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These babies were literally rescued!


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Hi all, I've been a lurker since these pups came into my life, and tho it took a while, I think I know what I'm going to do with them now . . .


On July 28, my husband came home with two six week old border collie puppies. They were the last two in a litter of six, and the previous owner was going to throw them in the river that night when he got drunk enough . . . well, this IS Idaho after all.


They weren't weaned, so they went downhill fast. A trip to the vet for IV hydration and worming turned them right around. They are two females: Bobbie Jo is pure smooth coat with a tiny bit of white blaze, and black body. All four legs are brown with black freckles. She was apparently the "runt". Bella is more rough coated and "typical" BC in appearance, white muzzle and blaze, one blue eye. Both are tri colored, and Bella's legs are tan with white feets.


I am so glad I found this board, because I wouldn't have known what kind of activity level and intelligent mayhem to expect!!


I live in the Idaho panhandle on 20 acres with 19 chickens, 7 toulouse geese, and 10 LaMancha goats. The whole property is fenced for goats and horses. All the animals free range on it, so you can imagine what a smorgasboard of stimulation it is.


I am the primary caretaker for the farm, and of course, for the dogs. We also have a basenji/sheltie mix, Boogie, who is 4 yrs olds. If anyone of you has or knows a basenji, they are as exotic in their care and training as a BC, except they don't care as much to please you. Thank god for Boogie's sheltie influence.


Already, Bella gets in front of the herd of goats, and that sweet, sweet little face turns hard and she stares right in their eyes while she runs side to side. I just noted this behavior as interesting, but then read about "heading", so she's a natural.


Their sire is a well known local dog, the ONLY dog in town allowed in stores, taverns, post office and restaraunts. His human is a logger, and apparently this dog, who weighs 65 pounds, can skid a log by himself on command . . .


So where I'm at now is this. They behave themselves with the most basic commands, their name, sits, stay (for a few moments) and "leave it". They of course chase the poultry (WAY BIG no no), and are getting better about "leave it". For BCs this is not enough, and we have a small house and 4 ft of snow from November to March and will need activities. Plus, a livestock chasing dog will be shot around here, and if God forbid they made it outside the fence and chased someone's cattle . . .


I have Karen Pryor's book Don't Shoot the Dog, and now would like to use clicker training. I tried using a long lead, but we're in the woods and the tangling was hopeless.


There are no trainers within 80 miles. I am at home 24/7, and will have to learn from books, DVDs, and from more experienced owners. My goal is for the dogs to do simple herding, LEAVE OFF CHASING THE CHICKENS, stop inciting the geese to attack them (they LOVE it when they geese go after them, they think they are playing, but the geese aren't!!). Also, for their mental development, games, tricks, etc.


Would you recommend ordering some material from Karen Pryor's site or another source? Thanks in advance for all replies.


I'll get some pics today and post them.

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I'm only beginning to learn about herding myself. Based on what I've seen so far, a big part of teaching a dog to work stock is teaching him/her when to *stop* working stock. So that would take care of two of your goals. :rolleyes:


As I said, I'm only a pre-beginner - but I don't think I'd bother with the clicker. And I clicker-trains my horses and have clicker-trained other non-BC dogs in the past.


I have learned that working a BC on stock is not like obedience training (which is what I've done in the past). You're not seeking to create and shape a behavior, as you are with the clicker - you're seeking to help the dog do more effectively what it already has a surprisingly amount of ability to do. It's a pretty amazing experience for an old obedience trainer.


I bet somebody on here can put you in touch with someone in your area who works their dogs on stock.


Oh, and good for you for taking in these babies!

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Sally - I think you hit it right on the nose! Not bad for a "pre-beginner" (and I love that description).


God bless you, Idahoe, and your wonderful husband for rescuing these babies! You sure do have your work cut out for you (in a very good way, of course).


I have found that a cheerful attitude, making yourself enticing, and good treats go a long way towards developing a good recall and other polite behaviors involving basic manners, and that's so essential. What you can accomplish when they are young will be good habits when they grow up.


There have been threads that included some techniques on "leave it" and you might use the search function to check them out. That said, while I've taught a great "leave it" to Celt (and Megan's quite good also) when it comes to stuff on the floor, etc., it's awful hard to break the bad habit of wanting to work stock that you don't want worked. That word, "habit", is an important one as you need to prevent unwanted behaviors where you can foresee the possibility of them developing. If you see an unwanted behavior happening, you need to "nip it in the bud" before it becomes a bad habit, which is much harder to break. Border Collies are fast learners and they can learn at light-speed when it's something you'd rather they didn't learn, but which they find enjoyable.


As for chasing the chickens, etc., if the dog doesn't desist when you give the "leave it", you may just have to take the dog and confine her when you are not able to stop the behavior. You may have to back up your command with a scruff-shake if the pup blows you off, if she isn't too sensitive.


