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delsinrowe

Please help, desperate for advice - 6mo male BC

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Hi all. 

I'm new here. I'm at the end of my tether with my BC. I'll try to keep it as short as possible. I'm also sorry if i have put this topic in the wrong place, I've not used forums before.

We have a 6mo male BC, he came from 2 working parents (I know, that should have been enough to put us off as he is a house dog with us not a working dog). I really struggled with him the first few months, I was miserable (and still am). He was doing all the puppy things but it seemed to be much worse than what I would read about online, and other people (including the kennels while we were away) were telling us how much energy he has, so I think we pulled the short straw and have a mega energetic BC. Anyway. I struggled through that and he stopped nipping us all the time, he is good on his own (when crated if we are out or confined to the kitchen if we are elsewhere in the house), and he's toilet trained (he picked this up really quickly, he's never pooped inside). So everything seemed to be getting better, and I thought I could cope..until he turned in to this demonic thing that we cannot control. 

It's the last month or so he's been getting worse (before you say 'he's being a puppy', I'm doing everything I can and have read so much, and apparently this is now destructive behaviour). I researched BCs before we got him, and they seemed a good breed providing you could provide frequent exercise and mental stimulation. I then read about a month ago you will never tire out a BC. Great. 

He's becoming more and more destructive, naughty, and is not listening to anything at all (not only is this frustrating to us, but this is dangerous). I'll cover the frustrating bit first. He will listen to leave, sit, down, paw etc., but only when it suits him. If he leaves, he will go straight back to it. He also hates being told no/leave/off as he can't get his own way, so he bites me. He jumps up on the sofa all the time (when we are and aren't sitting on it), he listens to off, but then he jumps right back on it. Is this because I'm not paying him attention and he's trying to get it? No. This happens randomly, when we are and aren't in the room, and playing/ not playing with him. In the kitchen so far he has chewed 2 door frames, the door, the kitchen units, the floor, and would pull anything he could off the counter. So I have had to rearrange my whole kitchen. You know why? Because a few days ago he decided he was going to scratch my toaster and try to pull it off the counter. So now, I only have my kettle and tea canisters. Boredom you say? Yes it probably is. I work from home full time, so he is never on his own. Every 50 minutes I go downstairs and play with him for 10 minutes (before you say it is because he is confined, I have tried him in my office with me and the rest of the house but he destroys everything). I leave the back door open so he always has access to the garden. He has loads of toys and chews (yes, I rotate these every few days so he doesn't get bored). He gets walked 2-3 times a day, depending on how long the walks are (at least 1.5-2 hours a day, we don't want to take him more as we don't want to exercise him too much so that he has to be walked more when he is an adult). When the weather is not raining, I take him to my grandparents (they have a massive garden) and he runs around and plays ball for 1.5-2 hours (on top of his morning walk). If i let him anywhere else in the house, he chews everything. EVERY. THING. He won't listen, distracting him with toys doesn't work, telling him no doesn't work, treats don't work, he wants his own way (I have never let him have his own way, so this is not caused by me). He knows what he can and can't chew, and i swear to god he does it on purpose (again, for attention, but he will even do this while we are in the middle of playing). Oh yeah and if he can't get my attention, he bites me. All over. Until i pay attention (I don't - I don't shout, or say anything, I continue to ignore him as any attention is attention). Nothing works. I'm  only covering some things. 

The dangerous part - he's scared of the car, doesn't like going home after a walk, is nervous of people, and loves running across the road. I've tried training him out of all these things. When these things happen, he pulls out of his harness and collar (I even have the double hook thing attached to both for extra security). His recall is awful, despite me trying everything to train him. Anyway, he pulled out yesterday (luckily in my grandparents garden) but he wouldn't come back. I tried recall, nothing. He runs thinking it is a game. I have never used come as a game, and I don't chase him. I stand and call in a nice voice, sometimes with a treat. It doesn't work. My OH took him for a walk a while back and he pulled out just before he got home, so we managed to get him back in the house but if this was by the road he would have run off. I'm nervous every time i take him out in fear he will pull out and won't come back (harness and collar are properly adjusted, but he pulls so much he squirms out of them, and the more i move towards him to try and hold him the more he pulls). 

