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Itty Bitty Border Collies

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Alright Missy, you've had your 24 hours! Where are the puppy pictures?! :)

 

Really, I hope you're having a blast! Raising a puppy can be trying, but it's more that worth it. You're well prepared, you'll have a wonderful dog on your hands before you know it! Savor puppyhood, it's so short!

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I felt terrified when it was time to bring home my puppy and I have raised four before her! You will figure it out. Just remember to take lots of photos, they grow so fast!

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It's stressful especially those first few weeks, but you'll look back and be amazed at how far she will come in just a few short weeks.

 

Good Luck and I can't wait to see pictures!

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Oh, man. I just love puppies that age. And a tri? Well, my dogs are all tris and I think they are the best of them all.

 

I'm so glad I got Joey- who is 1 now. He was so much fun. And he got my two older dogs going again.

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Thanks guys! I figured I'd post an update, both for my benefit and in case others were interested or had any good suggestions. I'll add some pictures when I get home.

 

Aed is nearing 9 weeks now, and he's noticeably bigger. He's been attending a great puppy socialization class three times a week and will be starting a formal training class on the 17th. He is positively the most confident and adventurous puppy I've ever seen (and that anyone else has ever seen, from what I hear). The only thing that has succeeded in scaring him so far were my rollerblades. Thunder, blenders, children, big dogs, the vacuum, stairs, and jumping off of furniture are all well within his comfort zone. To be honest I'm a bit worried about whether I'll be able to handle him. He is quite a dominant dog - he clearly takes after his father. He's been great about very rarely chewing anything apart from his toys, and he doesn't bite strangers (only us. woohoo...). He plays well with other dogs of all kinds and loves humans of all kinds as well. He was a bit snarly with dogs at first, not aggressively, but like he didn't quite know how to play. Sassy, the instructor called him. He's gotten much better with that now. However, he's stubborn as hell when it comes to potty training and if he starts going on the floor and you stop him, he will refuse to continue on his puppy pad. He'll learn, I hope.

 

He hated the crate at first, but he's been improving, and at least we don't get woken up at night by constant yapping anymore unless he has to pee. He isn't food motivated at all when it comes to kibble or even dog treats, but he'll do just about anything for a scrap of raw meat. We had an incident today where he got given his first meaty bone and (twice) gave a little growl at my boyfriend when he tried to pick him up to put him in his crate. I've decided that's fair enough and he was probably taken by surprise, as he has no problem with letting go of the bone and then being given it back, or with me holding the bone while he chews to help him get at it better. Still, it's something to moniter closely, and we'll be on the ball a lot more about preventing resource guarding now. We've also been working on impulse control with him, at the instructor's suggestion. He's getting very good at "leave it".

Last thing, the instructor said that because he is so confident and dominant with other dogs, we might want to consider an early neuter to help prevent aggression developing. I was hoping to wait until 18 months, but I really don't know a lot about aggression and I'd love to hear peoples' thoughts on this.

That's all for now, sorry about the wall of text. I'd also love suggestions for crate games, potty training, or other ideas to help prevent future aggression (obedience training was suggested, but of course we've already started teaching him every trick/command we can think of).

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I'm glad you're loving him, puppies are a whirlwind!

 

I'm not nearly as experienced as most people on this board, but I will firmly say no to the early neutering. At this point he is a 9 week old puppy. I find it fairly alarming that someone (especially a trainer) would suggest that these normal puppy behaviors are grounds for early neutering. We all know the negative effects of early neutering, and we all know that neutering does not eliminate dominance behaviors. Also in my experience, dominance and aggression are separate entities. Dominance can lead to aggression, but it is unfair to call a dominant dog an aggressive dog, especially for a 9 week old puppy. I won't be that person who says "find another trainer", it's impossible to judge a trainer over the internet. But, I would have a serious talk with him/her about your thoughts on early neutering. If you decide that early neutering is out of the question, your trainer should be there to back you.

