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Hi y'all

 

I've been lurking and reading for a few months and have just brought home from the breeder Tadaaki, now nine weeks old. He's been really quite the gentleman - fond of his crate, strong homing instinct but not much separation anxiety (knock on wood), very bright about understanding what he may destroy and what objects he should keep his teeth away from.

 

There's one big exception (not to make a mountain of what might be a mole hill). When I take him walking off leash and if he gets in his wild mood, he'll come walking into my path, lie down directly in front of me, and sometimes nip at my ankles and jump on me. I'm thinking this is not puppy play I should encourage but behavior I need to correct now to prevent problems later (right?). The most effective approach I've found so far is to carry a walking stick, and if he must run and nip after something, it's the stick, and he gets tired of doing this pretty quickly. With the stick too I can claim space around my feet and legs. I'm not hitting him with the stick, of course!

 

Clearly, these are some herding instincts, and I don't want to shut them down, just redirect, and make sure the dog has the right measure of discipline. I'd appreciate feedback.

 

The picture of him post-12062-098176900 1311452857_thumb.jpg is in one of his wilder moods. Maybe 70% of the time he is in gentleman mood, meaning he would nuzzle me but keep his mouth shut. Most of his wild time he spends assaulting his plush puppets, chewing appropriate objects (again, knock on wood), or attacking puppy-sized plastic objects.

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Oh my goodness. What a cutie!!

 

I'd say that this is one puppy behavior that I personally don't worry too much about. I just stop walking, and more or less ignore it. Occasionally if I find my pants leg in their mouth and they don't seem to be inclined to let go I'll pry it out of their mouths quietly. Though I don't have a tremendous amount of puppy raising to compare it to I will say that out of five puppies (plus countless other puppies that have come through here or that I've spent any time with) none of them have ever grown up to be inclined to do this past early puppyhood.

 

But then there is also Laura E's method - sound advice indeed. :P Welcome to the boards!

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Welcome to the BC Boards. You will find this is a place full of abundant and excellent advice, information, wisdom, and support. Stick around and you will learn a lot!

Best wishes with your new baby dog. He's a cutie. I agree that you needn't worry too much about the behavior you are describing; it sounds normal puppy to me, and your handling of it sounds ok to me as well. :-)

D'Elle

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Thanks, Lauras C & E! You both have very cool tribes of the devil dogs!

 

So a little bit of attitude is par, and I'm being an overconcerned parent? That works for me! Their nickname is "angel dogs", right?

 

Thanks for the warm welcome, and I look forward to learning lots and sharing the joys and sorrows on the board.

 

John

 

Oh, and D'Elle, your note snuck in on me - thanks also for your support!

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When Lark (now 5) was a puppy she used to delight in hanging on the side of Kat's face (her cheek fur). Poor long-suffering Kat wouldn't correct her, so I started taking a leash (non-leather) on our wallks and when Lark went for Kat, I would distract her with the leash and let her tug on that. The downside: to this day if I'm walking the dogs and have a leash in my hand, Lark thinks we might tug! But it gave Kat some relief anyway.

 

Like the others have said, I generally don't worry about a pup grabbing at my pants leg. At least I don't get all militant about it. I have a friend who has a special pair of pants she wears when she has pups and she just lets them have at it. Her philosophy is that they grow out of it, so why not let them be pups and have some fun? Plenty of folks would disagree, but I thought I'd throw that out there. I think if you just correct the pup (voice correction) for going after your pants leg and then give it a distraction, you'll do just fine.

 

Welcome.

 

J.

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I'm also in the camp of not being too concerned about a mouthy puppy. To them, that is perfectly normal puppy play behavior. When my dog, Charlie, was a puppy, he was like a crazed alligator - all teeth. I tried to provide other things for him to chew on besides us, but he always preferred us to toys. I'm sure it was just because he wanted to play with us and that was how he, as a dog, knew how to play. He grew out of it and never lays teeth on human skin as an adult dog. Though, he does still attempt to play tug with my pant legs sometimes when he is really amped up and excited and in a goofy mood. I know some people would be appalled that I allow that type of behavior. But, I find it kind of funny and he will stop if I tell him to. So, it doesn't bother me. *shrug*

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Daisy used to do this when she was a puppy, despite all the appropriate play toys in the world. One night however, I was standing at the sink doing dishes and she decided to attack my pant leg, also grabbing my Achilles tendon (with her razor sharp puppy teeth). I yelped so loud (out of surprise and pain) that I must have scared the daylights out of her... she never did it again. Normally, it never bothered me.

