Monday, September 6, 2010

Strange Dogs

Oh my... Goose is giving me a serious run for my money lately. Interesting experience I just had... So I have been a lot better about not setting Goose up to fail is MOST situations. He is doing a ton better with the car as I have taken him out to the car on leash and have done a few training sessions to help him learn to love the car. Mostly just jump in the car and immediately come out for a tug. He loves the game. I also have been trying to bring stuffed kongs or bones when he actually is going for a ride. He has gotten a ton better about it. So his newest thing is not wanting to come inside when he is just going out to potty. He wants to play or just hang out outside. So knowing this, I rarely use his recall word to call him in because I'm not sure he will come. Instead I use"commere" which is his "come if you want to" cue I guess. But really I still get mad when he doesn't come. I SHOULD really really not be letting him out without a long line attached but of course sometimes I sill get lazy. I can't just go and get him because he will probably run the other way or if he doesn't the next time I try it he will. I want him to come when hes called but I also don't want him to think me approaching can be a bad thing. What I need to do and what I am planing to do is start playing a "you come in, you go out" game with him so he doesn't think coming in always ends the fun. We have done a teeny bit so far with some success. At one point, I had a toy and was calling "commere, commere commere," and he was just standing there staring at me, waiting to turn the other way if I took one step toward him. I said what the heck I'll test my recall (since it has been really reliable) and said "here!" and he came sprinting at me. I immediately offered the toy and then threw it into the yard and went out to join him to play. We've had about two experiences like this, but he is SMART and knows when its gonna be a game and when it's not. Mostly he probably knows because if I actually call "here" something good will happen. Anyway, it still makes me really mad when he turns the other way and runs when I actually need him to come inside (the times when he should have been on a long line...bad trainer!!) So tonight I was bad trainer.. we had played a lot today so I hoped he might want to come inside after pottying (umm hello this is a Border Collie were talking about here...there is no such thing as had enough playing) so he took his darned old time pottying and when he finally did finish, he stood there staring at me in the doorway. I used my nicest sweetest voice to coax him to come inside but he just kept standing there. I was thinking to myself how dumb it was not to put him on the line and was also fuming. So I lost it and did the worst thing that I could do... I ran after him. Of course he ran away so I started yelling for him. Again, my mean yelling voice never works and it always sort of brings me back to reality. So I took a deep breath and stopped chasing him. We stood there squaring off about 40 yards apart for about 10 seconds. Finally I just said "sit" and to my great surprise he sat his butt right down exactly where he was standing. I told him to stay and I calmly walked the 40 yard up to him. When I got to him I told him what a good boy he was and ruffled him up and said "lets go" and he followed me right inside. I was very confused. This dog is very strange. Really smart, and independent, but also can be really nervous. I'm really learning quite a lot from him!

Another thing still going on with Goose is his nervousness on walks and in new places. He does a lot better in public places like pet stores, classes, new peoples houses, ect. On walks sometimes he just looses it. I have been walking him and Billy together as he is A LOT better and more relaxed when he has Billy to check in with, but on his own he can't always handle the big scary world. Today was the first walk I have taken him on on his own in a while. I also didn't see him all weekend because I went away for the weekend and him and Billy stayed with my parents (a whole nother story in itself) so I don't know if he experienced anything that might have made him worse. But today we just took a walk on my street which I haven't done since he was a baby baby puppy. I don't usually like walking around my house because its super hilly and you barely ever see anyone. I used to think that Goose needed to see and meet a lot of people on walks but now I think we need to work on that separately from scary environment issues. Anyway, the second we got off of our property Goose went off. To me there was really nothing around, but he was just really nervous. It is hard to desensitize a worried puppy to scary things in the environment when you have no idea what he is reacting to. He was still able to take food and respond to cues so we kept on with the walk. I marked and rewarded him for checking out the environment and asked for some simple behaviors to help him take his mind off of everything. He calmed down a lot after a minute or two and he stopped barking so we were able to just walk. He was pretty good for a little while, got a little nervous when cars wizzed by but I just fed for looking at cars and he never ended up barking at them. He's been pretty good about cars though for a while. The walk ended with Goose meeting the horses across the street from my house. He sees horses every week when I take him with me to the barn where I ride and is always fine, but these horses in this new environment made him very nervous and rightfully so...there were a lot of them!! I let him make his way up to the fence feeding him for being brave. We got right up next to the fence and Goose watched the horses without barking, just looking a little nervous. It was all going pretty well, until these super friendly horses all decided to walk right up to the fence. Goose was not okay with that and bark, bark, barked, and retreated. We called it a day after that. We will go back to work more on horses another day. Goose definitely has really good days and bad days when it comes to stuff like this and today was not his best day. He was really cuddly all day though...I think he missed me!

If it looks like he is stalking/herding he is not...there was cheese in the grass

In Billy news... Billy can not be watched by my parents. He was depressed all weekend and was not eating and was throwing up. He also ran away and crashed a neighbors party. This guys is one HIGH maintenance dog. Gotta love him though. From now on he is staying at Layla's or coming with me if I'm gone for more than a night. Also, he did retest positive for lyme... I think I'm going to get a second opinion on what to do.

Billy is the plant last summer...Goose in the plant this summer... popular plant!This is what Billy does when it is hot out... He goes outside and flops down in the sun and just lays there... scary looking!


  1. Lucky Billy, and lucky you.

    I stumbled across you guys on YouTube. I had a shepherd/husky, Mister Dog, who looked very like Billy, with his velvet ears and sabre tail. Mr. D. was much, much, er, lower energy, but very smart and sweet. He did learn whatever I taught him almost instantly, and was such a good boy.

    He was a rescue, and I never saw his puppyhood, but it was great to see your pictures of Billy and imagine. It's also nice to see those velvet ears perked up like Mr. D.'s -- how lovely it would be to give them a good scratch.

    Your YouTubes of Billy are just great. Thank you so much.