Jump to content
BC Boards
Sign in to follow this  
nellah

Chasing birds

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

I've now had my beautiful border collie pup for 4 months, and he has absolutely changed my world... can't believe I went for so long without one!

 

He is currently 7 months old, and his training and behavior are coming along really well (I think!) He's mastered sit, stay, down, roll over, find your ball, high five, shake and we're currently working on loose-leash walking and recall, but there's one thing I would really like to curb before it sets in... in recent weeks, he has decided chasing/rounding up birds is really fun.

We live by the beach, so there's a big expanse and he never gets too close to the birds, but I'm concerned if we are near a road and he is off leash that he won't stop and will head for the road (he gets very fixated on following the birds!)

 

His recall is usually quite good (for a pup), but if he is chasing a bird there's no chance of distracting him - I've tried treats, toys, walking the other direction... does anyone have any tips?

 

Thanks :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first recommendation would be until he's grown and reliable, keep him on a long line any time you're near a road. It's not worth risking tragedy. It's just going to take him time to gain the maturity and focus to call off something that's so fun and rewarding. Coming to you is just not as fun as chasing birds! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I second that! If you are still working on his recall then he should not be off leash. The longer he is allowed to chase birds and blow you off then the more fun it will be for him. It will make proofing his recall harder in the long run. Keep him on a long line and work on his recall in settings where he can succeed. Then slowly as he gets better at recalling, you can work up to places where higher distractions are (birds!).

 

Chasing animals is a self rewarding behavior so your little treats are no match. Prevent the behavior now while he is young and as he matures and you continue training, you will eventually be able to call him off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, pretty simple. Long line with no complete freedom to engage in self-rewarding behaviors until the recall's rock solid.

 

For most dogs that'll take a couple years. More for some dogs. There's a reason kids have to reach a minimum age and take driving tests before we allow them to drive on their own. It should be the same with dogs. The privilege needs to be earned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^ What they all said. Plus, he's still very young to be expected to have a great recall. And at 7 months, you've still got adolescence to go through. I adopted a bc who was about 11 months when we got him. He was sweet and quick to learn. And his adolescent brain leaked out of his ears pretty consistently until around 18 or 19 months.

 

Chasing something that moves is an ENORMOUSLY rewarding activity for any age dog. He needs to be on a long line for several more months, IMO. And you need to consistently work w/him, reinforcing Every Single Time, that he needs to obey that recall.

 

I lived on a beach for about a year, lovely. I envy you that! Enjoy your pup and keep training. You'll get there.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am probably more risk adverse than most people here, but I would never let my dog off-leash near a busy road, no matter how good her recall was. I never want to be in a situation where overconfidence in my training could cost her her life. All it takes is a moment of inattention from either the dog or a handler, or a scenario you haven't proofed thoroughly enough and there are no second chances. I would keep him on a long line near the road, and look for parks or trails away from streets to give him his off-leash time.

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...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...