So yeah. He's a nightmare at the moment and i really don't know what to do. We have been talking about getting rid of him, but i don't want to be one of those people who 'can't cope'. My OH absolutely adores him, and he got really upset when we were talking about it. My family thinks we took too much on, as we bought our house 1y ago and are trying to do this up too. But i don't know what to do. I'm depressed, I can't stop crying, and i can't cope with him. I know it's not his fault, but i have tried everything, he went to puppy training classes, has been properly socialised, gets plenty of exercise and attention, but nothing is enough. I'm losing my mind. I don't see my OH anymore, as we work different shift patterns, so one of us is walking him, and i now have to do all the chores when he is home and can watch the dog, so we don't see each other any more (i have so much ironing i can't even explain, but i can't do it with the pup as he will go for the washing, ironing board, iron, cable etc), and i don't want to confine him because chances are he's already been on his own for portions of the day (I say on his own, I mean in another room when i am working/ showering etc). 

He hasn't been neutered yet, we had him booked in and when he went for the checks there was blood on the thermometer (i have never seen blood in his poo and i'm pretty sure she just stabbed him too hard). That coupled with the fact he has had diarrhea since we had him at 8w, was enough for the vet to decide for him not to have an op (and be put on 20 quid antibiotics for a week which did nothing). It's random. His poo changes from day to day, poo to poo, even within a poo. It can start solid, but at the end is runny. It can be solid, his next one will be runny. This is another issue we are having. We have changed his food and it seems to be improving (more solids) but he still has runnies. If this doesn't improve in the next few weeks, we've been told we need to start testing (which can be about 400 quid for a test). But my pups health comes first.

I'm pretty sure i have missed stuff out. Please help me. I love him and i don't want to get rid of him, but if things don't improve i can't cope. I'm miserable 24/7 and i'm taking it out on everyone around me. I've tried reading so much online but nothing is working. I've thought about having a 1 on 1 trainer in the house, but when we have guests he doesn't behave this way (unless they have been here a few hours and then he gets bored).

Please don't tell me we shouldn't have got a BC, or a dog at all, because it has already happened and i can't deal with more people telling me it was a mistake. Or that 'it will get better in time' because i can't cope with this any longer, i need solutions now, i can't wait years for him to grow out of these habits, or on the other hand, become worse as he's not trained out of them :(.

Sorry it's so long, any help is appreciated. I'm really sorry if i seem blunt but these last few days have really taken it out of me.

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are you crate training your dog or do you leave him free, even if in confined areas of the house?

I would start from this.

there is a DVD called crate games. I found it useful to teach my dog self-control.

your dog needs more training and consistency. at 6 months there will be some misbehavior. mine has always been a very high energy dog, but I raised him on my own with a lot efforts and the help of a qualified trainer to learn training techniques I did not know.

you said you tried everything I think you need to try with a more structured training routine. it takes quite a lot of time to train a dog properly.

and I disagree with the statement that you cannot tire out a BC. a BC does not know when to stop, they can get injured and keep going. but that does not mean they do not get tired or overly exercised.

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23 minutes ago, Luana said:

are you crate training your dog or do you leave him free, even if in confined areas of the house?

I would start from this.

there is a DVD called crate games. I found it useful to teach my dog self-control.

your dog needs more training and consistency. at 6 months there will be some misbehavior. mine has always been a very high energy dog, but I raised him on my own with a lot efforts and the help of a qualified trainer to learn training techniques I did not know.

you said you tried everything I think you need to try with a more structured training routine. it takes quite a lot of time to train a dog properly.

and I disagree with the statement that you cannot tire out a BC. a BC does not know when to stop, they can get injured and keep going. but that does not mean they do not get tired or overly exercised.

Yes, we've been crate training since we had him. He sleeps in his crate and goes in there when we are not home. He is free in the house when i can be with him to watch him, or if i am upstairs working i leave him loose in the kitchen as i don't want to confine him so that he can't play or go outside. 

I agree, he needs more training, but he has such a little attention span and gets frustrated very easily, so quite often training sessions are literally a few minutes long, as he starts to get really annoyed that he can't get the treat that he knows i have somewhere. I would say he has consistency, he knows he goes in the crate when we go out or when it's bed time, he knows he has a morning and evening walk, i try to take him out at the same times, and we have play time at the same times. I'm not sure what to do with the training as i've mentioned he gets really frustrated, but i can't simplify the things that i am teaching with him. For example, i tried training him 'up' (stand from a sitting position), he maybe did it about 3-4 times before he got annoyed that he wasn't getting treats quick enough so he started getting aggravated and biting/barking.

