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Behavior & Training > Are 2 walks per day enough?


Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 6:48am PST 
Hi everyone!
I'm a new, first time owner of a wonderful 7 month old belgian shepherd cross. I found out over time that I'm more of a 2 walks per day kind of owner. Don't get me wrong, I love walking with my girl, but I find that I prefer to have two long walks (1 in the morning, one end of afternoon/beginning of evening) than three shorter ones. Simply because it allows me to focus on my own work in between walks better.
I should add that I DON'T have a yard, nor a second dog!! Only an apartment of 130 square metres and I live in a big city with LOADS of other dogs. She does tend to get very tired after walks, because living here gives her so much input that she is more tired here than when I go visit my parents and walk in the woods for hours.

the way our day looks varies, but generally this is what it's like
8 AM get up, meal

8.30 AM go for walk. 1 hour at least (we generally walk somewhere/drive somewhere where she can run around freely and play with other dogs). During these walks we practice obedience: loose leash walking, leave it, etc. etc.

1 PM Meal

2 PM go outside to toilet + approx. 15 minute training session (generally leave it as she wants to eat everything that's edible off the ground).

5 PM walk, same type + duration as morning

Between 6 and 7 PM meal

10 PM she'll generally fall asleep at this time (she's not crated)

In between she is played with; every day looks different really, sometimes she has doggy play dates, we do obedience with a trainer 2 times per week, I try to bring her to new places as often as possible, she is alone very little because I work from home and I live in a house with three other girls.

Would you say this is enough exercise for her? I don't find her to be destructive/overly bouncy around the house. As she gets older and it gets warmer I want to add running, swimming, cycling, agility and herding to the program.

What do you think? How do you exercise your dog? And how can you tell whether your dog gets enough exercise? I want her to have a happy and fulfilled life, and I don't want her to be bored!
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» There has since been 8 posts. Last posting by , Jan 11 12:53 am

Puppy Place > Teaching good leash manners. Stories, advice?


Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 6:04am PST 
Haha! I remember having the exact same worries. I'm a first time owner and my pup is now 7 months old (probably belgian shepherd/collie cross or something like that). I think I always treated her as way older than she was (and still do) because I was worried that the behaviour she displayed would last on into adulthood (stopping, sniffing everything, pulling, etc. etc.). For a part, it DOES get better automatically with age. She doesn't want to explore everything on a molecular level anymore.

My experiences:
I would always let her stop and sniff everywhere she wanted. Being a shelter dog she is relatively insecure and nervous and I found that this made her relaxed: knowing that she could explore the things she wanted to explore. I still let her now for the most part, unless it's really every two seconds (stopping and sniffing whenever she wants), but really she has gotten more and more interested in moving over the past months and has also figured out she can sniff and move at the same time. I'll let her do this for a while, at a certain point when I'll feel she's ready I will teach her to walk with her head up and only stop to sniff on command.

I never let her pull - I'm someone who gets extremely annoyed by having someone pulling at them and I don't want her to have to deal with me constantly being irritated by her pulling. My girl isn't an extreme puller, however when she would be leashed in the forest, she'd pull very very hard. Due to her being in a complete chasing phase at the moment I can't let her off leash at this point until we have successfully trained this behavior to go away. The upside is that because I have to keep her on leash in the forest at all times, I was forced to teach her not to pull at all. I tried several things: stopping and waiting until she would stop pulling, sit and look at me/go back a few paces, walking back in the other direction as soon as she'd pull, walk very fast, use lots of distractions/toys, give food rewards every time the line is slack. None of these really worked for me: the stopping and waiting made us both impatient, and the turning around made me tired and her nervous. Then I read a section in a training guide for service dogs (to aid the blind) that uses positive reinforcement. It said that whenever your dog pulls, you stop in your tracks immediately (don't let them be able to move closer to where they want to go), stand firmly in your place without moving, then gently pull your dog back towards you until there is slack in the leash. No yanking or anything, just a smooth, relaxed motion. Then when the line is slack you can continue moving. I also used a bit of food rewards whenever the line would be slack. This worked PERFECT. After about 2 walks she wasn't pulling at all and I like this method because it allows me to correct her quickly and then move on instead of having to wait with her growing more and more impatient. The leash drags on the floor for the most time now and when she feels a bit of pressure she'll slow down (unless she sees a bird hehe). In the future I would like her to be in a heel position at all time during on leash walks, but for now I don't feel like that's something I can demand of her at this age.

Things that will still take a lot of work is eating off the ground during walks. Where I live there's a lot of food on the streets, and her having been hungry in the shelter has turned her into a dog that will eat anything she finds.
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» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by , Jan 16 11:06 pm


Puppy Place > How to deal with this: puppy is protective in non-threatening situations



Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 5:39am PST 
Wonderful!

