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Hi, 

I am glad that I found this board, it has already been so helpful and I love reading the posts. I hope that you guys can offer some reassurance and advice based on some of my worries, concerns/questions :)

Background: I live in a village with my husband, close to woods and not too far from the Lake District. My husband and I love going on local walks and enjoy going for hikes in the lake district. We have always said that we'd like to get a dog, and a border collie is my favourite breed, so when for health reasons I decided to take a long career break, we decided to get our puppy - I have lots of time to be with her and train her. 

We bought our black and white border collie puppy home on Saturday (9 weeks, now 10 weeks), from a local farm. Initially I wanted to do lots of research and carefully select a breeder but when we visited this farm, owned by very welcoming family, we fell in love with our puppy and generally got a good feeling about the place. Unfortunately, although she was chipped, flea and wormed, their vets advised against giving these puppies their first vaccination (as they had with previous litters) until they went to their new homes. I was told that this was due to different vaccine strains. Also having lived in a barn with her litter mates and her mum, seeing very few people or traffic she has had very little socialisation. 

After a few days of settling in, I took my girl for her first vaccination on Monday. It wasn't a good experience for her because she was scared due to the traffic on the way in, scared by a large dog that came too close in the waiting room, causing her to bark, and then because she was so spooked she barked at the vet aswell. Overall a stressful experience, and one that I so wish had gone differently for her. 

Generally I have been amazed by her, at how fast she has seemed to settle with us and how quickly she is picking up toilet training. I have a crate for her, so at night (or during the day when she's tired/ needs to calm down) I place her in it, close the door and cover it over with a blanket. I leave her with a night light, and although I feel now she could go through the night, I do get up at about 3am to take her out for a wee. I wouldn't say she is "crate trained" as she doesn't go in there of her own accord to go to sleep, but I do feed her in their for positive reinforcement and when placing her in I always reassure and praise her. Putting her in her crate is met with some whining now, but she soon settles down. 

In the day time, over the last few days, I have tended to spend most of my time with her. At the moment she is confined to one room, and I have a blanket that I have placed at the foot of the settee where she plays either by her-self or more often than not with me. She has soft toys, chew toys and he odd ball, but I tend to only allow a few toys out at a time and rotate them so shes not bored or over-stimulated. When I feel she is calm I do some basic command training like sit and down, with treats, which she has picked up quickly, and we have a good routine for toilet training, where at the same time I'm teaching her to sit on a mat to wait whilst I put my shoes on, and not bite the lead when I attach it. She is doing really well. 

My worries/anxieties are first her lack of socialisation, especially with other dogs (I have had people over to meet her and she has been really happy and affectionate), and cars. I have started carrying her down my quiet road every day, giving her reassurance but she does get very scared as we approach the main road. Is this normal for this age?

Also I'm not sure how much time to spend with her. She goes in her crate when I am not there and have to do other things for myself and chores in the house. I feel that the crate gives her a safe place to be when i'm not there, and she can't be destructive when not supervised, and also at times I feel that she does get abit overstimulated so I feel her crate is good for calming her down. When I'm not giving her attention, she has started to push the boundaries and chew on things she shouldn't - like chair legs, and furniture. I tell her No firmly, or say down and place her down. I do also distract her with something else but its like its something that's stuck in her head that she wants to repeat again and again to test me. Is this normal, and am I doing the right thing with preventing her from being destructive? 

