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Thread: Kelpie Regressing

  1. #1

    Default Kelpie Regressing

    Hi everyone,

    Have been browsing the forum for a while now and have read some great things on training advice. Am hoping for some general advice specific to my situation.

    I've got a 5 month old kelpie pup. She's kept in a decent sized fenced yard during the day, played with briefly in the morning and walked for around an hour every night as well as played with during the evening. About once a week she comes to work with me, this involves walking cross country through the bush (under/over logs, up hills, down gullies, lots of exercise, smells and stimulation for her!) for between 2-5 hours.

    I know that her training is not as consistent/regular as it should be, I need to do better on that front but at the moment we have;
    She will sit and stay when fed, not eating until given the command
    Knows what a ball is and will seek it out when asked to
    Will sit 50% of the time on the first command, 80% of the time on second command (about a month ago it was 80% on the first command)
    Will come when called (but is starting to lose interest, comes less and less, stays just out of reach of me)
    Will chase anything thown for her
    Gets into and exits the car only when asked
    Will jump up onto and down off an old bed in the yard when asked (but has it to herself during the day)
    When thrown a ball she goes after it like lightening but almost never returns it. Will come back towards you but stays out of reach, doesn’t want to give it up.
    If she knows she’s in trouble or doing the wrong thing will not come anywhere near you, stays well out of reach even if I’m calling her in gentle tones. I don’t call her to punish her.

    I make sure I always walk through a door or gate before she does and dont let her lead the way when on a leash walk (not really a choice in the bush though, she forges ahead, always checking my position and runs across so she's in front of me if I change direction). I play tug of war with her although when I move her bedding she loves to play tug with it but I never let her win. She knows that opening her mouth or snapping towards me is totally unacceptable (although I have mates who play mouth/touch-bite games with her). She sleeps outside and only comes into the house by invitation which is maybe once a week for an hour or so. She has about 6-8 toys in the yard.

    I moved house about 2 months ago (which she seemed fine with) and had a housemate shift in about 4 weeks ago but she's only started the barking and destroying the tree in the last 2-3 weeks. The housemate likes her and sits and plays with her occasionally but generally doesn’t have too much to do with her. He never feeds her and has only walked her once or twice.

    So the issue is that she's started displaying some undesirable behaviour (well undesirable to me at least!). She never used to bark at all, was so quiet but has started to bark more and more at night and neighbours tell me she barks nearly all day now. She has also recently stripped leaves off the lower branches of a tree in the yard while barking at and displaying aggression towards a non-existent bird/threat. The cows in the neighbouring paddock never bothered her before either but now barks at them whenever they move about. A horse that’s just been moved into another paddock 3 days ago seems to bother her greatly. The horse is friendly and will approach humans at the fence so yesterday I picked her up and carried her to the fence to introduce her. She was nervous but quiet for a few minutes, squirmed around trying to get away but then was quiet, another minute or so and she started growling and barking. At that point I put her down and led her away.

    It seems to me that while bored (extremely busy time for year for me at work, will have more time for her in the new year) she’s also getting more and more nervous and anxious and less inclined to respond to commands that I know she knows and was previously reasonably consistant with
    I’d like to:
    1. Relieve her anxiety which I think will help with...
    2. Stop the barking and
    3. Stop the destructive behaviour.
    4. Also for her to obey commands more consistantly and get her to come to my feet when called.

    Sorry for the super long post but please help!

  2. #2


    Firstly welcome to the boards !
    It seems you're pretty switched on when it comes to behaviour etc....but it truley does sound like a boredom issue and to a lesser extent an over submissive dog,almost timid by the sounds of it.

    There are a couple of other members who will be able to give you some in depth help on how to continue but unless you have the time and will to commit to her it will be a waste . She obviously needs much more stimulation then she's getting and her breed traits are growing without being guided.

    Sorry but in the New Year isn't really good enough
    GageDesign Pet Photography
    Site still in construction so will post link when it's finished.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009


    I second Choppa on everything.
    Working Kelpies can run up to 60km a day, so in that prospective, an hour is nothing.
    Last week my Kelpie X BC did 8 hours of exercise during the week, she usually does 12 hours. All free leash.

    Do you only ever call her over when you want to put her on the lead? I've seen many many dogs that never come straight to the owner, cause they know that means lead time. Try just calling her giving her a pat, and letting her go again.

    Kelpies are naturally timid as being such an incredibly loyal dog, means they were bred to do what they're told. Their desire to please means they take any kind of punishment to the extreme. My girl Lady is scared of a lot of things(then again, she was adopted as a one year old, so we don't know her past), the only thing I can suggest is desensitation. She's only young, her behaviour shouldn't be too indented into her little brain.

