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New BC mom looking for advice


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Hi all! New border collie mom here :) And when I say new, I mean first time ever!

 

Before we got my little boy Ollie, I knew nothing about border collies. I didn't realize how special they are and how much work, nor did I know that they end up in shelters so often. If I had known that, I would have gone to the shelter instead of an advertisement! Anyhow, we bought Ollie based on the fact that my kids instantly fell in love with him and his sweet personality.

 

He is about the most adorable, sweetest creature I've ever seen. He's a member of our family, not a working dog on a ranch or something. He's great with my kids and his new brother (my cat!) and we have tons of fun with him. He's around 7 or 8 months and we've had him for 2. For the most part he's very well behaved, although I am still working hard on obedience training. He understand the commands I give, but hasn't quite perfected them yet.

 

Here's the problems I'm having, hoping for some advice from you veteran BC parents!

1) Licking. I know BC's can be obsessive about things, but does it really have to be licking? lol. He's definitely a lover, but after one or two licks I'm ready to be done and he sure isn't! Any advice on getting him out of this habit?

 

2) Digging. Everyday I'm going out and filling in the holes he's putting in my yard. I've caught him in the act and corrected him and he still does it. I've read that they dig for a reason, and the clearest one that comes to my mind is boredom. He's home alone for about 5 hours per day. I do take him with me places, and we play with him throughout the day and go for walks in the evening. I've also started taking him for walks at 6 in the morning, before I have to start my daily goings on. Seems to have helped for the past couple of days, so I'm hoping it will last! But any advice on this subject would definitely be appreciated!

 

3) Herding my cat. I know herding is his instinct, was bred into him, so I'm not actually sure this can be "fixed". As soon as my cat walks in the door Ollie is right there in his face trying to stop him from walking. He tries to play with him and lead him elsewhere, although I don't even think he knows where he wants him to go! lol.

 

I'm very glad I found this site, it has already helped me understand him SO much. I have been watching and reading for about a month but have only just gone through the process of registering and this is my first post. I'll be posting pictures of him as soon as I can!

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Welcome to the BC Boards. I'm sure you'll get plenty of good advice.

 

Regarding digging, it can definitely be the result of boredom. Is he staying out in the yard by himself when you're not there or not able to watch him? Digging can become a habit, and sometimes it starts with a trigger (mole or similar) and then just keeps going. One regular piece of advice that folks new to border collies are given is that if you leave a border collie to its own devices (like out in the yard) it will find a means to entertain itself, and you won't like the result. If Ollie isn't crate trained, I think it would be helpful to do so. It wouldn't hurt him to be contained in a crate for 5 hours a day, and you could give him a frozen kong or something similar to entertain him while he's crated.

 

The problem with correcting him for the digging is that if you can't correct him consistently then he'll never learn he shouldn't dig.

 

Another option is to make a place for Ollie to dig, like a special "sandbox" (built along the lines of a raised garden bed). Hide his toys in there and teach him that it's okay to dig there. Again, though, you'll need to be able to supervise until he's trained to dig only there.

 

As for the cat, I think you need to do some redirecting. First of all, a cat is not livestock and so "herding" it isn't appropriate. It's really just bad manners. If you excuse it as herding behavior then you'll never be clear to him that harassing the cat is NOT okay. Depending on how long it's been going on, it may take a while to change his behavior. Just as with the digging, he needs to be stopped from bothering the cat EVERY TIME he wants to stop him. Of course the cat may not help with the retraining if he simply isn't bothered by the dog. In my house I have one room gated off with a baby gate. It's a dog-free zone for the cats. They don't necessarily spend a lot of time in there, but it's there for them if they want to get away.

 

Others here can give you advice on training methods for redirecting his attention from the cat. For my dogs, they understand a correction word (ah ah! or no!) and if a dog bothers the cat, I simply give the dog a verbal correction. If the dog persists, I will go physically remove the dog from the presence of the cat. In this latter case, having a crate would allow you to give Ollie a "time out" if he won't leave the cat alone.

 

As for the licking, I don't like being licked, so I don't ever let it get started. You can teach him to stop the same way you'd deal with the other stuff, by redirecting his attention to something else. Border collies are smart and very trainable, so you shouldn't have a great deal of trouble with any of this--it will just take repetition and, above all, consistency.

 

Photos of Ollie?

 

J.

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Adorable!

 

I am so with you on the licking...I got Max a couple months ago, when he was 5ish months old. He is a licking MACHINE. And I don't like being licked! In Max's case, it is sometimes coupled with jumping, and happens mostly because he is overly excited and LOVES people and attention. I stopped him from jumping on me/licking me by denying him what he wanted - attention! The second he started jumping or licking, I turned away, completely ignoring him until he had his butt on the floor and his tongue in his mouth...then he got attention and quiet praise. The second he got excited he'd start again, so I was careful to keep him calm. It took very timely, consistent reactions on my part and a LOT of repetition, but now he never jumps on me and very rarely licks. When he does lick it takes one correction and he stops.

