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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Weird problem - long

I don't know if I will be able to explain this through typing but I am going to try. I got Wiccabella this past May from a family who was unable to keep her. She had a great home with a great family and she is a very sweet dog, doesn't have a lot of issues. However... :confused2 She has trembled in the car since I have had her and her former person said she always did it, but that it never got any worse. I also noticed that she had a weird thing about cars in general, she focuses on them out on a walk gets really hiped up, whining and wanting to chase them. Now she is also barking at cars sometimes and it's getting out of control. The escalation of it is my fault! About 5 weeks ago I tore my hamstring and adductor muscles so haven't been able to walk like I usually do. Wic has pretty big exercise requirements so I have been taking her to the hiking trail and cememtery to run off leash. She NEEDS to run, it's pretty amazing how long and fast she can run. I also have friend who took her running a few times but she has now hurt her heel. :damn:

The cemetery is totally fenced but there are cars that go by at one part of it and she lives to chase them. She listens for them and even if we are pretty far away from that area she will race over to run the fence with the cars. Also, she has started barking and whining in the car as soon as we turn into the trail or cemetery area and she knows she's going on a hike/run. I think she would actually jump out of the car window if she could. When we are done with the walk she goes right to car and jumps in but she is still very focused on cars on the street as we are driving home and starts barking and whining when she knows we are almost home because she is focusing on the cars on our own street.

Her behavior seems out of control to me. I have never had this particular dog experience before. I have started to leash walk her again, but I have to go pretty slowly still and can't go too far. She is on a prong collar and is pretty good but I have to keep her up close. If I give the leash any slack she starts whining and spinning because she wants to run. We are starting a basic obedience class next week. She already knows commands but I am hoping to get her under control with the class. I don't know if the instructor will address her car stuff so I am hoping you guys can help me!
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 09:28 AM
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Sierra whines in the car too, but she likes to go for rides. She just doesn't like to lay down, has to know what's going on.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 10:01 AM
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I don't know about possible health issues, but FWIW, one of my dogs goes crazy in the car looking out the window and taking in all the sounds.

Or could she be carsick? My first dog would always get sick in the car ...

I don't really think issues IN the car and wanting to chase moving objects/cars would be related.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 11:10 AM Thread Starter
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At first she would just tremble in the car and there wasn't any relationship (as far as I could tell) to what was going on outside. Now, however, I believe she is excited and over-stimulated because she thinks we are going for a hike. The closer we get to the destination the crazier she gets. She can hardly wait to get out of the car and is whining and barking like crazy. I do make her sit and wait before I take her out of the car but she is barely contained.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by AnneFisk View Post

The cemetery is totally fenced but there are cars that go by at one part of it and she lives to chase them. She listens for them and even if we are pretty far away from that area she will race over to run the fence with the cars. Also, she has started barking and whining in the car as soon as we turn into the trail or cemetery area and she knows she's going on a hike/run. I think she would actually jump out of the car window if she could. When we are done with the walk she goes right to car and jumps in but she is still very focused on cars on the street as we are driving home and starts barking and whining when she knows we are almost home because she is focusing on the cars on our own street.
!

I would look up some resources/articles on reactivity. This is actually really common in BCs and can be tough to deal with. For the car chasing especially it is hard to control your environment. But it is something I'd have a trainer work with me on to desensitize her working under her threshold.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnneFisk View Post
At first she would just tremble in the car and there wasn't any relationship (as far as I could tell) to what was going on outside. Now, however, I believe she is excited and over-stimulated because she thinks we are going for a hike. The closer we get to the destination the crazier she gets. She can hardly wait to get out of the car and is whining and barking like crazy. I do make her sit and wait before I take her out of the car but she is barely contained.
It would probably help if you varied your car rides, so she learns she's not always going to get to go run when she rides in the car.



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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 11:22 AM
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I had some of the same issues in the car with my boy. I started taking him places (weather permitting) where he doesn't get out and run. For instance to the grocery store, where he has to wait in the car, or the pharmacy, or....

I also put a leash and collar on him and insisted that he lay down. I had the leash and was then able to enforce my command to lay down by giving a tug on the leash (collar correction).

I also do not let him get into or out of the car until I say so. I make him sit and wait before he gets in and before he gets out.

It did take some time an dedication, but now, he gets in the car lays down and pretty much stays that way until I tell him different.

Another solution is using a crate to transport.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 11:46 AM
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I agree, it seems as if she's becoming way too intense. If it were me (and it WAS, once), I'd stop at the normal place where we'd get out for our outing, and then just sit there. Wait her out. Don't let her out of the car until she's completely relaxed, not just sitting and quivering. With mine, I sometimes had to just start the car, turn around and go back home because he wouldn't relax. He eventually got it, but it did take a while. The routine is the thing. If you go to the same place and do the same thing every time, she expects it and can't control her excitement. If you go to the same place and don't do the same thing, you keep her guessing and when she doesn't know whether or not she gets to go running, her excitement and intensity level SHOULD go down. With any luck. Every dog is different. I don't know if this is the best way to handle it, but it made sense to me at the time, and it did work for my hyperactive guy.

Mine never chased cars, so I don't have any pearls of wisdom on that account.

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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 12:15 PM
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She does sound like a girl who likes to be active! Sorry about your injuries and your friends too.

