I really feel for you too. It is in her blood to do what she is doing..trying to be a working dog. I really do not think that any reward system will work if it is overridden with the cows being the highest value with her.
Mine also bark at our cows all day when outside but we tune them out.
I wish they made doggy earplugs.
The only suggestion I can think of is have her inside somewhere or in a crate with the radio on loud enough to drown out the cows and you wear the earplugs to dampen down the music.
Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.
Buy a anti barking collar that sprays citronella they hate the smell and taste it also gives them a lovely fragrance haha. I use it on my kelpie and beagle alternatly it works a treat
If she's barking because she's frightened of the cows (having had a previous bad experience), an aversive like a spray or zap collar will only make things worse. Ie she will blame the punishment of the collar on the cows. She won't make the connection between barking and collar. You can't use punishment to reduce fear - it will only increase it.
I think she may need some anti anxiety medication - so you have a chance of re-training her - when she's in a calmer state of mind. The DAP diffuser might also help.
And lots of LAT or BAT training. Ie see a cow, get a really good treat. Starting with dog inside only hearing cows. If the dog will not take a treat - try skipping a meal and then working on it again just before dinner time. Essentially - if my dog won't take a yummy treat - she's still too freaked out by the whatever - to learn anything. As long as she takes the treat, you know she's learning or able to learn. Feed all the dogs dinner for being able to pay attention to you when there's cows around. I like the idea of making a recording of them so you have control over when there is noise and how loud it is.
I would try the crate training again. Ie lots of good things for being in crate - and then gradually start withholdnig rewards if she barks ie only gets treat when quiet. Although you can also mix putting "barking" on cue ie you only get a treat for barking - when I ask you to.
Thanks for the training advice Hy, I am trying to get some info on those two methods as we speak
I know she is frightened of the cows and I know negative responses will make it worse. It is much like Di said the cow are over-riding any efforts for positive responses. Her favorite reward has always been a choice of her favorite squeaky ball or a handful of dry cat food no response at all from either, and I have chosen other treats and rewards but nothing interests her any more when the cow are near. That include trying to teach her 'speak'
She doesn't like the citronella collars and I don't want to use one ever again, the electric ones I am hesitant to use but since she is on the invisible fence system I know she will respond. My worry is it will mess up with her response with the invisible fence. I don't want to scare her or intimidate her any more than she already is.
As for skipping a meal to get to accept a treat I can't do that, the stress has already reduced her appetite that she is starting lose weight. And yes I am trying to get her to the vet for anxiety medication, but every time I try something comes up (i.e. tree on water tank)
Gypsy has always been a bit timid but her confidence was coming along in leaps and bound until the cow incident and she went back to square one and everything makes her nervous. But after yesterday's tree she is a different dog! She nearly went the tree lopping guy yesterday, the guy came over to help save enough of our water tank so we could have water. He simply picked up his chain saw (which was not on at the time) and I barely got hold of her in time to stop her from attacking him.
I would like to keep her inside full time however all she does is run around the house trying to figure out how to get outside, if I use the umbilical system she repeatedly tries to pull away if that fails starts alternating between barking and chew herself bloody. the frustration thing is she still responses to her obedience training she just barks a she does them.
I am meant to be going in for surgery for my knee, this Monday and my OH has no idea how to train a dog to even sit(I am having to train his dog in basic obedience). I am worried for what happens then especially now the invisible dog fence main box was destroyed when the tank ruptured yesterday. She still thinks it is working at the moment so she isn't testing the fence but if she does and if I don't have a new box by then it will be laundry or chain.
I have never felt like a bad owner before but I do now. I should be able to calm her and help her move past this but instead I feel it is all getting worse..
Last edited by Drag0ncharm; 09-05-2012 at 11:05 AM.
Start when the cows are far away, but close enough for her to notice - ie right on the edge of when she notices them but way before she goes over the top and won't respond you or treats at all. You might have to seek the cows out at first - just so you can practice. If the cows are too close to home - just keep going further until your dog can respond, or take her out by car and then walk back from 1 or 2km away (or what ever distance it is that she just starts to notice them but before she goes over the top).Her favorite reward has always been a choice of her favorite squeaky ball or a handful of dry cat food no response at all from either, and I have chosen other treats and rewards but nothing interests her any more when the cow are near. That include trying to teach her 'speak'
And keep the sessions really short (20 to 40 treats in 20 seconds to a minute). To finish the session - increase the distance from the cows.
It's bit hard if she's overwhelmed by them when she's inside your house. Hence thinking the DAP or medication might be needed when this happens. Or the holiday somewhere cow free.
You know when you're too close - because that's when she stops responding to you.
I think that the first step to do is to get her away and allow all that stress to settle. How far away is the lady who can help? Can you bring Gypsy for short outings to your property once she has settled? and try and work on the cow issue like that. You may first have to build her valued rewards up again well away from the influence of the cows. At the moment she is so over threshold she isnt responding to what she previously valued.
You are not a bad owner, just dealing with very difficult circumstance. Kelpies can be notoriously highly strung (I have one myself) and keeping her inside is I doubt the solution. I have known quite a few kelpies like yours and under increasing pressure I have known them to become aggressive as you describe. I would seriously get her out of her current situation and work at introducing her back slowly, but you have some work to do away from the situation first.
I would seriously try and get her to her previous owner before your knee operation.
Last edited by Kalacreek; 09-05-2012 at 12:32 PM.
The cows are on the other end of the 70 acre block today and my Gypsy is back but that will only last until this afternoon when the cows come back to their sleeping spot. I have contacted her previous owner an trying to organize a temporary holiday for her and talking about the possibility of a permanent stay too.
I will be working with Gypsy later today on her cow issues but the weather is horrible and neither Gyp or myself want to be out in the rain to play.
Send some of the rain you are getting further inland please. It is windy and horrible but notmuch rain unfortunately and a lot of crop to finish. I fear I will shortly be handfeeding my sheep again.
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