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I am looking for advice from the group in order to help my son.  He's 24-years-old, lives in a townhouse in Oceanside, CA, and just bought an 8-week-old border collie pup.  Pretty much everything he has done up to this point would fall under "what not to do" when you want a pup.  But, I can't change any of that.  I just want him to be successful with the pup he now has.  

We have a tri-color, working bred border collie named Roscoe who is almost eight years old now.  He is my partner on our Search and Rescue team and is a great dog.  My son graduated from the Naval Academy in 2019 and has since been in various other trainings to become a Ground Intelligence Officer with the Marines.  He recently moved to Oceanside, CA and will, more than likely, be living there for the next 3 years.  This month, he and two roommates moved into a townhouse.  He called me a few weeks ago because he wanted to get a dog.  He wanted an adventure buddy, etc...  I thought I had talked him out of it. :)  Apparently, I didn't.  He tried going through various rescues to adopt a dog, but no one would accept him because he has never owned his own dog, and he lives in a townhouse.  He got frustrated with that process and ended up paying $800 to "rehome" an 8-week-old border collie pup that he found on Craigslist. It's such a cute little pup, but I was a little concerned because he was predominantly white.  I asked if he could get pictures of the parents, and he did.  I have attached those as well as pics of the pup.  I was relieved that both parents weren't Merle.  He said that the pup seems to be able to hear well, so that's a relief.  

My dog was 6- months-old when I got him, so I have never trained a dog from 8 weeks old.  (We had coon dog pups when I was a kid in TN, but they stayed outside.)  I know the basics of puppy training and have sent him a book.  But, I have never thought about how things should be done when you live in a townhouse.  If any of you live in townhouses or apartment, could you please chime in with advice.  He was asking me about using pee pads on the patio to take the pup out at night instead of taking him down to the designated area.  To me, it seems like a bad idea, but I didn't know if that is something that people do when pups are that young and they live on the third level of buildings.  He bought a crate to use with the pup, but when he puts it in it at night, the pup whines.  He is afraid it will wake the neighbors, so he waits until the pup quits whining for a moment, then gets him out and puts him in his bed.  

Is there a book that you would recommend that would help him train the pup properly.  Before I got a dog, I read all kinds of training books and am sure I was influenced by them.  But. primarily, I just ended up paying attention to my dog and doing what works for us.  I don't fall on the all "positive reinforcement" side or the "be the pack leader" side.  Maybe my dog was easy, I'm not sure.  It just seems like we always figured a way to work through any challenges that came along.  He used to be afraid of vacuums, plastic bags blowing down the streets, pretty much everything mechanical; now, he isn't.  He used to hate to ride in the vehicles; now, he doesn't.  He used to be afraid of the buffalo statues on the corner of the streets; now, he gets excited when he sees them.  I figured out what motivated my dog (play) and used it to overcome all kinds of challenges.  Then, I used it to train him to find people and take me to them.  But, I don't get to see this pup to figure him out.  

I am just afraid my son will go down a wrong path while training the dog.  He was already telling me that the pup doesn't like to be alone.  I don't want him to be projecting his own thoughts and feelings onto the dog and turning him into a spoiled pup.  

I'm sure you're probably concerned, like I was, with how he's going to manage taking care of an 8-year-old puppy when he has a full-time job.  When I asked him about this, he told me that the girlfriend of one of his roommates will be living with them for a few weeks and will be home during the day to help take care of the pup.  He said she is excited about it.  He also said that his neighbor's daughter is 12 and gets out of school at 11:00 a.m. because of the COVID schedule at her school.  Once the girlfriend leaves, he plans to pay the kid to walk his dog once she gets home.  He also said there is a service you can pay to walk your dog midday when you are at work.  

I know it's not an idea situation, but I just want to try to help him make the best of it.  I am open to any advice you have about raising puppies in an urban environment because I don't have a clue.