Leaving the dogs outside the house without your supervision will allow them to develop bad habits so they need to stay with you if you are inside, can be with you outside (and that should prevent the issue of chasing neighbors' stock because they will always be under your supervision and control), or confined in crate or kennel when you can't be supervising them (don't allow them to be confined where they can watch your stock or other folks' stock or that will just compound the desire to interact with the stock). You can take one out with you to do chores and even put her on lead and attach it to your belt so she has to follow you around but isn't free to be "naughty" with chickens or geese.


About snow, my dogs love snow and if you can handle it (snowshoes or skis, maybe?) a walk/workout in snow is a great way to tire youngsters. Some folks even train their Border Collies to pull a sled (Liz P on this board has done so) with regular harnesses and all.


We use the Chuckit ball thrower for lots of exercise, especially when I can't get out and about to give longer walks. With two dogs, you should find that they help occupy each other on walks and in the house sometimes. Just make sure you both spend some one-on-one time with each so that they bond with you and pay more attention to you two than to each other.


One thing to keep in mind is that these dogs generally have an "off switch" and it will develop better as they get some age on them. You need to give them a chance to be "off" as well. They may like to sleep at your feet but if you can crate train, all the better! It will allow you some time in the day when they have to "chill" and you can get some uninterrupted work done. If a crate becomes part of their routine, it is not stressful but instead is a safe and secure comfort zone.


We go through lots of chewies here when we have a youngster - raw bones are great and some pups do excellently with rawhides (my pup tends to swallow big pieces and hack them back up, so he's better off with bones) or stuffed kongs (you can find more about those with the search function).


I've heard good things about Karen Pryor from some folks.


Best wishes!!!

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The "working stock" when you don't want them to is so right on! The poor goats. With Bella in front blocking "the way" and Bobbie Jo behind nipping at hocks . . .


I remember the day the goats officially met the pups, who'd been with us a few days. The herd queen Fiona bent down and took a giant whiff of the little wiggly black thing in front of her and REARED BACK like she'd been stung! I could just hear her thinking "Oh crap, it's a border collie!"


This might sound terrible . . . but I have an old broomstick I use to herd the goats, not to hit them of course but to make my arm look REALLY long. This broomstick has been useful for BC puppies who know exactly how long my reach is, and where the "No Rules Zone" is. So when I am walking a goat to the milking stand, for instance, I carry the stick and wave it at the pup when they try to rush the goat and say "Leave it". BTW, I know which post(s) you speak of for "leave it", and I'll review them, it's been a while.


I'm sure you've guessed my biggest problem, working individually with each pup. They cry and howl when left in the house, and I heard BCs were ultra sensitive and thought I'd scar them for life, so they are with me 24/7, no crates. Now I know it takes a little more than that. I ordered several Kong chewies, some stuffed animals for dogs, a million or so rawhide/chewy sticks (they love them and I haven't noticed them getting eaten too quick (yet), but I'll keep an eye on this. Anyway, I plan to have special toys for when I'm working with one dog and the other is left in the house.


They LOOOOVE water, followed up with a long romp in dirt and dust. There is a very nasty towel on the front deck to get the big pieces off before they come in the house. They should love snow. Smiley, we thought about Mountain Home when considering where to live up here. I'm from Western WA, so the mountains and evergreens sort of won out . . .


And yes, true, I often think one pup by herself would be more demanding than two. They do entertain each other endlessly. Now that Boogie has gotten over his embarassment at playing with little girls, the three of them can be seen running, rolling and snarly-fighting all over the yard. They harass him endlessly, which is hilarious . . . when HE was a pup, I nearly lost my mind with his activity level. They'll keep him young for sure.


My main reason for clicker training was not for herding or even obedience directly. It is to establish a strong association with good habits and rewards. I've noticed both pups are reluctant to look me in the eye, especially Bobbie Jo, who is by far the most active and intent upon her nefarious task. I know they do this on purpose, as I might interfere with chasing hens, and it seems that positive reinforcement is about the only way to reinforce "paying attention".

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For a person new to having Border Collies, I think you are very observant and have hit a lot of things right on the nose, stick or no stick!


Sounds like you have a "header" and a "heeler" in training. Some dogs seem to prefer one or the other - my Celt is more of a heeler in terms of wanting to grip and Megan is the other way around. Yet Celt always wants to go to control the heads and Megan is very good at staying behind and pushing. Go figure...


I remember the day the goats officially met the pups, who'd been with us a few days. The herd queen Fiona bent down and took a giant whiff of the little wiggly black thing in front of her and REARED BACK like she'd been stung! I could just hear her thinking "Oh cr**, it's a border collie!"
I absolutely LOVE this one! Too true!!!


