Border Collies

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Molly12/03
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Border Collies

Post by Molly12/03 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 10:39 am

My 11week old Border Collie, Molly, keeps biting the leash whenever she is in our backyard or on a walk. I have tried ignoring her, pulling back, giving her more slack, ending the walk, I have even tried stopping in my tracks until she lets go. Nothing ever works! Please help, I can't think of anything else! Thank you all for the help!!!

elisa
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Re: Border Collies

Post by elisa » Thu Dec 29, 2011 2:37 pm

Have you tried distracting her with a toy or treats? She's just a puppy and likely sees the leash as just another toy you give her. Also make sure you get her accustomed to it slowly and positively. If you get a soft harness with the leash clipping at the back she might not get distracted by it so easily.

She's very young so make sure to read through the loose leash walking thread (viewtopic.php?f=20&t=858) and start training her to walk nicely. She doesn't need long walks yet so you can do just like 5 minutes at a time and since you need to take her out every 30 min to an hour anyway to do potty training it should work out fine.

Border collies are super energetic so make sure you keep her brain occupied. At 11 weeks she can learn loads of tricks already. :)
The best friend of Ansa the sprollie since autumn 2010.
http://www.youtube.com/user/AnsaTheSprollie
Train with your brain. :)

Molly12/03
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Re: Border Collies

Post by Molly12/03 » Fri Dec 30, 2011 8:24 pm

thanks Elisa! I've tried but she always thinks that the leash is more interesting than anything else. Any other suggestions? A couple more problems, she always begs for food, is at my feet when I'm getting her food ready, she bites me a lot whenever I try to pet her, she pulls a lot on walks, and I don't know if this is all part of her herding instinct, but she loves to nip and bite us. I have crate trained her, potty trained her, she knows sit, stay (all without treats), shake-a-paw, and down, roll-over, and come with treat reinforcements. She is also constantly demanding attention (Don't know if she can be taught to entertain herself. Again, thanks in advance!

elisa
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Re: Border Collies

Post by elisa » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:37 am

I don't have experience with leash biters so all I can think of is to keep trying to make biting the leash very boring and other things more interesting. Also train not biting the leash inside. Like put it on when you are doing training and if she doesn't bite it then reward her. Make it a trick to stop biting the leash. At least that's what I would do. It will take time so be patient. She is still so little.

As with the other behaviors, they all sound like normal puppy behaviors and with positive reinforcement and using time-out I'm sure they won't be such problems. You just need to have a plan on how to conquer everything. Begging for food is normal, if she is just sitting nicely then I would just not pay attention to her. If she never gets food when begging then it might stop. Otherwise you can teach her to go to a mat or to her bed while you are eating. Being at your feet while you are getting her food ready would not bother me. (My Ansa is actually a bad eater so if she did do this I'd be grateful. Now when I put her food down I try to excite her by saying mmm delicious and such and still she will only slowly get up to sniff the stuff. She's very suspicious. When she was 11 weeks I fed her by hand sometimes to just get her to eat.) So if she is not barking or being super crazy then it's ok. Make sure you a feeding her often enough. Puppies at that age need maybe like 4 meals a day.

Biting is also normal at that age though you have to teach her that humans (and their clothing) are very fragile and that she can not play with them like she would with dogs. I used a method from Ian Dunbar from his Before and After Getting Your Puppy -book (suggest reading it - helped me loads). It sort of consisted of slowly getting more sensitive. So when she's very young you let her bite until a certain strength (of course at a strength where it does not hurt) and then do a yelp and a time out. A time out for me was going to the toilet (only room with a door in my apartment) for a couple of seconds. And then coming back to play/pet. Then gradually yelp for softer bites until she gets that humans are so weak that you can't really bite them at all. This way if she sometime later on in life comes to a situation where her only choice is biting a human she'll remember that they are very weak and will not bite hard. Another option is giving her a bone of toy to bite while you pet her. Nipping and biting may be herding behavior or just her trying to initiate play. Teach her to get a toy when she wants to play. Like if she comes to nip you you do maybe the yelp and time out and then come back and give her a toy and play. Teach her what you want instead of the biting.

As for the pulling on walks, do the loose leash walking training. I personally just stop when Ansa pulls and then ask her to come back near me or at least stop pulling and walk on when the leash is loose again. Not perfect yet but at least she's not one of those super pullers and walks quite nicely usually.

As for the constantly demanding attention, well that's what puppies and dogs, especially border collies, need. You don't always have to give her attention and definitely not for nipping or barking. Time outs here also and if you want a moment of peace then give her her food from a kong or something delicious to chew on. That will teach her to do stuff on her own.

Puppies are hard work. Remember to set her up for success and use only positive reinforcement methods and she will be a great dog. :) Read the stuff in the articles section and all around the forum to get loads of information and set yourself up for success. ;)
The best friend of Ansa the sprollie since autumn 2010.
http://www.youtube.com/user/AnsaTheSprollie
Train with your brain. :)

bendog
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Re: Border Collies

Post by bendog » Sun Jan 01, 2012 12:19 pm

One trick for leash biters is to put two leads on her, then drop the one she bites. Its a game of tug for her, so it's no fun if you are not holding the other end of the lead.

Molly12/03
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Re: Border Collies

Post by Molly12/03 » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:28 pm

Thanks again Elisa!
She has gotten better at the nipping thing (i just remain calm and ignore her), and I find that if I excersize her to the point where she just wants to sleep she won't need so much attention. I am going to try the two leash strategy and see if it works! Any idea on how to train her basic commands without the need of food or treats? I also need help getting her to stay off the road and not jump up on strangers. Do you know of any fun activities (both mental and physical) that I can do with her? Thanks for the help!