 

I wish I had more advice for crating or potty games, I'm sure others will have lots of advice in this area. Is there a particular reason you're using a potty pad? If you're in an apartment or something I understand, but I have always hated the pads. Not everyone struggles with it, but over half of the dogs I've seen who utilized potty pads have had potty training issues. I think it would probably be easier to enforce inside vs. outside. At this point I think you would benefit from going on Extreme Puppy Potty Watch. When Keeper was teeny he was on the miserable 1/2 hour potty schedule. It was a pain in the butt, but he has had a total of 5, maybe 10 accidents in the house (all of which were completely my fault). If he didn't potty at the start of the half hour he had 15 LOUD minutes in the crate. Once he pottied he was granted one half hour of free time. I would definitely say that little Aed isn't being stubborn, he doesn't have a personal agenda against you. Potty training is tough, and he's likely just confused. Make a schedule, and stick to it religiously. Others will surely have advice, but that's where I'd start if I were in your shoes.

 

Keeper too had some very early signs of resource guarding. You can imagine my shock and disappointment (read: "I'm a failure at puppy raising!!") when his first meal was greeted with hunkered down, stiff, nearly growly behavior while wolfing down his food. I immediately starting incorporating hand feeding into his routine. In fact, meal time was the only time when he'd get the special treats like boiled chicken. The deal was that if my hand came toward his food, it meant there were goodies. Eventually it turned into him backing away from his food resulted in the Best Food Ever coming his way. Now he sees me come towards his food and knows that something even BETTER is about to happen. He still receives 80% of his meals completely by hand during a training session. It really, really helped our bond and alleviated more of the food aggression. Keeper is also a fairly dominant pup, and he hasn't killed me yet. He's insecure when first meeting other dogs which also lead to some snarliness, but some desensitization exercises have really helped. I'm pretty heavily clicker training him, so we did tons of focus exercises. We still work on focus and calm behavior around both dogs and people. (Click for calm behavior, focus, or other good relaxed signs. If he fails and gets concerned, it means I pushed him too far too soon).

 

I'm sorry for the scatter brained thoughts here, but maybe you can get something out of that! I think it's important to remember that it takes time to build a bond. I remember being frustrated and almost even a little let down for the first month where it felt like I was doing nothing but struggle with this dog who didn't really view me any differently that a random person on the street. It took until Keeper hit 4 or 5 months before we really began to have a bond. I loved him from day one, but it was much more difficult to work on the tough things like potty training when we weren't completely bonded at the hip. So don't get too frustrated, and give yourself time. He will be the dog of your dreams, it just takes time to get past the pottying, biting, whining, temper tantrum stage. It'll all be worth it!

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I do not have a lot of experience. I've always had dogs but only arrived to the dog training world, and working hard at learning about dog behaviour and training, some 6 years ago.

From my limited experience, a confident "bossy" pup has less chance to develop agression than a more insecure pup, if handled right. A confident pup will not feel a great need to afirm himself, he already feels pretty good about himself and the rest of the world.

 

I'm training my second dog. First dog, my Sara, a portuguese sheepdog, lacked confidence, was a bit over sensitive and easily startled, and was suspicious of new things. No traumas, just her temperament. We worked extensively on building her self confidence and she did improve tremendously. Still, she tended to distrust this ot that dog for various reasons and it would easily grow into a life long bad relationship, with her starting a scuffle at every opportunity (she did get much better at this too, but still).

 

Current pup Tess, at 13 mo, is a confident curious dog that tended to be bossy with other pups. I find her much much better than Sara at dog dog relationships though. She WILL respond to a pushy dog and has no problem correcting what she perceives as lack of respect from other dogs, but keeps no grudge and is great at ignoring other dogs attempts to provoke her. Looks like she has the self confidence to not easily feel threatned, so she feels no need to constantly be on the lookout and react. Because she is self confident, she is at ease with the world.

 

I know a couple of males that are extremely self confident - and not neutered. These are dogs that have extensive training - i think that does make a diference. But they have grown to be the pacifiers - because they know what they're worth, they need no agression in order for the other dogs to respect them. Because they have their respect - and because they, being leader material, understand the importance of peace within a group of dogs - they actively difuse any starting quarrel that happens around them.

 

This is of course just my experience, and my experience is small and circumscrited.

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Just wanted to add that my sugestions to prevent future problems would be:

 

- lots and lots of socialization with other dogs, as much as possible and them more. Supervised and oriented by you, of course - you do have an important role in teaching what is acceptable and what is not - with 2 caveats: first, do not assume that every little altercation is your dog, or the other dog, being bad. The balance between not letting our dog be a brat and a bully, and also not letting him be bullied (not desirable in the least), and supressing normal interaction, is fragile. Second, it's the other dogs that will truly teach him important stuff.