There's nothing wrong with using something as an extension of your arm. A broomstick is a bit big, though. Many folks (for training dogs as an extension and with the added benefit of being able to give a recalcitrant animal a tap) use a fiberglass training rod - just a fiberglass fence post (3/8" diameter) with the ends protected (protecting you) with liquid latex or duct tape or such. If you clunk something with it by accident, no harm done like you might with a broomstick. Plus, it's white and easily seen (except under snowy conditions).


Border Collies are sensitive but they are also sensible. They do well with a routine (and, if your routine is not very routine, well they can adjust to that, too). Coming from a position of "We'll never put our dog/pup in a cage", we have found that crate-training is beneficial to both dog and owner. It's a safe and secure place for the dog to rest (when you are gone or when you sleep or when you need some privacy or peace), a great place to feed the dog(s) and nobody can chase anyone away from their food or bone or special chewie, a great resource for when you need to take a dog somewhere in a vehicle (confining them is safe for so many reasons), a good preparation if they ever have to stay at the vet or a boarding facility, a great preparation for disaster preparedness, a good preparation in case the dog needs to be confined after surgery (spay/neuter) or injury, and just a host of other benefits. It's not cruel when used reasonably and wisely. Period.


Loving water is typical for many. A sprinkler or hose in the hot weather is great exercise or entertainment without risking overheating. Water is just plain good exercise. They will probably love the snow, too. Our Aussie's favorite time of all is snow time.


Make sure you do make one-on-one time. It will be well worth it, and they will have each other for entertainment in between.


I'm all for positive training and many people have excellent results with clicker training. Sometimes something "stronger" than positive can be in order for certain infractions - a good "ah ah" or even a scruff shake may be needed.


Your comment on looking you in the eye is interesting. Some dogs are much more comfortable with that than others. Remember, eye is an aggressive gesture - my Celt doesn't like to look me right in the eye as much as Megan or Bute do, and that's just his way. I think many working-bred dogs are listening to you but watching elsewhere - it's part of their nature to be on the lookout for their stock (or whatever they consider to be their job). Of course, if they can blow you off by not "acknowledging" you, then they've just won.


Best wishes and a heartfelt thanks for providing these dogs a wonderful home!

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Well!! I woke up early and went on line to check this thread and others, and viola! The puppies had chewed through the second phone cord on this laptop. I had to drive ten miles into town for a new cord (what, live without the internet for 24 hrs???). Also, to get another expensive tiny bag of chewies while I wait for the shipment of toys and chews.


Haven't forgotten the pics, just have to find the docking cord. Also, I meant to ask in the initial post when is an acceptable age for spaying? I ask you BC owners for personal experience here, the vet would have already done it.

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I start taking all my dogs into the coop with chickens as young as possibly to get them used to each other. Twice a day they're out there with me doing chores and I've found that they learn very quickly how to behave. Often when the pups are small they're somewhat wary of the chickens, especially if a chicken decides to be brave and threaten. I just keep a close eye on them when they're new to chickens, and when necessary tell them "no" or "leave them". Occasionally I may have needed to use a bit of a scruff shake, but usually voice alone has been enough. Now the dogs and chickens pay very little attention to each other and they'll share scraps that I take out to the coop for the chickens. When I'm done chores in the coop I just say "everybody out!" and all 4 dogs tear out the doorway.


As for the snow, all I can say is lucky you, go dogsledding! I got my BC mix Lightning started sledding and he LOVES it! I've taken him to some dogsled races and he's done really well with my daughter in the Kid & Mutt class. I've also done some skijoring with him and I've now got a dryland training rig built so that we can practise when there's no snow. I got so hooked that now I've got 2 sleds and a whole bunch of harnesses and ganglines to be able to run anywhere from 1-4 dogs and skijor. Last winter I often took my daughter down the road to meet the schoolbus by dogsled too. The fun I've been having with sledding is the whole reason I ended up adopting 2 rescue puppies as well. I started looking for another BC or BC mix to give Lightning a partner to pull with, and then I came across the 2 puppies and adopted them both. I'm planning to have a 3 dog team with Lightning as the leader and Noah my collie will be their cheerleader, doing what he does best (which is barking from the sidelines) :rolleyes:

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Age for spaying? Good question! There are a number of threads about this on the boards and there isn't a clear consensus. You are probably aware that shelters and rescues, and everyday folks, often do pediatric spays (quite young - just a few months old).


Many folks with dog athletes of all kinds prefer neutering a little older. However, with females, it is quite beneficial in terms of reducing chances of mammary cancer, to do it before the first heat. Border Collies tend to be somewhat slower maturing and often don't come into the first heat until after 10 months, and sometimes well into the first year.


