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1 old border collies behaviour is deteriorating

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I have a one year old neutered beautiful Male border collie whose behaviour is spiralling down hill we have had him since he was 8 weeks old. He has always really struggled to sleep outside of his crate we had to rely on enforced naps up until 8 months because he would get overtired and stroppy. At 8 months he began to settle by himself he was doing well, not perfect but it all felt like it begun to click and if felt like finally we where getting a dog start to come through. We have worked so hard to extinguish a lot of issues like his lead biting he exhibits when frustrated and we did this until he got to 10 months... he started showing signs of frustration again when he didn't get his own way. This wasn't too bad but quite a shock considering we thought we worked him through it.

At 10 and half months he was neutered due to being cryptorchid and vets saying he needs to be neutered before 1 year of age and ideally as soon as possible. After he healed from the surgery he carried on slowly getting into bad habits mainly on his walks he became triggered into lead biting very easily and his impulse control just completely went out the window. Fast forward to him becoming a year old in the house he just become a nightmare he started destroying his bed thats outside the crate and pulling the rug up.

We called in a behaviourist who told us we where enforcing too man rules and we needed to give him access to the garden and his toys all the time so he could blow off steam, she described him as a pressure cooker. She told us to stop using time outs and to put him behind a baby gate with a chew when he gets too much allow him to dig in the garden and stop playing fetch. All of this made the behaviour so much worse he decided everything is now fair game to chew, sofas, chairs, bins outside in the garden, foot stool, curtains, compost bin, shoes that we are wearing and our ankles (like he is 12 weeks old again) The behaviourist did a second house visit and concluded we need to basically return to what we was doing in the first place but packaged it like it was her idea. 

Inside the house he will not switch off and only rests for seconds before getting back up even if he is tired and ready for a nap he keeps going and becomes more problematic. Its honestly so hard to live with and I don't know what to do and how normal this is to be honest. None of his siblings seem this way and we have to crate him when we go to bed and work which is awful, we never thought at 1 years old we would have to give such an amazing dog such little freedom. My other half has had collies in her family before and none have exhibited this before.

His routine daily is as follows:

6:30 out of crate for breakfast then goes for a 30 minute walk on long line

7:30 back in crate 

10:00 out crate trick training garden time and fuss 

11:00 back in crate

13:00 out the crate for potty break during lunch

13:30 back in crate

16:30 walk on long line and off lead (lots of sniffing and some training) also fetch with ball or frisbee) sometimes walks with other dogs too

17:30 back home potters round might go in garden might just run around the house looking for trouble

19:30 We may enforce a nap for half an hour if he seems really tired and behaviour is unbearable

20:00 kongs, chews and beef hides maybe a short training session 

22:00 Bed.

The positives:

Very confident for a border collie.

Loves all peoples dogs and cats.

Highly food motivated.

Affectionate and seems happy most of the time.

We love him, so much.

He hasn't broke us...yet.

Is there any words of wisdom or resources anyone can offer. We are booking a different behaviourist to help. What I see when I watch this dog is one who just is too uncomfortable outside of his crate to settle. When he does lay down he does for moments before moving to different spots and eventually he gets agitated and barks at something only his collie ears can hear like he is frustrated and on edge. Pop him in the crate and lad goes straight down for a nap its the oddest thing, I feel like a lot of his problems could be solved by helping him settle but I just don't know how to help him.

Thank you for reading.  

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I know there are a lot of people on here who have great advice. Have you tried reading control unleashed? It helps teach your dog to settle and some self control. It isn’t easy reading but it has a lot of useful ideas. 

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First, that so called behaviorist is worthless.  As I am sure you agree, and I am sorry you wasted your time and money. 

Click To Calm is a great book. I highly recommend it.

One problem I had some years ago with training dogs was that I thought I had to wait until the dog did what I wanted in order to reward. Click To Calm changed my life in that way, as I was dealing with a highly reactive and traumatized foster dog. I learned from the book that I can watch very intently and can click (or mark in whatever way you do) and reward even the tiniest cessation of the bad behavior.

No one can continue endlessly running or jumping or barking or whatever they are doing. Click To Calm teaches you to watch for the tiny moment the dog needs to grab a breath or when all four feet are on the ground, and you mark that and reward it. Faster than you think it will, this can build up to a complete change in behavior. Being food motivated is very useful in this training.  Best of luck!

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Good advice... just wanted to comment that when he *does* get all uncontrollably overbusy, putting him in the crate to reboot his brain is probably still a good thing. Then when he comes out you can work on training relaxing behavior. (A little at a time, probably). Because, when he needs a nap, he needs a nap, period... and if right now he relies on *you* to provide the nap (i.e by closing him into the crate) then so be it ;) 

You can also experiment with noise levels (maybe a quiet radio in the background, maybe turn *off* the radio/tv, see what he needs) and also experiment with leashing him to you when he is in the house.

Honestly I think the single thing that helped most with my own 11-month-old wild child (who sounds kind of like yours, tho perhaps a bit less so) is going outside and just sittin' in a lawn chair with him on a leash... with a mixture of occasional kibbles and constructively ignoring him ;) he figured out fairly quickly that he could just flop down and watch the world go by, which seemed to then translate into a better (altho still limited!) ability to do so indoors as well.


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Oh, and the other thing that's helped with our boy is encouraging him in his choice of "offices" outside of his crate... his choice not ours... he seems to like being on the yellow chair next to his crate, and underneath the bench under the front window (we call it his cave!) and by the gate that separates the front of the house from the back of the house for cat reasons. And sometimes the right end of the sofa. I figure if those are the places he feels more comfortable for whatever reason, then those are the places that I *particularly* want to reinforce him for being!


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You've gotten some great advice here! I wonder if adding in an additional structured activity might be helpful, like nose work for example? As a supplement to training time, I'm thinking. This could be another way to activate the brain with something fun that gets him tuckered out. We took a nose work class and I found it very helpful to incorporate the exercises we learned there into our daily training sessions.

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Ours has not been the same after neutering. The vet is at a loss to know why. Could be border collie collapse. Our vet doesn’t think so. All other possibilities eliminated. Vet says some dogs just don’t know what to do without their testosterone. We have buttoned it down with our guy to knowing that all the bad behaviour comes with too much exercise and too much stimulation and this is after months and months of consulting and observations  

But here’s the good news. Having accepted that we have a 15 minute dog (that’s the most he can cope with) we have settled down to life. He now only spends our supper time (1.5 hours) in his crate plus from 9pm to 9am (he’s been the driver of that). We entertain him with things he can watch - like watching the bird feeder from the deck or looking out the window from ‘his chair’ or rides in the car to a beech for a small walk and paddle. 

We also give him a mellow (sometimes two) a day. It’s a very low dose of valerian but it seems to take the edge off for him being frustrated. 

He’s nearly 17 months now and coping sooo much better with leash biting and settling. Alternative commands are the best in those situations and something that allows him to still ‘move forward’ like ‘go get a tog’ Or ‘what’s that over there’ and then we can gradually calm him down. Good luck! 

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I am the person who originally suggested border collie collapsed based on a lack of physical stamina.  An overaroused dog who gets naughty after being aroused, even getting mentally tired of it isn't BCC.  BCC is a neurological thing with physical symptoms.  It CAN be made worse by arousal, but I was SOLEY addressing his lack of physical stamina, nothing else.

Your description here makes me agree with your vet.

Probably this is either a dog with behavioral problems, temperament problems, or is just a normal BC in a home that's definition of normal doesn't encompass BC behavior.  Which often, honestly, includes being a pain in the ass who gets into trouble a lot and needs a lot of management. 

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