That definitely seems like the right way to go to me. Thanks for your help
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» There has since been 0 posts. Last posting by , Jan 7 5:39 am


Sports & Agility > Job to do for pup when out on walks



Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 2, '13 3:32pm PST 
My girl is a real working dog: extremely intelligent and very alert. She's 7 months old now and as I got her from the shelter I don't know what she is exactly, but she seems like a belgian shepherd/collie mix. She hit puberty just now, has been quite the handful when it comes to her energy levels and alertness. I'm visiting my parents in the woods now for the holidays and all the changes (plus experiencing fire works for the first time) have made her quite hyper out on walks. I would have her off leash at first, then put her on the field line just a security leash and I would just let it drag on the floor without holding it, and now I'm at the point where I don't feel comfortable with that anymore and just keep her on leash at all times. The reason for this is that she has gone into MUST-CHASE mode more and more. I taught her to not chase joggers and was working on cars and bikes and this was going wonderfully: she entirely stopped noticing joggers. Now when she sees one from a distance less than 50 meters, she'll want to chase with the biggest smile on her face. Keeping her on leash now is going well, we trained not pulling quite a lot and that's going really well. However, I would also like her to be able to run around without me having to go into eagle mode, scanning the surroundings continuously.

I want to give her something to do: next to the training of not chasing, I want her to feel like she has a job and that she's useful. She loves it when I tell her to jump over/circle logs, so I do a bit of that while out on walks. When she's a bit older I'll definitely wanna do lots of agility, herding etc. with her. I wanted to ask you guys: what kind of job can I give her when we're out on walks? All ideas are welcome, especially the ones that include me also being able to relax and not having to constantly be on guard/focus every last bit of my attention on her silenced
(I'm also keeping in mind the times that I'll want to walk with someone and have a conversation which is quite impossible at the moment ^_^)

For instance, I was thinking of letting her carry something that is important, like keys or a wallet. Of course I don't expect a dog to know that these are high value objects, but with how smart and sensitive she is I can imagine her to understand by watching me that these are important things. How would I go about getting her to like to carry stuff around up to a point when it is much more interesting than the environment, especially those fast moving human legs? This is still a child craving to explore every last bit of her surroundings. Yet she loves to focus on me when I am being interesting (i.e. telling her to do something), so I am sure that with the right conditioning and motivation she will be able to have more than enough focus.

Any other ideas?

Thanks a lot!
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» There has since been 4 posts. Last posting by Lucy, Feb 3 4:42 pm


Puppy Place > How to deal with this: puppy is protective in non-threatening situations



Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 2, '13 2:52pm PST 
Thanks a lot for your response, it's extremely helpful!

We do a lot of obedience (on our own and also once a week group training and once a week private session) and I am trying to socialize her to the best of my abilities by taking her to a lot of new places and letting her meet a lot of new people and I try to make these experiences positive (i.e. lots of play and treats).

I think I was a bit torn, subconsciously, between actively interrupting her behavior and ignoring it because I felt she needed to know that she can always bark when scared so she would never feel the need to resort to biting instead. But now that I've read your answer I have to say I completely agree: she needs my guidance so that she can learn when it's right to be protective and when it's not. And I think that by receiving this guidance she will also feel more secure. She needs to know that she has to look to me to decide whether a situation is dangerous or not and that when I'm calm, she should be so as well. She's been so extremely alert these past few weeks and I would just so much like her to know that when I'm fine, she should also be fine.

So you just used to take your dog away calmly without saying anything to him? Or did you say "no" calmly yet sternly and then took him away to proceed your sequence of commands?

Thanks a lot!
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» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by , Jan 7 5:39 am

Puppy Place > How to deal with this: puppy is protective in non-threatening situations


Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 2, '13 2:46pm PST 
Thanks a lot for your response, it's extremely helpful!

We do a lot of obedience (on our own and also once a week group training and once a week private session) and I am trying to socialize her to the best of my abilities by taking her to a lot of new places and letting her meet a lot of new people and I try to make these experiences positive (i.e. lots of play and treats).

I think I was a bit torn, subconsciously, between actively interrupting her behavior and ignoring it because I felt she needed to know that she can always bark when scared so she would never feel the need to resort to biting instead. But now that I've read your answer I have to say I completely agree: she needs my guidance so that she can learn when it's right to be protective and when it's not. And I think that by receiving this guidance she will also feel more secure. She needs to know that she has to look to me to decide whether a situation is dangerous or not and that when I'm calm, she should be so as well. She's been so extremely alert these past few weeks and I would just so much like her to know that when I'm fine, she should also be fine.

So you just used to take your dog away calmly without saying anything to him? Or did you say "no" calmly yet sternly and then took him away to proceed your sequence of commands?

