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We just adopted a 1 to 2 year old Border Collie Mix (we think she is a mix anyhow). She has been an absolute joy. I guess my question is, can anyone give me some basics on the Border Collies psyche? I have only owned one dog in my life. She passed away after 15 years last August (insert tear here). She was a malamute/akita mix so having adopted a border collie mix I am kind of at a loss on how to communicate. The 2 dogs are so different. So far our new dog, Tess (her name) is really well behaved, but I do want to work on a few things and i dont exactly know how to let her know when she has done something wrong. With my old dog we would use a loud deep voice, grab her by the scruff of her neck, shake her and say no. I just sense that will tramatize my litte Tess. She wants to get on the furniture and she wants to nip at my ankles when we play. Those are two things I would like to discourage, everythign else I think can be fixed with positive reforcement, like come when i call and stay when I say stay. Any words of wisdom to help us get off on the right foot would be great!

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With my old dog we would use a loud deep voice, grab her by the scruff of her neck, shake her and say no. I just sense that will tramatize my litte Tess.

 

I think you're right. Border collies tend to be sensitive dogs who are very observant and responsive. They like subtlety. Harsh corrections (and even over-exuberant praise)are usually sensory overload to them, and interfere with their learning. For example, I would be alert for the first tensing of her muscles to jump on the sofa, say "No" or "Ahhp" a little sharply at that moment, and immediately call her over to you to be patted. Expect to have to repeat this several times til she generalizes it and figures out what you mean. Watch her closely to see how she's reacting to any correction you give, and scale up or down accordingly.

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When your dog does something you don't want her to do, a small sharp sound like Eileen said, and then direct her to what you DO want her to do. Set her up to succeed. Put her on her dog bed with a great bone to chew on, and praise her for being there. If she tries to get up on the furnature, gently tell her no and direct her back to her bed, praise, praise praise. If she keeps trying the furnature, then a small Ahhp! or No! and direct her back to her bed, praise praise praise. When she choses her bed, throw a party! Always follow a correction with direction to what you WANT her to do. She'll learn a bunch faster what you want, if you teach her, rather then just telling her No, and letting her guess what you do want.

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To sum up the Border Collie, he is like the ultimate friend, totally devoted to you and wants to do exactly what you want him to do. When he does something wrong he does not realize it. When you ask him to do something, in his extreme enthusiasm he may act like he is not doing what you want. However, his brain is going beyond the speed of light to process your command and fulfill it. Kind of like telling your child that you are taking him to the beach but he has to rake leaves first. He will get some of the leaves raked up but it may look worse than when he first started. You all will have the best time in your life at the beach though.

 

The Border Collie is the best friend and closest companion you will ever have. A bored Border Collie is the worst nightmare you will ever have. Now, would you ever take your best friend who is sensitive to your every need and grab him by the neck to scold him? Its all up to you.

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Great advice from Eileen and Kristin. My Alex and Jack (mix) are very responsive to the smallest corrections, and usually the "ahhhht!" is all it takes.

 

No need for a sledgehammer if a tack hammer will do.

 

Exactly!

 

And, welcome, by the way. Got any pics of your new one?

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Welcome to the world of BCs! You'll be amazed at their intellgence, willingness to please and loyality.

 

I think one of the keys to a happy BC is exercise, exercise and exercise. Not only physical but mental. Toss in some discipline to even things out. A BC with lots of excess energy is a time bomb. :rolleyes:

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