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Sadie update and questions

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Hi all!

Sadie is 21 weeks old as of tomorrow, she is generally calm, very quiet - which I am loving -, almost no problem with the whole housbreaking issue anymore. I don't know if it's the spot but she still rather not lie in her bed most of the time. Seeing as she goes to her bed when I say and lies down somewhere else, I generally let her.

I DO have a few questions though:

1. she is so damn excited by food. Training is quite a challenge, since she is not listening to me but offering behaviours she has been rewarded to do in the past, hoping one of them will get her a reward. And even if I get her to concentrate on me, every now and again she starts up offering behaviours. Is this an age thing? Am I doing something wrong - like setting up the session? She also gobbles up her food - and treats - without chewing. About two weeks ago I noticed her chewing only so much off of a - ...I don't know how it is called in english, it is dried cow hide twisted until it becomes a hollow stick; hopefully I'll find a picture - chew stick as was necessary before she could swallow it whole (she hasn't had a blockage nor did she barf it up or choke on it - thankfully). Also, getting something - doesn't even have to be edible really -  away from her, is quite hard. she either tries swallowing it or twists and turns, in hope of getting to keep it. Does anyone have experience or tipps or ideas?

2. Whenever anyone goes past Sadie she always, and I mean ALWAYS, has to look up and see what's going on. One doesn't even really have to walk next to her; near her or walking in her generall direction works as well. She doesn't necessarilly get up, but is always on alert. Is that something I can work on? Does this mean, she is not really relaxed? Or is this just a BC being a BC?

3. Sadie still has a hard time settling on her own. In the crate, no problem; whenever I have her on the house leash and am sitting/standing on it, sometimes it takes her a few minutes but she always settles and most of the time dozes of. But off leash - and at this point I allow her to be off leash frequently, almost daily, and every now and again the whole day - she is just moving around, sniffing here and there, going to her bed chewing on something, getting up again ... Any help? (I mean after a walk or some training. When she is tired but doesn't settle on her own)
oh! capturing calmness is almost impossible bc of 1. she gets so excited by food/treats, she isn't calm anymore. Often even gets up for more food, or won't lie down again.

4. In controlled environments, she is sometimes allowed off leash. She heels very good even off leash - but not so good when distractions are right on top of us. But we work on it and she is doing great. Her recall is in general very good - but again only without distractions. Now, beeing in lockdown and stuff, we haven't had a chance to go to puppy class or the likes. Is there anyone who can give me pointers how to train the recall, when there are other dogs and/or Sadie is playing? With other dogs I don't even have to call her, she's not coming.

5. Also she still rather plays on her own, just chewing stuff. She will play tug-of-war if I initiate it, but as soon as I let go of the  toy, she goes right back to chewing. She is also not a fan of fetch. She runs after the toy and get it. She'll even run in my direction but more often then not she will lie down and start chewing. And ideas?

Thank you and stay save from me and Sadie!

Commence with the puppy pics!
By now she is mor dog than bandana:





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Being excited about food is a good thing. but if she keeps throwing behaviors at you rather than concentrating on what you are asking her to do, I suggest simply walking away from her. don't look at her, don't react, go do something else for a while. If she learns that your attention on her stops when she starts throwing behaviors at you to get treats, but you pay attention to her and treat her when she stays calm and does what you want, she will modify her behavior. Remember to be Very Patient with her. Just a baby still...this will take time.

If she eats too fast, get her a slow-feed bowl. The one I use for my gulper is orange plastic and has a raised spiral pattern in it the same height as the sides of the bowl, so the dog has to chase the food around to get it. Slows a dog down considerably. they still won't chew it if they don't want to, but at least they run less risk of choking. I am not fond of the plastic but have not ever found a stainless steel or ceramic one that has that spiral pattern which I think works the best.

Rawhides are not great as chew toys. Full of chemicals and with possibly sharp edges that aren't good for a dog to swallow. And if she swallows it whole she will end up with a blockage sooner or later. You could try giving her a raw beef bone that is large enough and smooth enough that getting any piece off it is very hard work. The raw feeders here can recommend the right kind of bone.

