Border collie tips

(21 Posts)
Nymeriastark1 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:03:46

We got an 10 month old border collie about a months ago. The owner said she didn't have the time for him anymore (she had 4 including him) two of which were his parents. He was riddled with fleas, a bad stomach, no micro chip and it seems he was pretty much left to his own devises sad. He's doing so much better now and has settled in wonderfully. Full check up at the vets and was given the all clear. Seems much happier now. Previous owner said he was good with other animals and kids which I believe was true as he's great with our 3 year old and our cat. Indoors he's the perfect dog, very loving and well behaved.

Its early days but i'm just looking for some tips on a few things. The main being that he tries to heard cars. He doesn't try to heard kids or cats, just cars. He's walked 3 times a day, the middle walk can be a pain as I have the pram and he lunges and barks towards the cars. Thank fully I can keep good control of him. I've read online about trying to distract them with a toy, but he doesn't have much interest in them. He likes tug of war but looses interest before we do. Doesn't play fetch and doesn't get excited often about toys. Occasionally he does he's actually in the garden now playing with his teddy but that will last a few minutes at best. He's getting better on the lead doesn't pull as much now but still the issue with the cars. He also wants to play with other dogs. Pulls towards them, tail wagging. Other owners that let him approach he plays and sniffs the other dog in a friendly way, no aggression. I don't think he would have issues with other dogs as he was with 3 others with the previous owner. DP is going to take him to his parents this week to socialize him with their lab. I understand he's already 10 months old and it might be harder to train him. In the last month he's learnt sit, lie down and paw. But the big one I want to tackle is the cars. Is there hope ? grin. I would also like to eventually train him off the lead and to play fetch so he can have a good run round. I adore him so much already. I want to take him to some training classes but none are running at the moment due to covid, so we need to make a start ourselves. If I can't tackle these issues then that's fine, he's a good dog but there's room for improvement. Some success stories would be nice to give me a bit of hope. smile

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Nymeriastark1 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:06:36

Sorry that was long, I did put it in paragraphs but they haven't come up. blush

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DameFanny Mon 22-Jun-20 11:16:52

Not a dog owner or even a dog person but my favourite ever dog was a border collie bitch. She was so clever and capable - even drove off a bull that was threatening her owner. So I'm envious, but would never be able to keep a dog that needs that much exercise myself.

But very clever breed 😍

Whoknowswhocares Mon 22-Jun-20 11:22:18

Absolutely 100% do-able! I say this as a trainer/behaviourist with many years experience.
As you’ve identified, you need to get some trainer help with him. You say that no where near you is doing classes yet. Have you thoroughly checked? Most I know of are doing private outdoor sessions at least and small outdoor group classes if they have an outdoor space suitable. Almost everyone is doing zoom consultations or similar too. At the very least try to find one (recommended if at all possible, your vet might be a place to check) who will give you some advice by phone to get you started.
In the meantime do not walk him near traffic. You need to stop this habit developing and that in the first instance means managing the surroundings so that he cannot practise the undesirable behaviour. Good luck.

DanniArthur Mon 22-Jun-20 11:29:22

Sounds like your boy is lucky to have escaped his old home and have a wonderful life with you. Border collies are very clever dogs who are keen to please their owners which will work in your favour. He may be 10 months old but will still be easy to train. I think distracting him from the cars is a good plan. Is he food motivated? You could try clicker training him, there are plenty online resources and books that can help you train him. I had dogs growing up and clicker trained all of them. Found it much easier to control them on walks. I also have a friend with an excitable husky who has saddle bags they put on his harness to carry, it helps keep him focused on a task so his prey drive isnt as much of an issue (he goes crazy for birds, any squirrels efc) it might be worth trying something like that as collies are working dogs so would respond well to a purposeful task. Good luck, he really sounds lovely

Spidey66 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:30:01

I've got a short haired border collie. Awesome breed, but too clever and too active for her own good. Needs LOADS of exercise otherwise she's a pain in the neck.

She does love her toys, but getting us to play with her rather than playing by herself. Playing with balls and tug of war with rope toys for instance. But her absolute favourite game to play is bubbles. She's obsessed with them. When I take her the park I'll bring bubbles with a large wand and she runs all over the park chasing bubbles. Gets a fantastic workout! Also amuses people watching, especially children who are fascinated by it.

