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This is a tough letter to post. I have a 18 month old female BC and I am at my witts end. She has one desire that is to run. I realize this is what BC do and I try my best to make sure she gets as much as I can possible give her. She however needs more. The advice I am looking for is should I try and curtail her desire to run by fencing in my yard with invisible fence so when she escapes out the front door she can't get away and get hurt or should I come to the understanding her desire is to be free, to roam on a farm somewhere chasing sheep. This is a very difficult decesion because the year and half I have owned her I have become very fond of her. When she is home she looks out the windows all day.When she is out side she roams looking for something to chase. Our back yard is fenced in so she can't get after the squirrel or our neighbors cat so she barks hoping to get their attention. She is happy with us and we love her very much. We have tried flyball classes and are getting ready to start agility classes. Flyball was hard because after she got the ball she would drop it a chase after the other dogs. The other members were not to happy with this so we left. We have taken her to several trainers for help with her obedeince commands. On lead or in a contain area she is a star. Outside when she is free is another story. She runs and runs the neighborhood. Getting her back is a several hour process and in the end she returns when she is very tired which is 3 to 4 hrs later. We have a leash and nuissence law in the town and have been warned. This is the reason I am considering the invisible fence.She is still young and I know I could make her happy but am I taking away her true love which is freedom. Please no lectures just honest responses. I am really torn over my selfish needs and hers. Thanks for responding

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Tough spot. Tuck was a runner. First, only problem with an invisible fence is shock when leaving shock when coming home. Just food for thought the latter is not something you would want. Now I didn't see any mention of a fence . So do you have one? If so is she jumping it? If the fence will help but don't leave her unsupervised. BC can be houdini's and escape things you would not think possible.

 

Now for the door. She is escaping out I take it when you open the door she rushes past or pushes out. Tuck did this and that is how he got out the day he died. So please start training her to ask to go out. Put her lease on before she goes out the door. No leash no out. Others on the board can give you good instructions on how to accomplish this. Another thing to work on is her recall.

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I will be blunt - please don't take this as criticism, but as advise. Your girl needs to be contained AND trained. A loose dog that has the urge to chase(in a neigborhood or on a farm) is a DEAD dog. Pure and simple. Sounds harsh, but if you love this dog and want to keep her safe and happy, you need to contain her somehow, teach her some self control, and give her a real job to do; whether it is agility, frisbee, ball fetching, herding, obedience or something that you contrive. I'm not exagerating when I say that this will take hours of commitment on you part. If you are up to the challenge, then you will succeed with her.

Part 1 - Running for hours on her own in the yard does not cut it, in fact, it will make it worse. Without a specific job to do, they will think up their own (chasing, digging, barking, etc.) If your dog continues to be allowed to run/chase at will, she will never learn self control, instead she is just learning self gratification.

Part 2 - You need to seek out a competent trainer, and get some hands-on help with her before she gets any older. A class situation is probably not the best at this point, since she is already highly distracted by other moving dogs. If you can find a private trainer, or at least someone to get you started before attending a class, that would be best.

I do wish you luck with this. Keep us posted.

 

edited to say - what part of the country are you in? maybe someone can recommend a trainer if we had that information...

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oh honey!

i think you should go back to square one, as if you had just brought her home as a puppy. start all over again with the training, using different comands than you use at the moment. perhaps use a long line whilst outside with her until you know that she can be trusted. could you get a trainer or behavioral expert to come to your house, many dogs are very different at home than in class!

as for allowing her to go to a farm where she will be able to roam free, i dont think that is a reality. most farmers will already have there own dogs, and most in the uk at least, would not take on a dog with poor recall. please do be carefull if pursuing that course as i think it would be very likely she would end up on a chain or locked in a stable. the complete opposite of what you wish for her. in the meantime whilst waiting for the more helpful replies that you will no doubt get from others on here, do not let her outside with out a lead on, not even for a moment, you/she have been lucky so far, but it cant hold out! have you looked on the web for the NILIF method of training, it may help you.

i do hope you get some better advice than i have been able to offer. keep your chin up, and dont give up on this dog! you will be able to make it!

love

donna

 

ps didnt realise others had posted before i replied! please listen to them!

