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  1. She hasn't broken skin yet, fortunately, but she left a sizable bruise on my wife's arm. There are a few scenarios where she bites, some are nips, some are more than that. She'll often 'mouth' or gently attempt to chew when we pet her. She'll do that or graduate to a slightly more forceful 'nip' when we attempt to put on her collar, harness, or leash. In either situation we offer a "no" and usually stop the activity that got her to do it in the first place. Sometimes she'll get too excited during training and nip when receiving a treat. More concerning, she'll sometimes nip if she wants attention and we're doing something other than play with her. She'll go for the calves or thighs most often. Most concerning of all is the biting itself, but also the most understandable in a way. She gets too excited during play sessions and gets a good bite in. It has happened during tug (She goes for the hand because clearly that's what's keeping the toy), she'll do it during fetch (when you go to pick up the ball most often) or even just if she's tearing around the yard and sees you, she'll come charging over and jump/bite. That's the one that bruised my wife. Aside from people, she bites at other dogs during play, most often the ears, and any time she pulls on her leash and it prevents her from moving she'll immediately turn and bite at it.
  2. Once again, thanks to everyone who has participated in this thread. I think that it's safe to say that all of the suggestions and support have done a great deal to persuade us to keep on working with Sunny. The last few days have been challenging, we've seen both good behavior and very bad. On the upside, we've learned that it's possible to get her to 'chill' at least for a short time, and, most importantly, such behavior doesn't take 3 hours of exercise to achieve. On the flip side, we've found that Sunny is very stubborn and isn't going to take attempts to change her behavior lying down. Both my wife and I have taken hard bites since this weekend, and the pup will blatantly ignore commands that she knows if she's in a particular mood. It seems that she behaves much much better when we're around for a longer period of time. On the weekend when we could spend most of the day with her she chilled easily and fairly consistently, it's quite wonderful really. During the week she seems to be punishing us for not being home for long stretches. One way or the other, we're sticking with this. She can be a sweet girl when she wants to be, we just need to get her to 'want to be' more often than not.
  3. Hah, thank you for all the comments on the hardwood. Those floors were an adventure certainly. The downside is that now I wince at every scrape, scratch, and dent I put in them, and believe me I've put in a lot. For the questions/suggestions about the Kong: We've looked up some recipes online. Mostly we fill it with peanut butter, stuff it with a few treats, then freeze it. Generally she'll chew at it until she gets out everything in close reach, toss it against the wall a couple times to try to dislodge everything, then gives up with plenty of stuffing left. Cleaning them is interesting. She LOVES peanut butter, it's the only non-dog food she gets and it's just about her favorite thing, but even that can't overcome her attention span. That's a really good idea, I'm going to see if I can find a good one, maybe with a nice padded human end. She chews on her lease incessantly, maybe that will get her to stop. Also it makes her look tough. (Did I mention we were hoping for an intimidating watchdog? Yeah she's a big wuss) Thanks for the suggestions on both of those (from lots of people), I'm looking into getting a copy of both. She weighed 40 lbs about 2 weeks ago but is growing very fast. She could be a Saint Bernard for all my ability to pick out breeds. There was a time when we thought she might be an Apenzeller or its larger relative the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, a breed that we had strongly considered before we talked about rescuing. One person even told us she looked like she had the rear-end of a boxer. The only consistent breeds we've heard are border collie and shepherd. Nice, I'll see if we can add this to her list of games Oh she'll pull forever, and she's not that big/strong so there's not that much effort on my side. Actually I wonder if I'm supposed to let her win a little bit and occasionally get it away from me? This is one of my biggest concerns. She's not horrible around them, but she isn't that great either. She definitely wants to play, she drops her front paws down and lifts her butt right up in the air. The cats, however, do not want the same. Both cats lived a couple years with a french bulldog and things were pretty acceptable. The dog would occasionally chase but mostly he would ignore them. Also they could beat him up pretty handily (Maine Coon cats, around 13lbs each). They don't usually bolt at the first sign of her, they're pretty good about just walking calmly by. The problem is that if she spots them 1 of 3 things happens: 1: The cat gets spooked by the dog running at her and tries to find someplace high. After the cat jumps up the dog will start trotting around the house whining/barking. 