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training a bc puppy

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We recently got our first Border Collie. He is precious. Everyone tells me they are extremely intelligent dogs, but I am worried. I haven't had great luck in the past.... of course, I've never had a border collie before. What is the best way to begin training this type of dog? I've put a call in to a local dog trainer here, but haven't heard back from her yet (holiday hubub, I'm sure). Right now, I'm more concerned about making mistakes and ruining him for life. My husband wants him to be a working dog, which is fine, but he is also going to be a part of our family. He's about 8 weeks old. Any help would be appreciated.




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Hi Carol ? welcome. When you say your husband wants him to be a working dog, do you mean farm work? In which case there are several people on these boards who will have good advice on that aspect. For the moment, general training is appropriate. Don?t worry too much about making mistakes ? as long as you try to be firm, fair and consistent, your little man will forgive you quite a bit. The biggest mistake you will make is not training him.


Border Collies in general are quick to learn, and if you don?t show him what you want him to learn, he?ll start making things up for himself!


In general terms, decide what the rules of the household are for this little guy, and then stick to them. Catch him being good, and load the praise on him. Show him what you want him to do ? e.g. sit, stand, drop, wait, walk nicely, potty etc. and praise him immediately he?s doing the right thing. If you catch him in the act of doing something you don?t want, do a growly voice correction, and re-direct him onto something good. In general terms, if you can?t be watching him fairly closely over the next few weeks, then crate or confine him so he can?t get up to too much mischief. If you are around, an ?umbilical cord? is good ? a light longish lead that attaches him to you while you?re working around the house (in his waking times, that is ? don?t forget he needs plenty of sleep too.)


Many trainers suggest exposing the pups gently and positively to as many experiences as you can in the first 16 or so weeks ? e.g. riding in the car, noises, people of various kinds, traffic, other animals, etc.. That gives you a chance to assess the pup?s temperament and responses, and start shaping them to what you want. (Just remember that you will want to keep him out of possible ?unclean? areas until he?s had his second shots usually after 12 weeks. You can still take him trips in the car, and carry him in your arms. You can also visit with other dogs who you know are healthy and vaccinated.)


Finally, you will find some great links on Kim?s website at www.geocities.com/black_dog_farm


Good luck, and let?s know how he goets on.

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Thanks Barb! To anyone,Tell me if I'm on the right track. I read that if I put him in his crate and only take him out to potty for a few days that he will get the message..... It seems so mean.... he just cries and I want to take him out and love on him. We take him out often and he seems to have figured out that when we go out he needs to potty and then we bring him into play for a while and then crate him. yes, no? Help... I want to do the right thing with my baby.

Thanks! Carol

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I personally would be using the crate only for those times when I couldn?t be watching him closely. In very general terms, a youngster will need to potty after food, play and sleep ? approximately 2 to 3 hourly during the day, and maybe once or twice during the night. I used the crate at night ? had it beside my bed, and took the pup out when it cried ? made sure it pottied, praised, and then put back in the crate and maybe talked calmingly for a little while if pup didn?t settle straight away. (I say ?it? because I had 2 pups, boy and girl, with only 7 weeks apart.)


In the daytime, as long as you?re able to watch the pup closely all the time to see whether he needs to go out, and as long as you take him out, as you?re doing, at appropriate times, I personally wouldn?t be crating him all the time. After all, you want to enjoy him, and you want him to learn the rhythms of the household by being with you. And you also want him to learn to tell you when he needs to go out. So what if it takes him a few weeks longer to be perfectly housetrained? You can always keep adding paper towels and enzyme cleaners to your shopping list for a while! :rolleyes:

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