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BillG

Expectations

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Our BC has just turned 4 months old. My wife is getting discouraged. We have been working with Gina and I think she is doing fine, comes when called by name, sits, lays down and etc. We are working on having her calm down and not be jumpy when she is in the house.

 

I understand she is still a puppy and a work in progress.

 

My wife who is doing 90% of the training thinks Gina should be able to lay quietly and be petted or loved and maybe a cuddle without mouthing.

 

Do we worry about the wildness, or when she goes out of her way to be ornery and just put in her kennel for a time out and someday she will be loving and a cuddlier?

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She will learn to stop mouthing soon enough.


Whether she becomes a dog who wants physical affection is 100% personality. A lot of border collies aren't - they're busy trying to do stuff (or even just quietly learn) and the affection can be an interruption/distraction/annoyance. A lot are, too, but of those that become fond of being cuddled/petted many aren't that way until they're well over a year or two old and are less busy. .

 

Again, not universal, but don't necessarily expect that just because she's a dog she's going to like to be pet and 'loved on'.

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She might be overtired - you may have to teach her to settle. My 8 m/o is still antsy and restless frequently. You should have see the look of relief on her face when I said it was bedtime last night.

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Warning! Some dogs are just not cuddlers. I have one, Ruby the red, who is the sweetest dog in the world, but she does NOT cuddle. She will sometimes lie on the couch about a foot away from me for head pats. She sits at my feet like a meerkat for chest rubs and kisses. But cuddling? Never. She hates what she interprets as close confinement we think because action is her life, and she doesn't like anything that might restrict her movement if she feels the need. She also has some kind of internal rule of her own that dogs NEVER get in bed with their humans. She is now 14 years old and will never change. Tell your wife to love the dog she has and don't worry about it.

 

Kathy Robbins

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Molly isn't a cuddler. She has periods - brief periods - where she desperately wants to crawl into your skin with you, and will lean and stick her head under your chin and nuzzle and roll around. After less than a minute? She's gone. You try to SOLICIT that? She's gone - like she straight up just gets up and walks away. She likes being close, but she doesn't have much use for contact and it's fine.


ACD-BC boy is pretty much a damned limpet and would constantly be on top of people if he could, but he doesn't have the 'pressure sensitivity' of a BC either. At all. Not even close.

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Warning! Some dogs are just not cuddlers. I have one, Ruby the red, who is the sweetest dog in the world, but she does NOT cuddle. She will sometimes lie on the couch about a foot away from me for head pats. She sits at my feet like a meerkat for chest rubs and kisses. But cuddling? Never. She hates what she interprets as close confinement we think because action is her life, and she doesn't like anything that might restrict her movement if she feels the need. She also has some kind of internal rule of her own that dogs NEVER get in bed with their humans. She is now 14 years old and will never change. Tell your wife to love the dog she has and don't worry about it.

 

Kathy Robbins

So true! Im not really a cuddly dog person (I do stuff with my dogs then we relax separately). My dogs have been 50/50 when it comes to cuddling. Even with the ones who enjoy it, they didnt settle into it until closer to 1 y/o.

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What they all said, with one addition . . .

 

You say Gina's 4 months old now. Maybe ask your wife what her expectations of a 5 year old human's behavior would be? That should help her put it in perspective. ;)

 

Incidentally, I've also had a range of cuddlers and non-cuddlers over the years. My current PB is one of the latter, at least as far as I'm concerned. He doesn't want to be up on the couch with me if I'm reading or watching TV (unless there's a thunderstorm or fireworks, then in my lap is the only place to be) and is usually happy with some petting in the morning and otherwise being fairly close to me throughout the day. Yet as a very busy therapy dog he'll quite happily sit cuddled with a stream of rotating elementary school students for 3 hours straight or snuggle in bed with hospice patients over a 2 hour span -- weekly. Honestly, I think at first he did it because I asked it of him and he desperately wants to do what I ask of him, but though he may not want to admit it, I think he's come to enjoy it. (OTOH my BC mix lurcher is a snuggler extraordinaire.)

 

Interestingly, though, as he's approaching an estimated minimum 12 years old, he'll very occasionally surprise me by jumping up on the couch to sit with me for a while and last night even got into bed to snuggle(!), at least until his head on my legs got too heavy and I had to move them, which was his cue to get down. :rolleyes: Guess there's hope for him yet. :)

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I agree with what others have posted here, and just want to elaborate on a couple points:

 

First, I think one of the best ways to compare "dog years" to human age is to think of one month of a dog's life being equivalent to one year of a human life for the first two years. After that the ratio changes to closer to 5 dog years/1 human year. So, as noted above, your dog right now is equivalent to a kid maybe just ready to start kindergarten. Talk to a kindergarten teacher if you want to get a realistic picture of how much self control and consistency to expect from your puppy.

 

As others have said, not all dogs like to be cuddled. But lots of dogs that don't like hugs/cuddles will be perfectly fine with other displays of affection from their person. As your puppy matures try, or have your wife try, butt scratches, or chest rubs, or shoulder massages, or ear "scritchies" at the base of the ear. I had a dog that HATED pretty much any petting of the front half of his body, even though he was perfectly fine with being groomed there. He just hated petting that he seemed to think was just purposeless. But I could put that dog into a coma of bliss with about 15 seconds of butt scratches, and he could never get too much of that.

 

And again - you are dealing with a kindergartener at this point.

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Agree with the above, most especially what Gentle Lake said about expectations. It seems to me her expectations are way too high for any puppy of that age, especially one so active as a border collie.

