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Old 10-01-2012, 02:49 PM   #1
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Default Help with a Border Collie Pup

Hi all! My name is Ben and this is my first post of this forum. I'm posting in this area because I intend to get Finn (my pup) and I involved in the agility, diving dog world and I thought there might be more people in this area of the forum with more experience with the breed.

I got Finn when he was 11 weeks. When I went to pick him up he was very hesitant to come around me...glued to the breeder pretty much. My assumption would be that the breeder didn't handle him much. She was very into the whole "working dog" aspect and made sure that I knew that was what she was about. No showing...etc. No worries. The first night I snuck him into a hotel as we were 8 hours from my home and he backed himself off the bed injuring his hind leg. I went to the vet 2 days later (first day available) and he had a small tear in his knee. That night he slipped on wood tile and sprained it the rest of the way. We had to wait a few days to see a specialist but in the end he had to get a splint for two weeks. It didn't last long...only a week...and he was running around all crazy like puppies do. All was well.

Over that two weeks we REALLY bonded. He was skiddish towards other people and but I've been working hard on it and he's much much better. The reason I'm posting is because recently he's pretty much stopped listening to me entirely. I have to chase him down to get him back in the house at night and he doesn't come when told. When we try to train he lasts for maybe 5 minutes before he stops listening. I dont understand because when he was younger he was super attentive and could do more than dogs much older than him. When had sit, stay, down, up, sitting at doors and waiting for permission to come in or out, in and out of the car on command, and fetch all good to go at 16 weeks. Now (17 weeks or so) I can barely get him to listen to me at all. I never really had to repeat myself before and now even it i do a bunch of times I get nowhere. I dont think i've lost my leadership role entirely because he still follows me around and he knows what "no" means and sometimes he does everything if I have something he really wants.

I have over the last couple days done a few things i'm not proud of, grabbing his scruff and pulling him over to me when he wouldn't come and tapping his nose when he wouldn't stop biting at something. Every time it's happened i've felt like the worst person in the world. I've cried over it. I love this dog more than anything, but I feel like he doesn't care about me at all anymore.

I was supposed to take him to get neutered today but I decided against it because I want him to be able to grow to his fullest potential like nature intended. I want him to be a great athlete and I don't want to take anything away from him. We have to take a basic obedience class before we do agility and that starts tonight. The first class is me only but after we'll have 5 weeks of classes before we start agility training.

I guess the reason I'm posting is because i dont know what to do. He doesn't eat like he was when he was little, he's been sleeping a lot more, and only seems interested in his own thing or other dogs when we go to the store or walk about. He's pretty good on a leash, but pulls when another dog is around. He loves other dogs...every single one we've ever met.

I'm worried that in my frustration and grabbing his scruff or maybe not taking him out enough or playing enough or whatever i'm hurting our relationship and his ability to grow up to his fullest potential. I'm worried he's not happy and all it does is tear me up inside. I want nothing more than the best for him...it's supposed to be me and him agaisnt the world!

Any advice on how to re-establish my leadership role would be appreciated. I'm excited to hear from/meet everyone. Hopefully we'll be able to get involved and agility and stay part of this section of the forum.

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:00 PM   #2
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Raising a puppy is hard work, there are very many frustrating moments and I've been there.

Heck, I just started training my dog three months ago and she just turned two. I've had her since she was four weeks old.

I understand the frustration you're feeling and I'll admit that when my dog was a puppy I had moments where I thought I'd have to re-home her, I doubted myself and sometimes I corrected her in ways I knew were wrong.

When you feel frustrated-Stop yourself, take a deep breath and back away from the dog-go to a different room and just leave it be until you can regain control of your emotions.

Then approach it again. Take your time and train your dog with what works best for it.

This is something I found out myself. It was hard for me to train my dog because I got frustrated quickly-thankfully with the help of those here and with the help of a trainer I learned patience is your best friend-so is figuring your dog out and what will do best with him. Work with your dog. Over these past few months I've learned so much about my dog and through training our relationship has improved. It didn't happen overnight but did and is happening.

Now our relationship is much better and I'm more confident in handling my dog, which also helps. So take it one step at a time, don't push yourself or your dog. Don't set your dog up for failure and don't get too far ahead of yourself in training.

For your dog-I'm a little worried about how it is not eating as much as it was and is sleeping more-to me this is a sign that something could be wrong with the dog medically, so I would suggest taking it into the vet and telling them about it, have them check the dog over.

