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Chasing/Biting in the Yard


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Trying to figure out how to keep our 5 month old Border Collie from chasing and biting everything in our fenced 5 acre yard. She's usually pretty relaxed indoors but when we take her in our backyard off-leash she turns crazy chasing and biting cars, cats, people, shovels and anything that moves. Normally, when she goes into crazy mode I would put her in time out, but when she's outside its nearly impossible to catch her. I've tried putting her on a really long leash but she just gets tangled on everything and even ended up ripping a tooth out somehow (not a permanent luckily). Another "game" she likes to play while outside is that she'll grab a tool or something you're using and play keep away and I know I'm not supposed to chase her when she does this but what can I do other than run away and try to get her to come to me? She does okay with coming when she called, and she's pretty relaxed when she's on a walk, I'm determined to fix this but she's just so hard to control without a leash I just don't know what to do.

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Welcome to the BC boards!

If your puppy is hard to control off leash (as all puppies of 5 months are!) then do not let her off leash. I understand about the long line getting tangled; I live in the desert and it is definitely a skill to keep the long leads from wrapping around everything. But if you stay with her when she is going out on the long lead, you can gather it up, unwrap it, and so on. One thing I have always done is if it gets wrapped around a tree, I just stand there and do nothing and let the dog figure out how to unwrap himself or herself from the tree. Good practice in problem solving for the dog. Do not do it, of course, if the dog is freaking out or going to hurt herself.

The number one technique for keeping a puppy out of trouble is to make it impossible for her to get into trouble in the first place. Don't let her run loose in the yard at all, especially when you are working and using tools. Shut her into the house at these times. If she cannot grab the tool in the first place, you won't have that problem. You are correct in knowing it is a game to her, and so far you have been playing the game with her, if you look at it from her perspective. You need to prevent her ability to do this. Just as you control the puppy in the house to keep her from chewing things up, you need to control her outside as well. Letting her off leash to chase and bite at everything is allowing bad behavior to continue, and it is self-rewarding to the puppy. This kind of thing will lead to huge problems in the adult dog, so you have to curb it now.

I know it will be a bit of a hassle to keep her on lead outside all the time, but believe me it is worth it. Rather than letting her run on her own, think of it as taking her for a walk, even though it is all on your property. If it were my puppy, I would say "ah-ah!" to her in a firm but not angry tone every time she started to chase and bite at something, and then I would go to her and pick her up and bring her inside each time she does that. She will learn that chasing and biting means all the fun ends and she has to go inside. You may have to do this hundreds of times before she stops it because she has been enjoying it for a while now. Just don't quit. She will learn.

PS....we really like puppy photos here. :-)


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On ‎2‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 10:39 PM, Mgwest said:

 Another "game" she likes to play while outside is that she'll grab a tool or something you're using and play keep away and I know I'm not supposed to chase her when she does this but what can I do other than run away and try to get her to come to me?

Our boy used to do this with socks and other small things. One day we decided to just let him have it and ignore him when he went bounding past us with something in his mouth. He looked quite deflated that we didn't play the game. After he'd had a little chew of it we'd pick up one of his toys and start playing with it and he'd leave whatever item he shouldn't have had and we'd pick it up without comment. He very quickly stopped bothering to take things he shouldn't have when he realised we'd only play if it was one of his toys.

He still sometimes finds a sock, but now he comes and gives it to me. It's his way of saying 'Hey can we do something together now?' I have a little pile of odd socks next to my chair.

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