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I'm inclined to agree with the puppy behavior thoughts. Id like to add that with one of my first pups I would always shove an appropriate toy in her mouth as a replacement to my pants, leg, or hand. I lightened up when I acquired more pups.

Jazz (the one I didn't allow to chew on me at all) is now 14, to this day she doesn't know how hard her bite is.

The rest whom I let bite on me a tad (pants, hands or just be mouthy to me in general with limitations) all have a ton more bite inabition. Much softer mouths than the dog who was not allowed to bite at all.

Hope that makes since.

Welcome to the boards, mighty cute puppy you for there!

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Hi New 2-

 

Personally, I don't like this behavior and I don't allow it. I don't want to be tripping over a pup (mine or anyone else's) and frankly, I think it's just bad manners. Forgive the bluntness, but my dogs work sheep. They don't work people and they don't work other dogs. It may not be particularly annoying to you, but if you intend to travel or trial, it can be really annoying to other people and other dogs. I'm sure alot of pups do grow out of it, but alot of them don't.

 

From the time I bring a pup home, any time it blocks me or grabs a pantleg or a shoelace while I'm walking, it gets a firm "no", followed by "get out of that" which is my general command for knock off whaever wrong thing you're doing. They'll also get some negative stomping in their direction. I want them to know I'm serious. I've never had a pup not get it within a few days. Then, it's over.

 

There's a whole big wide world of puppy fun out there, they'll not be damaged if chewing on your pantleg is taken out of the toybox.

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Forgive the bluntness, but my dogs work sheep. They don't work people and they don't work other dogs. It may not be particularly annoying to you, but if you intend to travel or trial, it can be really annoying to other people and other dogs. I'm sure alot of pups do grow out of it, but alot of them don't.

 

Forgive my bluntness too, but since when is a puppy engaging in normal puppy behavior considered working people or other dogs? When Lark was hanging on Kat's face, I didn't consider that "working" her--as you say, it was poor manners, and something Kat should have corrected herself. I don't think grabbing pants legs, which many breeds of puppy do, is working the human either. It's puppy behavior. You don't have to like it and you don't have to put up with it, but I can honestly say that I don't think I've ever been to a trial where I've seen someone's puppy tripping people or attacking the pants legs of other handlers. Maybe I'm just completely unobservant though.

 

And I don't think it's just the workig dog people who get this.

 

J.

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I try to limit the mouthing as much as possible but I also understand they are puppies. A little mouthing is ok as long as they aren't biting down hard (showing bite inhibition). You do need to be careful with allowing pants tugging since a puppy may do it at a bad time like going down down a set of stairs. My rescue ACD had almost no bite inhibition and if she gets ramped up she reverts back to it. She has drawn a few times on my husband and I. It is not aggression she just gets excited and forgets herself.

 

I would say that if the pants pulling is not dangerous then mild corrections are ok but you don't need to stress about it. Dogs do learn where certain behaviors (good of bad) are allowed and not allowed.

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When Lark (now 5) was a puppy she used to delight in hanging on the side of Kat's face <snip> her with the leash and let her tug on that. The downside: to this day if I'm walking the dogs and have a leash in my hand, Lark thinks we might tug! But it gave Kat some relief anyway.

Julie, great stuff, thanks. That kind of example is extremely helpful. This gives me a model I can work with. I'll correct verbally and I'll use the walking stick as a lightning rod to attract Tadaaki's excess exuberance, realizing that he may grow up with issues toward walking sticks - I can live with that! In addition, insofar as it's normal puppy behavior, it makes a really fun game for us.

