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New BC owner questions!

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Hey, guys. I am a proud owner of a BC puppy called Ren. He's 11 weeks old, we got him four days ago. Never owned a BC before, and this is actually my first puppy, so everything is new and exciting for both me and the pup. So please take that into condsideration :D

 

I do have a couple of questions for you guys and I'm hoping you could help me out.

 

1. Crate training - I wasn't planning on using it, but now I'm thinking of introducing a crate sometime soon. Main reason is that the pup is super interested in just about everything I do. He'll be dozing off next to me and the second I get off my chair and go to get a glass of water, he's up and following me. So is it a good idea to teach him some quiet time in the crate? I'm actually afraid that he'll be whining and barking when I close him in, he's doing that now if I leave him alone in the room. Not sure if that's 'cause he's new to the house or is it just his nature. I can't be spending my days by his side, I'll have to leave my house eventually. He's currently sleeping on his bed, but on a few ocasions I've found him on MY bed when I leave him alone. So he jumps up when left alone in the room. Not planning on allowing that at all, but the main problem is that I can't catch him in the act to say "no", and when I come into the room, he's all happy and tail wagging so I'm afraid that if I yell at him then, he'll think I'm mad because of his tail wagging.

 

2. "The off switch" - I read on some topics that some members recommend learning the dog to have a "off switch". How may I go about that? Is it working on puppies too or just older dogs that are grown up?

 

3. Activities indoors - we've been having a couple of rainy days and I've been kinda forced to work with him inside, but the tricks or tug of war/fetch don't seem to tire him down as much as running in the garden. He gets the zoomies in the afternoon and I can't calm him down with anything. Any suggestions of what my tire a young pup down?

 

4. Night time potty breaks - he's actually been pretty god at night, as soon as I pack in, he settles down and zonks out. I've been getting up every 3 hours to take him out. I need to wake him up because he's sleeping and not whining at all. I was thinking of prolonging that to 3.5 hours and then 4 hours but maybe he'd be able to go on with just one night trip? We go out before bed (around 11PM)

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Congratulations on your new pup!

 

Have you searched the archives for answers to your questions? These are all issues that come up here frequently and have been answered many time, so you should be able to find them in previous posts.

 

One thing that bears repeating as it isn't always included in training posts is that from the minute a pup (or an adult dog) comes into your home, you should praise quietly for the times when he's quiet on his own. They can absolutely learn that this is desirable behavior, but only if they get attention and rewarded for it as well as for more active behaviors.

 

I have a puppy who just turned 13 weeks old yesterday. He will cry to go out (he sleeps in an ex pen by my bed) once or twice a night. Then we come straight back in and go back to bed.

 

IMO (and most on these boards) all puppies and dogs should be crate trained. You never know when you'll need it someday and you don't want it to be a stressful experience then when it might already be a stressful situation that requires it.

 

Hope you'll post some pictures.

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Congratulations on the new pup. My Juno was 10 weeks old when I got her and her activity level increased with every day after that. For the first year, my sanity was severly tested. We put her in a crate every night from day one. She is two now and the most wonderful dog you could imagine but I still put her in the crate at night.

 

I keep a box of treats in one of my cupboards and if I go to that cupboard, I have her attention. Inside the cupboard is a box that holds her special treats (dental chews). During the day if she sees me reaching for that special box she will stop whatever she is doing and race to her crate. There is no distraction that can keep her from her crate. Any time around bedtime all I have to do is go near the cupboard and she is racing to her crate. She has never gone to her crate without a treat.

 

In her first year, the crate was my lifeline. Now that she is so much less demanding, the crate is for her safey when I go out and when I go to bed. She loves it.

 

By the way, I built her a wooden crate using two old Ikea cupboards and a gate from a regular metal crate. This crate matches our furniture so we don't have a big metal crate in the room.

