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Old 05-13-2008, 06:41 PM
catdjbats catdjbats is offline
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Default New Dog! A little advice needed!

Hiya! I am new to this site so I guess I'll start this post with a little introduction

This is Delta, our 3 1/2 year old Chihuahua......


This is Jess!

She's new! We got her about 5 weeks ago, her estimated age then was 7 1/2 months so she's still very much a puppy. We were told she's a Border Collie X


She's very cute!
And this one to show the size difference.....


We also have 4 cats and a 5 year old son....sooooo...Jess being of the "herding" variety we are having a bit of trouble with her and our son. I can not leave the 2 unsupervised outside as Jess will herd him, nip him and simply won't leave him alone when outside. She isn't growling or anything, just jumping around him and in her own way trying to play with him. When inside they are better and when Jess is on a leash or if we are someplace completely different she is not even interested in him only in our own yard does she show this behaviour. The problem is that our son, being a 5 year old boy, doesnt really know the word "calm" ...We have tried telling him to act calm and walk instead of run when around Jess but this only happens sporadically and then he will do something like wave his arms or whatever, giggle even and Jess is back in Play/Herd mode with him....It's getting really frustating having to "growl" both of them for only doing what comes naturally....We are also teaching Thomas (our son) to make her sit or down whenever he wants to go and pet her which is working out well. When Jess plays up, we have told him to either cross his arms and say No or "ah ah" in a firm voice and look/walk away. Of course he's never unsupervised during those times...but still, Jess won't take him seriously. I think its because randomly, like I said, Thom will do something, like run at her or squeal and giggle and its confusing the dog and we have to start from scratch again.

Ok, that is one issue...LOL sorry if this is going to be a bit long.....

Since we got Jess I've been going to obedience with her, junior classes, so pups from 6 months of age. Tonight will be our 5th night and she is doing VERY well. When I train with her at home, inside, outside (our garden) and at the OB classes she listens vey well. She knows sit, down (will do both from a distance as well) shake hands (just for fun) and come. Working on stay right now (sit and down stay) which is coming along well also. Her only issue is that she is overly dog focused...ALL she wants is to play with other dogs so much so that she will bark at them, play bow and all, until she is literally bouncing around like crazed on the leash. we don't let her off the leash for this reason as her re-call is absolutely non-existent in those situations...twice she unfortunately got away on us and would not come back, just kept following the other dog. Luckily we have only encountered very friendly dogs so far that seemed to put up with her rude behaviour. So I've been trying to build her focus on me as obviously that needs to be strengthened. Trouble is I have no idea what I can offer her that is of equal or higher value to her as playing chase with other dogs....She will work for treats (I use a clicker with her also) when there is no distractions and surprisingly even at dog classes but everywhere else she's not that interested in them. For example, at home I will c/t for a certain behaviour and by the time I have clicked she will be looking at me for her treat....when out she doesn't always seem to want the treats so I'm struggeling with that a bit. She isn't into tugging toys either nor will she retrieve...I have been trying to teach her for 5 weeks now, almost daily and there has been no improvement when it comes to retreiving. One game she loves is if I kick a few balls around and she can chase them but I've tried this approach when out at the park and her interest is pretty much non exsisting. I even got a couple of "special" toys for the park only but she doesn't want to know....frisbee she chased once or twice same with a new tug/ball toy but she will play with a similar ball, at home on her own for ages.... She's starting to heel quite well, in fact, when she's off leash at home she will heel better like that then we are out and about and she is on the leash. When we first got her she wanted to chase all our cats but the felines in this household soon sorted her out. Now she is friends with 2 of them (they don't run even if she tries to chase them) one she stays way from as he will launch himself at her for something as simple as looking at him... and the 4th cat is hardley ever home anyways but she will run and Jess will chase. It's a bit hard to teach her when the chihuahua chases all the cats...its just that the cats dont care cause She's like 1/3 their size.... Our chi is getting used to Jess ok, but she will tell Jess off for coming too close to her...problem is Jess thinks that means PLAY! So she bounds around Delta barking and playbowing and Delta being the feisty little critter that she is will not back down and bark back (angrily) but Jess just doesnt get the message. Luckily Delta will usually listen when I call her back as I'm worried she will get nipped one day. Jess hasn't got a "mean" bone in her body and we completely trust her in that regard around Thomas and the other animals but when she's in a play frenzy she will try and nip!

Sooooo....yeah, thats all for now
Sorry about the lenghty post but I would really appreciate some of your ideas on this.

