Desperate for some advice, someone please help!

(74 Posts)
Nades84 Fri 21-Mar-14 18:07:28

This is a bit of a long post so please bare with me! I am absolutely desperate for some advice regarding my partners dog and the soon to be birth of our first child together. He moved in a couple of months ago along with his 9 year old male border collie. I feel like I'm at the end of my tether and I'm terrified of what it's going to be like when the baby is born in 6 weeks time.

I'll start with a bit about the dogs past; he was bought from dogs r us by his original owners. They couldn't cope with him so gave him to someone else, new owners couldn't cope either so gave him back to the original ones. They decided to rehome him again so my partner then had him when he was 18 months old. Lived with his ex and dog until they split and then it was just him and the dog until we met a couple of years ago.

Now the dog is an absolute nightmare! Here's a few of his 'problems':

-Recall is none existent
-Pulls on the lead
-Tries to herd everything that moves including cars and people
-constantly jumps up at the tv
-barks at every little noise
-demands attention all the time
-begs for food
-goes mental at other dogs
-will only sit after telling him to do so numerous times
-he's very dominant
-growled/nipped at me and my partner
-growls/barks when anyone tries to leave the room
-he's very jealous if my partner comes near me

And they are only the things I can think of off the top of my head! BUT the thing that is really worrying me is his reaction to babies and the way he tries to herd my 12 year old son. Whenever he sees/hears a baby he barks/whines/growls and tries to lick/sniff it and goes beserk if he isn't allowed near. Even if the baby is on the tv his reaction is just as bad. Obviously being due to have a baby soon I'm constantly worrying what he will be like. My dad (who has had/trained working dogs for years) says he wouldn't let him in the same room as the baby for a second. I just don't know what to do? My partner treats him like his baby and I don't think he realises how much it's getting me down. He works long hours so it's down to me to look after him while he's at work.

I just feel like I'm banging my head against a brick wall, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 18:12:02

The dog is untrained and unexercised surely?
What have you done in the way of training? What kind of exercise does he get? Is he neutered?

randomfemale Fri 21-Mar-14 18:28:31

Sorry but in your situation I would insist that the dog be gone before the baby is born. Flame away people smile

batteryhen Fri 21-Mar-14 18:32:48

How much exercise is he getting? Border collies are very intelligent and need loads of exercise. Also what training if any has he had? I would be putting in loads of work with him now.

Nades84 Fri 21-Mar-14 18:37:10

Yep he's completely untrained, seemingly my partner has always let him do what he wants when he wants. I've tried to train him to sit stay etc but feel like it's just me that keeps up with it sometimes. He takes him out 2/3 times a day but I know for a dog his breed it's nowhere near enough. I can't take him out at all, he pulls too much on the lead and being pregnant with SPD it would be impossible for me. So all I can do is put him out in the garden. He isn't neutered no, I'm assuming that's where the dominance comes from?

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 18:46:48

I think his behaviour is because he is untrained. If you don't train a border collie, they will train you.
Get him neutered and get him to a training class or start doing it consistently at home. Tell your partner he starts taking the dogs best interests seriously or you will look into reigning him.
A dog who isn't trained, especially a collie, will literally run rings around you - which is what he is doing (literally)
With the pulling, try a harness if you don't. I find my collies much easier in a harness

Nades84 Fri 21-Mar-14 18:47:31

I really wish I could insist he goes, the times my partner has come home from work to me in tears because of the bloody dog but he still doesn't get it. I honestly think it would break his heart to get rid of him and he'd probably resent me for it but surely he must realise eventually that he'll have to put the safety of his child first? Or will he always choose the dog over us :-(

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 18:48:16

Reigning should read 're homing sad
Dog will most probably be fine with the baby (all my collies have been) but your partner is being well meaning but irresponsible

nuttymutty1 Fri 21-Mar-14 18:53:12

His behaviour is just typical bored border collie behaviour. With training all these issues could be changed. However your partner needs to man up to this task and deal with it.

Collies do herd, collies need to be mentally stimulated - you will see amazing improvements in his behaviour.

Contact an APDT trainer who will make a training regime for you all.

Your dog is not being dominant just frustrated. i doubt any of the above behaviours are down to not being castrated. You can do this for health reasons if you like but it will not change the dogs behaviour. Only training will do that.