 

Thanks, Belleview, I appreciate your point of view and share your feelings of annoyance with nipping - it's dangerous for the pup, and soon we'll be running and biking together. I really want Tadaaki to be respectful and well-mannered, at the same time as he enjoys his puppyhood and has an audacious side. He is most definitely testing his boundaries and limits in other behaviors. Persistently. I think I need to answer with Swiss consistency. post-12062-052884200 1311698173_thumb.jpg I'm finding it leads to bad manners if I sit on the porch steps where he can be on the same level as I am; or if I'm overindulgent in petting him, it seems to disrupt his mellow, submissive state of mind. post-12062-095492700 1311698733_thumb.jpg

 

One of my problems perhaps has been that I haven't got him walking well on leash yet. He tends to sit-down strike or else want to carry the leash in his mouth. I'm working to make the leash more fun, distract him with a ball to carry when he's on leash, and give him a towel for tug of war. We do a half-mile walk about 3 times a day, off leash. At the end of that walk is a short training period (like 3 minutes) where he will get a command or two and a treat reward. He is eager as the walk ends, waiting to hear/see a command.

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He is most definitely testing his boundaries and limits in other behaviors. Persistently. I think I need to answer with Swiss consistency. I'm finding it leads to bad manners if I sit on the porch steps where he can be on the same level as I am; or if I'm overindulgent in petting him, it seems to disrupt his mellow, submissive state of mind.

 

Be ready for a lot of this... My nearly 2 yr old, working-bred pup tests his boundaries every single day. Granted he's a very pushy, tough dog anyway, but that adolescent stage can last a long time. Consistency is a very good idea, as is recognizing that there are times when you haven't gotten your dog out for quite enough stimulation and the bad behavior isn't entirely the dogs fault :) On that note, I'm going out to work my pup before he drives me crazy!

 

Meant to add, if you get tired of your pup, please mail him to me. Too cute!

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Julie, great stuff, thanks. That kind of example is extremely helpful. This gives me a model I can work with. I'll correct verbally and I'll use the walking stick as a lightning rod to attract Tadaaki's excess exuberance,

 

I should clarify that one of the reasons I chose the "tug as distraction" method is because Lark was very persistent and I didn't want to have to nag her (saying "no" every 3 seconds). I can't stand hearing someone nag a dog. Add to that the fact that Kat is extremely sensitive to corrections and would have taken personally the corrections intended for Lark, and the tug seemed like a fair compromise. Lark still loves tugging (a trait I put to use entertaining the youngster who likes to pick up sticks on walks), but she never works the other dogs or me or anything like that. And although she's a bit clappy when working sheep, is excellent on cattle and extremely helpful to me working poultry.

 

So my point is that you definitely need consistency, but you also need to find a way through puppy behaviors that doesn't require you nagging the dog, or he'll just tune you out eventually.

 

J.

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Good stuff, Julie. Overall, I gotta say let a puppy be a puppy. I'm not saying to never correct them, but at 9 weeks old, there is so much that he's going to grow out of. And honestly, I'm impressed if someone gets a "mellow submissive state of mind" with any puppy, much less a border collie! :lol: Make sure not to expect too, too much.

 

I'm no expert, and I probably am a more permissive owner than some here, but at 9 weeks, I'd be working on bonding, having fun, recall games, rewarding the good stuff and ignoring/redirecting the annoying stuff.

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The latest in the saga of Tadaaki ... and btw I'm putting this out there to get constructive criticism, recognizing I'm a novice.

 

Not to give the wrong impression when I complain about his nipping - this black dog has a heart of gold. He's restricted to the kitchen, but the barrier to the living room is one he can scale (photo coming). When I was outside I heard him barking (a once-a-week occurrence). I found him in the living room, sheepish, looking for a way to get back into the kitchen.

 

My idea of using the walking stick as a lightning rod for his nipping took about a half day to show how bad it was: the puppy was so amped up at the end of the day I had to battle for each and every step I would take in His presence. Waaay over the top. (Again - I know it's because of me, what I'm doing.) I've gone to zero tolerance on nips anywhere, anytime, including using the 'n' word (oh-nay) very loud (and rarely). That improved things 100%. I needed to use it maybe 2-3x a day. Hm, maybe 5 times. After about two days of new rules, now corrections for this are needed rarely - big sigh of relief - haven't needed the 'n' word for a couple days. He still has enthusiasm coming out of his ears, is happy as a clam, and is developing more attention and interest in training, though each training session has to last no more than 3 minutes.

