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This is my first post on this forum. Great website!

 

We are very excited to be getting our first border collie pup in a couple of weeks (she's about five weeks old now) but my research has thrown up conflicting advice on what to do. As I child we had kelpies and, if I remember correctly, they spent their first nights in the laundry before sleeping in or outside when they were older.

 

I see a lot about crating pups, but not really sure what this means in terms of how long you crate them and to what age. To be honest, I don't really like the thought of her being stuck in a box. Other people have suggested the pup goes straight outside to her (open) kennel at night so she gets used to it. She sleeps outside in a big open kennel with a chicken wire pen around it at the farm she lives at now so she's used to that, but she's with her brothers and sisters. The kennel my husband built it actually probably a bit big for how she will be as a fully-grown dog so it may dwarf her!

 

If anyone can shed some light on the pros and cons of both and how they personally dealt with their new puppy it would be greatly appreciated. I am also interesting to hear what people think about leaving her outside when we go to work. Bad idea? Good idea if she has a pen around her kennel for now like her farm environment? Or allow her to roam freely in the garden to get some stimulation and exercise, and start to feel at home.

 

Is there anything I should know that might maake border collies more difficult to deal with than kelpies in terms of their development and level of maintenance?

 

Any advice you have would be most appreciated!

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I kept my puppy in a crate right next to my bed until he was ready to be trusted loose in the bedroom. He had a few chew toys in the crate, but he really never bothered with them at night. He didn't love sleeping in the crate, but it was necessary until he could be trusted to leave the carpet and room fixtures alone while I slept. My older dog used to sleep on the floor right next to the puppy's crate, so he had plenty of company.

 

Not sure about transitioning to sleeping outside because I've never done that.

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I kept my puppy in a crate right next to my bed until he was ready to be trusted loose in the bedroom. He had a few chew toys in the crate, but he really never bothered with them at night. He didn't love sleeping in the crate, but it was necessary until he could be trusted to leave the carpet and room fixtures alone while I slept. My older dog used to sleep on the floor right next to the puppy's crate, so he had plenty of company.

 

Not sure about transitioning to sleeping outside because I've never done that.

Thanks, Root Beer!

 

How long did your puppy take to trust him loose in the bedroom? So your dogs sleep inside? Finally, what do you do when you had to leave the puppy alone while at work? Outside or inside? Sorry for so many questions. Just trying to do right by my pup and my neighbours.

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If your pup is going to be a pet, why make her sleep outside?

 

I personally would never leave a puppy alone outside. Any dog but especially border collie puppies will entertain themselves in ways you won't like. They can also easily get out (over/under the fence) or be stolen. Or bark and annoy neighbors.

If you do a little more research on crate training it should change your perception that crating is "stuck in a box". My adult 7 year old dog sleeps in his crate on his own every night. There is no door on the crate, it's his preferred, safe, quiet place to hang out that he chooses to go to. Crate training done right keeps the pup safe while they're young and they should enjoy it. Most people phase out a crate once the dog can be left alone loose in the house.

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Also, crating will make house breaking easier. I have a 6 month old now and I can't imagine not having a crate. She runs to her crate and waits inside once she sees me getting her food. She sleeps quietly in it all night, even from day one at 9 wks old. It also gives her mandatory down time when she was younger and didn't know how to settle herself.

Stimulation and exercise should come from you. Leaving a pup alone outside is not going to get someone a tired pup when they get home from work. She will need to be mentally stimulated (trained) and exercised in a productive way by her people everyday.

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Thanks, Waffles.

 

I am aware of the need to exercise my dog. My husband plans to walk her in the mornings before he goes to work and I plan to run/walk with her when I finish work as well as lots of playing in the backyard and walks with all three of us. Actually, that reminds me of another question. When can you start walking your puppy outside your property and when can pups start running...?

 

I don't mind if our pup has a crate, but I was under the impression they were left in their closed crates, unable to get out, into adulthood. I would be interested to hear how long you crate pups at night with the door closed? I'm guessing you start to leave the door open when you get the feeling you can trust them but how long did that take people?

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Oh, I would say he was about 6 months old when I started letting him be loose in the bedroom at night.

 

Yes, my dogs sleep inside. Once they can be trusted, they get free reign of the house at night and they can choose to sleep wherever they want.

 

I crated my puppy when I was at work. Again, for his safety. When he was very young, I had someone come every day to give him a potty break during the day. He is a year and a half old now, and I actually still crate him when I'm at work, but there is a particular reason for that. There is a lot of construction going on in my neighborhood and sometimes when there is a sudden bang that they don't expect, the dogs get spooked. I think he feels safer in his crate, so I leave him there. When I leave the house in the evenings or weekends for training classes or to go to the grocery store or something, I let him loose.