Re. your last comment - I agree, but i saw someone put that on a forum about a week or so ago. I don't take him out or play with him for too long as he doesn't know when he is getting tired, and i don't want to wear him out.

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This may make you angry, but:

The dog's got no major issues beyond being a 6 month old BC in a home that's a really bad fit.  You admit you're miserable.  The dog certainly seems miserable.   Why not rehome him to someone who is better equipped to handle a border collie (ie: experienced in training and will involve the dog in their daily life in the way a bc needs).


And if you don't want to do that, please bring a professional, rewards based, trainer onboard and keep them involved in training, classes, and activities and behavioral modifications for a long time.

 

 

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I'm sorry you've got such a challenging pup.  I'm glad you're choosing to look for help and advice and are willing to try things to help him.  #1 I am concerned about the poo. Did the vet do a faecal test to see if he has an infection, or did he just prescribe antibiotics as a matter of course?  You may want to have him DNA tested for IGS, an inherited disease that causes Vitamin B12 deficiency and can manifest as digestive problems early on.  It's easy to treat if you know it's there, but untreated it eventually kills the dog.  Although uncommon, the mutation IS present in working border collies.

I think your pup needs more structure.  I don't think he should be allowed free in the house until he's earned it.  Crate him unless you're taking him out to walk, toilet or play.  You could also set up a secure x-pen if you want him to have a little more room.  Take away the hundreds of toys and just give him one or two.  Practice NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) - google it.  Make him work for every thing he gets, his meals included. Be completely consistent and fair.  He is now at the adolescent stage where he's testing his boundaries, and it sounds like he's used to very few boundaries.  You will tire him out much more quickly by exercising his brain.  If his attention span is short, help him learn to focus and keep your sessions short.  Pop him happily back in the crate or pen after 3 minutes or whatever you can get.  Even in a garden, if you can't reliably recall him, have him drag a long line so you can reel him in.

Good luck and please keep us posted.  

Amy

 

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1 hour ago, CptJack said:

This may make you angry, but:

The dog's got no major issues beyond being a 6 month old BC in a home that's a really bad fit.  You admit you're miserable.  The dog certainly seems miserable.   Why not rehome him to someone who is better equipped to handle a border collie (ie: experienced in training and will involve the dog in their daily life in the way a bc needs).


And if you don't want to do that, please bring a professional, rewards based, trainer onboard and keep them involved in training, classes, and activities and behavioral modifications for a long time.

 

 

Can i just ask why you think my home is a really bad fit? Other than the fact i don't have a farm, i am home 24/7 unless i need to go to the shops, he has plenty of exercise, attention, and love. He does not seem miserable at all - he is just misbehaving and i need advice on how to help him. Does everyone on this forum have their bc as a working dog, and not a family pet? If so i need to seek guidance from people who have bcs as indoor dogs and not working dogs. Sorry if this comes across as blunt, i just don't know why you think my home is a bad fit.

56 minutes ago, amc said:

I'm sorry you've got such a challenging pup.  I'm glad you're choosing to look for help and advice and are willing to try things to help him.  #1 I am concerned about the poo. Did the vet do a faecal test to see if he has an infection, or did he just prescribe antibiotics as a matter of course?  You may want to have him DNA tested for IGS, an inherited disease that causes Vitamin B12 deficiency and can manifest as digestive problems early on.  It's easy to treat if you know it's there, but untreated it eventually kills the dog.  Although uncommon, the mutation IS present in working border collies.

I think your pup needs more structure.  I don't think he should be allowed free in the house until he's earned it.  Crate him unless you're taking him out to walk, toilet or play.  You could also set up a secure x-pen if you want him to have a little more room.  Take away the hundreds of toys and just give him one or two.  Practice NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) - google it.  Make him work for every thing he gets, his meals included. Be completely consistent and fair.  He is now at the adolescent stage where he's testing his boundaries, and it sounds like he's used to very few boundaries.  You will tire him out much more quickly by exercising his brain.  If his attention span is short, help him learn to focus and keep your sessions short.  Pop him happily back in the crate or pen after 3 minutes or whatever you can get.  Even in a garden, if you can't reliably recall him, have him drag a long line so you can reel him in.