She doesnt herd cars, but if we're both out with her, she doesn't like it if one of us disappears e.g. goes to the loo or into a shop, she gets restless and kind of whiney until we're all accounted for. I'm sure that's her herding instinct. She also tends to chase cats and squirrels.

Nymeriastark1 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:32:43

@whoknowswhocares I checked again this morning. No where near me is running them. I live in Wales, I think they're opening non essential shops etc this week. So I will keep and eye out. I do try and take him on a route that doesn't have to much traffic to get to the parks and fields. I also keep him on the inside of the path. I don't live near many main roads, it's mainly just streets with a few cars. He doesn't do it every single time just every 3 or 4 he'll crouch down and then lunge at the car. So he picks and chooses when he wants to do it. Would using treats to distract him from the cars work rather than toys?

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Spidey66 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:34:33

Oh and she loves other dogs and is happy to run round the park with them, and is especially good with pups or small dogs. Unless there are bubbles around in which case nothing else matters.

Nymeriastark1 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:38:02

@danniarthur that's the thing not really food motivated either.....he doesn't gobble his dinner and is relatively calm with treats. He does like them I will see how he is on his lunch time walk with distracting him with a treat from the cars. I'm happy to keep him occupied and busy on his walk I enjoy taking him. But I'm just struggling to find something that will get his full attention. Most dogs I think would be happy with a ball or a treat but him...not so much. I did look a clicker training last night. I might pick one up later on today give that a try.

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Nymeriastark1 Mon 22-Jun-20 11:39:56

@spidey66 I think mines the same, I think he just really wants to play with other dogs. It's almost the only time I see his puppy personality. He's so calm normally I forget he's only 10 months.

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Whoknowswhocares Mon 22-Jun-20 12:09:03

Ah I see, I hadn’t thought of the different rules for other countries. I’m in England. Phone consult then, or zoom?
You need to watch his eyes to predict the early stage of interest in a car. Once he is in crouch and stare mode, it will be impossible to distract with treats or toys. Think of a sheepdog working, they are already fully ‘at work’ just by watching the sheep
Really though, until you have got some help I would drive him to car free spots rather than allow him to rehearse. Every time he is staring at the movement of the car, he is getting a buzz from it. Making it more appealing to do on the next car, or the next walk. The sequence starts with eye stalking and that is the part you need to act on. lunging is the thing people understandably notice and concentrate on but the issue can’t be fixed by just focusing on the lunge
You have only had your dog a very short time and he may well not be showing his full personality just yet. Normally a rescue dog takes 3 months to settle and come out of their shell, so his quietness might not last. Your relationship is also in its very early stages and all this dog has ever known is dog/dog interaction = positive and fun. And sadly dog/human interaction has so far not equalled anything like that sad
Whilst building a fun,positive relationship with him, go easy on the dog play. A quiet sniff and move on is much more appropriate to him right now than a load of charging around high excitement play with other dogs.
Allow yourself to find some fun things to do together on walks and build his interest in toys and games with you. Make him WANT to return when you call by building your bond up so that you are the BEST thing in the park

PollyPolson Mon 22-Jun-20 13:19:01

Multiple collie owner here - the best dogs ever!

Car chasing is very common and luckily pretty easy to fix

Collies, as we know, react to movement so the car rushing past sends them into herd mode. But luckily for us the car also makes a noise so we can work on changing behaviour when the dog hears the car coming smile rather than launch into herd mode.

Get a clicker the best treats ever, chicken hotdog, cheese find out what your dog loves maybe do not feed before the training session.

Location makes is important so if you could go to a park or field that you can be set back from the road but still see and hear the cars.

First (just me I am a dog trainer and no you are not rewarding bad behaviour!) as soon as you hear a car coming click and feed the dog just pop the treats on the floor or hand to the dog, when the car has passsed stop treating. Walk around chat etc , then the minute you hear the next car click and treat until the car has passed.

Over time you can move nearer to the traffic and go to areas where the traffic is more constant but do not rush to this.A new location will make it harder so you will have to treat more and maybe be further away from the traffic again.

