Cris And Mini Aussie Named Valentine


Honored Member
THIS is the blog i wanted you to read, about taking V to a dog park. Just like you, i once thought this was 'great' idea, too,
but do give this blogpost a look over. Actually all of Jean's blogs are good.

Since V is getting socialized at puppy classes, maybe swap out dog park time for full-speed, off leash runs? (in fenced in areas, like empty school yards)

of course, it's YOUR dog, and your choice, but many ppl here avoid dog parks, as not always great for the dog. Others here, do use dog parks, but, it's always good to hear all points of view as you make up your mind, for how you want to do it, especially since V is in her formative times.


Honored Member
since V only acts up after 20 minutes,
for now,
just only walk her 10 minutes, end on positive note..(?)
I'm wondering are you inadvertently rewarding Valentine for leash biting on walks over 20 minutes because she thinks the leash is taken off her not because she gets home but because she kicked up a fuss?

Dogs don't think of rewards quite like we do :).


Honored Member
Running dog, That is a great vid. Hadnot seen this one. I will start using some of those games!


Well-Known Member
dog parks + my dog = horrible idea
Yeah. The last time we went to one, a fight broke out. We only went twice. I figured if I was a really good Momma and watched carefully, it'd be okay. But just seeing other dogs in a fray made Valentine all panicky. So now we don't do that. We do socialization classes, obedience classes, and visits with dogs we already know.

I've also thought of joining in on some Meetup dog groups. There's one in my area specifically for Aussies and another one specifically for dogs under 20 lbs. I wouldn't know the dogs, so would that be just as bad as a dog park? Or do you think it would be different because after so many meetings I would know the core set of dogs? (The ones that come to every meetup, I mean.)


Well-Known Member
I'm wondering are you inadvertently rewarding Valentine for leash biting on walks over 20 minutes because she thinks the leash is taken off her not because she gets home but because she kicked up a fuss?
I don't think so, because I wait until the behavior stops before moving forward. The last leg of the walk always takes the longest. When we get to the door, she has to sit and stay until I'm through the door and say "okay." I have an entry way, so this is repeated at the inside door. Then she has to sit and stay until I get the leash off. Usually by the first door she's calmed down considerably. Maybe because the leash isn't really bossing her around anymore. ;) I don't know.


Well-Known Member
I haven't tried a harness; I went to 2 pet stores to find one I liked and they didn't have her size at either. She does wear a seatbelt harness, but I assume a no-pull harness is better?

I have tried the 10 minute walk and she does better. We turn around or stop a lot, but she doesn't get to the leash-biting step. We were in Petco for over 20 minutes today (and I did little U-turns in the aisles when she pulled) and the leash frustration reared it's ugly head there too. I didn't think it would, since people kept coming up to her to give her lovings. But a little more than 20 minutes in and she was acting like a wild thing.

Sidenote: A woman saw Valentine's little display and saw me stopping dead and trying to distract her with noises from the leash and praising her when she let it go. She said, "Yeah, she's a cutie. I can see why you let her get away with that. Easy to spoil." What can you even say to that?


Honored Member
Lolz, Chris, re: that woman's comment,
i learned that loving dogs,
and understanding dogs,
are two different and often unrelated human qualities.
I've known ppl who adore their dogs, but don't understand the first thing about what dogs need or want. at all, and treated their dogs in ways i think borders on abuse, such as making their dogs helpless, obese, bored creatures who have lost their zest for life.

but yeah, sure, they love their dogs...

When ppl call out horrific advice to me and my dog, who can indeed, put on a most impressive show if i fail to prevent it,
i smile and say, "Yes, he is a gangsta. He's out on the work-release program!" and laff.

cuz i know, my dog is doing the best he can. He doesn't 'want' to be a nut.

and very few ppl have much understanding of dogs with issues. Most are full of wrong ideas on many of these issues, imo, and often unsolicited advice is often horrific. shiver. Just horrific mindsets out there, on how to best help a dog who is having an issue.

Yes, like i said on other post,
petsmart is sooooooo super exciting to most dogs, that they are almost over their threshholds to even attempt to control their own selves just being in there. I'd save that one for last. My dog also, can't do petsmart for more than about 10 minutes, and he blows a fuse.

My dog is dog-aggressive, a total gangsta, and once, in petsmart, he went off on a cardboard picture of dog....for real, a cardboard picture of a dog.:rolleyes: Lunged at it, snarling and growling and attacked a freakin cardboard picture of a dog.

