Jump to content
BC Boards

Adopting/Inherited (?) a 6 yo female Border Collie


mfl
 Share

Recommended Posts

My former husband died on Fri. He owned a BC/Cocker Spaniel mix since she was a few months old. She was never taught anything. I mean nothing. No sit, down, stay, etc. She had complete run of the house and car. He would let her out his back door to romp the forest for hours and play fetch with her in the house at the annoyance of anyone else. Everyone always remarked about how much he loved that dog, maybe even more than his children. I never thought it was very loving not to stimulate her more and teach her some manners as well. All that being said, I'm going to become her new owner Thursday night. I'm afraid anyone else would lose patience and hurt her or have her put down. She deserves more than that. It's not her fault she wasn't raised better. I've not had a lot of interaction with her, but the times I did, I thought she was a sweet, special little dog. I would actually think, "If you were mine, you would be so much better off."

 

My 16yo daughter thinks I've lost my mind. She would like to have the dog but thinks it will be impossible to teach her anything. I disagree. I think this dog is still trainable and I am will to invest the time in her.

 

How long should I wait until I enroll in formal obedience class? I think she should have an adjustment period to our home first. She will be coming to a house with two cats and a 10yo female Golden Retriever. Both dogs are good with cats and other dogs. The GR, is a lovely laid back ol' girl who is no trouble at all. Excellent manners. It's also very important to me that she not feel left out in some way. Both dogs are on the timid side. I think this is because my ex was a screamer. He wouldn't dream of screaming at the dogs, but he would scream at us, the TV, the thought of some injustice he imagined he had experienced from others. The dogs would run for cover. Will one of the dogs become the Alpha female?

 

She also had accidents in the house. My daughter's older sister (a sister from another mother), said it was because he forgot to let her out. He had some early onset dementia from alcoholism and a stroke he suffered. He also pretty much lived in an alcohol induced black out for the last 2-3years. I am certain this dog was never physically abused but neglect is neglect whether it was intentional or not. So, you see, this dog hasn't been in a great situation. I still believe she can be potty trained appropriately.

 

The dog is not crate trained because he thought it was cruel. I intend to crate train her and fortunately my husband is retired and around when I am working so she won't be stuck for hours on end. He has enriched my Golden's life since he's been on the scene (7 years) so I expect the same will happen here. It took some time but he won her over and it appears to me he is her favorite. He worked extra hard because she's a little afraid of men.

 

My biggest concern about the BC is that she's a barker. For some reason I think that will be the biggest challenge.

 

Over the last few days I've done a lot of reading about BCs. I understand mental stimulation is as important as physical. My next biggest concern is "off leash" time. Seems as though a lot of BC owners really believe this is important. Is it? Is hiking on leash adequate or does she need "off leash" time?

 

I know this a long post and the questions are scattered but I am looking forward to any responses that might help me. Despite all the problems this dog has, I am really looking forward to her being a part of our family.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She doesn't need off leash time if you're willing to hike her, and adequately exercise her. Walks will not do. One day she can eventually be off leash with lots of training but in the meantime she's fine. Do you have a fenced yard? I used to use baseball diamonds too.

 

Lots if recall training!

 

Crate training will help with the house training. Treat her like you would a pup.

 

Barking you are right, will probably be a big challenge, as hard as it is ignoring and not giving any attention (which would reinforce the behaviour) should do the trick. Do this from the first minute, so she knows barking has no effect on you.

 

I would enroll in a positive science based obedience class right away. Do yor homework and find a great trainer, start with a private lesson to work out a plan/ the kinks, until you are ready for group class. You could I guess argue for time settling in, which is why I suggest some private training before the group class.

 

And congrats on the new addition and good for you for taking her own! Best of luck!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

Good for you. Reforming an older ill-trained dog is challenging. Although, it might be good giving the dog time to adjust to his new situation, unless you have some real training creds, it'd be better to get the dog to an experienced trainer ASAP. The dog won't be the only one needing adjusting.

 

There's plenty of guff out there and many trainers with scant experience but great faith in their magic method or tool. Do be skeptical. Do ask to see proof of results. Best would be a trainer who has had success with older rescue dogs.

 

Patience! There's nothing a dog wants more than to belong to a dog-sensible, orderly human pack. A dog misbehaves not because it's wicked or willful but because it's ignorant of how to live.

 

 

 

Donald McCaig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you have been given some (eta good) advice and kudos to you for taking on this challenge, I am sure it will pay off in the future.