If she is guarding her food or chews she needs to learn to let you have what is in her mouth. Important, in case she picks up something poisonous. Start with a toy she is not all that crazy about. When it's in her mouth, offer her a treat so she drops the toy to get the treat. Do this a lot. After maybe 20 repetitions of this over the course of perhaps a week, start saying "give" or whatever word you want to use just before she drops the toy to get the treat. Slowly - very slowly - and gradually, change over to other things she wants to have in her mouth, always offering her a nice treat as reward so that she understands that giving up what she has is followed by a good thing.

You can also start picking up her food bowl while she is eating and putting something extra yummy in it and them putting it back down again. Never, ever play tug with her to get what she has, or chase her to get it, because then it's a game for her that she can win. 

Noticing everything around her is not a bad thing. Plus, noticing everything is part of what a border collie does. I don't see a problem with that.  f she gets distracted when you are in a training session with her, simply bring her attention back to you, and remove external distractions as best you can.

Capturing something is never impossible, although it requires fast timing and dedication to capture it in a dog who is moving a great deal. Remember that you can capture even one second of calmness and build from there.

If she is loose in your (fenced-in, I hope) yard and doesn't want to settle, I don't see the problem with that, as she will when she is tired. If you are trying to train her off leash, it's too early for that at her age and you should only train her on-leash. If she is inside and not on the leash and is too busy or you need a break from watching her, pop her into her crate for a nap. If she settles well in the crate, you are way ahead of the game.  I wouldn't expect a puppy her age to be able to settle herself down - you need to do it for her.

As for the recall training with distractions -- work off-leash at home without any distractions until her recall is very solid. Then put her back on the long leash and add only ONE distraction, like one person walking by at a distance. And work there until she will recall nicely with only that one distraction. Then try it off leash with that distraction. If she doesnt come, put her back on the leash and work some more. Once she will come reliably with one distraction, off leash, add one more distraction, but when you add the second one, put her back on leash.

You have asked her to recall off leash with several distractions at once, and it's too much for her. You need to build up slowly. And for every distraction you add, go back one step to make it easier for her. going back one step may mean being a lot closer to her when she is called, and/or putting her on the leash. Never call her to come to you unless you can reinforce the recall - don't let her get away with blowing you off. If she is loose and just having a play session with other dogs, go get her instead of calling her until she has a lot more training on her. 

If she doesn't want to play with you for more than a short time now, just let it be. She is still very young, and playing with you can develop in time. She has a short attention span at this age. If you want to encourage fetch you can teach her to bring the toy back to you as if it were any behavior you teach her, by offering a treat, but she only gets it when she brings the toy to you. This can take some time. Again, patience is required.

BTW....she is cute!:wub:



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Thank you so much D'Elle

OK. I will try doing something else for a while instead of just ignoring her and waiting for her to sit down and wait.

Yeah, blockage or chocking was what I was concerned about. That's the thing I was talking about. In german it's Rinderhaut


tug is something I never play in this context, neither am I chasing her - if only because I know I won't catch her...

with training she is normally ok, and yes, if she gets distracted I simply get her attention back on me. What I meant was purely, when she is lying down or sleeping/dozing. But I take it that's ok.

How do you recommend I capture calmness with her? If I use the clicker she becomes alert, thinking there is a training session going to happen, if I use my marker word, it's the same as with the clicker...should I use a marker only in the context of her being calm? So she knows there won't be a session starting, but what she is doing is good? and that I mean her lying down not looking up?

I don't actually have a yard. this is around the house. And that's the thing: left to her own devices, she never settles. But as soon as I make her (that sounds like I hurt her^^) she is out like a candle in under a minute. But me needing to do it for her actually eases my worries; I thought I wasn't doing it right.

How long do you recommend the leash to be? I have no feeling for this sort of thing I have a 10m leash at home (little bit more than 30ft); is that enough or do you recommend more? Also what are your thought on retractable leashes? I hear so many strong opinions in both directions I'm torn.

I have tried the recall maybe thrice when there were other dogs around. I try and go get her, but she sees it as a game and runs around. As she is so small and fast I have no way of catching her except out of the blue when she is right beside me. But I will stop setting her loose.

ok, again I'm relieved.

I know:wub: but I'm biased:D
people tell me how handsome she is all the time....but again: biased! haha

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You've gotten good advice (and have a very cute puppy!).  One thing to remember - she's just a puppy!  I know that by this age, we think they should begin to act like an adult.  Ha!!  It'll happen.  It sounds like you are making a lot of effort to train her, and that is great.

