Border Collie, (going crazy!)
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Thread: Border Collie, (going crazy!)

  1. #1

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    Border Collie, (going crazy!)

    So I have no clue what to do with my Border Collie, she seems to have a lot of issues and I cannot seem to fix them!

    First off let me say I love my dog and would anything to help her and teach her, she is currently being walked for 1 hour every night, let out in the back yard to run and play ball for 2-3 hours, and she is fed 2 times a day eating Pedigree Adult Dog Food.

    I am new here and I will apologize in advance for the length of this post.

    Problem #1: She is mostly crate trained, but when she is tired of being in the crate (say we put her in there when she makes a "no-no" in the house, she will start to bark. I try telling her "NO" in a firm voice, and she tilts her head, stares at you and gets louder and more vocal. If she is in her crate and I have company come over she gets vocal and nothing will be able to make her stop. I read online that spraying them with a water bottle works wonders when teaches them not to bark, well the first spray she goes quite, then she tilts her head and starts up again! Does anyone have any good hints on how to get her to stop barking inside while she is in the crate?

    Problem #2: I have about 8 cats and when she is loose in the house with them, she normally tends to do OKAY. If one of the cats gets a crazy hyper moment and decides to take off running, she chases after then and she bites at them. (I am pretty sure its her trying to herd the cats, but she has nearly bitten them on the neck several times and it scares me that she will hurt the cats really bad) Is there anything I can do to teach her it is NOT OKAY to do this?

    Problem #3: She is very NOT confident, she is extremely shy, and she is unsure around people. I've been trying to teach her how to lay down and she normally just falls over onto her side and lays there looking up at you. When she is around other people, besides me, her tail goes between her legs and she rarely wags it. Anyway I can make her more sure of herself when people are around? And how can I go about training her when she acts this way?

    Problem #4: When I play ball with her she normally bolts after the ball brings it back and drops it, then its a race to see if I can get it first or if she can. If I happen to be lucky and pick it up before she can get her jaws around it, I get ready to throw it, and if I don't throw it fast enough, she bark and jumps up and bites my hand/arm (whatever she can reach). I've tried putting my legs up (like how you train a dog not to jump up) but it doesn't seem to help, she keeps doing it. I've tried not letting her play ball and leaving it inside, but if she THINKS you have a ball in your hand she will start barking at you, and when you show her your empty hands she barks more and tries to bite (like she thinks we are hiding it on her or something) It has started to get to the point that I cannot go outback with her and spend time. Anyone have any idea what I can do about this?


    I have thought about getting her into be tested for herding skills, and if she did good, I was debating whether or not to get her into some herding things, you can pay $25 per "get-together" here and she can herd for the day. But I'm not working right now so its nothing that I can get her into right away.


    Thanks in advance, and again sorry its so long.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member melgrj7's Avatar
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    Re: Border Collie, (going crazy!)

    How old is your border collie? and how long have you had her?

    I would enroll in a basic obedience class, I think it would help greatly. You should also walk her more (add an hour in the morning) and do more to keep her mentally occupied. Feeding her out of toys is one thing you can do, I use these toys: Squirrel Dude, Buster Cube, Twist N Treat and there are several more available. You just put their meal in the toy and give it to them. It takes my dogs about 20 minutes to eat their meal this way and it gives them more of a mental work out than just dumping food in a bowl.

    Also teach her commands like (click on the word for a link to an article on how to teach it) sit and down, Come, stay, quiet, leave it, watch me and as many tricks as you can think of (if you needs some ideas this is a good book: 101 Dog Tricks). Before you give her anything (attention, treats, food, toys) have her do a trick/command. If she doesn't do it, walk away.

    For the issues around people, I would seek the guidance of a trainer. Sometimes going to a basic obedience class is enough to give a dog some confidence around people and you will be able to get advice from the instructor.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Toby4Life's Avatar
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    Re: Border Collie, (going crazy!)

    My first thought is the amount of exercise. An hour walk is about right for a breed of normal energy/stamina. BC's are definitely not normal as I'm sure you know. This breed needs all the exercise it can get and there are not enough hours in the day to tire them out. Both physical and mental exercise is a must if you want a well behaved and (somewhat) calm BC.

    I know you said you aren't working, but an Agility class seems like a perfect fit here. It would help address #3 as it really serves as a confidence booster and it would help you socialize her with more people and dogs. This would also help tire her out so she may be more willing to be left in her crate.

    Regarding #1 - Full disclosure here - I didn't crate train. Everything I've seen and read about it though says not to use the crate as punishment - something you may want to look into. My other thought is that she barks when in there because she either needs more exercise (see above) or wants to be around the family. Have you tried giving her toys (maybe kongs with food stuffed inside) to keep her occupied?

    #2 - I don't have a suggestion here, only because I think you're right that she's trying to herd the cats. There may be a way to stop this, but I'd imagine it would be very difficult and to me it's what the dog was made for. I wouldn't want to stop a herding dog from herding, or a retrieving dog from retrieving, or .......

