Jump to content
BC Boards

Recommended Posts

I posted a few weeks ago about a young BC that my family adopted. He was a stray that we took in, and he is just over a year old.
We are adjusting to his puppy behaviors - learning not to leave things out we don't want him to chew up, playing with him plenty so that he calms down inside, teaching him not to jump or nip at our daughter, etc.
BUT…I am going insane with worry that he is going to run away. We just bought a house and have a nice sized back yard that I love to let him run around in. But most of the fence is chain link, which he can easily climb. The back portion is a 6-foot privacy fence, but both our neighbors have cats that he goes crazy for and if we catches a glimpse of them he is over the fence to chase him.
We put in a running line as a short-term solution to let him out (a 30-foot cable between two trees that he is attached to by a second cable). This is obviously not ideal for long-term, AND he can still jump over the fence on one side, which makes me worry anytime he is out unsupervised that he is going to get the cable caught and hang himself…
We would like to install a full privacy fence around the entire back yard, but we cannot currently afford to do so and I've heard that a lot of BC's can jump those anyway.
So what we are thinking now is that we will get an "invisible" fence, one of the ones that shocks the dog if they get too close to the barrier.
I am not 100% happy with this option but I am really at a loss about what to do with him. He is definitely not getting enough exercise because I cannot let him run loose in the backyard without worrying he will jump the fence and run off (he does not recall well AT ALL).
I would love some suggestions here, or at least some encouragement that one day I will not have to constantly worry that our BC will run away. It is stressful always having to keep him on leash and I feel so awful that he is not expending enough energy. What should I do??

Link to post
Share on other sites

What about something like this and then adding a roof to it?

 

This is what I am planning on doing this summer once our weather gets nicer.

 

http://www.k9kennelstore.com/PRO-Single-Kennels.html?gclid=CKP9r73KzroCFaQ9QgodokMA1A

Link to post
Share on other sites

^^No dog's going to get much exercise in a small kennel. :P

 

April, would you be able to install an inward angled section of wire at the top of your fence so that when he gets to the top there'd be a barrier?

 

I'd also suggest doing some desensitization and counter conditioning work with cats and other moving objects. There's lots of info on the web and in the Board archives about how to do this.

 

IMO, this is something you need to work on with him, because if it isn't dealt with now, it'll be much harder later. It's a self rewarding behavior and will only get stronger.

 

Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

^^No dog's going to get much exercise in a small kennel. :P

I wasn't offering this as an exercise option, just as a way for the dog to be outside for periods of time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, since April's concerned about exercise, I thought it was worth pointing out. ;)

Ah! Somehow I hadn't noticed the exercise part of the OP.

Link to post
Share on other sites

If I remember correctly (from your previous post) you give him two walks a day (distance?), daily training sessions and lots of play, right? Have you been able to stick with that regiment? If he's getting plenty of activity and structure throughout each day is there a need to have him outside in the yard by himself? Border Collies don't tend to be the types to entertain themselves in the yard, they generally want to do stuff with you (or other dogs in the household).

 

I'm very lucky that I don't have an escape artist, so I'm sorry I can't be much help with a practical containment solution. My gut instinct is that, even if you DO find a practical way to keep him safe while alone in the yard, you may still want to work on the underlying issues that have him so willing to run off (i.e. motion sensitivity to the cats next door or whatever else sends him over the fence) as GentleLake suggested.

 

So sorry you are dealing with this... I hope other members can give more productive advice. Good luck...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

Ms. Russell has a new Border Collie and a yard and hopes her pup will self exercise. Why is that a good idea?

 

Donald McCaig

The way I always heard it was that Border Collies need a job to do. If you do not provide them with one, they will find their own, and you won't like it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Invisible fence - no! If your dog is already an escape artist and is going crazy over the cats, he will go right through the shock of an invisible fence (because BCs are really fast and because once he sees the cat, he is over threshold and is not 'thinking', just reacting - if I am correctly understanding his behavior based on your description). Then, once he is done chasing or whatever, why would he want to come back to the house? He would be shocked again.

 

I always recommend going outside with your dog. Yes, I know it can be a pain and it takes time, but leaving a dog (particularly a pup) to his own devices in the back yard usually sets it up for some bad habits and increases the chance of escape. Use your outside time for training, bonding, etc.

 

IMHO, spend your time training your dog, and he WILL get better. Just throwing him out in a fenced backyard isn't going to teach him anything good.

