seen really good results with these products, though I don't think the Collar is necessarily the best product for every situation. It's what's available. I'd rather have a diffuser, or have both, since the diffuser might also help Archie.

- Through a Dog's Ear. This is a music CD that contains specially selected classical music. I play it whenever I remember, it REALLY settles Archie, haven't seen super dramatic effects on West, but at least he doesn't hide like my friend's dog does!

- Enrichment. Because he's still very anxious, I want to give West things to do that do not involve scary humans. He's eating raw, so just dinner in itself is enriching (LOTS of chewing), but I also got him a handful of little stuffed toys to shred. I fill either the kibble nibble or the tug a jug, and either the linkable or the twist and treat at least once a day with 5-10 kibbles for him to play with. I let him go down and chase the chickens around every couple days. Anything to work his brain without the "OMG SCARY PEOPLE" being there too. If I was feeding him kibble, it certainly would never EVER come from a bowl. I feel quite strongly that bowl feeding is not good for anyone, especially dogs with issues. I hope to be able to sprinkle kibble in the yard soon for him to scavenge for, but at this point, he's still quite stressed outside.

- Training. Of course, there's lots of training to be done. I'm working on some impulse control stuff with him, since he has no sense of personal space. He's learning that sitting without touching me is WAY more fun than blasting into my chest at full speed. He's also learning he can't eat my cinnamon bun off the table, no matter how delicious it is. Initially, I let him get away with rude behaviour, as long as it was affiliative, but now I'm shaping him toward polite affiliative behaviours.

=Target training. I have been working on teaching West to target my outstretched hand with his nose. I hope that this behaviour will get solid soon so that I can use it in more distracting/arousing/scary situations. It can also later morph into a meeting-strangers behaviour, if that is something he needs.

=Conditioning objects. I've started with the GL, but want to condition several objects to mean great stuff. The GL, the calming cap and the muzzle are obvious choices, but a brush, a stethescope and eventually, a relaxation mat are also good ones. Mat work is something we will start soon.

=Look at That. This is a great behaviour for fearful dogs, and once West is able to focus on training more and stress less, we will start on this one.

I'm sure I've missed LOTS, but this is what I can think of off the top of my head. Notice that "going to the park and meeting all sorts of people" is very much NOT on this list anywhere. Once he's totally comfortable with my sister and mom, he can start to meet the guys around here and see how he does. Until he's totally figured out how to move himself away and control his own stress, he won't be meeting 'regular people' at all.

A boring day..

We did nothing interesting today at all. Got some video of the dogs out playing fetch and some agility stuff, and took a couple pictures till my battery died. Fed them, and really, that's it. I'm still pretty sore, so not much activity on my end. The boys are more than happy to play with food toys and cuddle, and nap. I think the down time is really good for West. If everything works out, I should have a DAP collar for him tomorrow, too. He's wearing his Tshirt all the time now, and it's hard to know if it's helped him, but he certainly is quicker to lie down or to play with toys, rather than pace and generally anxious-ify.

Does anyone have any free software that can auto correct lighting in something like this? Or does Youtube do it?

This is unedited, so you can watch west run around :)

He does a lot of this when the camera is up by my face, and I'm near him, or he isn't staring down Archie.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Thanks, Premier!

So this morning, West destroyed a leather leash. It's in about 500 little tiny pieces, I wonder if Premier will replace it under their chew-once policy. Sigh.

Coincidentally, today, my package from Premier (which I was lucky enough to win on a Facebook comment!) arrived with what else, but TWO brand new leashes! So, out we went to try them!

See they have a handle partway up? This is especially handy if you're walking a semi-wild border collie x coyote!

Who, me? I'm just walkin', calmly walkin...

There weren't very many opportunities to get photos of West, since he has no idea how to walk with a person, and spent most of the time leaping off me or lying under my feet to trip me.

Archie, on the other hand, understands this game and was able to settle in and walk.. mostly.. like a good dog! He likes the freedom of the stretch, and never got me or him tangled in the leash!

This only happened once. Both walking at a decent pace in the same direction!!

This was much more common. Sigh.

A brief video of some of the walk:

Thanks very much, Premier. Though West has no appreciation for the wonders of stretchy leashes, Archie did really like it, and I managed to not trip, fall, or tangle myself up! West, on the other hand, thought he would knit a sweater out of the leash. He'll get there :)

After I took the leashes off, we had a play:

I need a .. faster shutter speed? I dunno. I'll play with the action settings next time.

