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Teaching calm in the house?

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My newest foster dog has been with rescue for more than half a year now, because he is so insane. He just doesn't stop moving...ever.

 

Today, I took the dogs outside, and I turned on the hose for him. He loves to try to catch the water coming out of it. Played with him for maybe 15 minutes then turned it off. Afterwards, he grabbed his favorite tennis ball and laid down in the grass for about 5 minutes and just looked around. Then he got up, grabbed the soccer ball, and started pushing it around the yard. If there's no toys around, he'll just walk around smelling everything there is to smell.

I like to teach him tricks..I spent about 30-45 minutes teaching him to jump, spin, and back up. Even after all that thinking, he wasn't in the least bit ready to calm down!

 

That all being said, he's an awesome dog. He minds his manners, for the most part. He's very sweet, playful, gets along great with my own dog(minus one little fight), and listens when he is told "no".

 

I was wondering if anyone has experience with this type of dog? I don't mind the never-stops-moving thing, when we're OUTSIDE. But I want to teach the dog that inside the house, we need to be at least relatively calm. Because even when everyone is just sitting there watching TV, he does not think sitting still is a good idea.

Advice? Ideas?

Thanks!

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Sounds like he was never taught to settle.

 

My advice would be to work it slowly. Catch those momentary downs and reward heavily to start. You can also try something like a "match my energy" game. Basically, you get all excited and play by running back and forth, and then you stop suddenly and become calm. As soon as he chills out, ie stops moving, give him a high value reinforcer, wait a few more seconds, and then play the game again. As the game progresses, start requiring longer periods of calm before the reward. It shouldn't take too long before he starts taking his cues from you.

 

Another option would be to try massage and/or Ttouch.

 

Good luck!

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Sounds like he was never taught to settle.

 

My advice would be to work it slowly. Catch those momentary downs and reward heavily to start. You can also try something like a "match my energy" game. Basically, you get all excited and play by running back and forth, and then you stop suddenly and become calm. As soon as he chills out, ie stops moving, give him a high value reinforcer, wait a few more seconds, and then play the game again. As the game progresses, start requiring longer periods of calm before the reward. It shouldn't take too long before he starts taking his cues from you.

 

Another option would be to try massage and/or Ttouch.

 

Good luck!

 

Good idea. His highest value reward is definitely the tennis ball, but would it be a bad idea to use that since he gets sooo excited about it? He'll gladly work for food, too!

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Good idea. His highest value reward is definitely the tennis ball, but would it be a bad idea to use that since he gets sooo excited about it? He'll gladly work for food, too!

 

It depends if he can control himself enough to think. There's nothing wrong though to use food and only pull out the tennis ball for an exceptionally good response.That way, he's really learning to control himself

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I have no issue popping a "can't settle" dog into a crate with a Kong next to me to help them wind down. I also do a very loose version of Karen Overall's relaxation protocol (you can find it all over the Internet). Some people, in a well meaning effort to be a good Border Collie owner, fill their dogs lives with so much excitement and activity that their dogs never learn to settle down. I wonder if that's whats happened to your foster.

 

Part of learning to be a pet is learning there's times to be busy, and times to settle. I also am calm myself, and talk quietly, and move quietly when its quiet time. They figure it out.

 

 

Al that said, nothing causes my dog to fall into a deep sleep quicker than using his nose. Tracking is the most exhausting thing my dog does. Something to consider if you really want to wear him out.

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As you know, teaching a dog to be calm may take several months, 6 months or longer, but it is definitely worth the effort. I also tried to reinforce calmness inside and play time outside. Of course, one has to give a decent amount of play time outside (it's only fair) to expect calm behavior inside - and I saw that you do exercise him outside, but not everyone does.

 

One of my friends used a chew toy spread with PB. She established that when the dog got his special treat, he was expected to stay calm. Just the action of giving a chew toy (kong or similar) with some PB in it so the dog has to really lie down and spend some time working at getting the PB out starts the dog down the 'calm' path. I have never asked her the specific stages she went through in the training, but I am sure that at some point (in the beginning?) the crate was involved.

 

Another tip I heard from my rehab vet. She is always dealing with clients with dogs in various stages of rehab that must remain fairly calm. One of her clients taught her super-high-energy BC to lie down and curl up as when sleeping. She taught it as a trick. Then extended the time. Just by being in that position the dog begins to relax and go into a calmer state.

