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Ok, can somebody please define "off switch,"


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Ok, since the scales have fallen from my eyes re: the word "herding," (See the "A Common Misnomer" thread.) I wonder if I can get the equivalent of "Off Switch 101" here...

 

My deal has always been that if my dog is annoying me or being too obstreperous I tell her to "Go away" (which gives her the freedom to amuse herself in whatever fashion pleases her, as long as it doesn't involve me or take place underfoot) or direct her to someplace specific, like "Bed" or Outside." Is this what is meant by an off switch?

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What I think of as an "off switch" is the dog's ability to lie down and relax, take a nap, and be content to be doing nothing. My dogs can and do also entertain themselves at times, usually playing with each other, watching out of the window, or chewing on something. Under some circumstances (like when Ed and I are watching a movie), some like to bring a ball for some mindless but entertaining fetch games.

 

But I consider the off-switch to be the ability to chill out, lie down, and relax - whether it's in the house, in the car, or in the crate.

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But I consider the off-switch to be the ability to chill out, lie down, and relax - whether it's in the house, in the car, or in the crate.

That is basically how I use the term. The ability to relax completely when nothing is happening -- even if they magically appear, ready to go, the instant they sense I am about to put my shoes on, or, in the case of my female, Senneca, when it's time to get up in the morning.

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So is it a common misconception that Border Collies are not able to relax - ever?

 

Actually it is more of a problem of people creating a dog that doesn't know how to relax. The misconception that border collies need hours and hours of exercise a day can create a dog that does not learn how to relax.

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I agree that off switch is short hand for a dog's ability to chill out and relax.

 

Actually it is more of a problem of people creating a dog that doesn't know how to relax. The misconception that border collies need hours and hours of exercise a day can create a dog that does not learn how to relax.

 

Also very much agree with this. I do think there are some Border Collies who are "hyper" just by their natures, but I think they are definitely in the minority. I know with Quinn, installing his off switch was extremely important to me and the operation was very much a success. He was a busy, busy puppy so not sure how he would have turned out if I bought into the "Border Collies need 2, 3, 4 hours of exercise a day" school of thought.

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^^What she said. But it can also be the result of folks simply giving in to demands to be played with or have attention paid to--for example, mindlessly tossing a ball while working at the computer or petting the dog that's constantly pushing its head under your arm because it's "easier" than correcting the dog for being a pest.

 

And GB,

Yes it is indeed a misconception that border collies can't and won't relax. In part this is because the "advertising" has been too effective. That is, in order to make the general public understand that these dogs do need interaction with their humans, people went overboard in describing their need for activity until it's become part of the border collie myth. This was of course done with the best interests of the breed in mind because no one wanted to see people get these dogs when they had no intention of doing anything with them save perhaps toss them out in the yard. So if you tell potential owners that the dogs' exercise and attention needs are over the top, then they will think twice about getting one unless they are really committed dog owners. The end result is the myth.

 

(I should add, though, that many poorly bred dogs don't have the capacity for an off-switch. Like anything else, when you start breeding exclusively for one thing instead of the whole working package, you start to get skewed genetics, leading to dogs with lack of impulse control, the inability to entertain themselves or settle, etc. But a well-bred dog should be able to settle when needed and turn on the energy when required.)

 

J.

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^^^What she said. I generally see it in the "poorly bred."

A

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So is it a common misconception that Border Collies are not able to relax - ever?

 

 

:rolleyes::D:D:D:D

 

I've listened to that for almost 40 yrs. (looking at Jin who's been asleep for a couple of hours)

 

If you must know the off switch is just under the tail and above the fecal port. Push once for on and twice for off. LMAO

 

Want see Jin turn off. Tell him to "chill out". It may take a couple of mins but he does get there.

 

What else can I think of, one blue eye=blind dog,

White ear = deaf dog

 

These guys have more myths written about them than any other breed I can think of right down the them being goat killers because the smell of the goats enrages them. Puh-lease.

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:rolleyes::D:D:D:D

 

I've listened to that for almost 40 yrs. (looking at Jin who's been asleep for a couple of hours)

 

If you must know the off switch is just under the tail and above the fecal port. Push once for on and twice for off. LMAO

 

Want see Jin turn off. Tell him to "chill out". It may take a couple of mins but he does get there.

 

What else can I think of, one blue eye=blind dog,

White ear = deaf dog

 

These guys have more myths written about them than any other breed I can think of right down the them being goat killers because the smell of the goats enrages them. Puh-lease.

 

 

This reminds me of when my niece was born and she was a bit fussy. My MiL told my son who was just about two at the time that she had a button on her back that was activated every time you laid her down.

 

In all seriousness, Julie's note ....

 

But it can also be the result of folks simply giving in to demands to be played with or have attention paid to--for example, mindlessly tossing a ball while working at the computer or petting the dog that's constantly pushing its head under your arm because it's "easier" than correcting the dog for being a pest. ....

 

is highly applicable at our house. Ladybug 's special trick is to drop her ball in the waste basket beside Ken's desk when he's working....she circles around tossing it up and down like a little kid then says, "Oops, I can't get it," when it lands in the trash, and he gives it a toss. Took him awhile to catch on that he was being had.

