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New Puppy Questions :)

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We officially brought home our new Border Collie puppy, Logan, this past weekend! She is 10 weeks old and pretty darn cute if I do say so myself.

 

She is not my first herder or BC (I have a 4 year old Aussie and a 3 year old BC), but I did things right this time and so she is my first BC from working parents!

 

While I'm so far pretty enamored with her, I have a few questions that hopefully people who have these higher intensity dogs can tell me if it is common or if I have a problem.

 

1. Barking. My previous BC barked a little as a puppy, but as an adult is basically mute. ;) However, little Logan enjoys barking at most things. My other two dogs if they are running, if she wants them to play with her, or me if she believes I'm moving too fast. Is this just some over-arousal happening? And if so, what is the best way to fade that? I am not a fan of barking dogs...

 

2. Reaction to people and dogs. She has growled at a couple of dogs she has seen, and launched into a full scale bark-fest. Not sure if we are in a fear period or if we are seeing some early reactivity. Interestingly enough (because people keep approaching my poor barking puppy) she is always very happy to say hello to people when they come, then happy to disengage and bite a stick or dig.

 

3. Zero to 1,000 in 2.5 seconds. So I'm used to puppy craziness, but she goes from zero to trying to bite me in the face in a hurry, haha. Like if I pet her too long, or if we've been playing with a toy too intensely, she's all teeth and barking. So we try to keep things super chill, but sometimes she's crazy regardless.

 

I just don't want to mess her up. My other two are great dogs, easy to live with, my BC is a great agility partner, and truthfully maybe they were also insane as puppies and I just don't remember?

 

Thanks everyone, sorry about the rambling nervousness.

 

 

 

 

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What a cutie!

I will let you know what I think, but there will be others who chime in and they may not agree with me, so use what you can.

 

Barking: It is pretty normal for a puppy to bark, just the way a toddler will let loose a shriek that just about busts the eardrums. That doesn't mean you need to encourage it or let it continue.

 

First, make sure that the pup has down time, and when up doesn't get overstimulated. Barking is often a sign that the pup or dog is over-threshold of excitement, so try not to allow the puppy to get to that point. If you see her revving up, calm things down. If she doesn't calm down, a short time-out in the crate, or a longer one letting her take a nap, is recommended. Pop her in the crate without emotion or words; it is not a punishment, it is just like putting a baby in her crib when she starts crying because she is tired.

 

Reaction: The first thing you have to do is stop letting people or dogs approach your barking puppy.

This is only a baby and she may be confused, frightened, unsure of her place in this interaction, any number of things. It is your job to make her feel protected - that you will always have her back. So don't take her into situations where strangers or strange dogs will approach. Instead, enroll in a good puppy socialization class where the puppies learn gradually and in a safe environment to accept strangers and other dogs.

 

Zero to 1,000 - welcome to the border collie puppy! ;) The only thing that concerns me here is that she bites you in the face, which must be curbed asap before it becomes something she thinks is acceptable to do. Don't let your face get close enough to be bitten, if you can avoid it (I know they move fast!) And if she bites you, say NO, or yelp like a hurt puppy, (loudly!), and calmly but firmly put her in the other room, door closed, alone, for five minutes. Do it every single time. She won't like to be alone, and will learn that biting is not the way to get attention or to play.

 

These dogs are smart, as we all know. Simple impersonal action=consequence is often the best way to train them. They catch on really fast, but don't end up seeing you as the Punisher Of Puppies.

 

Best of luck and keep in touch. We all like to hear about the development of puppies. And see photos. :)

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Thanks D'Elle.

 

We've been putting her in her ex-pen if she barks at my dogs or us, and it seems to be working, barking = removal from the fun. It's a little harder outside when they are running, but toys again seem to help that.

 

We've only had one person approach her (my elderly neighbour who did not respond at all to my requests to stop), and the rest of the time (like at pet stores) we are walking around and she chooses to charge up to people, tail wagging for pets. I try to make sure with all my puppies that puppies meet people, not people meeting puppies.

 

I have never let a dog approach her (I've seen way too many people and their "friendly" dogs cause issues), and the dogs she is barking at are quite a distance away. It makes me very concerned that already at 10 weeks I'm seeing some heavy reactivity. Do you think this could be a fear period which we will get over, or is this her personality?

