Sunday, May 22, 2011

Playing with the Camera and Leanna as a Border Collie

Well, it has been a busy few weeks.  Lots of progress made in the people socialization front, some progress made in the leash reactivity stuff.  Sagan's report card:

People:  B+
Dogs off-leash:  A
Dogs on-leash: C-
Trainability: A
Cuteness: A+

Doggie daycare at Positive Approach was a winner.  Not only did they give us a nice report card and invite him back, but we also watched on the webcams.  Sagan was EXHAUSTED, but had a nice time, it seems like.

Puppy class on Wednesday was another story.  Immediately reactive, not super appropriate off leash, and lunging aggressively at dogs several times.  It seemed to ramp up quickly and besides that, the room is small, so really no where to get away.  Need to decide for myself when I choose flight rather than fight with him in obedience class.  Also deciding if I should take a break between puppy and intermediate obedience to work on the dog/leash related stuff.  I know I can continue working on it in intermediate, but not sure I can keep him under threshold.  I want to keep him in class, because I think it is good structured practice being around other dogs, and it is a great way to practice distractions with his obedience.  Would still like to do rally obedience with him, at least.

Worked him at Petsmart and at Bradley Lake in Puyallup today.  Did *awesome* at Bradley Lake.  I'm beginning to learn that Sagan gets to threshold faster with fewer stimuli.  At Bradley Lake, where it is busy, his attention is so divided that he doesn't have time to amp up on thing.  It keeps me more on my toes (constant vigilance, constant vigilance), but seems easier to get multiple repetitions.  Will work on busy environments and then ramp down.

Other good developments include a big improvement in loose leash walking.  Oh yeah, and Sagan finally lost all of his baby teeth.  We were able to find SIX of them!!!!

SEE!!!  Adult teefers!


Ball squish -playing with camera and shutter speed.

Hey baby, you come here often?

Darn framing.

Gag in 3...2....1

Really nice one, my fav of the evening!

Does this dog need the Heimlich maneuver?

Also realized something on my run today.  Sagan and I are VERY similar.  I am a border collie.  Here are the similarities.

Intelligence?  Very smart
Ability to herd fast moving objects?  Yes, I teach.
Reactivity when "leashed":  Very high.  If I don't trust my trainer, I take matters into my own hands...and it is never pretty.  If I really don't trust my trainer, I bite.  Hard.  (Thinking of a job I left almost 7 years ago).
Reactivity when unleashed:  low and very quick to figure things out on my own
Friendliness with people: only close friends I trust
Friendliness with strangers:  general unease
Obsess much?  YES


  1. You wrote about yourself:

    Friendliness with people: only close friends I trust
    Friendliness with strangers: general unease

    I am very much the same way. This journey with our dogs is a long one...and typically one that mirrors our own experiences with people. I learned during all the work I did with Brynn (dog aggressive, leash aggressive, snapped/growled showed teeth at strangers & anything she was unfamiliar with, low threshold - much like Sagan) that I was telegraphing all my anxiety down the leash to Brynn. All of it...she picked up her cues about people and different situations from me. I had to calm down, lower my own anxiety threshold (stop projecting hypervigilance and fear about her reactions to things). I kept things simple with her, did not constantly expose her to things that cause her to over stimulate - instead slowly and thoughtfully introduced her to stuff. If we were in a place (like your obedience class) where I knew she was going to react, I kept her out of those places and made sure I was able to control everything and protect my dog (not to say you are not doing that...because I am sure you are!). Gosh I hoped I explained this correctly long way of saying that I can identify what you are going through. It is tough. Baby steps...just baby steps.

  2. Hey, thanks for the comments! I made all of the mistakes you mentioned with Winnie, our dog aggressive cattle dog mix who is almost 11 now...blind and mostly deaf. So I am *aware* of how my mood might affect Sagan, and I am working in a concerted way to lower my own anxiety. But you bring up a point that the obedience class setting may be too much to continue right now (or maybe I need to find a different place with a different environment that allows retreat from stimuli. Thanks for reading and posting!

  3. By the way, how is Brynn now? Would love to hear success stories. :-)