West says bye!


So, thanks to Food Lady's link, I now have kind of a huge audience.
I've never experienced such a thing, and as you may have noticed, I'm kind of learning to use the blogger set up as I go along too. So, fellow bloggers and readers and general random people (of whom a HUGE percentage use Internet Explorer.. yikes!), what do you want to read about? What do you think I should write about? Any words of wisdom of what TO or NOT TO do? I'm a novice. Teach me :)
And also, a new post will be coming soon, I just gotta go get some photos of a very special gift that Premier sent me!

I need a new leash :(

I tried something a bit different with West this morning. He really is an early riser, and I really.. am not. So, at first whine, I let the boys out to pee (Archie would be just as happy to sleep till 10!) and then put Archie away so West could just chill. I thought maybe he'd play with a toy, or cuddle on the bed, or who knows.
I admit I fell back asleep for about 30 minutes, and when I awoke, I heard a strange sound. Chewing, but not on a bone or a rubber toy. A different sort of chewing...

I looked over to see this:

What? What are you looking at?

But I'm cuuuute!

Damage: One hollee Roller, one Premier leather leash [which isnt even mine! :(] and one Gentle Leader. Also, some blue material that I'm hoping is from a stuffed animal, since I don't recognize it.

From now on, this is where puppies go when I'm sleeping!


Sigh. He is sorta cute.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The boys PLAYED

For about.. i dunno.. 75 seconds?
I've been slowly, the past day or so, letting them have very brief bits of time loose together, just to decrease some of the I MUST KILL YOU NOW tension on Archie's part. It's worked. Tonight, they played nicely!
Then, as they were getting a bit too aroused, I asked both to sit. *face palm* Of course, West believes sit means 'approach person and plant rear end on their foot', and archie wanted NOTHING to do with West coming up to me like that (did i mention he's fast like lightning?) and pummeled him. Oh well. I tried! :)
So, now they each have about 10 kibbles in various food toys. West is trying to chew the rubber off the kibble nibble, and also has a twist and treat that i think he's emptied already. Archie has the tug a jug and a Linkables stick. He's loving the tug a jug.

Progress! :) I really need a video camera :S

Oh west..

West and I had a quiet morning. I've done something terrible to my back, about 3 weeks ago now, and every day, it gets worse. I'm going in on Monday to hopefully have it fixed :)
Anyway, so today, I'm VERY sore, and so the dogs kind of get the rough end of that. They went out for a short play this morning, then spent most of the early part of the day napping in their crates while I laid perfectly still hoping to be cured by tylenol.

Around 2, I figured I better take them out to run or they'd start plotting my assassination, so out we went. They're getting much better about going outside together without any doorway-brawls, which is convenient.

I took both of them down to the chickens again. I should get video of West with them, it's kind of hilarious. A couple times, he got overzealous and was chasing them in prey-mode. Still nothing that looks like real herding, but he's coming along. Archie just ate apples.

Back inside, put Archie in his crate and did some real live training with West AND got some of it on video!!

He's so stressed about it, I expect it to take him a while to settle in and make the association. As a dog with a bite history, I feel it's important that he can safely and calmly wear a Gentle Leader, so we're working on that. I worked on some down-stay with him, too, in prep for the Relaxation Protocol. We've got a ways to go.

His Tshirt fits him well. Not sure if/how much it's helping, but it isn't hurting, so he wears it during the day. He spent a good 10 minutes chewing on the Linkables toy, like a baby teething puppy. He's SO cute.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Toys, Tshirts and Photos!

I went to Penny Pinchers today and picked up two different shirts and a bag of toys. Total cost less than $6. Awesome.

Video of the first shirt:

More videos on that channel.


Hello there!

I don't really like this shirt..

