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Ohhhhh Finley.

 

He is such a sweet sensitive boy. A little overly sensitive, actually. Quite the submissive wetter. (If you have any advice for that I'd love to hear it.)

Then there's the other side of him. The main side.

HE IS A NUT.

 

This boys manners can be crazy bad. He's still a pup, and he shows it! He's a regular wild child.

He breaks the rules with a smile. Hes one of those, "does this count" dogs.

For example: he's not big on lying down. In class I ask him to lie down, His response: take half a step forward and bow his head a bit. Really Finn? Really.

 

I love him to death, he is amazing.

But I'm thinking he may be better geared towards something more active than therapy work. It makes me a little sad to say that because that is the main reason I wanted a BC pup, but its his life, so I need to consider his aspirations (lol he's like my child). By the way he sits on my head when he wants to play with me, I'm thinking he's not very interested in hanging out with people he could break. (Yeah, he really sits on my head, I told you, he's a nut)

 

Regardless, were going to keep working at it. I know hes capable of anything, and I'm not going to give in to his puppy attitude lol.

 

For those of you who have done lower key work with your pups...

Have you found they get used to it as you work with them?

Did they get better with age? (How much age are we talking here?)

Does the "tire them out" method work for you?

 

I'd love to hear about your experiences doing therapy, or any other low key work, with a high strung dog.

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I am no authority, but honestly, I personally know two border collies (not mine) who are totally unrelated but who are just as nutty. It's like they simply can't outgrow the happy, goofy, floppy-puppy stage no matter what anyone does.

And one of those dogs is now 8 years old. :P He's the kind of dog who has been told his entire life NOT to put his paws on people. But he just gets SO DARNED HAPPY that he can't help it. And if you scold him for putting his paws on you, he's absolutely crushed. For about 60 seconds. And then he's back sitting coyly beside you with a sloppy, silly grin, as if saying, "Naaah, you didn't really mean that. Did you?" And there's the paw right back again. :lol:

Others here may have good advice for you or training tips, but I've come to the conclusion that some dogs just never do quite settle down. ;) Best of luck!

~ Gloria

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Zuri (a flattie mix) and I were a therapy dog team for 6+ years before cancer suddenly took her. She did rehab, visits, and was a comfort dog for families at Children’s Hospital. Sometimes all fun, sometimes emotionally exhausting, always fulfilling.

 

It is something I wanted to do again, and why I ended up adopting my BC, Runa. She had (supposedly) been passed up for adoption twice for being too laid back and not being playful enough. I thought therapy dog potential? Well, that description lasted three days and then I had a wild child. So, we have been taking classes, obedience, agility, and an intro to dog dancing. It has been a year and she (between 2-3 yrs. old now) has calmed down to the point where we are considering taking a therapy dog course now. I am also interested in what other BC owners will say about age and maturity.

 

Finley sounds too young to give up on, if you have an interest in being a therapy dog team. With more exposure to things like classes, people, and environments, his confidence level could increase and maybe eliminate the submissive peeing, and calm him down. Sweet and sensitive are good therapy dog qualities. Finley might be a good candidate for something more active right now and also being a therapy dog in the future. I think it’s too early to tell.

 

Runa is my first BC, so I will leave it to the experts to advise you on activities, age advice, and tiring them out.

 

If you have any therapy team questions, I would be happy to try and answer them.

 

Good luck with your wild child! :-)

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perhaps we can switch dogs? LOL. my hobbs is a total love pig. there is nothing he would like better than to lie on the couch and snuggle all day. unfortunately, I got hobbs with agility in mind. he was to be my "next" agility partner. he hates it. we've tried everything. he enjoys playing it in the yard, but shuts down in competition. now, at 5 yrs., I've retired him. it's best for both of us, but still a sadness for me as I know, dog willing, i'll not be getting another dog for many years. (I have 3 currently)

so I understand your conflict. perhaps you can tell me more about what being a therapy dog entails. it might be right up hobbs alley. thanks.

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My old lady GSDx was a therapy dog, we were part of a program where kids read to dogs, she loved children and going to school was the highlight of her week.

