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Thread: 7 Month old Female BC constantly running around the backyard

  1. #1

    Default 7 Month old Female BC constantly running around the backyard

    Our sweet 7 month old wheaten BC has in the last 6-8 weeks developed an obsession for running around the backyard.

    It started in late winter/early spring when the full moon was out and she was chasing shadows in the backyard. We did what we could to distract her. Then there was a birds nest of Miner Birds down the back and she would chase them - they would swoop at her and really annoy her. She has now created a dirt racetrack around our backyard as she constantly runs all day. We have a very big backyard (1352m), so doesn't lack space. She also runs the fenceline, particularly on the side where we have another border collie (male) - though she is desexed).

    She is generally a very good girl. She was very placid and even shy when we first got her. She happily sits on her mat when she is inside. We have done puppy training and will continue to do the beginner training but to be fair, we have been very slack lately with school holidays, illness etc that have thrown things out. She has plenty of toys but these obviously don't provide her with much stimulation. We usually play soccer with her (she LOVES balls), take her for walks, go to the dog park etc. But (slap on the wrist) - it hasn't been consistent enough.

    I know this is what Border Collies do - run.

    Our major concern is that when we go outside, she won't come when she is called all the time - I am hoping this is the lack of regular training of late. Sometimes she'll be lying at the backdoor and when we go out to her, she jumps up and runs straight to her path on the grass out the back - it's like she is possibly trying to protect us from the birds????

    My husband is really worried as he thinks she's gone a bit 'psycho' on us. We previously had two adult huskies who were generally very lazy and would just bake in the sun all day - so it's a big difference.

    If anyone has any ideas, please, please help!

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Rural Western Australia
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    No she is not protecting you from birds, she has become obsessive about running her track. Your appearance excites her and off she goes. Border collies are dogs that you take on if you are prepared to invest a lot of time in the early years. They need consistent training and exercise. Toys are only stimulating if you are playing with her. Leaving a whole lot lying round she has got used to them and bored by them. You need to control them and make them interesting. A kong stuffed with frozen food or peanut butter for example. She is making up her own fun to relieve the boredom and she becoming obsessive about it. Some Border collies can be highly strung and nervy you need to work on some sort of structure with her. Regular walks, mental games and playtime, twice a day preferably. Crate training is also useful.

    I once had a BC that every time I took her with me to do some maintenance on the farm or with the other dogs for a walk she would take off on her own race track. It is just what she seemed to like to do. I was a circuit of about a kilometer and she would race around it until we had finished the walk or whatever. She was a sane and happy dog so I didn't worry about it just let her go. I noticed that it started after I started concentrating more on training my young working dogs. She was a showbred BC and not good on sheep. I suspect it might have been that I wasn't giving her enough individual attention. She went to live with my niece and thrived in a one on one environment and stopped that behaviour. Border collies are what I would call high maintenance dogs, their breeding can also play quite a big part in how highly strung they are. My working Border collies are not highly strung and as long as I attend their needs are pretty chilled and will laze around in the sun often.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 11-03-2016 at 11:42 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Bunbury
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    Mine is obsessive about balls. We ended up removing them except when we brought them out. She loves toys, but only with one of us interacting. Yep, high maintenance dogs. Mine gets a 5 km walk every day and a 2 km one in the evening, every day unless it is inclement. She is relaxed at nearly five and chills out the rest of the time. Even now may have a wild run around the yard and then proceed to throw her favourite toy ( a bucket) around.
    They love learning, your dog sounds bored and typically mono brain thinker who is rewarding an obsession. Years ago I saw a kelpie who had worn a running track like that. Kalacreek has it right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Darwin Northern Territory
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    Poor pup, she needs much more consistency in attention, training and exercise from you for at least the next year. The size of the yard or number of toys don't matter, she needs interaction. You don't get the option of slacking off or being inconsistent with BCs in the first year or two if you want to end up with a working breed dog that's happy to be a backyard pet. You also have to involve her much more in whatever you and the family are doing. I'm sorry you have had to deal with illness, but someone in the family then needs to take over dog duty, or outsource it.

    I reckon you can just about set your clock by it - I often see BCs advertised in the paper here or surrendered to the RSPCA at 8 months of age. The age they appear to go 'psycho'. They're not going psycho on their owners, they are being sent psycho by not having enough work or work-like stimulation for their blessedly intelligent brains. After I got my young female BC (a gorgeous golden bundle of energy) the people over the road from me thought she was so cute they went out and bought a very expensive purebred blue and white BC, superb looking pup. They then proceeded to do nothing with the poor thing, it turned into a constant day and night barker, the poor thing was slowly going crazy from lack of exercise and attention (and sending the street crazy listening to the constant barking). At 8 months old they gave it away. I wish now I had been able to help the dog before it got to that, but I had 2 of my own to deal with. I'm not suggesting you are like my neighbours, just emphasising the importance of doing something about your pup now before her behaviour goes any further and it gets harder to alter.

    I have 2 BCs and for at least the first two years of their life I didn't slack off once: getting up at 5 in the morning to walk for an hour before work, them going everywhere with me whenever possible (I was lucky to be able to take my older boy to work everyday, but not now) weekend adventures together, dog paddling races at the beach, teaching them the 1 or 2 dog tow in from deep water (I just hold the harness and get towed in, pretending, or not, that there's a crocodile chasing us), tricks, toys, balls. Once they reached 2 years old I could slack off, though by then I was pretty well-trained! Now they are 10 and 6 years old and I can choose to do heaps with them, or not. I too have a huge yard, but they hardly use it unless I am doing something in it with them. While I am at work they chill inside all day.

    There is a lot more I can do with them, my younger one is an absolute sponge for tricks - she learns a new trick in about two minutes once she knows what I want, but I have my limitations and yes, there are other things such as family, work, hobbies and entertainment to get in the way of the 16 waking hours of time I could be spending on dog activities! You just need to find the right amount of activity to see her through this crucial stage.

    So yes, toys, but as Kalacreek and Farrview said, ration them and make sure there is a human involved with the toy play as well. Frozen Kongs stuffed with carrot, treats and peanut butter are good for about 15 minutes of her day, but only as a poor substitute for interacting with her family. Good luck with it and lets us know how you go.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    Rural Western Australia
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    Yes sadly I have fostered a young "psycho" kelpie given up for the reasons above. She was a bit of a basket case and they were having trouble finding her a home so I took her along with a young working dog that I had adopted for myself. After a couple of months of attention and consistency and my own experienced dogs to help sort her out she was ready for adoption by the right person who happened to be a tradie/triathlete so she got all the exercise and companionship that she need to go onto to be a happy dog.

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