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Thread: New Dog Owner with Millions if Questions

  1. #1

    Default New Dog Owner with Millions if Questions


    My first post - be kind!

    A month ago we adopted a 1 year old border collie cross from a rescue organisation.

    He is proving himself to be a smart dog. He has learnt what sit and drop mean (selective in performing them still!) and is waiting well and doing some commands before he has his meals. We start obedience school next week, which I'm anxious to do because I've done all I know (which isn't much!).

    My biggest concern is he learns quickly, so I'm worried I'm responding wrongly to some of his bad behaviours and reinforcing them and creating some hard work to "undo" them.

    After he was here a week his caution around visiting men became barking at them. I asked the trainer when I booked our lessons and she said to ignore it and tell men to not make eye contact etc and let the dog get comfortable. It works okay with visitors, but now he has started carrying on at my neighbour. We live in the country and there is a lane between our properties, so the man isn't even close, but if he sees him he carries on. I have been putting him on a lead and trying to get him to go through the limited commands he has learnt (sit, drop, shake hands...) It has had limited success though with him still taking more notice of our neighbour. Am I doing the wrong thing? Will his ability to focus on me improve with further formal training?

    He has also started to bark at birds flying over, or in the paddocks. Again, I'm ignoring it. He has a mat by the door and if he is out there alone laying on his mat, I stick my head out and throw him a treat, "good boy" etc, trying to encourage the quiet, calm behaviour. He has also started inthe mornings. He gets walked first thing (and at night), so I guess he's just keen to get us up and out. (we dont' go out until the normal time) But the neighbours wont appreciate that for long. I am home all day with him, he gets plenty of playing, and accompanies me doing my outside chores.

    I guess I just want to know if ignoring the behaviour until we get some formal training is the right way to go, or should I be more proactive now? Or are these barking issues even controllable Border collies are vocal dogs, after all. I really want to do the right thing by this young dog who really didn't have the best start to life. It would be nice if I could do that, and not end up hated by my neighbours

    I'm a sponge for information and advice, so please let me have it! I don't want to stuff this up!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    Yelling at him for barking will only encourage him, so you're doing the right thing in pretending that the whatever it is - is no big deal.

    But it would probably help if you give him something else to do. If he's outside at night and trying to get you up too early - try a water pistol ie unwanted attention. Or learn about crate training, get him a crate and cover it up so he can't see out.

    As for barking at birds and other unwanted things - distract him with the water pistol (you don't have to squirt him, just distract him) and give him something else to do. If he persists, the crate may be the go for short spells. The crate should be a place of safety and security so don't force him in there. Use treats and toys to lure him in and occasionally go back and give him more treats through the bars. Make sure he has water in there if you're leaving him for very long periods of time (ie a few hours).

    Look up crate training to see how you build up to happy dog in crate.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    Crate training is a very useful thing to do. My Border collies are crate trained and I recommend it. It really encourages them to chill out and relax.

    As to the other behaviours I think once you start really training him and working with him his focus on you will improve. You will need to train with him for a short period everyday and not rely on just training in the obedience classes. You also need to make things fun while training. Borders collies hate being drilled over and over with the same thing.

    Do you have any agility classes in your area? Agility can also be perfect for Borders. Obedience however is a very good way to start.

    You can start to get him to focus on you with a "watch me" command. Reward heavily when he focusses his attention on you and makes eye contact. Clicker training is a great way to teach this or you can use your voice. Practice out of sight of your neighbour and reward him everytime he looks at you and then try it when your neighbour is around. Have his best treats and toys and he will soon want to focus on you rather than the neighbour.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Western Sydney


    my minis is highly food motivated. I ask him to sit or down and make him to wait for a treat. I do this at the heavy traffic crossing, when ready, i praise him and take the treat away, click (clicker), and give him a new trick. It looks long here but pretty quick. If you don't have a clicker, just omit that part.

    This works well but when people think my minis is a cute wonder dog, so they say such a clever dog and want to pat him then everything will go pear shape. They will be barked at......grrrr Nobody takes mini schnauzers serious.
    I love cooking but I love eating even more.

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