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Hello,

 

Just wanted to introduce myself any my pup. This is Link, aka Mr. Floof, a male 18 week Border Collie. He is a bundle of energy and full of personality. Currently he loves squeakers, our 300 gallon fish tank ( loves to bark and chomp at the fish through the glass) and anything and everything he can chew. He also loves our daughter's high chair and tries to climb in it, so I humored him one day :)

 

We are new to Border Collies, but not to working breed. We've had Siberian Huskies for 12 years, and after recently losing one of our beloved dogs to cancer, we wanted a very active partner for our other husky. So far, they get along great :) I welcome any advice or tips along the way :) We are located in SE Wisconsin.

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Welcome! Link is adorable (as is your toddler).

 

One thing about Border collies that you might not be aware of - they can develop odd behaviors. Fixations. And while you might laugh the first time your pup fixates on a moving reflection of light - it can quickly become ingrained, obsessive behavior that's very hard to break.

 

I have my own regrets: that I didn't discourage a Border collie I owned in the 1970s from obsessing over rocks (she ruined her teeth). That I ever threw a stick or a ball or a frisbee for a Border collie I acquired nearly ten years ago (he is totally obsessive about wanting to play "fetch", and has a hard time letting it go. And sticks are dangerous). I've known Border collies whose owners tried to amuse them with laser pointers. Terrible idea.

 

I would try to nip the barking and chomping at the fish in your aquarium ASAP.

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Welcome! Link is adorable (as is your toddler).

 

One thing about Border collies that you might not be aware of - they can develop odd behaviors. Fixations. And while you might laugh the first time your pup fixates on a moving reflection of light - it can quickly become ingrained, obsessive behavior that's very hard to break.

 

I have my own regrets: that I didn't discourage a Border collie I owned in the 1970s from obsessing over rocks (she ruined her teeth). That I ever threw a stick or a ball or a frisbee for a Border collie I acquired nearly ten years ago (he is totally obsessive about wanting to play "fetch", and has a hard time letting it go. And sticks are dangerous). I've known Border collies whose owners tried to amuse them with laser pointers. Terrible idea.

 

I would try to nip the barking and chomping at the fish in your aquarium ASAP.

Thank you for the nipping advice! I can totally see how it would become a bad behavior in the long run!

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Welcome to the Boards, and yes, both pups are adorable. :)

 

Border collies are unlike most other breeds in their predilection for developing obsessive/compulsive behaviors and for learning a whole lot of things you really don't want them to learn that become habitual.

 

I would strongly warn against indulging in behaviors like the ones you describe. They may be cute now but it's highly unlikely that you'll find them so endearing when Link's full grown. Think of it this way; if you think you won't appreciate a particular behavior in a grown dog, don't allow it in a puppy. It will be infinitely harder to break him of the habit once it's well established.

 

I used to keep fish, though was never lucky enough to have a tank nearly so large as yours. I do know that fish can hurt themselves dashing away from something that frightens them and I'm guessing there's a very good chance they'll end up being frightened by a large dog lunging at their tank.

 

Remember too that puppies, like human infants and toddlers, are learning all the time, whether you're actively trying to teach them something or not. It sounds to me like Link could be learning that there are no boundaries in your home and that he can pretty much do whatever he likes. You may come to regret this one day much sooner than you think.

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Yeah, I've already had to nip shadow chasing and tail-chasing out of my BC's repertoire (he's 4 months making me feel he's increasingly more likely to develop obsessive behavior). Word of advice, I find the bad behaviors are escalated in unworked/bored dogs (they create their own games).

 

Good luck and keep on learning, as a new friend recently said to me,

 

"Everyday is a new day to learn and train."

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Yep, what they both said!

My favorite phrase: "If the dog isn't sleeping, she is being trained!"

 

Have fun! Puppyhood doesn't last long enough (neither do dogs' lives...).

 

diane

Agree wholeheartedly.

May I steal this phrase? It is shorter than the words I use to say the same thing to people. :)

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My favorite phrase: "If the dog isn't sleeping, she is being trained!"

 

Perfect!

 

And it also reminds me of something that far too many new puppy owners don't think to do: Reward your pup for good, calm, quiet behaviors whenever they happen.

 

When the puppy's a dervish of play and then suddenly collapses for a nap as puppies do, acknowledge and quietly praise the pup for this wonderful cessation of movement. It may seem like you're rewarding for something the puppy didn't choose to do, and in a sense that's true, but you are teaching the puppy that calm, quiet behavior is something that you value.

