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Suzyann13

BC puppy training hopeful...

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Hi. My puppy, Mickey, is a 12 weeks old bc mix, probably GSD and BC for the most part. His personality and behavior are BC, in that he is extremely sensitive to noises, movements, and even shadow, he has a "herding" instinct, he rarely barks, he has the jump-nip thing (which we are working on stopping) and he is totally sweet in every way. So far in his training, he comes when called indoors (haven't started on outdoors yet), asks to go outside to potty (though he will still have an accident if I don't notice him asking), fetches toys, walks on leash (not started with "heel yet"), and responds well to "no." I am pretty happy with his general training. I intend to train him as a comfort/service dog for my parents because my dad has Altzheimer's. I researched online and found that collie/shepherd breeds are the best suited for this task because of their sensitivity.

 

My questions are:

 

1) He gets diarrhea sometimes, and I suspect it's from certain treats. Are bc tummies sensitive to wheat or corn? His next vet visit is in a week, so I can ask the vet about it, but I thought someone here may have ideas. (He is pretty amazing in that when he has diarrhea, he holds it until he is outside, somehow.)

 

2) When I take him to see his mother (belongs to my granddaughter who got her from the pound already pregnant) sometimes his sister is also there to visit. If the mother is there alone, he is happy and plays with her and has a great time. If the sister is there, the mother and sister gang up on him and he wants to leave. Is this normal? I pretty much don't let him play with them if the sister is there, although if he happens to be around just the sister, she gets along with him OK. It's just strange.

 

3) At what age should I begin formal training, such as heel, sit, stay, and so on? He seems to learn fast, but the one time I tried "heel," he was totally confused and didn't want to do it. I didn't want to get him in a frame of mind that training isn't fun, so I left it alone.

 

I posted photos of Mickey and his brothers and sisters in the bc photo gallery forum, in case you want to see them.

 

Thank you for any help you can offer...

 

--Suzyann13

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Answers:

 

1) If his stools are loose, but he is holding his defecation until he gets outside, it may be due to an intestinal bacterial infection or other cause. You are wise to have it checked. With that said, yes, it can be the treats. You might try the treats made from duck and potato; they seem to be benign for dogs with sensitive stomachs.

 

2) I don't know enough about Border Collie-specific behavior to answer that question; I will defer to others with greater expertise.

 

3) A dog is never too young to start learning simple commands. With that said, I would enroll the dog in Puppy Kindergarten at the earliest opportunity.

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Welcome, Suzyann! Mickey is gorgeous - I wish the two of you all the best together! Your story reminds me of the time my family adopted a female dog from the pound. A couple of weeks later she had 13 puppies - and each looked like a different breed! There was one that looked like a collie; one like a Dalmation; one like a German shepherd, and so on. We kept the cute gray ball of fluff that grew into what might easily have been mistaken for a purebred Irish wolfhound.

 

1) He gets diarrhea sometimes, and I suspect it's from certain treats. Are bc tummies sensitive to wheat or corn? His next vet visit is in a week, so I can ask the vet about it, but I thought someone here may have ideas. (He is pretty amazing in that when he has diarrhea, he holds it until he is outside, somehow.)

 

My BC pup (now 7 months) is susceptible to diarrhea as well. Sometimes it seems related to diet, sometimes to stress (twice it's happened after we've taken him somewhere that's a bit too chaotic for him), and sometimes to "environment" (he's twice gotten coccidia). My recommendation is first, to have a stool sample analyzed if he has loose stools. Coccidia is probably the leading cause of diarrhea in puppies. In our case, even though Duncan was parasite-free when we first brought him home, he had coccidia a couple of weeks later.

 

Sometimes it has seemed related to diet. If you read the ingredients in common treats, it's not hard to see why. Many are full of all kinds of things (wheat and corn among them) that many puppy tummies find difficult to tolerate. Other treats (such as freeze-dried liver) are awfully rich, and you have to be careful not to feed too much of them to puppies. Most prepackaged treats come in pieces that are far larger than you really want to give out; you could end up adding an awful lot of calories to his diet, displacing better foods. You might want to prepare a small baggie of treats cut into minuscule bits to portion out. Dogs are happy to get any treat, even a crumb.

 

Some pups are happy with bits of their kibble as treats. My vet recommended Cheerios as treats. They're low in calories, and are made only (I think) of oats. One way of making them more appealing is to put them in a baggie with chunks of freeze-dried liver.