 

Good luck and enjoy the journey

Bill

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1) Crate training is a fabulous tool! Especially if you don't want your dog getting on the furniture when you are not home. I also like to crate train all of my dogs in case of emergency they won't completely panic if I need to crate them or if they are injured and need limited activity they won't be even more stressed by the sudden use of crate. After the dog is used to the crate you don't have to use it all the time. My dogs are always left alone in the house while in their crate until they are around a year old or 100% potty trained. After that I start leaving them out, but they still don't fuss after I crate them. They will whine and carry on at first but be strong and don't let them out if they are throwing a fit. Only quiet dogs get let out. There are plenty of threads on here about crate training if you are interested.

 

Also as an aside to that, border collies love to be in your business, so that will probably never change that while the dog is out they are following you around. My dogs will follow me from room to room whenever I'm home and they are both over 2. You may think about also training the 'wait' command of you really don't want the dog to follow you somewhere. Just teach them to wait outside the door while you do whatever you need to without them.

 

2) I've never taught an 'official' off switch, but I have turned ''no more" into a command that means go entertain yourself. The big thing is do not be 100% of the dogs entertainment or they will drive you crazy.

 

3) For inside relaxing exercise I usually give my dogs a frozen Kong stuffed with whatever the dog finds tasty. This will keep them occupied for 30 minutes to an hour and usually they take a nap after that. You can also spend time training to mentally exhaust your dog and can even make it a little physically challenging like training your dog on hind end awareness or something like that.

 

4) After the first 7 days I eliminate night time breaks unless the dog has an upset stomach or something else that makes them need to go out. I try to extend the time between potty breaks starting by adding 10 minutes every night. So night one I add 10 minutes, the next night I add another 20 minutes, night three I add another 30 minutes until the dog is sleeping through the night. If you take the puppy out every 4 hours at night they could grow to expect that forever.

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Congrats on your new pup. Welcome to the Boards. All good advice in the 3 posts above ^^^.

 

As Gentle Lake pointed out, there is a wealth of information in the archives. You will find much more information there than a single post. For example: search "crate training" or "off switch.

 

As far as pottying at night: I would never wake my pup up to take him out if s/he isn't whining. Both of my recent pups (at 8 and 9 weeks old when they came to me) slept through the night from the first night. It was a short night (6 hours), but at least I didn't have to get up in the middle of the night. I am a pretty light sleeper so I will hear a restless or whiney pup, but if you are a deep sleeper, I think Cass C's suggestion above is a good one.

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Thanks for the answers. I love the Ikea modification for the crate and I think I'll definitely try something like that. I'm hoping for some sunnier weather so we can spend more time outside and that he can get a bit more tired. On the second day home he already got assigned to be our little bucket fetcher in the garden - so far I'm in love with his personality. I just stumbled upon the forum, so I didn't get the chance to sift through it in detail, but I will.

 

We worked on the "wait" today, I find it useful for when I have to go grab a towel to wipe his muddy paws before entering the house. Also while he waits for food etc It's not that I mind him following me around, I just hate seeing him being disturbed from his naps by silly things as me getting up from my chair. I might be overthinking it at the moment, everything is still brand new for him so he's super curious.

 

As far as the waking up from naps go, he's very quiet at the moment about asking to go out, especially for peeing. I was reading the Housebreaking Bible where "Overnight Scheduling" is explained in accordance to puppy's age and how long he can hold it in. But since he's not waking me up on his own, I'll take this night as a test night and take him out only right before we go to sleep - no potty trips unless he wakes up by himself. We'll see how it goes :) I actually am a light sleeper, so I should hear him fidgeting around.

 

Gonna post some pictures soon :)

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Congratulations on the new puppy! :)

You've gotten good advise so I'm just adding my two cents. I start my pups on the crate their first night home. It might mean we don't sleep well a night or two, but if the crate is close enough you can reach in and reassure him, that can help and anyhow, they get over it. :P

But I'd start crate training now. If he learns to sleep and maybe even eat in it, I find the training goes faster. You're right, he does need to learn independence from you, but he's such a baby now that it may take a while. You can also get an x-pen and put it up somewhere central-but-out-of-the-way to where you are doing things, then put him in with some toys and a couple treats. He may fuss at first, but when he learns you aren't crawling out the windows and running away when he can't see you, he should be fine. :) And the x-pen can help teach the off switch and down time, because they learn they are not the center of your constant attention - and also that toys are pretty cool even when mom is busy doing something else.

