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Hello everyone,

 

We have a bit of a beginner question. Hope you guys have some useful insights!

 

We adopted a lovely border collie puppy two weeks ago. We've been planning this for ages and she's from a very reputable breeder. She is from two parents active in sports, with calm temperaments at home. Both of the parents are great dogs.

 

Let me start off by saying this: our little lady is lovely as well! We fell in love with her. she is very affectionate. After 10 days she was pretty much potty trained, she loves her crate, sleeps all night and responds so well to training. All in all, the perfect little border collie.

 

However, we are already experiencing some hyper behaviour. She turns into a little landshark sometimes, bites her leash like a maniac when we go out, goes ballistic in the garden and in the house by running around and into things, to the point where she's panting and gets the 'crazy eye'.

 

I honestly don't think it's because she's overstimulated, but just to be sure, this is what we do with her:

 

We go out with her about three times a day, for about 10 to 20 minutes, around the neighbourhood, trying to get her socialised to everything. She gets unstructured playtime for an hour or two a day, she gets kongs and chew toys, and she gets clicker training twice a day for about 10 minutes. The rest of the time she sleeps.

 

I've started taking 5 minutes at the end of every walk sitting down with her and rewarding when she simply sits and calmly observes things. Same thing in the house. This is not easy for her though.

 

We understand that hyperness can be a trait of the breed, but if there's anything we can do about it now, it will of course be better than later. We live in a crowded neighbourhood, (also with lots of parks and green and room to roam), so she needs to be able to settle when we want her to. We don't want her to turn into a cardio machine, so I don't want to completely tire her out physically, especially not at this tender age, so the walks can't be any longer just yet?

 

Any tips? Is this normal baby behaviour? Are we overanalysing? Any feedback is greatly appreciated!

 

All the best,

 

Two new parents :D

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We called those crazy running around snarling and biting fits the "puppies". They outgrow them, its just a pain in the meantime. In my pups it has always been either too much stimulation or not enough exercise, and its super difficult to tell which a lot of times. Rewarding for calm and giving enough crate time during the day is the best thing you can do. When she sleeps, is she just zonking out wherever, or do you put her in the crate? Crate time is time for her to unwind, and process everything shes learned that day, and puppies need it often and preferably on a predictable schedule.

 

If you want to be a bit more direct about teaching calm, you can try the tethering method. I did this with my dog to train a service dog behavior. Use a (chew proof) leash to tether your dog to something with a pretty limitied range (couch leg, door, whatever). walk out of range, but still in sight. Puppy will probably throw a fit, whine, bark, chew at leash... But as soon as she calms down, reward profusely. Eventually this transfers into the pup getting used to the tether, and you add time (reward for 30 seconds of calm laying down, then 45, then a minute etc.) If you are consistent and dont give in to the initial tantrums it works well, and transfers very well into a "place" or settle command when they are older. Easy to train while watching tv or cleaning.

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When she sleeps, is she just zonking out wherever, or do you put her in the crate? Crate time is time for her to unwind, and process everything shes learned that day, and puppies need it often and preferably on a predictable schedule.

 

 

First thing we focused on was crate training and she loves her crate. She goes there to sleep, if she falls asleep anywhere else I pick her up and put her in her crate. I like your tip on training by tethering her, and rewarding when calm, definitely gonna try that. Thanks!

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All of those things sound more "puppy" than "hyperactive border collie". She'll grow out of it! If she's only 10 weeks old, I'd also check with your vet about the places you're bringing her and where she is in her vaccination schedule. Socialization during this period is so, so important, but so is steering clear of parvo and other gross communicable dog diseases. You may already be on top of this, but the "around the neighborhood" and lots of parks, etc. made me feel compelled to say something. Enjoy the puppy and lots of pics please :)

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All of those things sound more "puppy" than "hyperactive border collie". She'll grow out of it! If she's only 10 weeks old, I'd also check with your vet about the places you're bringing her and where she is in her vaccination schedule. Socialization during this period is so, so important, but so is steering clear of parvo and other gross communicable dog diseases. You may already be on top of this, but the "around the neighborhood" and lots of parks, etc. made me feel compelled to say something. Enjoy the puppy and lots of pics please :)

 

That's great to hear. She can be such a sweetheart when she's not going berserk, so I was hoping for this answer. And thanks for your kind concern! She's had her second round of shots, including parvo, kennel cough and what not. Right now we focus primarily on socialisation, we're not ready for the long hikes in the park just yet :)

 

Today she was a lot more laid back by the way, probably because yesterday she burned up all her energy :D

 

This is our little one:

 

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She is ADORABLE. I have a red tri too, and am partial to the reds.

