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Hi everyone,

I’ve just taken on a second Border collie, and I am having a number of problems... I wondered if anyone could offer advice?

Background:

I’ve lived with collies all my life (I was 34 yesterday) and am now on my 5th. I lost my 17 year old lovely Jack at the start of this year, and after a couple of months was offered a new 2 year old collie called Max. He came off a farm where he’d been neglected by the original owner, having not been interested in sheep. He has been pretty much perfect - a soft, gentle nature, friendly with everyone, reacts immediately to commands, etc. He can be slightly submissive and nervous however, if he thinks my voice is raised or sharper. He’d lived with other dogs all his life, and absolutely loves to see dogs on our walks. For that reason, and that it is just me and him living at home, I wanted to take on a second dog, for company etc.

Last night I brought a new 2.5 year old collie, “Drum” home. He was a working dog, who was trained for herding but was afraid of the more militant sheep and the farmer decided he’d be better off as someone’s pet. Again, he’s extremely friendly and loving, loves other dogs etc.

I initially introduced them to each other outside of the house - both delighted to see each other and with tails wagging freely for half an hour. We went back in the house after a while, and that’s when some issues began...

- Max has very quickly gone extremely “clingy” with me - he’s almost trying to ignore drum is there, and is jumping up to get my attention and be stroked and cuddled. He seems threatened that another dog is getting attention and stealing me away from him. neither dog has displayed any aggression whatsoever - but I am unsure how to balance this and enable Max to relax and accept the new dog?

- Drum is a little “overfriendly” shall we say.. he’s kept trying to get hold of Max’s back and begin humping him. Again, I’ve shouted at him and he stops, but this behaviour seems to worry Max all the more. I should add that neither dog is castrated. Is this something that is likely to calm down as they get used to each other? Is castration the answer - and is it effective in a 2.5 year old dog?

- Drum has never lived in a house before. After only a few seconds he cocked his leg up, and has tried several times since - to which I’ve firmly shouted sharply at him. Max hadn’t lived indoors before either, but I didn’t have this issue at all with him. Can anyone advise of the best way to train a dog out of this?

I’ve had collies live together before, but didn’t have these “teething problems,” which I optimistically hope is what they are. If anyone could offer sensible tips and advice, I’d be so grateful.

Thank you so much for reading, and if you have any questions please ask.

Kind regards, David

 

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Hi DavoPreston, and welcome to the Boards!

Firstly, congratulations on your new dog, and thank you for rescuing.

It sounds like you have several issues here.  Both of your dogs are adjusting to changed dynamics within the household, and it will take time for them to adjust.  This is the reason most rescues will give at least a two week trial period, and will accept the return of a dog at any time.  Issues do not always become apparent immediately.

Max has had your sole attention, and he is no doubt feeling a little put out at having to share.  Giving him lots of love and attention, and perhaps some one on one time while Drum is crated or confined to another room will assist him with adjusting.  But most of all time is what will allow things to settle down.

As for Drum attempting to 'hump', this is more a dominance act, as even female dogs will sometimes try to do this with new dogs.  Yes, you must intervene and stop the behaviour, and perhaps use the reaction of matter of fact, you try to hump, you go in the crate as a consequence.  This is not a punishment, so do not use an angry tone, but more an inevitability; do this and this occurs.  You can try castration, but if you are unsure about permanent castration, you can try chemical castration, which is temporary (six to twelve months) and has the benefit of near immediate cessation of hormones, while traditional castration still takes a month or more for the hormones to work themselves out of the dog's body.  I adopted a rescue dog who was over 2 years old, who had been chemically castrated for this reason.  The chemical castration has just worn off, so he is going in today at 2 and a half for a more permanent solution.

The peeing inside is more straight forward, I think.  Treat him like a puppy, take him out after eating or drinking, watch him like a hawk for any sign and reward for peeing outside.  It should not take long for him to understand, given his age.

Best of luck with both of your dogs, hopefully with some time, patience and consistency they become the best of friends!

PS we love photos here!

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Please, please stop shouting at the dogs.

You have stated that Max is a submissive dog and easily frightened. Now, you have brought home a new dog and Max is threatened by him in many ways. They can still learn to be together, but your shouting will definitely make everything worse. 