Good luck and please keep us posted.  

Amy

 

Poo: I have spoken to the vet a few times and they didn't seem concerned, they just told me to change his food. He is improving, but if he still has any runny poop in the next few weeks then we need to start testing. No, they just prescribed antibiotics as a precaution.

He's only free when i'm there with him, when he is on his own he is in one room or his crate. I feel like if i crated him when we weren't doing those things he would be in there a lot, and i've read a puppy shouldn't be crated for more than 3-4 hours a day? He's got about 4-5 toys with him, and they're a mix of cuddly toy, rope, and chew toys (inc. kong wobblers for his food - this is the only way i give it to him now so he has to work for it, i read this online). I'll take a look at the NILIF, thank you. I'd say we've had clear boundaries set so far, we introduced him room by room, but he can't go anywhere on his own except the kitchen. He's not allowed upstairs. He is only allowed in the living room in the evenings when we sit down to watch a film, by this point i put him down for his sleep. I'm not sure what other boundaries to set? I've done everything i read online about where to let them when they're a pup, and to let them follow you around when you are doing stuff around the house (which i do except for the living room). 

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I am sorry you are so frustrated with your pup, it is an awful feeling to have - I have been there, although it sounds like you're in deeper than I have been. 

What has always helped me is to come up with a gameplan for the things I want to change. 
For instance my dog used to get worked up before going for a walk, stomping on my feet, whining. I could get her to sit down, but that wouldn't calm her down. I find it difficult to describe the intensity behind it which set me on edge - which I would not have with a happy-go-lucky labrador getting excited for a walk, whining and being boisterous. 
It took me a while to figure out a ritual that worked. Now she has to wait on the doormat while I get ready, this worked like a charm. I added fetching her leash to it and sitting next to me while I open the door. 

Small rituals like this have really helped me to calm my dog down. 
My dog really wants to know what is expected of her, so I make it very clear. For instance she has a difficult time settling when we are at my sister's house. So to help her I attach her leash somewhere where I want her to lie down. This helps her to settle right down. Of course she is used to settle at home and is an adult. But it is a good idea to practice this by having the dog on a leash lying down at your feet while you work/sit at the table/something like that. 

As for training sessions, 3-4 repetitions is fine. I tend to do something like that with my adult dog, to keep things light and fun. Or I ask her only once before I give her food, or before we cross a street, or at another time that is convenient.

Another thing: mindless ballgames seemed to only make my dog riled up and obsessed whenever she saw a ball. I have changed things around and arranged my ball/toy games to engage her brain more. This has made it much more enjoyable for both of us.
Some of the things I do are:

- hiding toys
- throwing something, making her wait and make eyecontact before she can get it
- coming up with new "rules" for when I throw something (for instance she has to drop it in a box now between my feet before I will throw it - when she gets it I move the box further and further way) 

Most of my frustrations with my dog have been about impulse control. Perhaps you can add some tasks/games to work on that too. 

And lastly, in my experience a BC (mine is also from working lines) is not just having a dog, but a hobby. My dog wants to be involved in everything I do and really wants to work. So I try to involve her in everything as much as I can and to give her jobs. She absolutely loves to fetch my slippers, she really perks up when she feels useful.


 

 

 

 

 


 

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I think a lot of his misbehavior likely stems from inconsistency, lack of clarity, and generally frustration caused by both.    I also think border collies tend to be very sensitive and pick up on the emotional states of their owners pretty well and to be impacted by them and you admitted you have been, and are, miserable.  I don't think that's an ideal situation for YOU or the dog.

It isn't that I think BCs need a farm - I live in a suburb with a BC and a BC X ACD and it's fine - but I do think that there is altogether too much stigma in life about rehoming dogs when the fit isn't right.  I think a lot of your post reads like you're super frustrated and don't particularly like your dog.   You got blind-sided and said in your original post you feel like you made a mistake and weren't prepared  and you know what?  That's okay.    

It's okay if you want to work on it and make it better  - in which case I recommend a professional training done regularly with both of you, and regular training at home as well as a pretty predictable routine and structure.  Also a lot of involvement in your daily life and a lot of clarity.  They are, for all their intelligence, not always the easiest dogs for people to train because they're not particularly 'forgiving' of mistakes or inconsistencies.   They also very much tend to not need exercise so much as to be, like Flora said, a hobby that you spend lots of your free time and money on.