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I don't have a clear understanding of the life you have provided for your dog. Generally speaking, a BC will behave like you are describing when their needs are not being met.

 

You mentioned several trainers. Are you saying that your dog knows basic obedience? If so, what about advanced obedience? BC's need to work their brains. This is even more important than getting physical exercise.

 

How many minutes/hours of one-on-one interaction does she have with you or someone else in the family every day? They need interaction with their human. Letting them into the backyard to exercise or entertain themselves doesn't cut it.

 

How often do you take her places with you? My dog goes to the gas station with me, to the beach, the woods, the dog park, the landscape company, H&R Block, the insurance company, the Chevy dealer, the vet...

 

Sounds to me like your dog would rather be out running than being with you. Why are you so uninteresting to your dog? What do you do with her? BC's need daily interaction, something to stimulate their minds, and physical exercise. Daily. If you can't provide that, then you will always have trouble because your dog will seek to fulfill her needs on her own.

 

If you are doing all of the above on a daily basis, then please let us know more details so we can help you more.

 

Also, I agree. You wouldn't believe the thousands of people who got a Border Collie puppy and then around your dog's age realize they are not providing the dog with what it needs, and have this image of the dog on a farm. That's not reality. Only a handfull will wind up on a farm. A couple handfulls will end up in rescue, a handfull will end up being a medical experiment, and the rest will end up in another home, run over or destroyed. That's reality. So the best thing you can do for your dog is provide her with what she needs so that she is content and not so determined to run away.

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Your moral dilemma is easy to resolve. Dogs don't run free like wild animals in our society. Please believe me -- if she lived on a farm, she would not be allowed to roam at will and chase sheep. So your ideal of giving her the freedom to run that you believe she wants cannot be achieved.

 

That leaves you with your practical dilemma. You need to prevent her from running loose. Every time she "escapes" and roams the neighborhood for hours she is being rewarded for running away. She gets a lot of fun when she does it, and so she wants to do it more. I'm not lecturing you -- I'm just pointing out why one of the keys to achieving success here is to not let her do that ever again.

 

We can make suggestions, and others have already made some good suggestions, but this is probably something you can think through for yourself if you approach it from the right perspective. How does she get loose? If it's by running through the front door when you open it, think about what steps you could take to make sure that she never gets the chance to go out that door except on a leash. Come up with a list of concrete things you can do to prevent that.

 

Next, if she looks longingly out and barks at things when she's in the back yard, that tells us that she's bored. Luckily, there's a cure for that -- doing things with her. If you spend time paying attention to her and interacting with her, I guarantee you her interest will shift to you and away from the wide open spaces. What should you do with her? Training -- and a LOT of it. Training requires giving your dog a lot of time and attention. Luckily again, this can be very satisfying and enjoyable for you, because it means spending time focused on your dog, whom you love. Don't regard it as a chore, or something you have to do because there's something wrong with your dog or you. It's how you relate to a dog -- it's most of the point of having a dog.

 

So begin the fascinating process of figuring out your dog, and how to communicate with her. You say your flyball classes fell through because after she got the ball she would drop it and chase after the other dogs. That would say to me that you needed to do some independent (at home, rather than in class) work on retrieval to groove her into bringing the ball to you. Will she fetch a ball if you throw it? If so, will she bring it back to you and give it to you? What percent of the time? I would make that your first project, since it's fun for the dog, and involves coming to you (recall), and giving the ball up to you (submission to you as her leader).

 

Why don't you try going out into the back yard with her right now and spend five minutes on this, and then report back what happened. Your goal is to throw the ball, have her go get it, bring it back, and give it to you. I can't tell you what to do, because I don't know what she's going to do. (Maybe she'll do it perfectly, in which case just keep throwing for her til the five minutes is up.) The only rule at this point is that if she won't bring the ball back to you, you are not allowed to pursue her to get it back. If it doesn't go as it should, try to analyze what the immediate problem is, and all the possible things you could do to try to solve it. Report back on all those ideas too. Good luck.