Thanks a lot!
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» There has since been 3 posts. Last posting by , Jan 7 5:39 am


Puppy Place > How to deal with this: puppy is protective in non-threatening situations



Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 6:14am PST 
Hi everyone,
I have a lovely belgian shepherd/collie/? mix - I don't really know what she is, I'm just guessing since I got her from the shelter. She is about 7 months old now and a very sweet dog, very smart but also quite nervous - she's easily excited and does not easily come out of that excitement (esp. when it's negative/fearful excitement). Right now I feel she's learning and taking on her instinct to protect her "pack" - she has become very protective. Sometimes it's very sweet like when I'm walking in the forest with my 2 year old nephew and she'll chase all the other dogs away from him (whereas if he's not there she's very playful and friendly towards other dogs). But other times it's difficult: it seems to me (though I might be wrong) that since she is just learning/experimenting with this new protective role, that she's completely overdoing it and can't really distinguish between situations where it's "necessary" and unnecessary to be protective. Like when I play with my nephew (or his mother for that fact) throwing him up in the air and he is laughing - she'll get very nervous and starts to bark at us. Even though I have a great, trusting relationship with my dog and she also loves my sister (the mother of my nephew). Or if my dad will fake-strangle me and I'm laughing - she'll also get upset. I react by saying no and putting her out of the living room (if we happen to be there) and closing the door - that way she can still see us through the glass, but can't run around in circles barking.

I have a few questions and am curious to hear your opinions/advice:

1) Is it since she's just discovering this protective side of hers that she's overdoing it and not distinguishing between threatening and non-threatening situations.

2) Am I handling the situation in the right way by putting her outside of the room? I do not feel comfortable just ignoring her, since it's bothering and scaring my sister.

3) Do you have any advice on generally making her more relaxed and less nervous - or is this something that will come with age?

Thanks for your replies!
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» There has since been 5 posts. Last posting by , Jan 7 5:39 am


Behavior & Training > Puppy only looks for food on walks



Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 21, '12 3:37pm PST 
I was also thinking of teaching her to carry something. So that she would have a job to do on walks and her mouth will be occupied with carrying.

Is it possible to teach a dog to carry something for a long amount of time, like half an hour or so? Is it fair to teach this to a puppy?
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» There has since been 1 post. Last posting by Buster, Nov 21 5:32 pm


Behavior & Training > Puppy only looks for food on walks



Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Wed Nov 21, '12 3:35pm PST 
Thanks for your reply!
Yes I hope the muzzle is not going to have any negative effects. I'm worried in so far that she might get strange/fearful looks from people and starts to become less trusting herself, as she already is hesitant towards strangers.
I guess I'm rather pessimistic because knowing her, as soon as the muzzle comes off and the rewards from the street are back, she will slip into her old routine again immediately.
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» There has since been 2 posts. Last posting by Buster, Nov 21 5:32 pm

Behavior & Training > Puppy only looks for food on walks


Member Since
07/21/2012
 
 
Barked: Tue Nov 20, '12 4:04pm PST 
Hi everyone,

I hope you might have some helpful tips for me. I have a wonderful, smart puppy that was dumped at a shelter in Poland. She's about 5/6 months old and looks like a shepherd/collie mix.
She's really good, apart from one thing: she's completely obsessed with food. She's had a rough start in life, having to share 1 food bowl a day with 11 other puppies and being separated from the mother very very early. Therefore it makes perfect sense that she feels the need to eat everything that comes within reach. Jumping up on the table and stealing food is getting better (although she did try to steal a pretzel out of a child's hand today).
The problem, mainly, is when we are out on walks. I live in Berlin, so it is a busy city with lots of food lying on the sidewalk permanently (pizza boxes, aluminum foil with little bits of food attached to it, sometimes even cooked bones). This means that I can't walk her normally: she walks with her head down at all times, always looking for food, pulling when she smells something.
This means that walks have become rather frustrating for me - which really sucks because it's the main active time we spend together and it's supposed to be a time of bonding and mutual pleasure rather than frustration and irritation.
My frustration is fuelled by the fear that she'll eat something poisoned, as unfortunately it is quite common here to have poisoned meat lying around for dogs to eat.
I want to teach her to walk with her head up and to not sniff around constantly, and also to simply ignore food when it is lying on the street.
My trainer suggested to use a muzzle for a few weeks and to click and treat everytime she keeps her head up while walking. So the muzzle would be there to prevent her from receiving a reward from the ground. And only getting a reward from me, up in the air.
Also I will teach her leave it.
I hope one day we will get so far that I can let her off-leash in the park and she will just go past those pieces of bread and apple cores that are lying around.
Would it be a good idea, for the second phase, to get one of those leashes that go around the face so that, for a few weeks, I can give a small yank up on the leash whenever she tries to put her head down and sniff around. Off course she will be allowed to sniff when I tell her to (e.g. 15 minutes walking, 5 minutes sniffing, 15 minutes walking, 5 minutes sniffing, etc.)

I would love to hear it if you have some more advice. Part of me thinks it's really unfair to forbid a puppy to sniff around and get to know the world. On the other hand, it's for her own safety as in summer there's lots of poison to be found in this city. Do you have tips/opinions/experiences for me?

All the best,
Julia
P.S. I train with the positive reinforcement method, so please no dominance theory arguments
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» There has since been 4 posts. Last posting by Buster, Nov 21 5:32 pm

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