It's also okay if you just plain don't.  I'd rather see a dog rehomed than everyone be frustrated with each other, and unhappy, for 15 years.

 

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Levi came to us when he was 8 months old.  His previous home was with a young family with several toddlers, two other dogs, and horses.  His owners were responsible people and wanted to do the right thing, but they simply had too much on their plates.  The other older dogs bullied Levi, and his owners could not juggle all the competing demands on their attention.

Good people, good dog, bad fit.

So they rehomed Levi to us.  It was a very difficult decision for them, there were lots of tears.  When we got Levi home, at first we treated him like a much younger puppy with no expectations about his behavior, good or bad.  Our older dog, Buddy, is very tolerant, so Levi was not bullied and didn't have to compete for our attention.  We had the time to train and exercise him, and involve him is all sorts of daily activities.  We stay in touch with his previous owners and send them photos occasionally.  We are very grateful to them.

At 20 months, Levi is a great fit in our home.  It isn't a failure to rehome a dog, it can be the best thing to do.

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On 8/2/2019 at 5:34 AM, delsinrowe said:

I agree, he needs more training, but he has such a little attention span and gets frustrated very easily, so quite often training sessions are literally a few minutes long, as he starts to get really annoyed that he can't get the treat that he knows i have somewhere.

Training sessions should be very short, especially for a puppy. three or four repetitions are plenty. Three or four minutes is plenty. Do more session in the day rather than trying to make them longer. Substitute your 10 minute play sessions with 4 minutes of training, lots of treats and praise, and then a 5 minute play session.

Crate the puppy when you are not training or playing with him.

Your puppy is normal for a border collie his age, or for that matter a lot of puppies his age. The fact that you are so frustrated with him is being sensed by the puppy and is making things a great deal worse. If you can manage to get your frustration under control you can have success with this dog. If you cannot, you won't, and should rehome him before he is ruined. This is not a criticism of you although it may seem that way. A very great deal of patience is needed in a situation like this and we are not all cut out to handle it. 

Try this: rather than thinking of him as destructive or bad, try to think of him as a human toddler. A two year old human child can be extremely damaging to breakable things in the house. Can poop inappropriately, can throw a tantrum in public and be embarrassing, can do a lot of things that are very trying. But a reasonable person and a good parent will not see this as a bad child or a destructive child, just "the terrible twos". If you can view your puppy in this light it may help a lot.

Don't continue to ignore him when he bites you or continues to jump on the couch. Say "uh-uh" once, in a firm but not angry tone, and if he does it again take him by the collar, GENTLY but firmly and put him in the crate for a time out until he settles down. Bring him out without comment. If he does it again, repeat. Repeat. Always with calm and gentle voice and handling. Don't think of it as a punishment, just a consequence.

Be calm and patient while being firm and kind. And be 100% consistent with how you handle all of the incidents you see as a problem. This means your partner must do exactly the same as you do. this consistency is necessary in training any dog, and will be the key to making a difference with this puppy. Your pup, like any youngster, needs to have clear direction, clear affection, and clear consequences when boundaries are crossed.

Best of luck to you and good for you for wanting to work with this dog and seeking help rather than just getting rid of him. If in the future you decide you are not able to handle him after trying everything that we and a professional positive reinforcement only trainer recommend, at least you will know you gave it your best try.

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At six months this would have been out guy until we recognised that he was acting out because he was tired. I wouldn’t hesitate to give him time outs in the crate so he can rest. Our 15 month old is down to a couple of hours during the day and 12 hours overnight but at six months our vet said he would be resting in his crate more than he should be out! Spend quality time when he’s out - little training sessions, a small walk and run and play, food etc then back for a rest. 

Your pup will soon settle into your family routine and you’ll feel more relaxed. Also, we found that at 9/10 months the baseboards stopped being of interest. 

More sofas. The more we said ‘off’ the more of a game it became. So we just calmly put him in his crate when he got like that. Sometimes it was (and still can be) like wrestling a monster into the crate when he’s over tired but we just say ‘oh dear - clearly nap time’ haha!

He doesn’t wine in his crate anymore but when he did we just busied ourselves nearby and chatted or put the radio on but ignored him. He stopped soon enough :)

It will work itself out. Remember this is your home and it’s not cruel that he learns boundaries which will be his crate while he learns to cope with ratty tiredness. 

