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Does farm life has a stabilizing factor for a Border Collie?


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#1 Maralynn

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 07:26 PM

The past few months I've worked on incorporating Kenzi (aka, my 2 y/o happy spaz) into my chore routine. I never really did it with her before because chore time was Missy's thing. And Kenzi was happy doing just about anything.

The barn is a half mile from where I live so I start out biking over with her most days. Helps to get the edge off a bit.

The first couple weeks I kept her on leash, but that started to be a pain, so I just let her off and micro managed her while I did basic chores - let the ewes out to pasture, feed the ram and the lambs. At first she was like "whoa - what's going on here". She'd want to go up to the fence and bark at the lambs. I'd tell her "no", usher her away and put her in a down. I gave her free rein to explore the sights and smells of the barnyard just a bit. Just stay within my sight and come whne called.

I've slowly upped my criteria for her. I make her stay with me, and put her in stay more and more while I chores.

Her attitude toward the sheep has changed a bit, too. Her interest has grown, but instead of getting bouncy/excited right away she'll drop into a bit of a crouch and stare.

Her self control around the barn has improved nicely and she loves the routine. It seems to be starting to inflence other aspects, too. She seems to be starting to mature, but I'm not sure if that is just her maturing or the whole new routine.

So is it the routine? Is it becuase I'm just expecting more (and being firm/consistant in my expectations)? Or does the whole farm context just give an excellent place to teach a Border Collie about rules, self control and life in general?

I noticed some similarities with Missy when I first got her. The whole farm setting and routine really helped her come out of her shell and gain confidence that tremdously helped her in life in general.

Mara
Kenzi & Kolt

Kipp, my little dude 2004-2014
Missy, my good girl 1999-2011
K9 Knitter Woolie Dog


#2 Sue R

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 08:33 PM

I think that any sort of reasonable routine is stabilizing and beneficial - but I think that when a dog has a sense of accomplishment, even periforally, that can be even more so.

So is it the routine? Is it becuase I'm just expecting more (and being firm/consistant in my expectations)? Or does the whole farm context just give an excellent place to teach a Border Collie about rules, self control and life in general?


I'd say, all of the above!
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#3 G. Festerling

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 09:20 PM

I find that any interaction that sets boundaries and brings success will breed a sort of natural flow that allows everyone to fall into their own little place and stabilize. Me too! ;)
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#4 Maralynn

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Posted 13 November 2011 - 11:01 PM

I find that any interaction that sets boundaries and brings success will breed a sort of natural flow that allows everyone to fall into their own little place and stabilize. Me too! ;)



I like the way you put this!!

I tend to do group activities with the dogs outside of actual training - runs together in the field, ball time together, etc. So perhaps the extra one on one time in an environment where I'll naturally expect more of her and be highly consistent is something that is really clicking with her. I really love seeing her become more in tune with me little bit by little bit despite the fact that I've turned her loose in a highly distracting place.

Mara
Kenzi & Kolt

Kipp, my little dude 2004-2014
Missy, my good girl 1999-2011
K9 Knitter Woolie Dog


#5 arf2184

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Posted 16 November 2011 - 02:36 AM

I find that any interaction that sets boundaries and brings success will breed a sort of natural flow that allows everyone to fall into their own little place and stabilize. Me too! ;)


Well said.

I don't have the privilege of living on a farm, but Meg 'helps' with chores around the house with me (gardening, taking out trash, checking the mail, etc.). I require that she stay close by and calm, which sometimes does require a bit of micro-managing, at least at first. Off leash seems to be better because it requires more focus on her part (on leash, she doesn't think she needs to pay close attention because the leash will tell her when she's too far away).

The first time I had Meg garden with me I was amazed at the difference it made in her behavior. Her 'job' is to stay close and not run after things. She's a great supervisor and 'look out' and while her part in chores is not difficult, it turns Meg into a more relaxed and focused dog (at least for the better part of the day).

On the other hand, if I just take her for a walk and let her 'run wild' off leash in the fields or play ball/Frisbee, she burns off energy but lacks calm focus. She tends to be a bit crazy the rest of the day and has trouble really relaxing (she's jumpy and paces).

Even our training sessions (agility and/or tricks) don't quite have the same effect as chores.

I kind of feel the same on my days off...if I don't accomplish *something* throughout the day, I get a bit jittery.

This time of year, the days are short and the yard is well, dormant, so there isn't much for us to do. We both go a bit crazy...

~Alison
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