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What do you wish you had done differently?

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Its 6:00 AM on the Florida panhandle , and I'm getting ready for two days of uncomfortable discussions with the Air Force. Meg is still sound asleep curled up in my spot on the bed back home.


She's only been with me for 13 weeks or so and I am already wishing I had done many things differently.


What are some of things that you wish you had done differently, at what age?


I'm hoping our collective hindsight will help all of us raise our pups and dogs with a little more foresight.

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Egads! I could write a novel on this one - I'll try to keep it brief for now:


1. Proofed Dublin on fast moving cars instead of just "city speed" ones. Boy do I wish I did this one!


2. Trained a much stricter recall and at a much younger age.


3. Used the term "here" for the recall instead of "Come" as now I herd with him and "come bye" is a command in herding so it gets a bit confusing.


4. Trained a distance down/drop command as that would have made the drop command in herding a bit easier to teach.


5. *Never* let him discover that the countertops sometimes have food on them - though I have to say he doesn't really counter surf anymore.


6. Discouraged jumping up to greet people when he was still at the puppy stage...

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I wish I would have known right away to ignore Sarah's submissive behavior when we got her.


I wish I wouldn't have let Sarah climb onto my lap when she was a puppy.


I wish I would've been more strict with guests, family, and myself in regards to Sarah jumping up on them.


I wish I would've made guests, family, and myself not pet Sarah until she was in a sit.


Those are my main ones, but there are many more. We adopted Sydney when she was 10 months old, and she is much more even-tempered and obedient than Sarah.




edited to add: we knew the right way to train and respond to Sydney; thus she is more well behaved.

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I wish I wouldnt have let Riven out the 2nd night we had her trusting she'd go to the car. Took like 2 hours to catch her. (Thats her favorite game.)


I wish I'd known to ignore her when she did that.


I wish I'd have insisted on a crate before we got her.


A lot of others, but I cant think of them all lol

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Oh Wow! hmmm... well :

I wish I had gotten and contemplated more than 1 opinion on handling Phoenix's fear of riding in the car.

I followed the advice of 1 behaviorist to not take him 'anywhere', til we worked it out.


I wish it hadn't taken 2 mos. of not going any place (cept the Vet) to work out his fear!


I wish I had taken him out to be around people, places and dogs during this time.


I wish I had handled this whole thing different.


He's not afraid of the car now, but is very aggressive towards people and dogs he dosen't know.


I wish I had worked more with helping him be more secure, without me around.


and the list goes on........


PS... I wish I had 2 of him!!! LOL!!!!!

despite his little whackey self, he is my heartbeat!

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I wish I had never taught Rob to open the fridge. (It is not cute)


I wish I had known all the things I have learned here on the boards before we adopted. (But thanks, guys, you have all really helped make my dogs happy, confident and content!)


I wish I had started training on sheep with Rob sooner than we did.


I wish Briar would forget there are such things as balls and frisbees.


I wish Rob and Briar and Buddy could stay the way they are right now and when the time comes we could all go to the bridge together, because I can't imagine my life without them.

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1. I wish I had known to socialize Speedy as a puppy.


2. I wish I had known to socialize Speedy as a puppy.


3. I wish I had known to socialize Speedy as a puppy.


4. I wish I had known to socialize Speedy as a puppy.


5. I wish I had known to socialize Speedy as a puppy.


6. I wish I had socialized Speedy as a puppy.


7. I wish I had socialized Speedy as a puppy.


8. I wish I had socialized Speedy as a puppy.


9. I wish I had socialized Speedy as a puppy.


10. I wish I had socialized Speedy as a puppy.


11. I wish I hadn't pushed him into agility without doing a lot more obedience and built a better working relationship with Speedy before trying agility.


12. I wish I had done more with Sammie in the year before we got Speedy.


13. I wish I had known to socialize Speedy as a puppy . . . .


I guess you can see it comes down to one real regret!! I try not to dwell on it because it can't be changed now, but I'll always wish . . .