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It's been a while since I've raised a pup, but at the moment I am dogsitting a 14 week old pup and slowly the memories are coming back :P

We lived in an apartment on the third floor when we raised one of our dogs, Mus, who is now 13. I still lived at home with my mum then.
We used the balcony for potty training, partly so we didn't have to go down all those stairs every single time, but also because at night our neighbourhood wasn't exactly great, so it was safer to do so for the last potty break. We didn't use puppy pads, but just hosed down the balcony every time (plus used cleaners at the end of the day).

It worked out fine, Mus understood she shouldn't pee in the house. However, she was quicker to pee on concrete than our other dogs. Meaning: our other dogs only do this when they really really have to go. Nowadays I don't really notice the difference any more, but that may have to do with the fact we now live in a rural area.

I don't have any advice on the crate, since I have never used one. The first few nights we let the pup sleep in our bed and later moved the dog to the place we wanted it to sleep (kitchen or hallway). Now though, my dog sleeps in my bedroom and I think I would do the same with a pup - just not in a crate. But I know lots of people on here are very knowledgeable when it comes to crates, so I'm sure someone has something sensible to say about it.

I'm not sure I would feel comfortable letting a 12 year old walk my puppy unsupervised. Maybe I am too careful with these things, but I wouldn't let a 12 year old walk my 5 year old dog. Perhaps if I had an easy going labrador, but I want someone who understands dogs to walk my dog. Especially a puppy, as it needs so much guidance and training. For instance, yesterday we met a German Shepherd puppy and we let the pups play. The German Shepherd was way too excited and rough and my guest pup was uncomfortable, so we had to intervene. Non-dog people probably wouldn't have spotted it. 
Same thing goes for just being with the pup in the house. You have to have someone there who knows when the pup is overstimulated and needs a nap, or what to do when the puppy chews on your hands or the furniture. 
I'm also against the 12 year old, because I have seen how it can go wrong. In my old neighbourhood I used to sometimes walk my dog together with a 12 year old girl. She eventually got her own border collie pup and was over the moon. Unfortunately, they couldn't handle the pup and I saw how that pup slowly became more and more unruly. I tried to help but they didn't listen and the pup ended up in the shelter because he bit the girl. I was devastated, because the pup was completely fine to me and listened great when I was there. They just didn't know what they were doing. (Luckily the pup was adopted very quickly).

A dogwalker or a knowledgeable grownup should be fine to look after the pup. Or for a not-so-knowledgeable grownup: clear rules so everyone is doing the same thing with the pup. 
We always had someone home with the pup as my mum worked from home. Our dog Mus had separation anxiety when she was a pup and would howl like a wolf while my mother worked in another room (she's a therapist - it was a bit embarassing :P). We worked at it slowly, first short periods and then slowly a bit longer - and now she is completely fine staying home a couple of hours. 

This doesn't need to be a doom scenario. I'm sure many people raise pups in "not ideal" situations and the dogs turn out fine, it just takes some dedication and work.

Cute pup by the way :wub: I like all the white!

 

 

 

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It is possible to raise a puppy in an apartment, it just takes more dedication and effort. It is certainly not ideal, but if a lot of work and attention is put into it then it is probably going to turn out ok. 

I will second what has been said above about the 12 year old girl, though. Not only is she not qualified to deal with emergency situations that come up, but also the puppy should have absolute consistency in training. If the young girl doesn't know precisely how to train a puppy, and doesn't understand all the ways that your son wants the dog trained when on a leash, she will confuse the dog at best, and at worst may do things that ruin the puppy.....as in the above post.   It's hard, for instance, for a 12 year old to have enough patience to deal appropriately with a puppy's antics and avoid doing things that will damage the training. I don't mean cruel things like hitting, but things like jerking the leash or correcting the wrong thing, or even just letting the pup run wild on the leash. A certified dog walker is what is needed here, not a child.

Crate training is important, but whether or not the pup sleeps in a crate isn't, in my opinion. If he wants the pup in his bed, no harm in that, and it does allow hi to be woken up if the pup gets restless needing to go out.