 

Good Luck,

Jovi

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I have no issue popping a "can't settle" dog into a crate with a Kong next to me to help them wind down. I also do a very loose version of Karen Overall's relaxation protocol (you can find it all over the Internet). Some people, in a well meaning effort to be a good Border Collie owner, fill their dogs lives with so much excitement and activity that their dogs never learn to settle down. I wonder if that's whats happened to your foster.

 

Part of learning to be a pet is learning there's times to be busy, and times to settle. I also am calm myself, and talk quietly, and move quietly when its quiet time. They figure it out.

 

 

Al that said, nothing causes my dog to fall into a deep sleep quicker than using his nose. Tracking is the most exhausting thing my dog does. Something to consider if you really want to wear him out.

 

 

I always act calm when it's time to settle down. But even when I'm doing nothing but laying on my bed, he just paces back and forth. Poor dog, he reminds me a lot of my girl. She used to be like that before she had a job to do. I suspect the people who turned her into the shelter never taught her to settle, either. She was always bouncing off the walls! I'm just not sure how I got her to stop doing that. She still isn't a huge fan of staying still, but she isn't going crazy any more. She really just likes to walk around the house, which I have no problem with. But if I tell her to lie down, she'll very happily curl up and take a nap. I do demand my snuggle time, on occasion!

 

My foster dog does settle down nicely in the crate, but as soon as I let him out he is "GO GO GO!!" again.

 

Tracking? That sounds like a good idea! What do you usually lay down a trail with?

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I taught my dog with food, in small piles, gradually moved further and further apart and he realized he could follow the track to the food. Once he got it, I gradually morphed the treats off the ground and used them as a reward for finding the article.

 

Theres a lot of good books out there...its really kind of addictive.

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As you know, teaching a dog to be calm may take several months, 6 months or longer, but it is definitely worth the effort. I also tried to reinforce calmness inside and play time outside. Of course, one has to give a decent amount of play time outside (it's only fair) to expect calm behavior inside - and I saw that you do exercise him outside, but not everyone does.

 

One of my friends used a chew toy spread with PB. She established that when the dog got his special treat, he was expected to stay calm. Just the action of giving a chew toy (kong or similar) with some PB in it so the dog has to really lie down and spend some time working at getting the PB out starts the dog down the 'calm' path. I have never asked her the specific stages she went through in the training, but I am sure that at some point (in the beginning?) the crate was involved.

 

Another tip I heard from my rehab vet. She is always dealing with clients with dogs in various stages of rehab that must remain fairly calm. One of her clients taught her super-high-energy BC to lie down and curl up as when sleeping. She taught it as a trick. Then extended the time. Just by being in that position the dog begins to relax and go into a calmer state.

 

Good Luck,

Jovi

 

 

I've forgotten about my Kong! Haven't used it in a while. I always put in a little peanut butter, a lttle wet dog food, and maybe a tiny bit of honey, and then freeze it for a few hours. Entertainment for at least half an hour! I'll definitely have to break that thing out again.

 

I always make outside where exercise is done. I don't want my dogs to expect me to be throwing tennis balls and toys for them in the house. Play time is for outside only, at my house. I'm okay with a chew toy if they're just laying there calmly playing with it, but none of that chasing stuff indoors!

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I taught my dog with food, in small piles, gradually moved further and further apart and he realized he could follow the track to the food. Once he got it, I gradually morphed the treats off the ground and used them as a reward for finding the article.

 

Theres a lot of good books out there...its really kind of addictive.

 

 

I will definitely try that, sounds like a great idea!

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I always tel people who come to see about puppies that border collies want to please us, and that one should always remember that - that this is a foundation of BC behavior most often than not. So if we reward only action that's all we are going to get. So I tell them that from the beginning they have to communicate to the dog that lying quietly is a thing that pleases us and that being a pain in the neck and nagging is not. That play time is play time, work time is work time, and walk time is time, and the rest is doing nothing and that makes us very happy.

 

I used to do chores with my first BC who ran around like total idiot and I did nothing thinking she is so excited she will not listen. But then thinking about the above, I said once in the middle of her spastic craze "lie down!" and down she plopped with great relief written allover her whole being. She was not a spastic dog and she is very calm now she was just at her wits' end what to do for me.