That was the day i realized, "This isn't really fun for *my* dog." and i then set a 10 minute limit to Buddy being in there. I also go on weekdays, when there are fewer dogs in there. We have to avoid dogs, staying in areas that are dog-free.
Although my dog's issue is not same as your dog's concern,
it seems we both love dogs with time limits on how long they can tolerate certain things.
These time limits can be worked on, but it's best to do this by not allowing the dog to cross his own limits into crazo-zone.---by removing dog before he hits his limit.

If i took him for short sessions _ daily_ to petsmart, he does become more able to relax in there. I once spent a few months, working with Buddy on a less exciting, smaller pet store in my area. We practiced calm behaviors outside of the store. If he could calm outside of the store we went in.
(i used "dog language" to help tell him "calm down")

if he couldn't calm down------------ we backed up to a distance he COULD successfully calm down. and slowly moved fwd, a few feet a time, and left while he was still successful, even if that meant we left for home and the closest we got to the door was 50 feet away, *that* was my dog's limit. I had to learn pushing or forcing my dog past his limits, is a set-back, not helpful. I think my dog has learned increased trust in me,
to keep him out of situations that he really just can not always handle.

After a long time of doing this, daily, Buddy was able to act pretty normal in this shop, but, sadly, i did not keep up the daily lessons, and now, it's sort of like staring all over again, almost from scratch. And of course, when he is in any pet shop, i keep him away from dogs,
but do use the opportunity to give him treats for looking at those "enemy dogs" lolz, to help him make new associations in his own lil messed up mind. And then we move on, leaving before he blows a fuse.

My dog is a gangsta, but we're working on it!

You have an advantage, there, in that Valentine seems to have a consistent timer you can watch for, to take her away from whatever is freaking her out/upsetting her BEFORE she blows a fuse.

One remark a trainer once said to me, that i often tell myself, is, "Every minute that Buddy spends out of control, is helping him to keep that wiring in place."


Honored Member
We have to respect our individual dogs' limits. Sometimes, we ask too much of our dogs. It's like, if you could not bear spiders, okay,
if you had deathy phobia of spiders,
and someone thought throwing spiders all over you would "help" you get over it,
it wouldn't, and it'd probably make you worse,
and it'd probably make you LESS trustful of whoever allowed this to happen to you/more tense around that person, cuz you know, they allow spiders to get on you.

if everytime you saw a spider,
twenty dollar bills rained down on you,
and if everytime you saw a spider, your pals kept you away from spiders at a distance you are comfortable with,
well, you might begin to make a new association to the sight of spiders.
and you might begin to feel safer around your pals/trust them more to really understand that you can't stand spiders.

That spider example doesn't particularly apply to *your* dog, really. I'm just saying, if a dog DOES have a limit, we HAVE TO respect that limit as we work on Valentine's current 2o minutes on leash LIMIT---------- is sort of like having spiders thrown on him,

and strive to keep our dogs below their own personal threshhold,
as we work towards helping the dog develop more self control, and help to desensitize the dogs to the things that do bother them-------without throwing spiders on them by crossing their limits.

All dogs are unique individuals. Some dogs love a trip through petsmart. My dog loves it for about 10 minutes only. That is *his* limit. That is who he is. And i love him, and i now accept what he had been trying to tell me for a long time, "Mom, i only like petsmart for 10 minutes, and then i am gonna blow a fuse, mom."

i finally heard him. He can now walk out of petsmart with his lil doggie dignity intact, feeling good about himself and feeling good about having had a positive experience in there,
cuz he was removed before he does his famous imitation of Cujo-dog, ha ha!!


Honored Member
Welcome to DTA! You'll have lots of fun on this website. I think you should start teaching Valentine tricks such as spin, beg and roll over. As for biting on the leash, it's probably just a phase, your dog will get over it like mine did. If she still bites on the leash after a while, soak it in vinegar, that will stop her (I did that with Shivon).


Well-Known Member
Frustrating new development: Valentine got leash aggressive about 2 1/2 minutes into our walk. I was clicking and giving treats whenever she walked nicely and u-turning whenever she pulled. I even let her "go sniff" once before she threw a fit.

When she started growing and biting the leash, I told her to drop it and waited. She eventually did. I clicked, treated, and we kept going. Then she started in again. This happened 3 or 4 times before she started walking nicely again.

