Jump to content
BC Boards
kateh

Mysterious behavior problems

Recommended Posts

in my opinion border collies do not do well at daycare.

I'm also a single-dog owner, intentionally...;-)

and it was not easy when Spillo was a puppy and adolescent dog. so I also used a day care, he was there as a puppy but growing up issues started to show up.

he was increasingly anxious, with bad and good days, depending on the dogs we will find there. not socializing much with all the dogs but either "selecting" one to follow, or better say stalk all day, or circling the other dogs as main activity.

so I decided to take him out and have home visits instead.

activities: herding and agility are great, but I agree with the others that say it has to be something you BOTH enjoy.

I'm doing herding with Spillo every other weekend (and I generally come home with bruises, black fingers, but I do not mind) he is also my running partner. I wake up early in the morning and our day starts with a run. then he can stay all day long sleeping in my office. nose work and search and rescue training is something I would surely consider with a young dog. I'm not much into trick training, and I never walked my dog for 3 hours a day, but I used our walks for training obedience.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi.

You seem to be doing a good amount of stuff with your dog, which leads me to two comments:

- First - If she is great at home and relaxes easily, then maybe this "she surely needs more than I'm providing" thought is just a notion in your head related to the universal knowledge that bc's have very high needs. If she seems comfortable with her life, in general, then she is having her needs met.

- Second - you seem to be relating her snapping at day care with something you're not giving her. As far as I understand the breed, this is a behaviour very common in borders, and not related to them being bad or agressive or not having their needs met. Not to say they should be allowed to snap at other dogs, just that it is pretty normal for a bc to want to do so, specially in a day care environment. My dog would be terrible at a day care, she would want to correct half the dogs there for real and imaginary ofenses, not to mention being overwhelmed by their number.

 

About the cleaning lady, can't your dog stay in the crate while the lady works?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yo - people who are defending this "re-home your dog" stuff can peace right out of this thread. Seriously - I get that forums are super fun for arguments and misunderstandings but no.

 

People who are giving constructive ideas, thank you again!

 

I laughed at the idea of putting us both in the biz -- oh god, noooOoooOoo. First, I don't think I could handle if she became an OVERNIGHT SUCCESS!!!! and second, it's actually a LOT harder / more complicated than that and it would wind up being "her or me". It's just not something you can kinda do "for fun". :)

 

Teresa - She can totally just stay crated, I just like to give my cleaning lady a dog-free environment so no one is startled. If I need to do that, I will - just a last resort for us. :)

 

Luana - god, I wish I loved running. I WISH!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Living in Florida, I totally get the heat. In the summer, dog activities are generally confined to early morning or after sunset. If it's too hot to hike, it's too hot to herd or do agility.

 

If your dog is driving you nuts (because its 113 degrees outside or you need some downtime in the evening), it can occupy itself with a food puzzle, hide and seek (hide its dinner around the house), or a frozen kong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Living in Florida, I totally get the heat. In the summer, dog activities are generally confined to early morning or after sunset. If it's too hot to hike, it's too hot to herd or do agility.

 

If your dog is driving you nuts (because its 113 degrees outside or you need some downtime in the evening), it can occupy itself with a food puzzle, hide and seek (hide its dinner around the house), or a frozen kong.

 

 

The heat is making this so hard!! I've been trying to walk her in the evenings, but even that's been rough lately: it's been 92 degrees at 10pm. Ninety. TWO.

 

Do you guys have any MEGA UBER HARD food puzzles? because this yo yo figured them all out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine figure food puzzles out pretty quickly, too. Coating a puzzle feeder (they are flat and have partitions like mazes) in a yogurt-kibble or yogurt meat mix and freezing it will keep them occupied for awhile, but it takes up a lot of freezer space and requires advance planning....you can also stuff marrow bones and freeze them. Yogurt is a good glue for freezing. I've also had good luck with a ground beef-sweet potato mush.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just adding, 18 month old dogs (of most breeds) are tough. I kind of hated my youngest Papillon at this age, I did kind of feel like my life was all about constant management of the puppy and meeting the needs of my older dogs...

 

This too shall pass. Your puppy is adult sized but with a partial puppy brain. Her energy level is at its highest point, her physiological ability to think and control herself is often impaired at this age (even f she tries, she will forget what she is doing, etc).

 

I agree that Border Collies often don't do well in daycare settings, especially as they mature into adults. Can she be crated when the housekeeper is there? Can a pet sitter do a long visit with a walk at that time?