Thanks
Sonja

P.S. One more thing... how much excercise does a dog like her need? We have a very large section (3.5 acres) where I play with her every hour or so....I take her for at least one good walk a day, usually at least one hour, sometimes she gets 2 walks a day, again at least one hour long each....but she just never seems "tired". In fact the only way I can get her to stop pacing the house is If I tether her to her bed in the lounge or put her in her crate...she then happily lies down and snoozes for a bit....Only time I saw her completely happy and relaxed for a whole day was when we went out to friends for Dinner and she played with their two labradors until about midnight...then we got home, went to bed and she was happy and calm for all of the next day....didn't even get excited about Thomas or anything....but I mean there's no way we can offer her 6-7 hrs of excersise and play time with other dogs every day....as much as that sounds like fun!

Ok...thats it!

Thanks for any and all ideas!
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:52 PM
lizzybeth727's Avatar
lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Welcome to Chazhound!

I'm really glad that you gave so much info about your dogs, but honestly, I'm having trouble finding your questions. But I can help you with this one:
Quote:
Originally Posted by catdjbats View Post
One more thing... how much excercise does a dog like her need?
Border collies were bred to herd sheep.... All day, every day. Like, 8 hours per day of running and constantly thinking. That's a huge amount of physical and mental exercise. That's why border collies are now considered one of the smartest, and most energetic, breeds there are.

And puppies have even more energy than adult dogs.

I hope you knew this when you got her.

Keep us posted on how your dogs are coming along!
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Old 05-13-2008, 09:53 PM
catdjbats catdjbats is offline
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Thanks for your reply

In hindsight I guess I didn't really spell out any questions as such...just a whole lot of rambling going on lol

So to clarify: 1) What are some methods to stop Jess from play herding our son? we try to re-direct the behaviour but it seems to be the only thing she wants to do when he's around.

2) How do we get her more focused on us when treats only work around home and at dog classes (to some extend) and when she has no real play drive such as fetch or tug etc?

3) What are some good ways of stimulationg her mind as well as fun excersise things we could try? On-leash that is unless we're in our fenced yard.


As to the needs of a Border Collie....Yeah we realise they are high energy dogs..she's a cross however and when we rescued her we thought that 2 walks a day plus playtime on our 3.5 acres would suffice. I am home most of the time and spend about 15minutes one on one with her every hour or so. Playing and training. Then she also gets walked once or twice a day most days. Before we got her she lived in the city for a month with a couple that worked 14 hr days and she was in a kennel all day and maybe got a 20min walk in the evenings so she's still better off with us I suppose. It was either we take her on or she had to go back to the pound. I have a lot of time I can put into her and WANT to put into her but I do still have a small child, other animals as well as a husband, my work and the rest of life to get on with as well I guess alot of her energy is still puppy energy as well...she will snooze away happily in her bed but not unless I put her there...I was told by someone else who breeds border collies that she also has to make her dogs take time out...or they'd simply keep going...or pacing the house as in our case.

I definately think that building her focus, re-directing her herding instinct and working on her re-call are the most important issues right now as she really is a very good dog otherwise, very gentle and submissive. If her re-call was reliable and she wasn't so darn "dog obsessed" she could have a lot more off-leash time and be able to burn off more energy that way. So any hints or ideas on these would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:56 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Wow, I'm sorry, I can't believe no one's answered this yet:

Quote:
Originally Posted by catdjbats View Post
So to clarify: 1) What are some methods to stop Jess from play herding our son? we try to re-direct the behaviour but it seems to be the only thing she wants to do when he's around.
I don't have a lot of experience in this area, but I'd probably suggest keeping Jess on a leash anytime your son's around her. You can reward her for appropriate interractions (looking at you instead of your son, licking him, just walking with him, etc.), and you can use the leash to control her if she starts play hearding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catdjbats View Post
2) How do we get her more focused on us when treats only work around home and at dog classes (to some extend) and when she has no real play drive such as fetch or tug etc?
I'd suggest working only on very easy behaviors when she's distracted, like maybe eye contact when you call her name, or teaching her to touch your hand. These easy behaviors will start to teach her to focus more on you and will help to break her out of being distracted by everything else. Also save the best treats for when you know she's distracted - only use hotdogs, cheese, chicken, etc. in difficult sessions, never use those at home or in easy places.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catdjbats View Post
3) What are some good ways of stimulationg her mind as well as fun excersise things we could try? On-leash that is unless we're in our fenced yard.
Of course obedience training is a must. You could also teach her some difficult "tricks," such as retrieve or easy agility obsticles. I'm a big believer in tricks, I think that's a great way to bond with your dog as well as exercising her mind. If you're clicker training, you could play the game, "101 things to do with a box", look it up on www.clickertraining.com, that's an easy way to tire her out.
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