 

- lots and lots of training, with the assumption that the first and most important objectif of training is the building of a strong bond and a deep mutual trust and respect. The stronger the bond, the deeper the trust and the more the dog will be in tune with you and will understand and accept your orientation. It may happen he doesn't grow up to be everybody's friend. No harm in that. He should grow up to know how you want him to behave and happily comply. At 5, 6, 7 months, my pup was very interested in establishing that she was in charge, when playing with other pups. She is much more relaxed now, and especially much more in tune with me. At training, when the dogs are all playing, if a dog snaps at another, she will instantly react like she's thinking "what was that? Should I go there and say something too?" Then she looks at me and I say, "Nope, none of your business. We're staying here and enjoy the sun." As she's off leash she "could" go there anyway, but she doesn't, she's comfortable with my orientation.

 

I believe that neutering hasn't much to do with all this.

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Thank you guys for the responses! Kingfisher, I do understand where she was coming from, as it wasn't so much any normal puppy behaviours as it was his confidence and the fact that he consistently tried to height seek and hump other dogs. I explained to her my reasons for hoping to wait until 18 months and she said fair enough, we'll wait and see how he develops. She didn't say he was aggressive, she said that he was dominant and that that could lead to aggression. I am not sure if neutering can help with aggressin or not, I've heard people say it can and it can't. I suppose I should do some more research, but if anyone knows of any good studies or such that would be helpful.

We are in an apartment. God, I would love to be able to take him outside to pee, but until he's vaccinated it's not much of an option. The potty pads are on the balcony, which we hope will help with the inside/outside distinction. You're right about the strict crate time, I should (and will) definitely start that. We were reluctant because he would bark the whole time he was in the crate so there was never a moment of quiet where we could praise and let him out. He's getting better now, so we'll try it. And I promise I was not being serious about the stubbornness. He is stubborn like a sticky door is stubborn. Not on purpose, just hard to move. There's something confusing about those potty pads to him, we just have to figure out what.

He does often get meals by hand or through training, and has absolutely no RG with his regular food or treats or any kind. It's just that raw meat and bone. So the problem is that the only thing we have to switch it out with is another bone, or just give the same one back to him, both of which we've been trying. I'll start doing the same with his regular food though, just in case.

It's really nice to hear that the bond will come. I feel the same way, it's disappointing that I'm no different than anyone else to him. I'm excited for 5 months then!

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Teresa, these things are great to hear. I do hope he doesn't develop any issues. The way I interpreted the trainer's information, I assumed I was going to end up with one of those intense border collies that will try to challenge me and needs to know I'm in charge and etc. And maybe I will. But it's also really nice to hear that maybe he's just going to be confident and great. I'll keep your points in mind. We defintiely intended to do a ton of socialization with him, and even through these classes you can already see him getting much better. I'm doing my best with training, but there's a bit of a learning curve for me since he doesn't like food much. Hopefully it'll start to work itself out so he can be motivated every time we do it.

Thanks again you two.

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Puppies try stuff to see what works, doesn't mean you have a major behavioral issue. Think of a toddler running up and hitting someone. Doesn't mean they're the next big playground bully, it means that they're trying something to see if it gets them what they want - they're throwing behaviors out there. If you don't step in and teach them what is appropriate, sure, then you'll have issues. But for now just just see the behavior as an opportunity to teach him what an appropriate response is. Kolt tried growling at and tackling Kenzi for a frisbee at 10 w/o - little 12# pup seriously launching himself at a dog 3 times his size - he wanted it, he was gonna take it!! He got that thing and growled at her to stay away. I picked him up by the scruff of the neck and gave the frisbee back to Kenzi. I set him back down as soon as he calmed down (30 seconds maybe). His behavior didn't work and he went back to more appropriate play. A month later he tried he tried chasing Kenzi off of her food - a growly, guarding "hey, I gonna possess that". I got in his face with a "knock it off" and unceremoniously escorted him out off the room. I saw him thinking about it a little later so I cheerfully told him to "leave it" and gave him lots of praise and a treat for quickly complying. Haven't really had any problems with it since then. I showed him what wouldn't work and taught him what I expected, what would work - guarding won't get you what you want but having manners and listening to the person will!!