I was going to ask if any of your friends could help out with Wiccabella's exercise.

Lots of great ideas given above. I do hope you can 'settle' her.

Big Hugz to you and Wicca!
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 12:37 PM
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This has been a busy day for me to recommend this book.
Buy it...
Amazon.com: The Power of Positive Dog Training (9780470241844): Pat Miller: Books
and this site as well: Clicker Training | Ahimsa Dog Training, Seattle | Dog and Puppy Tips from Seattle |

Clicker training works because it retrains your dog in his/her thought process. Once you get the idea of how it works it becomes simple.

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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 12:58 PM
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As Adara says, car chasing is very common with Border collies. It's also very dangerous and every year many dogs are killed on the roads as a result of this habit. So I wouldn't let her carry on doing it.

The usual technique for dealing with it involves distraction and desensitisation by training the dog to ignore. It takes quite a lot of work over a long period. Basically you take your dog towards where the moving vehicles are. The moment she starts getting interested in the cars, you give her the ignore command and distract her with a toy or a treat. Gradually you build on this, getting closer and closer at the pace her distractibility allows. Your ultimate goal is to be able to walk her alongside a busy road without her getting fixated on the cars.

Another technique often used with Border collies is to channel the powerful chase instinct into another activity. Herding sheep is a good one for collies but maybe not for a Dobe Ball chasing is used as well. Downside is that dogs with a high chase drive tend to become obsessive about whatever they chase, but obviously obsessively chasing a ball is a lot safer than obsessively chasing cars.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 01:19 PM Thread Starter
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Such great ideas, thank you very much.

I am going to start varying the car rides for sure! The dogs do wait while I go into stores, gas station, ect., but it's always on the way to or from a dog hike.

She gets TONS of exercise, even with my injuries, she runs for at least an hour everyday, plus other stuff. And I mean she runs. She's like that kid in the comics with the dots that traced his path, remember? Stanley and I hike on the trail and Wic is crashing through the woods, leaping in ponds, racing down the trail, coming to check in all the time then taking off again.

I'm a good dog person and I think my dogs have a great home and life but I am not a good trainer! I am going to commit myself to clicker training, I have always been interested in it and have just never done it. Should I wait until the basic obedience class is over? This class uses collar corrections and praise.yxthumbs:
Thank you so much for the motivation. Anne
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
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I believe she is excited and over-stimulated because she thinks we are going for a hike. The closer we get to the destination the crazier she gets. She can hardly wait to get out of the car and is whining and barking like crazy.
I've been advised to deal with this (my Lab Stella does that) by crating her in the car. I haven't gotten around to doing it, but you may want to try that if it's a problem for you.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
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I am going to commit myself to clicker training, I have always been interested in it and have just never done it. Should I wait until the basic obedience class is over? This class uses collar corrections and praise.yxthumbs:
Thank you so much for the motivation. Anne
Have you searched for a clicker training or positive reinforcement training class in your area???

If there is not one in the area you might as well finish what you have and then start yourself on the new method. Order the book and it can arrive and be waiting on you while you finish the current class. If you have a bookstore near you they might have it or be able to order it for you.

Check what I have written below but I don't think I would start your dog till you finish what you have already started.

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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 02:00 PM
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I've been advised to deal with this (my Lab Stella does that) by crating her in the car. I haven't gotten around to doing it, but you may want to try that if it's a problem for you.
I would find someplace where I could just pull the car over and not go an inch further till the dog quieted. As soon as the dog was quiet for say two seconds, click or say yes to mark the desired behaviour, then treat and move forward after a bit and if the dog started up again I would stop until quiet, click, treat and move.

Without the clicker you can use the word "yes" to mark the "good behaviour". Timing is so very important.

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post #16 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-16-2010, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, I can hardly wait to start. She really doesn't need obedience class for commands but I just want to reinforce my position with her and get some good bonding in. She will make me look like I know what I'm doing. LOL
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post #17 of 17 (permalink) Old 09-17-2010, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
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Thank you, I can hardly wait to start. She really doesn't need obedience class for commands but I just want to reinforce my position with her and get some good bonding in. She will make me look like I know what I'm doing. LOL
Honestly, I'd drop out of the class you're in now.

I pulled one of my dogs from a class I really, really wanted to take to prepare for a trial, when the instructor changed from the one I'd signed up for.

She wasn't a horrible person, just the methods and philosophies she was using and espousing were contradictory to my own beliefs. She also was clearly not able to "read" my dog and so I considered pulling out of class (lost my money) as an act of advocacy for my dog's well-being.

Anyhow, sorry, didn't mean to hop on the soapbox.

In addition to getting the Pat Miller book (you will have a training epiphany, promise!) get Leslie McDevitt's Control Unleashed. You will have a life/dog relationship epiphany.

These ladies both have a ton of intuition and common sense, and they mesh that wonderfully with good exercises.

I wish there were simple, easy-to-type-out answers for you and Wicca, but there are not--it takes lots of learning, practice, and thought on the part of us humans, to get good at this stuff.

Google "It's Yer Choice" on youtube, also, for some great impulse control exercises.

That, and working under threshold, and reducing Kylie's anxiety, went a long ways towards getting some management and control of her intensity.

That's really what you seem to be looking at, with your girl too, channeling her intensity in positive directions




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