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As far as taining...looking back, its hard to tell what really bugged me about my dogs. I miss everything about them...even their naughty quirks.


I suppose I would have worked with leash manners a little more. Maybe tried a little more obedience with Katy and Raven. (Though they had excellent recall, they wouldnt do anything beyond sit and lay down.)


As for the time I've lost and missed with them...



a) I wish I'd brought all three of my dogs with me to work every single day. I was always permitted to bring them, but I usually only brought one at a time, and some days I didn't bother because I felt I had too much work to do...I wish I'd taken more advantage of the freedom I had then and there, to be with them every moment of every day.


:rolleyes: I wish we'd taken more midnight strolls. I think those were my favorite, visiting the park at night, lights out, nothing but the moon to guide us, and the little blinkers on their collars to let me know where they were. All three of them would get the zoomies and just buzz back and forth across the field.


c) I wish, I wish, I *wish* I could have taken them all to the beach, just once. An awesome road trip, just me and the dogs, to visit the big water and play in the waves all together. Pi and Katy were practically fish, and I'm sure Raven would have loved digging in the sand.


d) I wish it could have snowed big and good just once before I had to say goodbye. Pi never saw her first snow. It snowed 6 inches two days after they were gone....a sad little irony. It would have been great fun!


e) I wish our last days together could have been more than work-swamped and pressed for time in every direction. I had a lot going on that weekend. I'd only gotten the chance to take them off to the park once, for a quick 30 minute session of frisbee and play...I wish we'd spent the weekend at a lake, or hiking out at my parent's place, or soaking up winter sunshine from dawn until dusk, drifting from the coffee shop to the park and back again, just wasting the day away in one another's company.

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You made me cry !!


With Daisy being poorly the past few weeks and fearing for her health it has opened up my eyes to make every moment of every day last with her.


We have been to the lake and beach and lots of other stuff this weekend. Trying to cram in as much as possible as it has scared us thinking what life would be like without her.


We wont ever waste another minute.


My heart goes out to you. xx

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I wish I had been more aware of her insecurity in training situations. Seeing her with the sheep has made me realise just how worried she is about screwing up (as far as I know, I never punished her for making mistakes, but apparently that isn't good enough). I have to give her more easy things to do to build new confidence.


I also wish I could be more outgoing and show her my real feelings instead of making her put up with Ol' Grumpy. But dogs resemble their people, and I have to admit I like her own version of the "grumpy act" .


And though I've put a lot of time into socialising her, I often wish I'd socialized her even more right from the start (especially with the kind of people that scares her).

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I wish I would have been more "picky" about gifts/toys that were given to Zeus,and I wish we had only bought the best toys. His first bowel obstruction came from a cheaper made rubber ball my mom brought him and although I would never admit that to her and break her heart, I know better now. he chewed it apart while we were sleeping and the rest is history, but I have learned that when tennis balls pop, they go in the garbage, when toys are chewed rather than played with, and parts become loose, they get tossed, too. Sad to learn in such a way, as to lose my best friend, but Cody is coddled now in Zeus' memory, and I have learned and shared that with alot of my dog owning/loving friends who think those dollar store dog toys are ok...they are not, and dont even get out of the bag if brought here with good intentions anymore.

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My little girl is in her crate right now, hubby is at the ball park and I'm sitting here with tears running down my cheeks for Sarah and Kathy and enormous appreciation in my heart for the lot of us and our dogs.


I wish I had been much more restrictive with Meg's freedom

I wish we had been more NILIFF

I wish I hadn't let her have 'her shoe', 'her roll of duct tape''her sock'

I wish I hadn't let her tear apart a basket

I wish I hand't taught her to play roughly

I wish I had forbid her from mouthing even lightly

I wish I hadn't allowed her to lightly mouth and chase the cat, or let the cat beat Meg up

I wish I hadn't taught her to pound on the door with both feet at once to get in

I wish I had been more with it and gotten her into obedience class a few weeks earlier.