Some pups are more stubborn than others about settling into a crate or x-pen, but patience and persistence are the key. By having them sleep in their crate, I think that gets them used to the idea a lot faster because of course they're asleep. And I give a cookie each night when I put them to bed.

As for nighttime potty breaks, I just wait until I hear them fussing to let them out. Some learn to sleep all night faster than others, so I let them set the pace.

Look forward to new puppy pictures! :wub:

Glroia

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In the post before I put in a picture of the crate/house I made for Juno. When we got Juno we also got two cats at the same time with the idea they would grow up together. It took over a year until the cats were comfortable with Juno. I don't think they could cope with Juno's energy at first but over time they became good friends. My wife, who is the cat person in our house, put them in together just for the picture. These days Juno just sleeps on the bare floor of the house. I have put in blankets, expensive dog beds, etc. but she just pushes them aside so she can sleep on the floor. Maybe it is cooler? She does have a mat in her house and she starts sleeping on it but by the morning she just uses it as a pillow.

 

As a side note, the best thing I did with Juno was the crate training, but the worst thing was leaving the training too late and not building my own knowledge base early enough. If I was starting over with Juno, I would have been training her in very short bursts from day one. On utube there is a video teaching a puppy how to go left and right. You can see that the puppy is enjoying the training because it is just fun for the puppy. This is the type of thing I would have done much earlier. I would also have read the books Controlled Unleashed:The Puppy Program and Teach Your Herding Breed to be a Great Companion Dog as soon as possible. People on this forum must think I am getting a kickback for recommending these two books but I can tell you they are spot on for Border Collies and novice trainers.

 

cheers

Bill

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I'm a new BC owner as well! These discussion boards have been awesome for help in learning how to raise and train him properly. I'm in Utah, and with the snow and rain lately I've had to figure out ways to keep his energy satisfied as well. Mine is 4 months old now, but I know about the 'zoomies'. ha.

One thing that was mentioned in a question I had asked on here was to teach him 'down-time' with his crate. The crate training has been incredibly helpful. I initially thought of crate training just as potty training, but have realized it is a little den for him, and calms him down when put in there with a treat.

Other advice I'd been given on here that's helped on those rainy days is teaching him tricks for 5 mins every hour you are able to; using a Kong stuffed with his food and some treats, covered with peanut butter and frozen; and playing with a tug rope--i sit on my knees and pull the rope (with him attached) around my body first one way and then the other, and then just lightly tug back, letting him have it every now and then. He loves it, and it gets his energy out.

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Thanks for the answers. We've been hanging out lately a lot (sun, yay!) so I didn't get the time to sit down and scroll through the interwebs as much as I had the chance in my pre-pup era. Will frozen Kongs hurt him in any way if given in colder days? Don't want him to catch a cold.

 

This is Ren -

 

He has changed A LOT in the last two weeks since he's been with us, shaping up to be a good looking pup :)

 

IMG_2133_png.jpg

 

 

IMG_2155_png.jpg

 

We started with leash walking a couple of days ago. He was terrified of the cars at first, we managed to overcome that with treats. Still working on not tugging, he's doing great when we go away, but he's super crazy on the way home - tugging and in a hurry. Any ideas why? Also started play dates with a couple of neighborhood puppies, working on call commands when he's distracted. I'm using a clicker and he's responding pretty well so far. Trying not to be too hard on him, 'cause he's still a baby.

 

Potty training is pretty much settled, he's still sleeping through the night and waits for me to let him out in the morning. We're currently on our third accident free day, but I'm still keeping a close eye on him. We settled to a schedule where he dozes off for a couple of hours a day while I work or do chores around the house.

