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Reassurance / advice on over excited collies (and clicker training).

(9 Posts)
apricot72 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:03:31

I have 2 border collies, Dog1 is 6 and a failed working dog, Dog2 is 5 and we got her as a pup. They are both gentle, sweet natured dogs inside the house and I love them dearly. Outside, in quite different ways, they can be a total headache.

We run with them a lot, as well as normal walks, ball sessions etc but it is the running that is getting really difficult and has probably been getting worse since I got back into running 2 years ago after DC2 . Dog2 gets hopelessly excited and barks / yaps, jumps up and gets under your feet, Dog1 runs backwards very close to you or runs off a few m, sprints back to you, runs off etc etc. I generally run with them both on the lead as this sort of reduces the problem but it's not ideal and a shame for them as we live very rurally and can potentially run for miles without seeing anyone or going on any roads. I am limited with who I can run with as they are such hard work and my running has gone to pot as I have to spend so much time trying to sort them out, stop them jumping up etc.

We took them to see a local collie trainer about a year ago and I won't dwell on their methods but needless to say it was based on your dog respecting you as the boss, no mention of positive reinforcement as the key to training. They were both quite a lot better after a short session for a few weeks but the behaviour has slipped back and I don't really want to go down that route again as a)I want to train them positively and b)it obviously wasn't very effective for things to have slipped again. Oh yes, Dog2 is much better with my husband and doesn't do any of this, Dog1 doesn't like running with him.

So can anyone reassure me that I can improve things even though they're a bit older, I'm thinking with clicker training mainly. We've done some basic stuff with the clicker but I will admit not consistently or very much. I'll have to work on them separately won't I? And how can I use the clicker when I'm running, if I click and treat then I'll have to keep stopping but what I want to be rewarding is nice calm continuous running by my heel. And any other advice about running with dogs? I do realise that a lot of this is their natural herding instinct not being well enough managed by me, but I am desperate to enjoy my runs with them especially with the long dry summer approaching (ha!), we will all be so much happier.

Thank you, hopefully!

EasyToEatTiger Mon 10-Mar-14 20:36:00

We have collies too. One of them races off all over the place, the youngest jumps about all over the place and our oldie keeps up and joins in the fun when she can. I have just started learning about clicker training and am learning a few excercises to calm down the racer-offer and give confidence to the youngest. Dogs like to sniff and do dog things as well as work. I wouldn't expect my dogs to be at my side all the time.

nuttymutty1 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:37:42

I would consider Canicross.

Do you dogs pull on a lead?

I would put them on a harness and encourage them to walk in front of you. If you can get them pulling in front then they are less likely to jump up and herd you.

Be careful though once you start to get involved in canicross competitions you will never have a free weekend again

basic training notes on getting started with canicross

teaching your dog to pull

Ephedra Mon 10-Mar-14 20:44:54

In theory older collies are easier to train with a clicker because they understand it and aren't as excitable (my 5yo is).

Look up kikopup on youtube for her clicker training videos they are really good.

I know the how to get your dogs to run nicely with you but I have not managed it with my own so not sure if someone else would be better explaining it to you but I can if you like.

apricot72 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:45:54

Thanks both. EasyToEatTiger, I'd be delighted if my dogs were happy off doing doggy things when we were running (within reason), as long as they could run at heel if necessary, basically I want them to stop harrassing me!
nuttymutty1, Dog2 runs in a harness but doesn't pull reliably as she's often just jumping up at me. Dog1 does not run well on a lead and drags more and more behind me, it's like pulling a dead weight at times, which I suppose is training of a sort. I've heard about canicross but we're mainly into fell running and dogs are definitely not allowed at races. Also, they're both awful on the lead around other dogs (another issue) which puts me off. But thank you for the suggestions!

nuttymutty1 Mon 10-Mar-14 20:53:36

Karen Pryor explains here using clicker training how to get a dog to run with you how to run with a dog

I guess you can ignore the getting the dog fit bits if you are fell runners (respect!) smile

Ephedra Mon 10-Mar-14 20:55:35

Which fells do you run on apricot? Just wondering if you are near me.

apricot72 Mon 10-Mar-14 21:03:55

Ephedra, we're in Cumbria. Where are you?
nuttymutty1, thanks for the link, I'll have a look. (And there's no respect due for my running, I bring up the rear in any races. There's just not much else to do round here!).

Ephedra Mon 10-Mar-14 21:07:13

I'm just outside of the Forest of Bowland but get to see the fells every day by just walking down my road!

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