Devil in a puppy suit
Posted 27 October 2005 - 04:35 AM
Thought you might like an update on the puppy I adopted after 26 Awesome BCs puppy mill dogs were confiscated by the MO Dept. of Agriculture in July.
Repo is now 6 1/2 mos. old and is a total hooligan! I've been training and competing in many sports (earning several High In Trials) for the past 28 years, and I have never in my life seen such an outrageously hyperactive and destructive puppy. He'd better make one heck of a stock dog to pay me back for all the stuff he's destroyed so far!
Since I work across town, I'm gone 10 hours a day. Fortunately, I have the perfect setup for this at my home, which is in 10 acres of forest.
I have a 2-car garage downstairs that I outfitted as a training room. It is a cinderblock room painted pastel yellow, with lots of cheerful lighting. There is rubber matting covering the floor, with a hallway-sized carpet runner along the garage door side. There's a fan in the summer and a "dog safe" space heater for the winter. (It also stays warm from being part of the house). There is a dogdoor leading out into a 20x20 kennel. The floor of the kennel is half concrete and half deep bark mulch. The kennel is surrounded by a nicely landscaped and fenced backyard, which is in turn surrounded by several acres of forest.
Each morning before I leave for work, we take a 1 mile walk down our country road on a Flexi--so the puppy is actually running at least 1.5 miles going back and forth. We play fetch while I'm showering, dressing, eating, etc. (In the evenings, we trail hike another 1-2 miles, practice obedience & agility, do lots more fetching and games. So it is not like he doesn't have exercise).
Then Repo goes in his room, outfitted with:
- A large Kong stuffed with canned food and frozen overnight.
- A 2-L soda bottle or a Buster Cube (I have three kinds!) filled with his breakfast kibbles.
- At least two newish toys that I provide on a rotating basis to keep him from getting bored.
- Rawhides and hooves.
- A homemade, very cool bungee toy hanging from the ceiling with several dangling "handles" made from udder tugs, retrieving dummies, squeaky toys, etc.
There is also a Dogloo, but any bedding I tried to put inside (towels, old blanket, carpet sample, new bath rug) got shredded instantly. As of a few days ago, I bought him a nice dog bed, punched grommets into the edges and strapped it securely into the Dogloo, where it remained untouched (at first).
Everything that is not a toy is sprayed liberally and DAILY with Bitter Apple or Foey. This includes all edges of the rubber matting, the carpet strip, all visible portions of the dog bed, electrical outlets, the Dogloo entrance, the dog door and surround, and the bottom of the garage door. (No wonder I'm always late for work, between this spraying and our walk and stuffing Kongs!)
Anyway, no matter what I do, I always come home to shredded bedding, shredding carpet strip, and several 1'-2' deep holes in the outdoor kennel (filled with water from our nearby drippy faucet).
But the last two days, Repo really outdid himself.
I came home to find a fluorescent lightbulb half buried in the mulch/mud. Repo was out of his kennel and in the yard, which was a mess. I was able to reconstruct later how he spent his day.
He started by playing so hard with his bungee tug that it leapt up and slammed into a fluorescent light, breaking the part that holds the bulbs in. One of the 4' long lightbulbs fell to the floor, hitting the rubber mat. Repo then dragged the unbroken bulb through a small dogdoor to the kennel and proceeded to bury it. Then he went back inside and chewed through the straps holding the toys to the bungee rope, took the toys outside and played with them in the mud.
Then he went to the chainlink gate. He had recently learned to open these, so I had "cleverly" slipped a metal clip into the hole to prevent him from lifting it. He knocked the metal clip out, and THEN lifted the latch, letting himself into the yard. He then proceeded around to each of the garden beds, digging down to the landscape fabric (just installed a year ago), and ripped it all out.
And that's about the time I came home.
The next day, I put leash clips on the kennel gate. I reassembled his bungee toy and gave him an extra Kong. This time when I got home, he had found the one square inch of his new, grommeted, securely strapped-down $35 dog bed that I couldn't reach to spray with Bitter Apple, grabbed that square inch, ripped the entire bed from one end to the other, and proceeded to remove every single bit of stuffing.
