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Hi there!

Thank you so much for the add and I’m so excited to be a part of this community! I have an 8 month old border collie puppy named Luna and she is my third dog and first puppy that I am raising on my own. She is not a working dog— she is a companion dog. We live in RI!
 

A little bit about Luna— she is very sweet and more on the submissive side. Her parents are family pets, her father from working lines and mother from non working lines. We are still trying to figure out her personality as it seems to change every now and then. I’ve read that female dogs tend to be much more stubborn and independent, which I can definitely see in Luna now. We believe she has medium to higher drive, although she rarely nips or demonstrates any heavy herding behavior. She just loves chasing frisbees, is always alert and also gets very hyped up when we move around a lot, such as running or crazy dancing. 
 

One thing I wanted to ask about is Luna’s constant chewing and gnawing on bones and toys. She is crate trained and is generally very great with sleeping and resting in her crate. However, she is sometimes disobedient and runs away when we tell her to go in after playing. We usually leave her dog bed outside of her crate in the living room so she can have a place to rest away from our furniture (she still jumps on the couch and beanbag occasionally, especially if she is being told to go into her crate). When she isn’t running around the house with her toys, she is very calm and chewing away at her benebone and antler. However, she is never not chewing. It’s either calmly chewing nonstop or running around the house with her other toys. Is this normal?

 

In terms of exercise, we play frisbee frequently but not every day. We have also been playing a lot in indoors since COVID-19. We are trying to stay away from public places for now since we live in the city. 
 

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts! I am very open to advice and thoughts as I am learning how to raise a good dog! Sometimes I worry if I’m not doing enough or doing the right things. I just want to give my pup the best quality of life possible.


Thank you!

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Hello, and welcome! First, I want to mention that many people including some vets don't recommend antlers, as they can be hard enough to break a dog's teeth.  Your decision, of course, just wanted to mention it.

At 8 months, a border collie is still a puppy and it's not  unusual for her to want to have a lot of activity in her life. If she is chewing her toys instead of your furniture, you're ahead of the game. I wouldn't worry about it if it were my dog, but I'd want to be choosey about what she chewed on and make sure it couldn't harm her.

My suggestion for her running away etc. when you ask her to go into her crate after playing is this: First, I really like to teach my dog the cue "last one!" meaning this is the last throw or tug or whatever. That way the dog knows the end is coming, and it is not sudden or surprising. then, I let the dog outside (if we are not outside) and then give her a treat, so that ending the play is easier for her to take. Then, with another little treat, ask her to go into her crate.

I also would suggest you play with her every day, not just some days. She clearly needs the interaction and exercise. I used to play with my fetch-crazy border collie every single day, but sometimes it was indoors with a soft toy. He loved it just as much. I also taught him hide and seek with the toy. He had to stay while I hid it, and the reward when he found it was I would throw it. You don't have to do it whenever she wants, -you need to choose the time and duration. But part of her jumping around the house may be that she isn't getting quite enough exercise.

Also, remember there are many forms of exercising besides playing. You can take advantage of the indoor time to teach her new behaviors, tricks, to put away her toys, bring you things, whatever you want. Mental exercise wears out a dog also, and can be part of your daily routine with the added advantage of giving you and her far more variety. (And even getting some help around the house, like picking up toys or other things.!)

If she gets hyped up when you are running or dancing, I suggest putting her in another room in her crate, or outside, if you are going to be doing those kinds of things. It's not  beneficial to anyone for her to get overly hyped up. I would focus more on helping her to learn  to settle down and be calm when that is appropriate. 

best of luck, and remember that we like photos of people's dogs here. :-)

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D'Elle,

Thank you so much for your feedback! I really really appreciate it.

I did not know antlers were known to be dangerous. I always thought they were a better alternative than raw hide, pig ears or any other long lasting chew. We will be on the lookout for an alternative chew for Luna!

We definitely play with Luna every day but not every time she wants to. If we do, she would never stop, haha. She is definitely getting interaction and some exercise but we will try to do more training and mentally engaging activities. We have a lot of puzzles and toys for her! 

Luna has gotten better with going into her crate but only if we have a treat in hand, which is fine but I do not want her to only obey when we have treats. I know this will be a work in progress and she is still very young--sometimes pretty snobby, haha. We will definitely keep her mentally and physically stimulated as well as capturing calmness. We are working on heeling and some new fun tricks.

If I am completely honest, sometimes it's very hard to keep up with Luna and I can get pretty discouraged sometimes because she does not listen or does something we do not like, such as peeing in the middle of the living room while looking at us and just not listening in general. It doesn't feel like we're working together sometimes. It was much better a few months ago when she was an absolute angel--around 4-5 months. She would sleep on her bed and remain calm in the living room without her crate! Nowadays it just seems like the energy never ends unless we enforce crate time. I think the most frustrating thing is when Luna purposely does not listen and for me, it's hard to not take it personally and feel like a failure.

Thank you so much again for your advice! I am sure I will be back on here asking more questions.

Also, this is Luna :)

 

luna smiling.jpgIMG_2699.thumb.jpg.d0279f12861f7ea9bee3e0a69633353e.jpg

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8 minutes ago, jj97 said:

...peeing in the middle of the living room while looking at us...

Welcome to the Boards.

Luna's at an age where a pup can be a real handful. It's basically early adolescence and it might help to remember that this is a phase human children go through as well when they're testing boundaries. Take a deep breath, don't make this about you, and just keep on keeping on with what you're doing. This too shall pass.