 

Ditto when the puppy just gets bored with pouncing on whatever toy (or human) he's playing with and walks quietly away or just plops down for a moment to decide what he's going to do next.

 

Too often people only interact with their puppy when he's being active, whether it's engaging in training, just playing with him or reacting to unwanted behavior, and then basically ignore the pup when he's being quiet. This can have the effect of creating a busy dog who's always on the go and always seeking attention, even if it means being naughty to get that attentions he craves. And it's often because no one's ever acknowledged to the dog that being calm and quiet is a good thing too. There will be many times in your dog's life that you'll be happy you taught an off switch, and rewarding the pup for quiet behavior is an excellent form of pre-training for that.

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Every MOMENT is an opportunity to train. I don't mean to say that you should be actively training all the time, but your pup, as others have said, is LEARNING Every Second she is awake. And I wouldn't be surprised if part of the 'download' of new information happens during sleep, too.

 

See if you can 'capture' good behavior, whether it's a movement you can turn into a trick or your pup laying calmly after a play session. Encourage/reward what you want, and discourage/prevent what you don't want.

 

Good luck and keep us up to date!

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Greetings. If you don't know already, Wisconsin has a wonderful stock dog club, the Wisconsin Working Stock Dog Association. Check out our facebook page and website, we host many clinics, and trials throughout the year.

 

Samantha

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I think this is the right place for this question as it is sort of like the water thing. My puppy (4 months) loves to try to herd Canada geese when I take him to the park. He gets all low and slinky and tries to get them all into a group. Sometimes successfully , mostly not. It is cool to watch him do it and the geese just fly away if they get annoyed, but is this bad behaviour to allow to happen if I never intend to have him do any real work? Is it likely to develop into something unhealthy?

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I guess it's up to you whether you want to allow him to do it or not.

 

As long as he doesn't become obsessive about it and you can call him off the geese if and when you don't want him to do it -- and no property owners object -- I don't see why it'd be an issue.

 

But I do think if you allow it then you must make sure he has an excellent recall and probably an excellent drop at a distance just in case you ever run into any situations where he could get hurt (e.g. following the geese into traffic, etc.).

 

And if you see him becoming obsessive about it, definitely nip it in the bud before it becomes full blow obsessive-compulsive disorder. That can be a real nightmare for both dog and owner.

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I don't know where you live, but Canada geese are a protected species in the USA (although I think they are flying vermin). Because of that, I would not allow my dog to 'herd' the geese in a public place since you never know who is going to complain to the authorities.

 

Goose dog people are usually licensed with state and/or local authorities.

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Yes to both questions, for a variety of reasons. Canada geese ARE a protected species, and you could face a stiff fine. And, your dog is harassing wildlife and not under your control. Again, you could face a stiff fine.

 

The other thing to think about is what might happen to him if he tries it on near a group of geese nesting on eggs. Canada geese have a really strong punch, they could likely seriously injure your dog.

 

I'm going to be quite clear ~ your dog is not playing, it is harassment. And yes, it can create a bad situation for you and your dog. If your dog injures young or baby geese, or a disturbs a nest, the fine could be even worse.

 

I do agree gcv-border, Canada geese are really not endangered anymore. They've made a comeback. You're still taking risks in several ways. Don't let him do it.

 

I saw the pic of your boy on your previous post - he is beautiful! I hope you have a wonderful time with him.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Thanks for your responses. Good points all. It didn't even occur to me about them being protected OR harassed. They are right beside a dog beach, so I guess I just see them get chased quite a bit. (by dogs and children)

 

But you are all totally right. Also, I'm sure it is a bit stressful for them which isn't very nice. He is quite easily called off of them but it's true that anything could happen and I guess he is likely to become less obedient for a while as he gets a bit older. So I will definitely stop him from now on.

 

Just for general knowledge though, what indicates that a behaviour is no longer just fun for the dog but has become more of an obsession? Is it just when they won't stop voluntarily or focus on anything else when the object of their obsession is around? An earlier comment mentioned ball obsession. My dog enjoys when I roll a ball for him, and will watch intently hoping I do it. But then if I don't he will move on. So would an obsession be, if I didn't roll the ball he would just keep harassing me to do it?

 

Thanks again for the feedback on my earlier question.

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