Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have a 6 month old Border Collie/Aussie that is bored out of its mind during the day. We take her on 30 minute to one hour walks every morning and night, do 15 minute training sessions 3 times a day, and play with her when her energy is overloaded, but she is getting destructive, misbehaving on walks and around the house, and is searches for something to do.

We have one of those 'puzzle balls' where she rolls it around and food falls out, but that only occupies her for about 10 minutes.

Does anyone have suggestions on what we can do to entertain her? I work from home and she's just wandering the yard when outside and her pen when inside looking for things to chew up or destroy. She has no shortage of chew toys, but is now chewing up tarps, the carpet, her bowl, etc.

Any thoughts? It's getting terrible and I feel awful that she's so bored but simply am at a loss on how to keep her mentally and physically occupied.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,227 Posts
Teach her the hardest thing to learn of all. Chill out. Leash on and if you like have her on a bed with a chew. She gets to stay put for as long as you like, maybe 1/2 hour to start out. When I did this with a rescue 11 month old mutt you could see her pushing herself to the ground, she wanted to but it was almost impossible.

Good luck, she's right in the hardest stage of a dog's life to deal with, adolescence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,215 Posts
I think I've mentioned this about a dozen times for you and your puppy, but teach her to SETTLE. Put her in a management spot (crate, pen, gated room, etc) and just totally ignore her.

Your need to find something to entertain her at every moment is TEACHING her to be destructive and over the top. She may be genetically predisposed to be busy in general, and she is at the age where all of this is common. But really, you are exacerbating it. Put her away. Don't give her access to things you don't want destroyed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Thanks everyone for the input, I have been told to teach her to settle a bunch but the issue is how that plays out in practice.

Here's what we do:

When we are sitting and watching t.v., we make her lay down and treat her every few minutes that she sits there quietly. In other words, we tell her 'down', we wait a few beats, we click, then give her a treat. We repeat that for as long as we can.

In times where she is losing it - jumping, barking, etc. - put her in her pen and ignore her even though she is losing it in there. Hopefully she'll eventually calm down, then we can give her a treat.

Does that sound like the right plan of action?

When we are outside, if she starts jumping and biting and chewing and freaking out, take her inside, put her in her pen, and wait until she calms down before treating her and allowing her to leave the pen.

I appreciate the advice, I realize it may seem repetitive but the issue is I try a lot of things, stick with it a while, and the issue gets worse so either I'm doing it wrong, or her getting older is opening up new boxes of problems I'm trying to deal with. I've had dogs my entire life but this is the first extremely high energy one I've had. (Even my terriers were pudding compared to her.)

Edit: Part of the issue we're having is we have a high-drive, high-energy dog and every book/website says mentally and physically stimulate her to tire her out. Then we hear, "make her calm down." Finding that line of where we've done sufficient exercise and insufficient exercise seems to be the issue and where we're struggling.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,215 Posts
Your plan sounds fine.

You wrote:
"...the issue is I try a lot of things, stick with it a while, and the issue gets worse so either I'm doing it wrong, or her getting older is opening up new boxes of problems I'm trying to deal with."

You may be doing it wrong, or it could be adolescence bringing about new unwanted behaviors or regression. But also consider this...
Progress will never be linear. There will be moments, or even days, when your dog will seem like an angel and then days when it feels like everything fell apart. This is normal. Also, for any unwanted behavior you are working on extinguishing, there is something called the "extinction burst" in which a behavior that is going away (for example, barking, nipping, chewing, etc) suddenly comes back worse than ever. That is the dog trying to see once more if the behavior will 'work' again.

A lot of owners think that their plan, which was working great, suddenly fell apart and they give up at that point. That bad news is, when people give up at the extinction burst, they are rewarding a STRONGER version of the unwanted behavior. People then try a new method and lo and behold, it works great until it doesn't (another extinction burst), and guess what happens again....

If something is working, stick with it! Even when it feels like everything just went back to ground zero on certain days. I'm not just saying this to be motivational. It's psychology.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Great response Canyx, that makes a ton of sense. Thank you.

I'll let you know when she's actually an angel. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,651 Posts
I agree, teach that dog to chill out! It really is sometimes as simple as ignoring the heck out of them. Also, she is 6 months old. It is not unusual behavior at all. You absolutely do not have to be entertaining her 24/7. An hour or so of training/exercise really is enough on a daily basis, maybe with a few longer excursions or play sessions on the weekends when you have time.

When you're done exercising her, put her in a crate or pen. Give her some chews. Ignore her. If she's really doing an exemplary job of chilling, give her a treat and walk away. If she's watching your every move and seems to be vibrating and waiting for you to do something, she's not really chilling and is just waiting to get a treat. I know, it's a hard distinction to make. Think of it like a toddler being extra still in church to get a treat after the service. Then think of a toddler actually chilling on the couch, doing their own little thing with their own toy, not thinking about the treat. You want the toddler on the couch, and that's what you reward when they're not even thinking about it. Otherwise, you create a chain of events: Act up, get put in "calm down" place, be calm, get treat, act up again.

I had that exact problem with my dog, and the only thing that worked was just ignoring him. He learned that nothing was going to happen unless I wanted it to happen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
I posted a couple days ago and for some reason it was flagged as something which needed to be approved by a moderator or something to that effect, I have no idea.

In a nutshell, walks just don't cut it for exercise and you mentioned play exercise last...when she was "overloaded". Exercise her more so the "overloaded" isn't happening.

The 'extinction burst" advice provided is good advice. If you cave, you just took two steps backwards.

The dog is nearing adolescence and could be retesting boundaries. Research NILIF training and employ it 100%. The dog earns EVERYTHING! including your attention and affection.

Sit on the dog! You work at home and have the perfect opportunity to employ this technique. It might be a test of wills and patience but if you give in, you lose and the dog wins. http://sanityshome.blogspot.com/2010/01/sit-on-dog-aka-long-down.html

Train an off switch. Everything has a distinct beginning and ending per your command and actions.

Train today for what you want tomorrow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I have bought a bunch of interactive dog toys for my pup. It's big selection of them and they are pretty cheap, I'd say the average cost is about $20. There are nice toys, slow bowls feeders and IQ balls. When my dog is bored I just give him those toys and he can play for hours.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top