    #4 - Training the "leave it" command would help you pick the ball up without her trying to beat you to it. Pretty much all basic commands would help here. Here is the sequence when we play fetch:

    Toby returns w/ the ball and I tell him, "drop it". I pick it up (telling him "leave it" if he goes for it) and tell him "sit". Once he sits I either throw it for him to fetch or I tell him, "stay" then I throw the ball and release him ("go"). This way I'm in control of our game and it helps us work on his basic commands.

    If your dog is trying to bite - that's an obvious sign more training is needed as well. Have you done any training w/ her??

    BC's are great dogs, but they are very intelligent (some say the most of all dogs) and very energetic. Above all they need STIMULATION, both of the mental and physical sort and I'd recommend changing this before anything else.

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  6. #4
    Senior Member sheltiemom's Avatar
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    Re: Border Collie, (going crazy!)

    First off, I actually think you're ok in the physical exercise department. My bc gets a 45 minute walk in the am and several 30 minute to 1 hour play sessions in the yard...that should be enough physically, but you may want to incorporate some structured games into that to make it more mental. You might also look into some formal obedience training if you haven't already, and get her in some situations where she can play with other dogs...that tires mine out more than anything. Leave it, drop it, quiet, settle down, watch me...are all commands you will want to teach her.

    For issue #1, I'd absolutely stop using the crate as punishment or as a time out area. You want her to think of the crate as a safe, relaxing place, and being squirted or told "no" while she's in there will have the opposite effect, making her stressed and anxious. The only way to stop her barking in the crate is to completely ignore it every time. Give her something special like a stuffed kong or favorite non destructable toy when you put her in there, and if you have to crate her when guests are over, make sure the crate is away from where the action is, in a seperate room for instance.

    Issue #2, the "leave it" command has helped alot for me and my bc. It doesn't sound like you are, but don't leave her unsupervised with the cats. With mine, when I notice him fixate on a cat, I tell him "leave it", and call him to me and give him some other command to distract him. If he does chase a cat, I put myself in between him and the cat and repeat leave it. It has taken months, like 6 months, but I can see alot of improvement. It may be herding, but imo they still have to learn they can't herd everything, like cats and kids.

    Issue #4, I would not let her try to beat you to the ball. Drop it should mean drop it and don't try to pick it up again...maybe giving a "sit" and "wait" command after she drops it, and not throwing it again until she complies...the minute she tries to bite, the game should stop. Fold your arms and turn your back and completely ignore her for a minute. Once she calms down, have her sit or down and start the game again. Incorporating commands into your game should help tire her mentally too. Same with barking at you....the game stops, and if she won't settle, you have to go inside.

    Good luck!
    RIPLEY, Shetland Sheepdog
    FROSTY, Shetland Sheepdog
    SHINER, Border Collie
    SCARLETT, Miniature American Shepherd

  7. #5

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    Re: Border Collie, (going crazy!)

    I was told when I was looking into getting a Border Collie that they where a breed that needed a job 24/7 and if you could not be that type of home that you should not get one. Without a job they become problem dogs. My Border Collie is shy also. She normal does not like strangers. This is part of the breed. They are loyal and love there family but not usualy outsiders. It is very important to socialize them. My dog have 8 acres to herd all the animals she wants. We have pigs, ducks, chickens, turkeys, goats, and horses. In the house we do have cats but if they don't run they are not bothered. I have a crate but my border collie was not taught to stay in a crate. She was never locked in it. She will go in there because she wants to. Potty training was very easy for her. It is going to take alot to keep the mind and body busy and tired on this breed. I love my Border Collie. I just got a mixed breed puppy (mastiff/border) I hope is just as nice.

  8. #6

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    Re: Border Collie, (going crazy!)

    Thanks everyone!

    She is a year old, actually a little more like 1 year and 3 months.

    I'll try walking her 2 times a day and playing ball with her more, with the tips of stopping and leaving her alone when she bites, if the loud distraction doesn't help!

    I will stop using her kennel as a punishment place and I will put her in the bathroom or another small room as punishment.


    I will also start working on her with the LEAVE IT command and I hope it helps, baby gates in the house is another great thing that I will look into getting, I never thought of that before!!

    She has not had any "training" persay, I mean I've taught her to sit and lay down (some what on the lay down) and I've been working on her with not jumping up and not pulling on the leash. I will however look into getting her into obedience class if it will help her!

    I will try getting her into a herding session in a month or so (if they are still doing them!) and see how she does with it.

    I again thank everyone for the responses and I will try everything suggested below and try and give her a job to do more often!

  9. #7

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    Re: Border Collie, (going crazy!)

    From what I have heard/read physical isolation is not usually very effective as a punishment. It is far more effective to use social isolation (pretend she is not there, no looking at her, no touching her, no eye contact regardless of what she does).

    On the note about her crate. My little puppy got over bonded to me so we ended up having an issue with her barking for hours on end if left in her crate. What I did was just put her in her crate for an hour twice a day even when I could watch her and then I just did my thing but made sure to walk in and out of the room she was in but pretend not to notice her. After an hour if there was even a moment of silence I would let her out and give her a little attention. After that I just waited for longer and longer periods of silence. It took me a little over a week but she is doing awesome in her crate now.

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