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!