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New here with some questions (service dogs?)

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So first off let me begin to say I am sure I would be able to find all my answers within this forum, I just feel better when I ask them myself and have them all in one place. If that makes any sense. :)


Ok, so I will wholeheartedly admit that I am bran new to the BC scene. For some reason or another my younger sister has wanted one for the LONGEST time, and since a few years back our yellow lab passed on, we finally found reason to get one. Mind you, we didn't just delve into it blind, we knew how intense BC's could get and I also did my fair share of research before getting him home to us. His name is Baymax and we got him at 8 weeks, he is now 11 weeks. So still pretty fresh. While before we got him I was all ready and knew all the important stuff, after he came and got used to us I just feel like now all that has gone down the drain and I feel completely clueless as to how to go about making him behave a little better. I know he is still very young, is that the only reason he is like this? If so I would feel better, but I somehow doubt it. So I'll say the few things that have been bugging me lately...


1. Probably the most frustrating thing about him is that I feel like he doesn't respect either me or my sister (us being his main owners). Like I mentioned above, I don't know if this is just because he is a puppy still and doesn't really listen to anyone, but he doesn't listen unless I raise my voice (even so, he sometimes still won't listen), and honestly I do NOT want to be in situations where I have to YELL at my dog to get him to listen, we very much want a positive household here for him. Any tips on the whole "showing them who the owner is" thing would help a lot, unless of coarse its simply puppy attitude, in which case I suppose that would also make me feel better if I knew that.


2. We are trying to crate train him. Every night I am the one who stays up with him and puts him to sleep, and my sister has morning shift because he will usually wake up between 8am-10am, so she lets me sleep longer. He always cries when he wants to come out, which I know is normal, at least right now. But the main thing I wanted to know about it was where he have his crate. We have it in a separate room that no one goes in. I read somewhere that you shouldn't crate your dog in a place where he feels isolated, but I feel it's the only way he will get a decent, peaceful amount of sleep because we have WAY more cats than we do dogs. We only have Baymax and Miki (our older, chihuahua), the other 6 are all cats. If I crated him out in the living room the cats are up all night making all kinds of noise. Not really a question now that I realized, but I guess opinions are welcome on the subject.


3. Back to the cat subject. I just wanted to know If anyone on here has any with their BC, and how they act with them. I know I have a more unusual amount of them than normal, but even so. I just don't know if he would be any different with them than he is now? He is pretty good with them now, all things considered. He's a pup with them. For awhile none of them came out of the bedroom out of fear, them they all slowly came out and checked him out. As of now, all of them come out but most of them avoid going on the floor, because Baymax see's them and naturally, he wants to heard them! They usually just brush it off and run away from him. One of my cats though, he is younger and a very big tom cat. He knows this is his home and he fights for it, lately he will just sit in the middle of the living room floor and literally TAUNT Baymax, then Baymax will bark at him, but not get too close because if he does the cat will bat at him. It's funny, I don't know if it's good or bad though.


4. And LASTLY (sorry for asking so much from you all!), one of the main reasons we got Baymax was because my sister has a lot of anxiety issues. They can be very mild sometimes and other times they can be very extreme, so we got him in hopes that he would help soothe some of her anxiety. We very much want to make him a service dog when he is older, we have only done a bit of research on it as of yet since he is so young, but I guess I wanted to get some opinions on it. Our goal is probably to get him to be able to travel with up because that's one of the bigger issues. We want to make a trip to Scotland in a few years to come and we are planning a trip to Japan this coming spring. My sister is terrified of flying. She claims if Baymax is with her, she will be able to do it. So, whether that is true or not is another thing in itself. So, does anyone have any experience with BC service dogs? Or service dogs in general?




Once again, thank you all for listening to my many questions. I hope to make a good home here on the BC boards with all the other fellow BC lovers!

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Welcome! First a few questions for you :) How have you trained him to listen and focus thus far? What is the environment like where you can't get his attention? What do you mean when you say you stay up to put him to sleep? Have you researched service dog law in the countries that you want to travel to?

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you get to sleep between 8 and 10 am??? can't remember the last time I slept past 6. that's all-carry on with the discussion.

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Hi Lady, puppies can be a real handful/lot of work, we forget when it's been a long time since raising the last one! 11 weeks is awfully young. They sort of seem to go through phases of absorbing like a sponge, following commands perfectly, then not. Then all of a sudden they are "good" again, learn some new things, back to bratty. Seems like all 6 of the ones I raised from pup, (a lab/golden mix, 3 field Labs, a Brittany Spaniel, and now Mia), went through phases like that.


Yep, you're right, raising the volume of your voice doesn't make it in the long run, they learn to tune you out. I picked one or two "lessons" at a time, (what ever I thought was the most important), focused on getting that one or two things across before moving on. They seem to click through them faster that way than if they're bombed with lots of things at once.