So what is happening in the collie brain is hear the noise of a car get yummy treats, noise stops no more food.

Eventually (and quite quickly) the dog will turn to you when they hear the noise of the a car, you are rewarding them and there is no need to chase.

I would do this for short sessions every day for a week, see how the dog progresses. If you are not able to click and treat try to avoid the cars until the new behaviour of looking to you is established.

If you want to pm your area in Wales I can put you in touch with a trainer who is doing zoom.They will be able to iron out any issues or hiccups you may come across.

fivedogstofeed Mon 22-Jun-20 13:32:09

Agree with pps - it's all about shifting his focus onto you, once she goes into crouch and stare it's too late.
I would avoid cars if possible, or get more distance between them and you. Could you go and sit somewhere you can see and hear traffic at a distance with some really high value food? Some help from a trainer would definitely be good, but your ultimate aim is to get her to automatically look at you when a car comes, rather than going into herding mode.
I have a dog from a similar sounding situation, given to me at 9 months old. She doesn't herd cars, thankfully , but given the chance she will herd just about anything else including my other dogs!

I also said she wasn't interested in toys or treats but in fact because she'd never had either we had to teach her how to play. We started with a flirt pole and with furry tuggies, those clam shell toys filled with food, squeaky ball, etc . She wasn't food motivated until we tried liver cake - she would literally do anything for liver cake, but not for dry biscuits.

It's taken a long time, and a lot of confidence building but our girl is now at the point that she will go to the toy box and pick something to play with herself, and a year ago I never thought I would see that.

frostedviolets Mon 22-Jun-20 15:03:59

I have a working bred border collie and I have found there is no cure for car herding aside from waiting for the dog to grow old and keeping away from cars!

You can try to distract him before he sees them but if he’s too ‘driven’ you won’t be able to compete and he’ll ignore you.
Whatever you have to offer him has to be more exciting than the cars else you have no hope.

People won’t like it but you could also try correction though you run the risk of making the dog nervous and if they are too stimulated they might not even register the correction.

I felt I had no other option at times as the school route at that time meant I had to pass a very busy road and mine was utterly dangerous so if she crossed in front of me and lunged I did used to give a harsh leash and verbal correction but honestly, trying to stay away from busy roads is the answer.

Mines getting old now and fine with most roads though I don’t walk her by very busy roads because she’ll still ‘eye’ and crouch sometimes

sillysmiles Mon 22-Jun-20 15:07:58

Just a thought, but he might need to learn to play with a ball as he has probably not had much experience of them before coming to you. That will also help in general with energy levels.

PollyPolson Mon 22-Jun-20 15:43:17

I have a working bred border collie and I have found there is no cure for car herding aside from waiting for the dog to grow old and keeping away from cars!

You absolutely can and no need to stay away from cars once trained smile

frostedviolets Mon 22-Jun-20 15:52:40

I couldn’t do it with current collie but if I get another border collie im definitely going to try your clicker suggestion and see polly🤞🏻

PollyPolson Mon 22-Jun-20 15:58:52

If you concentrate on the sound rather than the sight of the car it will work

Louise91417 Mon 22-Jun-20 16:04:58

I love collies, dont think the get enough of a mention for their lovely personality and cleverness..they are just like a human..only a lot nicer than somewink iv have no advice, mine was totally disobedient when out for walks and loved to herd sheep so walks were far from enjoyable but he made up for it in every other way. I still miss him over a year later..sorry..iv just hijacked your thread with a tributegrin

Mollymalone123 Tue 23-Jun-20 00:00:09

Honestly- with a border collie I know chasing cars is one of their ‘things’ - I was literally discussing this the other day with a dog behaviourist- I really think as soon as u can get one round to do an assessment to help.a border collie needs a lot of attention and to be occupied-brilliant dogs but not for novices - I think only experienced owners of collies or farmers should have them as they can really have a lot of anxieties if not trained or stimulated enough
It will be money well spent and in the future u could do the fun stuff like agility or fly all etc

Nymeriastark1 Tue 23-Jun-20 08:33:54

Thanks for the advice everyone. I'll give all these tips a try. We've managed to find I local dog trainer that's running his services again in 2 weeks so we're going to book some sessions in with him and see how we get on.

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