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Crazy vs calm BC

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Ok, I have a 3 yr old neutered male BC. I have met more than a handful of owners that have BC as well. All of their dogs were calm, settled nicely, no whining, listens very well, and did nothing but pay attention to the owner meaning could care less for other dogs or people. My dog, is the opposite. He will try with all his might to play with other dogs, pulls when walking on leash (we are working on that), wants to greet everyone that walks by basically complete opposites of all the other BC I have met. He has earned his cgc (point of mentioning titles is to just state what level of training we are at) and has a CD title. Obviously they mean nothing in the real world or I wouldn't be posting this. My question is why are other BC so calm and mine is all over the place. What type of training do I need to work on? Stupid question I feel that I'm asking but can someone break this down for me and tell me where to start?

 

Please?

 

Kris

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I know others will give you longer answers but the bottom line is-it is the owner not the dog or breed that makes the dogs you saw so well behaved. The problems you describe are impulse control related. Your dog needs to learn that he can't have what he wants when he wants. Leash skills take time and there are many approaches. If you search the boards for past posts you will find great information.

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My question is why are other BC so calm and mine is all over the place. What type of training do I need to work on?

 

Dean and Tessa are well behaved in public and have excellent impulse control because both of them have gone through the Control Unleashed program. Dean started out as an absolute nut with no idea that he even had a brain to keep in order! Tessa started out utterly terrified of leaving my house or yard. Both are calm and confident, yet both still go to town with high energy when it is appropriate time for that sort of thing (while running Agility, playing in the yard, playing at the beach, etc.)

 

If you are interested, I recommend getting the new CU Puppy book and go through the exercises from start to finish. I think you would be pleased with the results. Even though it is written geared toward future performance puppies, it is 100% applicable to older dogs, and the results translate to real life everyday situations.

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It sounds like you are pretty frustrated. It might help to reorient your expectations for your dog and meet him where he is rather than where you want him to be or think he should be based on what you see with other Border Collies (or other dogs). It might also be that you notice the ones acting like you prefer more than the ones that don't. There are plenty of Border Collies who are not calm out there--maybe in your area, their owners keep them crated..... ;)

 

I don't believe that issues with dogs are all about the owner or that they can all be trained away--dogs come to the table with their own minds, personalities, interests and dislikes and our job is to decide how to best channel the ones we like and try and decrease the impact of the ones we don't. Different things are easier and harder with different dogs. Some things aren't worth the effort to train. It sort of depends on what you want to do with your dog.

 

We have 8 border collies and every one is quite different. Most of them would probably appear to be the kind of dog you describe as calm and a couple are more like your dog. Some are skeptical of people; some are skeptical of other dogs; some love everyone and everything. They are different and much of that difference came inside of them rather than from us. For most things, we try to meet them in the middle.

 

One of my dogs in particular sounds much like your dog. He doesn't pull on leash (because he's been corrected for doing it), but he would almost always rather try and play with other dogs or meet people than do any kind of organized activity, such as agility. The only time he doesn't act like that is when we are doing something he finds more interesting (in his case, working sheep). He was terrible in every class I took him to (except the Control Unleashed class I took to try and learn how to help him be calmer :P) In the end, I decided to just work with what I had and stop trying so hard to make him a different dog.

 

I think it's a lot harder to work against behaviors that have become ingrained, but it certainly can be done. I think the main thing you might want to do is 1) pick one thing to work on. 2) Try and retrain yourself not to get frustrated when he isn't like you expect. (I know that might feel like something to be defensive about, so I hope you take it in the spirit it's offered--we all have expectations, but those are something we can totally control).

 

From your message, it sounds like you are working on leash walking. There are different methods for training leash walking. Personally, having tried several positive reinforcement based approaches and one correction based approach, I found a correction based approach most effective and fastest. Other people have other results (and of course other philosophies, so you have to figure out what works for you).

 

Good luck!

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Just want to clarify that I was not intending to say that the owner is the one and only factor in a dogs behavior or that the OP is at fault here. Just saying that it is up to the owner to work with the dog to get him to where he wants him to be. It is not just as easy as saying one person got lucky and their dog naturally is well behaved or that all well behaved dogs are just born that way.