 

Just a clarification, one does not 'adopt' a dog from a breeder.. I am assuming that you have purchased the pup? We usually use the word 'adopt' to mean a pet from the shelter or a rescue group.

 

It sounds like you are on the right track in many ways. Your description of her running around the house until panting and 'crazy eyes' suggests that she is over-tired - like a toddler will get overtired and cranky - and their brain no longer engages. If you see her head in that direction, be pre-emptive and put her in a crate for a nap.

 

And hyperness is not a trait of a well-bred border collie - at least one from a breeder who considers temperament in her breeding decisions. Not all breeders take temperament into consideration when they are breeding, hence the hyper BC reputation. Having said that, teaching calmness is important regardless of background, or even breed of dog.

 

Good Luck.

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She is ADORABLE. I have a red tri too, and am partial to the reds.

 

Just a clarification, one does not 'adopt' a dog from a breeder.. I am assuming that you have purchased the pup? We usually use the word 'adopt' to mean a pet from the shelter or a rescue group.

 

It sounds like you are on the right track in many ways. Your description of her running around the house until panting and 'crazy eyes' suggests that she is over-tired - like a toddler will get overtired and cranky - and their brain no longer engages. If you see her head in that direction, be pre-emptive and put her in a crate for a nap.

 

And hyperness is not a trait of a well-bred border collie - at least one from a breeder who considers temperament in her breeding decisions. Not all breeders take temperament into consideration when they are breeding, hence the hyper BC reputation. Having said that, teaching calmness is important regardless of background, or even breed of dog.

 

Good Luck.

 

Yes, adorable, and she knows it :D

 

I did purchase the pup. Thanks for clearing that up, I'm not a native speaker, I'm from the Netherlands :blink:

 

We took (a long) time to choose the right breeder and she definitely only breeds with dogs that can adapt, are calm, but also have great working ability. Even selecting a puppy from the litter was solely based on character match, and not looks.

 

I actually just put her down for a nap again, she was getting the 'crazy eye' again. I'll make sure to watch out for earlier signs from now on. Thanks for your tip.

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Such a CUTIE! As the other responders have said, hyperness is not a bc trait. In the case of your oh-so-adorable little girl, it's the trait of an over-tired and/or over-stimulated pup. The cure is exactly what you did, a nap.

 

Good luck with her - and enjoy her!

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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From the Netherlands! Welcome - your English is probably better than mine! :P

Your pup is definitely adorable and she sounds totally normal. And it sounds like you're on the right track by just putting her down for a nap when the "zoomies" become over-the-top. Hyper-ness is not usually normal for working lines, mainly because a hyper dog can't keep that energy up all day, and a farmer needs a dog who can put in an 8 to 10 hour work day, the same as he does. :)

You are also correct that too much physical exercise isn't the answer. Remember, border collies were originally bred to go 20 or more miles a day and there's just no way normal humans can replicate that! But engaging her mind and making her think will tire her out as much as anything physical. So, I'd say start training her on little puppy sits and stays and lie downs right now - but do so in very short, random sessions. That is, don't try to take 5 or 10 minutes for obedience lessons at this point, just call her multiple times a day, show her how to do a sit or lie down or whatever, then let her go back to playing.

That's also a good way to teach a recall - call her, give her praise and a treat, then immediately let her go back to playing. That way being called to come doesn't mean the fun will always end. As she gets older and her attention span starts to grow, you can teach her more things, ask her to lie down in longer increments, teach her to lie down while you walk a circle around her, and also teach her tricks or how to find hidden objects or treats.

Work her mind, that's the border collie's greatest need. And enjoy your little whirlwind while she's still little! :wub:

~ Gloria

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Ahh so cute! Thanks for sharing pictures!