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tug a Jug ftw

Last night, west was back to normal after the "OMG stranger" incident. He got up stupidly early again this morning, and BARKED for an hour. Sigh. Can't let him out while he's barking, can't sleep while he's barking. Archie doesn't like when he scratches his crate, but apparently, he can bark all he wants! Go figure.
Anyway, between woofs, I let him out for a pee, then fed them both and had an hour's nap. I really gotta teach this pup to sleep in! We had an uneventful day, just some ball playing outside and more playing outside.
Came home from training, let him out for a pee. He's getting much better about the yard. The first few times, he ran full bore into the wire fence, but he's quit doing that now! He runs straight out and pees.
Gave him a Tug a Jug and the Linkables to play with. He LOVES the jug. That's nice, since it's easy to fill, compared to the linkables. He might chew up the rope though, so I'll watch him.
I gotta get some pics/video of this guy, but mostly we only hang out inside in the dark, and all he does outside is stand like a herding dog staring at me/archie.

Monday, October 11, 2010

West to Victoria ;)

West met my sister. I had her in the same position as Mom, except due to other factors, we were in a different area. She had a very dark sillhouette compared to Mom, and I expect that was a huge factor. He alarm barked, hackled. Calmed when I increased distance and had her lie down. We approached very slowly, retreating for any signs of affiliative behaviour. He met her and was fine when she sat, then stood. I then handed her the leash to take him for a brief walk, as Mom had, and when she came to return him to me, he barked at ME! Sigh. So, I had her sit and calm him, then just remove the leash and walk away from him. I called him as though nothing had happened, and he came along inside without a problem. What a strange little dog. Obviously, as much as he LOOKS like he's bonded to me, he isn't. Valuable information, anyway.

Chickens are scary!

Took west out for his play with Archer. Chris was out with Gyp, so I just called West and put him back inside until Chris went in. Archie and I played for a bit, then Chris left, so I went to get West. He met Gyp and Ben, and didn't care about them at all, really.

Mom came out and sort of snuck up on him, but he had no problem at all. Just said hi to her, came when she called him. He really acted just like he does with me. I'm hoping this means he's starting to get it that people around here aren't scary. Hmm.
Then, I put Archie away and took West down to meet the chickens. He needs some polite-walking skills, but that'll come. I think the more confident he gets, the more controlling he will get. I'll have to keep an eye on that.

He came with me to the chickens, then a few bawked and came to the fence. WOWZA!!! Hackles up, a couple barks, WTF ARE THOSE?

I gave him time and space to approach on his own. A quiet 'good boy' for walking toward them, and he'd often turn back and come for a pat. Took about 5 minutes for him to be confidently walking toward them. He didn't seem to think he should herd them yet. We'll see if that comes.

Now, he's asleep under the bed. Silly guy.


Woke up to the usual scratching/slight whining for 'I gotta pee!'. They'd been out for a good play quite late last night, so I thought they could darn well sleep in a bit this morning. Out for pees, then back to bed for an hour. Well..
West started BARKING at me! Until this morning, I hadn't heard him make any noise at all. I think he's getting confident enough to be rude! Sigh :)
He's so cute. Out we go for some serious ball playing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Almost normal...

curled up at the end of my bed, his resp rate down to 50 or so (from his usual tense 150+)

He still leaps and jumps at every thought I have, but he's almost relaxing right now!

ETA: and as i hit publish, he starts chewing on my pillow!!

Out with the good, in with the different?!

Billie was a remarkably stable, well adjusted dog. She is confident, social and really very safe.
So she got a brilliant home, with her blog (maybe) to be continued at Billie's blog by her owner, and I took in a new one.

This is West: Youtube Video
He's VERY cute. And very cuddly. He's also VERY nervous. I'm fostering him for TDBCR.
West is a border collie, and he's growing on me. He's very nervous of new people and strangers, and though he seems to like dogs, he's not very appropriate with them in a typical BC herding way.
This is a long post, with a summary of his activities since arriving here. His departure is described on Wootube

Oct 8

Drive was uneventful, aside from a couple of vomits (which I heard, but didn't see). I just left him in there until we got home. Slipped a fairly stiff slip-lead over his head. As soon as he felt the noose around his neck, his entire attitude/body language changed. Not quite relaxed, but 'oh, i know this!' and he lept out of the crate. Let me handle his collar to put the leash on, and took a big pee. Walked around a little, and he hugged my leg a few times, so I think he's at least decided I'm the best he's got now. Showed him his real crate, gave him some water, and just let him decompress a bit.

So, I took him out to play with Archie. As expected, Archie is a total ass hat, and West just defers completely to him. I expect that will prevent any fights, at least.
As it is now, he's wandering around a little, took his salmon-skin-wrapped pill from my fingers and is drinking regularily.