I continued clicking and treating for nice walking, u-turning for pulling and letting her "go sniff" every so often. At 6 minutes in, (I've been using a stopwatch to better monitor when she has issues) she went leash aggressive. "Drop it" and standing still didn't helping. She cared about nothing so much as killing the leash. I ran her the rest of the way back. (We were about a block from the house.) I hoped that it would distract her. She continued trying to kill the leash through the doors and as I was taking the leash off once we were inside. I've put her in her crate to calm down.

She was doing okay on shorter walks until today. We usually shot for 10 minutes. But 2 minutes in??? Should I just start taking her back inside whenever the behavior starts? Like, "Okay, you attacked the leash, so walk time is over." Do you think that would help? O_o


Honored Member
oh no....:(
have you tried these excercises?(below)
Or maybe the vinegar idea suggested by Dogster?

I don't know if Valentine would see ending being on the leash as reward for her biting the leash...not sure on that one, sorry.



Well-Known Member
Yeah, I tried the clicking/treating for not going after the leash inside or when it's not attached. Valentine simply doesn't care about the leash inside. She doesn't care about it if it's not attached to her, and if it's not directing her. She ignores it if it's dragging along side her all day. She got lots of treats for ignoring the leash, but she would have ignored it without the promise of treats. She only really cares about it when on a walk or in a store. And it used to only happen after 20 minutes.

I haven't tried vinegar, but I've been using a lot of Bitter No Chew spray. It keeps her off my shoes and from chewing the ends of the carpet, but she powers through when the leash is ticking her off.


Honored Member
hmmm. Have you tried these exercises outdoors then? I feel really badly for you about this, and i hope so much you are not feeling despair or frustration, i totally believe, 100%, this IS a solvable problem! Hang in there. YOu will find a way to solve this.

maybe moving the exercises outdoors. Maybe even on walks, rewarding V for ignoring leash. I see you are, but, maybe shaking leash around, in midst of walk, BEFORE Valentine has become upset, maybe shaking leash as shown in video, and reward V for ignoring it, with high praise as well. Worth a try.

maybe if Valentine loses it, maybe, pull over to side. sit down. Help V calm down, and reward that, and resume walk.
You can also offer calming signals to V, to help her understand, you DO want her to calm down. It helps a ton, if you have taught "look at me". Not too hard to teach, really.
Once dog is looking at you, offer slow blinks, and yawns. Keep faking yawn til you achieve a real yawn. dog may look away while you do this, that is okay, continue on with your fake yawn.

worth a shot. I hope maybe someone else comes along to help you, as well.


Well-Known Member
I gave her about half an hour break and she seemed very calm when I took her outside again. Happy, even. But 4 minutes in and she was at it again. I picked her up and took her straight back home.

I feel like this is something Ms. Stilwell would do. Right? If she misbehaves, then the good stuff stops. What do you think? (Also, I'm going to give her a couple of hours this time before trying again.)


Well-Known Member
I have tried the calming signals when she gets all riled up in her crate before bed and it's worked then. We're still working on "Watch me." She rarely looks up at me during a walk. Even if I stop and call to her or make sounds. But we're working on it.


Honored Member
also, on another day, ppl here can help you learn how to teach "leave it" for the shoes, etc. It is not that hard to teach, and then, you won't have to wear stinky shoes!!

there is some advice in this thread (below)
on teaching leave it. It's not that hard, really. Keep lessons short, to avoid frustrating you or Valentine.
If teaching your dog something isn't FUN, then you are doing it wrong. :ROFLMAO:

You may want to also re-evaluate if Valentine is actually getting enough excercise each day.

One super simple thing to try,
to rule out a dog with unspent energy is,
take Valentine every day, to someplace she can run full speed, off leash, til she tires out.
Just as a test, okay?
and then re-assess if V is still biting on her leash, chewing up your carpets, etc.

might be a fun diagnostic test to run on Valentine, who knows? Maybe V is just gong nutters cuz she is boiling over with unspent energy. My dog acts up if he doesn't get enough excericise.
Oh, he's okay with one boring day....mayyyyyybe two boring days in a row, but, after that, he WILL begin to dig holes, or "kill" his toys, etc etc. and generally be a nut-dog. and my border collie is middle aged adult, still, he can't be allowed to become bored.

This is a HIGH ENERGY breed, and yours is still a puppy.
Anyway, here is link with video on how to teach "leave it". This is not how i taught it, but, kikpup is great.