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Hank is a doll. He is just so sweet, docile, and easy going. He's got his quirks, but I love him for each one. He was left tied up outside a shelter and ACDs around here are usually put down. A foster took him in, but even then he wasn't in the best conditions. I thought I was crazy for adopting this dog. After all, he's a cattle dog and I don't have a ranch. But the instant I saw him we connected. I couldn't leave without him.

After 2 months I'm amazed at our progress. Well, we've regressed too, but I guess that's what you call the end of a honeymoon period. He came to me full of parasites, so I have a feeling after he healed his true personality came out: loyal, protective, and reactive to a degree.

Oh, and that prey drive is something else.

Here's how our training has gone:
- He loves the car now. The first three days he was terrified of car rides.
- House trained within 4 days. He marked everywhere and couldn't hold his pee. Now he's a pro.
- He stopped rubbing. His need to rub on everything was so intense the first few days that he broke the leg off our coffee table. It was out of control.
- Crate trained within 5 days.
- Basic attention commands like 'watch me' for 20 seconds or more. I do a lot of recall work on our walks or when we are in the yard.
- Sit, down, stay, heel are mastered. Though down stay is tough when all he wants is love or a treat. Still working on that. In situations where I'm working or we are in the yard, he does this perfectly.
- He waits to go out the door, he stays with me in the yard.
- I taught him that my chickens are ours, so no chasing.
- He has learned silly things like high five, jump through a hoop, give a hug, roll over, BANG BANG
- He catches a ball in mid air like an NFL receiver.

Things that appeared two weeks in:
-- Dog reaction on leash. He's fine of we are in the yard, but out on walks. Oh, boy.
-- High prey drive for squirrel. Yeow!

Most recently:
-- My step son is visiting for break. He's 17, tall in stature. Hank barked at him for a good 5 minutes the first time he walked in the house. Then they got along famously until he walked out of his room without a shirt. We had to start over. I think he's got a fear of teenage boys because I've noticed this at the park or when teens are jogging.


We started Life Skills classes at UCdavis and he is doing really well. By class two he was sitting two feet away from other dogs while I greeted their owners. He's only barked three times at the classes.

So, things I want to work on.

-- Dog reaction. We are getting so far with this. Now he seems to only react to certain dogs. I keep him on a halti head lead, which really helps me get him to refocus.
-- Prey drive. Working on when it's okay and when it's not. I take him in the woods and let him 'hunt' gophers for an hour a day. He digs and digs and burns himself out. I'm hoping this alleviates the need so we can go for bike rides again without my life feeling threatened.:)
-- And now fear aggression toward teens or strangers? Not sure which. Hopefully we get over that one quickly-- at least with my son.

Any advice on this would be welcome. Hank doesn't have his cattle life, but I have a suspicion that he wasn't a ranch dog. He has zero need to herd anything. I talked with some hunters and they think maybe he was used for that. Who knows?

I just know we are devoted to each other and I am desperate to make this work. He's an awesome dude and I feel that in 12 months I won't even believe that we went through all of this.
 
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