 

She only tried the face bite the one time, and since then is pretty easily redirected to a toy, thank goodness. She just gets super aroused by quick movements, or if I clap my hands or encourage her to run over.

 

Honestly out of everything the over-reactions to dogs/some people have me the most concerned. The rest are just puppy antics which I can manage, but if this is already reactivity, I'm worried about that.

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Does she only 'react' (in quotes, for now) to things that are further away?

 

I mean in the technical sense, no matter what, you're seeing reactivity - that doesn't mean it's a problem forever or even necessarily a problem at all, just that she's a puppy and having trouble regulating her emotional state.


The real key is going to be whether this is a fear thing, an excitement thing, a frustration thing or what then handle that.

But at this age I'd not assume fear period, necessarily, or that it's going to be lasting. Just that she's an immature puppy and has the impulse control of a ferret on speed (less than none), so she feels it, feels it intensely, and responds accordingly.

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Agree with the above comment, and glad to hear that I read more into what you were saying than there actually is.

 

It could also be that, at a distance, she is not sure what that thing is that is approaching, so barking just in case it should be barked at.

 

She does need, however, to be socialized with other dogs. I still think that a well-led puppy socialization class would be a good thing for her. If she has never been approached by another dog in a safe environment (except your dogs) then she doesn't know how to behave. Not that she would, being so young. But no time like the present to start learning that.

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Thanks both of you!

 

And yes, she barked at the mailwoman when she was across the street (we were in the front yard), so we walked into the backyard, and the gate was open, so she could see her as she put the mail into the box,but no barking, just a little watching.

 

She seems to be the most agitated when she can't see where the source of barking is coming from, which is similar to my other BC, who eventually grew out of it.

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What a cutie!

 

I like to post this when anyone is having the "oh my gawd what did I do this is so much work!" puppy moment. I am convinced that nature makes us forget how much work puppies are because otherwise we would never get another!

 

https://denisefenzipetdogs.com/2015/08/30/its-a-puppy-not-a-problem/

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Cute pup you have there! I currently have my first BC. She is 14 months now, but a couple months into her puppyhood I was very worried and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I too was bitten on the nose a couple times. I handled that situation pretty much exactly as D'Elle described with good results. The other thing I think really helped in settling her down was only giving her treats when she was perfectly calm, and sometimes giving her treats BECAUSE she was being calm and quiet. That's all I have to add to the great advice that has already been posted by the more experienced and knowledgeable folks here on these boards. Good luck with your puppy and hope she turns out as wonderfully as mine has.

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The other thing I think really helped in settling her down was only giving her treats when she was perfectly calm, and sometimes giving her treats BECAUSE she was being calm and quiet. (emphasis added)

 

Very much this. I wrote about this very thing on anther thread in just the past few days.

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Hi everyone!

 

Quick little update (while she is sleeping... :) ) Things have settled nicely here over the past couple of days. She has turned onto the clicker, and she is starting to become more confident and comfortable offering behaviours, so we are having lots of fun shaping things.

 

The over-arousal is ebbing, as when she gets fired up, I give her a chance to redirect to a toy, and if that doesn't work and she keeps being nippy (to either me or my poor Aussie) she just gets popped in the pen or her crate for a bit. She hasn't tried to bite me in the face since that first post, and her biting is WAY down, unless she's super tired.

 

She is actually an awesome puppy who self-settles really nicely, I think I was just having a slight "Oh my god...puppies" moment.

 

Her reactions to people and dogs has MASSIVELY improved. We went walking in a park where I know there are people and dogs, but also lots of space so we can get away as needed. She was happy to watch the dogs, and was very happy to run up to meet the people. She wanted to meet a big black German Shepherd, and although she was a little nervous when he stood up, her body language was good and she seemed happy.

 

Thanks for talking me off the ledge. :P

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Happy to hear Logan's settling in. And that you are too. :)

 

It's also quite possible that she was both overly aroused and/or overly tired by all the excitement and newness of being taken from her litter and coming into a new home. That's an awful lot for a little puppy brain to process and adjust to.

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Glad to hear that things are going well and our responses helped.

 

I suspect that if I get a puppy in the future, I will need the same kind of off-the-ledge talking once or twice. :-)

 

And, Rushdoggie, I really love that Fenzie post, which I had not seen before.