I've been helping out with puppy classes that our trainer runs for a while, and it's so part of the "socialization" speech that we give to balance the "get out there and let your dog have good experiences with as much as possible" with the "follow your vet's recommendations on where to walk, safe places to go until shots are done". We're also in a major city where few people have yards so dog parks are common for people to use as yard replacements, which aren't super safe places for puppies without complete vaccinations (or any dogs, but that's another story). I have a hard time not mentioning it when people talk about getting out in the world with their little puppies.

 

Have fun with her!

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What a cutie pie. Look at those eyes, just adorable!

 

+1 on the zoomies advice. Mine just turned 3 months around 10 days ago. We go for walks around 2-3 times a day, 30-40 minutes in total. Sometimes the street is calmer, sometimes it's busier - the latter totally affects him. He's doing fine on leash when it's quieter, but If we pass along too many barking dogs/loud cars passing by, he'll get totally stressed out to the point that I can't control him on the leash and I have to carry him home sometimes. Then the zoomies start in the back yard when we get back home. I just closed him in with me and he was asleep in a matter of seconds.

 

And yes, it's just a matter of learning how to take it slow and to watch out how the puppy reacts.

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What a cutie pie. Look at those eyes, just adorable!

 

+1 on the zoomies advice. Mine just turned 3 months around 10 days ago. We go for walks around 2-3 times a day, 30-40 minutes in total. Sometimes the street is calmer, sometimes it's busier - the latter totally affects him. He's doing fine on leash when it's quieter, but If we pass along too many barking dogs/loud cars passing by, he'll get totally stressed out to the point that I can't control him on the leash and I have to carry him home sometimes. Then the zoomies start in the back yard when we get back home. I just closed him in with me and he was asleep in a matter of seconds.

 

And yes, it's just a matter of learning how to take it slow and to watch out how the puppy reacts.

 

This is exactly what I experience! I get her on leash, when she is overstimulated outside she starts pulling and screaming / howling. And she gets overstimulated so quickly (a matter of minutes). So the only thing i can do is try to divert her attention to me, or pick her up.

 

It doesn't even have to be a busy street, a very calm street, and just one person walking by, can sometimes throw her into a tantrum. I hope we can train this out of her. Anyone have any tips on this? Is this prey drive / early sign of herding?

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No, it is not prey drive/early herding.

 

Border collies are motion sensitive, so they will/may pick up on motion more than other breeds. Whether or not they react to it in a negative way, will depend a lot on their training (and some on their innate personality since some are just more reactive than others).

 

Remember she is just a wee puppy. This behavior is bratty puppy behavior, and yes, you can train her to be more calm. It will take more than a day or week or month to deal with it so be prepared to be consistent and patient.

 

I know others will chime in with specifics, but the general idea is to desensitize the pup to her triggers, and in order to do that, it is best to start the training at a distance where she is able to mostly ignore the triggers and concentrate on you.

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No, it is not prey drive/early herding.

 

Border collies are motion sensitive, so they will/may pick up on motion more than other breeds. Whether or not they react to it in a negative way, will depend a lot on their training (and some on their innate personality since some are just more reactive than others).

 

Remember she is just a wee puppy. This behavior is bratty puppy behavior, and yes, you can train her to be more calm. It will take more than a day or week or month to deal with it so be prepared to be consistent and patient.

 

I know others will chime in with specifics, but the general idea is to desensitize the pup to her triggers, and in order to do that, it is best to start the training at a distance where she is able to mostly ignore the triggers and concentrate on you.

 

I love this forum, it's so helpful to beginners. Thank you so much for your answer.

And it's very comforting to hear we can in fact train her to be calm. Trainers at the dog school said this behaviour can somewhat be managed, but we can never train it out of her, which left us a bit scared really.

 

Other people "chiming in" with details will be greatly appreciated! Any tips on what to do when she gets out of control on walks?

 

She sometimes screams to the point of people looking over to see if I'm not hurting her (which is funny and frustrating at the same time).

 

It's weird. Yesterday I was socialising her for a few minutes at our local carnaval, which is as busy as it gets, literally 200 people on one terrain, and she was mostly ignoring everything. Today I walk her on a quiet road, she sees three people a few meters away and throws the biggest tantrum.

 

It usually starts when she sees someone or something and I won't let her near it, and ignore her leash pulling and howling by standing still. Using a squeaky toy and treats helps a little, but not when she's throwing a real tantrum. Should I ignore till she stops? correct? and when it persists? pick her up and walk her home?

