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giulia
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:56 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello to everyone I'm new here! I'm from Italy and owner of a wonderful bearded collie! He 's a boy, called Antonello, he's almost 6 months old and since he arrived he brought Joy and happiness in my family!
Unfortunately in Italy this breed is not so common and known and a website like this one does not exist that s why I turned to you for two important questions Smile
The first is about weight. ..Antonello is 25 weeks old and weighs 15,1 kg...respect to the other brothers he's the biggest ..but he's thin and I'm wondering how much more weight he wil gain?? My previous bearded collie as an adult reached 24kg. ..I guess Antonello will be much bigger Confused
Second question is about an annoying problem we are facing since a month:car chasing and barking Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
We Live in a small city and every time we take him for a walk he starts barking to every single car truck andsometimes even bike...he is probably afraid but has an histerical barking and litrerally chases the cars (but he cant because of the leash)....this is becoming frustrating for us and I think also Antonello is not living well the traffic experience. ..I don t belive this behaviour is something connected to the breed because as said before he becomes nervous and histeric...
We tried everything :treats, cuddles, toys but nothing worked so far...Can anybody help me please??? Thanks

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tb
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:24 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi and welcome.
Don't fret too much about his weight, he is burning loads of energy at his age. Abby was a real skinny Minny as a youngster despite 4 meals a day up to 2 yrs old and now 2 meals a day , even now at 4 she is quiet fine but she is full of life so we don't worry to much. . Echo on the other hand is around 24kg. As he matures he will probably start to carry more weight.

As for cars , all I can think of is distraction and training. Have you tried turning away and walking in the opposite direction then after a few strides turning back to the way you want to go. Time consuming but if you can distract him and make something else more interesting than the traffic it might help. Alternatively find somewhere you can go and sit whilst close to traffic and just sit there a while ,maybe take a brush and groom him . Then move off to a different place and stand around and try not to let him feel you tensing when cars comes by. Just quietly ask him to sit, stay or lie down to get his concentration then reward him with praise.

Good luck.

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Gerrie
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:41 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

It seems to be an automatic reaction in dogs. The "prehistoric" part of the brain clicks in when things move past them, they hunt and chase naturally and don't forget that Beardie are bred to be droving dogs originally.

As has been said already, training and be patient it is common when they are young and keen. He will put weight on as he grows too. Beautiful name Very Happy

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi Giulia and welcome to the FBC.

Sorry to hear you are having a problem with Antonello with traffic, I know how worrying this can be for many people when their dog behaves this way and how stressful it is for our dogs.

I have helped many bearded collies and border collies who chase some type or if not all traffic. Any breed of dog can be prone to this but it is more common in collies as their fear of traffic ignites their natural instincts to chase and bark. This can also be an outlet for these natural instincts if collies are not given the chance to chase something. You may see a lion in a zoo stalk and chase a child knowing it cannot get to them but the desire to stalk and chase is so great it has to perform the behaviour. In this case for dogs it is still related to anxiety as it is for captive lions.

The causes of this behaviour for dogs may be that they have not experienced enough sounds in the first few weeks of life so find it difficult to cope on hearing a noise or a one off frightening experience can trigger the behaviour. They can generalise, this means that a pup may be fearful of say the vacuum cleaner and will then show fear of other loud noises thereafter. The behaviour of chasing traffic can start at 14 weeks of age but usually starts after 6 months to 9 months of age.

When a dog sees a car or other traffic coming they start barking and lunging wanting to chase the car away, the car then drives past and off down the road. The dog then thinks that its behaviour has chased the car off so the dog then continues to do this time after time when in reality the car is just driving by.

I have found that when a dog chases and barks at cars it often has some other anxieties in life or is a sensitive individual. What I first like to do now is to look at all aspects of the dogs life and if I do find any other anxieties then I help to address them. For example if a dog is fearful of traffic but also has a fear of being left alone then the fear of being left alone can cause the dog to chase cars to a greater extent and if you donít address all fears then you may never get a dog over one of their fears. However there are times when a dog will just have a fear of traffic and thatís all you have to work on.