Good luck! 

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I think you have received a lot of good advice here, and here are my 2 cents (and some questions):

Is this your first dog? If so, owning a BC is an incredibly steep, and fast, learning curve for first-time owners. (even for people who have had previous dog experience)

You don't have a puppy, you have a TEENAGER. A puppy on steroids. This is a phase that most, not all, dogs go through when they are testing their boundaries. And often forget everything they have previously learned so it has to be re-taught.

It is not going to ruin your dog to crate him more. If you feel guilty about crating, get a very large crate that he can really spread out in - or use an X-pen. If you sit at a computer or are in one place for an extended period of time, you can enclose your space with an X-pen or two, and keep the dog inside of it with you. Several people I know will surround their desk with an X-pen to allow the pup more space when they have to sit at the computer for several hours. Much easier to keep an eye on him. You can also tether the dog to you to prevent him from wandering.

NILIF - is a good philosophy, but the dog has to know what you are asking before he can offer the behavior. For example, my young dog has to sit before she gets her food dish. But if a dog doesn't know how to sit first, no matter how much you tell him to sit to get his food dish, it will just be an exercise in frustration.

Which brings us to training - have you trained a dog before? Do you know how to break down the behavior for small successes? Do you understand how to time your rewards? Have you heard of the term jackpotting? Etc. It is not unusual to see someone trying to train their dog to perform a specific task, but they are going about it all wrong. (This bothered me a lot when I saw a Petsmart 'trainer' teaching someone how to train their dog to sit. So, so wrong.)

As others have suggested, some lessons with a positive reinforcement trainer may be worthwhile because that person can see exactly how you and your dog are interacting (which we can not on the internet), and might be able to give you tips on how to better train your dog.

For a start, look up Kikopup on Youtube. She has a lot of training vids.

If you are too overwhelmed, think of the best for the dog and act accordingly. It would be an unselfish act to admit that this relationship may not work, and find a good rescue group to help you rehome the dog.

 

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I have 2 working bred border collies and a terrier, plus live in a city. It can be done! We actually live in an apartment. 

I love control unleash! It helped me handle when my dogs get over simulated. 

Just curious since you mention your dog pulling to the point of being able to slip his leash. Have you tried a no-pull harness along with his regular collar? 

My terrier might be small but he used to pull hard enough that he could slip his harness or collar etc... My terrier used to think (he still gets that idea sometimes) that’s it’s more fun to be a terror then a good boy when he manage to slip out. A no pull did help! He used to also chew through any hardness until I got him a better fitting more expensive one. Since it is super dangerous if they slip and they don’t want to come. He hasn’t had any slippage since getting the new harness! 

 Lol and we do hike a lot I found a long line helps a LOT with recalls. But make sure when you are working Come it isn’t all just inside or in the yard!

I still will randomly reward for coming(I have a 14yo, 7yo, and a 3yo). One dog reward is a treat, another might be a quick ball throw, another one might be to release them back to having fun.

And your border collie sounds like my terrier! Rofl. he had multiple bones, and toys available so he decided to chew a wooden irreplaceable doll that he had to jump up to snag. Training him when he was young was super frustrating since he would get super naughty after each session even if you kennel him, regardless of the length, he would wait till he was loose and destroyed something. No had no meaning to him... it just meant to try harder. It does get better. 

One last point you mention getting him from a breeder? Sometimes they can give invaluable advice since they know the dogs parents. What worked for the parent can work for the young or they can give you an idea.

 

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You've gotten a lot of good advice  here, both on what to try if you are committed to keeping this pup, and on responsibly rehoming him if you just can't make it work.

I just want to add one tiny comment regarding him having "loads of toys".  I'd reduce the number of toys to more like three - maybe a kong that you can stuff with goodies,  MAYBE a rawhide chewie or bully stick if you supervise him while he has it and he doesn't try to swallow it whole, maybe a tough rope toy.  But if your dog has "loads of toys" how exactly is he supposed to know what is a toy and what isn't?  If he's allowed to chew say hypothetically 20 different things, how is he supposed to know that item # 21 (your slipper, or the irreplaceable doll, or the urn bearing grammie's ashes) isn't a chew toy?  Make it easy for him - a small number of distinctive toys, and nothing else.