As far as calmness:  I had one who was VERY food motivated, to the point of losing focus on anything else.  One thing I did, with reasonable success, is to sit on the floor with him, hold food in my closed hand, and just wait until he backed off and was quiet.  Then, voila!  The food appeared quietly with a simple "Yes!".  I eventually transitioned this to being able to hold the food on my open palm, and he knew not to take it until I said, "Get it!"  He learned that rewards aren't always immediate, and that stillness/calmness would be rewarded too.  

Good luck, and keep us posted!


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I second what diane allen has said above.  This is a game that a well known agility person Susan Garrett calls "Its Yer Choice" and is a way of teaching self control.  Take a treat, and hold it in a closed fist.  Your dog will see/smell it, and will start offering up behaviours.  Ignore them all, until she turns away.  Then say yes (or whatever your marker word is, yah?) and let her take the treat.  Repeat, but gradually require more in the way of calm behaviour before you mark with a yes and let her take the treat.  So you may start with her turning her head away, then with her backing up a step, then with backing up and sitting down, then with backing up and lying down, then with holding the down for longer and longer periods etc.  You can also add in difficulty with starting with the food in a closed fist and then transitioning to the food being in an open palm, but closing if she tries to take it before you say she can.

Your absolutely gorgeous (by the way) puppy may try to eat the treat through your hand a few times until she works out that won't work.  She may be 21 weeks old but she is absolutely still a puppy!  Do not expect her to be a full adult until she is probably 12 to 18 months old!  Also be aware that you have the dreaded teenage time to come, where you will be convinced that her brains have fallen out of her head, that she has forgotten everything you ever taught her, and it must be absolutely deliberate! 

The important thing is not to create expectations as to where you think she should be in her training, but to train the dog you have in front of you, watch her and learn her cues and habits because I guarantee she is watching yours more closely.

Don't worry about her always perking up to look when something happens, even if you think she is asleep.  That is the Border Collie way!

As for training recall, one important thing is to recall, reward and then let her go back to doing fun things.  Do not only train recall to bring her inside the house, or to leave the dog park, or to end play time.  Call your dog at odd times, for no particular reason, reward, make a fuss, and then send her back to what she was doing that was fun, so that she does not equate recall with end of fun.

As for capturing calm, maybe you can use a new marker word?  Or even just a praise word or phrase, like good girl, in a calm but happy tone when she is doing what you want like lying calmly on her bed.  If food gets her too excited, praise may be better.

I am not a fan of rawhide chews.  While I know that they also have their critics, and they are expensive, I have a chronic chewer, and I have found deer antler to be the best thing for him for inside.  I don't buy split antler, and I try to buy them with a knot in it, as I find it lasts longer.  There is still some risk of splitting teeth, or breaking bits off, but I have not had any issues in the 4 years times four dogs I have been using them.

Other options include dried cow tendon (sometimes called a paddywack), bully sticks (which are dried beef penis), goats horn, or if outside, bones such as raw chicken bones, or beef ribs etc. 

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17 hours ago, Lawgirl said:

The important thing is not to create expectations as to where you think she should be in her training, but to train the dog you have in front of you, watch her and learn her cues and habits because I guarantee she is watching yours more closely.


As for capturing calm, I do it this way: I have treat and I have clicker (you can use voice marker of course). the second the dog stops doing the unwanted behavior I click and treat. then, when the dog starts throwing behaviors at me, I walk away. But I keep an eye on the dog, and when she stops I click and treat again. You can start with only one second of calm and build on that.

The "yer choice" game mentioned above is also excellent for training self control in a dog.

30 ft is longer than I have ever used, but should be fine, as you can always gather some of it up to make it shorter. Do not! use retractable leashes! They are dangerous. If the dog gets the leash tangled in their legs (which happens all the time with any long leash) and then suddenly decided to take off, the leash can cut deeply into the dog's leg and cause serious damage. Similarly, if it's accidentally wrapped around your finger, there goes your finger. Or, if it's lying next to your leg, it slices into your leg. This is fact, and there are many cases in which this has happened to people, with devastating results. Also, it's pretty easy for the dog to pull the leash out of your hand with those, and then if the dog runs the handle bounces behind the dog, spooking the dog and causing it to run faster to get away from it. They are a bad idea for any dog over the weight of maybe 10 pounds, and I wouldn't use one even then myself.


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