 

Jovi

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have to agree with others that he needs supervision outside. I was also going to suggest the angled wire at the top as well. They do have the chain link toppers that usually have barbed wire for the top, I would just use a different type of wire instead. Like a smaller/shorter section of chain link or even 2' wire mesh that can be strung along the top and secured to the supports.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Invisible fence - no! If your dog is already an escape artist and is going crazy over the cats, he will go right through the shock of an invisible fence (because BCs are really fast and because once he sees the cat, he is over threshold and is not 'thinking', just reacting - if I am correctly understanding his behavior based on your description). Then, once he is done chasing or whatever, why would he want to come back to the house? He would be shocked again.

 

And, contrary to popular belief, there are some dogs who'll just decide to take the shock and go when they want to.

 

I once had one like that, not a BC (today he'd be a designer dog, a Pointriever -_- ). Bear liked to roam. That's why we got the IF. Most of the time it would keep him in the yard. He'd go and sit just inside the point where he'd get an auditory warning and you could just see him thinking. Most of the time he'd just get up and come back, but every once in a while when the urge got too strong, you'd see him thinking, then bracing himself for the shock before running right through it. Talk about deductive reasoning!

 

But gcv-border's right. He wouldn't cross the fence to come back home. He'd sit in the neighbors' yard and whine until we came and got him. :rolleyes:

 

And Donald and others are right, too. You can't count on most BCs to self exercise. Of my 3, the purebred is the one whose only self exercise if I'm not outside with him is bouncing up and down at the door for me to let him back in . . . where I am. :wub:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Plus, if a Border Collie is outside "self-exercising", just what does that mean? Digging holes. Barking at whatever (walkers, bikers, cars, birds). Running up and down the fenceline barking at whatever (see previous suggestions). Becoming obsessed with squirrels, birds, planes, shadows, leaves. Climbing the fence and heading to parts unknown. He/she sure won't be doing anything constructive.

 

Pardon me for musing but I often lament not having a fenced yard. I can't ever just turn the dogs out to do their potty business without going out with them. I can't ever just turn them out to "play" without at least being with them and, most likely, having to play with them.

 

I am an inherently lazy person and if I had a fenced yard and, better yet, also a doggy door - I'd be free from having to do very much interaction with my dogs. They could let themselves out and in. I could avoid a dog walk morning and evening (which you already do very well) with the idea that they already had plenty of "fresh air and exercise" outside while playing on their own. At least I could delude myself into thinking that.

 

Instead, I have to walk my dogs twice a day, which is good for them and good for me. Sometimes we take a bike ride for part of our walk. They have to be able to settle in the house when I need them to do so. If they don't, they might get crate time with or without a bone. We interact a lot, both indoors and outdoors. So, while I complain every now and then about the inconvenience, I realize that this is probably truly a blessing in disguise for me, and for the dogs.

 

I do realize that you need to make your yard dog-safe, and hope the ideas you have been given may have helped you come up with a solution because it sounds like he is a Houdini, whether you are with him or not. Best wishes!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your pup has already rewarded himself plenty of times by being able to go over the fence to chase the cats. My dogs learn from an early age not to chase the barn cats, right from the beginning I corrected any behavior that looked remotely like "lets chase the cats" The sooner you can nip it in the bud the better. Since your pup has already gotten away with this many times it will take more discipline on your part to do better. As everyone has already stated your pup needs supervision when outside. Have you tried a long line, that way your pup can still run around the yard, but if he decides to try and climb the fence you can step on the rope and correct his bad behavior. I will admit it, I am not a straight positive trainer, if the pup is doing somthing naughty I will let then know by using my voice or I might even chase them off by flapping my hat on my leg, just to get their attention off of the behavior they are doing. Personally in this situation I would set it up with a long line, let the pup attempt his naughty behavior and "rain all heck down on him". for most border collies just your tone of voice and body language are enough to get their attention. I'm sure many people will read this and think that I'm a horrible person for what I have said, but I don't think its fair to the cats that are getting harassed or for your pup to get potentially hurt, lost or killed.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just happened to run across this blog entry on dog proofing fences while I was looking for something else and thought I'd pass it on.

 

http://notesfromadogwalker.com/2013/08/08/dog-fence-fixes/

 

Hope there's something useful for you here.

 

And Sue R is absolutely right . . . if your BC is self exercising, it's probably doing something that it shouldn't be doing. :o

Link to post
Share on other sites

aprilrussel, I agree with others. Doesn't even matter if it is a border collie, leaving dogs outside by themselves to self exercise/entertain is going to create dogs that will get into trouble.