Ok - I lied.  Now I'm going to add a second comment -  your boy doesn't sound all that different than the way my now 1 yr old was acting as little as a couple months ago.  I never had the biting problem you describe, and he only once pulled out of his collar, but the nonstop chewing, the couch jumping, the general reactivity ... oh, yeah. He's far from perfect yet, but he's much better and I see improvement on a weekly basis.  I attribute most of that to my tremendous skill at letting time pass until he matured.  All the other stuff you've been told about consistency, confinement, short training sessions are superb advice.  But all of it requires giving puppy brains time to mature into dog brains and not messing up too much in the meantime.

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9 hours ago, Hooper2 said:

 But all of it requires giving puppy brains time to mature into dog brains and not messing up too much in the meantime.

I like this comment best of all!

For a long while it felt like no amount of consistency, confinement or short training sessions made much difference. But now it's all coming together and even though it looked like nothing was going in to his brain, I can see now that it was and am glad at all the little things we kept reinforcing.

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I think it was Donald who said 'no amount of training will make a young dog an old dog' a nd those are, truly, words to live by.  My youngest is now a little over 2.  He's not a puppy anymore, but he's still a Baby Dog and will be for another year or two, I think.

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I could have written this 8 months ago. But I hope like ours it gets better. I am at home with my boy each day and like you, didn’t know what to do with him. We live in a house with 4 adults and this can be challenging with everyone being on the same page with regards to discipline, training and altogether just looking after him. My boy is now 14 months old and he is so much more calm with me in the day, in fact he mostly sleeps. But come weekends when my 2 adult sons and husband are home, he just cannot seem to relax. 

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I'm sorry you're having trouble and I *totally* hear you on it... I recently got a 7.5 month old rescue bc who was rehomed for exactly precisely the stuff you describe in your post (like, wow, I mean the SAME). The owner just finally recognized that no matter how much she loved the dog (and she really, really did) he was just too much dog for her life situation and training skills. He is doing well with me and turning into an awesome dog, but I have to say, a lot of what you write, I could say MYSELF too... difference being, I know what to do about it (partly thru consulting bc people locally, who can SEE the dog and his behaviors, when I start to have trouble), and am in a position to hang in there as the light at the end of the tunnel gets slowly slowly larger as his training progresses.

The thing to recognize is, this is not like deciding what to do about a new car that keeps having mechanical problems, where it's just a matter of how long you're inclined to persist and how many fixes you're willing to take the time to make. It is not a matter of 'have you checked the fuse box' or 'learn to re-do the brakes on your own by watching a youtube video and posting a couple questions".

This is really a matter of: if you want to keep the dog and prevent him from developing serious behavioral issues that may become permanent, you have NO ALTERNATIVE other than to step it up and get seriously, seriously interested in very rapidly learning to be about ten or twenty times better dog trainer than you currently are (no offense meant). In terms of learning how/when/how-frequently to reward; in terms of learning what is a reasonable expectation to break things down into; in terms of learning what your priorities need to be; etcetera.  For instance there should never ever be any business of him getting frustrated waiting for a treat. This isn't something you're going to be able to learn online or through some helpful tips on a bulletin board or anything like that --- certain books will help some (I recommend giving yourself a crash course in clicker training, even if you arent' going to use a clicker as such, and the Control Unleashed books are great EXCEPT that they assume a considerable degree of experience already) but what you really need is to find a local trainer who really knows their stuff with border collies and whom you can learn from on a frequent and ongoing basis to take a crash course in PhD Dog Training. (I don't mean an actual Ph.D. degree of course... I just mean, most dogs you only need to have sort of reached a third grade level of competence as a trainer and you'll generally be fine, but a busy young BC like yours really demands that you quickly rise to the postgraduate level, so to speak)

If you want to do that, and can find someone to help (hint: contact whatever Border Collie rescue(s) cover your geographical area, they will know who to recommend you to for training help!!) then I do absolutely think it's doable. I think anyone with an open mind, willing to seriously commit and LEARN, can get to be a pretty good dog trainer.

On the other hand, if you do not have the time/energy/interest level for that (which is not a knock -- everyone has different interests etc in life)... then honestly it is not a bad thing to just accept that you have a square peg in a round hole and it would be kinder to find a square hole for him to be happy in ;)  I have to say, I *totally* get why the previous owner of my guy surrendered him (and why it was so hard for her!), but I totally think she did the right thing.