 

I hope this helps.

 

Maja

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What I do is once the dogs and I have finished eating, playing, bustling, and goofing off I go sit down in my chair. I take a leash, leash the dog, and put the leash under my legs. I then proceed to ignore the dog in question. I might softly gently praise it for laying down, but I've found that more often than not that causes them to pop back up. I basically wait them out.

 

They usually get the picture relatively quickly, and usually within a few days of doing this they start to offer up the behavior whenever I sit down (they seem to like to come curl up at my feet).

 

That being said, the first dog I taught to settle I clicker shaped a "go to bed" command, and his tiny little bed lives next to my chair, and when I go sit, he goes to bed. It's right cute.

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I would completely wear the dog out with outside games -- fetch, frisbee, running, etc. Inside the house I have *no* toys. Inside the house is not for playing, so why do they need toys? They have chew things that encourage quiet, solo activity.

 

When they wake up, we go back out to play again.

 

Once given a routine, I find new dogs figure it out pretty quickly that in the house we are quiet and that they will be given ample opportunity to run and play outside. I think my other dogs also set a good example because the new dogs see them settle in the house.

 

I tether to me if necessary so that I can enforce the quiet time rules (puppies just stay on my lap or next to me). There is always a crate if necessary, but generally if they absolutely will not settle, they need to go out and run more.

 

Thankfully we are generally able to cut back on the crazy amount of exercise fairly quickly -- once they start to figure out the routine. But in the beginning we are outside a lot.

 

I've always believed, "A tired dog is a good dog." Can't get into trouble or annoy me if they are sleeping.

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I have found that playing Chuck-it, Frisbee, garden hose, etc it great and all for my two regular Border Collies but it doesn't really tire out my two highest energy kids. The only thing that will get those monkeys to settle is a nice hike in the woods.

 

We go off leash and they like to run ahead and to the side and play in the stream and the trees. Every few minutes I will quietly stop and the dogs come racing back along the paths looking for me. I trained this behavior when we first started these hikes by praising and treating them every time they would come back to me without asking after running off. I’d ask them to ‘wait’ until everyone had checked in and then I’d say ‘OK’ and they would all run off again. They quickly learned to check in with me on a fairly regular basis and now they just get the praise and an ‘ok’. I really enjoy this because I don't have to worry unless I haven't seen them in a while and I’m not constantly calling for them. Sometimes I will walk off the path in a different direction and we play a game of "find me" the next time they come looking for me. They seem to really love that. Finding me when I’m off the path usually gets them extra rubbings and more praise. That game also encourages them to run back and forth using extra energy. The trail we follow usually takes about a half an hour to complete. We used to do a longer trail but the shorter one has a creek in the middle and they like to play in the creek and run up and down the banks along the way and generally seem more tired after that hike than the longer one. If the dogs aren't showing signs of being super tired by the end then I usually 'fake them out' and start down the path again and then as soon as they are out of sight i will stop and be perfectly silent and we play ‘find me’…. There is a large mowed field in between the entrance to the trail and my car and on the way back I will make them stay fairly far back on the path and they have to wait in a down stay (no matter how many people are playing in the field or whatever other distractions there are). It usually takes a few minutes to walk from the entrance of the trail to the car so they have a long wait. I will open the back of my SUV and only when I yell “ok” do they get to get up and race each other to the car. If they try to come up before then we go all the way back to the start and they have to wait again. Now I usually don’t have to go back unless one of my boys tries to sneak up.

 

The whole trip takes maybe 35-40 minutes and will make them way more tired than the same time spent in any other activity….even swimming. They also end up with huge grins on their faces which is nice because I have one dog who has a tendency to sulk.

 

I hope you can find a place near where you live that you can try something like this. I think the combination of running, playing and tracking/mind games all work together well and it’s realistic for an after-work activity.

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I have found that playing Chuck-it, Frisbee, garden hose, etc it great and all for my two regular Border Collies but it doesn't really tire out my two highest energy kids. The only thing that will get those monkeys to settle is a nice hike in the woods.

 

This sounds like a great idea, however, I can't take him off leash. He's a foster dog, so even if he had a good enough recall, I wouldn't want to risk it.