And more than anything I wish that I had been sweeter and more gentle with her. Still. Perhaps always.


She's five months old and I can already tell that while its clear that she loves me, and depends on me for company and play, she is also a little wary of me, expecting me to correct her, abandon her, pick her up, scoot her out, shuffle her off, get frustrated and yell at her or make her take a time out. SIGH.


Sarah and Kathy, thanks to you I will always keep potential contaminants or material dangers in the forefront of my mind.

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Originally posted by Kitch:

3. Used the term "here" for the recall instead of "Come" as now I herd with him and "come bye" is a command in herding so it gets a bit confusing.


4. Trained a distance down/drop command as that would have made the drop command in herding a bit easier to teach.

I wondered about #3. I don't do herding yet, but I read that term and have been training Violet to "here." Now if I can only teach OH to use it reliably. :rolleyes:


As to #4 - I know what we'll be working on in a few weeks! :D Thanks for the heads up. :cool:


I just wish I'd gotten a BC sooner! I adore mine, and think she's the best dog I've ever had.

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One thing I nearly forgot: I wish I had taken more pictures of her right from the start!


These boards inspired me to take up photography again after many years, but by then Kessie had already been here for more than half a year. Now I wish I had pictures of her from that time.


Of course I can take a map and say "we've been here, and here, and here together", but so many little stories and moments get lost in my chaotic memory. Pictures would help a lot!


That's one mistake I'm obviously not making anymore

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Kitch's post is excellent.


With previous puppies, I wish I had done more yelling and hoo-ha around them to desensitize to hullabaloo.


With this current batch, I wish I were not typing this and were out working on recalls and downs.


The drop at a distance can save your dog's life and is also useful on stock. Start with the verbal down, then move to a whistle. Dogs are more responsive to whistles than voice. Even if you do not plan to work your dog, get a shepherd's whistle and learn to blow a down. The drop at distance with whistle will also help with recalls. Drop the dogs, then call them.



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I wish I had taken Zoe out more. Socialize, socialize, socialize. (But ont he other hand, she was and is SO reactive that I had to be careful not to totally terrify her instead of teaching her.)


I wish I had done more training with her right from the start. I was waiting to start obedience class - I wish I'd done that right away instead of waiting for spring.


With Zeeke, however, my regrets are enormous. ENORMOUS. I wouldn't have enough room to post it all.

* I wish we'd taken him to the trainer I have now instead of the one we chose out of opportunity.

* I wish we'd done more training, and less yelling.

* I wish I'd understood him better the way I do now.

* I wish I had not listened to my husband that I just needed to "show him who's boss."

* I wish I had kicked my husband's butt more to get him to do things the right way.

* I wish I had been more careful around his possessions, instead of being sloppy and teaching him that biting gets his message across.

* I wish I had NEVER let my husband roughhouse with him, as much as it would have killed him (my husband).

And sometimes, I wish we had chosen a different dog. It makes me cry a lot of the time, because now he's a part of our family and we'll never give him up, but honestly, I wish that shelter had told us how much work he was going to be, how he SO DID NOT suit our lifestyle, that he had some possession guarding aggression. We had no idea what we were getting into, or what a toll it would take on us. I wish we had had someone to HELP us, because me flailing around the internet for two years was really a hit-or-miss thing. I wish hubby and I had/could work together better with Zeeke.

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I wish I had taught Ann to choose to control her impulses instead of a bunch of obedience commands that just went out the window when the self-reward got good enough.


Ditto Jen. Even more so.


I can't wait for my next pupper. But I also look forward a lot more to training with the dogs I have. Knowing what you DIDN'T know before, is a big step towards confident dog handling.