 

I know, lots of questions, hope you guys can advise, we want to do what's best for her :)

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With a screaming dog I walk, sometimes one thing (as you say) can cause an all-out tantrum where many things won't. But this is a scaredy-dog, so it's because she's very quietly and worriedly trotting along beside you. Almost like she's shutting down a little out of fear.

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DutchBorderfan, do a search here in the forum (and/or online) for desensitization, counter-conditioning and LAT (or Look at That) and you'll find lots of detailed instructions. Click to calm would be another good search.

 

Whether it's fear based or just over-excitement and lack of impulse control, the methods are applicable.

 

Best wishes. It takes a lot of patience to raise a puppy well, especially dealing with things like impulse control. I've got a 17 week old and am working on many of the same things you are, as are several others here with young pups. ;)

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If she really is only 2-3 months old now, I would not be bringing her to busy outdoor festivals. I see people do that a lot, and some seem okay but most look overwhelmed. That is just my personal opinion, of course.

 

It sounds like she does not yet know how to walk on a loose leash, and most pups this age don't (at least not in all types of situations). I would take her to big empty or mostly empty parking lots and start teaching her how to walk at your side. This way you can control how close you get to things (cars, people, etc) while still being able to turn in different directions. Ask her to perform simple tasks when out in different locations-sit, down. If she can sit or down in a parking lot with people in site/hearing people talk/seeing another dog/ etc then you can start finding busier locations to train.

 

The book "Beyond Your Backyard" (Denize Fenzi) may be of help. Talks about teaching a dog to listen (loose leash walking, taking commands) in the face of increasing distractions.

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all the advice about training for calm is good. I would add that you should try not to pick your puppy up when she is freaking out. Whether it is from fear or over-excitment, attention from you by picking her up is rewarding the behavior. Its counterintuitive to most people, but it goes along with the idea that you never want to pet a scared dog, it will learn that being scared is rewarding and good. carry a pocketful of treats, try for a sit, or any calm behavior, and if you really need to bring her home, reward when calm and immediately pick her up after the calm behavior. At first it may just be a break in pulling, or looking away from whatever is causing the problem.

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I disagree w/the above advice. If the dog is throwing a tantrum, absolutely wait for a calm moment before touching the dog, etc.

 

If the dog is wild-eyed, drooling, trying to escape the Strange Scary Thing, get that dog out of the situation by any means possible. The dog is way beyond being able to understand any thing at all when it is terrified. You're not rewarding the dog's feeling of terror, which is what drives that sort of behavior. You're getting it to a place where it can calm down and listen to you.

 

There used to be a guy at a local, informal dog park who brought his very sweet Labrador every now and then. One afternoon in early July, he brought the dog in on leash, which was unusual. We started to hear fireworks, and the dog was nuts with fear. I asked if he had any tranquilizers that he could use for his dog. His reply: "No, I don't believe in that stuff. He'll get used to it." His dog was at least 4 yrs old and had been this way since he was a puppy. And the kicker here was that this guy smoked dope every night to 'unwind' after work. Hypocrite.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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I would add that you should try not to pick your puppy up when she is freaking out. Whether it is from fear or over-excitment, attention from you by picking her up is rewarding the behavior. Its counterintuitive to most people, but it goes along with the idea that you never want to pet a scared dog, it will learn that being scared is rewarding and good.

 

I disagree with both of these.

 

I pick my puppy up when he's being naughty and calm him down. He often just goes to sleep in my arms if he's amped up because he's overly tired. That's when I calmly praise him for being a good boy.

 

And there are many people now who've ditched the stuff about not comforting a frightened dog. Consoling Bodhi during thunderstorms and fireworks has done more to calm him during those events than ignoring him and leaving him to his fear ever could. I'd have him come up on the couch with me and I'd hold him tight a la Temple Grandin. It reassured him enough to calm down to the point that he's now merely uncomfortable during thunderstorms instead of panicked. He comes to sit with me during thunderstorms, fireworks and gunshots, but he's not freaked out like he used to be.

 

ETA: Ignoring your puppy or adult dog when it's afraid or in an overly-tired meltdown's the equivalent to doing the same with a human infant or toddler when it's frightened. No caring person would advise that.

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I disagree with both of these.