 

I did get him a ginormous crate. He does not like to be in a small one. Where my older dog would actually fit himself into Bandit's puppy crate and hang out there (and Dean is a big boy!), Bandit hated the full size Border Collie crate by the time he was the right size for it. I got him a huge one because he likes more room.

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How long they have to use the crate depends entirely on the dog. I have three youngsters right now, 2 years (not so young anymore), nearly a year, and 7 months. At night I was crating just the 7 month old, but the nearly year old just lost her nighttime free priveleges because she decided to chew inappropriate things (my glasses case with a VERY EXPENSIVE pair of glasses inside being one of those things). She showed me by her actions that she wasn't quite ready to be allowed free at night. The 7-month-old likes to chew beds and bedding, so he'll likely be crated a while longer at night. My adult dogs all have free run of the house.

 

When I am at work, the youngest has a very large crate and an outside kennel. When he was little (before he could hold his urine and poop for very long), I'd put him out in the kennel during the day. But this kennel was quite secure, behind a fence, right up against my house, and on a property that has trusted people coming and going during the day, so no fears about anyone making off with him or him doing something to hurt himself and no one noticing until too late. Even then, the one person who works with the boarding operation on the property would let him out several times a day to play and potty and would put him in his crate in my house a couple hours before I got home so that he could do whatever complaining he was going to do without disturbing the humans who live on the property.

 

So I would be hesitant to leave a pup alone in an outdoor kennel for several reasons:

1. They go through fear periods. If they are outdoors and exposed to say, thunder or gunshots, and are fearful, then continued exposure could just exacerbate the problem. As others have mentioned barking out of boredom, which can become a habit. Bored puppies will also dig. Unless you've got a dig proof kennel, your youngster could get out and be long gone before you ever get home. and last, and most important to me, if the pup does try escape and gets hung up it could seriously hurt itself or worse. Not worth it in my opinion.

 

2. Someone could take your puppy. It happens.

 

3. A kennel out back can become even more of a warehouse than a crate in the house. Crated in the house, your pup gets to see you and be around your activity, even if not actively participating. This can go a long way toward socializing and bonding.

 

Like Kristine, I crate new puppies in the bedroom with me. I prepare myself for a night or two of sleeplessness thanks to a crying puppy. I will generally give them something to curl up in that has my scent and will give them a couple of safe chew toys. Even if they're quiet at night, I plan to get up at least once in the middle of the night to take them out to potty. The rule for a pup being able to hold it is 1 hour per month of age plus 1. So an 8 week old puppy will be able to last about 3 hours maximum. Some will go longer when sleeping at night, but you can't count on that,

 

I also wonder what your plans for the puppy are? If she's to be a companion to your family why relegate her to a life outside? I am not opposed to keeping dogs in kennels, especially if they are working dogs that need downtime, but at least while she's a puppy she should be with you bonding and learning to be part of a family. If you must transition her to an outdoor kennel, I'd do so when she's older and (hopefully) less likely to get in trouble out there by herself all day.

 

Also, I'm not sure you live, but you're headed into fall/winter. If you are going to kennel her, please make sure she has adequate protection from the weather and a warm, dry place to sleep. Also have a plan for keeping her water free of ice.

 

Regarding your question about walking/running the pup, you can take nice walks as soon as you get her as long as you let her set the pace and keep the walks relatively short. You don't say what sort of property you live on, but if, for example, you live on a farm you could take nice rambles around the property, pausing to let her sniff, lie down, play, whatever. If you're in a more urban setting where walks will take place on a leash, then consider that she won't be resting and running in short bursts with breaks in between and slow your pace and shorten the walk according, especially if you are walking on hard surfaces like sidewalks. For running, she can do whatever she wants on walks (run, walk, whatever), but should not be doing any repetitive, high impact activities until her growth plates are closed, somewhere between 12 and 18 months. Taking her running with you before that time can damage her growth plates and set her up for joint problems (not to mention overuse issues with tendons, etc.).

 

J.

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I also use a much larger than recommend crate. Honestly I'm not a fan of people who throw their pet dogs outside and use that as an alternative to training the dogs and/or leave them out there 90% of the time. Obviously there are exceptions, such as some working animals being with their herds. I would not leave a puppy alone outside until I could trust them not to dig or destroy anything.

 

My dogs are crated for the night when I go to bed and it is to be expected the dog will need one potty break in the night. The key it to make potty breaks no fun. It's on a leash, outside, potty, back in the house, back into the crate. You must resist the urge to play or fawn over your dog during a potty break. They are also crated again when I go to work after a quick play period and one last potty break. I am usually gone 8 hours, then it's immediately out potty, and another exausting play session. I keep this up until I feel the dog is trust worthy in the house alone.

