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hello,

 

Let me start off by saying we have had our border for two months and she is great. we rescued her and have really done nothing but shown her love and let her run to her hearts content as well as teaching her some things here and there. She was loved and trained by someone in her past but also abused as she is skittish.

 

My question is; all of a sudden at night when we are hanging out she no longer wants to be in the same room. She either wants her comfort sofa which is in the first room that we ever brought her into by the back yard or off to the bedroom. The previous 7 weeks she would hang in the den with us...we were told it would take 3 months for her to feel comfortable and during that time changes would occur. Trying not to feel hurt as we love her so but her not wanting to hang out is tough to take.

 

Any answers would be appreciated - thanks

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I've had my girl for over a year now. I'm sitting in the living room watching TV and she's in the bedroom napping under the bed. It's pretty typical. Every now and then she will come in for some love and snuggles, and she's always up for to go and do something with me, but she also really likes her alone time. It's just part of her personality. When I first got her I would sit in the floor and try and play with her, many times she would just look at me and walk away. Ouch. Once I learned her better, I just learned that she likes to have her Tess time and that's just fine. I let her come out and cuddle on her own time. It may help to have a space for her in the room you want her in, a bed or something, that might encourage her to hang out in the same room with you.

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I think that's pretty ordinary for border collies. When I'm home in the evenings, my male, Nick, goes back in the bedroom and zonks out in his crate. The two girls will nap in the living room with us, but only time I've ever seen NIck hang out there is in the morning sun while he waits for breakfast. ;)

Now, you do say it's been a sudden change, in which case I'd wonder if something has changed in the living room. Is there anything in there making any kind of sound that wasn't there before? Doesn't have to be a loud sound, could be just a hum or whine or even a fireplace - my dogs hate the snapping and popping of a fire. Or did any sort of sudden sound spook her out there, (maybe even just on TV) and now she associates the living room with something that scared her?

Otherwise, though, it may just be that she likes to go "den up" in the evening, like my Nick does.

Maybe you could try things to make it a little more inviting out there? Give her special toys or treats that she can only enjoy out there? Does she have a bed of her own in a secure corner of the living room?

I do wish you luck, but don't feel too bad. Most border collies are a little weird. ;)

~ Gloria

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I work during the day, and when I come home one of my three dogs greets me with wiggles and requests for butt scratches. The other two look up from the couch, MAYBE flick their tail once or twice, and basically let me know that they'll be happy to join me as soon as dinner is ready. One of my two couch anchors will eventually wander up to me for some good scritches, and will sometimes treat me like a giant walking napkin, rubbing his face all up and down my pants legs. But these displays of affection (at least that's what I think they are) always come on his terms, with his timing. Now if I invite them to actually do something like go for a walk, play fetch out doors, play "find it" in the house, learn a new trick, or best of all, help with the few chores associated with my flocks of poultry, and tiny herd of sheep, all three are more than eager to participate. So, I'm pretty sure they like me just fine even if two of them prefer to maintain their own space when nothing is happening.

 

So, don't take your dog's independence personally. I think some dogs, just like some people, just happen to be introverts who don't care to expend energy interacting with others unless there is a specific reason to.

 

I do wonder what you mean though about her having the chance to "run to her heart's content". Where exactly is she running, and for how long? It's possible she's just "dog tired".

 

Also, this isn't a major point, but don't assume that just because your dog is skittish that she was necessarily abused. Maybe she was, but lots of perfectly well socialized and well treated dogs just aren't fond of being approached, and may be reactive to sudden movements and noises. I always hate to see skittish dogs automatically pegged as having been abused, because I know for a fact that isn't always the case.

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I'm with Gloria - maybe there is something new in the room, maybe something you can't hear or sense but your dog can. As Gloria points out, even one exposure to something that concerned her can make her leary of that room but, if that's the case, I think she'd get over that in time.

 

Or, maybe she's gotten adjusted to the point that she can be secure and comfy, and not have to be in the same room as you for that, and she likes that spot. This sounds likely to me but I'm not able to be there to evaluate anything other than by your good description.

 

And, yes, many of these dogs, because they are sensitive in nature and sensitive to sound and motion, etc., can be quite skittish, and it has nothing to do with abuse. A truly abused dog is usually shut down rather than reactive.

 

Best wishes, and thank you for giving a home and family to a needy dog!

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Even though Tess doesn't usually hang out with me, she won't go to bed without me. She will sleep on the bed all day without me, but when she decides it's bedtime she will come out and will follow me room to room until I go to bed.

 

Crow always follows me. He's just about 5 months but so far he has to follow me to every room, even if I'm not interacting with him he will follow me and lay down near me.

 

Tess is also extremely skittish, even though she's had a very pampered life. So, like others have said, it's probably not because she's been abused.

 

Border Collies are definitely quirky.

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Both of my females stay in whatever room I'm in. They are not cuddlers though. They hang out in a chair or dog bed. My male (who can be quite the velcro dog) likes to stay in the bedroom and snooze when the house is quiet. Every now and then he joins me on the sofa.

 

Quirky indeed.

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thanks everyone for the feedback, it is appreciated.

