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First BC pup - seeking any/all advice!


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Hello fellow dog people!

 

I am new to the boards and to border collies - last weekend I brought home Laika, who is 8 weeks old and an adorable ball of energy! I've wanted a BC for a long time, but until a few months ago I was a full-time college student and didn't think I should get such a high maintenance pet with so many constraints on my time. But I graduated (hooray!), and could finally get a BC puppy (SUPER HOORAY!)

 

I feel like even after all the reading I've done over the past years I am STILL amazed and a bit overwhelmed by how smart and energetic the breed is, particularly since she's such a wee pup! She seems to want nothing more than to bite every surface in mine and my boyfriend's place when she's not trying to herd us around. So, this post is an APB asking for any helpful tricks and tips y'all have accumulated in your time dealing with BCs.

 

Any advice is welcome, in particular how to stop nipping/biting, since Laika will often get into what Adam and I refer to as "herding frenzy" and become difficult or impossible to focus, while she launches herself around our ankles crazily, snapping and biting anything that comes close to her, even if we yelp and act hurt. Is this normal for BC puppies? Will she grow out of it/learn to channel her energy and listen to us as she gets older, or does anyone have suggestions of things I should be doing so she knows that we are not sheep/cattle? I'm really worried that she is not getting enough of an exercise outlet, but whenever I try to play with her it just riles her into "herding frenzy" and I can't calm her down. I don't know if I'm expecting too much of her (since she is still a baby, and adjusting to her new home/family), but I also feel like I should try my best to gently nip this habit in the bud, if possible. I'm a mountaineer, and I can't wait until she's big enough to take climbing/hiking/backpacking, but until then I'd just like to be able to tire her out without sacrificing my fingers and toes :)

 

Anyway, I'm a newbie at this but I want to mold the healthiest, happiest, least-bitey dog I can, and this seems to be the place to ask for pointers. Thanks in advance for your help!

 

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Awesomely cute puppy. Congrats.

 

You will get a lot of good advice here, but you can also research past posts that discuss puppy energy and how to deal with it.

 

My thinking on the frenzy episodes: is she overtired? Puppies can be like overtired kids that seem to have a spurt in energy and act out, when all they need is a nap. If you think she has had enough exercise and mental stimulation, try putting her in a crate (look up crate training in past posts). If she goes to sleep, she may have been overtired.

 

Herding of people (adults & kids) and other pets (sibling dogs and/or cats) should not be tolerated if the pup is to be a good citizen. Much advice has been given here on how to train a pup not to engage in inappropriate herding behavior.

 

Spend some hours researching these forums. It will be time well spent. It was for me.

 

Welcome and thanks for the photos,

Jovi

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1) A big mistake I see people making with BCs is getting them riled up while playing. With many breeds of dog you have to be really energetic and upbeat to keep them interested in play. Not so with this breed. They have taught me to stay very calm and keep my voice steady. Provide an example for you pup by always staying relaxed. A Border Collie will feed off your energy like you wouldn't believe.

 

2) Nipping and being rambunctious earns an instant time out in my house. With the short attention span of a pup you only need about 5 minutes in the crate.

 

3) Don't worry so much about exercising her body, exercise her MIND. That's the best way to exhaust a Border Collie. Teach her basic obedience and tricks. For a pup, limit each session to no more than a few minutes, but you can do many sessions over the course of a day.

 

Some fun tricks I've taught are...

ugly = stick out your tongue

stupid = shake your head no

vicious = snarl

find it = locate objects hidden in the grass

where is *****? = name a person or other pet and have the dog lead me to them

up = hand me whatever I am pointing to

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HI,

Like you I'm also new with the BC. What I did with my pup to stimulate her mind was get her a puzzle toy. There are 3 or 4 different things you can do with it. They have to figure out how to get the treats out. I think I got mine from Foster and Smith but sure there are others. Also we worked on come, sit, down, shake, crawl, give, wait, stay get it and leave it.

She sure is a cutie. You will have hours of fun with her.

This is the place to go for advice that's for sure.

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I think a big mistake a lot of people make w/ dogs -- BCs in particular -- is not to teach them that being calm and quiet is a desired behavior, a good thing.

 

From the time a dog first comes into my house -- whether it's a 7-8 week old puppy, an adult rescue, a foster or even a boarder -- I quietly praise them when they choose to lie down to rest. With a puppy, this may be involuntary, the moment they collapse as babies do when they've just played themselves out. With puppies in particular, people tend to pay a lot of attention to them when they're playing, and then just forget about them when they collapse, never realizing that they're missing a highly teachable moment.

 

All my dogs have an off switch. But it's a behavior that's learned (or not), along with all of the other things we're teaching them (conscioulsy or not) .

 

I used to have a very busy little BC who was (not surprisingly) ball obsessed. I'd asked a friend to watch Wren one weekend when I had to go away and couldn't take her along. When I came home, my friend asked how I could stand living with this dog; she said she'd had to throw the ball for her all day long! She just wouldn't stop. So I asked her if she'd ever just told her no, to just lie down. Of course, that hadn't occurred to my friend and she ended up creating a perpetual motion machine. Wren came home with me and, after sleeping off the weekend, was perfectly well behaved and left the ball alone when I told her we weren't playing anymore. She actually had a great off switch. ;)

 

So, yeah. Times out for getting crazy, especially when nipping's involved. Ignore behavior you don't like. And don't forget to reinforce behavior you want more of, even if it seems like no behavior at all, like being still & quiet.

 

Remember, though, that praise for being quiet has to be calm and low key. You don't want to undo it with high pitched voices and enthusiastic praise. Gentle petting and low, calm voices saying "good girl" will let her know you love this side of her, and you'll find she'll be more willing to offer it. After a while, you can even put it on cue!

 

Good luck. She's adorable!

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So cute !!!!

 

Our pup was a quite nippy in her younger months but has pretty much grown past it for the most part.

 

I probally should have tried harder to teach her to stop nipping sooner and to calm down more, but she has improved quite a bit over time.

 

I wish she will soon get to where she don't feel the need to be constantly chewing in the evenings when we allow her time with us on the bed in the evening, but just be content to relax and chill out with us.

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