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Good. Very good. I was hoping I would hear something like that. I didn't think it was a huge issue at the time but as a new owner it's hard to tell if something is going to turn into a full-blown problem at some point. Better safe than sorry it seems. But thank you. I'll remember that.

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I'll also add that some type of correction for the behavior is an instant, automatic response for me. After their initial startled "whoa, what just happened" I'm back to my normal happy self, life continues as normal and I look for ways to teach and reward what I want.

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... I'm doing my best with training, but there's a bit of a learning curve for me since he doesn't like food much. Hopefully it'll start to work itself out so he can be motivated every time we do it...

 

 

 

IMO food rewards are overrated, especially for BCs. Treats have their place. I used food to teach basic obedience to my Border Collie as a young puppy, yet as I recall they were phased-out early-on, and replaced with fun, upbeat praise and laughter. Once she realized we were playing a game that pleased me, it became easy. I could see it in eyes, posture and focus on what I wanted her to do next.

 

In agility, flyball, stockwork, and almost anything which is highly athletic or driven by instinct, I see little to no need for food rewards. Border Collies do those things for their own sake. They love them. Once you have become well bonded, your dog will look to you for approval. Praise and slight corrections may be all that is needed.

 

I recall setting up agility weave poles with wire loops attached to guide her through. I may have used something tasty to lure a couple of times, ending with a ball or frisbee throw at the end if she did them well. Lots of laughter, applause, and fun involved. Food was not part of the equation after the first day or two of training. She was doing them precisely and quickly, and we were doing distance entries from both sides with ease.

 

Then, we attended a dog club initial 101 level agility class, trained by volunteers. Everybody had to follow the prescribed curriculum.

 

"OK, so keep your dog on leash, and walk alongside as she maneuvers through the weave poles." My dog's ears back, and eyes pleading to tell her what this new trick was all about.

 

"Now toss a bit of kibble through to the other side, and after she goes to eat it, call her to you through the next gap in the poles. Keep repeating until she completes the weaves". It was painful to both of us. No flow, pace, balance or even fun involved.

 

It was a disaster. She had no idea what the trainers were asking of us at the weaves or several other of the dog club round-robin agility skill stations. I was extremely skeptical of the entire class structure and competence of the trainers, as for one thing, I was never asked where my dog and I were in our progression. Food rewards were heavily relied upon, and the instructors seemed overly serious/stressed which negatively influenced both my dog and me.

 

Food isn't much needed for athletic willing-to-please BCs, unless you are locked-in to attending formal classes with your friends in which food is the prime motivator. I say watch videos, read books, observe high level work, and ditch inexperienced untrained trainers who do not understand the Border Collie. If necessary, train on your own, and find a group of friends to occasionally meet on an agility/flyball or other course to have a good time socializing your dog, and chatting. That's what I did for a long while.

 

Have fun with your puppy. It's a time when all your hard work will pay-off throughout his life. -- Kind regards, TEC

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Good advice so far.

I'm in the wait-to-neuter camp. It probably won't help with "dominance" (whatever that really is) or aggression, but could cause problems with growth, bone development and other things that have been discussed here in the Boards.

Food isn't the only way to train, and if the dog isn't food motivated then you have to find something else that is. My first border collie wasn't food motivated at all; he was barely interested in food at meal times. So we trained using praise and play.

That said, I do firmly believe that food is a great reward for training, so if he is excited over bits of raw meat, then use that to your advantage. Only offer it while training (or to reinforce that your hand near his food is a good thing) so that it stays high value for him.

It's perfectly normal for a pup (or a grown dog) wants to keep high value items, especially food items. I like that you're trading with him and desensitizing him to you around his food. Once he's comfortable with you, ask some other savvy people to help you with it.

Crates can be a lot more inviting if dogs are fed in them, and/or if you give him a (frozen) stuffed Kong or other food dispensing toy or chewie that's reserved only for the crate.

It sounds to me like you're on the right track. B) Keep up the good work.

ETA: You might want to try a variety of treats, too. Freeze dried liver is one that a lot of picky dogs like. Things like Zukes tend to be favored by many over the biscuit type treats. Cheese is often a favorite.Homemade tuna or salmon or sardine fudge can be doggy crack.

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