 

Keep working your training her to not need to be entertained all the time. I expect backsliding in things at her age as shes still mentally and physically growing a little. Breathe, employ management and know that if you are consistent, fair and keep on keeping on then suddenly one day you will say "holy cow, when did you grow up!"

 

This too shall pass.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just discovered the first food toy that has taken ANY of my dogs longer than a couple minutes. It's the Zogoflex Toppl, a little bucket shaped thing. It takes Gibbs at least 30 minutes to get all the good stuff out. That's about 29 minutes more than ever before. I bought them at my locally owned pet supply store for 18, on Amazon I've seen them for around 17.

 

Worth Every Penny.

 

The other thing that Gibbs likes is for me to hide his regular Kong so he has to find it first. Buys me a couple extra minutes and he seems to like it more than me just handing it to him.

 

R & G

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just my two cents worth - my BCs seem to be breedist. They get on fine with other herding breeds, and some small dogs, but otherwise just want dogs to give them space. They particularly do not like dogs that get in their face.

 

I am actually OK with that. I do not expect them to get on with every dog. I do not think it is something that needs correction or alteration, so long as they are not being aggressive. It does require management, but I think you sound like you have your dog well under control.

 

Was she actually going for the other dogs, or simply giving warning snaps to tell them to back off and give her space?

 

Can you see if there is another doggie daycare available that has the separation other posters have mentioned? Or does she have a doggie friend who she can visit on the days your cleaner comes (maybe if you offer to have the doggie friend for a visit on another day?)

 

I now swear by antler and goat horn chews for keeping dogs quietly occupied.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was she actually going for the other dogs, or simply giving warning snaps to tell them to back off and give her space?

 

 

I have no idea. They said they didn't have a video of it either, so -- no clue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(fwiw, she's not a pure BC -- she's a mutt of everything in LA, so presumedly pitt/german shepherd/whatever breed everyone hates right now, but her smarts and her looks just SCREAM border collie)

 

So here's my game plan -- and thank you so much for all your help:

 

I talked to some trainers & other facilities and it sounds like it’s daycare that’s the problem — either something happened there or they’re no longer able to give her the attention she needs, or there’s too much going on for her, or something else, but it’s limited to that location pretty much completely as far as I can tell so I've pulled her out. I think that whatever happened will keep happening because she isn't being taught any alternative. I'd rather have a door open to us down the road, just in case, but I'm trusting my gut here: the problem is stemming from this facility, for whatever reason.

 

We're testing out some activity burners / classes every week or so - did herding yesterday, she seemed to take right to it!

 

We met with a new daycare today who has a "rotation" schedule and a small-grouping policy. They group dogs with ~2-3 other dogs who have the same play energy. They get 30-40m or so of play in a yard and rotate between yards & rest in run-pens or crates, whichever is right for her -- I think that will be VERY good for Niamh. She needs enforced calm-down time.

 

The trainer / guy at this place said that we can watch for a repeat of her behavior at the other daycare, but if it doesn't come up again... it's the location/people/whatever, not the dog. If it DOES, he's a trainer & has the capacity to work with her to teach her what isn't acceptable. He seemed inclined to think that it was more likely the energy of the place -- so many dogs, so much going on, all in one big pen, not enough people, etc. And honestly, I think I agree. He also did not seem to think a behavioralist was necessary at this point (my wallet says yay). (He also echoed what a behavioralist I spoke with on the phone said -- she was kinda like, uh, I don't think you need me)

 

I'm keeping an eye on her behavior around other dogs when we go to the park (she'd rather play fetch, run around than play with them tbh), but I'm not going to panic too much about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have you tried a treadmill for her? Then you can teach her conditioning exercises on it, use a fit bit or a peanut, side pass on it, all sorts of things and you never have to leave home 😉

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's actually a LOT harder / more complicated than that and it would wind up being "her or me". It's just not something you can kinda do "for fun". :)

 

I would say the same thing about working your dog on livestock. I'm the classic weekend hobby herder, so I'm not about to say that the only people who should be working a dog on stock are ranchers with a professional need for a working dog. But if your only goal in putting your dog on livestock (live being an operative prefix here) is to provide mental stimulation for your dogs, find some other way to provide mental stimulation. No matter how skilled your instructor is, and no matter how gentle your dog is, the livestock is being subject to some level of stress, and some degree of danger. There needs to be some rationale for this beyond you just wanting your dog to play with a particularly complex toy.