 

All 3 of my border collies could have past the test, only one would have enjoyed it, he was an extrovert who loved meeting people and made people smile but we did not fully trust him not to snap if someone did something fast and unexpected. My current adult dog just would not enjoy being a therapy dog.

 

Regarding submissive urination, with our adult dog i cant actually remember when it stopped but all we did was ignore it when it happened and in time as he gained confidence it just stopped. There was a point it happened everytime some one came to the house. He is a big goofy boy and even at 7 still seems young, I would say he reached maturity around 2 1/2 there was a point where he just seemed to focus more.

 

I cant advice you on low key activities as our real focus is agility.

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perhaps we can switch dogs? LOL. my hobbs is a total love pig. there is nothing he would like better than to lie on the couch and snuggle all day. unfortunately, I got hobbs with agility in mind. he was to be my "next" agility partner. he hates it. we've tried everything. he enjoys playing it in the yard, but shuts down in competition. now, at 5 yrs., I've retired him. it's best for both of us, but still a sadness for me as I know, dog willing, i'll not be getting another dog for many years. (I have 3 currently)

so I understand your conflict. perhaps you can tell me more about what being a therapy dog entails. it might be right up hobbs alley. thanks.

I think fate did play a cruel trick on us. I think I have your dog. LOL!

While taking level one agility, it was very clear that Runa absolutely LOVED it, actually a little too much. When running the course, she was a 100% focused dynamo, but became unhinged if forced to sit on the sidelines (to the point where several times I had to pick her up and take her outside). She is much better now, we took a mini agility course recently and she worked off leash with other dogs running the tunnel.

 

I ended up a therapy team after what sounds like your situation. It was obvious after level 2 agility, that my late Zuri didn’t enjoy it and only did it to please me. Looking for something else to do together, we took a therapy dog course and it was obvious that was her calling.

 

Hobs sounds like he definitively has therapy dog potential. Therapy dogs should want (not just tolerate) human interaction, be well behaved, with good basic obedience skills. They should allow handling, even slightly rough, sudden movements, along with hugs. They should be confidant, if startled, they should recover quickly, (things like yelling, strange gait, etc.). The normal progression is-

1) Take a therapy dog class.

2) Get certified. Most classes arrange for evaluators to come in after classes finish.

3) With your certification, register with Pet Partners, TDI, or local org. Cost is $50- 70?

4) Find your niche. Working with children in schools, hospitals, or Read programs, senior centers, cancer centers, therapy/comfort dogs in courts, airports, dentist offices, during exams at colleges, the opportunities keep expanding.

 

Pet Partners and TDI (Therapy Dogs International) are nationally recognized organizations that register therapy dogs. The only major difference I found between these two, was that Pet Partners requires their therapy dogs to get re-certified every two years and rated for environments, complex (basically bomb proof) or predictable. This was the reason Children’s Hospital here only accepted Pet Partners teams. They also don’t allow a raw food diet. We were a Pet Partners team. There may be other local organizations.

 

I would be happy to try to answer any additional questions, either privately or here on the boards if others are interested.

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Make no irrevocable decisions until your dog is 3.

 

Frankly, I hear a lot of people claim 1 is mature. Or 18 months. or 2.

 

I have yet to have a dog of any sort who was actually mature at 2. Oh, they were more mature, but they were 'my kid is 18 so legally an adult' mature. Between 2 and 3 every dog I have ever owned has come into their own - even ones I would have sworn up and down were entirely finished/good at 2 (or earlier). BC in particular seem great at putting on a grand show of being mature because they like to work. Emotionally? They honestly seem like one of the slower maturing dogs.


Have fun with the dog you have right now, but don't *write off* that dog, either. For anything.

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I have a dog that was pretty mature from the day I got him at 9.5 weeks. Everyone commented on it. Always a big dog in a puppy body. He's 2.5 y/o and - guess what - he's maturing more.

 

Yeah, that's kind of it.

 

I thought Molly was pretty mature at 8 weeks old. She was, compared to a typical puppy for another breed. Never uncoordinated or goofy or super impulsive, learned fast, had a decent attention span, liked to work. Had some pretty massive fear issues pop up after a traumatic experience, but even with that never really hit the 'backsliding' typical of teenage puppies.