Chances are those well behaved dogs you see out in public have owners who have worked a lot with them in many ways. Hope I didn't offend anyone.

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It sounds like you are pretty frustrated. It might help to reorient your expectations for your dog and meet him where he is rather than where you want him to be or think he should be based on what you see with other Border Collies (or other dogs). It might also be that you notice the ones acting like you prefer more than the ones that don't. There are plenty of Border Collies who are not calm out there--maybe in your area, their owners keep them crated..... ;)

I don't believe that issues with dogs are all about the owner or that they can all be trained away--dogs come to the table with their own minds, personalities, interests and dislikes and our job is to decide how to best channel the ones we like and try and decrease the impact of the ones we don't. Different things are easier and harder with different dogs. Some things aren't worth the effort to train. It sort of depends on what you want to do with your dog.

We have 8 border collies and every one is quite different. Most of them would probably appear to be the kind of dog you describe as calm and a couple are more like your dog. Some are skeptical of people; some are skeptical of other dogs; some love everyone and everything. They are different and much of that difference came inside of them rather than from us. For most things, we try to meet them in the middle.

 

One of my dogs in particular sounds much like your dog. He doesn't pull on leash (because he's been corrected for doing it), but he would almost always rather try and play with other dogs or meet people than do any kind of organized activity, such as agility. The only time he doesn't act like that is when we are doing something he finds more interesting (in his case, working sheep). He was terrible in every class I took him to (except the Control Unleashed class I took to try and learn how to help him be calmer :P) In the end, I decided to just work with what I had and stop trying so hard to make him a different dog.

 

I think it's a lot harder to work against behaviors that have become ingrained, but it certainly can be done. I think the main thing you might want to do is 1) pick one thing to work on. 2) Try and retrain yourself not to get frustrated when he isn't like you expect. (I know that might feel like something to be defensive about, so I hope you take it in the spirit it's offered--we all have expectations, but those are something we can totally...

What she said!

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From the day I get a new pup or dog I begin teaching impulse control. They don't even need to know any commands to do this. Pups who get too riled up go to their crate for a nap to calm down. I expect my pups to take many quiet naps during the day while I do things around the house (cleaning, training other dogs, cooking, relaxing, etc).

 

I will take pups for car rides to places where I can socialize and train them. If we pull up to a parking spot and they are fussing in the crate I wait for them to settle down before getting them out. If they don't settled down I turn around and drive right home. You aren't calm? Fine, you don't get to go for a special walk. When out in public, if a pup sees something they want (for example, to meet another dog) and starts to pull and cry, I turn around and walk the opposite direction. If they are calm and quite, we can walk towards what they want.

 

Obedience commands are taught at home but proofed on walks. If puppy obeys commands it can stay off leash. If puppy blows off several commands in a row it gets put back on lead and is asked to obey commands. If it obeys all commands on leash it earns off leash time again. Rinse and repeat.

 

Other impulse control exercises include dropping a treat on the floor during a down or sit stay. Puppy must ignore treat. If puppy does ignore the treat I give a release command and he may eat it. If puppy tries to get the treat, whines or fusses I keep the pup in a down stay (using physical restraint if needed) until he settles, then I give a release and let him eat the treat. If he still won't settle he earns a time out in the crate.

 

For games I make my dogs take turn fetching the ball. All dogs are in a down stay (puppy wearing a leash in case it breaks the stay) and I throw the ball. I then give permission to one dog to run and get it. If a dog breaks the down stay it loses its turn.

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Obedience commands are taught at home but proofed on walks. If puppy obeys commands it can stay off leash. If puppy blows off several commands in a row it gets put back on lead and is asked to obey commands. If it obeys all commands on leash it earns off leash time again. Rinse and repeat.

 

 

 

Yes ! Yes ! Yes!

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From the day I get a new pup or dog I begin teaching impulse control. They don't even need to know any commands to do this. Pups who get too riled up go to their crate for a nap to calm down. I expect my pups to take many quiet naps during the day while I do things around the house (cleaning, training other dogs, cooking, relaxing, etc).

 

I will take pups for car rides to places where I can socialize and train them. If we pull up to a parking spot and they are fussing in the crate I wait for them to settle down before getting them out. If they don't settled down I turn around and drive right home. You aren't calm? Fine, you don't get to go for a special walk. When out in public, if a pup sees something they want (for example, to meet another dog) and starts to pull and cry, I turn around and walk the opposite direction. If they are calm and quite, we can walk towards what they want.

