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Hints for my Border Collie Puppy


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Well, Santa went berserk this Christmas and got the youngest daughter a puppy. She (the puppy) is actually 3/4 border collie and 1/4 kelpie. Chosen after very careful research, so I do have an idea what I've gotten myself into! I am mommy to all in the house, so of course the pup is probably more "mine" than my daughter's. Well, I'm in love to say the least. Star is now 4.5 months old and she already knows sit, lay down, wait, bring it, enough. We are working on stay right now. This pup learns in one or two sessions--the challenge is keeping her motivated to want to do it!

 

Anyway, I could go on all day like a proud Mama. My main question is this--when do I start training her in earnest for something? The basics are coming so quickly, but I don't want to overwhelm her, either. Not sure if agility, flyball, or herding trials is the way I should go. Also, are there any tips as to how to identify the activity your dog would excel at? finally, I know I should give her a "job"--but when? Any ideas on what her "job" should be?

 

I love this forum, thanks for having me!

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I'm working on it...please have patience with the technical idiot that I am...the home office server is down and I need to id the issue.

 

Is Merry a bc/kelpie mix? I see the ears straight up and the markings, which seem kind of like Star!

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welcome and congrats on your new addition! pictures are mandatory!!! :rolleyes:

Okay, okay! '-) I have an avatar pic now. I'll post a few others, but I don't want to wear you all out with it! Also, though I like photography as a hobby, I am having a heck of a time getting a good pic of her!

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Okay, okay! '-) I have an avatar pic now. I'll post a few others, but I don't want to wear you all out with it! Also, though I like photography as a hobby, I am having a heck of a time getting a good pic of her!

What else do you need to know? We live near Denton, Texas on 1 acre. No livestock--just a really big yard. I work part-time, and mostly from home. So, it's no wonder the pup and I have bonded so well. Star comes from a ranch in Valley View. Saw her mother and uncle working and they were quite impressive, even to my ignorant eye. Absolutely nothing at all was asked of her and she was almost entirely outdoors (only in in foul weather in an unheated trailer on the ranch). I think this history is causing house training to come a long a little more slowly than it might otherwise, but she is making good progress.

 

I have two daughters, age 8 and 10 and a wonderful husband of 17 years. We also have a 10 year old hound/gsp mix named Seven. that we rescued as a pup. She is the best dog in the world and is loving Star. She has picked up and played with toys she hasn't touched for over 5 years (mostly playing tug and "keep away" with the puppy). Our cat, Lady, is almost 19 and is completely under-impressed with the puppy. If cats could roll their eyes, she would.

 

Here's another pic on Christmas morning:

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I like to ride horses, have taught and shown hunters most of my life in my spare time. Star is terribly smart, ADHD, and clever (not always in a good way! :-)). I think that doing herding trials would be incredibly cool. Is there a way to do this if you don't have a herd of some sort? It seems there might be?

 

Another of Star--Christmas morning.

post-10937-1265410783_thumb.jpg

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Aww, thank you!

Shes cute cute cute

I was in your same boots a few months ago my BC came from Tioga incidently

 

I am no BC expert so I have searched asked and read anything I could to keep him happy

found this board just the other day THANKFULLY

I have found a few minutes of any game works well a few times a day and of course walks and fetching my guy is 10 months now but it really helped the puppyhood insanity...

 

Crate Games by Susan Garrett is his fave and no stress on joints but good mental play

Smartflix rents these DVDs for 10 bucks

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It is never too early to start training for a dog sport. There are physical limitations till they are a year old as to what they can do but there is ALOT of foundations you can do meanwhile to make them the best athlete you possibly can. I would suggest joining a club that does your required sport whether it be agility/herding or flyball. They can show you how to have a working relationship and work together as a team. As for keeping her motivated i don't understand this if you are using yummy enough treats or fun enough toys you shouldn't have to motivate them your pup should love training with you. My girls go ballistic when they see my clicker and are ready to have fun.