 

Now if only he would apply this to all people he meets tongue.gif

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oh my dear. tooooo adorable.

welcome to the boards. :)

You will find that this is a place full of information, ideas, and support. I highly recommend you stick around.

 

I have foster dogs that come through my home, and some of them want to lick. I just nip it in the bud by saying "ah-ah" when they start, and either moving away or pushing them away. If they persist too many times I isolate them for a few minutes someplace like the bathroom. Pretty soon they catch on.

 

Good luck with him.

D'Elle

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I have a cure for digging that has never failed with dozens of digging dogs.

 

First, don't scold, nag etc. after the fact.

 

Second, as Julie said, make a "legal" digging area.

 

Third, once a day, put the dog inside where he can't watch you. Collect his poops from the yard, or wherever he "goes." Go to the holes he has dug and partially refill them. Put a poop in the partially filled hole. Fresh poop is a necessity. No dried up ones from a week ago. Don't use cat poop! This will be seen as manna from heaven! After placing the poop, put a very light sprinkling of dirt over it. Just enough to hide it and slow down the drying out process.

 

Fourth, let the dog out and dig with him in the "legal" spot. Make out that this is your favorite thing in the world. When he's enthusiastically digging, praise, praise, praise.

 

Fifth, Wait. Eventually he will think of that other great digging spot in your petunia bed. He will dash of to it and begin to dig. He won't like what he finds. When he stops digging and regards his paws with distaste, agree with him. "Ewwwwwww!" "Disgusting!" If he comes to you - back away. "Ewwww!" He will be crestfallen. Go back to the legal digging site and get him going again. (This will serve 2 purposes - it will clean off his paws, and it will reinforce the notion that this is the fun, safe place to dig.) After awhile, put him back inside so he can't see you and repair the "illegal" hole, and mine it with more poop.

 

This usually only takes a few days to bring about a cure. (Unless you have a terrier. That could take a couple of weeks.)

 

As for licking, I can't abide it either. I also withhold interaction for licking, but with an added twist. When licked, I squeal in pain. "OWWWWW!" Make it believable - otherwise it will turn into a game. If he licks a hand, holler "OWWW!" and nurse the hand as if it hurts. Turn away. If he gets a shot in on your face - same thing. Rub your face like you would if a bee stung you. Turn away. Refuse to interact. Accept no apology - that usually involves more licking.

 

He doesn't want to hurt you. If he finds that licking seems to be painful to you, he will be surprised, possibly repentant. He's either being submissive or over-exuberant. If you turn away and act damaged, licking for both reasons is thwarted.

 

These work for me, and have for many others. Good luck! Cute pup.

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Thank you so much everybody! For the advice and for the compliments. My Ollie is my little love, I find myself just staring at him smiling while he's playing with a toy or chewing a dog bone lol. Seems a little silly, and it's the same way I was when my kids were babies! He's just such a loving fella :)

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I have a cure for digging that has never failed with dozens of digging dogs.

 

First, don't scold, nag etc. after the fact.

 

Second, as Julie said, make a "legal" digging area.

 

Third, once a day, put the dog inside where he can't watch you. Collect his poops from the yard, or wherever he "goes." Go to the holes he has dug and partially refill them. Put a poop in the partially filled hole. Fresh poop is a necessity. No dried up ones from a week ago. Don't use cat poop! This will be seen as manna from heaven! After placing the poop, put a very light sprinkling of dirt over it. Just enough to hide it and slow down the drying out process.

 

Fourth, let the dog out and dig with him in the "legal" spot. Make out that this is your favorite thing in the world. When he's enthusiastically digging, praise, praise, praise.

 

Fifth, Wait. Eventually he will think of that other great digging spot in your petunia bed. He will dash of to it and begin to dig. He won't like what he finds. When he stops digging and regards his paws with distaste, agree with him. "Ewwwwwww!" "Disgusting!" If he comes to you - back away. "Ewwww!" He will be crestfallen. Go back to the legal digging site and get him going again. (This will serve 2 purposes - it will clean off his paws, and it will reinforce the notion that this is the fun, safe place to dig.) After awhile, put him back inside so he can't see you and repair the "illegal" hole, and mine it with more poop.

 

This usually only takes a few days to bring about a cure. (Unless you have a terrier. That could take a couple of weeks.)

 

As for licking, I can't abide it either. I also withhold interaction for licking, but with an added twist. When licked, I squeal in pain. "OWWWWW!" Make it believable - otherwise it will turn into a game. If he licks a hand, holler "OWWW!" and nurse the hand as if it hurts. Turn away. If he gets a shot in on your face - same thing. Rub your face like you would if a bee stung you. Turn away. Refuse to interact. Accept no apology - that usually involves more licking.

 

He doesn't want to hurt you. If he finds that licking seems to be painful to you, he will be surprised, possibly repentant. He's either being submissive or over-exuberant. If you turn away and act damaged, licking for both reasons is thwarted.

 

These work for me, and have for many others. Good luck! Cute pup.

 

 

GREAT advice, Geonni. I am going to put that in a mental file for the next time I am confronted with a digger. Love the licking advice, too.

thanks

D'Elle

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