If the dog is in good health-I'd suggest either enrolling it in an obedience class or get a private trainer to come work with you. It will help a lot and give you more confidence in handling the dog.

Good luck, I'm sure others on here will give you better answers for how to handle/train your dog.

People say my dog is most likely a lab mixed with a herding breed. Her attention has always been everywhere and anywhere. She can still be a bit of a 'spaz' sometimes.

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
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Puppies are tough no matter the breed. Patients is key.
We have a female BC and they are super smart dogs.
A bit headstrong if not trained right. They need to be challenged or they get bored.
Luckily our BC is stuck to me like a stamp at all times and is in no need of a leash. From my experience with the breed, they need a lot of attention and stimulation. Is there someone home with your dog all day? My wife stays home with the kids and we also have another dog. I have read that they are not real happy being left alone for long periods. I would work with the dog as much as possible, you could not ask for a smarter more loyal dog. BC need to know who is in charge, like any dog. Our BC was a bit wild the first year or so, work with the dog and you will not be disappointed.

I strongly believe in socializing a dog early, both of our dogs have gone everywhere with us since born. It is good for them to see lots of places, people and situations. A fearful dog is an aggressive and non obedient dog. If they are comfortable in their surroundings at all times the better for everyone.

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:10 PM   #4
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Have you tried calling him and giving him a treat he REALLY wants if/when he comes? Puppies are just stimulated by everything around them. I'm certainly no expert on dog training, but I have a Border Collie Mix and her attention was everywhere when she was a puppy. She learned to come when called by me using treats as rewards. I was told in class to also always reward her when she comes and not be frustrated if she took a detour along the way or she would get the idea that coming to me made me upset with her. Our trainer had us use treats and positive reinforcement throughout Layla's training. Our agility teacher is the same way. You have plenty of time, your agility class probably won't let him start on full sized equipment and jumps until he is a year old because of possible injury while he is still developing.

The hardest part of training Layla has been, and still is, staying calm while I work on keeping her attention. Last weekend I took her to practice agility and just about all we did was practice her start-line stay and I could see her muscles tense when she saw interesting movement from other dogs who were practicing. I treated her when she didn't bolt for it. I am trying to keep in mind that she's a herding dog and really geared to respond to movement. Start-line stay has been harder for me to teach than the weaves were by far.

Another thing your puppy class will probably tell you is to find out what motivates your puppy. Layla is highly food motivated, as in treats, she has to be somewhat coaxed into eating her dog food but a treat is of high value to her, especially sliced turkey or chicken, or Zukes salmon treats. She is also motivated by tennis balls, which are her favorite toy on Earth.

Good luck with Finn, please post a picture, I'd bet he's a cutie! I am sure there are some real trainers on here who can tell you good stuff. I'm a completely novice dog owner, but Layla is mostly BC and I remember being in tears more than once myself over the chewing, biting, not paying any attention to me; but getting into training classes really made a huge difference. Puppies do all that stuff, and I think herding breed puppies are like regular pups x about 20, LOL. If he's anything like Layla though, he'll be one hell of a good dog!

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:22 PM   #5
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Hi Ben aboard to Df First up Finn is still a very young puppy so don't worry plenty of time for training him And because he is still very much a pup you need to keep training sessions short and try not to teach him too many things at once!!! Have treats ready as well of bags and bags of praise when he gets things right What are you teaching him? Sit/Stay Come here, Leave it!, Lie down, these are good commands for any dog to learn! Hey we have all made mistakes so don't beat your self up m8 But we learn from our mistakes!!! Re the grabbing his scruff cause he won't come to you not good so this needs to stop other wise he may become a bit wary of you So start training a good 'come' Can he sit yet? if so get him to sit just or few seconds (this can be built up over time!) When he is sitting nicely call him in a nice happy voice (high pitched! ) and when he come to you treat and then go OTT with tons of praise (never forget the praise!) and repeat again and again keep these sessions to 10 mins for now as he is still very young gradually increase
the distance and time before you call him back to you and you will see results not over night but in week you will see a difference!

Re the biting (this must be nipped in the bud!) Try this when he nips you stop what ever you are doing get up and walk away say nothing to him no eye contact, no petting, nothing Ignore gim and do something else for you, You could also let out a high pitched yelp this will tell him he has hurt you (it's what puppies do with their litter mates) He will soon learn that it's not good

And remember these 2 things: Consistancy and Repetition are the keys to success for any training Good luck and please keep us updated
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Old 10-01-2012, 03:50 PM   #6
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Hey all!