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whoa ok where to start. First of all roaming free is totally unacceptable. Border collies are dogs and dogs are social creatures who crave companionship. Now to me it does not seem as if you are going about sorting this running problem out. DO NOT let her off the lead. When she is out she is to be on the lead even if she is just having a pee in the garden. When she is out carry treats with you and praise her. Teach her to sit and talk to her. Be firm but fair and use what I call compromise training. If she sits, then she gets a treat. You both have to compromise. Bonding with her in this manner will allow her to respect you a lot more and will hopefully with time make you more interesting than the distraction that is going on beside her, whether its a squirrel r another dog or an express train!

 

Meg is a dog that I handled for another person and she lives with her brother who was trained by Meg's owner's husband. When we were training the 2 dogs in the same hall/field/park, Meg would run off to see what her brother was up to. The crunch came when she was at an agility show and she did 2 jumps and bolted out of the ring across a road to the car park where her brother was. She was put on a flexi lead for 3 months solid and she DID NOT get off for even a second. The same wee dog is now a championship obedience and agility dog, so don't give up on your furbabe.

 

Do lots of bonding with her and lots of attention training. If she is ignoring you and doing her own thing thats not acceptable when you want her attention. Arm yourself with yummy treats and make her sit on the lead. If she is paying attention and looking at you then she gets the treat with lots of praise. If she is ignoring you then nip her ear between your finger and thumb and deepen your voice so she knows that you mean business and you will not accept her disobedience.

 

I would keep her on a normal length lead for a month then upgrade her (providing she is being good) to a flexi lead or a long line. Don't be tempted to let her off because I can guarantee you that 5 steps forward will result in 10 steps back.

I wish you the very very best of luck, but please don't give up. :rolleyes:

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Thank you everyone who responded ! This encourgement is what I needed. All who wrote offered good advice and all will be tried. Right now I am heading outside with the new ball I just purchased. I am however a little confused with never going outside off lead. The back yard is fenced in. Is a lead needed outback for the short term or only out front. When out front she is always on lead whether its a flexy or the 50 foot lead I use. Again Casey is so smart on lead 50 ft away she is a star.Sit, come ect... When she bolts from the house she forgets every thing. Preventing the dashing out is the problem. My 5 year forgets, a friend comes over ect. This is why we are looking to get the invisible fence. A real fence can't be acomplished. This week we only have had one escape. Grandma went out to greet the bus for my son. Nobody felt worse than Grandma. We live in Ma. We have had three trainers. 1 came to the house once a week for 10 weeks. The other, we send her away when we go on vacation and she stays and gets trained. We have also done in class training. Any recomendations on trainers in the Eastern Ma/ Southern NH. area please let me know. Ok I am going out for a game of ball Will return with info. Thanks again everyone

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We're in S.N.H. We used someone out of Hampstead, NH. Let me know if you are interested. He comes to your house. We liked him - he came several times to work with our boys.

I also know someone in S. NH I wouldn't recommend!

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We have a person named Abby in Hampstead that watches and trains when we go away. I would love to call your person though. Please give me a number or a email address. Thank you.

 

Eileen We went out and played catch earlier. We lasted 10 minutes and then she became uninterested. We switch to running flyball jumps for about 15 minutes. This combined with a two hr. dog park visit and very warm weather today has kept Casey busy. I was out playing catch with my son and Casey was having fun playing monkey in the middle. Will try and increase the attention.

 