Erica
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Re: Border Collies

Post by Erica » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:33 pm

An 11-week old puppy should only exercise 15 minutes at a time, and should stay away from strenuous activities such as forced running and wrestling.
Delta, standard poodle, born 6/30/14

JudyN
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Re: Border Collies

Post by JudyN » Sun Jan 01, 2012 4:42 pm

Molly12/03 wrote:Any idea on how to train her basic commands without the need of food or treats?
Why do you want to avoid treats for training? You don't need to use them every time - reward consistently when you're teaching a skill, then gradually phase out the reward - a treat for every two tricks, then every three, and so on - but do it randomly or she might start to predict whether there's a treat in the offing or not! I still reward my 2-year-old very frequently - it's not a problem, it's me saying 'thank you' in the way he understands best.

For not walking into the road, I think you just need to persevere with the loose leash training. You can't rely on training to keep a dog off the road because there's always those times when they spot something delicious in the gutter, or their best mate on the other side of the road. She really is too young to expect too much. Just as in human children, puppies need to mature gradually before they can develop the self control needed to be able to fulfil the training aims.

You'll find links to threads on keeping your dog entertained, and steps in a puppy's development, in this post: viewtopic.php?f=4&t=11503
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Secret Someone
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Re: Border Collies

Post by Secret Someone » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:29 pm

Is there anything that your puppy really loves more than anything else? Something she goes crazy for? I found with my BC that to stop him biting the leash I had to start with something super high-value, such as a smelly treat or a favourite toy. For a while it's like bribing... you literally give them enough that they forget about biting the leash. I then tried stopping, and when he stopped I would whip out a tug toy that he was allowed to play with. My partner and I have had him for 6 months now (he's about 3 years old but has spent his life stray and then in a shelter... he didn't know how to play at all when we brought him home) and he doesn't do it at all. It really is worth finding that one special thing that your dog loves enough to be distracted by. It might be cheese, hot dogs, a soft toy, a ball, something to lick (such as soft cheese or peanut butter off your hand or another surface) or any number of other things.

Border collies do need a lot of attention. I've had to fine-tune my days with Pan to allow his and my needs to be met. Each border collie will be different, as is each owner, so it can be hard to find the place that's comfortable for you both. I'll tell you what our day is like, but because yours is a puppy she won't be able to do the amount of exercise he does, but just to give you an idea...

When my partner wakes up, she takes him for a very quick 20 minute walk around the block. If he has time to rest after that (feeding straight before or after exercise can cause health problems) she then gives him his kong with his breakfast in it. The best thing we have bought for him is a toy that dispenses his food. BCs need a lot of mental stimulation, and this is one way that is easy for us humans (once they have figured out how to do it, it can take time) to sit back and watch! After his meal, he rests for some time. Usually half an hour. He doesn't always want to, and will often ask to play tug or ball games, but I've found that if he doesn't have time to rest after a meal he will vomit. I have to encourage him to lie down and then ignore his demands to play (or give him something to chew on or rip up) until he's had enough time for his food to settle. After this we spend 2 hours randomly playing and doing bits of clicker training. Often I do things with him that involve me sitting or laying down, but that's becaue I have health problems that require it. I then have lunch, and he amuses himself for half an hour before we go on our big walk of the day, which is between 90 minutes (in winter, like now, it's usually about this amount of time) and 3 hours long, depending on time restrictions and health limitations. During the walk we play ball, play tug, clicker train and play other games such as 'hide and seek'. When we get home he usually wants to settle on me for a cuddle, and then he sleeps or rests for anywhere between an hour or 3, depending on how busy he has been! Some of this, however, has been taught. We've given him things to do that involve lying in his crate or bed. BCs often will just keep going, but it is important that they have down time, even if they need convincing of it! This also means I can do uni work or go back to bed if my illness is particularly rotton. In the evening his dinner is given to him in his kong, and then we usually snuggle and do silly things like playing 'peek-a-boo'. In the evening if he's really wide awake he gets another 20 minute walk, or if he's content to, we play tug and fetch games, with more clicker training thrown in.

One thing I have found is that to get some peace and quiet (he'll happily let me have 4 hours straight to myself on some days) I have to make sure I prevent him getting bored and frustrated. That means giving him kongs, things to chew, things to rip up and other things that he can do himself. Border collies need interaction too, so usually I would play a game or two/do training with him first, and then give him something he can do in his crate. Chewing and licking usually then makes him sleep.

The last thing I do, although for some people this would drive them mad, is involve him in what I'm doing. When I'm picking rubbish up, I ask him to 'help mummy' and give him bits of rubbish to put in the bag. I talk to him throughout all the household chores (BCs love to follow you around everywhere!) to the point where he sometimes tries to copy me. He will start putting rubbish in the bin or will bring me items that might need tidying away. He always watches and listens, usually with a waggy tail and with cuddles thrown in along the way. This means that when I sit down he's far more content to just 'be', because he has been 'doing' the house work too!

I'm afraid I don't have any advice about nipping. We've been very lucky with Pan not attempting that one. I hope that you find something that helps. :D

*EDITED* to add about the use of treats in training... Think of it this way - not many people would go to work without being paid. What would be the point? It's the same for dogs. With Pan now, he doesn't necessarily get a food reward every time, but he will always be rewarded with praise and a stroke, and often toys. He will sometimes do many 'tricks' before getting any of these. But I had to build that gently... So, as others suggested, keep treating the behaviour you want, and then when you're both ready start asking for two things before a treat, and then after a while of that try giving her a food reward sometimes and just praise at others. Don't expect too much from her though... we all need rewarding in some way for good behaviour, even if the reward is simply feeling like a decent person!

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