I would appreciate your advice going forward. I love her, she is a lovely pup, I just want her to be happy, and grow up confident with good manners. Thanks :)

 

 

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I'm sure the experts here will respond with their usual great advice, but I'll go ahead and chime in with some quick feedback. First, it's certainly normal at this age for her to be easily frightened, she is equivalent to a baby. My Mancer was scared out of her wits by a flock of geese overhead or neighborhood dogs barking in the distance at that age, but by 1 year old she was barking back at things she had previously been scared of. I'd be careful about taking her out to pee every day at 3AM as that could become habit forming. My pup always woke me up when she needed to go. Sometimes she slept through the night, sometimes not, more so as she got older of course. Is it possible to move her crate into your bedroom? I think most would advise this as it allows you to hear her if she needs to go out and generally keeps her from being scared at night. Definitely keep teaching her her boundaries and what she can and can't chew on. My Mancer also was fixated on certain items like a floor lamp, couch leg etc. and kept going back to them, but with persistence and consistency on my part she eventually stopped going to them. Mancer is my first BC, and her puppyhood was more difficult than I expected, so know that you may have some tough days ahead of you, but it is normal and as she approaches 1 year old (could be sooner, all puos are different), she will settle in to her environment and know what is expected and accepted. Remember to enjoy the puppy days, they will be gone before you know it. Best of luck, and as I'm sure others will also ask, please post some puppy pictures!

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I would definitely work on socializing her the best you can. Is there perhaps a puppy socialization class or group that you can attend? Of course, she would have to be fully vaccinated to go to one and I don't know if they are offered where you live, since I don't know where you live.  If not, do your best to improvise; maybe find others who have nice dogs who like to meet other dogs and start slowly meeting with one of them every day for a few minutes and build up from there. This is something your dog needs to learn now in order to prevent problems later on.

If she is chewing on things when you don't have an eagle eye on her, then pop her into the crate any time you cannot watch her.  She is just a baby and cannot help but see everything as a potential chew toy. My philosophy with puppies is the same it would be if I had to watch a 2 year old child (please, give me the puppy instead!). Never take my eyes off her. If I go to the bathroom, into the crate she goes unless she comes with me. If I am distracted, say on the computer, she goes into her crate. I one time had a foster puppy right next to me, touching my body in fact, sitting on the floor, but I was distracted and she chewed through an electrical cord in about 3 seconds. Fortunately it was not plugged in! But you get my point. 

It sounds as though you have a nice puppy there. You have come to a good place, as the folks on this forum are very knowledgeable and helpful. Welcome.

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Forgot to mention that as an alternative to the crate, I frequently used an x-pen when my girl was a young pup. A bit larger and more open than the crate, and was a nice option when I wanted to relax and watch TV for a spell. 

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Sounds like she is settling down well and is similar to our experience. Once you are able to take her out for walks you can get working on her fear of cars. We had this, Harry who is now 8 months old, would lunge at cars, bikes, or anything that moved, he alsi chased leaves and still does. Take lots if treats with you when you walk, get your puppy to sit, praise and give a treat. This does take time and repetition is the way to go. We found that from day one, Harry would sleep till around 4 am for the first couple of weeks, then we found that he had soiled his soft bedding, this went on for 4 nights running, he looked so sorry when we got up. He was having a wee and poo before bed. We took away his soft bedding and just put a blanket in his crate. This worked straight away and he now only likes a blanket in there. He happily goes in his crate at night and looks at us as if to say please go to bed so I can have some peace. 

Harry has always needed.a lot of simulation and play and has virtually chewed every piece of furniture. I got him some nylabones which has helped but he still has the occasional chew on the table leg. He was and still is very clingy. He follows me around in the day, gets stressed when I go upstairs and will bark and whine. He did not go up the stairs till he was 5 months old, so we got a high stair gate to stop him.

Puppy classes will help with social skills with other dogs.

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Sounds like you are doing well and it all sounds familiar too haha!

i was reassured by people on this board and also the vet who reminded me that at this stage it’s kinder to pop them in their crate to sleep - especially as they have a lot of sleeping to do! 

Also, once they have played and chewed and interacted for a bit they will often resort to chair legs, skirting boards and the bottom of sofas! Once they get to this stage it’s the equivalent of a toddler who’s got over tired and doesn’t want to go to bed aka nap time in the crate!