 

Some treats will be more appealing than others. My pup loves cheese and will do almost anything for it. But we have to dole it out sparingly, because it's high in fat. On the other hand - if you're trying to get a pup to master a command that they really don't care for (such as heeling), it's nice to have a stash of those irresistable treats.

 

2) When I take him to see his mother (belongs to my granddaughter who got her from the pound already pregnant) sometimes his sister is also there to visit. If the mother is there alone, he is happy and plays with her and has a great time. If the sister is there, the mother and sister gang up on him and he wants to leave. Is this normal? I pretty much don't let him play with them if the sister is there, although if he happens to be around just the sister, she gets along with him OK. It's just strange.

 

Don't know about that one. It is good to try to find another pup or two that are of an age similar to yours. Pups learn a great deal about bite inhibition from playing with other puppies. When he's had all his shots, he can go out more and meet other pups. Your chances of having a dog that is fearful of other dogs, or aggressive toward them, will be reduced if you're able to socialize him with other puppies at an early age.

 

3) At what age should I begin formal training, such as heel, sit, stay, and so on? He seems to learn fast, but the one time I tried "heel," he was totally confused and didn't want to do it. I didn't want to get him in a frame of mind that training isn't fun, so I left it alone.

 

I tend to be of the "it's never too early to start" school, at least with basic manners you expect around the house (like sitting before being fed, or not jumping up on people). You should ask your vet when he or she thinks Mickey will be old enough for a class from the perspective of immunity. If you can find a "puppy kindergarten" class, where all the other "pupils" are puppies (six months or younger), it will provide for useful socialization in addition to basic obedience training. Just be sure you ask lots of questions. What sort of approach do they use? (I've found positive, reward-based approaches work well for basic obedience). Some people swear by clicker training; I don't have any experience with it myself. Will all the other dogs in the class really be puppies? (We enrolled in one puppy class in which several dogs were a couple of years old - and very snappish towards our pup). Do they allow them off leash? It's good for socialization, but dangerous in a mix of older dogs and puppies. Can they give you names of past owners you can talk to? What books do the trainers recommend (then go to Amazon and read the reviews - both positive and negative).

 

For what it's worth, our vet gave his blessing after (I think) the second shot, so Duncan was well in the midst of basic obedience training by the time he was Mickey's age. Although he was by far the youngest pup in the class, he was the star pupil. But then he's a Border collie!

 

Oh - they didn't teach "heel" until intermediate class. In the beginning class it was just "loose leash walking". "Heel" is a lot tougher for puppies to master; many don't have the focus or attention span at only twelve weeks. In any case, "heeling" is just one example of a command that's more a "process" than something that a pup is likely to get right away, like "sit". ("Leave it" is another one that we're still working on. Duncan got it right away for treats - the first day we could put a treat on the ground next to him and he wouldn't eat it. He'll now pay attention to "leave it" for squirrels when we're on a walk. But oh, if some kid is bouncing a basketball or a soccer ball - there's no way he's going to ignore it!).

 

Good luck, and enjoy the puppy days - they pass so quickly!

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2.) Difficult to give advice on this without seeing the actual behavior. I usually give a time out to all the dogs for a couple of minutes if I feel play is getting too rough.

 

3.) Another vote for as soon as possible. Just be careful of beginning obedience classes calling themselves a puppy class. A true Puppy class should promote socializing with other puppies and exposing them to new experiences. There are plenty of qualified CPDTs in and around CT. I would recommend their classes because they have had extensive training and their puppy courses are actual puppy courses. If you go to the APDT website, you can search for trainers in your area. Make sure the trainer is CPDT or higher...I know of a trainer in CT that I would not take my dogs to because I don't agree with the methods. This trainer is a member of the APDT, but is not CPDT certified, so be careful. Above all, make sure you like the trainer and trust him/her.

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:rolleyes: Hi, and thank you for the ideas. I have already looked into puppy classes, and am considering the options here.

 

I suspect it is certain treats that gives him poopy problems, because he only has diarrhea once in a while for half a day or so, but I will get him checked when we're at the vet. I was thinking that corn and wheat are bad for puppies, but that was just a feeling I had, and I hadn't heard other people say it. My two dogs don't do well on them. But I didn't know that rich foods might cause it as well.