 

My favorite way to engage a dog's brain without involving some other animal is nosework. The basic supplies for nosework are relatively inexpensive, the classes to get you started are no more expensive than most obedience classes, and generally less expensive than herding or agility classes, and it's something you can do anywhere, any time, and dogs love it (use your nose to get food - what's not to love about that for a dog?). You get to choose what level of skill to strive for without worrying about injury if you push your dog too far (Ok, I'm confident that someone will be ingenious enough to figure out a way to injure a dog sniffing at boxes or around a parked vehicle, but it's not like putting yourself and a predator and a few 200 lb prey animals in a confined space, or having your dog twisting and turning over a bajillion jumps while running at top speed.) No need to drive to a field filled with thousands of dollars worth of agility equipment, and spend a year teaching your dog foundational skills before you even touch the equipment. No time spent driving to some dusty ranch and paying not only for instruction but also for the considerable cost and labor of maintaining the livestock. Once you learn a few basic principles and training techniques you can practice nosework in your air conditioned living room, in your yard, in the park down the street... And you don't need an entire free evening or half a day on the weekend to engage in the activity. Only have 10 minutes to spare tonight? No problem - set up a scenting challenge and spend 10 minutes on it.

 

But if nosework doesn't appeal to you, there have been several other great suggestions given here as well. But as others have said, choose an activity that you will enjoy for the sake of the activity, not something you are doing as a duty to your dog. Constructive herding "is just not something you can kinda do 'for fun'". You either have to commit real time and real money on a regular basis to learn to to it well or you are just using living animals as a dog toy when there are far cheaper, easier, and more considerate alternatives available.

 

On another note, I think your plan of switching to a different day care situation makes good sense. If it works out, hurray, and it's certainly worth a try. If it doesn't work out, I agree with others who have suggested that you just leave your dog at home, and crate her on days the housekeeper is there, and perhaps hire someone to walk the dog on "crate days".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoa! I did some scent boxes today and we've done it all of three times and she's going after the right box EVERY. TIME. 😍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't been on the boards forever! But I popped on to have a look see.

I didn't throughly read all the answers so excuse me if anyone has suggested this.

18 months is hard. But not that hard.

She sounds perfect at home. Why not take her on a short walk in the am. And a short walk in the pm. If you're home through the day let her hang with you. On the days u have your house keeper come (gah if only!) Put her in the Kennel and let her be. She is perfectly able to get used to a cleaning person if it's a routine thing. Maybe stay a while the first time to make sure she behaves. After that off u go. Have the cleaning person toss her a treat as she leaves your place and you should come home to a happy dog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm confused. She already does a bunch with this dog. Only place it acts out is daycare? Why is she supposed to do a bunch more stuff with her dog when all she sees is a content well mannered dog.

Answer seem obvious to me. Quit daycare.

And I thought I read the only time she goes to daycare is for her cleaning crew.

Address things as they come.

It's not about quantity. It's about quality.

Maybe i missed some key thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Haven't been on the boards forever! But I popped on to have a look see.

I didn't throughly read all the answers so excuse me if anyone has suggested this.

18 months is hard. But not that hard.

She sounds perfect at home. Why not take her on a short walk in the am. And a short walk in the pm. If you're home through the day let her hang with you. On the days u have your house keeper come (gah if only!) Put her in the Kennel and let her be. She is perfectly able to get used to a cleaning person if it's a routine thing. Maybe stay a while the first time to make sure she behaves. After that off u go. Have the cleaning person toss her a treat as she leaves your place and you should come home to a happy dog.

 

So /I/ am making this harder on /myself/!?!?!?!? ;)

 

Thanks - I think all that's v reasonable and much more manageable than I was making it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So /I/ am making this harder on /myself/!?!?!?!? ;)

 

Maybe. Maybe not.

 

It really depends on the individual dog. A lot of dogs, especially young ones, won't be happy with only 2 short walks a day. Others will be fine with it.

 

You need to know your dog. ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm confused. She already does a bunch with this dog. Only place it acts out is daycare? Why is she supposed to do a bunch more stuff with her dog when all she sees is a content well mannered dog.

Answer seem obvious to me. Quit daycare.

And I thought I read the only time she goes to daycare is for her cleaning crew.

Address things as they come.

It's not about quality. It's about quality.

Maybe i missed some key thing?

 

I agree. The only reason I popped in with my two cents on tiring the dog out, is because I took it that she was looking for ideas to do so. None of these things are going to fix the daycare thing-just take her out of daycare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm happy to see that you are so dedicated to your dog, kateh.