 

you and your dog will be so much happier if you go out with them, You'll find, that eventually, your dog will settle down, and just be happy and relaxed outside if you are there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to jump proof my chain link fence. I just bought some metal angle thingies and wired them to the fence all along the places where my dog jumped. Then I just took chicken wire and strung it along anchoring it to the angles and wiring it down.

 

It didn't look wonderful but not too bad and it worked to keep him in. He would go over the fence if he got spooked by thunder.

 

One thing you have to be careful of if you have a dog like that is always to be sure he can't hang himself while he tries to go over the fence. Whenever you use long lines or leashes you need to be sure he can't even reach the fence. They will try and go over the fence and then hang themselves.

 

My three dogs all go out and play in the back yard. They self exercise themselves by playing with each other and running all over chasing each other. I'm always home when they are out and I check on them pretty regularly but they have a great time out there.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

We put in a running line as a short-term solution to let him out (a 30-foot cable between two trees that he is attached to by a second cable). This is obviously not ideal for long-term, AND he can still jump over the fence on one side, which makes me worry anytime he is out unsupervised that he is going to get the cable caught and hang himself…

 

ACK! Is he ever on the trolley-wire unsupervised? I have personally seen two dogs hanging dead from a fence that they had jumped while tied.

 

Trollys can be a decent interim measure while a fence is perfected, but if he can reach the fence it's too dangerous. Even supervised, the dog could go after a cat and break his neck or choke to death before you could extricate him.

 

In general, leaving a dog in a yard unsupervised is usually a bad idea. If he spends much time out there alone he will develop all kinds of bad habits - digging and barking were mentioned - and since he has made it over the fence, he knows he can and will keep doing it.

 

Until you can jump-proof the fence I would not leave him out alone ever. Sorry to be such a downer, but I'm afraid you're stuck with leash exercise or off lead exercise in safe areas.

Link to post
Share on other sites

To Donald, et al - I am fully aware that BCs need to be exercised and it is not preferable to expect them to self-exercise by leaving them alone in the backyard. Your comments are not helpful. I am a mother to a toddler and I work for myself from home. In an ideal world I would spend half of my day playing with Archer and exercising him but this is not an ideal world and I must do what I can to take care of him as well as myself and my family. What I am asking for here is a way to let the dog outside to pee and poop and to be able to play with him outside (that would be ME playing WITH HIM…) without him running away…

So with that out of the way, thanks to all others for the helpful comments. The biggest problem is that even if I'm outside with the dog, he will still jump the fence if he decides he wants to, and he only comes to me when I call if he's in the mood.

I'm no expert on dog training, and frankly we cannot afford obedience classes. I am working daily with him on recall and obedience training based on what I've read on this site and others. I really just want to make sure I'm doing everything in my power to keep him safe. And he is not safe if he is jumping fences in our busy neighborhood.

Hopefully that helps clear up my question. Please limit condescending remarks to there boards as I am not claiming to be a BC expert.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

Sorry I misunderstood Ms. Russell's initial post. When she suggested an "invisible fence" I didn't envision her outside with her dog whilst he learned what part of the yard was going to shock him. Apparently the problem isn't yard fence construction, it's that the dog ignores her and runs away.

 

I'm afraid I don't understand how Ms. Russell can afford an invisible fence but can't afford obedience classes.

 

If one has a dog training problem the solution isn't this forum or any other. Words are words, opinions opinions and take up time better spent finding and engaging a trainer who has had success training dogs and their humans.

 

Donald McCaig

Link to post
Share on other sites

I hear you on the toddler and border collie thing, it can be daunting. My suggestion would be to only take him in the yard when you are with him. I would attach him to a long line that gives him as much space as possible without allowing him to reach the fence. I would spend maybe 5 minutes at the beginning (after he relieves himself) and 5 minutes at the end to practice recall. I would vary the items I offer him for coming back; extra special treats, squeaky toys or whatever he loves. Make coming to you the best thing in the world. If you keep working on this, it will get easier. Training and age will make a difference. I was lucky enough to train my border collie before my kids were born and it has made all the difference. Once Archer is reliably trained, you will be able to enjoy him more. Good luck.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Donald, i'm not sure that I agree with you. Assuming that one is relatively new to dogs, one might not have the repertoire of relatively simple training techniques discussed here. I think that a forum such as this one (and this one in particular) is a great place to start to seek help for one's dog. It sounds like the OP has had the dog for a relatively short period of time and the behaviour does not sound extreme to me in the sense that it has not been something that the OP has been working on for a long time unsuccessfully.

it is often suggested that people experiencing difficulties hire a trainer. As someone that does not know a trainer personally, this seems like a really daunting task. First of all, it sounds really expensive. Secondly, how does one even begin to find a trainer that is experienced in our particular breed, with your type of problem that also has similar training philosophies. I think when one already knows a trainer, that suggestion is a lot easier to follow.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps some of us misunderstood your situation and what you were trying to accomplish. I'm sorry if you thought I was condescending - I did not mean to be but did want to express my feelings on "self-exercising" and that fact that I would be quite happy to be lazy (myself, not you or anyone else) and let my dogs have run of a yard rather than having to walk/play with them. So, I'm sorry if I inadvertently offended you. It's a talent I seem to possess...