I personally hate the balcony approach to potty training, but I have known people who used it and didn't end up with any disaster.

Look for clicker training books for puppies. Karen Pryor wrote one, and there are many others. Also you could encourage your son to join this forum and ask any questions he has here. We are all here to help.

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Thank you both for your responses, your encouragement that it can work, and your warning about the 12-year-old.  I probably am being unreasonably worried. I will encourage my son to join the boards as well. I am already bookmarking some recent threads that I can send to him if he asks me about various issues. I am just going to be hopeful and positive that it will all work out. I know he rushed into things once he got “puppy fever,” but I know he wants to do right by the dog. 

Sometimes, things that are not ideal can still work out to be great. I used to worry about the dog I got from a farm in South Dakota not being properly socialized during the 6 months before I got him. But, we worked through all of that. If I had believed everything I had read, it would have made me feel hopeless. I know it’s ideal that dogs are exposed to various things in those first few months, but it’s not insurmountable. I know Sam’s zliving situation is not ideal for raising a border collie, but I think that, with your help, we’ll get it figured out, and they will be a blessing to each other. 

Worst case scenario is he can’t figure it out and ends up bringing the pup to me in South Dakota. ;) That’s not such a bad thing. Looking at photos and videos of the pup is giving me puppy fever anyways. My husband is retired now, so the pup would have a lot of attention. I really don’t hope for that though. It seemed important to my son to have a dog, and I want him to be successful.

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Agree with encouraging him to join this forum. He is an adult and should take this responsibility seriously. We are here to answer his questions in a no-nonsense manner with many people having decades of experience. He should also use the search function to read past posts which are a goldmine of information. (actually, I think he can read past posts without joining this forum if he prefers not to join.)

Also agree with the 12 YO as a bad idea due to lack of knowledge. I can envision many scenarios where mishandling of a young, impressionable border collie puppy could lead to undesirable, if not disastrous, results.

Pee pads: IMHO, just the lazy man's way to get out of walking the dog. (I have also heard some people say they felt it took them longer to house train their pup when using pee pads.) If your son wants an "adventure buddy", he can start now. Take the dog out for a walk multiple times per day -- when he gets up, 10-15 minutes after eating, after an exciting play session, or just because it has been 2-3 hours since the last trip outside.

Crates are wonderful training/management tools when used appropriately. I can not imagine raising a puppy without one. BTW, when your son brings the pup into his bed after he quits whining, the pup has successfully trained your son. These are SMART dogs.

As far as a book to have on hand, I highly recommend Dr. Patricia McConnell. Any of her books are great. I am sure she has a puppy raising book.

I currently have a 12 week old puppy that is FULL of energy. I am sure that she would end up being passed on if owned by a newbie. Luckily, I have had 5 pups in the last 14 years under my belt, but she stills takes a lot of attention.

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7 minutes ago, justlearning said:

Thank you both for your responses, your encouragement that it can work, and your warning about the 12-year-old.  I probably am being unreasonably worried. I will encourage my son to join the boards as well. I am already bookmarking some recent threads that I can send to him if he asks me about various issues. I am just going to be hopeful and positive that it will all work out. I know he rushed into things once he got “puppy fever,” but I know he wants to do right by the dog. 

Sometimes, things that are not ideal can still work out to be great. I used to worry about the dog I got from a farm in South Dakota not being properly socialized during the 6 months before I got him. But, we worked through all of that. If I had believed everything I had read, it would have made me feel hopeless. I know it’s ideal that dogs are exposed to various things in those first few months, but it’s not insurmountable. I know Sam’s zliving situation is not ideal for raising a border collie, but I think that, with your help, we’ll get it figured out, and they will be a blessing to each other. 

Worst case scenario is he can’t figure it out and ends up bringing the pup to me in South Dakota. ;) That’s not such a bad thing. Looking at photos and videos of the pup is giving me puppy fever anyways. My husband is retired now, so the pup would have a lot of attention. I really don’t hope for that though. It seemed important to my son to have a dog, and I want him to be successful.