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Thought I would give a quick update.

 

Logan is just over 13 weeks and is settling in pretty nicely. Housebreaking is going pretty well, minor accidents here and there (my fault) but sleeps beautifully through the night. She gets up earlier than I'd like (between 6-6:30) but once we take her out to pee, we put her in bed with us/the other dogs and she sleeps for another hour.

 

Her barking has gone down A LOT. I can now play some chase/tug games with her without her little brain exploding, and she barks way less at the older two. We still have a tough time not barking when it isn't our turn to work, but we'll get there. So far her main enemies are joggers, dogs barking at her, and sadly, kids. So we have some work to do there, but with the nicer weather I'm hoping we can see more of that stuff from a distance and eat our cookies.

 

A couple questions based on lots of stuff I'm reading (and I don't know why I do this to myself, my other two turned out fine...) So, Logan is going to be my next agility dog (and also hopefully herding dog!) and I'm reading some stuff out there that makes me wonder if I'm going about things all wrong (almost all from an agility perspective).

 

1. Building Drive. Everything I read to do with foundations for puppies is about building their drive, and increasing their intensity for agility/work. I get the sense from Logan that I should not do anything to increase her "drive" to do things. I personally never did any real drive-building with Heidi, and as a result, I think I have a pretty quick agility dog, that keeps her head on. No screaming, barking, or blowing contacts etc. and can hang out at agility trials without losing her marbles. I have big dreams for this puppy, so want to get her foundations right, but my gut is going against what I'm reading.

 

2. Separation from Dogs. Every big agility name I read talks about keeping the older dogs and the puppy TOTALLY separate, and allow almost no interaction between them. I think the idea is to build a solid bond between you and your puppy, since they should have no problem bonding to other dogs. Not only does this seem like a lot of extra work for me (ha ha), but I want my dogs to really enjoy hanging out together. Puppy is removed if she is being annoying, but I've never had any issues getting any of my dogs to work instead of play with each other. When one is working, the other two are free to do whatever, but they are always laying close, hoping for their turn. Should I be keeping her more separate from the older two? I take each dog for a walk individually, because I like spending one on one time with them, but maybe they should have less free time together?

 

3. Getting rid of their "Border Collie-ness" I read this A LOT. Alarmingly so. Wanting to get rid of the eye, or the stalk. My instructor has already commented that she thinks Lo might have too much "eye". My response was "Well...she's a Border Collie?" What is the deal with that?

 

Sorry and thanks in advance for any insights!

 

Enjoy a picture of Logan's ears, doing whatever they're doing this week :P

 

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A lot of big name agility people are, in my estimation, kind of idiots.

 

Okay, that's not fair. What they're doing is selling a product, and that product is a very formulated method, designed for particular kinds of dogs, to create a particular kind of outcome. If you don't have that particular sort of dog, or you don't want that particular outcome, then it's useless.

 

I build drive if the dog is lacking confidence and needs some drive and enthusiasm built. I built a lot of drive with Kylie. Kiran and Molly, drive building would have been as useful as throwing gasoline on a fire. They've got enough drive for toys, food, and just plain desire to play and work and they're plenty fast enough for me and the game (actually they're a little prone to over-arousal and frustration anyway - they do not need help with that). Also, unlike some of these big names, having the fastest dog alive doesn't benefit me; I don't need to sell my product (ie: training method) or get to world's, or get to world's to market my product and add validity to how I train.

 

This is related to the above. It's about building drive in a different way and reducing distraction. Only fun the dog gets is with the games the handler plays, and with the handler. Also not useful to me and even if it was - too freaking far for me. If I have to do that to get focus and attention in the ring, we'll play another game. HOWEVER, lots and lots of 'every dog is a playmate' because they meet and play with every dog they see for a dog who is super social and super confident anyway can be an issue because it builds expectation of every dog being one they're going to play with, which can lead to frustration and over-arousal when it *doesn't*.


Eye - Can be a problem when it's misdirected or misplaced. I RARELY see it happening in agility but sometimes the dog gets 'stuck' eyeing the first obstacle on course. And directing that eye toward another dog is a great way to start a fight via making the other dog feel defensive or threatening. It's rude. Really, really, rude. Basically, you don't need to 'get rid of it', but there are times it's less than useful and can be damaging and interrupting/redirecting/not letting her do that THEN isn't going to hurt her ability to herd.

