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Thread: Help with Border Collie *desperate*

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Exclamation Help with Border Collie *desperate*

    Hey there,
    my partner has a border collie, Jack who is about 10 months old. He is not desexed, though that is on the cards as i slowly convince my partner he doesnt need to be entire as he isnt a show dog or breeding dog. he is very submissive, to us only. he will not play ball or anything like that, and when we play ball with my husky x retriever girl, Luka (2yrs) he squats down and waits and then launches at her face as she is returning. i am afraid this will one day take out one of her eyes as it has come close.

    as for excersise, i dont believe he gets enough, my partner doesnt walk him because "i work 10 hrs a day, i dont particularly want to go walking for an hour or whatever when i come home" and i am unable to as he is just so strong with the pulling and i have medical issues that make it hard.

    we take them to the local dog park and when we get there Jack is fine, (Luka is just a social butterfly and plays with every dog she comes across, big, small and in between!) but after awhile, if he comes across a smaller dog who submits to him he then starts herding all the dogs and will not listen when called, doesnt respond to any form of discipline or rewards when he does something right cos he just nicks off again. its caused us to have to leave half an hour after getting there, and sadly, this means my Luka misses out, and i cannot take her back alone as its not fair on Jack, and i am sure my partner would not be pleased about it if i did!

    i understand this is his instinct. but nothing we have done seems to stop this obsession with herding! he will not listen, you literally have to smack him on his flank to get his attention and even then its only brief. we have tried the whole stopping it before it happens, and alas, it happens anyway. i never had this problem with any other dog, (i once owned a kelpie x shepherd who was wonderful and never had these issues, but was also a working dog) and my Luka is well trained and will listen to me (and for some reason only me)

    how do i get him to listen? he is barely trained because he will not listen, and i also know it is an issue of training my partner who wanted this specific breed but doesnt do anything with jack to teach him anything but bad habits (like jumping and such). the dog is 10 months old, and is just simply a pain in the butt. he is loved and well fed, but this training issue is just driving me nuts. i dont want to sound like i am blaming my partner for this but he insisted on a border collie, wont do anything with it and now i cant do anything about the dogs behaviour because its so intense.

    can anyone help me? we cant really afford the fees for a behaviorist to come out as it is in excess of 600 dollars and i am on the pension

    this is the dog in question. the one higher up on the stairs is Luka.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    You dont need a behaviourist, you need to put lots of work into training the dog.

    Do you have an obedience club in your area? That would be a great start, they will be able to really help you out. You say your own dog is well trained so obviously you know how to train a dog?

    My BC is a working bred dog who herds sheep for his living, but when I take him to the city to visit family and take him out to the local park he does not try and relentlessly herd everything because he is well trained. I have worked long hours training him, there is no shortcut.

    From the look of Jack he is is not a showbred and probably comes from working lines. A well bred working BC has what is known as an off switch - they absolutely know how to chill out. This is not always taken into consideration with dogs that are not properly purpose bred and can lead to full on over the top behaviour.

    Somebody is going to have to take control and start training him. You need to have him on a lead untill his recall is good.

    Your boyfriend is to blame - you never buy a BC without realising that they are high maintenence dogs and need appropriate training and exercise.

    You also need to view the parents and understand the characteristics of the parents when choosing a BC especially one from working lines.

    But it is now too late for that so you need to start with all the basics, sit, down, come, heel. Your BC should learn fast and you need to work on this everyday along with exercise. You need to have him on a lead and you need to start where there are minimal distractions. Can you get him to sit for his dinner? In the home have him on a lead and get him to sit and down and simple things like that.

    A good way to get his attention his to take his dinner or treats and everytime he looks at you the moment his eyes lock onto yours praise and give him a treat. You can progess to holding the treat at arms length and as soon as he takes his attention off the treat onto you praise and treat. Quite a few obedience folk I know do this and I have done it with my dogs too. He gets to understand that looking at you is what you want.