Nades84 Fri 21-Mar-14 18:54:29

Thanks Owllady. I suggested having him neutered but he replied "oh it's too late and I can't do that to him" and training classes are out of the question because he literally hates other dogs. We talked to the vet and they referred him to a behaviourist but the insurance won't cover it and at £535 for 3 hours there's no way we can afford it :-( he has a harness for him when he's walking him, doesn't make any difference apart from he doesn't choke himself when he pulls!

oldgreybird Fri 21-Mar-14 18:55:22

Border collies are very intelligent dogs that need stimulation and excercise and respond quickly and well to consistent training. It sounds as if no-one has ever bothered to give the poor creature any proper training. 6 weeks is not much time but if you can afford it, I would get a dog trainer involved ASAP. Both you and your partner need to be shown what you should be doing with the dog. Hopefully, you will then quickly find he will accept his place in the pecking order rather than trying to be the leader of the pack which is what he appears to be doing at the moment.
We had 2 dogs for several years before our first child was born and I was worried how they would behave, as they adored my husband and I was concerned that they would resent the baby as they would not have the same amount of attention as before. However, they had always been well-behaved and knew they were at the bottom of the pack and my husband and I always behaved in such a way that we reinforced this so they never got uppity or demanding or nippy. It does not require physical threats or punishment - a good dog trainer will train you as well as the dog!
Our two children still talk about the two dogs. They were an important part of their early childhood and they have very happy memories of both of them and learned all sorts of things from having them around like responsibilities, physical limitations, loyalty, unconditional love,
playfulness, fun, excercise, aging, death and grieving.
I hope you can resolve everything and find a way for the the whole family, dog included, to live in harmony.

Whoknowswhocares Fri 21-Mar-14 19:01:11

Training classes can be a one to one rather than a group. Price where I work £25 per hour. For additional fees, a trainer can come to your home and train in situ.
With the problems that have developed and the imminent arrival of your baby,I don't in all honesty think it is anything other than an essential

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 19:03:50

Most trainers will do 1:1 in your home.
Even looking on you tube and training through the online classes is better than what he is getting atm.
I always think neutering is better tbh or spaying, I don't care if people disagree. You have untrained dog who could get out, it's better neutered.
Can you look into getting a dog walker? My friend is one and does training too, specifically with collies so she would be ideal for you but your partner needs to grow up a bit and acknowledge what's best for the dog, training, walking etc

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 19:07:47

You know border collies are amazingly loyal dogs and they are well worth the effort you put in and a 9 yr old collie can be trained still and will still live fir a good while yet

MichonnesSamuraiSword Fri 21-Mar-14 19:11:47

You can buy a CD from the vets of baby noises to help desensitize your dog to the sounds. There is a training regime with the CD as well. There are lots of different types of noise - baby crying, toddlers playing etc, and it recommends you start it off quiet, then gradually increase the volume over several sessions.

With regards the rest of the behaviour. I would get him neutered as a matter of course. It might not fix his behaviour, but it's worth a try and has health benefits anyway.

I agree he needs exercise and mental stimulation. Can you devise some puzzle games with him while in the house - hide the treat and let him find it, train him to do some tricks? There's a heap of videos on Youtube with lots of ideas and guidance.

The dog needs to know where he stands in the pecking order, and he needs consistency - theres no point you laying down the rules if your DP then goes and breaks them because he's soft with the dog. You have to be on the same page as each other. I always say there are no grey areas with a dog. Either they're not allowed to do something or they are. So if they're told 'No' sometimes, but allowed to get away with it other times - they take that to mean 'Sometimes I'm allowed so I'll keep trying and trying until I get what I want'.

Border Collies are super intelligent, and will work out ways to get what they want if they think there is any leeway. You have to stand firm on what behaviour is allowed and what is not.

And finally - I would exclude the dog with baby gates (you can get double height dog ones) whenever you're home with the baby. I would not be leaving this dog alone with a baby.

I hope you can find a solution, keep at it, and if after some serious effort you still don't think he's safe, then I hope you can re-home him somewhere that he can get the stimulation he clearly craves.

Viviennemary Fri 21-Mar-14 19:13:57

I agree with dog will have to be rehomed before arrival of baby. Border collies I've been told are farm dogs and not really household pets and need hours and hours of excercise every day.

nuttymutty1 Fri 21-Mar-14 19:28:13

Border collies do NOT need hours and hours of exercise. They need exercise and mental stimulation.