    Try a dog club too, that will imporve her anxiety and obeying commands.
    Education not Legislation

  4. #4


    I agree with all the others have said, Kelpies are incredably smart & have boundless amounts of energy & therefore need more than an hrs walk most evenings. From the dogs point of veiw it is a long day when you are waiting for that evening walk so she has started to find ways too burn that boundless energy on your tree & with barking. I would really recomend a morning walk & really she needs a jog[I use a pushbike 4 such dogs] before being left alone all day. I would take all her toys in & only give her 2 at a time & change which 2 she gets each day so she dosn't get too bored with the same old toys as much. I would also buy her[if u don't already have 1] a heavy duty kong & I fill them with peanut butter & dry bits then freeze them overnight. This keeps them intertained for ages.
    For the recall I would put her on a very very long thin cord type of lead & let her go out then call her back in, if she comes treat her & make a big deal of it, if she dosn't come wind her in & then reward her when she's at your feet. Repeat untill she is reliable then lose cord & do the recall. Make sure you make a huge deal of her when she dose come. Off lead I will turn my back & look like I'm walking off if they wont come, you'd be surpriced how quick they come then. I would do the off lesh recalls in a large enclosed park or simalar for a long time before I would trust her off lead else where.
    Work on not making a big deal of her when you first come home too, wait till she is settled before patting her.
    If you find a dog club or simalar make sure of their training methods as Aussie said Kelpie's do not do real with harsh training methods. It would be a good for her if you could find a good club & help with her anxitity & being timid.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Skip (red cloud kelpie) runs about 5 kms a day and still not tired.
    She doesn't like being yelled at. U only have to tell her once not to do something and she won't do it again.

    Loves chewing thing but she is still a pup..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    I have a 12 month old red kelpie. The thing with kelpies is they need consistent training and attention when they are young. What you are offering your kelpie is just not enough for a young working dog and unfortunately why so many of them get handed in to the pound as they develop the undesirable the behaviour you are describing.

    I train mine in herding 4 times a week, foundation agility 4 times a week and 2 good long walks a day and I also do free shaping exercises with her in the house 4 times a week. Mental exercise can also wear them out!

    My girl is also very timid - I rescued her at 8 months old. I find the free shaping and agility exercises are helping to build her confidence. I play a lot of recall games with her and have some tasty treats for when she comes running. I also play tug, but I let her win most of the time. I spend a lot of one on one time with her and she is allowed in the house. I keep her toys for when I play with her - dont leave them lying around, so she enjoys them when they come out.

    I try and interact with her when playing, so lots of recalls, treats, toys pats etc.. I recall her and then release her, recall and release.

    Young kelpies can be high maintenence and you need to start working with her now or the problems in my experience will escalate. We used to get quite a lot of highly strung, reactive kelpies coming to our obedience club when I was there.

    My kelpie also loves a good marrow bone - will keep her occupied for quite a while.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Definitely need to up the walking to twice a day. An hour each.

    You can train "with me" ie dog walks next to you unless given permission to go play.

    You may want to consider crate training or getting a run for the dog that limits her opportunities for destructive behaviour when you're away. If you crate train and leave her in the crate inside, at least the barking will not annoy the neighbours so much. But it's better if she's happy to sleep all day because she got a decent run in the morning.

    As for repeating commands - Susan Garrett technique is if dog does not do command the first time - and dog knows command - she grabs the dog's collar (having previously trained it to be comfortable with this) and moves it to a new position and then gives the command again. You might want to get her DVDs or books on dog training or just read her blog. Or articles at "Say Yes".

    Susan Garrett Agility Training

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by Kalacreek View Post
    I have a 12 month old red kelpie. The thing with kelpies is they need consistent training and attention when they are young. What you are offering your kelpie is just not enough for a young working dog and unfortunately why so many of them get handed in to the pound as they develop the undesirable the behaviour you are describing.

    Education not Legislation

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    Boredom.............We have had quite a few working kelpies and they are great dogs, I love them. but our kelpies were always busy dogs. We never owned a kelpie by itself in town. ours were worked during the day and slept indoors with the other dogs at night. if we did leave them at home, they were with our newfs in a large kennel run we have.
    we did very active training with our kelpies (all our dogs really) and we spend a lot of time walking in the evenings and they also followed hubby around whilst he was training horses. that made for very busy dogs.
    there was nothing our kelpies loved more then coming in at night and cuddling in with the newfs/cat
    Now if I was to own a suburban Kelpie, I would join an obedience Club/agility/flyball group. i would keep my kelpie very busy everyday. Our dogs are all busy dogs, that is why they are easy to get along with.
    You can never put off working your dogs, so just get your youngster busy

    Working sheep

    Relaxing after a days work

    Chilling out
    Pets are forever

  10. #10


    The more i read your post the more I like
    What great pics of wonderful forfilled dogs.............
    Yes kelpies are brains on energy I used to say, lol........
    best dogs but most have something to do.................

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