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New puppy - so many questions

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I just recently (4 weeks ago) adopted a 3 month old BC from a shelter, so Orbit is now 4 months old. He is a wonderful little guy most of the time. I have an older BC cross (that i rescued when she was 2 years old) that is quite possibly the best dog ever and so i have some experience with dogs but not with puppies. I was hopig to get some input because i have a phobia of doing things wrong now and messing my dog up later. Here are my issues so far:


Coming when called. There are times when he bounds over like it is the best thing ever and then other times he appears to not even hear me (as in, he doesn't even flinch) or he looks at me and decides not to listen. If this is normal puppy stuff - great! I don't put him into dangerous situations so for now it is not a safety thing but i am wondering how much non-listening is normal. Also, besides the treat and praise thing (which we do), anything else i can do?


Rough play with other dogs. He plays really well with bigger dogs and is respectful when they tell him off. It's the little dogs that are the problem. He really likes to chase, pounce and occasionally use his teeth. I have found that terriers are a good match for him and seem to enjoy his style of play, but anything that tries to run (usually chihuaha-types) is promptly underneath Orbit. Again- normal puppy behaviour or something that will manifest into bigger problems later? Just yesterday i did have a minor breakthough - there was a small dog at the beach and after an initial pounce (just to clarify - he is not trying to hurt the other dog, he just doesn't differentiate between rottie playmate and chihuaha), i told him to leave it and he did. Maybe he got it or maybe there were more interesting things going on.


Corrections. I have been reading various posts over the last few weeks and have read several times that BCs are "soft" dogs. I took this to mean that it shouldn't take much to reprimmand them. I find that sometimes i will call him off of something (digging a hole, chewing his leash) and he just looks at me and then continues to do it. Or he looks at me and stops but 2 seconds later he is at it again. Again, not sure if this is puppyness or a disrespectful dog. I try to make sure that he knows that i am the alpha. I walk through the door first (as does my other dog) while he sits. We stop games when i say we're done.


That's it for now. Sorry for the marathon post, i just want to do as much right as possible. He is such a great little guy and i don't want to be teaching him any bad habits.






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He sure is a cutie! I'm sure other people can chime in with better answers than mine, but I can help you a little bit. First with recalls; the best way to get a dog to come to you is to make high pitched noises and high-tail it in the opposite direction! You might look crazy, but its a sure fire way to get his attention and send him running back to you.


Also, I would try not to see his bad behavior as being disrespectful, or even as normal puppy stuff. If he doesn't come when called, or does something else bad, its simply because he doesn't understand exactly what you want, or doesn't see the value in it. Dogs, frankly, just aren't very smart. They don't have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong, they simply do things that are rewarding for them. When he misbehaves, try to think on his level. Digging and playing with other dogs is very rewarding for him, so you have to be even more rewarding in his eyes; otherwise he'll continue what he's doing. It doesn't mean he's disrespectful; it simply means he's a dog! Try to build up the value of recalls and the "leave it" command in distraction-free environments, like in your living room. Use a treat or toy he is crazy about to reward him. You can gradually move into more distracting environments.


When you try and discourage any behavior, like digging or leash chewing, reward him for the absence of that behavior. The second he stops the behavior (after you call him off it or he stops on his own) mark it with "Yes!" or with a clicker and give him a wonderful treat or toy. He has to realize that not doing these behaviors is even more rewarding than doing them. If you loved to listen to a certain band but your mother always told you not to, would you stop? I wouldn't. But what if she gave you $100 every time you didn't listen to them?

Anyway, I hope you have fun with your new puppy. And good luck with him! :rolleyes:

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Welcome! Thanks for rescuing a shelter youngster! It sounds like you will be a thoughtful and caring owner, and this little guy (and his older "brother") are two lucky dogs.


You got some very good advice in the previous post. You might also want to use the "search" function at the top of the page to find some very good (and recent) threads concerning puppy training and puppy problems (and how to deal with them).


One thought in terms of pups and the recall is to not let them outside without a lead, long line, or similar device so that they can't learn that they can ignore or get away from you. Sometimes, for a pup that doesn't return when called, the "keep away" game can be very rewarding - pup runs, you follow, let's play chase! Many trainers advise not letting a youngster off the lead or long line until the dog is 100% compliant with the recall command. This can take some months.


However, if you are working indoors or in a smaller yard, you can let the pup off but, if he doesn't respond when you call the first time (assuming he understands the command - you must have already taught it and the lead or long line is a handy helper for that because you can gently "reel him in" if he doesn't respond to your command), you can chose to walk him down - walk towards/to him in a serious (but not frightening) manner that let's him know you mean what you say and, when he does allow you to touch him or take hold of his collar, remember to not scold him but let him think that contact with you is the best thing in the world. The recall (or at least the point at which you two "make contact" should always be positive and never negative. Also, instead of walking him down (with a young pup), you can turn and go the other way with lots of noise or excitement, and he will most likely find that more interesting and follow you.


Treats can also be a helpful training aid as long as they are not overdone and you wean him off the treats once the good behavior is established and he knows what you are asking of him when you give the command.


Pups can be very rough and normally, their mothers and littermates let them know when they have gone too far and correction them in no uncertain terms. However, some pups will view little dogs as just small playmates and, unless the little dog stands up for him/herself (or you do the same, as you have seen), a youngster will often get carried away with rough play. After all, the other dog hasn't let him know that it's not acceptable to him/her. There is a certain amount of time in a young pup's life where he/she has "puppy license" or adult dogs will let the pup get away with things they would not accept from an adult dog or older youngster.


You have seen that the "leave it" command is very useful - you can train it well by sitting in a chair or standing in the kitchen (or other place with a hard floor), and dropping a small bit of a treat. When the pup comes to investigate, put your foot gently over the treat and say "leave it". The pup will look at your foot, maybe even touch it with his paw, but shortly he will look up at you and that's when you say "good boy" and give him something even more enjoyable. (Like the $100 reward mentioned above.) A pup can learn "leave it" very quickly with a few training sessions like this and it can be one of those lifesaver commands sometime in his future.


Many Border Collies can be quite soft but some can be quite stubborn. Like their appearance, their personalities can vary quite a bit. The important thing is that you are fair, consistent, and clear in your training, commands. and corrections.


Very best wishes! (and you thought you were long-winded!)

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Good for you for getting a rescue.

Orbit is a fabulous name!!

He is gorgeous!!!!!

I have no advice becaue I was too lazy to read the entire thing. I just looked at the pretty pictures!

Good luck, you have come to the right spot!

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