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  #1  
Old 02-22-2014, 05:00 PM
BDC2014 BDC2014 is offline
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Default Very frustrated with dog. Lots of behavior issues...

1.5 year old Border Collie/Dalmation mix. The dog has been through several foster homes/owners. Everyone takes her back b/c she is insane. My gf & I are both EXTREMELy frustrated to the point of we are about done.

She has almost stopped randomly pissing in the house. However, many other issues seem to not get better no matter what we do including going to training classes with the dog. She will do great in class b/c she knows the instructor is going to keep feeding her.

Food seems to be the only way to get her to listen & that's not even a 100% thing.

She still jumps on people (including us), jumps on tables, counters, the guinea pig's cage, etc. She tries to get into EVERYTHING. If you leave something laying around, she will steal it. She also always tries to play w/the cat, but the cat wants nothing to do with her.

She also barks too much, The barking is a recent thing. She recently started barking every **** morning waking us up. (she stays in her cage when my gf is at work and when we are sleeping) The citronella collar has not helped at all with that.

She constantly barks and scratches at the door as if to go out for the bathroom, but half the time she just wants to go outside & play/eat snow.

She knows her name, sit, down, etc, but will rarely listen unless she gets a treat for doing it. No clicker + treat = Forget it 90% of the time!

She barks at/chases random cars, people, dogs, cats, birds, etc. When she does this crap, it's impossible to get her attention.

Nothing seems to be helping. This dog is HIGH STRUNG x999999 I'm thinking she's just one of those dogs that will always be a terror no matter you do. We don't have the loot to send her off to a professional trainer. (That worked for an EX's Beagle)

HELP!
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Old 02-22-2014, 09:29 PM
casey82 casey82 is offline
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That is a lot of dog and probably not the best mix. I feel for you. I really do.

First of all how much exercise is the dog getting? I'm guessing it's not enough.

Is she crate trained? If not I'd start that immediately.

Chasing cars is pretty common for a herding dog. You can lessen it with more exercise. Do you take her to fun training classes like tricks class or agility? that could help. Border Collies need a mental energy outlet more then a physical energy outlet.

Feel free to PM me with specific questions.
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Old 02-24-2014, 09:11 AM
krissy krissy is offline
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Originally Posted by casey82 View Post
First of all how much exercise is the dog getting? I'm guessing it's not enough.
A tired dog is a good dog. If you can't get through to her yet with just training I'd suggest amping up your exercise. My puppy is pretty good most days, but she is an angel when I can give her more exercise. The winter is difficult depending on where you live. For us there's almost no way to provide lots of exercise in the peak of winter (like right now). For any other time of year though, I generally do at least 1 leash walk (mostly for structure and discipline, not so much for exercise) and then I will do one of the following:

1. Off leash hike (this needs to be done somewhere safe, far away from automobile and human traffic, and preferably in a large fenced area if the dog's recall is poor as I imagine is probably the case with this dog).

2. Dog park (this requires that your dog is good with other dogs and that you are comfortable with the other dogs at the dog park... just having a play date with a couple of friends' dogs works really well too)

3. Jogging (I prefer off leash on the hiking trails but again you need a decent recall for this. You can also jog with the dog on a leash on the road... this requires that the dog has decent leash manners).

4. Agility class/training

5. Lure pole in the backyard (works great for the sighthounds)

6. Fetch (I don't do this a lot since I have sighthounds, but I imagine a border collie might sort of love this and do it until they drop).

In the nicer months I spend at least an hour exercising the dogs most days. Then I add in some tricks/obedience training sessions. This usually results in a pretty dead tired dog that just sleeps the rest of the day/evening off. Then I use baby gates, crate, and supervision as required when she is loose. Summit requires no supervision... he's just a good old dog.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-24-2014, 10:53 AM
BDC2014 BDC2014 is offline
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This one cannot be off leash unless at the dog park. She will take off & never come back.

fetch doesn't work yet. She goes & gets the ball & runs off with it. She doesn't listen to drop it.

There is no backyard. Gf lives in an apt on the 3rd floor.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:11 AM
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AllieMackie AllieMackie is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BDC2014 View Post
This one cannot be off leash unless at the dog park. She will take off & never come back.

fetch doesn't work yet. She goes & gets the ball & runs off with it. She doesn't listen to drop it.

There is no backyard. Gf lives in an apt on the 3rd floor.
Okay. She doesn't know these things. Do you expect her to magically learn them?