Firstly I stop walking a dog near traffic, I live near a city myself so I appreciate this is not always easy. If you keep walking a dog near a lot of traffic which has a fear of traffic then you may never help them get over their fear as this fear remains at a high level.

I have a field where I live which is next to a quiet road so what I do is start to walk the dog on the field a good distance from the traffic, at a distance where the dog shows no reaction to the traffic and is happy to play and take food from me. Gradually I get closer to the road making sure the dog shows no reaction to the traffic. I will walk along the field praising the dog and rewarding him or her with treats as we go.

I always work at the dogs pace and I never push the dog to do anything. If the dog does react then I have gone to fast and I take a step backwards, but I try to avoid this from happening by observing the dogs body language.

In time we make it onto the pavement or sidewalk (marciapiede). I then walk the dog calmly along the sidewalk and then as a car approaches I ask the dog to focus on me by using a reward such as food, which will often be a tasty treat. I place the treat in front of the dogs nose and guide its head round away from the traffic towards me. However I make sure the dog has seen the traffic coming and then I distract the dog. I do this to ensure the dog makes a good association between the traffic and the treat. This is a very quiet road to start with.

At this stage the dog should not be reacting to the traffic but if it does you have gone to fast and you need to move further away again.

By doing this you are desensitising your dog to the thing it fears. Even when a dog that once chased traffic walks calmly past traffic I still think it will be fearful but not at the level that causes it to have to chase and bark. In time this fear will become less and less.

What I have described is desensitisation and counter conditioning. I do a lot more than this and I do different things for each dog as they are all individuals but I hope it gives you some ideas and you can build upon this.

The important thing is that you stay calm when helping your dog with this as he will follow your calmness, if you get stressed and worked up so will he. If you create the distance then you should both be calm and make it fun.

I have found this video for you, itís the best I could find. He covers what I have talked about and you can see he moves to quickly at times for the dog and has to move back. However I have found that if you stay in the one spot like the man in the video this gives more time for the dogs brain to think about what it fears. If you and the dog keep moving along then this gives the dog less time to think about the traffic, although at times I do have to stop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMafvtewq94

Keep training short and fun and donít create big goals, set yourself and Antonello smaller achievable goals and build on them.

Also ensure that Antonello receives enough exercise each day and if possible if there is anywhere he is safe to be off lead and not able to chase anything, like your back garden, give him an outlet for his natural instinct to chase such as a ball but dont let this become to obsessive.

Stay calm and although it should be fun donít get over excited yourself if he does well. Bearded collies can get excited very quickly and this can soon turn to stress so stay calm when you praise and reward him.

Although this may be called a behavioural problem which it is, it is really emotional based. So his behaviour is a result of his emotional state, so although you are trying to change his behaviour you can only do this by changing his emotional state. Antonello has not been interested in treats or toys as his fear has been too great.

Best of luck and I hope this has helped in some way. If you are finding it difficult to move forward, do you have any dog behaviour specialist where you life as it may be worth seeking help from one of them.

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Jacquietwig
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:00 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi Guilia welcome to the FBC Very Happy I see Chris (snowleopard) has given you great advice, all I can add is that from my experience it is very common for beardies to chase cars so you are not alone with this behaviour.

As far as his weight is concerned I do think that often owners don't always realise just how much food a growing pup needs, the best thing is to feed to his activity level, so if he is still to thin on what you expect him to need then up the quantity until he is well covered, don't go by what it says on the bag that is just a guide. If he then begins to get a bit podgy then just drop the amount a little until you find the right level. He will continue to need ever increasing amounts of food until he is around 18 months or so, then he should level out a bit. It does sound as though he will be a big boy.