 

Obedience commands are taught at home but proofed on walks. If puppy obeys commands it can stay off leash. If puppy blows off several commands in a row it gets put back on lead and is asked to obey commands. If it obeys all commands on leash it earns off leash time again. Rinse and repeat.

 

Other impulse control exercises include dropping a treat on the floor during a down or sit stay. Puppy must ignore treat. If puppy does ignore the treat I give a release command and he may eat it. If puppy tries to get the treat, whines or fusses I keep the pup in a down stay (using physical restraint if needed) until he settles, then I give a release and let him eat the treat. If he still won't settle he earns a time out in the crate.

 

For games I make my dogs take turn fetching the ball. All dogs are in a down stay (puppy wearing a leash in case it breaks the stay) and I throw the ball. I then give permission to one dog to run and get it. If a dog breaks the down stay it loses its turn.

 

This whole post is worth seconding! This is what I was getting at. Sure, all dogs are different but no dog should be out of control and pulling, lunging, whining, etc. to get what they want. The OP's dog is completely able to have impulse control, it is up to the owner to show the dog how to do that. There are many videos out there to show you how to start this. To me, it is just like the post above says-it is an every day thing. There is no one thing to train or special trick with treats. If the dog isn't calm it doesn't get what it wants- doesn't get out of crate, out of car, dinner, toy, walking, etc unless calm. The 'nothing in life is free' way of thinking may help.

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Thank you for all the very wise advise. When reading all of this it makes so much sense! I do agree each dog is different, no doubt and it sounds like I have tons of work to start on! My biggest battle is meeting other dogs. He loves to mingle even if I say leave it, So I am going to make my list of issues and tackle one by one with all of your advice. I love my dog and he is just the happiest dog around but i know he could be happier if i can tackle these issues.

I will update you guys, if you dont mind, and hopefully soon!

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Liz P is right on target. I would suggest a book called ruff love by Susan Garrett. I know folks on these boards have different feelings about her, But the book is all about a solid impulse control program. if you follow it with consistency and maintain all of the "rules" with consistency you will have great, long lasting success. I have 3 BCs, one that is very calm, one that is a very crazy boy, much like yours and one that is in between. I started this program with my pup and my crazy boy and it works very nicely.

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One thing I would suggest, if you are going to look into the Ruff Love route, is to get hold of a newer book called "Plenty in Life is Free" by Kathy Sadao, and read it concurrently. That will really give you a very well rounded perspective on Nothing in Life is Free, on which the Ruff Love program is based. It is very inexpensive and well worth the read.

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LOL. I tented by Susan Garrett at Nationals and her dogs were obnoxious. They barked non stop in their crates, threw their crates around (one of them rolled its crate right out of the tent) and several times I had to hiss at them to just. shut. up. as my tent mates and I couldn't even converse over the din. If that's impulse control, then I don't want it in my dogs (who slept on the tent mat quietly without having to be locked in their crates, even the terrier!)

 

Although Dexter did molest a teenaged boy. A different sort of impulse control problem, I suppose.

 

 

RDM

post-376-026787900 1348459100_thumb.jpg

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Liz where is the "like' button?

 

And Snappy I agree, if your dogs are ONLY quiet with a crate door open then you have failed in some way to teach the dog to understand what crating means.

 

But I do find Garrett's information on target for getting a well behaved dog-the failure is not in the method.........

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Dear Doggers,

 

I've never met Ms. Garrett. I was asked to blurb one of her books but didn't care for it. I don't train for obedience nor impulse control but like most trial sheepdogs, my dogs are mannerly. Not from my adoption of any particular training method nor my training skills, but of necessity. I may have 4 dogs in my motel room. They need to empty before lights out. I can either (a) take them singly or in pairs on leash (2 to 4 times as many trips), or all four walk down the hall off leash w/o pesteringing or frightening other guests, wait quietly just outside the door while I assess traffic and accompany me across the parking lot to grass where they can sniff and empty but cannot return to the parking lot, greet other guests' dogs, chase a squirrel or the scent of a bitch in heat.