2: The cat will stand its ground or keep walking slowly, in which case Sunny will use her paws to bat, push over, or 'squash' the cat, which will cause either option 1 or 3 to occur. 3: The cat will say 'enough' and go into go into samurai mode, usually getting a couple good swipes on the dog before Sunny backs off enough for them to return to option 1 or 2. In the end the cat never makes it where she wants to be unless we intervene, the dog will 'play' this 'game' forever and the cats eventually get sick of it. The biggest problem is when one gets up the courage to jump up on a lap. That is completely unacceptable to Sunny who will ignore all rules in an attempt to get that cat off of her humans. During her more docile moments its possible to distract her with pets for a while, so I have some hope there. My wife has started reading this thread and took more interest in my own posts than the ones offering advice . I am apparently wrong about a few things and she offers the following addendum to my post: 1: I like Sunny as well, it wasn't just her who wanted to adopt her 2: Her schedule isn't the same daily, so Sunny can do two 4-hours segments in the crate before and after lunch, though she also sometimes gets out early in the afternoon 3: I don't always get outside for all the walks I'd like to. When that happens I do attempt to substitute in another activity, like fetching, for a similar amount of time. 4: She's only aggressive with SOME other dogs (the trigger seems to be big dogs with floppy ears) 5: When I said that the thought of an uber-fit but still hyper dog made me "weep softly" aparently that makes me sound creepy. I'm not actually creepy. I thought it was funny... 6: My description makes her sound like a bad dog when my wife assures you she is not. Still she couldn't tell me that any of the situations I describe in my first post aren't true She also says that I posted a horrible picture, so here we go:
  4. Wow, thank you so much for all the replies to this message. Apologies if I don't quote someone, I'm trying to hit all the main ideas but the board said I hit my limit on quotes. I just don't know how to "enforce" calmness I suppose. When put in her crate while unwilling, for example, she'll attack anything within reach or the bars if the crate is bare. Similarly with the sitting at my feat, she'd get more and more antsy until she was chomping through her leash and/or jumping all over me whining. My fears are similar to what I say above. I'm certainly going to try this because if it works it sounds wonderful, but I can just picture 30 minutes of straight whining and jumping, and possibly the death of a leash or two. If I only react when she's done something I don't want her to do (eating the restraining device or chair) won't this exercise reinforce the idea of bad attention? I'll work on this certainly. What did you do during the "timeouts" when the pup barked or whined to get out of the confinement? Do you reset your timer? Also 'painted_ponie' about crating when she goes after the cats: She's ok with the crate during the work day, but during the day while we're around it's instant barking, kong or no kong. We didn't go through crate training with her, she was used to it when she arrived. I'm really nervous about associating the crate with anything close to bad behavior. Any advice for getting her to actually enjoy her time in there even when given an alternative? Thanks to everyone for the laser pointer suggestions. I'll make sure to cease with that particular toy right away. We had it for the cats who will, one day, catch that darn laser. I've noticed this, she sits bolt upright when that clicker goes. Still its a solid indication that she's done a good thing. Tough call there. I'm not sure what a nose work class is. Plus myriad other quotes about another canine friend... I've thought about the 2nd dog thing actually. My first cat was super destructive during the day so I went back and got her littermate and it was a great decision, they keep each other entertained to this day. I could see doing something similar here, but a 2nd dog just seems like a whole other level. 