I wish I had printed this out and saved it somewhere. Way back when I was really raw at all this, someone posted a really great piece of wisdom to the old BC-L. It was something like this (maybe someone remembers this):


Levels sheepdog training:


1. You don't know anything and you don't even know it.

2. You become aware that you don't know anything.

3. You become aware of a little of what you don't know.

4. You become aware a lot of what you don't know, and there's some you are starting to understand.

5. There's some you know, and a lot more you don't know.


And so on. The original was SO much better, and the longer I work at this, the more I realize that there's still a long way to go in it.


I'm finding it more profitable to focus on my reasons to be grateful. This is for my own reasons, not to be punctillious or anything - I myself have a bad habit of being rather whiny. :rolleyes:


Anyway, I'm grateful right now to have access to marvelous mentors and trainers, just when I'm best able to use what I learn. I'm grateful for the many opportunities I've had to share training oportunities with others the last few years. And I'm grateful for giving, faithful dogs who live in the present and NEVER cast regrets back at me! :cool:

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I wish I had concentrated more on Jackson's training in the earlier months.

I wish I had socialized Cheyenne more.

I wish I had socialized Cheyenne with dogs when she was younger.

I wish I had never startled Jackson with the can of coins when he got on the counter and stole my ham sandwhich!

I wish all I had to do all day was play with and train Jackson.

I wish I had taken Jackson to more trails.

I wish I had bought property sooner and got a border collie sooner.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

I wish I knew now what I will know in a year!

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I wish I had taken more pictures of her right from the start!
I agree - I have so few pictures of Dublin at the puppy stage. I didn't get my digital camera until he was almost 1yo and the few pictures I took with my 35mm weren't that great.


Other things:


I wish I had never taught him "dead dog" because now he does it as a default move - not a huge deal, but it looks ridiculous (though very dramatic) when he does it during class on the down stays.


I wish I had made thunderstorms and fireworks a super fun time for him when he was a puppy and not phased by them.


I wish I had never tried the "wee-wee" puppy pads method of house-training - that set us back about a month in house-training.


I wish I had been more patient with Dublin during his puppy stage - and I am extremely grateful that he was always happy to forgive me my many mistakes.

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With Foo i have 2 many to list them all. I will say the top 3 are,


1) I wish we learned to herd. She had such a natural talent for it. I lived in a rental that over-looked my landlords pasture. She loved to get them (cows) all in a group, she'd be grinning the whole time. She even bossed the bull around!! Yes i did her wrong in that department.


2) Before i knew better (with a rough hand) I gave her a swat, she never forgot that! She did try to eat one of the cats, but i shouldn't have hit her. She would panic whenever i got angry :rolleyes: I regret that to this day. She was such a great dog.


3)I wish i listened to the little voice in my head, or the terrible dreams. I just blindly believed it was just a "bug". I didn't push the vet to run a battery of tests. I took the pills and went home. She was acting alot better, and i believed it was just a bug. The morning of Feb. 8th, still hurts my soul, i never got to say goodbye...


Zag I only have 1 so far, *hey!? He is just 5 months old!*


1.)He bites, and nothing i do seems to be correcting it. Wwhen i say he bites i mean he bites me only! It's when he wants attention, and he only does it to me. I am to the point in soaking in bitter biter spray!


He is very eager to learn, i've taugh him a handful of commands, and is very social. I vowed not to make the same mistakes i did with Foo.

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I wish I'd have started earlier in this wonderful world of working bordercollies.


I consider all the mistakes I've made and will continue to make, learning for the next pup.


I also take time every day to tell each dog how greatful I am for what they have shown me and continue teaching me. Every lesson as different as each dog.



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With Dazzle I can't seem to think of something I wish I had (or had NOT) done. I am very happy with her training - and VERY happy with her overall!

But there is one...



I wish I had not let her "melt" (roll over) for everyone as a pup.



By the time I knew to not let her do that, it was a bit late and such making it harder but we are getting there.....

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