My own dog does that, though! If we go anywhere out in the country/forest, when I let her off leash she wil RUN RUN RUN until a point. Then stop and wait for me to get close enough, then RUN RUN RUN, and repeat. :) I didnt have to train it into her, though, she just freaks out when she realizes I'm not close enough!

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone so far with the great suggestions!

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Oh, thank you for this thread...got a foster today that sounds like he will be just like this, and he certainly seemed to be today. I was just taking him out to run til he was tired (fortunately, I'm on vacation right now so can do this three instead of two times per day for the next couple days) and then popping him in his kennel. But will try some of these suggestions. It's so odd, because my own dog has been the exact opposite since she was a pup: work until the sun goes down if you ask her, but sleep or lay quiet as a mouse whenever we're inside. This nonstop activity is not something I've ever encountered before.

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My Nelly used to be exactly like this, nonstop. She was INSANE. During the day, she'll be doing one of four things:

 

1. Watching(herding) the fish

2. Shadowing(herding) the cats

3. Begging for attention

4. Sleeping

 

She's either sleeping, or wanting to be doing something. I always get suspicious as to what she's doing when I see her just walking around - usually she's up to no good!

 

Good luck with the new foster ;) Keep me updated, I want to see if any of these tricks work for you!

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Just remember with the chuck-it "wearing them out" idea... The more you run the dog the fitter the dog becomes and the more you have to run them to get them worn out, plus an increase of repetitive running stress on their bodies.

 

I would use a crate or a leash and have the foster dog attached to me when they aren't in the crate. I relax on the couch, they relax on the floor/couch. I have teathered a dog to the foot of the couch too so I didn't have the leash attached to me but the dog didn't have freedom either.

 

I would use a verbal correction as well. If the dog is pacing, get after them and ask them to lay down or relax (if they don't put them back on a leash or in their crate) They should get the idea that that kind of behaviour isn't acceptable. I know if I get to playing with Chesney in the house and he doesn't want to quit just yet but I'm done playing, I tell him to chill out, and he will usually lay down at my feet.

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Just remember with the chuck-it "wearing them out" idea... The more you run the dog the fitter the dog becomes and the more you have to run them to get them worn out, plus an increase of repetitive running stress on their bodies.

 

I would use a crate or a leash and have the foster dog attached to me when they aren't in the crate. I relax on the couch, they relax on the floor/couch. I have teathered a dog to the foot of the couch too so I didn't have the leash attached to me but the dog didn't have freedom either.

 

I would use a verbal correction as well. If the dog is pacing, get after them and ask them to lay down or relax (if they don't put them back on a leash or in their crate) They should get the idea that that kind of behaviour isn't acceptable. I know if I get to playing with Chesney in the house and he doesn't want to quit just yet but I'm done playing, I tell him to chill out, and he will usually lay down at my feet.

 

 

LOL he could care less about me wanting him to calm down! I have tried at least a few of the tricks that people have suggested, and none have worked so far. Even with the Kong, instead of just licking/chewing it, he would lick it a bit, pick it up with his mouth and toss it, and then paw at it, and repeat.

I have never seen a dog move as much as this guy does. In fact, he was limping today, and I could not get him to hold still enough for me to take a look at his paws. Eventually I had to give him a very firm "That is ENOUGH, Wiley!" and he looked at me like "Oh, she's serious." and stood still.

 

Still have to try the rest of the suggestions that people have posted!

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LOL he could care less about me wanting him to calm down! I have tried at least a few of the tricks that people have suggested, and none have worked so far. ...Eventually I had to give him a very firm "That is ENOUGH, Wiley!" and he looked at me like "Oh, she's serious." and stood still.

 

No kidding? :D

 

So I tell them that from the beginning they have to communicate to the dog that lying quietly is a thing that pleases us and that being a pain in the neck and nagging is not. That play time is play time, work time is work time, and walk time is time.

 

These you do not achieve by tiring the dog out. The dog must have self control not because its dog-tired but because it has self-control. When a person goes to a trial they get the dog out of the car after a long drive they stand at the post - the dog is chock-full of energy, raring to go. But it won't. It will sand there until the handler tells it to go. This is self control that the dog is perfectly capable of having. Tiring out a dog says "zee boss wants lotsa movement, so I will half kill meeself with movement!"

 

However, if the dog has been raised in the conviction the more the better, the results are not going to be instantaneous.

