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BillG

First time poster with two BC Questions

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Welcome! Photos of puppies are absolutely required when asking questions ;)

 

As far as leaving your pup outside, it really depends on your weather, how truly escape proof your yard is (puppies are deviously clever little devils!), and, frankly, how quickly you want her to be housebroken. I see you are in Iowa so I would assume this time of year it is starting to get quite cold there. Even with a dog house a puppy is going to have a harder time keeping warm than an adult. I grew up with farm dogs who spent most their lives outside and am not one who thinks that dogs must be in the house at all times. That being said, Border Collies in particular are MUCH happier being with their people than by themselves, and of course it is much easier to train a puppy when you spend more time with them.

 

Muzzles do not deserve the "inherently bad" label they often get and when used properly are a wonderful tool. However, I would do some serious eyebrow raising over a puppy with a muzzle. Why does your wife think she needs one? I'm going to assume it's because, like all puppies, Gina is chewing on literally everything she can get her little puppy jaws on? Puppies chew. It's what they do. If they are chewing on you, a loud "ouch!" and stopping the play will eventually end the behavior. If she is chewing on something inappropriate (like your favorite shoes or the drywall), I would redirect the behavior without scaring her and give her something suitable to chew on. As she goes through this phase I would also set her up for success by removing her access to things you don't want her chewing on via gates/crate/tether her to you.

 

Gina, like every dog, DEFINITELY needs training! How you go about that training is largely up to you. At her age the biggest concern is not inundating her with too much too quickly as their little brains can't concentrate terribly long, and not exposing her to lots of dogs without all her vaccinations completed. Some "puppy kindergarten" classes can be great, others can be terrible. If you let us know where in Iowa you are someone might have a trainer recommendation.

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Hmm tried to post a reply and IE locked up on me?

 

Anyway we live very near Des Moines Iowa and would take the suggestion of a good trainer in this area.

 

Gina at almost 11 weeks is doing very well on potty training and does well in her condo/kennel at night. She is a delight and my wife takes her over to visit her mother in the care center and everyone loves Gina. But she can be a pistol at times, the biting or attempting to is the one big draw back.

 

The picture I am posting is one taken at about 6 weeks of age. She is a farm dog, and seems to like it outside, to a certain limit. I understand she does not have her winter fur on yet, and we have no intentions of her being an outside dog.

post-20521-0-33625500-1510255355_thumb.jpg

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The little beauty does look like she'd got a bit of the devil in her ^_^ I second the recommendation to correct inappropriate biting as described by Jexa. Your pup is smart, and she'll learn quickly what's acceptable. Keep us posted, and more pics please!

 

Amy

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Not in a good place to reply other than to agree with what's been said and wish you well!

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Hi Amy, she is smart and a very quick learner. We found a wonderful training center and went to the orientation last night. Instead of choke or pinch collars they use the clicker / reward method. We start the puppy kindergarten class this Saturday but we are still going to be using the "NO" command a lot with Gina. Perhaps in the future we will not need to do so. It seems everyday she is getting better behaved. We do not expect a perfect pup, but at least basic manners for now.

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...we are still going to be using the "NO" command a lot with Gina.

 

They should teach you an alternative to using constant "nos." Teaching the pup appropriate behaviors is much more effective than telling a dog "no" but leaving her without any indications of what she should be doing instead. ;)

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Well until the training takes hold, No is going to be used pretty often with Gina. She is only going on 11 weeks old and we do not expect miracles but she has learned to Sit pretty fast. With our Lab getting her to do something was a chore. She was a dominate dog, but we got the training done and Joy was a great dog, she loved the kids and grandkids.

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You might want to rethink the whole dominance theory stuff and do some investigation into it. It's been pretty thoroughly debunked, especially as it applies to domestic dogs. Even the wolf biologist who first proposed in has reversed his thinking after realizing that it didn't even apply to non-captive wolves.

 

Just sayin' . . .

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Trust me our Lab was a dominate dog, with other dogs and with training as well. I tried to paste a Link here but must not be allowed.

You can watch a dogs body language and see that. Gina our Border Collie its hard to tell, never had a BC before and she is still very young.

 

 

 

 

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I will add that most BC pup can be especially determined - whatever they decide to do. If you can correct and redirect to appropriate behavior to teach her what she can chew, what she can bit, ect you will more sucess. Try sounds instead of NO like AHH it is tone and intenetion more than the word. there is not a kid or dog alive that does not figure out what AHH means when said in the right tone, most will turn and look at you which is your opportunity to redirect her energies into good things.

A full time job with pups

 

Also straw or hay in dog house is warmer than pads or blankets which retain moisture and stay wet. The hay will need changed but if deep enough the moisture goes to the bottom and she can snuggle in.