Keeping track of her jail breaks. This is day 1

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Until you can train her to wait at the front door-you have to contain her within the house either in a crate, ex-pen, or confined to the kitchen or laundry room. Train a stay at the front door (or any door) with a sit and treats or with ball play in the living room as a reward. Start by getting a sit by the door (with it closed) and treat the dog or reward another way. Then progress to get a sit at the door and a wait while opening the door a crack and then closing it (all this is done on a light lead - fishing line will work fine). Progress then to opening the door more and more an inch at a time with a reward for the sit and wait. You can then set it up so that people can come and go through the door while this exercise is going on. Then progress to having others call the sit and wait with a treat as they go. Then you can do it yourself. When she is more reliable, remove the light lead and start over- you may have to start from the beginning with just opening the door a crack and then shutting it again. I don't think the invisible fence will solve your problem at all. I think that your best bet is to train her not to go through a door, any door that leads to outside- unless you give her the ok. She doesn't go out the front unless she has a lead on (along with the sit, wait, treat and then an "ok" from you to pass through the door) and then she gets at least a 20 minute walk, preferrably twice a day so she still gets to take in all the doggie smells she enjoys from her galavanting. She doesn't go out the back without the sit, wait, treat, and ok from you to go through the door and preferrably, you go out with her to play ball as a reward for doing potty. If she doesn't bring back the ball right away, use a treat to bring her all the way back to you or use 2 balls, if she comes back to you then throw the 2nd one. If she doesn't come back to you then turn your back to her walk the opposite way or run a bit so she can chase you -when she gets to you turn around and tell her good girl, exchange the ball for a treat or another ball. It's necessary for you to be the most interesting thing in her life. I currently have two dogs I rescued that were supposedly "not containable". They both stay home and have never run away but I work with them every day and I try hard to be the center of their little worlds. After a time, it gets easier. Everything that I've described to you here could take you several months to accomplish. In the meantime, you HAVE to control her environment to prevent her from escaping- she has too much freedom.

 

Best of luck, I'll be around to see how you make out.

Annette

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Quit keeping track of jailbreaks- and teach the dog that jailbreaks are not an option.

You should be able to open the door wide open- step out of the way and the dog should choose to stay in-- till asked to come out. In fact the dog should not go anywheres near the door when people are coming and going--- its a dangerous habbit that is going to get someone tripped up- I can easily envision Granny laying on the steps with a broken hip one of these days.

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A loose dog that has the urge to chase(in a neigborhood or on a farm) is a DEAD dog. Pure and simple.
Oh that can't be stress enough. For us, a dog chasing our horses is unfortunately a dead dog. (the last thing I want to do is shoot someone's pet!) So please make sure he does not get into chasing livestock.

I have long said, herding is a command just as much as sit. An animal should never take it upon itself to chase/herd anything. (except in emergency situations.)

You have gotten some GREAT advice. Please just keep working with him. He just sounds bored.

This is a post everyone should read before they post "is a BC right for me?"!!! Lots and lots of energy.

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>

 

CollieKat would probably say it's needed out back too, for now. I would say it isn't. Don't let that make you confused or discouraged. It just means there's more than one successful way to train. That's a GOOD thing.

 

>

 

Behaviors like "sit," "come," etc. on a lead are sort of in the category of tricks. They are no different from "roll over" or "say your prayers." The dog does them because she is smart enough to know what you're asking her to do, and she enjoys doing it. And she has nothing better to do -- she's on a lead. It's a game. I know dogs with advanced obedience titles who don't have reliable downs, stays or recalls outside the ring because their trainers have only taught the behaviors in the context of the ring (and wouldn't WANT to try them in any other context because they couldn't have the same degree of control over all the conditions).

 

I think of "sit" or "come" offlead as a different category of behavior -- not a trick but a life skill. The key difference is the dog has been trained that he has to obey the command WHEN HE COULD CHOOSE NOT TO.

 

So it's not quite accurate to say that Casey "forgets everything" when she bolts from the house. She has never learned what "come" means in the context of being loose.

 

We teach dogs what words mean -- obviously, they aren't born knowing. Take a familiar example from (my) everyday life. I say "crate" to my dog and she goes into her crate. She didn't do that the first time I said "crate" to her. (Or maybe she did, actually -- I can't remember. Of course, I indicated with body language that she should go in, so it's entirely possible that she did go in the first time. But there very soon came a time when she didn't go in voluntarily.) But I was careful never to tell her "crate" without making sure that the door to the room the crate is in was closed. Then, if she didn't go in, I could calmly pursue her, take her by the collar, and put her in. Every time I said "crate," the end result was that she ended up in the crate, whether she went in voluntarily or not. Soon she went into the crate without fail every time I asked, and she does so now, even if I'm in another room. My husband, OTOH, says "crate," she doesn't go in, he feels frustrated and bewildered that she won't go in (because he knows that she knows what "crate" means) and says the equivalent of "Okay, whatever" (or "I thought border collies were supposed to be smart"). But this is what the dog has learned "crate" means: When she tells me "crate" I have to go in my crate; when he tells me "crate" I don't have to go in. Likewise, Casey has learned from her forays through the neighborhood that when she is on lead "come" means she has to come to you, but when she is offlead "come" means she doesn't have to come to you. They ain't stupid.