 

You mentioned that you felt like she should have an adjustment period. Remember, it is easier to set boundaries from the start versus letting her get away with things for a few weeks and then go back and set boundaries. Since it sounds like she ruled the show in her last home I would make sure all family members are on the same page prior to her coming in the door and then you all re-enforce what is or is not allowed in her new home together.

 

Congratulations and have fun!

Julie

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you for stepping up and helping this dog. Don't forget that she also has Cocker in her, so be aware how that parent may also affect her behaviors.

 

Since she is a 'rescue', I would invest (~$10) in Patricia McConnell's book "Love Has No Age Limit" - a short, concise book that highlights the most common issues when a dog is rehomed. Actually, I don't think you would go wrong with any of her books.

 

Housebreaking - treat her like a puppy. If you search the forums here, you will find excellent advice on housebreaking.

 

Good Luck,

Jovi

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good for you for stepping up for this dog. I agree totally with Donald that she will be happy in an ordered and predictable environment. It sounds like you want to wait a bit to join a class, but in the meantime, be careful not to confuse her. Keep the rules and patterns simple and consistent. As Jumpin Boots says, don't let her do things initially that she will later be asked to stop doing. The training begins the moment she arrives, whether you're planning it or not. She'll be figuring out how this new place works, so help her understand it as kindly but clearly as possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Patience! There's nothing a dog wants more than to belong to a dog-sensible, orderly human pack. A dog misbehaves not because it's wicked or willful but because it's ignorant of how to live.

 

What Donald said. Shoshone was basically a 3 yr old semi-feral dog who had learned that humans gave her food. She had not been taught anything else. When we brought her home, we tried the 'let her get adjusted' route. If I ever have that situation again, I'll go right into routine and consistency.

 

I'll go further and say that for any mammal who has changed homes, routine and consistency are the most reassuring things there are in the Universe. You don't need to flood her with a lot of stuff to learn, but you can decide what the basics are, (housebreaking, no barking would be high on my list for this girl) plus the rules your other dog lives by.

 

She will likely learn quickly, simply from observation. It is the kindest thing for everyone. You're probably going to be able to build on the basics pretty quickly.

 

And as the others have said, Thank You for taking her in.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm another chiming in with the "start as you mean to go on" advice, whether you take her to class straight away or not. And don't feel sorry or make excuses for her past.

 

Cockers can be a challenge, even more so a cocker whose natural instincts have been allowed free rein by romping free in the forest, but you don't know yet how her genetic behaviour will manifest itself with you and you can teach an old dog new tricks. Beside that, 6 isn't old at all. Likely she'll be your dog longer than she belonged to your ex.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have no clue about this dog obviously. And I think you are wonderful for taking her on.

I also want to echo the idea of setting her boundries straight from the beginning.

 

However, I know of plenty dogs that simply by living with people are perfectly fine companions without any formal obedience training. Mine used to be. There were things that they could do and others they got told different about. Made them perfectly fine companions. Now, I put a lot more time in my dogs with actual "training" and it is still the same. Sure, I can tell them to sit a bit longer but for the most part, the actual living together has not changed by much.

 

On the other hand, I know a few dogs that have ob or ob equivalent titles and higher and they don't know how to actually live in a household. Just something to consider. It may not be as bad as it seems. Nothing you wrote makes me think she is a terrible dog. So guidance as to what is expected of her during living with you, maybe a huge deal already.

 

Also, sounds like your husband (the current one) is a good egg and she will benefit from two good people in her life where she will be safe and taken care of well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Beautifully stated!

 

Patience! There's nothing a dog wants more than to belong to a dog-sensible, orderly human pack. A dog misbehaves not because it's wicked or willful but because it's ignorant of how to live.

 

 

 

Donald McCaig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Patience! There's nothing a dog wants more than to belong to a dog-sensible, orderly human pack. A dog misbehaves not because it's wicked or willful but because it's ignorant of how to live.

 

 

 

Donald McCaig

I think this is very well said. I also think a misbehaving dog is likely ignorant of how to live in a human's world.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

First, thanks so much for taking in this dog! I know it's got to be very stressful for you, but I'm glad that you're there for her when no one else is able to be.

I don't have a lot of advice that hasn't already been given. If it were me, I would enroll her in obedience training ASAP to start working on some of these behaviors. Be very patient and very gentle; it's not her fault that she was behaviorally neglected. Despite the old saying, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks-- she can be rehabilitated so that she's one of the best dogs you can imagine. You just need to have lots of time, patience, and energy to make it happen. Border collies are very smart and have a strong urge to please their owners. Best of luck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...