 

That said, I think a couple of things already mentioned might be very helpful - one would be to find a good class for family dogs. For instance, in the county next to ours, there are two organizations that offer puppy and family dog classes. The one I am familiar with is the AKC affiliate club that has excellent, understanding, and experienced volunteer instructors (I used to be an assistant there and all my recent pups have been to class there). The other I am not familiar with but it seems to have a good reputation. I would recommend either to anyone who could use some help in training themselves to train their dogs, and that is what it is really all about - learning yourself how to train your dog.

 

The other good idea which someone has already mentioned is to tether him to yourself when you are both in the yard. If he can't be trusted to stay in the yard and to respond to you, then he needs to be restrained in a manner that is safe and effective until you are able to progress to the point where he is mannerly.

 

You have your hands full between work and your toddler, and a young and rowdy adolescent dog is a lot to add to the mix. That's why I think it would be very helpful to get some qualified assistance. Six weeks of one one-hour class per week around here costs about $100 and is worth every penny if you can manage to do that.

 

Thank you for trying to find a way to deal with your problems with this youngster, and very best wishes!

 

To Donald, et al - I am fully aware that BCs need to be exercised and it is not preferable to expect them to self-exercise by leaving them alone in the backyard. Your comments are not helpful. I am a mother to a toddler and I work for myself from home. In an ideal world I would spend half of my day playing with Archer and exercising him but this is not an ideal world and I must do what I can to take care of him as well as myself and my family. What I am asking for here is a way to let the dog outside to pee and poop and to be able to play with him outside (that would be ME playing WITH HIM…) without him running away…

Link to post
Share on other sites

The biggest problem is that even if I'm outside with the dog, he will still jump the fence if he decides he wants to, and he only comes to me when I call if he's in the mood.

 

I'm no expert on dog training, and frankly we cannot afford obedience classes. I am working daily with him on recall and obedience training based on what I've read on this site and others. I really just want to make sure I'm doing everything in my power to keep him safe. And he is not safe if he is jumping fences in our busy neighborhood.

Lakeland Trailhounds are notorious escape artists and this is the recall training advice given by the rescue that rehomes ex racers, although it is applicable to all dogs -

 

http://trailhoundwelfare.org.uk/downloads/TrainingRecall.pdf

 

Please note - no electric shocks involved.

 

These dogs are independent, stubborn and used to following their noses racing 10 miles or so over the Lake District terrain ignoring livestock and without the presence of humans.

 

If you search on You Tube you will see just what agile jumpers they are too, and what unlikely high barriers they can figure a way over.

 

Similar issues to those you are facing it seems but without the prey drive which I appreciate can be a problem.

 

This may help on that score as far as the cats are concerned -

 

http://www.dog-secrets.co.uk/how-do-i-stop-my-dog-chasing/

 

I'm not sure what sort of playing you do and good training should seem like play to a dog but try to make sure that what you do involves plenty of brain work on the part of your dog and you controlling what happens. You need to give him a reason to want to stay close rather than just have him responding to commands.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Your story reminds me of one of my dogs. He came to me at 9 months of age after being in many homes. He had little to no training. He didn't try to jump the fence, but he would bolt out the door.

 

It took quite a bit more time than it would to train a puppy but he eventually became a delightful, cooperative dog. It took me several months just to form a relationship and much longer to be confident in my training. Now, we were doing stockwork and that was a big advantage in forming our relationship, but I think other types of activities, for example trick training, could also help. All training takes place in the context of a relationship, and your dog needs to learn how to have one with a human first. Until then, you will likely be in the same boat I was, where you need close supervision at all times, and the backyard may have to wait.

 

Now as a 5 year old, he is a total joy. And yes, I do let him play in my fenced backyard by himself where he does a lot of running and having fun without causing any trouble.

 

And kudos to you for rehabbing a former stray - that is a challenge, so be patient with yourself and him. It reminds me a little bit of working with foster children, like I did in a former career.

Link to post
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.

×
×
  • Create New...