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Most decent Border Collies come loaded with drive. With a young pup, I prefer to play games the teach them to learn (like shaping) and self control.

 

If your adult dog has a nice, balanced temperament, your pup can learn a lot of good things from hanging out with them. I do activities both separate (short training sessions) and together (hanging out in the house together, hikes, some yard play). If I saw a pup getting doggy then Id separate them more. Otherwise? I think youre handling it fine!

 

What behavior is she showing that makes your trainer say that shes showing too much eye?

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Okay, good to know I am pretty much on the right page, and my gut is reasonable. I just feel like doing those things to the dog I have would make a very difficult to live with dog.

 

I definitely don't let her eye other dogs, I don't let my older one do it either, because as you said I also think it is very rude and has real potential to start fights. So I don't let her stare at things too long.

 

She will sometimes "eye" birds, and sometimes stalks my dogs if they aren't looking and a chewing on a toy. She'll only jump on the Aussie, the BC has made it crystal clear that you don't jump on her. :P

 

So my instructor saw her at a trial we were at, and she was stalking some birds in the parking lot. :P

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Sounds like you are putting a lot of effort into working well with your pup.

 

Do not let her fixate on birds (or shadows, light beams, planes, etc.). Nip that right in the bud immediately by redirecting her attention to you and to something constructive that you can do together, like practicing tricks or family dog manners. Border Collies can easily develop obsessive-compulsive quirks, and they develop really, really fast if you don't act to prevent habits that you won't want in your adult dog.

 

Teaching the "leave it" command can be a big help. You should be able to find more about that by using the "search" function at the top of the page. I have found that very young pups can readily learn this and it is something that will serve them well throughout their life as there are so many situations where it is vital that your pup can turn away from or ignore something that is potentially harmful in some way.

 

Best wishes!

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A lot of big name agility people are, in my estimation, kind of idiots.

 

Okay, that's not fair. What they're doing is selling a product, and that product is a very formulated method, designed for particular kinds of dogs, to create a particular kind of outcome...

Yes, they're selling a product. They're also highly competitive people who want to do whate it takes to win. There are people like this in every dog sport, as well as all walks of life.

 

The thing that bothers me is when this need to win intersects with the welfare -- very much including the emotional welfare -- of another living being. In this example, our dogs don't choose whom they live with or how their lives will be managed. Separating puppies from adult dogs living in the same home really doesn't seem like the kindest thing to do to an extremely social species.

 

I've never done agility so I can't speak to the specifics or efficacy of this practice in that community. But I know similar beliefs occur in the working sheepdog community as well, where there's a belief that the best working dogs don't live in the home with the family and are often pretty much separated from the other dogs when they're not actively working.

 

Does it make for a better working or sport dog, especially as it relates to winning?

 

I don't know. And I was never interested in finding out. My dogs have always been part of my family regardless of whatever utilitarian use I may have had for them. For me it's more about the relationship even then it is about the work.

 

It's a different worldview between wanting our dogs to be part of our lives and wanting them to be the equipment used to be a winner.

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I have no idea either, GentleLake. Truth is, the longer I am in agility the more I become convinced that what makes a good DOG, household member and pet, is what makes a good agility dog. I know nothing about top level international competitors and those who are 'selling' their own training system to people, or what they need, but for a really good dog who can do national level events and get top level titles? It just needs to be a good, solid, well rounded, physically and mentally sound dog who wants to play with you.

 

I fairly regularly see people who are very, very, good at agility (though again not international/top of the world level competitors, but people having really good success) and have been in the game for a long time decide they want more than their previous dogs, and then wind up with frustrated, spinning, barking, over-aroused, dogs who also happen to frustrate them. They expect more success and get less - because they're used to a thinking dog, and they either purchase through breeding, or create through training, dogs who can't think to save their lives. Not BC specific, either.

 

But take it all with a grain of salt. I've been in agility for a few years, not a few decades. And my aspirations stop at national level events.

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I'm fairly new on the agility scene (only training for a little over a year, competing for several months), so take this with more of a salt lick than a grain of salt, but here's what I've noticed.

