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Old 10-28-2012, 02:44 PM
Riobravo's Avatar
Riobravo Riobravo is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Dallas TX
Posts: 14
Default Building a better relationship

I'm a long time lurker but haven't really ever posted. I'm having a bit of an issue with my dog and am hoping the knowledgeable and supportive members here can help give me some ideas of how to work with this.

Rio is a 2 year old border collie. He was found on the side of the road as a tiny puppy so we don't know if he's mixed but he looks and acts like a border collie. I've had him since he was a 12 week old puppy and we presume he is from some sort of working lines. He has a very strong herding drive and has been on sheep a few times. We've been training in agility, obedience and dock diving. He's my first competition dog and he's a real good dog to learn with. We'll probably never make any sort of high level competition but we will have fun and learn together. He has been trained using positive/clicker training methods and I prefer to stick to those techniques when training. Rio is also my heart dog. I love him immensely and he is a very sensitive and sweet dog most of the time.

So now the issue, I need to know how to build a better relationship or connection with him. I've been told that he doesn't respect me but mostly I think I'm just not exciting enough to him in high distraction situations. Couple examples:

When out for a walk, he will walk on a loose lead but he's not really "connected" with me, he's looking around for other dogs (he has a fence fighting issue and he's always looking for a fence with a dog or listening for other dogs) or rabbits. He's aware of where I am because he keeps the leash loose but he never really looks at me or seems to really care about what I'm doing. He will not take treats or respond to the clicker on walks right now. There is NO connection except for the leash.

At agility class he used to be super awesome and loved to work for me. We had some issues with a trainer and he really started to break down in class. We have a new trainer who is working really hard with us but it's another place I don't feel any connection with him. Sometimes he will do a few obstacles but mostly he's running away to go run the fence at the horses or bark at the other dogs waiting for their turn. He frequently gets to the point where he won't take treats. He will come back to me if I call him but it seems more of an automatic response versus actually caring about the reward.

If we are in a training building in a class, in the house or in the backyard, he is on and connected and awesome. He used to be super connected in agility class then we started having issues with the trainer and that broke down. He is great at dock diving, focused on his task and responsive. If we go to a friend's house to work and play in her huge back yard, he's great, comes back when called and stays connected to me. I just can't get that intensity and focus to be on me in all situations.

So I need some suggestions please. I have read lots of different books and have lots of different ideas running through my head but not sure the best direction to go with him. How do I make myself more exciting to my dog?


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