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Will he ever settle down?!

(8 Posts)
kansasmum Sun 24-Jan-16 19:14:55

I have a 10 month old border collie/lab cross ( well we think!). I love him to bits but my God is he hard work. He gets 2 hours of exercise out of the house a day. Most of that he is running like a mad thing off lead as we live in Dartmoor so lots of space! His recall is good when out.
He has numerous toys, hide the treat, etc which he likes when in the house.
We play with him a lot. But in the evenings in particular, I would LOVE him to just sit quietly and chew his toy or sleep!
But he just won't he constantly runs around and leaps ( and I mean LEAPS) on the sofas or even right over them!
I took him to puppy training and he was ok - very excitable but passed his basic obedience and can obey commands.
He is being neutered on Weds ( fed up of him humping everything! My poor sheepskin rug won't ever be the same again!!) but I'm not convinced this will make much difference. The behaviourist who did puppy classes suggested changing his food to lower protein/adult food which I have but it seems to have little effect!
He cannot be left unsupervised downstairs alone- he has got at food left on worktop ( our fault I know) but will destroy cushions etc too if left alone or just leap all over the furniture. I caught him on top if the dining table last week after nipping out to the wheelie bin!
So he has to go in his crate if I go for a shower etc. He is happy in his crate
Obvs. his collie bit means he needs lots of stimulation and attention which he does get.

How do I teach him to settle in the evenings? Is it possible to teach a dog to settle down in one room with us?
Our old lab was always happy to be with us and settled easily from a pup so this is bit new!!

Deadnettle Mon 25-Jan-16 11:06:58

I'll tell you what we did with our last collie to give you some ideas.

First though, what are you feeding him? Food can make a massive difference to behaviour in some dogs.

Neutering made no difference whatsoever on our collies energy levels, it did stop all sex related behaviour.

I would take your dog back to dog training. Find a good reward based trainer and take every class you can get to/afford. We did obedience, rally, agility, trick training classes and anything else that came up. Even if your dog is the worse, most embarrassing dog in the class, keep going!

Our collie was 2 years old before he was left unsupervised even for a second. Crate your dog whenever he is left or use a puppy pen (unless he can escape).

Yes you can teach a settle! We had to teach our collie as he was just like your dog. If he does stop and lie down then reward him for it but I'm guessing he doesn't.

Pick a spot, his bed, the sofa, wherever, and ask him to lie down. Reward him. Train it like you would a down stay only it doesn't matter if he moves around as long as he stays in his spot. For example, our collies spot was a chair. I asked him to lie down and rewarded him. Lying down on that chair was more rewarding than anything else in the world. Build up the time between rewards slowly (you might have to start at a treat per second!) and then your distance from him until you are doing whenever you want while your dog is settled and you just randomly give him a treat.

Our last collie had serious health issues and for the last 3 years of his life (from age 2 to 5 years) he had at most one 20 minute walk a day and he was calm in the house so you will get there!

Brain work is for more tiring than exercise so train every day. Use his food so he doesn't get fat.

When out on a walk try incorperating some training. Down at a distance, heelwork, stays, find treat/toy etc.

Remember that your dog is still a puppy and that all the work you put into him will pay off one day!

tiredtoday Mon 25-Jan-16 12:56:38

Have you tried giving him a bone or similar to keep him quiet... Works great with ours when we need a bit of down time

kansasmum Mon 25-Jan-16 13:33:48

Deadnettle - thank you! Some great ideas there and will definitely try them! We have made some progress as he now has a bed that he hasn't destroyed!! We went through many MANY towels old duvets, vetbed, various pads before discovering one he leaves alone!

Will definitely try having one specific place for him to settle on. Will also try and incorporate more brain work in his day!

kansasmum Mon 25-Jan-16 13:34:41

Tired- yes tried numerous things and it's hold his attention for awhile! But not long really!

theoldlocket Tue 02-Feb-16 10:40:37

I have a 6 month old pup, same breed a lab collie cross and she behaves exactly the same way! She gets plenty of exercise both walks and playing games, and I do 15-20 mins clicker training in the evening after kids in bed, I try to mix it up with different tricks and obedience training but she still doesn't settle or tire easily and will shred a toy or bed within 5 mins of being left alone.

Unfortunately we can't let her off lead yet as her recall isnt good when there are distractions around, although I've put hours of training in and she comes every time if its just me there! Any tips on how you managed this? I've used liver too but it seems other dogs and people and more rewarding hmm

So I have no advice but glad I came across this thread, at least I know it's not just our ddog!

Deadnettle Tue 02-Feb-16 11:48:22

Theoldlocket my last collie would never have learnt to settle on his own, so you will have to teach it.

For the recall, make going to play with other dogs the reward for coming when called. Its tricky to get right at first because your dog will just be playing but if you manage to time it right, you could call her back before she notices other dogs then tell her to go play. Only train this in a safe place and around dogs and people who are ok with your dog being off lead.

JacksSkellington Tue 02-Feb-16 23:24:00

He will calm down. If he's anything like mine, it'll take 4-8 years, but he will grin

Our collie cross is now nearly 14, we've had her from approx 9 months but looking back she may have been older than that, she was a rescue and looked and acted like a pup until she was at least 10.

Flyball training, loads of walks, playing football - we did it all when she was younger to wear her out. Luckily she wasn't destructive but she did need to be occupied. She also liked puzzles you put food in. She's insanely clever and knows everything we say to her.

But please don't wish his young years away. Before you know it, he'll be getting on a little (like ours is now, as well as going blind recently) and you'll give your left arm for him to be driving you nuts with his boundless energy again grin

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