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New ‘older’ border collie

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Hi everyone, I adopted a border collie She was found by a city pound and was pulled and transported to Illinois. We don’t have info.  She’s between age of 6-10 per vetdentist/X-rays  but can easily walk 4-6 miles/healthy.  My guess is that she was a breeder dog.  She is a sloth inside the house! So easy but we wanted to teach her how to play ball or Frisbee but she has absolutely no interest. Can’t get her to even run after either.  Any ideas?    Love her either way, just thought she’d enjoy it.  

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well done for adopting .  Imo you've got the bc In her best years! When they are younger they don't stop! As far as chasing that's prey drive and it was obviously never nurtured. It's possible to get it back with food based reward . But it would require a lot of effort and training. Imo you should just spend your time doing things with your dog she likes now. Sounds like long walks makes her happy so she can relax and chill out with you :-)

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Agree with the above. You can train her to fetch, but at this point in her life I am don't know what the point would be of doing that. Find out what she loves to do and just do that. If that is only walks, then do that, and give her as much variety in places and sights and smells as you can and she will be happy. Good for you for adopting this dog.

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I'll add that if she might be 8 yrs old or more my advice is to NOT teach her to play fetch. A senior dog can much more easily strain/sprain something than a younger dog. They jump into the air to catch the ball. They slip on wet grass. They don't look where they're going and run into stuff. Not worth it, IMO.

B collies LOVE to do stuff with their humans. Try teaching her silly tricks, there are books and youtube videos galore. Look around your area and see if any one is teaching nose work. It's a natural for dogs and is easy on their bodies. 

She might not take to any of these things, walking might be her happy place. It's all good.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Are you still there, Erin?

If so, can you borrow a soccer ball to offer to your dog for a short time?  Long enough to see whether there is any interest, but not so long as to allow the inevitable deconstruction that the teeth and nails of an interested dog will inflict.

If your BC shows interest in the soccer ball, then consider purchasing an equivalent expressly designed for pets, such as a Jolly Ball or something similar.

I learned about the sport called Treibball when I had my Kelpie.  He absolutely LOVED herding the exercise ball commonly used for Treibball, but his aggressive style of play meant that ball life was short.  Punctures from teeth/nails occurred in short order.

Then I discovered the Jolly Ball.  My Kelpie had an 8" Jolly Pets Bounce-n-Play - made from a compressible rubber-like substance with a faint bubble-gum scent.  He was insistent to the point of aggression about playing with that ball.

My present BC liked the compressible Bounce-n-Play version, but it has raised characters on the circumference that enabled him to pick up and carry the ball, rather than push it around.  I thought that was cheating, so I bought him a non-compressible hard 10" Push-N-Play.  The hard 10" P-n-P solved the "carry" problem, but I felt there was still something lacking, so I bought the 14" version of the hard Push-N-Play.

  Wow !

The BC REALLY enjoys moving the 14" hard version around the yard.  He displays high possessiveness - when playtime ends, I tell him to "Leave It" rather than just reaching down to take it away.

Incidentally.  If Erin (OP) or anyone else here decides to purchase a hard ball like the Jolly "Push-N-Play", then please be CAREFUL when interacting with the dog and the ball.

The ball is HARD.  My dog is determined to defend against foot play aimed at separating the dog from the ball.  He was amazingly good at anticipating my efforts to propel the ball past him.  I stopped both foot play and efforts to kick past him out of concern for his teeth (and my wallet !)

Instead, i play with the 10" hard ball, while he plays with the 14" hard ball.  My approaching him with the 10" prompts him to take evasive maneuvers with the 14" ball - all without endangering his teeth.


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You don't say how long you have had her;  when adopting I found there is always an "adaption" period where you may not see many traits until she is comfortable and knows what to expect - this includes play mode.  I agree with Ruth that nose work is a great option for older dogs, and I don't feel you need to find a class to get started.  Just start by taking a treat and placing it in an easy,  conspicuous place.  Let her watch you plant it.  Then take her out of the room and bring her back and encourage her to "find it" (you may even have to take her to it and point it out at first.)  I like to have them sit and then give them another treat for finding it.   Repeat a few times and you will be surprised how quickly they catch on to this game.  As she progresses, you will be able to hide it in harder places; move it into a container with holes;  switch over to pieces of clothing or toys;  play hide and seek with a person;  and even move the game outside.  It is a great bonding tool -- all positive and not much training because it uses their natural instinct.  And thank you for adopting. 



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