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Quick question about free time in the yard. I am lucky enough to have a nice sized yard for my 11 week old BC to play in. Many times I will do 2-3 hours at a time out there, which is also really wonderful. Usually I will start out with a 5-10min training session on the basics using the clicker and then just release her for her own free play. Every 10-15 minutes I'll join in for a tug game or throw the frisbee (which she either does not get or grabs and runs off with). My question stems partially from me being a worrier and a doer, so when I see her romping around in the bushes, chewing on all kinds of stuff and generally showing zero attention span I wonder if all that free time is good for her. Part of me thinks that of course she will need time to develop her sense of independence, but I definitely do not want to squander opportunity to help her develop. Thoughts? Thanks!!

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Other than seperation anxiety issues why would you want to foster independence? For mine, once they are bored enough that they start looking for things to chew on, they come inside for safety reasons, and I never leave small puppies outside unattended.

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She's not unattended, I am out there with her. I just sit and read or catch up on emails while she plays. I am working on developing a sense that there are times when she is supposed to be with me and times when she is not. She seems very content just meandering around at times, so i let her do that (but then she is a puppy afterall) Just curious.

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It definitely helps them to not develop seperation anxiety to know that they are fine if they don't have you there 24/7. I was just wondering if there was any specific thing you were looking to get out of it otherwise. Sometimes end goal is the thing that sets your approach to a training problem, so I was trying to understand if there were specific issues. It is definitely a good thing to encourage a BC to explore their surroundings within limits, that way they have a bit more confidence when you take them to strange surroundings. And to foster this, change things up in your backyard while she is not with you, then let her discover what you have done. Add different things, like a tarp with toys in the middle, that encourage her to walk on different surfaces, accept changes, discover new things. Next time make it a box with toys or hang the tarp in a tree. I thought I had done plenty of that sort of thing for my pups, but the other night I called the dogs into the house and the youngest was looking at me in terror. I couldn't figure out what his issue was until I realized that I was holding an empty black dog food bag. I backed up a step into better lighting, he came in looking kind of sheepish.

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Sounds fine to me. Personally, I want my dogs to be able to figure out that they should go off and entertain themselves if I tell them to go do their own thing (release them). At that age, Feist was certainly playing by herself a lot, as long as you're out there supervising, I don't see a problem.

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Gosh, at 11 weeks, zero is about the attention span they have! Unless she's doing something dangerous to her health or well being, I see nothing wrong with letting a puppy be a puppy. They need time to themselves, IMHO, to learn their world and explore their senses, learn their bodies. There's plenty of time to work on her training and you will gradually increase her attention span.

After all, what's the alternative? Monitoring her every move? Puppies need time to be puppies. And independence is a part of the border collie character. I want my dogs to pay attention when I ask for their attention, but the ability to think, explore and understand their world is important. After all, I can't tell my dog how to read sheep at 600 yards away. I can direct him, but he ultimately has to make the calls, right or wrong.

Always keep her safety and health foremost, but let her be a dog, as well! :)

~ Gloria

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Thanks everyone! I have scoured the yard for hazards or escape holes and feel confident in her freely roaming about. Honestly it's a joy to see her chase her tail and tumble around on the grass without a care. Having a dog that can chill out on its own is one of my goals, but I wanted to see what others thought about it. I'm encouraged by the responses. Thanks!

 

The other day I walked her through the "heel" routine and after a week of struggling to get her to sit next to me she popped right into position literally over night and has been doing it perfectly (well, almost...) since. Very happy about this!

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And independence is a part of the border collie character.

 

Unless it isn't. ;)

 

Border collies who are your constant shadows are endearing . . . to an extent. But they can be equally annoying when you can't get them out from underfoot, too. Ask me how I know. :rolleyes:

 

So, yeah. Allowing her to develop some independence and to be happy with her own company is a good thing, as long as you also work on her paying attention to you when you ask for it.

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As long as you are monitoring her so that she can't practice unwanted behaviors (nuisance barking, digging in your garden, honing her escape abilities, eating things you don't want her to), I don't see a problem.

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Unless it isn't. ;)

 

Border collies who are your constant shadows are endearing . . . to an extent. But they can be equally annoying when you can't get them out from underfoot, too. Ask me how I know. :rolleyes:

 

So, yeah. Allowing her to develop some independence and to be happy with her own company is a good thing, as long as you also work on her paying attention to you when you ask for it.

 

 

Lol, yes, I know how you know! I have a friend whose goofy, dorky, deliriously happy neutered boy just CAN'T leave me or his mom alone. :P They are such characters.

 

~ Gloria

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Thanks everyone! I have scoured the yard for hazards or escape holes and feel confident in her freely roaming about. Honestly it's a joy to see her chase her tail and tumble around on the grass without a care. Having a dog that can chill out on its own is one of my goals, but I wanted to see what others thought about it. I'm encouraged by the responses. Thanks!

 

The other day I walked her through the "heel" routine and after a week of struggling to get her to sit next to me she popped right into position literally over night and has been doing it perfectly (well, almost...) since. Very happy about this!

 

 

There you go! Continue with that happy balance and you two will have a long and wonderful partnership. :)

 

~ Gloria

P.S.

Chilling out on their own is something I very much value in a dog.

 

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As long as you are monitoring her so that she can't practice unwanted behaviors (nuisance barking, digging in your garden, honing her escape abilities, eating things you don't want her to), I don't see a problem.

 

Yes, the digging has begun... She loves to scratch through the dry lawn, which leads to lovely smelly soil and holes pop up pretty quick. She's tough headed too, so pulling her away from it does nothing. Instead I have to distract her with something more interesting and then cover the hole with something for a while. My lawn looks like a yard sale.

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You might consider constructing a digging pit for her. Make a frame out of boards and fill it with sand. She can did there and nowhere else. I've heard it works quite well for many dogs who like to dig.

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You might consider constructing a digging pit for her. Make a frame out of boards and fill it with sand. She can did there and nowhere else. I've heard it works quite well for many dogs who like to dig.

 

That's a great idea! Thanks!

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My dogs have a couple spots they can dig. It does help! Especially if you plunk some toys in the vicinity. Replacing her digging activity with something else is just what I would do, as well. :)

~ Gloria

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I'm so mean. I just don't allow my dogs to dig and they all seem to lose the urge quickly. If I had a terrier, I might consider a digging spot which I think is a very nice idea for a dog. :)

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I'm so mean. I just don't allow my dogs to dig and they all seem to lose the urge quickly. If I had a terrier, I might consider a digging spot which I think is a very nice idea for a dog. :)

You are not the only meany, mine aren't allowed to either.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Yep. Just let her be a dog. Good you're out there with her. She'll always be your dog. If you don't give her a chance to learn the world, she won't and one day, when inevitably she's thrust into the Big World, she won't know what to do. Border Collies become the "wisest dogs in the world" because they've experienced it.

 

Donald McCaig

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I'm so mean. I just don't allow my dogs to dig

 

Actually, I don't either. ;)

 

But I figured I'd put the idea of a digging pit out there in case the OP was interested.

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