 

All the best for you and your dog and communication between the two of you!

 

Maja

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Just remember with the chuck-it "wearing them out" idea... The more you run the dog the fitter the dog becomes and the more you have to run them to get them worn out, plus an increase of repetitive running stress on their bodies.

 

I've always thought that is a load of hooey. I keep my dogs as fit as possible for agility. We do not have play or training sessions that get endlessly longer each day. I exercise them enough to get the crazies out and settle them down -- and since they aren't over the top with energy they are then able to settle in the house. Could they or would they WANT to go right back outside in 10 minutes to do it again? Yes, but they've learned to wait until I say it's time.

 

It's up to me to limit their playtime so that they don't get injured -- My oldest in particular will literally run himself into the ground, so his exercise is monitored and he is cut off before he reaches that point. Again, no problem settling in the house.

 

It's about learning routines and boundaries. Exercising your dog does not make them nutty. It helps them to settle. Some dogs need more exercise than others, particularly when they are in the process of learning to settle. You would not feed a child 10lbs of sugar and expect them to sit quietly. If you are trying to teach a dog the concept of being quiet in the house, the least you can do is set them up for success and wear them out first. To expect an untrained dog who is bursting out of his skin to lay quietly is not going to get you anywhere.

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I've always thought that is a load of hooey. I keep my dogs as fit as possible for agility...

 

...it's about learning routines and boundaries. Exercising your dog does not make them nutty. It helps them to settle. Some dogs need more exercise than others, particularly when they are in the process of learning to settle. You would not feed a child 10lbs of sugar and expect them to sit quietly. If you are trying to teach a dog the concept of being quiet in the house, the least you can do is set them up for success and wear them out first. To expect an untrained dog who is bursting out of his skin to lay quietly is not going to get you anywhere.

 

What you said is true, but I don't think anyone said that the dog doesn't need exercise and that it would make them nutty. What she said is that you can't count on physical exercise alone to wear your dog out.

 

But if you use exercise alone to tire a dog out, you will find that as they get fit they need more and more, and that things that tire them out mentally will often have an as good or even better effect on them being quiet in the house.

 

So, a combination is really helpful.

 

If I play ball or frisbee with Argos after work, he is happy and settled, but he is awake and if given the slightest idea that someone is up to something hes up and following you, squeaky toy in his mouth. If I do obedience or agility training like concentrated heeling, or platform work, or weave entries, hes even more settled for the evening. If I do both, he comes in and naps. And if we track, he will pass out cold and snoring for 3 hours!

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I've always thought that is a load of hooey. I keep my dogs as fit as possible for agility.....It's up to me to limit their playtime so that they don't get injured -- My oldest in particular will literally run himself into the ground, so his exercise is monitored and he is cut off before he reaches that point. Again, no problem settling in the house.

 

This is how my Nelly is. It was after I had first gotten her, before I realized that not all dogs will come lay down next to you when they're tired. She ran so hard that she laid down, and when she tried to stand up, she wobbled and fell back to the ground. Scared the living hell out of me, and since then I have to keep a close eye on her exercise. I normally let her run until she decides she's done(unlikely) or her chin is covered in slobber(eww!). I know by that point that she could very well run more, but that it would be starting to push the boundaries of what she can handle! She loves running, and I like her to be able to be in tip top shape, physically. I go on short-ish bike rides to the river, and it's nice being able to take her with me. Every time she sees me going for the bicycle, she starts crying and jumping all over the place because it's just sooo exciting!

 

But she does settle pretty well in the house. Granted, there's the occassional spaz moments, but I think every dog has those!

 

Can this dog do a down stay at all?

 

Are you referring to my foster dog? If so, no. It would make my life a heck of a lot easier if he could! But we're still working on that. I've been sick the past couple days so he's been spending most of his time crated or outside.

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Are you referring to my foster dog? If so, no. It would make my life a heck of a lot easier if he could! But we're still working on that. I've been sick the past couple days so he's been spending most of his time crated or outside.

 

Yes. This can help teach a dog to settle...if the only attention/rewards he gets are for "doing stuff" he may keep wanting to do stuff. But teaching him a down stay with rewards will help him get the idea that "stuff" can happen when he is quiet too.

 

And its low impact for you, put him on a leash, get a bowl of treats and have a seat.

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