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I have a 10 week old border collie. I picked her up last week at 9 weeks. She knows how to sit, I'm socialising her as much as possible, she's getting far more comfortable on car rides and is coming along nicely with toilet training. She's a family member rather than a farm dog, but i have a large backyard and, once she has had appropriate vaccinations, great walking trails to go out on.

Flora is my first border collie and I know that they are smart and love to be taught tricks and that it is important to train them properly from the start. I want to train her well so I was hoping that you all might be able to assist me by advising what milestones we should be achieving at what age. So I can focus on the right things at the right time.

So week 10, what do you think a border collie should know by then. And week 11,12,13, etc.

Thank you for you advise :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

I noticed no one has yet replied to this, so thought I'd take a stab at it.  It had been many years since I had puppies, since I had taken a liking to shelter/rescue dogs that I acquired around 1 1/2 years old (love that age to get a dog - I think it's perfect - still young, but old enough to be over the puppy stages.)  So 8 months ago, I got two puppies.  I can remember bringing them home at 9 weeks and being totally amazed at what they learned and how quickly they learned.  I know within days they were responding to "sit" and "come".  I know at 12 weeks they could "figure 8" through my legs on command.  They are like sponges;  they absorb everything (including learning bad habits if you let that happen.) There was a short, solid tunnel in the play yard an they would go through it on command probably before 3 months. Learned to walk at my side by 4 months, maybe sooner,  on leash.  They learned agility ground work from the day I brought them home.  I never thought about milestones in weeks for my dogs and have never held them to any.  Like kids, I think every dog is different and every dog learns at its own rate.  My two puppies have totally different personalities, and the way and rate one learns is not necessarily the way and rate the other does.  Therefore, I do not hold them to any schedule when it comes to learning.  One thing I do know is they are one heck of a lot of FUN!! :)

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First of all, great name choice :P

I've never thought about milestones in weeks either, but rather with "basic manners every puppy/dog should know". I think it is really important to start with the end in mind, meaning teaching the pup the things you would want your adult dog to do and discourage behaviour that is no longer cute in an adult dog.

So the basic manners I would teach all my dogs are:

- waiting politely for their food at dinner time
- waiting politely when I open the door to go outside
- coming when called
- walking with a loose leash
- paying attention to where I'm going when off leash
- being relaxed inside the house, not constantly demanding attention
- "go away" - command to indicate the dog should go entertain itself somewhere else, very useful
- place training (or crate if you prefer a crate)
- no alarm barking
- sit, down, stay
- bringing toys back to me
- behaving properly when staying at home alone for a while
- no jumping up or biting
- respect the cat (and all animals we meet on a walk)

It's quite a list and I think I could add a lot more things to it that I teach my dogs, because you can already teach the pup a lot of fun stuff as well. Of course keep in mind that the pup won't do these things perfectly and she might need a little help to get the rules at first. 
At this age I never did any formal training sessions, but would teach "as we went along", for instance I would teach "sit" as a ritual for putting on the leash and before she gets her food, or before crossing a road. As the weeks go by you can up the requirements, for instance have the pup sit for a little while longer before dinner. 
Another good example is the loose leash walking. I expect my adult dog to walk right beside me when on a leash, but I wouldn't expect a puppy to do that. I would be happy as long as the pup doesn't pull and of course the puppy will pull sometimes, so that is a teaching moment.

It really depends on the pup how quickly they learn things. Molly was very quick to learn 'come', but it took a very very long time for her to respect the cat, because she loved the cat :lol:we have a bigger scarier tomcat now, which has helped. He won't let her walk all over him.

I hope this helps :)

We love puppy pictures by the way:wub: 



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Flora & Molly mentions some great basics, all of which I've taught my Maldwyn by 4 1/2 months!

Other things I think are useful for teaching a pet BC puppy an off switch and to be calm in the house:

- "Kennel up" (I use this term when feeding in kennel and then, when Maldwyn was misbehaving for attention or to amuse himself, ask him if he needs to "kennel up" and follow up with a few minutes of crate time with a toy to let him calm down--I've seen others use the term "time out," I'm sure that works too)

- I don't remember what this is called, but basically catching the dog sleeping calmly on the floor and throwing a treat at him so he learns you get treats for calmly relaxing in the house. 

- Watching for behaviors you like (sit, down, relax, touch, etc), giving a name to them, and then teaching the dog to do the thing on command. It's been my experience that BCs as pups can learn vast vocabularies of words and that they enjoy learning words and figuring out what you want, keep it positive

- Hide and seek game (teach the dog the names of toys, and then to stay, and then you can tell them to stay and go hide a toy in another room. Come back and ask the dog "where is _____(name of toy)?" It will take a sec to get it the first time, but if you help him look the first couple of times, they will pick up real quickly and then you can progress to harder and harder hiding spaces where the dog will literally spend 15 minutes methodically and obsessively looking for a toy you have hidden in the corner of the couch under a pillow. Just make sure you get SUPER excited when they find it. I flip out with joy and say "YOU FOUND ____________! OMG WHAT A GREAT DOG YOU'RE SO BRILLIANT [immediate hugs, pets, huge smile]" I find this game really helps to tire them out mentally, which is super useful in teaching them to be calm in the house

-Stay calm and do not react if they get anxious or react to strange sounds. Eventually they will look at you and follow your lead, and you can basically teach them don't worry about that. BC pups can be very sound reactive or anxious, so it's important for their handler to be calm

To give you an idea of the type of things they can do, by 4 1/2 months, Maldwyn can:

- 100% recall off leash for a special whistle (taught by BIG treats and HIGH praise every time I use this whistle, and never using the whistle when I think he won't come the first 50 times because I needed him to understand that this is a special thing and a great thing whenever it happens--now when I use the whistle he stops whatever he's doing--it's a two note whistle, and on the first note he freezes and looks at me waiting for the second note and then comes running)
- Hike offleash
- do basic agility tasks like jump on things on command and even run an obstacle course putting his paws on various playground items at the park (a suspension bridge of little circular steps, go down the slide [????????? he taught himself that watching kids do it], etc.)

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