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Trying to understand my BC...

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Hi all,


First off I'd like to introduce the dog I have: His name is Dexter and he is an 8 month old Border Collie/Greyhound mix. I took him to puppy training, and now I am having trouble with deciding what to do with him! Should I take him to another training session with a group, or private ones? I want to get him into agility or dock diving; so could I do these things without taking him to any further training?


The problems I am having right now is heeling and basic obedience when it comes to being out in the open (i.e. if we are at a park he will usually come, but from time to time he will stray or run towards another person). Is this a sign of him testing me, because of his adolescent age... or a result in poor obedience training?


One other question... when we play fetch in our home he will usually bring the ball to me and drop it where I can reach it, but from time to time he will sit there chewing on it and if I go to grab it from him he will back away with it in his mouth. Is this a game to him or what is he doing/thinking? haha


Thanks in advance for the help! Any info will be a great help :)

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Welcome! This is an excellent place to come, ask questions, read, and learn about Border Collies.


Your Dexter is, at his age, a typical adolescent dog and pushing the envelope and testing the boundaries is normal. And that is one prime reason why your training needs to be consistent, fair, and continuous.


I think that group classes are great - not only do you learn skills with your dog, but your dog also learns to deal with distractions, such as other dogs and their handlers. In addition you get to see other handlers and their dogs, see their problems (or successes), and have the opportunity to broaden your learning and skills.


As for agility and dock diving, he's still a bit young for anything but low-impact activities (limited jumping, in particular) so learning obedience skills (and tricks) is a good way to stimulate and exercise his mind, which is as important (if not more so) than exercising his body.


He's still quite young to be dependable with distractions, like being off-lead, around other dogs and people, and so forth. So, keep him on lead at all times when you are somewhere other than your own home or fenced yard. You can use a long line to let him exercise and explore and then, when you call him, he has no alternative but to listen as you are on the other end of the long line.


He's already had a chance to learn that he can ignore you when he is not on a lead so don't re-enforce that bad habit, and keep him on the lead/long line until he is very dependable.


Never try to grab a toy away from Dexter - teach him to "give" to you or "drop it". Let him bring the ball, put out your hand for it (or let him drop it by your foot or knee), and (when he does give it to you) give him a treat. If he doesn't bring it, end of game, ignore him, and go do something else. He will soon tire of playing alone.


Playing "keep away" is a favorite dog game and that's what he is doing when you try to grab the ball and he backs off ("keep away" is also a version of the game when and if you try to grab his collar, and he darts away to avoid your catching him).


I am sure that others will be able to give you much better advice. Best wishes!

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