Off leash doesn't work? Get a long line and start proofing a solid recall step by step. Start with little to no distraction at home, and up the ante sloooowly. Long lines keep her from running off but can help her burn energy outside of the apartment.

Fetch doesn't work yet? Start working with her on retrieving using trading games and positive reinforcement. A dog won't drop an object until you teach them why they should.

She won't listen for no food? Is she toy motivated? Start trading behaviours for toys and not always food. Shower her with praise and ear rubs for a command performed correctly. Switch up her rewards so she learns to work for you and not the food in your hand.

Start teaching her fun tricks and free shape behaviours using the clicker. Thes exercises really get the wheels turning in their head once they grasp the concept - almost all of us here on Chaz with herding breeds and other energetic dogs use a form a free shaping in our regular training regimes.

The best part is, all of this training process will do her wonders, too. You say she's heavily food motivated, and the training will make her brain work, which is equally important as exercise for a BC/dal mix. Enjoy the process - she can read your frustration when you train her. BCs and Dals are both sensitive breeds to emotional response form their handlers. When I freak out, my dog freaks out.

I'm sorry if I seem brash, but your attitude towards this dog is coming off as heavily negative. She's lashing out because she has a big brain and a lot of energy and it sounds like it is met with frustratrion. She's a BC/dal and neither of those breeds are anywhere close to mellow. She needs to be shown positive directions to channel her energy into, and given the time of day to get that brain and body working, instead of getting frustrated when she channels the energy into being destructive.

If all of this is too much, then she would be done a favour with a rehome - into a home with someone experienced with high-energy breeds.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:33 AM
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Beanie Beanie is offline
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Honestly, and I don't mean this as harshly as it's probably going to sound, but... you need to train your dog. She's 1.5 years old but it sounds like her life has been in constant flux. You basically have a puppy who doesn't understand the rules yet, regardless of her age. Add to that she is a border collie/dalmatian cross which means she's high energy, and you have a real challenge on your hands.

She's not randomly pissing in the house - there's either a behavioral or medical reason for it. I could guess since you say she asks to be let out but half the time just wants to play, you probably stop taking her out when she asks because you assume she just wants to play... so she then pees in the apartment. It's possible she has a UTI or bladder infection and can't help it, or she could be excitement/nervous peeing, or even marking. There's a variety of reasons why it's happening. You need to figure out which one it is first and then you can address it.

The reason she does great in class is because the trainer has established a history of reinforcement for her. She performs for the trainer because, yes, she knows the trainer will feed her. She's motivated to work for the trainer because she knows that will get her something good, something she wants. Dogs do what works. Once you establish to the dog doing what you ask will get her good things, she will work for you, too.
If she doesn't do a behavior when you ask, it's likely because she doesn't know it, despite what you might think. If she does it at class, that doesn't mean she knows to do it at home. Dogs really don't generalize well. "Sit" at the training place doesn't mean "sit" while out on a walk doesn't mean "sit" in the kitchen doesn't mean "sit" in the living room - until you teach the dog to generalize the command.

She jumps on things because she doesn't know she's not supposed to. Put her on a leash in the apartment and use it to physically limit her options. She steals things because she doesn't know she's not supposed to. Don't leave things sitting around where you don't want her to grab them until you are able to teach her which things are hers and which are not. Again, you are basically dealing with a puppy here - a baby dog. If you had a baby human, you would not expect the baby to know what things are safe to grab and which are not. You would place the unsafe things out of reach and watch the baby to ensure they wouldn't snag the stuff you can't physically put out of reach. Same thing with a baby dog. Put things up, work on teaching her impulse control and a solid leave it, and watch her. If you can't watch her, put her in her crate where she won't be able to get into trouble. The more she is able to get into trouble, the more she will be tempted to continue to do it. Dogs do what works - if she's allowed to steal things, it's fun, so she'll keep doing it.

Keep her away from the cat, have closed doors between them if you need to. Impulse control and a leave it will help with that too. The cat can probably take care of herself, but both breeds have prey drive and can do damage. Don't put the cat in a situation where she will have to defend herself.

The barking is going to be a thing, she's a border collie and will vocalize. But you can work on minimizing the barking and teach her a command to be quiet as well.

For the chasing, again, a lot of this is about not giving her the opportunity to do so. Teaching her impulse control again.

