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Just to jump into the roll-over training sub-thread: It was pretty hard for me to teach, but I finally did get my dog to go both ways. Training sessions were only every once in a while, no more than twice per week, and even then, I would go months without trying to train the roll-over.

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Here's the kids snoozing on the couch. Yes, there is a third dog. What started out as maybe a month of dog sitting has turned into possibly a permanent resident. Miss Daisy is a ten or eleven year old husky chow mix. She had blended right into the pack and is a lovely dog.

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Just a thought. Maybe "roll over" isn't the place to start with tricks. If he belonged to someone who was still in the dark ages of the "dominance roll" the dog may think he's in trouble for something.

 

I have a new youngster, a rescue, who seems to feel that all speech directed at her is some kind of reprimand. She tends to tuck tail and slide away. So I'm communicating more by hand signals with her. She's quite attentive, and likes me, and is responding to it well. I save verbal communication mostly for feeding time and cuddle time. I sing to her and rub her ears, which causes her to bliss out. To get her attention I snap my fingers, tap the floor, wiggle a toy, etc. The point of this is try different ways of engaging and interacting. Maybe something will click.

 

I think what I would do with your pup is something like agility training. Teach him to engage his back end when climbing over obstacles, etc. Most dogs I've worked with benefit from such exercises, even if they never do agility.

 

I agree that a dog with an "inquiring mind" isn't going to get much from bicycle roadwork. Too much like a treadmill.

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I feel like people maybe get too hung up on breed and the general public likes to talk about such and such breed 'needing a job' all the time. I get it a lot with my cattle dog x. I never got it with my papillons. What is funny is the one papillon is absolutely the most trouble and the most intelligent, thinking dog I've ever owned. The cattle dog mix has been a piece of cake. But people see his coloration and I get a lecture about 'oh boy THAT DOG needs a JOB!'

 

I have known a lot of border collies and while the stereotype is there for a reason it is not going to fit every individual dog. Some labs are very driven for example and some border collies are not. I would say most border collies are higher drive and higher energy but I have known a good handful that weren't. I have known quite a few that were soft, unsure, calm, regal kinds of dogs.

 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is to not think 'Jack is a border collie so Jack needs XYZ'. But instead look at Jack and see what Jack needs as Jack. Some dogs of any breed are very happy to live a laid back lifestyle.

 

The whole 'this breed needs a job!' is just the layman's attempt at saying in general these breeds can be high energy and driven (or quirky) and will often need some focused work put into them. But all 'needs a job breed' individuals are not going to 'need a job'. You know what I mean?

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I feel like people maybe get too hung up on breed and the general public likes to talk about such and such breed 'needing a job' all the time. I get it a lot with my cattle dog x. I never got it with my papillons. What is funny is the one papillon is absolutely the most trouble and the most intelligent, thinking dog I've ever owned. The cattle dog mix has been a piece of cake. But people see his coloration and I get a lecture about 'oh boy THAT DOG needs a JOB!'

 

I have known a lot of border collies and while the stereotype is there for a reason it is not going to fit every individual dog. Some labs are very driven for example and some border collies are not. I would say most border collies are higher drive and higher energy but I have known a good handful that weren't. I have known quite a few that were soft, unsure, calm, regal kinds of dogs.

 

So I guess what I'm trying to say is to not think 'Jack is a border collie so Jack needs XYZ'. But instead look at Jack and see what Jack needs as Jack. Some dogs of any breed are very happy to live a laid back lifestyle.

 

The whole 'this breed needs a job!' is just the layman's attempt at saying in general these breeds can be high energy and driven (or quirky) and will often need some focused work put into them. But all 'needs a job breed' individuals are not going to 'need a job'. You know what I mean?

 

I actually immediately thought of this when I first read the thread, but didn't want to say anything.

 

Where I live, breed importance is so stupidly hyped up to some people that they often times forget what the dog actually needs. One of my friends, a fanatical dog lover, actually said this to me the other day: "I love how calm Caleb is, but I want a Doberman or German Shepherd, and I know they can't be calm like that. I just want his calmness in a Doberman or GSD body." I remember looking at her and thinking to myself, "that is the stupidest thing I've ever heard."

 

Dogs share 99.8% of the same DNA, if I recall correctly, and the whole breed thing is artificially constructed, so I really don't get why average citizens with companion dogs put such a big importance on it. What's worse is when they start compartmentalizing traits, like, "that dog is so protective. He must have some German Shepherd in him," or, "oh, he's really good at sniffing things! Definitely some bloodhound in him."

 

Just like there is such a huge discrepancy and variances within people of the same ethnicity, there are a crap ton of different dogs within every breed; I know a couple of BCs in the neighborhood, and every single one of them is not like the other. I couldn't even say they all share at least one trait, because they don't. There are more "focused" dogs like my own and Willow who would rather fetch or interact with people, and then there are dog-oriented ones like Mookie or Jelly who want nothing to do with their human once they see another dog.

 

I totally echo what others have said in stepping back from the breed mold, and seeing Jack for who is he, and not for the breed he was born into. It's really, really great of you to be so supportive and willing to listen for the sake of your dog. Most dog owners today lack this trait.

 

When I first got Caleb, he was very, very hesitant to play with me at all. What truly brought him out of his shell was a flirt pole; that was the first thing he ever played with me, and it remains to be his most favorite thing in the world. Of course, now he loves all toys (balls, frisbees, sticks, rope, you name it), but maybe give it a try with Jack?

This is the one I first got: Flirt pole

 

I hope that helps.

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