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Just wanted to comment on "A full time job with pups" Yes Gina is our first Border Collie but we raised a pretty stubborn lab pup. When Gina gets a "No" she gets two or three times to correct on her own, then she goes to a short time out.

 

No or Ahh what is the difference?

 

Either one is telling the dog this is not acceptable behavior. But I do appreciate the suggestions.

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Just wanted to comment on "A full time job with pups" Yes Gina is our first Border Collie but we raised a pretty stubborn lab pup. When Gina gets a "No" she gets two or three times to correct on her own, then she goes to a short time out.

 

No or Ahh what is the difference?

 

Either one is telling the dog this is not acceptable behavior.

 

The key difference is that most people expect no to stop behavior - and in what you said about 2 or 3 times stop it. "AH" or "Eh" usually is used to interrupt the dog. Ie: You make the noise, they stop and go 'what' and you move them on to a behavior that is acceptable (take the thing they're chewing out of their mouth and replace it with an appropriate chew, move them away, ask them to do another behavior, give them a pet for taking a step or two away from the trash and toward you - whatever).

 

The noise that comes out of your mouth - be it no, eh, ah, or peanutbutter or quacking like a duck- absolutely does not matter. what does matter is that you treat it as an interruptor rather than something you expect to teach the dog anything. Doesn't work that way. The noise just creates a gap - interruption - in the undesirable behavior so that it doesn't become habit. And so that you can then get them to do something that is acceptable, reward that, so that the acceptable behavior DOES become habit.

 

Or you use it loudly and with anger to scare the dog/instill fear, but that's not how I roll with babies of any species.

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Because NO is a word that enters our conversation for many reasons, many times a day. A Lot of dogs will pick up on that word whenever they hear it and think they have done something wrong, but can't figure out what it is. A sound like ICK or UNH would be unique to the situation. The same is true for obedience commands. I had a friend once who used to tell her dogs to "hurry" when she wanted them to potty. Once day, in the rally wring, she unfortunately told her dog to hurry on an outside turn, and darn if the dog didn't stop in it's tracks and poop in the ring!!! The was not a BC, but still! Be unique and consistent.

 

Cpt. Jack posted her reply while I was writing, and she is absolutely right. Think of whatever noise or word you use as an interrupter, not a correction. Then you have the opportunity to show Gina what she should be doing.

 

Kathy Robbins

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Like Button for what Cpt Jack and Kathy wrote. NO doesn't teach what you WANT the dog to do.

 

It seems like these dogs are so smart they can read our minds. Not really. They read our body language, tone of voice, posture. They can easily tell if we're angry or happy. That doesn't teach them the correct behavior.

 

Good luck w/your pup! She sounds like she's a lovely girl.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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What I'm going to say seems to be the minority view on these Boards, but I'd say it's the majority view among working dog people.

 

IMO, a dog should know what a correction is. I use "Ahhp" and it's important to me that the dog learn that if she hears it, it means that what she is doing, or is about to do, is wrong. You don't have to bellow it or use an intimidating tone -- once the pup learns that it's a correction, you can use it in a soft, reminding tone. The length of time it takes for a pup to learn that it's a universal "No" can vary a lot, but you'll know it's happened when she discontinues doing what she was doing or was thinking about doing.

 

Very seldom do I care what she does instead. When she's little, I would likely give her a chew toy at that point to show her that there are other okay things to do that are fun, or take her outside to show her that's where she's supposed to go. But that's early in training, when she's pretty clueless in general. I would hope not to have a grown up dog that had to be shown "what I want her to do," when there isn't anything I want her to do except stop doing what she's doing. My ultimate aim is for her to know that she has to stop what she's doing, and then decide for herself what she wants to do instead. A working sheepdog needs to think for herself in many situations, and by approaching training this way I feel you're more likely to develop a thinking dog.

 

I think it does matter somewhat what word/sound you use as a correction/interruptor. I like "ahhp" because it is not used in ordinary conversation, and because it is a sharper sound (no matter how you say it) than "no." Just by its sound, to the dog it comes across more like a warning than "no." And the person who says it is less likely to feel oppositional when they say it than when they say "no." Which matters, because you are not your dog's opponent in training, you are her partner. This may seem fanciful, but I do think these subtle characteristics of sound and usage make a difference. For those reasons, I think "stop" would come across better than "no" for what you would want to convey. But not as well as "ahhp." :)

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I don't think there's anything *wrong* with using a sound to interrupt behavior/stop the dog and not following it up with something else. I literally, as I was reading this said, 'nuh-uh' to my GSD mix who was about to stick his head in the trash and he wandered off to lay down on the loveseat instead. No sharp tone at all, didn't even look at him (there's a trash can by my desk and I threw away a wrapper from my fast-food lunch). He's also 5 years old and knows what's legal to do in my home and that that's not it.