And he doesn't even make up for this by being sweet or affectionate. He's one of those total workaholic BCs that just brings a ball 500 times every evening and doesn't particularly enjoy being petted. As I said, he'd sure better make up for this by being my first Open trial winner a couple years from now!
Here is a picture of the little devil:
Anybody have any ideas on what else I can do to entertain this guy until he is old enough to wear out by herding livestock?
Posted 27 October 2005 - 05:39 AM
GOOD LUCK - you are going to need it. And start saving for that new house since he is going to destroy this one
Posted 27 October 2005 - 06:11 AM
I agree that a crate or smaller space would be better, along with someone to let him out halfway through, or a smaller run with no digging opportunities. He's being left alone in an area that allows him to find ways to occupy himself, and it's allowing bad habits to form.
Walks are nice but is he able to run, run, run every day, or at least several times a week? Walks are not enough for a BC, no matter how long or far.
I also agree that working his brain, on a daily basis, is critical.
I would not leave him or any dog alone with a rawhide or any treat or toy (squeekies) that could present a choking hazard either. I would also encourage you (if you don't already) to loosen his collar to the point where he could slip his head out of it in the event his tags get caught on something, or his collar gets hooked on something. He sounds quite active, so that puts him at greater risk.
Sorry to have listed so many things. It sounds like you've really gone out of your way to make him happy, but he might be just a bit too happy and need a little less freedom to get into trouble.
I LOVE the name Repo! Absolutely love it!
Posted 27 October 2005 - 06:43 AM
Posted 27 October 2005 - 08:53 AM
Posted 27 October 2005 - 09:25 AM
Thanks for the suggestions! I do realize Repo is bored and needs more exercise. I have a bike with a springer attachment, so I may have to start running him 3-4 miles before work. That's what I did with my ACD for years when I lived in an apartment. Doing a training session BEFORE work is also a good idea.
Crating is out--I'm in the middle of nowhere, no nearby neighbors, no local friends outside work (I'm a relatively recent arrival) and across town for almost 10 hrs. a day (incl. travel time). However, on decent days I can try closing him into the outdoor kennel that has the concrete floor and nothing at all to chew up. That will keep him from rehearsing the bad behavior.
About "why did I even get a Border Collie?" I got my first one 3.5 years ago when I had a home business. He is a very high drive dog when training, but super mellow otherwise, even as a puppy. He got to hang out with me all day, getting to go out for potty breaks virtually every hour. But when I returned to a 9-5 job last year, he adapted instantly to being left inside 10 hrs. a day... did not chew, bark, have housebreaking accidents, etc. He appreciates a nice stuffed Kong, but he has no interest in hoofs, rawhides or toys, and apparently sleeps quietly all day.
This spring, I got a 9 mos. BC from the local Humane Society. She did super in the setup I described that I have for Repo. Did not chew or bark, and entertained heself all day with the Kongs and hoofs. So that was two BCs that were perfectly fine being left alone during the day. (The very sweet rescued BC was later rehomed with a fellow clicker trainer that needed a friendly dog to help her man her agility equipment booth at trials).
The last time I had a puppy and was working away from home was my JRT 10 years ago. He was crated (I came home at lunch). By the age of 7 months--just two weeks older than Repo is--this otherwise very active JRT was able to have run of the apartment for 9 hours a day, with no barking, chewing or housebreaking accidents.
So having had two BCs and a JRT prior to this puppy, I thought I knew what I was in for. But Repo is like the BCs I had read all those horror stories about! I had a friend who had to quit her job to raise her BC puppy years ago... which is what had scared me away from the breed back then... but I figured she was exaggerating until I saw what Repo is like. Anyway, I'm totally not upset, mad, frustrated or anything with him. He has me grinning ear to ear all the time. He's just such a crazed lunatic puppy, I thought you all might enjoy his story... if only to make your own crazed lunatic BCs look almost "calm" by comparison!