 

I don't teach: "don't jump up? or "don't growl" or "don't bark" or "don't dash across the parking lot" because I don't have to. Matter of fact I don't really teach them "Away to me" or "Look back". Those words are part of our common language.

 

My dogs are as different as you and I. But neither you nor I curse in church. Not because we can't, nor because we're rewarded nor because penalties are severe, but because "Non church cursing" is a among the very many antisocial things we simply don't do.

 

Our "reward" for this (these) behavior(s) is acceptance into the social world, a world which despite its anomalies and injustices is mildly satisfying and the safe, mutually intelligible base from which we may venture and to which we return.

 

Same for trial dogs. They have a satisfying social life and very satisfying work. That's their reward. They aren't mannerly because they've been trained for every contingency they might encounter nor to a small number of specific off-the-trial-field commands. (Unless: "Don't be a pain in the ass", or "Wait until I get my bag in the car" count as commands).

 

Many people train dogs for rarely useful bought-and-paid-for dog "tricks". Okay by me. What's valuable in the human/dog mix isn't the dog's off lead heel nor 3 minute stay. What's valuable is the training itself which deepens the owner/dog bond.

 

I don't train for mannerliness because mannerliness is too complex and many an unmannerly dog has a rock solid three minute stay. In the obedience ring.

 

The mannerly dog values our social contract and looks for cues how to do his part. It's in his best interest - not narrowly because he expects a treat sometime in the next few seconds but broadly- because our mutually mannerly world makes sense to him.

 

Donald McCaig

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As always Mc McCaig, nicely written and thoughtful reply.

 

 

(Unless: "Don't be a pain in the ass", or "Wait until I get my bag in the car" count as commands).

 

 

One of my favorite 'commands' while traveling with the dogs.

 

"Can ya'll quick panting...your fogging up the windows"

 

 

 

I don't train for mannerliness because mannerliness is too complex and many an unmannerly dog has a rock solid three minute stay. In the obedience ring.

 

 

Ha, ha...sadly, isn't that the truth!

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Actually donald you do train for manerliness-that is something MANY pet people seem to have trouble with however (and impulse control on their kids)and hence the need for good training books and classes. You just make sure the dogs don't learn the wrong things without you realizing it. And too many dog trainers train "obedience" without training manners (although the two should not be seperate)

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Dear Doggers,

 

Pam Wolf wrote: "Actually donald you do train for manerliness . . ."

 

No, not really. I just expect mannerliness and the dogs expect it too. After all, the rules bind me as well as them. If one household rule is "No snarking over food" another is "Food an hour after rising and in the late afternoon." If one rule is "don't jump on people" another is "I will protect you from human stupids". When people ask me how I housebreak my dogs I say I don't: we live in a housebroken house. When I keep three guard dogs 12 hours in the house during our sheepdog trial - dogs that live and sleep loose outdoors - they don't pee or poop inside. They understand that our house is not a pee-ery or poop-ery.

 

And like other open handlers and good pet dog trainers (whatever their Faith), I move correctly. That's why sheepdog trials are such a good place to bring a timid or rambunctious young dog, Because people know how to not see them while offering reassuring dog-correct presences which tell the dog that these human's expectations are fair and dog-rational and should be adopted.

 

One cannot anticipate every circumstance, nor train for it. One can help the dog produce wise behaviors when encountering the novel, threatening or bizarre.

 

Donald McCaig

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Pam Wolf wrote: "Actually donald you do train for manerliness . . ."

 

No, not really. I just expect mannerliness and the dogs expect it too.

 

Well, maybe you are both right each in your own way.

 

I also "expect mannerliness" from my dogs. New fosters, who arrive with very different backgrounds quickly learn to behave as expected. They do so by picking up subtle corrections. They see when I (and the other dogs) approve their behaviour and equally when we don't. Rarely a snarl or a verbal correction is needed, but most of the time the feedback is invisible to untrained eye. Dogs are very smart social animals; they learn fast from subtle cues.

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Manners aren't something that I typically break out a lot of training time to teach, unless a dog is in serious need of that sort of training. Dean was. He actually did have to learn things like four on the floor around counters, wait at the door to be released out, sleep at night and play during the day, come when called, etc. Teaching those lessons was a pleasure I will always remember well. He most certainly needed for me to dedicate training time to lay the groundwork for those sorts of things, and then he needed clear instruction from me to learn what was expected. We aren't working on those things anymore - he learned them long ago. But he did need a good bit of dedicated, systematic, and substantial training to get there.