 

As far as walking the common rule of thumb is as soon as the dog has all of their shot and serious running should be avoided until their growth plates close.

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Thanks for your lengthy replies julie and cass. I'm really grateful for the detail. I know all pups are different but it gives me some really useful information about what to expect.

 

Julie, I'm interested to know what you mean by your secure kennel because I think this means different things to people from different countries. We are hoping to train our puppy to use her kennel outside (in conjunction with her indoor crate) for downtime so she has a choice, kind of like my kelpies did. Our property (in the suburbs) is gated and secure with a nice big backyard for her to play in and explore. Do you think it is safe for her as a young puppy to roam outside when we are home or better to fence off a small area around the kennel?

 

I am worried about barking, but my mother plans to visit and play with her when we are at work so we will soon see if that is a problem. As for loud noises it's usually pretty quiet where we live, and if there was a thunderstorm I would definitely make sure she was indoors for that. The weather is heading into summer and our winters are quite temperate here so we don't have great temperature shifts. There are warm and cool spots throughout the garden for her.

 

I think you're right about crating the new puppy in the bedroom. But I was prepared for weeks of sleepless nights in fact!

 

We definitely see our dog as a member of the family, but I ask these questions because I want her to be confident both inside and outside the house and to strike the right balance between giving her attention to bond with her but not too much that she has separation anxiety when we're not here. My much-loved kelpie often slept next to me with her head on the pillow and expected to be spooned (!) and I have a friend whose poor outside dog is only ever allowed in a very small, cold part of his big house. I'm trying to find a happy medium between the two. If you know what I mean.

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It might not be so bad with the sleepless nights. Bandit didn't keep me awake a single night. The first few nights he took about 20 minutes to settle in his crate, but once he settled, he stayed that way. He never woke me up in the middle of the night, but he did wake me up very early, and I always got up then to take him out to go.

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Julie, I'm interested to know what you mean by your secure kennel because I think this means different things to people from different countries. We are hoping to train our puppy to use her kennel outside (in conjunction with her indoor crate) for downtime so she has a choice, kind of like my kelpies did. Our property (in the suburbs) is gated and secure with a nice big backyard for her to play in and explore. Do you think it is safe for her as a young puppy to roam outside when we are home or better to fence off a small area around the kennel?

 

I am worried about barking, but my mother plans to visit and play with her when we are at work so we will soon see if that is a problem. As for loud noises it's usually pretty quiet where we live, and if there was a thunderstorm I would definitely make sure she was indoors for that. The weather is heading into summer and our winters are quite temperate here so we don't have great temperature shifts. There

 

Min,

By secure I mean puppy proof. She'll definitely be safer in a smaller enclosed area than with free run of the yard (when you're not there). Puppies chew. They eat things they shouldn't. They dig. If you have any poisonous plants in the yard you won't want her to have access to them. A friend of mine who doesn't post here anymore lost an adult dog who ingested a poisonous mushroom. Stuff happens, and with a puppy it can happen before you know it. So if she needs to be in an outdoor kennel while you're gone, you need to make sure that it's secure in that she can't get out nor can she hurt herself trying to get out.

 

Here is a link to the kennel my pup stayed in:

https://www.priefert.com/products/dog-kennels/6-foot-tall-premier-kennel-kits

 

They are very expensive, but fortunately I didn't have to buy it. If you look at the picture, there's no place for a pup to shove its head through, except maybe around the gate, and we solved that by taken a couple of panels from an Xpen and overlapping those over the door so the pup couldn't get any body part through the door. The other advantage to that is that we used a short Xpen, so I could open the gate and step over without puppy rushing in or out.** Additionally, the kennel I was using was on a surface of thick rubber stall mats, so there was no way the pup could dig under the kennel either. That said, people do raise puppies in all sorts of environments and situations where they could hurt themselves and they manage not to. But I choose to stack the odds in my favor.

 

**Picture two sections of a 24" high pen like the one below attached to the inside of the kennel with snaps so the pup can't squeeze between those sections and the actual kennel wall. In my set up the kennel gate was in the middle not in the corner, so the Xpen pieces could be easily secured on either side of the gate. Kept pup completely away from the gate opening.