OMG. I vacationed in SD about 8 years ago, and LOVED Custer.

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18 minutes ago, gcv-border said:

Agree with encouraging him to join this forum. He is an adult and should take this responsibility seriously. We are here to answer his questions in a no-nonsense manner with many people having decades of experience. He should also use the search function to read past posts which are a goldmine of information. (actually, I think he can read past posts without joining this forum if he prefers not to join.)

Also agree with the 12 YO as a bad idea due to lack of knowledge. I can envision many scenarios where mishandling of a young, impressionable border collie puppy could lead to undesirable, if not disastrous, results.

Pee pads: IMHO, just the lazy man's way to get out of walking the dog. (I have also heard some people say they felt it took them longer to house train their pup when using pee pads.) If your son wants an "adventure buddy", he can start now. Take the dog out for a walk multiple times per day -- when he gets up, 10-15 minutes after eating, after an exciting play session, or just because it has been 2-3 hours since the last trip outside.

Crates are wonderful training/management tools when used appropriately. I can not imagine raising a puppy without one. BTW, when your son brings the pup into his bed after he quits whining, the pup has successfully trained your son. These are SMART dogs.

As far as a book to have on hand, I highly recommend Dr. Patricia McConnell. Any of her books are great. I am sure she has a puppy raising book.

I currently have a 12 week old puppy that is FULL of energy. I am sure that she would end up being passed on if owned by a newbie. Luckily, I have had 5 pups in the last 14 years under my belt, but she stills takes a lot of attention.

I’m glad you recommended Patricia McConnell because her “Puppy Primer” book is the one I sent him. I really liked her book, “The Other End of the Leash,” so I searched to see if she had a puppy book.  I bought the Kindle version for myself and started reading through it. It seemed like good, common sense, simple advice.

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1 hour ago, gcv-border said:

Pee pads: IMHO, just the lazy man's way to get out of walking the dog. (I have also heard some people say they felt it took them longer to house train their pup when using pee pads.) If your son wants an "adventure buddy", he can start now. Take the dog out for a walk multiple times per day -- when he gets up, 10-15 minutes after eating, after an exciting play session, or just because it has been 2-3 hours since the last trip outside.

I agree. When we used the balcony it was for quick potty only - and not every time. It really shouldn't be a substitute for a walk. 
Some people use them indoors and I think that would just slow down the process. 
I've got quite a nice routine with my guest pup. One accident so far which was completely my fault. Really glad I live on the ground floor now :) makes it so much easier

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Agree with everything that's been said, especially the 12 yr old walker.  There's a boy in my neighborhood who got a lab puppy about a year ago. The dog now weighs more than the boy, though he is adamant about walking him twice a day (just down the street and back, and in a Halti - but at least the dog gets out!).  One day, another person (not from the neighborhood) had a smaller dog out in the same area.  The dogs "just wanted to say hi" (actually I don't think there was any aggression involved...thankfully), and BOTH dogs pulled out of their walker's hands.  As said, thankfully, it was all friendly; but if it hadn't been.....you know.

Another thought, that may not work, based on your son's situation:  but how about a "New Year's gift" of a certificate for a trainer in the area?  If he has time, if you can find one (sorry, not my area!), if if if.  But it would perhaps reinforce the idea that training is FUN and needed!

I would second, third, fourth the idea of pee pads for now.  An 8 week old pup hasn't had all its vaccinations yet, and I wouldn't let him out of the "home base" until he's had all of them.  I just brought 3 pups who were 9 weeks old, only had one vax (2nd was slightly postponed due to our travel plans, and they were a little "down" after the first one), from California to Utah in my RV.  They never got out of the RV - I thought it would be harder, but pee pads, lots of paper towels and disinfectant, and they were fine for two days.  I was glad to get my guy home and let him into my yard.  I dunno what I'd do if I lived in an apartment with no yard - but forewarning about the vax and puppies.

Good luck to all!

diane

 

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