Hi everyone! Thanks for adding me to the forum. I'm so excited to be here I've been quietly stalking all the posts and have learned so much!
Bit of background, I've always loved dogs and grew up with dogs, but I've never really had a border collie and the other dogs we had (black labs) were not well trained... We did have a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix when I was a kid who was such a good dog. We didn't train him, though, just adopted him already trained. Easy going for us
Anyway, my husband and I decided to add a little border collie to our home after a lot of research and consideration. My dream is to have a dog I can let walk off leash anywhere we go. (Obviously I'll keep him on lead near roads and in places where it's mandatory, but that's my dream). I heavily considered if I felt we could give a border collie the attention and exercise he needed, and decided in the end we could. My husband and I both love to hike, I love to run, and we both love going for walks daily. We brought home our puppy, Dallas, when he was 9 weeks old. He is currently 14 weeks.
Things have been going considerably well! He's mostly house trained. The accidents he has (rarely) are always my fault, usually because I didn't get him out quick enough when he's told me he needs to go. He knows sit, down, up, come, stay, "Go find Abraham!" (my husband), "Do you want to come?" (when he's allowed to follow me outside of his designated area), and he's learning paw, leave it, walk between my legs ("through"), and wait. We also will play "find the food" and hide and seek. This week I've been able to start taking him to the park so we can practice his obedience training in a new, rather distracting area.
Recently we've started working on walking on the lead. He can be a right terror sometimes, and I'm concerned maybe I'm not doing this right. The main problem is as we are walking he attacks my shoelaces. When we're in the front room and he attacks feet or bites, we stop playing with him and put him in a short time out. It helps a lot. Obviously when we're walking I can't do that. What I've been doing is stopping, making him go into a sit, and then we continue. Sometimes I think he does this on purpose so he can stop and sniff. Any advice?? I've started taking kibble with me and giving him kibble anytime he walks beside me or looks at me. It mostly works, but he sometimes will still go for my shoelaces.
The second thing I'm concerned about is my schedule for him. Luckily I work from home so it's easy to get a schedule going. Right now this is what we do:
7am to 9am - Wake up, go outside for a wee, obedience training, breakfast, play, walk
9am to 11am - In the crate for a nap/rest
11am to 1pm - Go outside for a wee, obedience training, play, lunch, free time, walk
1pm to 4pm - In the crate for a nap.rest
4pm to 7pm - Go outside for a wee, obedience training, play dinner, short walk, free time
7pm to 9pm - In the crate for a nap/rest
9pm to 10pm - Outside for a wee, free time
10pm - Bed
I've really only started this schedule this week. Prior to I tried letting him drop to rest on his own, but he's one of those pups who doesn't know when to quit. If he could, he would go 24/7. He also gets super grouchy if he doesn't get naps, so I learned he definitely has to be put in the crate to get his chill time or he just won't rest and becomes a nightmare. Does this schedule look ok? Am I putting him in the crate too much? If I give him treats, he's happy to go into his crate when I say. I'm trying to give him plenty of opportunity for exercise without hurting him before he's fully grown and also plenty of opportunity to exercise his brain while also making sure he gets his rest. Our walks usually range from 10 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on him. Obedience training, each session is probably about 5 minutes, sometimes longer sometimes shorter. When we play, I'll play with him for probably 30 minutes and then leave him to play on his own.
I do have a couple of questions. (Sorry, this is turning into a long post!)
1) I've seen people mention an off switch. How do you teach your dog to have an off switch?? I'd love to not have to put him in the crate to teach him to chill, but if that's the way to do it, I'll keep on going
2) How do you teach a dog to occupy himself? Those times in the schedule where I let Dallas play by himself, he'll do things to get attention like grab our feet, chew on the furniture, etc. Sometimes he's really good and chews on his chew toys, but most of the time he tries to get our attention. Am I possibly giving him too much attention?
3) Last question(s)! What age do you start giving your border collie a job, and how do you designate to him that this is his job? I'd love to teach him to put his toys away and have that as his job. I'm sure I'll think of other jobs I'd love him to have, too, but that's my main one.
Pictures because he's cute! Thanks so much for your help. I love this site!