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problems with obedience

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I have an one year male dog. I live on a farm. He lives free in my garden, but in the morning, when my maid comes to the house and opens the gate, he runs away and does not obbey anymore. He barks to every little bird on a tree. I can call him, but he runs away from me. I have never beaten him, I am very kind with the dog. My husband thinks I pampered the dog too much and he is wild and too free. He spends the night free in the garden with my Rottweilers, that are very old and respect him, because he came to us very young.

My Border Collie is becoming a problem between my husband and me. It sounds stupid, but that is the way I feel. In the morning I have to go after my dog, like a mother after his addicted son, with the lead in my hand, asking myself why he runs from me, if I am his best human friend and never hit him.

Can anybody help me??? What did I do wrong?

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I think you might need to take some extra time working on recall with your Border Collie.


It might help to go out of your way to teach the Border Collie that coming to you when you call him is rewarding and fun.


You could start this by getting some good treats that the dog loves (I would use real chicken) and put the dog on a short leash. Then, you turn and run from him calling, "(Dog's name) come!" in a very happy voice. Afer a few feet, you can turn toward the dog, have the dog sit in front of you and reward.


After doing that every day for a about a week, you could do the same thing using a longer leash. Let the dog sniff a tree or something really interesting and then turn from the dog and run calling him. When he comes to you, reward and praise!


After a while, you won't need to turn and run when you call anymore.


In time, you can start to do the exercise in a small area with the dog off leash.


Another thing you might do is teach your Border Collie to chase and retrieve a ball. There are a few obedience exercises that I could not teach my Border Collie using food - I had to use his ball! If you teach the dog to "come" to bring you the ball, he might be conditioned to come when called.


Anyway, that's what I suggest!

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It sounds to me like your dog is bored and looking for something interesting to do. When the gate is opened, he sees his chance and doesn't want to come to you because you will just put him back in the garden.


Border Collies are not just a dog that simply needs "room to roam" or to be outside to be happy. They are very active dogs but also very intelligent dogs. Therefore, they need both physical and mental stimulation.


In other words, you need to be doing things with your dog that are physically tiring. That could be activities like playing fetch or frisbee; dog sports like obedience, agility, flyball; or the activity which Border Collies were bred to do, working with stock like sheep, cattle, or even goats.


In addition, a Border Collie (like an intelligent child) needs its mind stimulated. Training obedience and tricks can be very good for this if you are not in a position to train and work with your dog on stock.


When you can't be interacting with your dog, you need to provide things that he can do that keep him occupied. Some people like to take toys such as Kongs and stuff them with treats, etc., and even freeze them. The dog can spend quite some time working to get the treats/frozen food, etc., out of the toy.


What do you do with your dog? Do you have training or activities that you do together? This is the key to a well-behaved and content dog, to keep them busy and interacting in positive ways with you and your family, that are compatible with his nature. Otherwise, your dog will continue to look for things to occupy himself (like running off, or maybe digging holes, or barking at every little thing) and you have already discovered that you won't like what he chooses.


Do you have any good, positive dog training resources in your area? A facility or club that helps train you to train and interact with your dog in a positive manner?


Best wishes on working to develop a good relationship with your dog. It is not too late to build a satisfying partnership that will benefit both you and your dog (and your husband, too).

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I want to thank you for your help. Actually this BC is the first one I have. I have a Rottweiler breed (10 dogs) and I am used to this race. They are not so active like the Border Collies and being free in the garden is already something for them. I didn't know a BC would demand so much time from me. I have many activities and not so much time for my BC. I understand I have to interact more with him. I throw objects and he fetches them, but sometimes, after 2 or 3 throws, he doesn't want to bring them to me anymore, he just lies down and plays alone with the object (a ball, a stick or a plastic bottle)staring at me. When I approach him, he tries to run away, even when he knows I am going to give him a treat. I feel like he wants to play catch (? right name?).

I do not have time to go to a club with him, but I can spend some more time with him here at home. I always go for a walk with him around the farm, but when he sees a cattle herd, he runs after them and does not obbey me when I call.

I 'll try to exercice more the obedience skills and afterwards I'll ask you to help me introduce him properly to the cattle.

Thanks very much.

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You are correct in thinking that your dog is not fetching because he is playing back at you. He's playing "keep away" which is common for some dogs. I think he wants the game to be more interactive with you.


For a working-bred dog like the Border Collie, there is no reward as good as the work (by work, I mean working with stock). When he sees the cattle, he wants to work them because that is bred into him. When you take him for a walk, if you will not be training him to work with the cattle, you will probably need to use a long line or rope so that he can be active but he can't get away from you and ignore you.


There are a number of good posts on this board concerning the "recall" or the command that tells him you want him to come to you. The second post on this thread is a good summary of that. If he won't come on his own, to you being interesting and having a good treat, you may have to use the long line so he can't get away from you.


You will find a number of threads on this board about basic obedience training and certain problems people have run into in training their dogs. The recall can be a particular problem because, once that dog/pup knows you can't or won't make him come, he has learned a very bad habit.


Your training needs to be as positive as possible, consistent, fair, and kind. You do need to put time into this dog if you want a good and rewarding relationship. Any dog is a commitment but a Border Collie, with its energy level and intelligence, is a very big commitment. It will take time on your part to learn how to train properly, and time and effort to put that training into effect by working with your dog.


Best wishes.

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