 

My dog does really well. We almost always Q, and usually a first or 2nd place in 20", which is fairly competitive. I think the reason she does so well is that she is my buddy first, agility dog second. Yes, I want to Q, and honestly I want to/like to win. But, not at the expense of turning my dog into a crazy beast. She has a level head, and I don't let her get bananas.

 

A lot of the people at my local trials have dogs that fit into one of two categories:

 

1) Over-the-top insane. Sometimes they Q, but I mostly just see them frustrated/angry at their over-aroused dog.

2) Very slow, nervous/not having fun dogs.

 

There are very few logical thinking dogs at these things.

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Related:

One of my biggest frustrations is that people cannot understand the difference between a dog moving fast and a dog completing the course fast.

 

 

First run? Second fastest time out of ALL the height categories (also second fastest clean run, but we're counting NQs from dogs who did things like 'leapt the contact from half way up', here), including a metric ton of BC. Second run? Right up there with the big dogs.


Does she LOOK like she's moving super fast? No. And, to tell the truth, she's not. What she is doing, is being a happy dog without frustration or stress, and giving me really tight turns, and super clean, relatively straight (mostly, not always) lines.


I do NOT have that kind of clean with Molly. Kylie's YPS are consistently higher than Molly's, based on turn radius alone. Doesn't matter how fast the dog MOVES, if it's running wild, turning super wide, spinning in circles, getting pulled back because those wide turns made them miss an obstacle/get a refusal (depending on venue) or whatever. At that point, with all the wasted time on course, they may as well be walking.


Building up crazy speed does you NO GOOD if that's *ALL* you build!

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I know a couple people who will not sell pups to top level agility homes because they feel there will be too much pressure/too many expectations placed on the dog. Instead theyll sell to people doing agility for fun but also want a family member dog. The results? Many of the dogs are pretty darn successful at agility and head turners with those homes.

 

On a related level, a friend who has been in SAR forever was keeping his dogs in the house as family members back when the wisdom of the day said that working search dogs should be kenneled when not working. Hes certified every dog hes started with multiple breeds - most at fema/usar levels.

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I have seen all types in the little bit of agility I have done, including people who won't feed their dog if it did not pay enough attention to them in the ring. I, and most other agility people I know, would never do that.

Our judges here all want to see dogs having fun. Some clubs even have encouragement type awards for novice dogs who are the happiest team.

I am never going to be competitive on a national level, may not even make it into the top grade of competition. But I am perfectly OK with that because Oscar loves doing what he does, even when he makes up his own course.

From what I have seen, building drive in your dog to be able to work at a distance, or to keep going for several obstacles without turning to find you is good. In front of most rings I see, people are trying to keep their dog calm and focussed on them, not ramped up and desperate before going in.

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Hi everyone!

 

Little Lo is now 4 months old (Have I really had her for 6 weeks?!) and I am really pleased with how her training is coming along.

She is really getting some good coordination, has really turned on to training/shaping and is such good friends with my older dogs that everything seems in harmony. She has an excellent retrieve (which we mainly use for tugging, since I'm not big on fetch), and her "obedience" cues are coming along nicely.

 

She is in two puppy classes a week. One is a "Beginner Obedience" and the other is a "Socialization Class". I'm friends with both of the trainers running the classes, so I just sit in the corner and kind of do my own thing. The real reason I am going to the classes is to get her used to ignoring other dogs motion and barking.

 

In the obedience class, she is not too bad, since there is no interaction between dogs. She has an issue with one dog, some sort of Cocker Spaniel/Shih Tzu cross. He's over a year old and has some pretty stiff body language when other dogs get close, so I think she reads it and gets defensive, because she is very relaxed with all other dogs in the class.

 

She has a much tougher time in the socialization class. When other puppies bark or play, she goes into full "policing mode" - barking and lunging. What I'm currently doing is that as soon as I hear a bark, I click and drop a cookie. This process has resulted in way less barking, and she is sometimes now turning to me expectantly when she hears a bark. I've also been doing a lot of engage/disengage work (look at the dog, click + treat. Then look at the dog, look back to me, click + treat).

 

They were working on recalls this past week, and I was treating her like crazy (probably every second or so), and she didn't bark once, and looked around occasionally. She did get quite snippy when someone let their dog run over and pounce on her, but I'm okay with that.

 

Are we doing the right things? I'm really just trying to get her to not be quite so sensitive to movement and noise from other dogs.

 

Thanks everyone!

 

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