 

Brodie is pretty mellow as well but Robin rarely relaxes out of his crate...he's always on patrol for the next best opportunity but he is learning "go lay down". For him, its a matter of how much exercise he's had in a day and also his ability to create games for himself. We've been working on "Find it", which was a pretty easy concept. Last night, we didn't get much play in, though he'd been for a long walk in the valley during the day. He wrapped up his own toy under the towel, right in front of me and looked up to say, "Go find it." He makes me laugh so much.

 

ETA If I told Robin to "Go away" (which gives her the freedom to amuse herself in whatever fashion pleases her, as long as it doesn't involve me or take place underfoot) I might find him swinging from the chandelier....We are like Old Mother Hubbard and her bone. I've been giving them more freedom in the house, and I just found him sitting in Kenny's chair at the kitchen table, looking for all the world like he was waiting for eggs, bacon, and toast with strawberry jam! (He didn't get his toast and jam this morning because Ken was off to town before the snow gets deep.) Robin was in effect saying, "AHEM -- You forgot something!"

 

So, yes, directing them to a specific spot and activity is best.

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My youngster is very busy, thank dog for the proverbial off switch or I would have shot myself a long time ago! LOL Whim likes to play a game we call Drop! He will lay on the edge of the bed closest to the computer table and drop a toy over said edge then cry/stare at it like its 100 miles away, until I lean over and toss it up to him. Now I know that this is all my fault it started when he was a pup and we thought it cute...bad mom bad bad mom. One of the very first things I taught and expect from my pups is the ability to relax when Im doing something other than playing or in some way entertaining the pups, specially since we are now working on our 4th snowstorm of the season - Thanks Mom Nature - and getting out to train, run or play is at a premium

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What I think of as an "off switch" is the dog's ability to lie down and relax, take a nap, and be content to be doing nothing.

If that is the case, Annie still doesn't have one at almost 6 years old. I'm hoping she'll mellow somewhat by the time she's 15... :rolleyes:

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It's amazing how many private messages, via discussion forums or even e-mail that end up passed on. Gotta love the internet.

 

Sometimes I wonder if "cut/paste" abilities should be disabled. Yeah, you can reply with quotes within a thread but you can't take the information and put it someplace else.

 

Deb

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Desert Ranger, I have removed the post in which you quote from a Private Message, and subsequent posts which refer to it. Aside from Netiquette, it's hard for me to understand how someone could have such bad judgment as to publicly post a PM like this, which was obviously sent to you with the intention of giving you helpful information PRIVATELY. Do not ever do something like this again.

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I think of the off switch very generally as the dog's capacity for self control. There is a time and a place for a dog to be exuberant, excited, even a little "over the top". If I'm out in the yard throwing balls, it is very appropriate for the dogs to be chasing the balls, running around with them, and playing all sorts of games - even running up to make eyes at me for more.

 

If the dog can come back down and be "at ease" when appropriate - that's what I consider to be an "off switch". If the dog can't come back down, then I'd say the dog needs help developing the "off switch".

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"Off-switch" is a term developed by the show/sport people to sell their dogs and to demean the working dogs.

 

Unfortunately, it works as a selling tool.

 

I am working with a young handler who bought into this mythos and bought from an "off-switch" line and unfortunately they NEED a real working dog but this dog has very low drive. She is a very nice pet type dog, but has little interest in stock. Yes, she is calm, but very hard to motivate to do anything. This was done in spite of reccomendations towards real working stock.

 

The basic problem is sport/show people get a high drive working bred BC and are so accustomed to building drive in the other dogs they have worked. So they 'build' drive pushing the dog 'over the top' and say it is the dog at fault.

 

I personally find this term as insulting as Donald does "Herding"

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What I think of as an "off switch" is the dog's ability to lie down and relax, take a nap, and be content to be doing nothing. My dogs can and do also entertain themselves at times, usually playing with each other, watching out of the window, or chewing on something. Under some circumstances (like when Ed and I are watching a movie), some like to bring a ball for some mindless but entertaining fetch games.

 

But I consider the off-switch to be the ability to chill out, lie down, and relax - whether it's in the house, in the car, or in the crate.

 

Ditto to this. Right now 5 of the 6 (Zoe's gone to her grandparents for a "vacation") are all asleep on their beds and have been for almost 2 hours now. Soon time to get them up though! :rolleyes:

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Actually it is more of a problem of people creating a dog that doesn't know how to relax. The misconception that border collies need hours and hours of exercise a day can create a dog that does not learn how to relax.

 

Ohhh I SO agree with this post!! so so so much!

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This is what I don't understand. I've seen dogs with no "off" switch. There is one next door. Owners put it in they yard for the the rest of the afternoon it's practically manic. I talked to them about it but they rean't even interested in doing anything about it. On the other hand I would seriously question anyone who would put a BC into such a state.

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This is just M experience but I find the sport bred dogs to be wired WAY more tightly than dogs bred for stockwork. It seems to be the pattern of breeding for alot of sport kennels. I see it more often in sport bred dogs but do in stockbred aswell. My trainer has a handful of dogs who are fine "house dogs" and lay happily at her feet in the house and others who no matter WHAT she does they will never "settle" and will pace and move about constantly.

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