Good luck and enjoy your boy. Very Happy

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maxnick
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:28 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi & welcome Giulia Smile Snowleopard has given great advice Smile Good luck & let us know how you get on.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:12 am Reply with quoteBack to top

When I said sometimes I stop this is what I may do. I may be walking along the sidewalk and a car approaches, once the dog has seen the car I stop and ask the dog to sit down and focus on me. I do this by letting the dog see a food treat and then I raise the food up close to my face and the dog should follow the food. I keep the dog focused on me and the treat till the traffic has past by and then I give the treat to the dog. With the dog sitting down itís easier for the dog to look up at your face.

I have included another video link for you but itís only similar to what I do. In this video I think he gets a bit too close to the dogs face and this may cause the dog to look away from you if you do this. I stand up straight when I do this. You can try doing the watch me and the exercise I mentioned were you keep walking along and see what works best for you and Antonello or use both methods. I will find there will be a time the watch me is best and another time the keep moving exercise I explained in my original post is best. But with both exercises you have to start them at a distance were your dog shows no reaction to the traffic, then gradually move closer to the traffic starting on quiet roads first. If you go straight to a busy road that may be too much for your dog and he may become too fearful and the exercises wonít work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6PogCb_mLc

You can practice this and the other advice I have given you in a quiet place away from any traffic at first so you get used to doing this. You can use a clicker as well but thatís personal preference.

Best of luck

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giulia
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 7:38 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thanks to all of you for the messages! I'm very impressed really!! Thank you thank you thank you!
Dear Snowleopard the dog in the first video acts exactely like Antonello...poor little boy Sad
We are attending a puppy class program and the teacher yesterday also told me to try to act in this way (by anticipating the trigger/car with food).
Both yesterday and this morning I tried to focus his attention on me and on the food I had, it worked for some cars while for others (those who were driving faster) it didn't. Antonello hates those who drive too fast and make too much noise...I think I have an ecological dog Laughing
I don't know if this aspect influences, but he has a big sence of predatory (don't know if it's the correct term), though he is perfect at home, when I bring it at work, at bars and reastaurants and also at the park with the other dogs. He is never aggressive, he loves playing with people and dogs, he never barks at home and he hasn't destroyed anything a part from some slippers
Laughing so I really hope we will solve this little problem and I will update you with his improvements.

ah thank you Gerrie! It's a funny name and suits perfectly on him though I know it's a bit long but he really has the Antonello face!! Laughing Laughing
I would like to post a picture of him so you can see my little fluffy wonder, now I'll study how to post it!!
Thank you again!!!

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giulia
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:14 am Reply with quoteBack to top

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giulia
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

definitely I'm not able to post a picture I'm sorry!

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snowleopard
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:52 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Your are very welcome, glad we have been of help to you and Antonello. Smile

He sounds like he does not have any other worries which is great. You taking him to work, bars and restaurants is brilliant, he has a better social life than me by the sounds of it. Very Happy I wish someone would take me to a bar or restaurant. Crying or Very sad

I know what you mean by predatory, itís often called the prey drive. Itís a natural instinct of a animal to chase and capture something, like my example of the lion. I think this is why collies tend to chase and bark at traffic more than some other breeds of dogs as they were bred to chase and bark at cattle when herding them, but it does have some anxiety related to it when dogs chase cars. This is why I like to give them a safe outlet for their natural behaviour.

I am glad you had some success with him focusing on you, hopefully you can build upon this but it is important to take things slowly and that creating distance is important.

Keep in touch and let us know who things go. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

snowleopard wrote:
When I said sometimes I stop this is what I may do. I may be walking along the sidewalk and a car approaches, once the dog has seen the car I stop and ask the dog to sit down and focus on me. I do this by letting the dog see a food treat and then I raise the food up close to my face and the dog should follow the food. I keep the dog focused on me and the treat till the traffic has past by and then I give the treat to the dog. With the dog sitting down itís easier for the dog to look up at your face.

