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Self-Training Border Collies?


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So, I've noticed suddenly that if I hold my arm out to my side when I'm walking Buddy, a motion like a "sock puppet talking" (pressing my thumb and extended, flattened fingers open and closed), and say "right here," Buddy will walk alongside me by that hand, or behind me, without going ahead of me. In fact, when I tried it this afternoon, he went directly behind me as if I had said, "single file, dogs in the back."

 

Now, I've NEVER taught him this trick. I taught him "right here," which meant walk off to the side of the trail if another person/dog was coming. But I never attempted to teach him to walk beside/behind me rather than in front. He must have been picking up on subtle visual cues I've been giving as we've walked, and I must have been doing some kind of signalling that I didn't realize.

 

Another time, that first winter I had Buddy, he self-taught the word "mitten." I went to get ready for a walk, found that he had carried my mitten away from its usual resting place, and I said, "Oh, where is that mitten!?" He walked right to it and looked at me, as if to say, "Here it is!" I had never taught him "mitten," but had apparently used the word enough in his presence for him to teach himself.

 

Do any of your dogs ever surprise you with self-trained behaviors!?

 

Mary

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Oh yeah all the time

Some things I want to train him take ages but stuff he makes up himself

 

When I come in to take him out for a walk i put my big waterproof shoes on - which need thick sock for

So for the last couple of weeks when I come in Ben meets me at the door with the thick socks in his mouth (then pulls at my trousers to get me to MOVE - how rude!)

He runs into his crate when I turn the alarm of in the morning (because when he was not quite toilet trained months ago I crated him when I went to the loo in the morning)

When he sees some of his friends i the other side of the park and he wants to run over and play he 'downs' and then all tense ready to run looks at me till I go 'on you go then' (his go outside to the loo command!)

 

There is also the ones I dont want - like when he knows someone has treats in the park every so often he will decide he needs a treat and runs over to then and licks his lips - if they are not looking he jumps up - and that always gets him a treat (I did have him trained not to jump up but other dog owners ruined that but treating him for jumping up)

 

Oh haha and the mitten reminded me - when I cant see his ball and I go 'wheres your ball?' he runs over to it, smacks it with his paw and then walks off - like 'there it is now you go get it'

 

Never really thought about how much they just train themselves!!

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