You might be interested in Dr. Karen Overall's Relaxation Protocol:
http://www.dogdaysnw.com/doc/Overall...onProtocol.pdf

I would also strongly recommend Control Unleashed, Fired up, Frantic, and Freaked Out, and Behavior Adjustment Training - in that order of importance, if you only want to pick up one book. Control Unleashed holds the "Look At That" game which I think will be a helpful key in teaching your dog impulse control.

As for fetch, you have to teach that too. Some dogs are born knowing the game means you go get the ball and bring it back - most are not. You also have to teach drop it.

I think the best way to exercise your dog, rather than trying to run her until she drops, would be to work on trick training. There are lots of books out there of fun tricks to teach, and plenty of free videos on YouTube as well. Training her to do a trick will make her use her brain, which is most likely going to wear her out faster than trying to make her physically tired. I also think you'll benefit from this because working on a fun trick will take the pressure off teaching "serious" things like sit and down (which, really, are just tricks as well) and will potentially improve your relationship with the dog because you'll be playing together rather than working and being frustrated.


I don't believe your dog is going to be a terror no matter what - I believe she's a high energy dog who has had a rough start in life because nobody knows what to do with her, so she's had a lot of half-starts, possibly some bad experiences, and nobody has followed through on teaching her the rules. I also don't think sending your dog off to a professional trainer is going to help you much, although it would give her a leg up on improved impulse control. But a lot of that is stuff that must be reinforced regularly - so you might as well learn how to teach it yourself now so you'll be equipped to work on it later.

I also think if you're this frustrated, either you haven't asked your existing trainer for help or she isn't best equipped to help you. If it's the former, definitely ask for help. If it's the latter, you might consider looking for a different trainer if possible. Somebody who might be willing to even come to the apartment and help you work with the dog there in a private lesson.

You don't have a bad dog, you just have a very large puppy who needs a lot of help. I really do recommend that Control Unleashed book at the very least. I think it will help you understand how to help her.
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  #7  
Old 02-24-2014, 11:39 AM
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Raegan Raegan is offline
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If she only listens when you have food on you, then have food on you. You can get off it later, but right now you need to stack the deck in your favor.

More exercise is good, and its very likely the dog isn't getting near enough as it needs. But don't rely ONLY on wearing the dog out physically; just like if you went to the gym every day for a month you build up the dogs stamina so they need more and more exercise to get tired. Ryhthmic exercise ( like walking on leash) is better than frantic exercise, like fetch or running with dogs at a dog park.

Have you taken her to a training class at all?
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:13 PM
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Beanie's post is more eloquent than mine and gets across the points in a very clear way! I wanted to add on that I own the first two books that she recommends to you there, and they will give you an excellent foundation to impulse control behaviours. They're bibles for people with energetic, smart dog breeds.
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Old 02-24-2014, 01:39 PM
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Laurelin Laurelin is offline
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She sounds like a dog that just needs a lot more structure. What is your schedule like for her? How much exercise and also mental workouts is she getting?

I have a very busy dog- smaller, but still very busy. She's been a learning experience for sure!

She needs work both physical and mental. She really needs a good chance to stretch out her legs for a good while every other day or so (more when younger). But more than that, she needs a lot to make her think.

But she also needed to learn how to relax and wait and not be demanding constantly and I struggled with that. Impulse control exercises, rewarding the dog CALMLY while it is behaving, teaching the dog to go to a spot and down/stay- that kind of thing was invaluable with her.

For mental stimulation there's a lot you can do at home. I like nosework (teaching the dog to find an odor) for a good quick and easy mental workout that can be done anywhere. There's a lot of youtube videos on it. Trick training is another thing you can do at home that is imo very beneficial and an easy mental workout. I'd also look into feeding her only through training and food dispensing toys. Food is valuable and you need to use it to your advantage for now.

To me it sounds like she just plain needs training of a lot of kinds. And patience and consistency.

I do work full time but a lot of my 'down-time' is centered around Mia in particular because she needs stuff to do in a way most dogs don't (my other enjoys it but just goes with the flow). It's ok, I like doing dog stuff in my spare time. We do a lot of classes but most of that you can do on your own too with work and dedication. You just have to set aside the time to actually do them. I like classes- they make me accountable.
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Old 02-24-2014, 11:32 PM
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Great advice, another great thing is the kikopup channel on YouTube.

could work on some of her tricks and the dog will be learning and getting exercise/mental stimulation. She also works on problem behaviors and most of the exercises can be done inside. It is broken down into steps so it's easy to understand what you are doing and why it works.
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