 

To set the record straight, she was abused. She was found by campers in the mountains wandering near a stream by herself! No one know's for how long she was there. One of her ears was bitten through! I am quite sure, THANK GOD, she was able to outsmart the bears, wolves, foxes, hyaenas, giraffes, elephants, skunks, wolverines and whatever else was chasing her while she was running for her life. No joke... but I just kept throwing animals in the story because I am sure she was terrified!! She was found with no tags, just a collar. That is for sure a big part of her skittishness...thought you should have the whole story.

 

We love her!!

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It could just be that she's become more comfortable around you now, barring any changes to the room. When I first got Kieran, he had to be everywhere with me all the time. He'd get upset when I left and started chewing my things. But after a few months, something just clicked and he realized I wouldn't leave him. Now he's content to lie in his tent on the other side of the house. He actually just put himself to bed a few minutes ago.

 

Actually, funny that you should mention the skittishness. Kieran was found by animal control, no ID or microchip (though someone had obviously spent a great deal of time training him). He used to be super friendly to everyone hoping for scraps. Now that he's more secure with me, he's actually become more skittish around strangers even though he's well-socialized.

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That's a good point. It could be because she is more secure with you, she feels comfortable enough to hang out in different rooms. That should make you feel good. :)

 

Also, watch if you move stuff around. You will be amazed at some of the things they notice. Once I crated Tess, threw her old nasty dog bed away, went and bought another, came back and let her out. She was freaked out. I didn't even think about it but that new dog bed that wasn't there when she had gone into her crate really messed with her and it was days before she would inspect it. Now I make sure she's in the room if I'm moving furniture or rearranging anything. Some things as small as cardboard boxes in the different place mess with them both sometimes.

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One of our dogs never wanted to hang out with us, he had his favorite places to be but he was very aware of what we were doing. He occasionally would demand cuddles when we were watching tv and we always complied, it felt like an honor that he wanted our company (well mostly my husbands)

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If I'm in the office or in the living room reading during the day, my dogs are likely to be in the same room with me. In the evening, though, they're most likely to be hanging out on their beds in the living room regardless of which room I'm in. (Bedroom doors are closed, so that's not an option.)

 

Finding a stray dog in bad shape still doesn't necessarily mean they've been abused -- other than the fact that someone may have dumped them.

 

Bodhi was a stray and he was very wary and skittish at first after he was picked up and then when I adopted him. I think in some ways stray dogs have to develop the same sorts of hyper vigilant behaviors as feral animals to survive. I've known this to happen is several cases of dogs that got away from the shelter here and became extremely skittish to the point of being nearly impossible to catch while they were loose.

 

Bodhi quickly regained confidence and lost his skittishness and wariness. It sounds to me like your dog may be experiencing the same thing.

 

And, as others have mentioned, some dogs -- and some border collies in particular -- just have skittish natures. We were once given an imported bitch as a gift. We knew she wasn't the type to go running off so when we came home with her we just let her out of the car. A small branch had dropped off a tree onto the driveway, and my ex picked it up to toss it into the woods. Kate took off like she was scared for her life. We were convinced that someone had hit her with a stick or broom, shovel, or the like, because she always took off if we'd pick up a broom or any other long handled tool. And she was skittish in general and always shut down when my ex, a loud, argumentative sort, was home. I know the person who'd had her before Kate wouldn't hurt a fly, but we figured that who'd originally bred, raised and sold her in GB probably abused her. Later met a shepherd/trainer who knew that person and swore that no way had this person ever done Kate any harm. It was just her temperament.

 

So, I'm with the rest in thinking your dog may have reached a comfort level where she feels secure enough to just go to her favorite spot in your home all by herself whether you're there or not. If so, that's progress. ;)

 

Thanks for adopting her and giving her a loving home where she can feel safe and be loved. I suspect you may see some of that skittishness disappearing, as well and she trusts that she doesn't have to fend for herself in the wild anymore.

 

Please keep us posted and let us know how she progresses.

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Yes, I did learn early on with moving things. It took her a little while to master her paths with the hard woods and where the rugs were so she could jump for safety as she hates the hardwoods (only three rooms). I moved a runner rug a couple of feet and the first time through that room was her last time for a week or so.

 

Also, has definitely gotten more comfortable as was stated by a few in previous posts. There is no doubt about that!!

 

The only thing I can think about in the den is verbally sparring with my 18 year old "no-it-all" son and it got heated for a minute or so, she witnessed that and more importantly heard it! That definitely happened a couple days before she decided to exile herself BUT she also mastered walking to the bedroom on her own a couple day's before hand as well, which was a big deal. When we now come home from our 9:30 pm walk she drinks a little water and walks to bedroom by herself.

 

The posts have been GREAT and I will pay attention to them - THANKS!!

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One more quirky tidbit - Gibbs is very, very cuddly from about 3 a.m. on to around 11 a.m. In the 4 years I've had him, I can count on one hand the number of times he has come into my bedroom at my bedtime. When I awaken in the morning, he's on the bed with me, curled up against my leg. He seems to come in between 3 and 4.

 

After the morning outing, he will kiss, cuddle, ask for affection, etc. Then his secret timer goes off and he will accept affection, but move away when I stop petting.

 

He does like to wrestle a bit in the evening, particularly if I've been gone a lot during the day. So, yes, quirky is the word.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

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