By the way, has anybody tried a doggy treadmill? I had some clients with a human treadmill and their dog insisted they turn it on for him to use all the time. I just wondered if maybe I hitched him to that while I'm in the shower or having breakfast that it might take the edge off.
Posted 27 October 2005 - 09:30 AM
~Cherish yesterday....dream of tomarrow....live for today~
Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:02 AM
I wouldn't give any bedding at all. Personally I would even wonder about toys and rawhide. I do have a feeling if you leave him outside in the half and half run he will either dig out or eat the mulch.
Can you go ahead and start him on stock? Maybe give his brain something to think about? I know he wouldn't be able to do much but some exposure might take the edge off. Unless you have a large flock and lots to do though I think it is wishful thinking that he will "wear out by herding livestock", especially if it is only on weekends or a couple of times a week. I work my dogs on a regualar basis and while it works their minds and satisfies them they are not exhaused by the end of training.
I would still say crate him.
Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:13 AM
I get up at 4:50AM so I have time to run the pants off my dogs for an hour before I leave for work. They are not crated, but babygated in the dog room from 7:30 until 4:00pm. They have toys and they have each other. After work, I run the pants off them again.
The behaviour of this puppy is not weird or outrageous, it's normal behaviour for a bored puppy. My foster Daisy is 9 months and when I left her in the dog room with my other dogs, having cheated on the morning run, I came home to a decimated foam pad that has been unmolested since it's arrival in my home two years ago. She doesn't shred things if she has run a lot in the day.
I don't think this makes him a workaholic, I think this makes him a dog who has manipulated his owner very well. It also may be a reason why he doesn't know how to settle down in the house. My dogs know better than to pester me in the house - the house is for quiet time, outside is for chaos time.
He's one of those total workaholic BCs that just brings a ball 500 times every evening
TDBCR - "Where every dog is a Star"
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Posted 27 October 2005 - 10:38 AM
You'll get more bang for your buck if you train him mentally. 10 min of mental training for my guys buys me as much down time as 30 min of running or chasing the ball.
Posted 27 October 2005 - 11:37 AM
Cricket, BC, mistress of the household
Dusty, the foundling, being as good as his DNA will allow
Flint, BC, a sparky pup
Spark. BC - can we PLEASE play ball?
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Zachary, my little ironman (July 1994-April 2012)
Brandy (a good dog - 1983-1999)
He is my other eyes that can see above the clouds; my other ears that hear above the winds
Posted 27 October 2005 - 12:47 PM
HTH, I agree that he needs more exercise for sure - do you have hills for him to fetch balls up? That would be more of a work out than on the flat.
Ziva: 4 yo Corgi mix, agility dog!
Kestrel: 2 yo Cattle Dog (mix?), schutzhund and agility dog in training
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"To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle." - Walt Whitman
Posted 27 October 2005 - 12:49 PM
Doggie day care would be a great option. I had forgotten about that. Plus teaching this dog to calm down and have an off switch.
I don't like to crate dogs 10 hours a day. However, I too have lived where there is no one to come let them out and they can not go to daycare. I refuse to board my dogs in another cage at a kennel every day. If I or my husband can't get home from work at lunch they are ok. Most dogs hold it in crates that long overnight with no problems. Doing that means the committment to get up early to have a morning play and dedicating your evenings to them but it is doable if need be.
Posted 27 October 2005 - 01:13 PM
Is there a reason why he can't be with the other dogs while you are gone? He sounds very bored and isolated.
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Posted 27 October 2005 - 01:52 PM
Posted 27 October 2005 - 02:49 PM
Not to mention I do believe it gets the pup into the mind set that house=self-amusement-time.
My pups get to spend lots of time with me, but being quiet. I eventually teach them an informal "go lie down" command, in addition to a formal down/stay - but even before that when they are tiny pups, they learn quiet time can be as rewarding as play time. I give them yummy recreational bones and they chew on them in the office for an hour or so while we work on school or whatever. We alternate this with quiet training, exciting training, and yard time.