 

I also will chime in on the cuddling. I have had border collies who were cuddlers and those who were not. Kit loves to be full-body hugged, but she's the only one I have known who wanted that.

 

But even those who were not cuddlers expressed their affection for me in their own individual way. By following me around, sitting at my feet, gazing into my eyes, wanting to sleep on the bed, leaning into my body and that kind of thing. I am a big believer in loving the dog you are with and not expecting him or her to be someone they are not.

 

And, as others have said, their level of tolerance or desire for closeness can change quite a bit over time.

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Gibbs is not a cuddler, which was a disappointment to me. My rule in general is that dogs have to wait to be asked before they get on the furniture.

 

I have to coax him onto the sofa. Once there, he really doesn't like to be petted much. He's a big personal space guy.

 

However, I have 2 friends he absolutely adores, and when either Sophie or Ellie visit, he's at the edge of the sofa, putting his head on the closest knee and begging to asked up. Where he curls up w/his head and shoulders all over whichever guest it is. Sigh. I am a wee bit jealous. He's not like that with anyone but these two friends.

 

He will also let me scratch his head for as long as I'm willing.

 

Previous border collies varied widely. Shoshone didn't care for physical affection, Sam was sometimes in the mood, sometimes not, and Buzz loved all the cuddles he could get.

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Our BC has just turned 4 months old. My wife is getting discouraged. We have been working with Gina and I think she is doing fine, comes when called by name, sits, lays down and etc. We are working on having her calm down and not be jumpy when she is in the house.

 

I understand she is still a puppy and a work in progress.

 

My wife who is doing 90% of the training thinks Gina should be able to lay quietly and be petted or loved and maybe a cuddle without mouthing.

 

Do we worry about the wildness, or when she goes out of her way to be ornery and just put in her kennel for a time out and someday she will be loving and a cuddlier?

 

Four months old? Oh goodness, this is a baby! We wouldn't expect a toddler to sit silently in our lap for more than 60 seconds. She's a puppy, a baby, and she's going to be a puppy for months to come. Wait until she hits 6 months and really starts exploring her boundaries. Wait until she hits a year old and starts thinking she's a big dog!

 

Tell your wife that you guys will be working with this dog for a very long time. Border collies are full-time dogs. Maybe by the time they are 4 or 5 they can be settled and laid back, but for the most part, they are clever, inquisitive, busy-minded dogs who will always keep you on your mental toes. Who needs sudoku or crossword puzzles when you have a border collie? :P

 

I would not expect laying quietly for prolonged periods until about 10 months old. And sometimes they don't act like "adults" until they are about 3 years old. The cuddling may never happen. Border collies are not known to be cuddlers. Some are fabulously cuddly. Others just can't be bothered. They prefer to show affection in other ways.

 

As for mouthing, she is teething now and will continue teething for at least a couple more months. My advice is to stock up on Nylabone-type chewies and rubber Kongs and and have a ready stash, so every time she goes for something inappropriate, you can stuff a proper chewie in her mouth. She's going to chew, she has to chew, so give her stuff that's okay to chew on.

 

But don't expect a cuddler. Seriously. I have 4 border collies and an Aussie, and none are real cuddlers. Sometimes my 11 month old female will hop up on the loveseat beside me and curl up for a nap. Sometimes my 11 month old male will come sit beside me and lean against my knee for a couple minutes. Sometimes my 3 year old female or my 9 year old male will lay down for a nap at my feet. That's about it for snuggling and cuddling, though. They'd rather DO something with me than snuggle up like a house cat.

 

Your girl is going to be a puppy for a long while yet. Buckle down for the long haul. Remember, border collies are not bred to be lap dogs or pets. They are bred to work. Making a pet of a dog who comes form a working heritage means you're going to be full-time dog owners pretty much for her entire life. She may never be a mellow, cuddly, snuggle-buddy. But she can be one of the brightest lights in your life, if you let her.

 

Oh, and teaching her time-outs with her chew toys may be a sanity-saver. Nothing makes me happier than a puppy that's willing to entertain itself. ;)

 

Best of luck!

 

~ Gloria

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This. ^^^^

 

I volunteer with a BC rescue and I will read the adoption applications that come in. Most people desire to adopt because they want to be active with their dog, but a few will say they want a BC because they like to cuddle on the couch, and their relative/neighbor/friend had a BC that loved to cuddle. I have to shake my head and hope the foster parent will dis-abuse them of that general perception.

 

Myself: my 2 boys (10.5 and 3.5 yrs old) will come to 'cuddle' (more like 'getting pets' for about 5 seconds) and then peel off and look at me like "Well, what now? Let's go!" And my girl (she was 13 months when she joined the household and is now 2.5 years old), is the type that would like to crawl into your skin and stay on your lap forever.

 

I will say that I prefer the non-cuddle type.

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We knew raising a border collie the right way would be a challenge. We appreciate all the good advice. Thanks again.post-20521-0-30488900-1514598630_thumb.jpeg

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My answer is: she's a puppy! Scotty started to cuddle when he was comfortable with it. He will be one in January.

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She's adorable with a huge naughty spot 😉

 

The mouthing hasn't even begun. She's just starting to teeth...hold on for what's about to happen. Once you're through that stage things should stabilize to an extent wrt mouthing. Just remember, it's painful for them. Good luck!

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Tie a knot in an old washcloth or sock, wet it and freeze it. These make great teething chews. Supervise her, of course, so she doesn't rip up and eat the fabric. Frozen kongs work well too. The ice is soothing to sore gums.

 

Good luck,

 

Amy

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