While he's young some things that will start to show him you are alpha is more body language than verbal language since dogs key off of body language the most. Dominants give direct eye contact and are never the 1st to break it. You can try adding that technique after saying his name to get his attention and giving a command, or when saying "no". Try not to repeat a command you know he's familiar with you, stay silent and stare until he goes ahead and does what you had asked. You can toss some pennies in a metal can to sit on a counter top, if it's hard to get his attention, shaking it will probably make him look at you so you can say his name followed by the command after you've got his attention. If he's nipping you too hard during play he's programmed to understand what Mamma dog does for this, a light pinch to scruff of neck with one hand, hand over nose to push in a downward motion with other at the same time. That's the natural correction he's already been taught by him Mom, and it also starts to subconsciously tell him your are senior. Never do it harshly, a true pack leader is even handed and calm, (good genetics), and they seem to know this.


Might want to email some hospitals in your area and ask who brings service dogs in, or ask them to pass your info on to persons who come in with service dogs. Bet they are a wealth of info on how to get started in your area.


Hang in there, you can do it. It's just tougher than we remember for a while, first 10-11 months really. But you'll have 14 fantastic years after that, a great return on your investment!

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I'm sure other people can answer your other questions better than me, so I'll just focus on the service dog aspect. My border collie is my service dog (PTSD and other anxiety disorders), and I trained him mostly by myself, but with some input from a professional trainer when needed. The first thing your sister and anyone who will be involved with the dog and its training is, to what degree is your sister disabled? If your sister is mild to moderately disabled (she can still function in day to day life without too much assistance) then she may consider an emotional support animal instead of a service dog. An ESA requires no training beyond that of a normal pet, but they are allowed in no pets housing (if you follow the proper procedure) and are allowed to fly with their owners for no cost (again if you follow procedure). ESAs are NOT allowed to go places in public like a service dog is however. I strongly suggest she meet with a doctor/psychiatrist or psychologist and get a letter of support if she decides on an ESA or SD. They will be able to help her determine the severity of her disability as well if she is unsure. It's always a good idea to get professional input on these matters anyway IMO, and a mental health care professional can also be invaluable in helping determine what tasks/work would be helpful for a service dog to mitigate her disability.


You mentioned that your sister feels she would be able to fly if she had a dog with her, but emotional support is not considered a legal task or work under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The dog would have to be trained to specifically mitigate her disability by performing a task or work. If she does decide that she requires the assistance of a service dog I would highly recommend employing a professional trainer to help with this. I'm not sure your or your sister's experience in training dogs to a high level of obedience and reliability, but training a service dog is a very large undertaking, even for experienced trainers. This is also a personal aside, but I would not normally recommend this breed as a service dog for the average owner, especially not a first time border collie owner. Service dogs are normally chosen with a very specific temperament, and it's very unlikely that a dog not chosen with these traits in mind will make it in this line of work. I'm not saying this to discourage you, but rather so that you are prepared for the possibility that you may have put years of work into this dog only to have to wash him out for acting... like a border collie.


As for flying internationally, you will need to look into the specific country's laws on service animals, and be aware that airlines do have discriminatory practices with regards to psychiatric service animals. I have done a little bit of research on flying with a psychiatric service animal internationally, and unfortunately I do not think it would be possible, unless your sister got her SD from a REPUTABLE organization that certifies (usually this is Assistance Dogs International), or went through ADI's program to have owner trained SDs certified. Even if it is possible to fly to the country in question, it is unlikely that your sister would be able to enjoy the same rights granted to her by the ADA in the US, her dog may even have to be quarantined for a period of time.


I hope that this post has been helpful, if you have any other questions feel free to ask here or PM me.

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Hi and welcome :) Congratulations on your puppy.



Making your puppy listen to you is a process that takes from the day the puppy arrives and carries on for about a year. In that year you will have periods when you think you cracked it and have the most obedient puppy who ever lived followed by periods when you are sure you own the world's most disobedient puppy. The more intelligent and capable the dog, the more so this will be true. Smart dogs are not easier to train - they are harder - but they do train up better in the end if you get it right:)


Obedience is arrived at by slow stages of understanding. First off is usually establishing a primary "boss". Every dog needs one. Having two bosses with two sets of rules, two ways of doings things, two voices, two personalities - this may be slightly confusing to him. It won't matter later when he has some understanding - but at this age he may feel free to act as he wants because he has not identified a boss on whom he can concentrate and build the basic behavioural blocks of human interaction. What you describe is very common to couples who get a dog together. At some point one person MUST emerge as the dog's primary "boss" or the dog will do one of two things - decide he can pick who is boss at any given time (and it will almost always be the other person not giving the direction) or decide he doesn't have a boss.