 

>

 

That's all good. However, I didn't suggest you play fetch with her just to give her attention and tire her out -- although it does have that good effect -- but also as a way of approaching training her. I'm assuming that for the 10 minutes the catch game lasted, you threw the ball, and Casey ran after it, got it, brought it straight back, and gave it to you. Is that right? If so, how did the game end? When she "became uninterested," do you mean that she wouldn't chase the ball anymore, or she got it and wouldn't bring it back to you, or what?

 

The most likely picture that pops into my mind is that she ran after it, picked it up, looked around, and either dropped it and wandered off to investigate something or wandered off with it and lay down to chew it. If either of those things happened, what I would have done at that point is to call her to me and make sure that she came to me. I'd then have taken hold of her collar, given her a pat, let her go, and then gone on to whatever you wanted to do next.

 

If you had called her at that point (and maybe you did, for all I know), would she have come? If she didn't come, what would you do then? When she's loose in the back yard in general, what percent of the time will she come when you call her?

 

Sorry this is so long (and so late).

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when I started Search and Rescue with my pup (7 months back then) she had no recall whatsoever. The good thing was that she liked her tennis balls just like your pup and she had a good drive. It was so important that she would do (almost) anything (in a positive manner) for the balls.

 

To get her more obsessed with the balls, I used to tease her with the balls (visible but unreachable for her in the house) and only I can get it out for her. She has to do something everytime before we play balls. During the play sessions, I always stop when she is still having a good time so she'd want it more and she'd remember it as a really fun time. We take a break. A little later I ask her to do something small again then do another play session. In between those play sessions, she started paying more attention to me because she didn't want to miss her chance to play again.

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?,

At six months, Jenna is just starting to earn some off leash time.

Say, they don't respond right away, and stand there thinking about it for a minute or two, but eventually give in. If I dont wait for her to make up her mind and start after her, she will take off. While I have never had her completely refuse, I still worry about that "decision time". Is it all right to wait for her like that? Or is there something I should be doing differently?

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Wow. Here's a flip side to this whole issue. I think a lot of these problems--starting with the first sentence in the original post: MY DOG HAS A DESIRE TO RUN--stem from the fact that these dogs are not getting enough opportunities to run. They can't do it in a back yard. They can't do it on a long lead. BC's need to RUN. I raised two bc's from pups and rarely put them on a leashes, even though I live in the suburbs. I took them lots of places where I could let them loose. They learned to follow and stick close, as I would always change direction on them. We played frisbee and ball and lots of games. Both have perfect recall. But, more than that, being off leash is no big deal. I get the impression that a lot of people have BC's that can't walk from the house to the car, or mailbox, without a leash or there's a fear the dog will run off. From my perspective that's a dog that's wound up like a rubber band. I think the more opportunities a BC has to run the less likely it is to run off. Take your dog someplace where you can let it loose (a schoolyard on a weekend?) and let her run. Work on recall. Let her run some more. Work on recall again. If she doesn't come when you call, run away. Hide. Most BC's want to stay close to their people. I don't know whether the whole "long line" thing isn't beside the point of the original post--MY DOG HAS A DESIRE TO RUN. I think if that owner finds ways for her dog to run, the recall will come, because being loose and free will not be that big a deal.

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I agree with most of the replies, TONS of OB work will be needed, TONS of recall work on a long line at first, and TONS of exercise for the pup. NILIF training also seems perfect, as the dog is taught to NEVER go through an open door without permission. You might also consider installing a screen door or a tall babygate on the front door in case of emergencies. Exercise her for 1 hour (or more) at first before starting Obedience work or practicing flyball. She sounds very high-strung, and she probably needs to get that excess energy out before she can focus on you right now. Use tons of irresistable treats (small hotdog pieces, Redbarn soft food rolls, liver treats, etc) and praise a lot. Spend tons of time with her (your entire family) and teach her tricks, bond with her, practice recall multiple times a day in the backyard (start by running the other way, calling her, and rewarding her when she comes).