 

So far he's been pretty good, but.. He growled at me today when I was trying to pet him while he was eating his puppy chew bone! Never did that before with food, or with toys. So I'm wondering how should I go about this? I've been giving him Kong treats since day one and I've been taking the Kong away (mainly to see if any food got stuck so that I can help him out) and giving it back - no problem. Same with toys, we started "leave it" a couple of days ago. So basically, it's a little chew bone with dry chicken around it. He'd been chewing on it and I was trying to pet him and he growled. I let him finish it and then later gave him another one, same thing. I offered other treats to distract him while I took away the chew bone and then gave it back. Would repeating this work in trying to show him that there's nothing to growl about?

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Oh, he is so cute!

 

Growling: I think that before you work with him on taking a chew toy/bone away and then giving it right back (which is a good skill to practice, but he sounds like he needs more baby steps), I would play the game with a lower value object. Start with a lower value object than a bone (ball?, tug? stuffed toy?). When he is chewing on it/playing with it, offer him treats to get him to drop it. Then give it back to him, Rinse and repeat.

 

I think it is really hard to start the trade game with such a high value object as a bone. The pup really, really, really doesn't want to give it up. Use something that he likes, but is not so protective of. It is hard to teach them that you will give back the object (bone) when they so desperately don't want to give it up. He has to learn to trust you to return the ball/toy/tug to him. It is a new concept.

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Thanks for the advice, it's actually kinda obvious now. We will try that. He is such a sweetheart so I was a bit startled with the growl to be honest!

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Cold kongs on a cold day will not cause a dog to catch a cold. Colds are caused by infections just like in humans. :)

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I've had pulling on the way home from two separate pups for two reasons.

 

First pup was skittish and going home was a relief to him, it meant he escaped the busy city noise. You mention that he was scared of cars at first, so consider this and make sure to build his confidence.

 

The second one was just tiredness. She'd get excited to go home to get some rest and start pulling when we got close. He might be over tired and a shorter walk will help. Puppies tend to push themselves to do more than they actually can.

 

In any case, changing up your walk routine is a good idea. Don't let him know when you're going home. Go for a slightly shorter walk, and on the way home, pass your house and walk a bit more, then go home. He'll learn that you are in control of the walk, and decide when you go home. Then he can't anticipate and pull.

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We're currently doing 40min tops with the walks. Most of the time goes by not actually walking because he's super sniffy and interested in absolutely everybody that we come across on the street. But I guess excitement wears him out too. We're changing routes and he seems to be doing pretty well, all things considering. I'll try to shorten the distance and see how that goes, thanks for the advice rwinner :) We met with a neighbor that has a 2yo Irish setter and her girl is still learning not to tug, so I'm actually kind of proud of my little guy - we have around 70% loose leash and 30% tugging at the moment.

 

Everything else seems to be going well, he's very eager to learn. As soon as I get the training treats, it's like his mood shifts instantly - serious mode: on :D

 

I was actually kind of scared of getting a BC because of the stories about how demanding and hyper they are, but as every day goes by - working with this pup and reading about the breed still, I'm starting to like them even more.

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Glad things are going so well with your little dude! :)

A thing to remember is that the hyper thing is often ... well, hype. Sure, they're active dogs - they were originally bred with the ability to cover 20+ miles a day in the high hills of Scotland and England. But it's not that they require endless activity. In fact, if we raise a puppy with constant activity and tons of playtime, we may well end up with a dog that thinks he's supposed to go nonstop ALL. THE. TIME. In reality, a shepherd's dog has a good "off" switch because he couldn't last all day if he was constantly at full throttle.

It's a border collie's *brain* that requires the most careful nurturing. You are exactly right that all that sniffing wears him out - because it engages his mind. Tricks, tasks, training - all those things work his mind and keep him from becoming bored or destructive. That's where people go wrong - they wind a pup up with games and running around, teach him that life is all about PLAY, and then they don't understand why their grown dog never just goes and lays down or why every time they turn their backs, he's in the trash, on the kitchen counter or re-landscaping the back yard.