2 cats doesn't feel like a big step from 1, 2 dogs on the other hand... I'm not sure I could handle it. It sounds both good and bad at the same time, but without a firm indication either way I'm going to maintain the status quo. I already feel like I live in a zoo The fetching/playing varies day to day, it's not as structured as the walks which are dictated by my work schedule. Mostly, though, its all on her. She'll fetch for 5 minutes then get bored with it. Then she'll tug for 5 minutes and get bored with it. I'd do more but she loses interest in everything so fast. Being all kinds of new here I'm not gonna touch the back and forth on fetching and frisbee. I'll say that when we do it its brief and gentle, not mad jumping or anything like that. She usually watches the ball roll then jogs off after it, often losing interest before she arrives. Trying to answer misc other questions/comments: I live in Albany, NY. I'm interested in both agility and flyball as an outlet for her, not just physical but mental but for right now I'm just trying to survive. In case it was poorly worded in the main post, she's 9 months old and we've had her for just about a month. SetSail: So they HAVE perfected cloning. You just described young Sunny. And this is sadly the only good shot I have of her, the one time I can remember when she wasn't a blur of movement or crated:
  5. I've heard myth and rumor, but I have no idea how to go about this. It would be wonderful though. Believe me this thought has kept me up at nights weeping softly to myself. Yes! This is one of my biggest concerns, I'm positive that she's doing this intentionality. When she's seeking attention she'll jump on a counter or chase or bark/whine like mad. The problem is that I don't know how to deal with it. If she's on the counter or attacking a cat I can't ignore her, I need to stop her. Otherwise she gets to 'play' with the cat or eat food off the counter and has earned a 'reward' one way or the other, either from my attention or from the object in question. When she's calm, on those very rare occasions, I praise and pet as best I can every time and she likes it, but that hasn't made a dent yet. How can I not give attention when she's bad? A great idea. I've tried this a couple times but no consistently so I will work on it more often. The only problem I run into is that she gets bored with this eventually and wants more intense play. I can't tell you how happy I am to hear that an expectation like this is realistic. This is exactly what I'm hoping to one day have with this pup. A couple weeks ago I had a deadline and had to work into the night at home. Would have been bad enough but the dog seeking attention at the same time made it one of the worst nights of my life, no exaggeration. Nearly quit my job the next day. Overall, thank you so much to everyone for so many consistent comments that I don't need to spend more time exercising her. That alone has completely changed my attitude and day. The thought of spending my days moving from work to dog exercise to bed and then back to work with no break in between had me past the end of my rope, and the idea from several BC owners that this exercise regimen sounds sufficient is just new life for me. To answer a couple questions, yes she's crate trained and that's where she resides during work hours. We're also working with the clicker extensively both in class and at home. Please, any and all advice on this 'off-switch' or any way to train a dog to be calm, greatly appreciated. I'll definitely try the leash near the couch and the massage trick, see if they help.
  6. It's a combination formula made up to 2 parts adrenalin, 1 part rocket fuel, several scoops of sugar, all mixed with redbull. She came from the shelter with "chicken soup for the dog's soul" and we've kept on with that, the ingredients looked reasonable enough. I've talked about shifting her to Neutro but haven't done it yet. Thanks for the replies so far. Jodi, I hate to say it but we've considered, seriously, bringing her back to the rescue. This forum post is really trying to find out if there's a light at the end of this tunnel. I'd feel horrible both for the pup and for my wife, not to mention feeling like I'd failed as a dog owner, but I also don't want to force this to 'work' if in reality no one is going to be happy in the end anyways. It's a last resort but it is, sadly, still on the table. I can't tell if its physical exertion that's the problem or not. She seems to get "bored" with stuff, mentally more than physically. I could play fetch with her at our park here for far longer than she could sustain it and that would exhaust her well enough, but she won't play for more than a few minutes. Same with walking, after a time she'll whine and pull hard for home. Training is the same, after a short session she doesn't care anymore. Even when she's entertaining herself with a kong or other toy, she'll play for a few minutes then switch, then run to her water bowl, then back, over and over and over. We want to bleed her energy but the things we try to do only work for a short time before she gets unhappy. She's clearly still hyper when she gets home, but she doesn't really want to do other stuff, she wants to chase and jump. We've tried clickers and treats when she fetches, etc, but she drops the food right out and ignores it when she's in these moods.