 

I just think that with a young puppy it's a missed opportunity to actually teach. Yeah, you can use the verbal correction/interruptor to mean 'stop' and they learn that, but there's an opportunity there to show the puppy what you DO want, and build a relationship and form a habit, and it's a shame to let it go. Like you said, even giving them a chew toy is saying 'this is an okay thing, though' and I think that's IMPORTANT with a puppy. To communicate 'YES!' and build good habits. When they're engaged in something wrong, the opportunity to show them what you want instead is RIGHT THERE. Take it.

 

(And no/using it to teach 'don't ever do that thing' really does require some force behind it/other means of making it somewhat unpleasant for the dog. Otherwise it stops nothing and you're just using it to stop behavior for eternity and that's the opposite of useful, anyway.)

 

TL;DR: I don't think what you said is unpopular. I think it's actually about 80% exactly what I said - or at least half the picture of what I MEANT, anyway.

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CptJack, I do agree there's considerable overlap between what you said and what I said, but I think "Distract, don't correct" and "Show him what you WANT him to do instead" seems to be the majority view on the Boards, and thus mine is a minority view. I think it's good to correct your dog so he'll learn what a correction is and be able to interpret it in other contexts as well, and that it's not necessary to get your dog to do a particular thing instead, pretending that's what you want him to do, when it's usually something made up. I also believe stopping a dog from doing what you don't want him to do IS teaching him something. However, I consider "mov[ing] them away" or "giv[ing] them a pet for taking a step or two away from the trash and toward you" fully consistent with using a correction. If on their own they decide to move away, that's exactly what I think should happen when they're corrected, and I would show my approval. Also, of course I wouldn't let them go on digging in the trash while I was saying "Ahhp" -- I would move them away to prevent their continuing the unwanted behavior and help them learn that "Ahhp" means don't do that (it doesn't mean sit). I suppose that's force in the sense that you are moving them, but IMO it's part of teaching them the meaning of "Ahhp" -- you can't continue doing what you're doing. It's not scaring them or hurting them.

 

I don't think it's hard at all to find opportunities to communicate yes to a puppy and build your relationship and show them things you want them to do. That's what you're doing most of the time you're interacting with the pup.

 

If "TL;DR" means what I think it means, I apologize for writing another long post.

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Strongly second Eileen's opinion on this.

There is nothing wrong with a stern "no".

"Oh, but what should the poor dog do instead?"

Well, I don't care as long as he stops making a nuisance of himself!

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Eileen - the too long; don't read was in reference to my own post being rambling and long, not a remark on yours. I like long posts! I just feel bad about making them, sometimes.

 

Someone actually said recently, that punishment (or correction) and reward are ultimately a matter of function. In that sense - which is the correct one - you're right. ANY interruption or action that stops behavior is going to be a correction, anything that encourages behavior to continue or strengthen is a reward.

 

Ultimately, I think the only important part is probably just being kind to your dog and having expectations that are reasonable and fair.

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I think there are two schools of thought about giving an "interrupter" or "no" and whether or not it needs to be followed by offering an alternative.

 

One, I think is pretty valid with a pup - the effort to get his/her attention and stop chewing on an unsuitable A by substituting a suitable B is fine. Especially for a little pup, "no" or "aht" can become pretty meaningless if there isn't some sort of follow-through, like offering an alternative.

 

Working dog people (and Jack Knox springs to mind) may give a correction ("aht" or pressure or whatever) but then give the dog the chance to offer the alternative - which is either corrected if it is not desirable or allowed to progress if it is desirable - because in doing so, it teaches the dog to stop, think, and offer a different behavior. It's something that these dogs, that can be quite brilliant, can really be good at, and it's employed in training on livestock a lot. "Make the wrong difficult and the right easy" - or correct the wrong and give the dog the opportunity to offer the right, and then go on with it.

 

Anyway, this is a good discussion and one that shows that there isn't necessarily just one way to do something - but there might be a certain right way for a particular person, dog, or situation - a way that works best for the results that are optimal.

 

Best wishes!

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My goal is always to have a dog thinking not simply doing as I ask. If he only learns to follow direction then I need to give him direction. If he learns to think and make good choices then I have a confident dog that is able to entertain himself.

I find when sounds are used to interrupt behavior/correct young dogs usually then ask WHAT. I view our relationship more of a conversation and No does seem to get the same response from the dog. More often than not you need to say it several times when the dogs are young and in my mind that teaches them the wrong thing - that I am not serious the first time I say it.

 

Adult dogs usually make good choices after an interruption/correction not so with pups. Teaching them what is acceptable is a big part of having an enjoyable relationship. After the AH or whatever then offering an alternative teaches them what things you want them to do and what things you do not.

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