Keeping in mind that opinions on this will be wide and varied, my advice to you is to work together with your sister to make sure that (A.) all your commands are exactly the same and are applied in exactly the same way and (B.) that you allow/disallow the same things. Again, later in his life the puppy will be able to distinguish but at this age he's a sponge with so much new information coming at him that he needs help in sorting it out. As an example - my elderly mother lives with me. I have several dogs (7 to be precise, plus the three retired stockdogs who mostly/sorta live in this house with us). My mother has been around dogs all her life and probably knows more than I do - but they are my dogs - and the newest puppy, a BC, had to be trained, by me, to deal with her and even though we live in the same house, we both deal with the dogs and we both tell the dogs what to do, the puppy needed to be handled carefully in her first few months to ensure - not so much that she knew who was boss but that she was able to make clear understanding of what was being asked of her. Even learning commands is dicey with two people - in the very beginning the dog is responding to your tone and body language much more than the command word - and it is impossible to duplicate these things. So the word "sit" is not the same to the puppy when two people utter it.


Again - over time this equalizes - but at this stage the puppy needs a framework on which to build obedience. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to help clarify his world a little. Make is simpler.


I do recommend that you do not crate him in a place no one ever goes. He will sense this and resist crating a lot, I believe. It is good to have puppies get used to sleeping around a little normal house noise.


I train service dogs. Of the 15 or so that I have trained, only 3 were Border Collies and they were trained for very specific jobs based on the native skills they possess. I would not recommend a Border Collie for anyone not very experienced in service training - they possess a keen independence which is a thing most service dogs must give up and which Border Collies do not do well, in my experience. They make great working service dogs- trained for tasks which start and end. They make terrible (in my experience) personal service dogs. Though loyal and really excellent companions, by and large, they would almost have to be trained by the person needing the service and THAT is a very large undertaking - not for the weak hearted, believe me.


There is lots of help available for training service dogs. If he is to be your sister's service dog, then he should probably be your sister's dog, so to speak. Building the bond required to do that sort of training for one self would be critical, I would think.


I hope I don't sound too discouraging. Of course you can make your puppy obedient and of course you can make him a service dog success - I mean only to offer cautions so as to help you arm yourself for what's ahead :)


Good luck.


And keep in mind, it IS the internet, and you can feel free to pooh pooh all that I have said and will find a hundred others to disagree. There is no one truth out here in cyber-land :)

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^^ CMP. speaks wise words. (IMO).


With regards to cats. Mine always taught my pups a great deal. when she was young she used to play with the younger dogs. As she got older, She would intentionally lie or sit near them and was always very tolerant as long as they weren't too boisterous or decide to chew her tail. In these cases,she would then swat them or swear at them. She never seemed to scratch or bite them unless they really did not heed her initial warnings.


She taught my dogs to respect and have good manners to cats. The older dogs (all BCs) often chose to be near her and most nights one or more would curl up with her purring away. There was also a lot of mutual grooming and ear licking. My cat died last month aged 20 and now the dogs no longer choose to sleep near where her bed was.


Obviously how a cat responds to a pup will be very dependent on each individual animal. If your Tom cat is taunting your pup, he probably wants to teach him a lesson while he is still young enough to listen to a smaller feline. if you decide to let them interact, I would advise doing it under supervision.


Enjoy your pup


Added in edit: I should have said don,t force an interaction if the cat does not want it.

Edited by Maxi
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Making your puppy listen to you is a process that takes from the day the puppy arrives and carries on for about a year. In that year you will have periods when you think you cracked it and have the most obedient puppy who ever lived followed by periods when you are sure you own the world's most disobedient puppy. The more intelligent and capable the dog, the more so this will be true. Smart dogs are not easier to train - they are harder - but they do train up better in the end if you get it right:)


I don't have anything to add to this discussion, but wanted to say that this ^^^^ gives me hope! (As I'm dealing with a newly emerging teenager who now thinks listening is "optional") :D

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Oh, I forgot the bit about the cats :)


Puppies and cats. Crazy combination of things there, no?


Honestly, and this is the advice I *always* give ... unless anyone's health or mental well being is at risk - let them sort it out. They will - cats and dogs - work out a social heirarchy themselves and the puppy will have to be "told" where he fits in. You *must* let this happen, in my experience, or it's an endless cycle of intervention, trying to make things "nice and fair" and animals who learn to milk the tension for all its worth.


I try and teach the puppy to be respectful of her elders, be they people, cats or dogs - to things that were here before her - but in the end I just let them work it out under a careful eye until I am sure no one will be harmed.


One old cat hates dogs. Will tolerate them if they stay away. Will never attack them but will defend herelf against any invasion, even a friendly one. Puppies learn this. Sometimes it takes a scratch on the tender nose or full out hissy fit - but they all learned to leave her alone and be respectful of her space. *I* did not teach them that - she did.


Edited to add: skirmishes between cats and dogs are a daily occurance around here - mostly friendly, mostly harmless - maybe once or twice a year I have to step in between two animals who have both decided to move up one on the social ladder - and even then I try not to decide the battle - just referee it a little :)

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