  7. I joined the forum here because I really need some comments/advice (and maybe just to vent a little). I've had a 9 month old rescued border collie for about a month now and, to be honest, it hasn't been going too well. For background: My wife and I both work 8 hours slightly out-of-phase from each other, and I come home for lunch, meaning the dog spends two 3-hour periods alone during weekdays. We're both runners, but not horribly active outside aside from that (no hiking, mountain climbing, farming, country picnics). We live in a city with a small fenced back yard. We attend a dog obedience class once a week. We spent the last 6 or so months planning and researching so we could rescue a puppy. The moment we arrived at the shelter we became 12-year-old children and forgot most of what we'd been planning. My wife fell in love with Sunny, said to be a german shepherd mix, and we brought her home. I was a little concerned that the German is a high-energy breed, but my sister had a german in an urban area and it worked out fine with plenty of walking. Of course Sunny has been verified by the vet and multiple trainers to be Border Collie, possibly with german mix, but Border Collie primarily. She's a good dog overall, and I know that. She sleeps 4-out-of-5 nights without barking (though that 5th night she'll bark all night without tiring). She picks up on commands very quickly. She's only had a few accidents in the house. She's velcro-like and loves people. She hasn't destroyed anything of particular value. The problem: I'm just not sure we have the energy level for this dog. Right now I walk her morning, noon, and afternoon totaling about 2 hours. My wife plays fetch and tug with her when she gets home. The walks and playtime just aren't enough, she runs around the house like a mad-dog jumping from couch to table to chair (she's been taught not to get on the furniture). She's turning the back yard into a moonscape trying to dig out. She chases our 2 cats around the house. She's broken 1 crate, has started on a 2nd (metal btw), and has destroyed 2 blankets and a doggie bed. She's extremely jumpy and very nippy. Whenever we stop her from doing these things (usually with a 'no' or a come/sit command) she'll whine and whine until she suddenly starts going again. This will go on and on and on until finally she'll collapse in her bed for 5 minutes, whining the whole time, then she'll go again. Alternatively she'll move from one bad behavior to another. If we stop her from chasing the cats, she'll immediately jump on the table, if we stop her from that she'll immediately start biting at the furniture, etc. Training has been very hard. She knows the cues, she gets them very very quickly, but she ignores them a LOT. She not interested in treats and calm training or even games training like fetch, she's much more interested in running at full gallop or jumping and nipping. She's very aggressive with other dogs. Not fighting, but very hard play, bites and pulls at ears, etc. It's nerve wracking and even the trainer, who is very used to dogs being rough, has expressed concern over how crazy she gets. I know that some of this is puppy stuff. I know we can work hard on training for the jumping, for the biting, and things like that. I have to be honest though, I just don't think that the exercise she's getting is enough, and I don't know how much more we have to give. Spending 2-3 hours a day dedicated to nothing but trying to wear the dog out is about our limit when combined with work, sleep, chores, and (on a good day) an hour to sit down and read or watch TV. We're exhausted and frustrated, and I'm sure Sunny is frustrated too, she just wants to play more! Will it get better? As I said, we're both runners. The vet advised us to wait until 15 months to run with her. When we're able to take her it will be a bit of a 2-birds-1-stone situation where we can exercise her at the same time we get something we need to do out of the way. Will it be enough to tire her out though? Say an hour a day on average, will that make a significant dent in this energy level? My concern is that her frustration and acting-out comes also from hours spent, rather than just workout intensity. Is some of this due to her age? I've read over and over again the border collies can stay puppies forever, but will there be any calming as she grows older and, if so, when will it come? My biggest concern: Is this fair to her? Again, being 100% honest with myself, 2-3 hours of pure dog time is difficult to come by and I don't think I've got more to give. Of course she spends the day with us doing our chores and whatever else we're doing, but I'm talking about purely focused on wearing her out. Is this lifestyle going to be enough for a border collie? We didn't go into this with the idea that "yeah, we want a border collie," it just kind of happened, and I'm not sure this is a dog breed that just happens and then is happy/fits well. Random Thoughts To wrap up I wanted to mention a few things we've been working with. We've got lots of kong products, including the wobbler which dispenses food when she plays with it. That's how she gets her dinner and it uses up some of her energy. We stuff kongs and she'll play with those for a few minutes before getting bored. We have a laser pointer we use to try to bleed some energy. We try to get her outside as much as possible but she's very skittish and scared of most noises, even the wind. She much prefers being inside which is tough because our house isn't big enough to really exercise her. Walks can be tough because sometimes she just doesn't want to go anymore, she just wants to go home. My wife loves this dog, absolutely loves her, but is just as exhausted as I am and also doesn't have more time to give. She keeps saying she'll do more, she'll wear the dog out, but after a month its just not happening, we're just out of hours in the day. She's getting bolder with the cats, and no command will get through to her while she's sited in on one of them. There's been one incident so far that drew blood (from the pup), and I'm concerned about it. She can be great with them, sometime's she'll just lie there and let them wander without a problem, but sometimes she just WANTS them and nothing is stopping her. Thank you in advance for absolutely any advice you can give me. I feel awful that this pup isn't getting the attention and workout that she needs, and I really want to make things better. If nothing else, thank you for reading and letting me vent a little, it helps to talk about this stuff. Please don't hate me for being so unsure about this puppy.
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