 

http://www.chewy.com/dog/midwest-gold-zinc-exercise-pen-step/dp/102228?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=MidWest&utm_term=&gclid=CjwKEAjwyqOwBRDZuIO4p5SV8w0SJAAQoUSwwjqq27rt0bffD6wjp1sszUW44zwProEbEZcJpVGrNBoCOprw_wcB

 

Here in the southeastern US thunderstorms are a big issue in summer especially. They can't be predicted in advance, which is a universal problem for people with thunderphobic dogs who need to medicate them for storms, but don't want to medicate needlessly. My 7 month old went through a period when he was terrified of thunder. He had ME worried with his reaction. I had to be extra careful taking him outside in case there were random rumblings of thunder (he'd bolt; fortunately the yard is completely fenced with secure fencing). I didn't want to put him in that situation because I didn't want his panicked behavior reinforced. He did not panic at the noise when inside the house. As I said, I had someone who would put him in if the weather was bad (he also had a good dog house and part of his kennel has a roof over it so he had protection from the elements), so he was never outside unaccompanied during a storm. He seems to have gotten past that fear now, but if he had been stuck out during storms, there's no way to know if his fear wouldn't have become ingrained. The weather may be more predictable and less volatile in your part of the world, so this may not be an issue. But remember that working border collies, at least, have been created to have acute hearing (they need to be able to hear whistles at great distances). The downside to this is that they can have noise sensitivity, so it's just something to be aware of.

 

J.

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Dunno how bad it is where you live, but in the US and UK, dog theft is enough of a problem that there are news reports about it, pretty regularly in the US.

 

Some of the reports I've read about it in the US are pretty astounding. It happens in remote areas where people believe themselves to be safe from things like this, as well as in urban and suburban areas. I've heard of dogs being stolen off of people's front porches when they're home, and from kennels with locks and roofs on them.

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I have had border collies get out of places I never imagined they could in a million years. My first pup was a Houdini dog, no matter what I tried he escaped. At a young age I put in a room in the barn with one window that was 5 ft off the ground and nothing under it. It was a typical 4 pane barn window the bottom one pane was open, floor concrete doors locked. He was out sitting on the porch - the Only way that he could have gotten out was through the pane. How he got to it I have no idea. I finally stopped trying to confine him because I was worried he would hurt himself trying to get out. He is now nearly 16 and I can finally be sure he will stay where I put him :) Some are great climbers as well and will climb out of a wire kennel 6ft tall. Just to make you aware that even when they are young pups they can surprise you. I would not think chicken wire is strong enough to contain her if she does not want to be there.

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On whether the dog will feel stuck in a box:

Mine usually slept on the floor next to my bed, but occasionally chose to sleep in his crate. Dogs instinctively like closed in spaces. If I was working at my large L-shaped desk closed in on front and sides, he'd curl up there in the darkness under the desk.
But to make sure my dog saw his crate as a nice place, when I first brought the crate home, I set it up, brought the dog in the room, put a steak bone with a little meat left on it inside the crate and showed it to him, he walked in, and then I closed the crate for a while, while he chewed on the bone. He always liked his crate. I'm really not sure how much the bone had to do with it, but making it a positive experience from the start seems really valuable.

My cousin leaves both his Brittany Spaniels closed in crates in the basement every night. I don't like it, but the dogs seem to like it just fine. He takes great care of them.

Personally I want to have a pup trained asap so I can leave him free in the house overnight and when I'm out for the day. But then there's that puppy chewing stage. I'm about to get another pup, and he might be crated when I'm out during the day, during that chewing stage.

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But then there's that puppy chewing stage. I'm about to get another pup, and he might be crated when I'm out during the day, during that chewing stage.

 

 

Good advice about the bone. I will try something like that.

 

When does the puppy chewing stage usually start and how long does it usually last?

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The chewing stage is individual to each dog. My younger dog has never seemed to be a big chewer, buy my older dog could not be trusted for at least 2 years - and to this day, I can not leave a stuffie chew toy out without him grabbing it, hunkering down and tearing it apart. He is 8 years old.

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Crate training is ideal for all the reasons mentioned above, but is also handy for unforeseen emergencies when the dog MUST be crated. All our Border Collies are crate-trained from puppyhood using the crate-in-the-bedroom method and they all love their crates whether at home or traveling. We have safe outdoor chain-link kennels which are also very handy but all our dogs are also trained to behave in the house. They are part of the family, after all.

 

Good luck with your new pup - please post plenty of pictures!!

 

Best wishes,

 

Amy

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The chewing stage is individual to each dog. My younger dog has never seemed to be a big chewer . . .

 

Yep - definitely individual!! I have her younger dog's littermate brother and he went through a stage where he chewed everything in sight. For a couple of months he could not even have a crate pad in his crate during the day because he would chew it! Thankfully he got through that and now he isn't much of a chewer at all and we can have plush toys around the house and he will retrieve them or run around with them or "kill" them, but he doesn't chew them. And he has a nice tuff mat in his crate and he leaves it alone.

 

Definitely varies from dog to dog.

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Just wanted to second to please wait until the pup has had all her shots before walking her anywhere that other dogs might have gone to the bathroom.

I crated Aed at the foot of my bed, first in one that fit him which he didn't like much, then in a bigger one that he liked a lot better. He barked and whined for 3 or 4 nights then was alright.

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