In my novice opinion, I would suggest any time after six months for a spay but, to be on the safe side, no later than 10 months. I think waiting a bit longer for the growth plates in the legs to close may be more an issue for males than females but I'm not sure on that and this slow dial-up makes me less than eager to do a search.


You might want to search on this topic or post your question as a separate topic in the health section.


My previous pups were never into chewing electrical cords, etc., but Bute has destroyed the cord on my heat pad and taken off the cord on a small fan. He is a chew-a-holic and we are back into buying rawhides in the BIG bag with this pup in the house!


Best wishes!

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Thought I'd get the first pic up then read the new posts for replies. This was taken a day or so after the first vet visit to rehydrate and worm. They were so full of energy I couldn't believe it.


Bella is on top, Bobbie Jo is on the bottom showing her teeth, which is all she did for the first few weeks, biting/nipping everything (we have since learned NOT to nip Mom behind the knee as she's walking).


They've grown SO much since then!

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I'll just spay before the first heat. There aren't too many strays around here TG, and Boogie is pretty fierce "sounding". I'll plan it for the spring . . . I'm guessing their birthdate is in May sometime.


Both pups are "chewaholics", especially Bobbie Jo who is more of everything anyway (chew, bite, run, play, etc).


Our chewing challenge is that Boogie, long past the chewing to be chewing stage, is stealing and hoarding the chewies I give to the pups. Last night he had all three chewies held in his "hands" while he chewed one, as the pups looked on . . . basenjis do NOT share well!


Sillouettestables, over time I'm seeing the pups leave off "hunting" the chickens. I do not allow them in the fenced chicken yard (Boogie not allowed either, just another "boundary" for the dogs). The chickens free range, so they are all over the place. They may chase for a few feet, then get the "Leave it!" command and stop. I think they just can't resist starting to chase yet.


I can just see these gals pulling a sled! You certainly have fun with your dogs! We had a sheltie/lab mix from the local rescue for almost a year (she had a freak accident, a cedar shard punctured her eye and into her brain area, developed abscesses in there and we put her down, very horrible story and sad) who loved snow. Anything "lab" loves snow. She's plow it with her face for hours.

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How absolutely cute! How anybody could consider "dumping them in the river"? No wonder he had to get real drunk. God bless you and your hubby for stepping in and saving them, and giving them a loving and forever home!


You realize that your good deed will cost you, don't you? You have a little piece of land and some goats but you understand you'll have to get a bigger piece of land and some sheep, which will entail putting up very good fencing, and then getting a pickup and trailer, and maybe a camper or RV for going to trials, and some lessons with a good trainer, etc.


Free puppies, $0. New life with sheepdogs, priceless (but addicting and potentially pricey, and worth every dime)!


As for spaying, my motto is "better sooner than sorry" so Trailrider makes a very good point. I'm not sure early spaying may raise the same issues (growth plates) that neutering may make in males. Either way, talk to your vet about the options.


Best wishes!

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Idahoe. Please give your husband a loving hug from all of us for rescuing your sweet pups. I hope that you undertand that all of us are standing, crouching, lunging, rolling and 'flying' along side them as you work through the sometimes seemingly overwhelming issues.


I think that people who fall in love with Border Collies are as distinctly different from other people as Border Collies are different from other dogs. There is certainly a kinship bestowed by our shared experience. The people who remain on this board seem to work very hard at examining the issues to find the 'best' solution for their dogs.


We started Meg's 'formal' puppy training and socialization at 20 weeks, and spayed her at six months. Keep your eyes and ears open for farmers and ranchers in the area, you might find some that have Border Collies, who would not mind becoming part of local network.


Most BC's take little convincing to enjoy the snow or the rain as long as you're with them. Meg likes to slide on her butt down slopes in the snow and finds mud digging much more fun than dirt digging.


I second the advice about keeping the puppies with you and under your control, and being consistent for a very long time until you have control over them. Meg is a wonderful 11 month old, but I forfeited a great deal of control and peace of mind, by not being more consistent and controlling of her when she was younger. She is a rather independent cuss.

Good luck to you all.

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What cuties! Good for you for rescuing them.


We have been click training our pup Hoku (about 12 months now), and we are very pleased with the results. We have also crate trained him, and I was very resistant at first (the whole cage thing), but am now very happy to have done it. He loves his crate, sleeps there all night (now with the door open as he is trustworthy in the house), can relax at the Vet if needs to stay there for anything, or if we need to keep him quiet or out of our hair, he is happy to go there. The clicker training is probably not best for stock work from what I hear, but for general training it is great. It gives you one-on-one time with each pup, and it is good for them to learn that that is OK, and that you are #1. You may want to read about NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free), as it has been a big help in keeping peace with our dogs, and their political ambitions in the household (like the chewy hording stuff)


Have fun and keep the pics coming!

Kristin, Hoku and Gussy

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