 

I think you should also make the dog park your second home most backyards in the suburbs are not enough for a BC to really run.. play as many sessions of frisbee/ball/flyball as possible during the day in the yard, on top of long dog park visits. This is what most people don't realize about Border Collies... theyre one of the most active breeds in the world, thats what they have been bred for. They need a job. The Flyball and Agility classes are awesome!! DEFINITELY keep that up as much as you can... my BC also had problems with chasing in Flyball when we first started him, because he didn't have solid enough Obedience. He had been thru puppy and basic Obedience, but to make your high-drive dog listen to you instead of chasing, it usually takes at least going through months of Advanced Obedience to curb chasing. Definitely find an OB program that has multiple steps and levels that work up to off-leash obedience, even consider putting her through competitive Obedience classes that will *really* work on a strong recall and off-leash commands.

 

GeorgiaBC, I agree with you in some ways, in others I don't. The suburbs and cities are NOT a safe place for any off-leash dog.. Anything can happen, and dogs ARE animals in the end. There are just waay too many cars, people, and stray dogs for it to be safe for a dog to run around the neighborhood without being controlled - thats what leash laws are for. I was walking Gonzo when he was 1 year old and he was heeling with a really loose 6'+ lead.. a mailtruck passed by really close to the curb, and out of the corner of his eye Gonzo suddenly lunged for the tire going by. If I hadn't been watching him completely and I hadn't yanked the leash back, the tire would've rolled over him. I doubt that he even realized he was lunging for it, it was just an instinct that he could not fight. Ever since that I will NEVER put my dog in danger unnecessarily by letting him off-lead. I've met SO many BC owners who lost their dogs due to believing their Obedience work would stop them from instinctively chasing the passing tires of cars... I do agree that the OP's pup does need lots of Obedience, recall work, and exercise in safe and open areas

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I'm just saying you ought to be able to do things with your dog without fear that it will run away. I'm not suggesting people walk their dog along busy roads without a leash. As part of this, I'm also theorizing that one reason this person's dog may be bolting is because it wants to run, and a little playing in the backyard and a walk on the leash ain't cutting it. She asked for advice, without lectures, which is tough to get on these boards. Per the original post, I'd suggest

(1) sure, go ahead and get the invisible fence, which may prevent the running off.

(2) Take advantage of the advice above and work on recall as suggested.

(3) Look for opportunities to give that dog something to do, and wear it out, so it's not so desperate to run off.

(4) Look for ways to work with the dog offleash in a safe, isolated spot so the very feeling of being offleash becomes no big deal.

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Is it all right to wait for her like that? Or is there something I should be doing differently?
A command is just that, a command. They don't call them choices, or options, they are commands. I don't know if you work your dog or not, but a working dog that does not respond in a split second not only endangers itself, but you and your stock. Try being on the end of a shank when the dog won't quit hitting the heels of your stubborn horse. Or even more fun, try being in the cow pens when the dog quits listening and brings the cattle in at 100mph, trying to drive them through the panels. Even if you do not work your dog, think if the dog is running for the street. You want that dog to shut it down and stop. NOW, not when it is ready.

A command is NOW. Not when the dog feels like it.

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teach your dog to think mental stimulation is essential.mental stimulation can tier out your dog faster then physical work.. what is your dogs favoret reward how often do you reward your dog .do you play games with your dog Ie the 123 sit ,ready set go. do you teach her to target your hand . how do you reve her up. whats her best treat , dose she tug . What have you done so she knows all fun things come from you . have you ever hand fed her. I bet if you and only you hand fed her for 2 weeks she would star to pay attention to you. Lol Bob h

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I understand what Georgia was saying and I agree. BC's do need to run full speed on a regular basis. Small back yards don't cut it unless they are taken out several times a week to a park or something where they can run and run and run.

 

I also agree about the off-leash thing. Mickey never needed a leash. Even in the city she didn't need one, though I wouldn't recommend that for anyone. The more that was going on around us, the closer to me she would walk. I didn't teach her that, she just did it. She wasn't a fearful dog either. She just didn't think it was a big deal and it wasn't.

