Kangal Dog Puppy

Kangal Dog Puppy

Saturday, February 19, 2011

First heat

This afternoon when I was checking on Ariella I noticed red blood under her tail and upon further inspection I could see that her vulva was swollen. Her first heat! Our baby's growing up!
I was anxious to see how she would do with the sheep today and when I put her in with the main flock she was excited and wanted to play, forgetting yesterdays lesson with the new collar. So I had to give her a correction which has lasted all day. She's been perfectly fine so far. I'm hoping it won't be long until she is completely reliable with them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

9 months old next week, new training tool

Next week Ariella will be 9 months old. I tried to weigh her at home last week but, her and I max out the scale so we couldn't tell what she weighs. I'm sure she is well past 100 lbs now. I'd guess between 110 and 120. Hopefully soon I will get her on the Vets scale so we know for sure. I'm curious. Measured her at just over 29 inches at the withers so I think she has stopped or slowed in growing taller. Now she filling in more and still putting on weight.
Today was a mile stone for Arie's training. I've been having a difficult time to get her to stop chasing and playing with the sheep. They have no defense and when they attempt to butt her with their big fuzzy heads all it does is egg her on. So I purchased a good shock collar.
I had never used one before but, understand that they can be excellent training tools when used properly. Well, today I got it all set up according to the manufacturers instructions and took Arie in with the main flock of sheep.
The sheep are now so leery of her that all she has to do is walk in their direction and they take off running. The running is more than she can take so off she goes chasing them. It didn't take long for that to happen today. The instructions say to use the lowest setting and work your way up until the dog responds. Arie has very thick hair around her neck so I started at level 4. This model has 17 levels. The first try at number 4 did nothing so I increased it to 7. Still nothing so I figured I'd better tighten the collar. Her hair is very thick. I tightened it one position. Then I cranked up the transmitter to level 15 thinking it would take that to get through the hair.
As soon as she took to chasing the sheep again I pressed the button on the transmitter and that time she felt it. She immediately stopped her pursuit of the sheep and lowered her head and I released the button. Then she began to scratch her neck with her hind foot. Too high of a setting but, it certainly got her attention. She instantly understood cause and effect and stayed far away from the sheep after that.
She came over to me and I gave her lots of praise and attention. I was glad she didn't associate me with the experience, though she did seem a little bit wary not entirely sure if I had anything to do with it or not. I had given her a sharp NO command just a second before I pushed the button. I loved her up real well, petting her and telling her what a good girl she was. But, she wanted nothing to do with the sheep.
She sulked around for 20 minutes or so and I stayed with her for awhile and after I was sure she would stay away from the sheep I went out of the corral and watched from the house. She sulked for about an hour altogether. With the contacts making a good fit level 15 was too high for her. So I made sure to lower it down to number 5. After a couple hours she was back to her old self and exploring all around and digging and finding things to chew on. However she did not attempt to chase the sheep any longer.
However, after getting back to normal, every time she went by the sheep they would take off running because that is what they have become accustomed to do lately. After a couple of times of that Arie couldn't resist and lopped along behind them. By the third time it looked like she was enjoying it. However she still was not chasing, rather it looked more like she was simply following. But, for her I knew it wouldn't take much to start chasing again so the next time she did it I gave her a little reminder zap on level 5. That did the trick and she was good for the rest of the time. She behaved herself for another couple hours and finally I took her back to the green house to be with the goat. I was very pleased with the results.
Even though I have been obedience training Arie she has a strong will and may or may not listen to a command, which I understand is characteristic of the breed. When guarding the flock they need to be independent thinkers. Even doing obedience work around the flock her drive to chase is so strong not much would get her attention. This new tool seems to do the trick though I am not a real fan of this method. I would rather just keep on with the obedience work but, I can see the chasing turning into a real bad habit. I plan to only use it as a last resort. And after seeing it's effectiveness today I don't think it will take many more times using it.
I know a family who trained their Shetland Sheep Dog to stop chasing cars with one of these collars. And the dog had a very strong chase drive. They said every now and then they have to use it again just to remind the dog. I'm hoping that after Arie gets out of her puppy stage that I won't have to use it anymore.