It sounds to me as if you are a good dog home for her.

I will second what others have said about this problem being very likely not your fault, or due to lack of other activities.

 

My Jester had a long and slowly escalating series of signals that he would give another dog if he did not want that dog in his face (which was most of the time). It started out as a tiny, tiny lift of the lip on one side, and turning his body away a little bit. Then there were about 5 more signals, and if all were ignored by the other dog, he would lunge, snarl, and snap. Never intended to make contact, but to say "back off right now!".

 

Now, I noticed that border collies almost always respected his first one or two signals, and never got to the point of needing the snap. But many other dogs didn't. As a result, he would have snapped at other breeds fairly often except once I learned his language I could see the whole thing happening, and would get him away from the other dog. At daycare, no one is doing that for your dog. It is possible that the whole problem is that the other breeds just don't respect her signals. I think that is why so many border collies are "breedist".

 

Jester, who had not the slightest bit of aggression in him, would have probably been kicked out of daycare.

 

I used to participate with some folks who had a huge border collie get together about 4 times a year. There could be as many as 60 BCs all out loose in a large fenced in park. Not once did we have a fight. I bet we would have if the breeds had been mixed. Just a thought.

 

I had a young and very energetic BC in Los Angeles - we didn't even have a yard. We went for a one hour walk/frisbee session twice a day but that was it for daily activities other than trick training. I used the first part of the daily walk to train proper leash manners and basic obedience, to sit and wait at the curb until released, that kind of thing. Every single weekend we went hiking and/or camping somewhere, even if we had to go to the mountains to get away from heat. BUT, hiking was my passion, so that was for me as well as the dog.

 

I ended up with a mannerly enjoyable dog who, while still being extremely high energy, was able to chill out whenever something was not happening for him.

 

BTW...just to add to your collection of potential activities, I would suggest playing hide-and-seek indoors. That's always a good one. For the human being, too! It is hard to find new hiding places all the time. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...I noticed that border collies almost always respected his first one or two signals, and never got to the point of needing the snap. But many other dogs didn't. As a result, he would have snapped at other breeds fairly often except once I learned his language I could see the whole thing happening, and would get him away from the other dog. At daycare, no one is doing that for your dog. It is possible that the whole problem is that the other breeds just don't respect her signals. I think that is why so many border collies are "breedist".

 

I used to participate with some folks who had a huge border collie get together about 4 times a year. There could be as many as 60 BCs all out loose in a large fenced in park. Not once did we have a fight. I bet we would have if the breeds had been mixed. Just a thought.

 

Both of these are very good observations.

 

I still think the daycare folks were probably just not really understanding what was going on and therefore unable to accommodate for it.

 

And I've seen the same thing many times with border collies who seem to not get along with many dogs having absolutely no issues whatsoever in a huge group of border collies. They understand each other's behaviors and they make sense to them. It's essentially a cultural issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'm confused. She already does a bunch with this dog. Only place it acts out is daycare? Why is she supposed to do a bunch more stuff with her dog when all she sees is a content well mannered dog.

Answer seem obvious to me. Quit daycare.

And I thought I read the only time she goes to daycare is for her cleaning crew.

Address things as they come.

It's not about quality. It's about quality.

Maybe i missed some key thing?

 

Yeah -- I left that daycare. I'm going to bring her to a different place with a more structured routine and see how that goes. If the behavior repeats, I'd like to work on correcting it -- I don't want Niamh to develop bad habits anywhere.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've observed the warning snaps for sure -- but they're just warning snaps. I always correct her if they're POSSESSIVE snaps (though, she's not really a possessive dog - she's pretty easygoing, so we're talking like... once or twice). What I haven't ever seen is her growling/snapping at a dog entering a facility -- be it the park or otherwise. That's the behavior the daycare said she was exhibiting, so it wouldn't really be "warning snaps" since the other dog hadn't even made it inside yet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...growling/snapping at a dog entering a facility -- be it the park or otherwise. That's the behavior the daycare said she was exhibiting, so it wouldn't really be "warning snaps" since the other dog hadn't even made it inside yet.

 

??

 

Why couldn't it still be a preemptive warning? I.e. "Don't come in here. Keep out of my space?"

 

The fact that it's selective, i.e. limited to that one location/situation, just says there's a trigger there that doesn't exit in the other locations.

 

Hope the new facility works out well for her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...