Finn can actually do a lot, especially for his age. He can sit, stay (I can go two house over without him moving), lie down, sit up from the down position, in and out of the car on command, and he'll jump into a pool to fetch. He knows what "no" means and he knows the difference between "in" and "out" (pool, car, etc). All these are on command. Oh yeah...he also has "on it" and "off it." I can put him on all kinds of stuff. Chairs, tables, etc.

My problem is that he listens less frequently now. He used to be super treated motivated, but now he doesn't seem so into them. He LOVES this doule size squaker tennis ball I got him. I can get him to sit perfect EVERY time with that. He'll sit and stare until I say "get it" and throw it. He'll chase it down and bring it back. I've also got him to start bringing me the toys and dropping them in my hand.

My only worry has been the frequency of him listening as he seems to do so less and less. It's hard for me to get him to come back inside now. Sometimes I have to close the door, and when I do that he runs right back up to the door and sits. Sometimes when I open and say "ok" he comes in, but a couple times he's run back out into the yard and race tracked.

Either way...I know he knows how to do the stuff. Most of the time I think he's testing me...and I can't figure out how to let him know that's not a good idea. I remember reading about how when a dog gets to a certain number of weeks old he might start rebelling a bit and part of me thinks this is what all this is, but it just worries me that the behavoir has seemed to change to drastically.

And the speal about Collie's not liking to e alone. I believe that. Right now I'm on leave so I'm pretty much with him all day. I go work out in the mornings and he tries to run interference every time i go to leave. Grabbing shoes, latching on to my leg, etc. Lately he's been grabbing me when I try to get out of the truck and run into the store for 5 min...so I believe that he doesn't nessacarily like being away from me. He's super smart...and I wonder sometimes if he's depressed because he's been trying to keep me "in line" or to stay and I still leave anyway. Every time I come bag he's wags all of the place though!

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:56 PM   #7
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Lanzo, welcome to the forum!

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Old 10-01-2012, 04:14 PM   #8
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I would say use a higher value treat! Say a hot dog break them up in to sizable chunks there's a member on here (Monkey) who swears by them as for the other behaviour like latching on to you when you leave for work etc have a big rug or mat where he must 'stay' when you put him there till you get out of the door the reward is a hot dog!!!

Anything that has high value can be used, it can be that favourite toy you mentioned earlier! Give it a go, and yes he is testing you and his boundaries! Reinforce those boundaries Good luck
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Old 10-01-2012, 04:40 PM   #9
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First, please, please get him neutered. Trust me, he will not miss anything, he won't even notice anything is gone. You will eliminate chances of a lot of behavioral problems like inappropriate marking, wandering, aggression etc. You eliminate the chance of certain cancers. And there will be no chance of him getting a female pregnant, there's already a lot of dogs in the world and in order to breed responsibly, you need to have some health tests done to make sure he isn't going to pass anything undesirable on and you need a female that has also passed all the tests. Having an intact dog around the house requires him to be crated or confined anytime you are not with him. Male dogs may be prone to wandering/escaping to find a female in heat.

Trust me, unless you plan on getting into responsible breeding, you and the dog are both better off with him being neutered. I promise he won't notice anything is gone, you aren't taking anything away

As for the training issues, you need to find a higher value treat or toy to reward him and start following what they call NILIF. Nothing In Life Is Free. Anything he wants, he has to work for. Meals, treats, love, going for a walk.

Also, never give a command that you can't enforce. You have to set up the dog for success. Giving a command you can't enforce sets the dog up for failure. So don't call the dog if you can't MAKE him come and you aren't sure he will. Use other methods to encourage him to come, like a toy.

Have you looked into clicker training? It's a very popular method with agility trainers.

You can also cut down on his food a bit to make him more hungry during training, he may be more eager to work. But do try to find high value treats. Try some cooked chicken, or hot dog. My dogs like the soft peanut butter treats from Bil Jac. Make sure training is always positive and upbeat, make a big deal when he does something right, high pitch voices.

I have a border collie myself, he's a bit over a year old now, had him since he was about 7 weeks old. They are a handful, no doubt! But very fun dogs, fun to train. Mine is SUPER attached, velcro dog to the extreme, never goes out of my sight. I can't even go to the bathroom or take a shower without him coming with me.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:14 PM   #10
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Welcome to the forum!
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