 

I never had a fence in all her 14+ years either and her and I lived in dozens of houses - from the country to the busy city, different states, different living arrangements. She had seen it all! Nothing phased her.

 

I never gave her treats, except to balance on her nose. I never used force with her. She just was and I'm rambling on about her again. Sorry. She was a good dog.

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so, just let her off more often. ok, thats what we are working at now anyway. Its been a HUGE struggle to overcome my fear of letting her go. With Allie, I only used a leash when we were going to and from places, and once we were there, she got to go free. Allie was hit in a place I was sure she would be safe at. And Jenna is the type of dog that has to have her mind occupied to prevent any kind of mischief. You cant turn your back on her, at least not yet. Then again, I have never lost her, so it may just be that fear again.

Well, we are heading to the Outer Banks for a few days. She should get lots of off leash exercise on the beach. wish us luck!

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Prosperia, given your dog's age, I can't help thinking that she's at the stage where her desire to be with her person is giving way to her desire to explore the world. As you know, young pups are naturally "good" about coming when they're called, because they're a bit insecure and feel safe with you. As they get older, they grow in self-confidence and they're genetically programmed to "leave the nest." That's when they begin to weigh the attractions of coming when they're called vs. the attractions of pursuing their freedom. It sounds to me as if she's calculating this now each time you call her. So far, the decision she's ended up making is in your favor, and the more such decisions she makes, the more she's grooved to make them that way in the future. But very likely one of these days her decision will be not to come, and when that happens, you'll want it to be in a situation where you can easily regain control of her without fuss or risk.

 

Don't second-guess yourself here. If I were you, I'd at least have her trail a long line when she's running around on the NC beach. And I'd be doing a lot of calling her back and then letting her go, and trying to read her mind. I would never start after her while she's thinking things over (or at least never more than a couple of heavy steps, followed by backing up as soon as you see the slightest reaction, and I wouldn't do that if it wasn't effective the first time I tried it). Half the time I'd probably run the other way invitingly and half the time I'd just let her think it through. But if she's taking longer and longer to decide to come to you, I'd go back to not having her off lead except in a fenced area for a while.

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I think it goes back to never letting them get away with it from the start. Easier to say than to do. My rules around here are:

When in the yard or somewhere they have their freedom I have different requests or commands.

 

A "command" is something that can NEVER be ignored. Sometimes I know I can't/won't enforce them (like when I'm in my undies and can't run out to effect a change) So...

I "ask" when it's an option...that is I might not go and get them if they don't listen. They know this.

I "command" only when I have the power to make it happen.

They all know the difference and will respond in kind.

They didn't start with knowing, but I NEVER "command" when I can't or won't enforce. It is sometimes a big pain in the butt so it's on those times I use a different "voice" and a different word(s) like:

in a singsong voice I sing...."wanna come in for a treat?" or "let's go" if they blow me off I don't get to worried. but if I say "Here" or "Come" I use the right tone of voice and always enforce what I've said.

Even the young pups quickly learn when it's not an option.

It might sound more complicated but it leaves me the room that I need when I know I won't be enforcing the rules.

I also notice that I don?t really trust any of my dogs(pups)recall till I put them to sheep. Then it's the bond and the communication that is established there that makes them "want" to listen.

If I didn't put them on sheep, I don't know how long it would take me to trust them. Probably well over a year old.

I do the same with my children. I ask if they will clean their room today. They can say NO with out consequence. They know when I'm not asking but telling them. Why...cause there's a consequence that's going to happen when they don't do what they are told and no consequence when I ask. The ground work is laid at a very young age.

I have friends who don't ever ask only command....that's OK for them but I know I'm not that good at follow through so my way works for me.

At 6 months old my pup(s) loves to test me. My latest has not gotten the rules down pat yet. It's my job to teach her the difference. I don't get mad...I get the job done.

Good luck and leave a long line on the pup to drag...that way you can always "make" the right thing happen. The key is training yourself to do the right thing. The dogs are much easier to train than myself.

If you don't have time...don't get the dog or be suprised when they misbehave. Same with children!

Thank God for small things like not being albe to turn your kid into the pound. I bet there would be lots more children there than dogs. That's a sad thought....

Cheers

Kristen

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