These dogs are most of all bred to think. The more we engage their brains and give them satisfying, healthy things to do, the better off they are.

But because he is still very much a puppy, you have to guard against doing too much, too fast. I agree with shortening the walks, one for his age and also if he's tugging super hard on the walk home, it could be that he's kind of over-stimulated. The world may just be a bit much for him to take in, yet, and being out too long possibly winds him up. It's like little kids who turn into screaming maniacs just before they pass out cold for a nap. :P So shorter walks and maybe also stop periodically on the walk home to break it up into tiny little "sit" lessons, so he'll start to look to you more on the return trip, anticipating stops and treats.

Glad you are enjoying that little cutie!

~ Gloria

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Gloria, thanks for the answer. It's amazing for me to see all the useful advice people have to offer on this forum, it really is a goldmine - not just for BCs, but for dogs in general.

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I feel that we are really all dog lovers here, and most dogs are similar. I don't think it hurts any dog to treat it like a border collie in terms of training and exercise (to an extent, as there are some dog breeds that shouldn't be running if that's your chosen exercise).

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It's amazing for me to see all the useful advice people have to offer on this forum, it really is a goldmine - not just for BCs, but for dogs in general.

 

I have always felt that too - much of the advice is common sense and can be applied to all breeds (within reason).

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I (shaaaame) don't have a BC, am an inexperienced dog owner and so on. I'm here not because I reckon my advice is so very useful to others, but because it's about the best place to learn that I've found. I keep trying to find a general dog forum with this combination of expertise, friendliness, and happy-to-vigorously-correct-if-you-make-a-mistake*. I used to be on a few, but they generally involved more 'oh showing is the way to go' and had quite... outdated ideas about breeding and genetics and such.

 

I even started off on Yahoo Answers but stayed not because I was learning so much but because even I could provide advice that would be better than some of the train-wrecks. Here, when I apply the advice, it generally works. People on these boards have helped me teach my dogs so many things.

 

*How else will I learn? If I do something stupid, I want to be told, as much as it will upset me at the time and as defensive as I may get. I'll still go away and think about it. If I put up a picture of a lab at a healthy weight I don't want to be told she should waddle, if I put up a picture of her fat I don't want to be told she's 'fine' or 'pudgy, but so cute!'

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Cold kongs on a cold day will not cause a dog to catch a cold. Colds are caused by infections just like in humans. :)

 

Yep. I feed my dogs 95% of their raw food frozen, outside, all year long (even in upstate NY winters) and it doesn't affect them negatively in the least. Even the puppy's been eating many of his meals frozen and he's doing just fine. :)

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You are already getting great advice. I just want to say your puppy is adorable and welcome to the BC Boards. Stick around - there are many experts here who are very free with good advice on just about anything.

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I'm a new BC owner as well! These discussion boards have been awesome for help in learning how to raise and train him properly. I'm in Utah, and with the snow and rain lately I've had to figure out ways to keep his energy satisfied as well. Mine is 4 months old now, but I know about the 'zoomies'. ha.

One thing that was mentioned in a question I had asked on here was to teach him 'down-time' with his crate. The crate training has been incredibly helpful. I initially thought of crate training just as potty training, but have realized it is a little den for him, and calms him down when put in there with a treat.

Other advice I'd been given on here that's helped on those rainy days is teaching him tricks for 5 mins every hour you are able to; using a Kong stuffed with his food and some treats, covered with peanut butter and frozen; and playing with a tug rope--i sit on my knees and pull the rope (with him attached) around my body first one way and then the other, and then just lightly tug back, letting him have it every now and then. He loves it, and it gets his energy out.

 

Not to sideline the thread... but: Just was reading through this and noticed you are in SLC area w/ a new pup! I am too, would love to meet up for some puppy play dates!

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