I have included another video link for you but itís only similar to what I do. In this video I think he gets a bit too close to the dogs face and this may cause the dog to look away from you if you do this. I stand up straight when I do this. You can try doing the watch me and the exercise I mentioned were you keep walking along and see what works best for you and Antonello or use both methods. I will find there will be a time the watch me is best and another time the keep moving exercise I explained in my original post is best. But with both exercises you have to start them at a distance were your dog shows no reaction to the traffic, then gradually move closer to the traffic starting on quiet roads first. If you go straight to a busy road that may be too much for your dog and he may become too fearful and the exercises wonít work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6PogCb_mLc

You can practice this and the other advice I have given you in a quiet place away from any traffic at first so you get used to doing this. You can use a clicker as well but thatís personal preference.

Best of luck



What you say here Chris is very similar to what I did with my first working bred beardie who was an absolute devil with the traffic, as we live in a rural area there are no footpaths so we are actually in the road with the vehicles which made things worse. I did use the clicker which was the one thing that refocused her and we solved the problem; it took a while but she learnt to ignore the traffic even when it was going fast and we also have some very large vehicles around here!

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giulia
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:26 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Is the clicker a substitue of treats or does it enforce the treat job? I usually make a similar sound (the click sound) with my mouth when I call Antonello and want to focus his attention on me, but probably the aim is different, isn't it?
I belive every behaviour can be improved and get better so I have faith, only hope that won't take too long Rolling Eyes

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:06 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Yes, thatís much harder Jacquie when you have no safe paths to stand on. Itís good to know that in such a difficult situation that it was clicker that worked and got her focus.

Giulia,

Jacquie may be able to explain this better than me as I donít really use a clicker. The clicker is not a substitute for a treat, it is as you say an enforcer which means the dog food is on the way.

I believe in some cases there are people who do use the clicker and not any food at first as the dog is to fearful to eat anything, then they introduce the food when the dog becomes less fearful but I am not experienced in doing this and usually do something else.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:49 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

giulia wrote:
Is the clicker a substitue of treats or does it enforce the treat job? I usually make a similar sound (the click sound) with my mouth when I call Antonello and want to focus his attention on me, but probably the aim is different, isn't it?
I belive every behaviour can be improved and get better so I have faith, only hope that won't take too long Rolling Eyes


No Guilia as Chris says the clicker is not a substitute for treats it is an indicator that the dog has done right and a treat is on the way. Apparently the click goes through a different part of the brain (the Amygdala) so has a different effect than voice and also is retained in the dogs memory. If you are interested in using a clicker then your best bet would be to buy a good book, Karen Pryor Clicker Training for Dogs is excellent.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 5:58 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello Giulia and welcome here! I see you've already had some really useful advice (not surprisingly). I think it's a very good thing that you are addressing the problem while Antonello (I love his name!) is still so young and things can be more easily changed. In addition to my Beardie, Foxie, I adopted a Lowchen, called Miss You, when she was 3 years old, and she has exactly the same problem as your Beardie with cars, bicycles, tractors, etc. But I have never been able to change her behaviour, maybe due to the first 3 years in her life spent in very bad conditions. So I do hope you will be able to improve things with Antonello when it's still early enough to do so.

However, having watched the first video Chris ("Snowleopard") has put here, like you Giulia I've seen exactly the same behaviour as my Miss You. It gives me some new hope and I'm going to try and practise what is shown in the video...

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:26 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In can take some time for some dogs to be able to walk calmly next to traffic to which they once lunged and barked at, other dogs can respond more quickly. This has a lot to do with the individual dog, the environment in which you work with the dog and how you address any other fears that may be contributing to the dogís behaviour.

Some dogs may never truly overcome their fear but will learn to cope a little better than they once were able. Locally to where I live gangs ride round on motocross bikes. They rode past a collie in a very narrow street. The noise of the bikes was so great that the poor dog developed a fear of all forms of traffic. We helped him with his fear and he does really well with coping with some traffic but he still reacts to very loud and fast motorbikes, his experience was so terrifying for him he may never get over it.