 

Tessa, on the other hand, picked up on the routines and structures of the household by watching the other dogs. I barely had to teach her anything. And she came in needing to learn some odd things like go out the door ahead of me, it's safe to eat when I'm in the room, etc. But she did learn most of those things by sticking close to the other dogs.

 

In sports, I find that my dogs need sideline skills that go beyond regular household manners, though. Regular manners are an excellent place to start, but all of my dogs have needed some measure of preparation to handle highly charged, crowded, sometimes loud and chaotic situations where they need to be calm and in their right minds, sometimes over the course of a long day of waiting around. They also need skills to help them perform with duration of focus and enthusiasm in the ring itself. Sometimes the unexpected happens, even for a dog who takes to such things naturally, and I find that being prepared for that to be helpful.

 

I teach those right along with the skills that they need for those particular sports, usually on the sidelines in our classes. It is a natural progression that happens nicely as the dog moves along through is or her training for the sports in which we will eventually participate.

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Donald, I am sure you do teach manners, but you have probably been doing it for so long that it comes naturally. When you don't think about what you are doing, I doubt you realize you are doing it.

 

If dogs did not need to be taught manners I wouldn't see so many unruly, rude and obnoxious dogs on a daily basis.

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Dear Doggers,

Is "expecting" "teaching"? That'd be an odd equivilence. Like Ms. Liz, I see plenty of unmannerly pets. I see a surprising number of unmannerly trained pets, including some with initials after their names.

 

I'm not against dog training, far from it. I do think, however, that a great many people have mannerly pets by having strong expectations of pet dogs - w/o formal training of any kind. I see those dogs too. Since my motel choice is limited by "Dog-Friendly", I often meet these owners and dogs at the designated poopery. I can't recall an unmannerly one. My neighbors' dogs are mannerly and they've never been "trained". Their owners have never read a training book.

 

If you want to ask a dog to explore and exceed his limits, formal training is probably obligatory. For the minimum expectations and modest lives of most pets, sensible expectations, some exercise and a sane household very often do the trick.

 

Donald McCaig

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My experience has been that with some dogs a mere expectation, and some concrete expression of the expectation, which may be as simple as the dog watching another dog do what is expected (such as Tessa learning to go out doors ahead of me by going with the other dogs), is sufficient. I would say that is "teaching" in a sense, but I probably wouldn't call it formal training.

 

With others, an expectation simply wouldn't cut it. Expectation alone was not going to teach Dean to eat out of his own food bowl instead of diving into those of the other dogs, to play during the day instead of in the middle of the night, to wait at the door in his right mind instead of flattening himself up against it, to keep four on the floor instead of grazing on the counters, to play appropriately with Speedy, who does not abide dogs tackling him while he retrieves a ball, to play with his toys instead of amusing himself by throwing flatware out of the sink (which I still laugh at when I recall the sight that was!), etc.

 

Maybe most people don't start out with a dog that is quite that out of control, but he certainly needed structures communicated to him clearly. Deliberate, systematic, and, of course - me being me - reinforcement based, training was 100% necessary.

 

I can't say I did much in the way of formal training with Sammie, Speedy, or Maddie, aside from housetraining with Sammie and Speedy, and recalls with all of them, when it came to everyday manners. I did even less with Tessa, who was too busy hiding out on the furniture to do much of anything, appropriate or inappropriate.

 

But Dean absolutely needed it and would not be the excellent citizen that he is today had I not done that for him.

 

And a lot of my students have dogs that need much more than just expectation, as well.

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Yes Donald, you do teach manners but you are not aware of it. Anytime you are with your dogs youare letting them know what is 'right' and what is 'wrong'. Dogs do not come complete with a manuel for how to live with humans. some people just know how to train a dog for manners without books or classes, but unfortunately the majority of people do not have that ability.

 

And for the record, I have been teaching manners since 1981 and have seen/worked with a wide variety of dogs/owners so probably have a little experience from which to speak when it comes to dealing with the public and their dogs

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