Have been browsing the forum for a while now and have read some great things on training advice. Am hoping for some general advice specific to my situation.
I've got a 5 month old kelpie pup. She's kept in a decent sized fenced yard during the day, played with briefly in the morning and walked for around an hour every night as well as played with during the evening. About once a week she comes to work with me, this involves walking cross country through the bush (under/over logs, up hills, down gullies, lots of exercise, smells and stimulation for her!) for between 2-5 hours.
I know that her training is not as consistent/regular as it should be, I need to do better on that front but at the moment we have;
She will sit and stay when fed, not eating until given the command
Knows what a ball is and will seek it out when asked to
Will sit 50% of the time on the first command, 80% of the time on second command (about a month ago it was 80% on the first command)
Will come when called (but is starting to lose interest, comes less and less, stays just out of reach of me)
Will chase anything thown for her
Gets into and exits the car only when asked
Will jump up onto and down off an old bed in the yard when asked (but has it to herself during the day)
When thrown a ball she goes after it like lightening but almost never returns it. Will come back towards you but stays out of reach, doesn’t want to give it up.
If she knows she’s in trouble or doing the wrong thing will not come anywhere near you, stays well out of reach even if I’m calling her in gentle tones. I don’t call her to punish her.
I make sure I always walk through a door or gate before she does and dont let her lead the way when on a leash walk (not really a choice in the bush though, she forges ahead, always checking my position and runs across so she's in front of me if I change direction). I play tug of war with her although when I move her bedding she loves to play tug with it but I never let her win. She knows that opening her mouth or snapping towards me is totally unacceptable (although I have mates who play mouth/touch-bite games with her). She sleeps outside and only comes into the house by invitation which is maybe once a week for an hour or so. She has about 6-8 toys in the yard.
I moved house about 2 months ago (which she seemed fine with) and had a housemate shift in about 4 weeks ago but she's only started the barking and destroying the tree in the last 2-3 weeks. The housemate likes her and sits and plays with her occasionally but generally doesn’t have too much to do with her. He never feeds her and has only walked her once or twice.
So the issue is that she's started displaying some undesirable behaviour (well undesirable to me at least!). She never used to bark at all, was so quiet but has started to bark more and more at night and neighbours tell me she barks nearly all day now. She has also recently stripped leaves off the lower branches of a tree in the yard while barking at and displaying aggression towards a non-existent bird/threat. The cows in the neighbouring paddock never bothered her before either but now barks at them whenever they move about. A horse that’s just been moved into another paddock 3 days ago seems to bother her greatly. The horse is friendly and will approach humans at the fence so yesterday I picked her up and carried her to the fence to introduce her. She was nervous but quiet for a few minutes, squirmed around trying to get away but then was quiet, another minute or so and she started growling and barking. At that point I put her down and led her away.
It seems to me that while bored (extremely busy time for year for me at work, will have more time for her in the new year) she’s also getting more and more nervous and anxious and less inclined to respond to commands that I know she knows and was previously reasonably consistant with
I’d like to:
1. Relieve her anxiety which I think will help with...
2. Stop the barking and
3. Stop the destructive behaviour.
4. Also for her to obey commands more consistantly and get her to come to my feet when called.
Sorry for the super long post but please help!