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Hello, wanted to do a puppy behavior check with you folks.  Pep is my second puppy and she is nearly 12 weeks old.  Wren was my first, she’s about 20 months old now and she’s turned into a great dog.  So Pep’s behavior is what I wanted to check with you all about.  I’m not sure she and I are bonding well at all – I got her when she was just over 8 weeks old.  She’s basically on a 2 hours out, 3 hours in schedule with her crate and she sleeping 7 hours a night (I’m very thankful for that). So the behavior question:  I’ve got her trained (with treats) to sit, lay down, and to come and stay.  She hates laying down but will do it.  However, if I don’t have treats she does not give me the time of day really.  To be clear, I don’t expect her to be perfectly trained obviously, but I do expect her to enjoy my attention and want to interact with me, otherwise I have no idea how I will ever train her off treats.  Her behavior toward me amounts this:  when I crouch down in front of her and try petting or being affectionate, she will bounce around barking at me.  To me it does not look playful, but more like she’s frustrated that I’m not entertaining her.  She will come up to my wife and young daughters affectionately, though I noticed yesterday that she started the bounce/bark with my 4 year-old a little.  I haven’t mistreated her, to my knowledge anyway, and I’ve kept a close eye on her with the kids.  So do you all think that this is “phase”? Something that if I maintain the course and stay patient with her, she will grow out of it? Thank you.

Joseph

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She sounds to me like a normal border collie puppy. If she wants to play with you instead of getting petted, play with her.

Don't worry about the bonding, it will come in time if you handle her right. Don't worry about weaning her off treats. First, unless you plan to do competition work of some kind with this dog, weaning off treats is not really necessary, and second, once you have established the behavior and the reward, the dog will do the behavior when asked whether or not there are treats. Establishing this takes time and repetition to a degree and quantity that is impossible to have achieved with a dog you have only had for 4 weeks, no matter the age, and most especially in a puppy. Your dog may be a year old or more before that gets firmly established, and longer than that for things that she doesn't really want especially badly to do. Relax and just take it as it comes.

One thing I have learned in my experience with dogs is this: Don't be ambitious for the dog. In other words, remove your expectations of the dog, don't put your time table on the dog, and don't decide what the dog feels or wants or who the dog is or can become. Instead, observe the dog. Learn who the dog is and let the dog tell you who she is and what she needs or wants. Learn anew how to communicate with each different dog. And work with the dog in front of you, not the dog you think you want to have.

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I can't imagine that spending more time in her crate than out of it is helping her bond with anyone. Is there a reason she's spending most of her time in it?

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17 hours ago, D'Elle said:

One thing I have learned in my experience with dogs is this: Don't be ambitious for the dog. In other words, remove your expectations of the dog, don't put your time table on the dog, and don't decide what the dog feels or wants or who the dog is or can become. Instead, observe the dog. Learn who the dog is and let the dog tell you who she is and what she needs or wants. Learn anew how to communicate with each different dog. And work with the dog in front of you, not the dog you think you want to have.

This is the most insightful thing I have read in a long time regarding living with a dog.  Applies to puppies, adults, and re-homed dogs. If I were only able to convey one thing to a new puppy or dog owner, this would be it.  I am copying it down so I never forget it.  Good work, D'Elle.

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D’Elle, thank you for the reassuring and insightful post.  I’ll stay the course and see how we do.

Gentlelake, yes there is a reason: we live on a working farm with three small children. As much as I want to have her out with us, it simply is not feasible or safe for that matter.  Like today, I had to adjust her schedule this morning so that she was out for 2.5 hours, in 1, and out 2,  so that I could ted the hay this afternoon.  We have a small herd of sheep with plans in place to grow to 100 ewes to help supplement our grain operation.  We have border collies in the hopes that they will help us with that aspect of the farm.  To be honest the real reason she is on the schedule mentioned in the post above is that I was having to wake her up to get her out if she was in less then 3 hours.  Now, she could probably go back to two hours in because her naps are shorter, and maybe I should do that.  I know the ideal is to spend as much time as possible with a puppy and I’m doing that as best as I feel I can.  I hope that answers your question adequately, and I hope it doesn’t sound too defensive. 

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No, didn't sound defensive. And you have good reasons. I would just say that the more often you -- or someone -- can get her out to train and to play would probably be helpful. Especially training. Training, well positive reinforcement training that's fun for the dog, is an excellent way to bond.

Going back and rereading your first post, I'd suggest when she's bouncing around barking at you to simply stand up, walk away and ignore her. Not a word. She wants attention and will soon learn that bouncing around barking at you isn't the way to get it. Being ignored is the consequence for that behavior. If she's doing it to your daughter I'd just quietly pick her up and pop her back in her crate for a short time out. Just a couple minutes, until she settles down. This is the consequence for not behaving appropriately, just a fact of life.

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On 7/18/2020 at 7:38 AM, beachdogz said:

This is the most insightful thing I have read in a long time regarding living with a dog.  Applies to puppies, adults, and re-homed dogs. If I were only able to convey one thing to a new puppy or dog owner, this would be it.  I am copying it down so I never forget it.  Good work, D'Elle.

Thanks. It was having  foster dogs that taught me this and cemented it into my being. With my second foster dog I was trying to get him to relate to me the way I thought he should, and had a sudden epiphany. Realizing that this was a whole dog personality I did not know, and it was my job to find out who he was. It changed everything and since then I have only used that approach with all dogs I am in contact with.  The bit about not being ambitious for the dog I really learned with my extreme-case foster dog Kelso (who has his own thread in this forum). I started out by setting goals for him and then realized pretty quickly that it was imperative for me to work on his time schedule, not to impose mine on him.

Anyway, thanks for the compliment. We all have so much to learn and there's always more.

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