 

I pick my puppy up when he's being naughty and calm him down. He often just goes to sleep in my arms if he's amped up because he's overly tired. That's when I calmly praise him for being a good boy.

 

And there are many people now who've ditched the stuff about not comforting a frightened dog. Consoling Bodhi during thunderstorms and fireworks has done more to calm him during those events than ignoring him and leaving him to his fear ever could. I'd have him come up on the couch with me and I'd hold him tight a la Temple Grandin. It reassured him enough to calm down to the point that he's now merely uncomfortable during thunderstorms instead of panicked. He comes to sit with me during thunderstorms, fireworks and gunshots, but he's not freaked out like he used to be.

 

ETA: Ignoring your puppy or adult dog when it's afraid or in an overly-tired meltdown's the equivalent to doing the same with a human infant or toddler when it's frightened. No caring person would advise that.

 

I'd have to say I'm most comfortable with your answer. I try to avoid picking her up, but when I see she's scared, I try to be the haven she can come to for safety. So I kneel down, and she can stand beside me or a little below me, I don't try to pet her too much though. when she shows courage I reward and we continue to walk.

 

If she's out of control (which is not out of fear for sure, she's just over excited) I don't know what to do. I imagine picking her up is not the way to go, because in a few months, I won't be able to do that anymore, since she will grow into a bigger dog :)

 

I understand working with her on empty terrains and slowly building up to more busier places is the way to, but there is no way I can totally prevent her from going a little crazy right now, and the question is, what to do then?

 

Right now, I stop walking, try to ignore, and if she goes all out, try to divert, and for sure, when she calms again, head back home straight away and put her to bed. But that comes with whining, and pulling like she's trying to be a horse or something haha.

 

I'm sure we can train it out of her, she's smart as a whip and she's such a perfect angel in the house these last days. Sounds don't frighten her, she dozes most of the day, and knows how to entertain herself in her little kennel. So I know she can be calm..

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If she's out of control (which is not out of fear for sure, she's just over excited) I don't know what to do. I imagine picking her up is not the way to go, because in a few months, I won't be able to do that anymore, since she will grow into a bigger dog :)

 

I may be guilty of picking up my 43 lb border collie when he's going a little nuts (typically barking like mad out the window and I can't get him to stop). I think it surprises him more than anything.

 

The better, less annoying to the dog, less ridiculous option is to work on stays, "settle" or any other "impulse control" command and try to use that.

 

After having a 70lb dog, I am sort of abusing my ability to pick Gabe up, since he seems so small to me. Being comfortable with us handling him and picking him up is something we're also actively working on, since he came to us not tolerating that at all, and for medical needs we needed to be able to pick him up at some point and couldn't. So the "randomly picking him up" serves a greater purpose than annoying him, stopping unwanted behavior, or just being silly, but don't rule out your ability to pick the dog up as she grows ;)

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I'm throwing at you something that's been helping us a lot in the last few days, so maybe you could try that too. Just praise the hell out of her on walks when she's doing fine. It will keep her attention on you, plus she's getting treats. No way she won't enjoy that. Everytime you see that she's going to pull forward, call her back BEFORE she does and give her a treat when she comes back by your side. She'll start to understand that good things happen when she's around you and walking and not in front of you, pulling. Sometimes we forget that they don't know what they're supposed to do and we think that they got the point after only a few days. We're spending our walks now with me saying "good boy" every 30 seconds or so :D I'm actually not getting all that worked up when he tries to wonder off to sniff something or to greet random people that are passing us by, puppies are curious.

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I'm throwing at you something that's been helping us a lot in the last few days, so maybe you could try that too. Just praise the hell out of her on walks when she's doing fine. It will keep her attention on you, plus she's getting treats. No way she won't enjoy that. Everytime you see that she's going to pull forward, call her back BEFORE she does and give her a treat when she comes back by your side. She'll start to understand that good things happen when she's around you and walking and not in front of you, pulling. Sometimes we forget that they don't know what they're supposed to do and we think that they got the point after only a few days. We're spending our walks now with me saying "good boy" every 30 seconds or so :D I'm actually not getting all that worked up when he tries to wonder off to sniff something or to greet random people that are passing us by, puppies are curious.

 

We've been doing this, but not nearly enough I guess, so I'll incorporate that way more into the walks. Thanks for your advice!

 

So your pup is doing better since you started doing this?

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