Re: the peeing right in front of you, though, I don't mean to sound harsh but this is probably on you. You're either not taking her out often enough or at the right times (e.g. shortly after eating and shortly after play) or you haven't been observant enough to her signals when she's trying to tell you she needs to go out. For a lot of dogs those signals are pretty subtle, so you'll need to really pay attention to learn what they are. Some people will poo poo this, but I've seen too many dogs look right at their person when they're having an "accident," almost as if they're saying, "Well, you didn't take me out so now I've gotta do what I've gotta do." When my recently adopted rescue came to me she was house trained, but her signals telling me that she needed to go out were pretty much identical to her frenzied need for attention. One day when I ignored her and went to the bathroom myself, she followed, then very deliberately looked at me, turned around and squatted. Fortunately I was done and cried out to her. She hadn't let go of a drop and we went right out where she peed a bucket. I hadn't "heard" her so she let me know in the only way she had left to tell me.

Another thing may be that you're simply giving her too much freedom that she hasn't earned yet if she's still making mistakes in the house. Until she's 100% solid, if you've already given her plenty pf opportunities to go out and you can't be watching her to prevent another mistake, then she should be crated or otherwise confined to an area small enough that she won't soil it. Some pups still haven't achieved full bladder control at her age.

Re: the antlers. I agree that they're risky, as are cow hooves. But the other chews that are completely safe (e.g. bully sticks -- rawhide IMO is completely toxic and I wouldn't give them to a dog I didn't like) don't last long enough to be useful for heavy chewers unless you're independently wealthy. I'm not, so my dogs have cow hooves available at all times and antlers when I can get them from hunters. Maybe it's dumb luck, but I've never had a dog break teeth on them. One other thing to be sure to avoid is the cooked bones sold in pet stores. Weight bearing bones of large ungulates (e.g. "marrow bones") sold fresh in the grocery store aren't safe either. Sooner or a later many a dog will break a tooth on them and cooking them for greater shelf life just makes then even harder.

Beautiful pup. Just be patient with her and she'll get over this phase.

 

 

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I agree with GentleLake that if Luna's behaviour/obedience has deteriorated over a few months ago, and she is eight months old, you have entered the "teenage dog" phase.  I used to joke that one day, my dog's brains fell out, and they forgot everything they had learned perfectly a week before!

As for antlers, yes, like anything tough, it is possible to break a tooth when chewing.  However, I have heard that if you soak the antler overnight, it will soften enough to be less of a danger (but will also last less long).  Another alternative may be goat horn.  I have given that to my dogs a few times, and they enjoyed it, but it did not last like antler, so it seems to be softer.

I would also second the suggestion from D'Elle about trick training inside and working her mind to wear Luna out, rather than just physical exercise, which can just create an incredible athlete who can go all day. Hide and seek or nosework are excellent ways to do this, but try to make it interactive with you, not just a puzzle toy.

BTW Luna is beautiful! I love her spots. Thank you for the photos, we love to see them here.

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@Lawgirl @GentleLake

Thank you so much for your responses!

@GentleLake In terms of Luna going potty indoors, we actually trained Luna to go indoors for a while because she was very sick when we first got her at around 9 weeks. The vet recommended we let her go inside for some time until she fully healed. We live on the third floor (no elevators) in a large apartment so we grew comfortable with her going indoors and let her go potty in one of our vacant, smaller rooms. We eventually just made that her room with her crate and playpen. My partner spent hours carpeting the floors and making a large play space for her. I remember that day so clearly, haha. I knew potty training her indoors was a mistake to begin with and we are working hard to train her off of the pads and it's been almost a month of training her to go outside and she has been generally very good! Just a few accidents here and there. We take her out every 2-4 hours depending on activity level and if she whines/needs to go. Now her crate is in the living room and the vacant room is now our computer room, haha. 

So that is probably a huge reason why she sometimes has a few accidents although she seems to be understanding. Today she had an accident while playing indoors after we took her outside twice in 2 hours and she did not pee. She would just bark at people and want to play, which can be frustrating sometimes.  I just thought I would let you know and if you have any advice on taking her off of pee pads that I am not doing!

And for the antlers--Luna has gone through 2 antlers so far and she has not seemed to hurt her teeth! I will still be cautious. She really likes her benebones, which seem wonderful.

I will definitely stay patient and try to work with her! She has been really calm and sweet today, despite the potty accident :p

 

@Lawgirl

Thank you so much for your thoughts! That seems like a very funny and accurate description of what Luna is like--I am not sure where her brain went, haha! I will definitely try nosework and hide and seek with Luna! That is a great idea. And thank you so much! She has a lot of freckles that are showing as she grow up. :)

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I have not trained a pup to stop using a pad either, as I would never use one, and always recommend to people that they not use one. But I have helped other people to retrain their dogs away from the pads, and what we do is first completely remove all pads and very thoroughly clean the area where they were. And then basically start from the beginning, as if the dog were 8 weeks old and needed to be house trained. Sounds as if that's pretty much what you have done. What you are doing will work, just have patience, and don't get discouraged. Remember that as was said above she is now an adolescent or teenager, and going through this phase is normal.  Patience, persistence and consistency are your best friends when it comes to dog training.

Watch her, though. By which I mean, really observe her all the time you are with her. Watch her body language closely. If you do, you will learn how your dog communicates, how she feels about certain things, and so on, and this is very beneficial to the growth of your relationship. She sure is a cutie. :-)

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