 

We did a road trip (10 hours in one day) together that was really helpful too. He was the perfect gentleman in the pet store, where he met more people in a half hour than he had in his life. He was frightened by a skateboard, we investigated together, and he decided it was a non-issue. Semi trucks and motorcycles were no problem. He spent some time apart from me, being watched over by my son. Good times.

 

After coming home from the road trip, Trinity, my calico cat (color-coordinated with her little brother) showed some more tolerance and hung out with us some. She got into something that gives her intense allergies, probably the same thing that almost killed her last year this time. Her lungs congested, she lost her voice entirely, so I locked her in the house, antihistamine ready. Tadaaki as always the gentleman in the kitchen, was completely quiet. Trinity announced in perfect voice she was ready to go back outside at 3 AM.

 

The next morning Tadaaki was morose. Keeping him on my lap for a half hour did not help much. Maybe the excitement from the day before, and lack of food from car sickness? Maybe some illness he picked up? Then he made it clear that the Big Deal was being allowed out of the kitchen. To his credit he refrained from saying, "like the cat". (The difference in food quality hasn't escaped him.)

 

I let him into the living room and designated a spot under a chair where he was to stay. He lay there supercontent, keeping at least one foot in the designated squarepost-12062-086694200 1312130830_thumb.jpg, for four hours, skipping breakfast, skipping lunch, skipping water, all of which was freely available in the kitchen, asking for nothing more. Okay, that afternoon he was busy negotiating the bedroom and trying to take control of doorways - he *will* take a mile if he can get it.

 

More conniving - when walking off leash he's learned if he hangs way back until I call him to catch up, he can claim a treat for obeying a command. And I thought the cat was manipulative! He even applied that to lying on the barrier between the kitchen and the living room, whining that he could not get down, until I ordered him to. That happened minutes after this photo: post-12062-089548500 1312130344_thumb.jpg I have to confess that while he was in this position I petted him, and though he looked calm and had his ears back comfortably, he growled at me. Pretty disturbing; clearly I need to improve a lot still. He had been sent back to the fence because he was nipping furniture; if it only represents a bit of grumbling, I'll be relieved.

 

We slept under the stars last night. I hope that much familiarity will not breed contempt.

 

And honestly, I'm impressed if someone gets a "mellow submissive state of mind" with any puppy, much less a border collie! :lol: Make sure not to expect too, too much.

 

I'm no expert, and I probably am a more permissive owner than some here, but at 9 weeks, I'd be working on bonding, having fun, recall games, rewarding the good stuff and ignoring/redirecting the annoying stuff.

 

Honestly, he does spend a lot of time in mellow submissive moods; I hope that means happiness for him. He spends a lot of time beating up plush toys, defeating plastic milk cartons, running in the woods, and digging in the sand, too. We are building toward recall games, but we're miles from there still. I have not got Takaaki to understand that there is a treat beneath one cap that he should turn over and look for, let alone that there are two empty ones. He is not associating the word 'ball' with the object and though he will fetch, it's not his strong suit. So Einstein Border Collie he is not (at least, so far), but one overthinker in the family is plenty. He's developing his nose.

 

The redirecting is new for me - didn't use it on my kids. Actually he's teaching me how to avoid escalating confrontation by making my point and then moving on rapidly to a pleasant activity for him. I'm focusing on training him to lie on his side on command, a good way to calm him if he gets nippy.

 

We had a real life test already - we encountered a porcupine, and Tadaaki obeyed with his come / sit - his only really reliable commands. Maybe he would have been smart enough not to chase it anyway, maybe he wasn't smart enough to figure out what it was too.

 

---- brief note on Trinity post-12062-086518600 1312131168_thumb.jpg. She had been found in the wild at 5 weeks and I raised her from the bottle. She always experienced ecstasy leaving the house and being in the midst of Nature, as simple as sniffing a blade of grass or complex as watching the mating flight of a cricket. So I let her live as wild as she chooses. Fortunately, she is a terrible bird hunter, and has her paws full instead with the many shrews we have. Two years old, she has pretty much vacated the premises since Tadaaki arrived, apparently having no difficulty in mooching food, shelter, and anything else she wants from a neighbor. (She is very vocal and explains herself well - fortunately, not a very demanding cat, as long as she has either the sun or the stars.) She comes to visit me about daily still. She and Tadaaki are getting closer gradually, but they are not yet accomplices. I'll win her back in time. ----

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