Your setup seems so elaborate that I wonder why you couldn't just set up an indoor kennel or two? If you are spending lots of one-on-one time with your pup when you are at home, then it's not cruel to ask him to hang out and chill for a few hours while you are at work.
The problem is, the way things are right now - you are creating a dog that is self-rewarding, opportunistic, and has no patience. All these things will have to be unlearned before he can be a satisfactory stockdog.
It doesn't help him to compare him to your other dogs or our dogs or anyone's dogs. You have to work with the dog you've got and that dog needs BOTH a lot of interaction with you and ALSO to learn impulse control. Somehow you will have to fulfil that need or you will both be disappointed down the road.
Cord, Ted, Gus, Sam - plus Maggie, Zhi, Lynn, Jetta, Lu, Min, and Tully
Posted 27 October 2005 - 02:59 PM
My pups are crated when I'm not home, but for a max of 7-8 hours. In between, there is lots of "free exercise", not forced miles. IMO, sometimes forced exercise such as miles of walking, and too much stimulating play, can actually be more detrimental to the relaxation and calmness you want when you are not home. My dogs each work/train every day (it may be a few 5-minute or one longer session of something), but also spend a good amount of time just hanging out outside, with each other or me. They are very happy to come inside and sleep in their crates in between, because they have learned to have "off switches". They are very good at relaxing. They don't get to have an all-day toy-a-thon, and they don't get to demand that I play with them 24/7 when I am home. They are ready to work, play, or sleep whenever I say it's time for that activity.
IMO, I don't think Repo's bored. Your puppy sounds like a typical working-bred BC that has been overstimulated, has not learned his limits and hasn't found his "off button".
Posted 27 October 2005 - 04:23 PM
Instead teach your pup to be calm, and use his mind. Sure you need exersise, but 5-6 miles on a bike daily for a pup is insane. Also consider your dogs diet, is he eating high protein, high energy foods...well then he will be hyper.
A working BC is very diffrent from a conformation bred dog(can't really call them BC's). They are naturally more active, but sould most definitly not be hyper active as sutch a dog is of no use around stock.
Posted 28 October 2005 - 02:42 AM
> Your other dog is a conformation dog, which is why Repo seems like such a challenge, I guess.
> I noticed the conformation dog in the photo as well. There was one that looked very much like him in our agility class. It was the most un-border-collie-like border collie I had ever seen. He looked like he was moving in slow motion.
> A working BC is very diffrent from a conformation bred dog(can't really call them BC's).
Hey, my "conformation dog" resents these comments! He has ONE conformation title (champion) and SIXTEEN titles in performance events, including herding. He's now doing AKC Advanced herding, USBCHA Novice (could do Ranch, but we're working out some kinks first), agility, obedience and tracking. He is a High In Trial obedience & agility dog and a Reserve High In Trial herding dog (from the HRDII class in AHBA).
He is definitely NOT slow... he runs 5.6 yps in agility, and every time he has Q'd in Excellent (70% Q rate), he has been first place, beating usually around 15-30 herding-bred BCs. He is the #2 BC in the U.S. right now for Excellent A agility and working on his MX. He runs only 0.2 yps slower than Remy, the AKC National Champion. This "conformation dog" could certainly not be called "low drive," or "slow"!
Call me naive, but could it perhaps be the fact that he has good structure that makes him able to be such a fast and agile agility dog?! The difference between him and Repo is not beauty or breeding, but that he has an off switch hard-wired into his brain and Repo doesn't!
And another similar point is that the rescue I had for 6 months (rehomed last month) was obviously from herding lines rather than conformation lines. She was surrendered in a rural cattle farming community, and is a smooth coated, prick-eared, black tri... and I trained her a bit in herding, so she definitely had the instinct. This dog had waaaaay less drive than my conformation dog and was calm and well mannered in the house. She did enjoy rough and tumble play with the other dogs, but was happy to lie down and chew toys if I was otherwise occupied.
All BCs are individuals. Being from conformation lines doesn't mean they'll be lower drive, and being from herding lines doesn't mean they'll be high drive with no off switch.
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