He knows his crate is 'his' and even when archie tried to guard it, he just darted in, so I expect the two of them will figure it out fairly soon. Archie does LIKE other dogs, once he gets over needing to guard everything.

So far, no bites, no pissing himself. I wasn't prepared, as I was told he didn't like toys, when I threw the ball for Archie and West bonked the end of the long line herding him!! I just let him drag it after that, and he mostly just wants to be on my leg all the time.

Now I've got two busy BC boys staring at me like "hey, what now?"
Now? BED TIME! :)

Oct 9

GOOD first. West successfully was introduced to my mom. I decided to do this sooner rather than later partly because he was so quick to warm up to me, and partly because really, if something were to happen to me, it's important that someone else be able to handle him. My mom is the most available female member of the household, and is very
similar in look and mannerism to me, so I figured she was the best shot.

I had her start sitting very still, and allowed West to approach and sniff her. He had no issue with that, so slowly, she moved a bit, until she was completely standing and he hugged her! He was free to leave/back away at any time, and didn't choose to. She then took his leash to take him for a little walk, and though he went with her, he made it very obvious he wanted to be BACK WITH ME. When she returned (about 20 ft away and back), he lept on me, then on her, and didn't seem to hold any grudges that she'd taken him away from me. I expect if needed now, he'd go with her for a pee break etc. I was surprised how visibly he relaxed. All in all, a very good sign.

Bad news... Archer is being a real ass hat and can no longer be around West. This isn't a big deal (I'm used to it, I just hoped things would be different) and pretty normal for him, but poor west is very confused. I'll be changing the set up a little so that West doesn't have to hide behind the chair anymore, and see how things go with some CC/DS.
It's really hard to do that without two people, one to hold west and one to feed Archer, so it might have to wait until west's more able to think/be around others. Anyway, I can certainly just keep them apart inside until then. Not a big problem, just REALLY annoying.


Anyway, Alls well that ends well, and Archer will get over himself.. eventually.. This puppy is so damn cute I just want to share him with everyone, but instead, he has to stay home all the time :( Ah well, he suits my introverted side very well.

Oct 10 - Today!

I was up way too late last night online, so I slept in a bit this morning. Archie slept free, West in a covered airline kennel. Archie's wire kennel is folded up (one less thing to guard, I'm hoping?) and he has an airline kennel in the other room of the MH so he can't see West from there. This is working out much better so far.
West was getting antsy to go out and started pawing his crate door. Archie snarled at him, and he quit. We all got an extra hour's sleep thanks to that, though it certainly isn't a good behaviour! :S

I let Archie out into the yard, shut the door, then let West out of the crate, then open the door and go out to the yard. It's like a 5 point process, but it works. Once they're outside, as long as West doesn't look like he's trying to get back INSIDE, all's fine.

I tossed the ball for Archie, West chases him and bites him on the ears. Archie can't tolerate West drinking from the water pail, but has no problem with him CHOMPING on his ears. Crazy dog.

We played on the flat for a bit, then I went and tossed the half-a-tennis-ball down the bank a few times. West would tear down after archie, as soon as archie stopped running (to sniff out the ball), west climbs halfway up the bank and lies down, staring at me as he slowly slides down to the bottom.

He heard Kevin come outside, not sure if he saw him. I just called him and held his collar until Archie brought the ball back and we moved away. A few more tosses on the flat to try to dry/clean the swamp muck off them, and we played the door game again.
Yesterday, I was able to convince Archie to stay outside for a minute while I brought West in, crated him, then brought Archie through. Today, Archie would have none of that, so I brought Archie in, told West to wait until I got through the door (I suspect he had no idea what I said, but that Archie told him the same thing!), crated Archie, opened the door to let West in, and here we sit, with his head on my pillow and his mud on my sheet.

I'm going to find something to wrap him with today to try and help ease his anxiety. Even when he's calm/napping, he's still very anxious. His breathing and the tension in his face tell me that. If you watch his little youtube clips from last night, you see him throwing all kinds of calming signals. We'll get there.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Billie has a home!!!

Billie went to her new home today! Her new owner, Adam, might take over this blog to keep up to date on Billie's settling in and her new life. She loved him and although she was a bit unhappy about getting in ANOTHER vehicle, she was more than willing to go home with them!
Thanks Adam, and enjoy her! She's a great dog!