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Border Collie can't get away from its nose

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Hi.I'm new here. Sorry if already posted, but could not find my answer. So i have a border collie (Spike) for a year now. he is 14 months old. He listens perfectly inside but when outside the smells are just too much for him. Everytime i manage to get his attention (eye contact) he obeys and listens but getting attention is a lot harder as you may think. He is always smelling and licking the floor on walks which makes him an unobedient dog when we encounter some other stimuli (bikes, rollers, skatboards...) I'm awarding him when he is not smelling around and looks at me but the problem is not getting smaller. I was wondering if that is because of hormones and i woud get rid of the intense smelling if i castrate him? He is peeing 50 times per walk and smelling nonstop, but that is also the only problem. he is not acting aggressive towards other dogs or people only has problems listening or better yet paying attention.  We live in a town in a small apartment and i think he should be desentisized to the loud noises, smells, surroundings as we spend min. 3 hours daily, outside walking, playing with other dogs or fetch and so on...  do you think castration would solve the problem? should i give him more time and his behavior will change through time?  considering longer lifespan would castrating have a negative effect? (testosterone is a really important, regenerating hormone)


Problem 2. As Spike sees a dog in a distance, he lays down and waits so long that the dog come to us. If i try to pull him he is acting dead, he doesn't see or smell the treats when a dog is in his eyes. Any idea how to stop him from laying down and here and there ignoring a dog that is passing by or passing by 200m away:lol:



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is he truly lying down like HIDING (scared), or is he just crouching and EYEING the oncoming dog? Which are two totally totally different things.

the sniffing is hard to say anything about without being there, because the idfference between "I smell wonderful smells" and "my nose is glued to the smells so that I don't have to deal with the big disturbing world" can be pretty subtle. If he is *licking*, too, though, then I would bet it is not fear (at least not at those moments)... is it infrequent enough that it is maybe licking girl-pee (which they do)?

Given that there is never any guarantee of how a dog's going to act after neutering, personally I'd consider waiting and seeing if the behavior changes with more maturity and training... unless it is driving you and him *bonkers*, in which case he is at least old enough now that would not be an unreasonable age to fix him if you were so inclined.

Good luck,


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he is not scared when waiting a dog. He just does not want to miss out on oportunity to play with other dog ( he does that with people too if they make eyecontact or say something to him, he just wait until they pet him then we can go on)  . 


yes the smelling seems to be girl-pee related. He starts foaming and moving his jaw when he finds the good pee  which doesn't happen when he is just exploring.

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Not to minimize your concerns, but a lot of this sounds like typical teenage dog behavior.  Dogs in the "teen months" often act distracted, stubborn, like they've forgotten all the training you've done, unable to stop sniffing, and fixated on social behaviors.  As long as he is not aggressive, frightened, stressed, or obsessive, don't worry about it too much.  Don't slack off on your training, and maybe even go back to simpler training tasks.  Do the training in an environment with minimal distractions, but also allow him some time to sniff and meet other dogs when it isn't a problem.

Our 21 month old Levi is just coming out of this distracted age.  In the last month we see him acting more and more like a mature dog, not a teenager.  Australian shepherd Brenden didn't grow up until he was 2 1/2 years old--suddenly the light came on, and he showed that he actually had absorbed all that training, he just couldn't control himself before.



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Hi there.  If you have a dog who is very distracted by being outside (and almost any dog is, especially when young) then don't try to train the dog outside until you have the behavior you want down pat perfectly INside. Even in an apartment there is room to practice things like attention and walking by your side. 

One trick to teaching a heel-like position while walking is to train it as if it were a trick - something fun to do. You make being by your side and looking up at you a very rewarding place to be. You accomplish this by rewarding the dog every time you find him in that position.  Walk around the house, making sure he knows you have treats, and when he comes into position beside you and gives you his attention, reward him. Toss the treat away from you so that he has to come back into position to get another one. Name the position "heel" or "by me" whatever you want. But don't call the dog back into position, wait for him to decide he wants to be there and get another treat. This game is called "Choose To Heel" and you can look it up online.

As for the smelling and peeing, this is normal. He may mark less after being neutered or may not. Most male dogs love to mark their place no matter what.  Let him smell all he wants, is my advice. There's nothing wrong with it, and it is the passion of dogs to smell.  Unless he is pulling hard on the leash or acting wild, allow him to amble along and read all the news he encounters. Continue rewarding for attention, but don't try to force it while you are outside until you have trained it indoors for a few weeks.

If he is not afraid of the other dogs or people, why not let him lie down and wait for them to come up to him? No harm in that. But do observe his behavior very closely in order to be certain it is not fear or shyness causing it. If he lies there eagerly waiting for someone to come up to him, I personally would not want to discourage that behavior. It sure beats yanking your arm on the leash and trying to jump on everyone!



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What D'Elle says about dogs sniffing everything is right on. To me it seems as if dogs use their noses the way humans use their eyes. Yes, there are times and places it's not appropriate to sniff. Taking a walk without him sniffing around would be like you taking a walk and being asked to not look at anything! 

You can certainly train him to look at you rather than sniff, but don't overdo it. He gets a LOT of information about his world through his nose, and depriving him of that is unkind, IMO. When you do ask him to pay attention to you, be sure you release him back to simply being a dog.

Start your 'No sniff' inside  your home, where it's relatively boring compared to outside. Then take it on the road. 

Ruth & Gibbs

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I was recently helping a new dog owner to train her first dog, and she complained that all the dog wanted to do on walks was stop every 5 feet and sniff. (Not saying that the OP is saying the same thing.) I knew that she was a big reader, so I said to her:

This is the dog's walk,  rather than your walk, so sniffing is important. Not to let him stop and smell would be as if I took you to a huge bookstore and walked you up and down the aisles and you could see the titles of books as they went by but I wouldn't allow you to take one down to look at it.  :)

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