 

At nearly 2.5? WILDLY different. Some of it's the fear stuff having shaken mostly out thanks to meds and training but also just. Different. More solid, more stable, more confident, more decisive, better impulse control, better recovery more at home in her skin and able to control her brain instead of being a slave to it. Able to THINK more obviously - and it never seemed like (reactivity aside) she couldn't. She's not done, still, I don't think, but she's waaaaaay more mature now than she was a year ago.

 

and my small mutt was similar. She was out of her crate and reliably house broken at 4 months old. Didn't get into stuff, well trained, very well behaved. But the dog she was at 1 or 2? Almost unrecognizable to the dog she is at 4.5. She's gained a shed load of confidence, but she's also gained a lot of resilience and grown some drive from somewhere. It's really neat.

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thank you myruna. it might just be his thing. i have looked online for a therapy class and think i have found a reputable one. we will look into starting in the spring. good luck with your dog. i do think it is too early to give up on him. more time, more experiences.

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perhaps you can tell me more about what being a therapy dog entails.

 

You might want to do a search here. There was a therapy thread here not too long ago. ;) MyRuna's info is excellent as well, though I'll add that there are at least 2 other large therapy dog groups (Paws for Friendship, which is International, and Alliance of Therapy dogs [fka Therapy Dogs, Inc.], a US group). As mentioned, there are many regional groups as well. ACK has a fairly comprehensive list with links to the groups' websites.

 

One thing I'd advise is looking into the group a little before deciding on which one you want to join. I was with TDI for 6 yeas before I got fed up with them, then I (along with all but one of our local chapter) switched to Paws for Friendship, who we found to be much more member friendly. Each group will have somewhat different criteria that may affect your decision; for instance, I feed my dogs a raw diet, so Pet Partners was out for me. ATD has a rule requiring that dogs be not closer than 2 feet from another dog on a visit, but our local "non-denominational" (anyone with a certified therapy dog can join the local group, regardless of parent certifying organization) therapy dog group does lots of group visits that make this impractical for us, though we do have a couple ATD members.

 

Another thing that may influence your decision is whether or not there are evaluator in your area for your chosen organization, unless you're willing to travel for your evaluation.

 

To the OP. You don't say how old Finn is, so it's hard to say how likely he is to settle down. But as others have noted, it's not always a condition of age. Some dogs will never be suitable for therapy work, no matter how old they are or how much training your put into them. Alas, I have one those, too, despite her seeming like she was a great prospect when I adopted her at ~6 months old. (To contrast, I adopted Bodhi at ~1 1/2 y.o., still rather shut down from his stray/shelter/rescue experience. He started working as a therapy dog 6 months later! But he's not typical by any means. B) ) That's why I always tell people asking what it'd take for their dog to become a therapy dog that the very most important thing is the dog's temperament. There are just some dogs that no amount of training will make into a therapy dog.

 

I'm not saying that Finn won't change and improve as he matures, and I'm not saying that you should give up on him. But it's important to be realistic as well and to understand that the best thing you can do with and for Finn is to work with the dog you have and not try to unrealistically make him into something he's not. If therapy work isn't in his future, there are lots of other things you can do with him that will be more suitable to his personality.

 

And if you still want to do pet therapy but it's not in the stars for Finley, consider adopting a young but more mature border collie whose personality is more established and known to become your therapy dog partner. That's what I'm looking to do right now. :)

 

Re: submissive peeing. Ignore it and it will probably go away on its own as he matures.

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You might want to do a search here. There was a therapy thread here not too long ago. ;)

Took me awhile, but I found the previous therapy dog thread. I couldn't believe that I missed it, but found it was posted before I got Runa.

 

Therapy Dog Training - in General Border Collie Discussion - Started by deadlywarbler, 30 Dec 2014

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Thought I'd share one of the best things I taught my therapy dog, Zuri, to do. We called it "Mush face" (it sounded cute to the children). I could put my open hand anywhere and she would lay her head in it. It allowed me to position her anywhere, like the edge of a bed, next to a chair, and so on. After awhile she starting doing it for anyone who asked for "Mush face", and would also "Mush face" on anyone or anything I pointed to.

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