    You need to set aside around an hour twice a day for walking and you can train during this time too. Sounds like your boyfriend needs to walk him. You really need to work on getting him to heel. I do this step by step with treats. I usually work in a circle.

    Others might have other methods.

    Neutering is also a good idea.

    The other option you have is to rehome him. He looks like he would make an ideal agility dog or sport dog in the appropriate home. Love those high energy dogs that need something to do, sort of dog I would take on if I didnt live in the opposite end of Australia to you!.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 01-16-2011 at 03:57 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Southern NSW


    Have to totally agree with Kalacreek....basically it is always down to time and effort (and love). There are no shortcuts.
    As to playing retrieving with your other girl, maybe have one on and one off lead when you play those games. Our dogs can get a little over the top trying to get the same toys. We have trained ours no to be that way, but it requires training every day, day in and out
    Pets are forever

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009


    I can't add anything to Kalacreek, great post.

    Oh, except he is absolutely devine! And seems to have a good slim and athletic build. Im like Cesar Millan as in, exercise plays a huuuuuuuge roll in a well behaved dog.
    Education not Legislation

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Darwin Northern Territory


    I echo what Kalacreek and others have said - poor Jack needs some serious exercise and direction. Dinner time training is a great way to get him to focus that incredible intensity on you. Make him wait for your cue before he can eat. I get my 5 mth old BC to completely focus on my mouth and hands by having several cues. Sometimes it's an audible OK, sometimes it's a raised finger coming down, sometimes it's a whispered OK and soemtimes she has to read my lips saying OK. Border Collies are great at intense concentration! You just have to direct that concentration and channel the intensity into something you want.

    Sounds like he needs to be on a long lead at the dog park or when doing that launching at Luka thing. Border Collies are not the sort of dog you can just set and forget. They take a lot of work but the rewards are unbelieveable. And Jack needs the work, don't let it continue or the bad behaviour will be much harder to overcome. I see so many ads here for 8 - 12 mth old BCs "free to a good home." Cute stage over, too hard now.

    Jack is gorgeous, he deserves a chance to be a great dog.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009


    truth is if your partner wanted the dog it is his responsibility. you will both have to put in a lot of time and effort to train him but at the end of the day he is your partners dog not yours.

    if your BC is not behaving at the dog park, don't take him until he is under your control. just take your dog, im sure she will enjoy one on one time with your away from the other dog anyway. and if your partner gets annoyed that you won't take his dog as well tell him that you will when he pulls his head in and commits to regular training and exercise. He is a BC he would love to keep learning until the day he dies, please don't disappoint him
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

  7. #7


    *Yes, desex your dog.

    *Quit playing ball with Luka if Jack is nearby. Lock Jack away if you want to play ball. Confiscate balls otherwise.

    *Do not let him off lead if you cannot control him.

    *You can try to use a no pull harness (front connection) or a head halter to see if that makes walking Jack easier for you.

    However, walking is not the and end all. Mental stimulation can be just as good as walking.

    How about getting him some treat balls, kongs or other treat toys so he has something to do?

    Training can also be wonderful. Teaching you dog tricks and fun things at the moment, just to put his brain into gear, and then start getting serious about more complex things, like coming when called. I think you need to start with some fun tricks to re-establish a relationship with Jack and go from there.

  8. #8


    Border Collies are extremely smart and eager to please so generally easy to train. If the dog isn't getting enough exercise and mental stimulation it's going to be unhappy and therefore it will play up. If you can't take him out much, try using training whenever you're with him, ie if you're in the lounge room with him, tell him to sit and stay, walk into another room and call him. Give him heaps of praise when he comes. I use hide and seek a lot with my BC. I tell her to stay, go and hide, then call her. They love playing games like that so it will encourage him to come when you call. Give him things to do in his yard, throw the ball in the yard and let him round up the other dog. My BC won't chase a ball but she loves running with other dogs, then jumping in the way so the other dog can't get the ball.

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