So it just depends. But, best of luck with whatever you decide! :)

Pat P

 

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We have 5 month old bc, he's very good in general. I do feel for you though.  I have taken our BC to puppy classes once a week for 1 hour. It's not much out of your working day, but the trainers also offer at an additional fee, to come to your home to help with training. It might be worth a try, good luck, hope it all works out for you.

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First of all, if he’s getting a 2 hour walk and then playing crazily by himself for 2 hours a day, this isn’t a case of him not getting enough exercise. He needs to be taught to settle down. amc gave you some good advice.

I disagree that this is normal for puppies-it’s not, though I can see where a lot of puppies could go down this path if not raised with enough structure. 

You’ve done everything by the book and I commend you for that! Unfortunately, the book didn’t tell you how to address these issues as they started to arise and now it’s going to be quite hard to get this under control. For that reason, I recommend that you find a good trainer and enlist his help. Are you in the US? 

For his poo-I’d immediately look at his diet. What kind of food is he on? Does he ever vomit undigested food? In the meantime, often a tablespoon of pureed pumpkin with his meals can help a lot! 

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Ah... I feel for you so much. I'm sorry I don't have any good advice for your emotional state. I too read everything I could and tried to go by the book. & There have been times when I felt very down and hopeless because I knew the solutions existed long-term but I still had to work with what I had and I at times felt like my pup was out of control, especially at 6-7 months. I can't say, having Jax, who is now 9 months, that I am the best owner for a BC to have (which is extremely hard for me to say) -- my BC cross is my first BC, is extremely bright and energetic (I live on a family farm with two other BC's and they call my dog "the electric dog" because he is so wildly excitable) and although on paper me and my partner are a very good fit for a BC, in real life he has been a very steep learning curve for me.

 I have to agree with some above who have said it's us that need to quickly become better. If we really want what's best for our pups we need to find out what skills we don't have and acquire them. I do think a dog can be wilfully "bad", but only in the way a toddler is. It's creativity and playing with the world to see what happens and sometimes that playing means staring at you and then trying to push a piece of ham into the DVD player, or listening to you say "leave" desperately and then snake-swallowing an entire dead hedgehog you spotted too late.

It's helped me to think of him as a human child and to take some time every day to think about what we've done well, because there is a direct correlation between how I feel about him and how well I think he's progressing. My hopelessness would come from the fact I felt I was giving all this time to him until I was completely emotionally drained, and then every second I wasn't 100% there (and some I was) he was being a whirlwind of destruction, and I felt I didn't have more to give. I would say that if you feel the same, you may have had my problem. I was using my time ineffectively and I was doing a bad job of implementing structure and boundaries. Too many of our activities were too low engagement/intensity, and too much of our training and boundary setting was after-the-fact. If we go full out for tug and chase in the garden for 15 minutes and I play vigorously with him with really good structure (like you must drop when asked and sit and wait for throw/retrieve), he may be content to chew a bone for an hour and take a nap. If I use that same time to potter around the farm or just throw a ball for him with no qualifiers it means nothing to him and when we get back he will still be looking for something to do. We used to go walking/light playing for 45 minutes and he would come back ready and willing to chew everything in the vicinity, bark at every noise... Now, we go for a walk to do heel training for 10 minutes and play hard for ~15, and last night he fell asleep from 7:30 - 9:00, got up and chewed his bone, and then went to bed at 10pm (but he isn't ready for sainthood yet, he did wake up manic at 7 and I have posted here for help because he has started to be very destructive again recently).

 My structure was not enough because as others have said my BCX wants to be involved with everything I am doing & he needs to know what he should be doing. & I was giving him all these toys and trying to let him play unstructured a lot as I worried he would be bored. He doesn't really want that. He's much better if he has to work for a toy and toys are to be played with together. And I'm working on chews just being a treat in the evening too. If he's frustrated your training isn't working, and if you're frustrated your boundary setting isn't working. You shouldn't be at breaking point -- if he's wrecking something all the time, clip him to you or crate him (I am giving advice I am learning the hard way, btw!). If he wants options and freedom he can earn those through trust.

I wish you lots of good luck. This is not easy. Remember to breathe. He won't be a baby forever and you will probably, believe it or not, miss these times later.

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