Re cars, we trained our pup to ‘lie down’ as a one of his early commands. Then when cars or joggers or bicycles are coming towards us we got him to lie down and kept our foot on the leash ‘just in case’. We gave him a treat if he stayed in the lie down as they passed. He lies down automatically now. Walking near traffic is definitely ‘work’ to him so we have to let him run off pent up energy when we get home. 

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On ‎1‎/‎16‎/‎2019 at 4:41 PM, Nichola said:

After a few days of settling in, I took my girl for her first vaccination on Monday. It wasn't a good experience for her because she was scared due to the traffic on the way in, scared by a large dog that came too close in the waiting room, causing her to bark, and then because she was so spooked she barked at the vet aswell. Overall a stressful experience, and one that I so wish had gone differently for her.

Is your vets close enough that you could visit every so often? We make a point of popping in to ours every couple of weeks just to say hi and they are very encouraging of that. Our boy thinks it's the most fantastic thing ever going to the vets for a weigh and a treat. I'm using it as a very exciting place to practice a settle. I'm not sure if he'll feel quite the same way after he's been left there to have the snip :unsure:

6 hours ago, ShellyF said:

Also, once they have played and chewed and interacted for a bit they will often resort to chair legs, skirting boards and the bottom of sofas! Once they get to this stage it’s the equivalent of a toddler who’s got over tired and doesn’t want to go to bed aka nap time in the crate!

So much this! Realising that sofa chewing was really a request for nap time rather than a need for more stimulation and attention our lives greatly improved.

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12 hours ago, jami74 said:

Is your vets close enough that you could visit every so often? We make a point of popping in to ours every couple of weeks just to say hi and they are very encouraging of that. Our boy thinks it's the most fantastic thing ever going to the vets for a weigh and a treat. I'm using it as a very exciting place to practice a settle.

Second this! Do everything you can to make the vet's office a happy place. Lots of treats and happy praise during visits that have no other purpose than this. Many of my dogs have loved going to the vet because of this, and even my very sensitive fraidy dog tolerates it even if he doesn't actually enjoy it.

If there are other dogs there whose clueless owners let them approach your dog, then kindly but firmly tell them to keep their dogs to themselves. This goes for anywhere, not just at the vet's.

As for cars and traffic, lots of short fun excursions to fun places with lots of treats on the way can also condition your dog to love the car, or at least tolerate it.

Going to a new home away from all that's familiar -- especially as this often happens during a time when puppies are going through fear stages -- can be traumatizing. Do your best to be upbeat and supportive and distract with lots of yummy or fun things doing these stressful times for her and there's an excellent chance she'll learn to shake them off and become more confident.

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What they all said! 

I made an effort to take our youngsters with me in the car and especially to the vet's office, for nothing more than an outing or an opportunity for treats and pets. My dogs are totally at ease at the vet's office, walk in the door with no issue, are comfortable with the vet and techs, etc., because we laid a foundation of "this is a fun and rewarding place to be" rather than just a "this is a place where you get poked and prodded and jabbed". 

My only real issue at the vet office is that they want to sniff, sniff, sniff at all the dog (and cat) smells. We live on a farm and their walks are along dirt roads, through woods, and in fields, so they are always eager to "read the news" at the vet office or if we visit suburbia, where there are the scents of other dogs to investigate. In fact, they pay more attention to the smells than they do to the actual other dogs that are present...go figure that one out! 

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Hello - I'm not too far from yourselves - over in the North Pennines.  I've got a 7 yr old and 3 yr old BC and just brought home a 9 week old.  Would recommend having a look for a book by Barbara Sykes 'Understanding and Training Puppies'.  She's amazing and helped me so much with my 7 yr old who had real issues at one point.  She's not influenced by fashions or fads in dog training, she doesn't advocate lots of toys or treats, but her methods are gentle and calm and she is a BC specialist - can't recommend her highly enough!  I think her book addresses all of your concerns, regarding chewing and also socialisation.  It's just good common sense backed with a huge amount of experience!  Best of luck with your pup - sounds like she has found herself a wonderful home!

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