Think of it from Max's point of view. First, he is threatened by the existence of a new dog because the dog is taking your attention away from him and behaving in a dominating way toward him, and on top of that you are shouting. This is very upsetting to Max, will make him more submissive and frightened, which will possibly cause Drum to be more dominant, and will also create very unpleasant associations for Max having to do with Drum.  Not only is Drum behaving toward him in a way he dislikes, and taking your attention, but also now when Max is close to Drum sometimes you are yelling! If you continue to do this it will make it much more difficult if not impossible for Max ever to accept Drum.

Dogs, especially border collies, never need to be yelled at. It is not a good way to approach training.

Lawgirl, above, gave good advise on training. Just stop shouting.

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I'd add to what's been said a couple things that work for me. 1) Take Drum out on leash, even if your yard is fenced. Put it on a schedule. Every hour, every 2 hours.Take him to the same spot every time. When he pees reinforce with praise and lots of it. 2) Once he's peed, if you want to, play with him a bit. You're 'installing' a behavior chain in Drum that will serve you well when the weather is bad. 3) Once you've got him used to eliminating quickly outside, you might want to teach him to ask to go out. I'd keep him on a schedule for a while, though. Right after meals, an inside play or training session, first thing in the morning, etc.

I'd crate him at night for a while, too.

As far as Drum and Max getting along, they may settle down quickly or you might have to manage them for a while. Work with each one for a few minutes a couple times day on obedience or trick training or whatever activity you like. You don't necessarily need to do this every day, but most days.

Having 2 border collies can be a lot more than 2x the work, especially at first. The settling in process has its ups and downs, but you'll get there. And we do love pictures!

Ruth & Gibbs

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Hi folks,

Thank you so much for your useful feedback!
 

I’m coming to the end of the third day of having Max and Drum with me. And I’m pleased and relieved to say that Max seems to be generally a lot more at ease, and much more like his old self. Both dogs are desperate for cuddles and attention, and when one gets it the other wants it too. But whereas Max was facing away and wouldn’t look at Drum before, he’s more relaxed and his tail’s wagging away and he pushes his head next to Drum’s for a stroke from me, and vica versa. It seemed to help taking them out together on a lead too.

The humping hasn’t quite gone away, but is improving - slightly contrary to D’Elle’s well-intended advice, I have give been clear and firm with Drum, but not raised me voice particularly loudly; and that’s been enough to make Drum think... He’s gone to begin, then looked up at me and paused, and then walked away from Max again. Max hasn’t been phased by this approach. I didn’t know about the temporary chemical castration, so thank you for the information on that - I’ll discuss it with the vet when we next go.

In terms of bathroom training, I’m noticed one accident this morning, which I think was caused by Drum having to wait a bit longer than he’d perhaps be used to, being left out in a barn previously. And he went in my billiards/pool room which I rarely use (it has less furniture and a vinyl flooring and probably felt a bit less “homely” than the rest of the house.) But he already seems to understand the concept of “this is your home so you shouldn’t make a mess in it.”

Both are so loving and friendly. I’m working at home due to the office being closed for Covid-19, and struggling to get any work done thanks to all the kisses and cuddles they both want!
 

Thank you so much for your kind support and taking the time to write to me. I’m a bit of an infiltrator I’m afraid - I notice this is a US Border Collie group... I’m am from Preston in the north of England - and Max actually came from a tiny hilltop farm on the English/Scottish “border“ which the breed gets it’s name from :)

But thanks for having me, and I will keep you updated and enjoy reading your stories too!

Best regards,

David, Max and Drum

(Max is tri-colour, Drum is black and white)

F61B035D-6DF4-4B47-82E8-E515001E7EC9.jpeg

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Oh, they are absolutely gorgeous!

Don't worry about being an infiltrator - I am from Australia, and we have lots of people from England and other locations in Europe and beyond.  So long as you love BCs you are welcome here!

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David they are beautiful boys! Drum is the spitting image of my dear departed Buzz. So glad to hear things are settling down with your boys. Please keep up with the pix!

Ruth and Gibbs

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