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 19:32:41

They are lovely pets smile I have always walked mine 45 mins to 90 mins a day, but the last week we have been compromised so we gave done 15 mins plus back garden frisby (which tbh we do anyway) and a bit if training/fetching and mine has been fine

Owllady Fri 21-Mar-14 19:34:02

Though I doubt that would be a long term suggestion blush

UserNameDenied Fri 21-Mar-14 19:44:36

When you say that your DP takes him out three times a day how long is it for?

Nades84 Fri 21-Mar-14 19:46:29

Thank you everyone for your advice. We have recently been holding a doll wrapped in a blanket and I've been playing baby noises on my phone hidden under the blanket. I've just let him out for a wee, on his way back in he legged it passed me into the living room and dived straight on the "baby" on the couch, doesn't really fill me with confidence! I keep mentioning a trainer to my partner, feel like I do it until I'm blue in the face! I know we need one, I admit I haven't got a clue when it comes to training dogs and everything I have been trying is off the Internet so I don't know if it's right or not! I know exactly what you mean Michonnes about us both having to be on the same page, keep explaining that to my DP! Told him they are just like kids, we both have to follow through with it or he'll know he can take the mickey. It just frustrates me so much, just wish DP would man up and do something instead of saying "he'll get used to it" all the time. I never thought that a dog could cause so much stress, keep trying not to let it get me down but it's easier said than done, sometimes even though I hate to admit it I find myself wishing it was just me and my son :-(

Nades84 Fri 21-Mar-14 19:47:28

Thank you everyone for your advice. We have recently been holding a doll wrapped in a blanket and I've been playing baby noises on my phone hidden under the blanket. I've just let him out for a wee, on his way back in he legged it passed me into the living room and dived straight on the "baby" on the couch, doesn't really fill me with confidence! I keep mentioning a trainer to my partner, feel like I do it until I'm blue in the face! I know we need one, I admit I haven't got a clue when it comes to training dogs and everything I have been trying is off the Internet so I don't know if it's right or not! I know exactly what you mean Michonnes about us both having to be on the same page, keep explaining that to my DP! Told him they are just like kids, we both have to follow through with it or he'll know he can take the mickey. It just frustrates me so much, just wish DP would man up and do something instead of saying "he'll get used to it" all the time. I never thought that a dog could cause so much stress, keep trying not to let it get me down but it's easier said than done, sometimes even though I hate to admit it I find myself wishing it was just me and my son :-(

Nades84 Fri 21-Mar-14 19:50:10

Oops sorry about the double post! He takes him out in the morning before work for about half an hour, either round the streets to the field or occasionally to the woods. The other times are just a quick one around the block. The last one always has to be 10pm, the dog is like clockwork!

MichonnesSamuraiSword Fri 21-Mar-14 20:08:51

I don't think the dog is getting enough exercise or mental stimulation. I presume his walks are on-lead? Is there anywhere he can go off lead - in the field perhaps?

Can he ramp up the amount of exercise the dog gets during these walks by taking a frisbee / ball thrower and really giving him a good run and play?

He absolutely has to agree to be consistent with the rules, it's confusing for the dog otherwise.

I'd also suggest your DP sets aside time each day for training, playing games with the dog. This dog needs to be tired and fulfilled.

I think what you did with a doll and baby sounds was a good try, but perhaps the dog saw it as a game? Try just playing the baby noises on your phone / computer in the house, but carrying on as normal - so the dog learns that baby noises are normal. Try and find different sounds on Youtube or somewhere, and keep playing them. The goal is to make these noises 'the norm' and not something exciting that need investigating or that heighten excitement.

Same with the baby doll. Have it around, carry it, but then praise the dog for not reacting. Although I'm not convinced a dog would equate a doll with a real baby, the sounds, movement and smells make it a very different entity to the dog as it does to us.

UserNameDenied Fri 21-Mar-14 20:53:41

That isn't enough exercise in my totally unqualified opinion. I know the dog is 9 but it's not just the exercise it's the being out and about IYSWIM
I'd be a nightmare if I only left the house that much. I often go for long walks with my friend and her dog, the dog is so happy and inquisitive. She walks him a lot and says he sleeps a lot of the time when he is at home.
How about finding a teenager who would take him for an extra walk once a day?

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