 

As long as she understands what is asked of her then you wouldn't be able to overwhelm her. I had my first dog before she was six month old know most of her 30+ tricks and then agility and her obedience commands. They are like children they soak up whatever you teach them. Just as long as you think she really understands each command before moving on to the next one. I am doing things slower with my newest pup who is nearly 7 months but she still has learnt alot and what she does know is rock solid. Good luck with your training, it so exciting. Soon you won't be able to wait till she's old enough to compete. I have waited nearly 19 months and now me and Myla have our first competition in 2 weeks! So exciting!

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I'm just getting into sports myself, but my suggestion would be to lay a lot of groundwork before you start any formal classes or anything. You want your bond to be rock-solid. Once you've got the basics down, work on some silly tricks. Work on recall a lot. Work on targeting an object. In the meantime, your pup is growing, so by the time you're ready to start classes, your pup is physically ready to do what is asked of her.

 

As far as motivation, try some irresistible treats. You don't have to stick to dog treats, either. Chicken or beef heart, liver, and other organs can be cut up and cooked. Small pieces of chicken work well. I like to keep a small jar of "dog peanut butter" around (a jar that you can dip into with a finger after the dog has licked it clean). Popcorn, hotdogs, and cheese are also favorites. And if your pup is more motivated by toys than by treats, use a ball, tug toy, or frisbee as a motivator.

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Whoah! Uncanny resemblance to my Seamus!

130-1.jpg

 

My advice is to work on attention games and building confidence. If you start with a dog that is not afraid of the equipment, the early stages of sports are a breeze. Of course, I have no idea how to actually raise a fearless dog, as my older dog came to me that way, but it has made training agility much easier. With Seamus I'm just working on basics (sit, down, target, watch me, leave it) and letting him follow my older dog around to learn the ropes.

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Is Merry a bc/kelpie mix? I see the ears straight up and the markings, which seem kind of like Star!

Her name isn't Merry; "Merry Meet" is a Wiccan greeting. :rolleyes:

The dog's name is Annie; she is a purebred, ABCA-registered rough-coat Border Collie,

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Whoah! Uncanny resemblance to my Seamus!

130-1.jpg

 

My advice is to work on attention games and building confidence. If you start with a dog that is not afraid of the equipment, the early stages of sports are a breeze. Of course, I have no idea how to actually raise a fearless dog, as my older dog came to me that way, but it has made training agility much easier. With Seamus I'm just working on basics (sit, down, target, watch me, leave it) and letting him follow my older dog around to learn the ropes.

 

I'll say! They do look so much alike!

Thanks to everyone for the feedback. I have been working on stay now, which is hard for her as a pup that wants to be close to me. Also, when we go for walks, been working on sit when a car comes (she really wants to chase it!). I also changed "Come" to "Here" in case we start trying to do some sheep trialing down the road. She is a pretty brave girl, but a few things have thrown her for a loop-the singing santa chew toy was evil to her, and it took her about 30 minutes to be convinced to approach a paper bag and get her ball out of it. With my husband and kids, this pup will be so used to weird situations by the time she's one I don't think we'll ever have a problem with timidness. I'm not sure what target means. If it means pay attention to something she has that in spades when it comes to her toys. She's so intent on them that she literally shrugs off a pet until she gets the toy.

I have also been reading about sheep trials. I think I will try this when she gets older. It sounds like a ton of fun. Hopefully, I can find someone not too far away who would help me train her (I couldn't send her off for training).

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I'm not sure what target means.

 

Target actually has two means as far as I know, and both are really helpful in the early stages of agility. The first is to teach the dog to target to your hand, meaning that your dog will touch and follow your hand on command. It's pretty easy to teach - just start with your hand by her face and when she touches it with her nose, click and treat. Eventually you should be able to get her to touch your hand from several feet away and follow it around if you want to direct her somewhere. This is an incredibly useful thing to learn because it can be used for lots of other things - heel work, tricks, etc.

 

The other form of targeting involves teaching your dog to run away from you and to a specific point. You start by taking some flat physical object, usually a tupperware top or paper plate or something along those lines, put a treat on it and place it a few feet in front of your dog. The idea is to send your dog to the "target" and then get her to come back to you. The idea here is that when you actually get on the agility equipment, you can place the target on the other side of an obstacle and the dog will know that it is supposed to go to that point. Eventually you start using a smaller and smaller target until the dog figures out what you want and will run through, for example, a jump shoot, without actually seeing a target.

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