If you get to a point when you keep trying and canít see any improvement or your dogs behaviour becomes more intense then you may need help from someone with more experience in this field as it may be time to stop trying to help your dog overcome this and just manage his behaviour. Facing youíre fear each day can be quite traumatic and can be detrimental to ours and a dogs mental and physical wellbeing.

Desensitisation and counter conditioning are the excepted ways of helping dogís overcome their fears, we help them cope a bit better through desensitisation and the counter conditioning is when we offer them another emotion, often offering them food to help them remain calm, but we can offer counter conditioning but the dog may never take us up on it.

A dog may appear to walk calmly past traffic which it once lunged and barked at, and may also eat food, but it may still hold some fear for it. So has counter conditioning really took place. Food may only help with desensitisation, it many not change an emotion, only a dog may be able to do that for it's self.


From personal experience I think with anything related to fear we have to slowly desensitise ourselves or a dog to what causes us or them fear and with gradual repeated exposure our fear may become less. In time we or a dog may start to feel this is not so bad, and we start to calm down which makes us and I assume dogs feel so much better, we may feel very pleased with ourselves and made up with what we have achieved. I am sure dogs feel happier when a stimulus no longer causes them fear, that must be very self rewarding for them and through desensitisation and self learning they have offered themselves another emotion than fear as we have done.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:43 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've never had a problem with any of my Beardies doing that. Sophie used to pull on the lead and bark, when a big truck went whizzing by, but I ignored it and we just walked on, so she did too. She just grew out of it.

The ideal weight for an adult Beardie is 25kg. By the way, WELCOME Very Happy Very Happy

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giulia
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:09 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello!
In these days things haven't changed much, except for the morning and evening walk (when there is very littlte traffic or even none in our street), I bring him to the park by car in order not to stress him too much, still as he sees a car he starts barking and getting nervous.
His teacher is helping us very much, we have made some walks together in a mall parking and he was calm and didn't bark, but I guess it was because the teacher brought 2 adult beardies who calmed him down.
She as well told me to make little steps in order for Antonello to be able to cope with traffic and make him understand that he can walk by the street and ignor the cars.
I know it will take time to solve the problem, moreover he is 6 months now and probably is starting the adolescence period and is now very disobedient Mad
Regarding weight...well in the last 10 days he didn't gain weight, he is stable at 16,5kg, let's see! His mom is very tiny, around 17kg while dad is huge: almost 30kg!! Shocked
I keep you updated with the improvements of my fluffy boy!
Thank you again for your comments.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:42 am Reply with quoteBack to top

From my own experience, Giulia, I think the more you expose little Antonello to traffic, the more used to it he will become and in the end he will probably no longer react to it. I've noticed that whenever I am in a busy environment with cars, etc, after a while (well ok, a looong while! Laughing ) Miss You my Lowchen stops barking and trying to run after the cars. The trouble is, wwe live in a very quiet little village with very little traffic on the roads, and I don't really want to go to town everyday just for Miss You's sake!!! Rolling Eyes Laughing

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:21 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi Giulia,

The most important thing is that you create distance between you, Antonello and the cars. If he is still reacting to cars then he may be too close to them to be able to cope well with them. Itís good walking him on quiet roads but even on quieter roads if the dog is too close to the roadside even just one car passing now and again may be too much for him.

Even in the link to the video I posted I feel that trainer was still too close to the passing cars, you need to create enough distance so your dog does no react to the cars without you having to distract him and then becomes yours starting point.

I am sorry I am not sure what you mean by mall parking. If that means a shopping car park then although Antonello did not bark itís still quite a lot for him to cope with being around so many cars. It would be best if you can walk him away from cars and introduce him slowly to them from a distance.

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