 

Yesterday I took him to my mom and dad's for a visit, and when they were outside for a few minutes, I used some small bits of treats and trained him to sit in less than 5 minutes. (Note that I didn't say sit and "stay" though!--he's not ready for stay quite yet). He's definitely smart!

 

Anyway, thanks again, and I'll let you know how he's doing later on...

 

--Suzyann13

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I suspect it is certain treats that gives him poopy problems, because he only has diarrhea once in a while for half a day or so, but I will get him checked when we're at the vet. I was thinking that corn and wheat are bad for puppies, but that was just a feeling I had, and I hadn't heard other people say it.

 

Hi, wheat and corn are not "good" ingredients for dogs. That is not to say that dogs can't/don't tolerate them but they are not really "good" for dogs. Grain free foods can be on the rich side but there are a variety of grain free foods and treats to choose from. Every dog is different. So one food/treat may agree with one dog and not another.

 

On and off diarrhea can still be from a parasite, such as coccidia, or a bacteria, such as giardia. My mom's newest pup had diarrhea on and off for a couple of months. She was tested for coccidia and it came back positive she treated for it and the diarrhea came back. Since giardia is very hard to test for the vet did not test for it, but since her stool sample came back clean for all other parasites he suggested treating for giardia. That did the trick.

 

Good Luck!

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Regards training he's not to old to learn stay. I started Jin's training the week I got him (9 wks old) He's now 10 months old and had been through puppy, beginning and intermediate obedient classes and has his CGC despite having been snarked by lap rat dogs several times. According to my trainer that's very good for a pup.

 

Regards training as a Service Dog, Jin is also going through that training however I suggest you get his basic training down before you start to introduce him to more difficult tasks.

 

I do recommend you look at AssistanceDogsInternational.com or .org for info on training SDs. Thre's a lot mnor to it than you think.

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Regards training he's not to old to learn stay. I started Jin's training the week I got him (9 wks old) He's now 10 months old and had been through puppy, beginning and intermediate obedient classes and has his CGC despite having been snarked by lap rat dogs several times. According to my trainer that's very good for a pup.

 

Regards training as a Service Dog, Jin is also going through that training however I suggest you get his basic training down before you start to introduce him to more difficult tasks.

 

I do recommend you look at AssistanceDogsInternational.com or .org for info on training SDs. Thre's a lot mnor to it than you think.

 

Hi. Thank you for the info! I have actually trained him a short stay, where he has to wait for a little while in sit position to get a treat. He does pretty well so far, and I plan to increase the time and then extend it to stay for other things. He's such a smart little guy! I trained my pug when she was little, and she ended up taking Reserve Grand Champion in obedience at the Benton Franklin County Fair dog show in her second year (about 18 months), which other people said that would be impossible for a young pug. I believe it's the intelligence of the dog and the persistance of the trainer that make a difference. My daughter has a pug, too, and he's about impossible to train for anything because of his "Odie" like intelligence level...

 

I am excited to look up the website you gave me. I've been researching that for quite a while on the Internet, and the more I learn, the better for Mickey and for my parents. :rolleyes:

 

--Suzanne

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Regards training he's not to old to learn stay. I started Jin's training the week I got him (9 wks old) He's now 10 months old and had been through puppy, beginning and intermediate obedient classes and has his CGC despite having been snarked by lap rat dogs several times. According to my trainer that's very good for a pup.

 

Regards training as a Service Dog, Jin is also going through that training however I suggest you get his basic training down before you start to introduce him to more difficult tasks.

 

I do recommend you look at AssistanceDogsInternational.com or .org for info on training SDs. Thre's a lot mnor to it than you think.

 

Hi again! In researching that website, I found the names of two good books on therapy dogs, which I ordered (and already got one today!) It looks like just what I needed, and I thank you again for the info!

 

Mickey had his vet visit today, and the results are he doesn't have parasitic invasions internally. The vet said either he was eating something he was allergic to, such as corn or wheat, or eating bowel movements (although I doubt that, because I keep him in the house and never take him outside off leash unless I'm watching him the whole time). He got his last set of shots, and the vet says he thinks Mickey's probably a GSD and BC mix, as I suspected, though he thinks it could be husky and BC instead. I don't know what huskies are like, but Mickey has the BC personality, at any rate. Mickey is learning rapidly, and I think he's going to be perfect for my mom and dad.

 

--Suzanne :rolleyes:

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