Q: How does the Border Collie cope with the really hot weather?
A: Though the Border Collie is bred to tolerate the extremes of the Australian climate, you will find many differences in the Border Collie within Australia. Short coats and lighter bodies in hotter weather, longer coats in colder weather. To survive the hotter months, most Borders will shed their undercoat and generally loose weight. They are smart enough to seek shelter and water when working in hotter climes. If you wish to get a pup that will tolerate the hotter weather, seek out a breeder who lives in those conditions and whose dogs have generations of experience with those climatic conditions.
Q: How do you toilet train your border collie puppy to go to the toilet outside once you have taught it to go to the toilet on paper inside?
A: Watch your pup and when it looks like it is going to toilet on the paper, take the pup outside and when it toilets outside - reward the pup. Try and do this in the one area each time, same as when you place the paper in the same spot each time. When the pup goes to the door, take it out side to the new toilet spot and see if it relieves it self - then again - reward the pup. Border collie pups love being rewarded and will learn very quickly. We hope that you are enjoying the company of your pup.
Q: Although not a pure bred, we recently (two months ago) rescued a 2 year old male border collie/american eskie mix from our local spca. Handsome/intelligent looking dog! the dog was picked up as a stray. No previous history, no idea how long left on his own, pp's abit when strangers come to the house. He is finally getting comfortable with us. We cannot trust him left alone in the house when we go out for the shortest time. Does 75% of his duty in the yard during the day but still dirties the basement at night. He is very submissive, must have been greatly abused. I cannot scold him because just the tone of my voice makes him cower and squirt abit. I think he realizes he is doing something bad but does not know what it is. How do I break him of doing this dirty in the basement? I would prefer to keep him in our living area at night. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thank you.
A: Maybe (in his younger days) he was restrained at night and could not venture far from his bedding, therefore became used to soiling near his bed.
If we treat the dog as a 10 week old pup, we would watch to see when the pup wanted to go outside to soil. The dog would stand maybe scratch at the door, show symptoms of needing to go or may start to go but caught by you and taken outside, soiled then rewarded when the dog is finished. This may be the best place to start.
Maybe feed the dog earlier allowing you time to walk the dog before it gets dark, also good bonding time.
You might have to sit with him at evening/night while he relieves himself as it may have been during the night he was roughly treated (maybe a barker or escape artist during dark hours) therefore he doesn't want to go too far from a place of comfort, when he goes then you must reward. Obviously your voice must be part of the reward to reassure the dog during time of stress.
Some times it comes back to the dog not knowing that what he did was wrong until sometime later, then when spoken to it is well after the incident, the dog shrinks back knowing it has done something wrong but not knowing exactly what it has done wrong (do I make sense) this is where you need to watch, let him know exactly when he is wrong, take him outside, then reward well when everything is right.
I recently travelled with 4 young dogs, 2 x border collies and 2 x cattle dogs, none having been away from home before let alone for ten days. During the course of being away they learnt that they would be walked every night before being confined and walked early in the morning before anything else happened. After a couple of days/week they were waiting for me (sometimes made a bit of noise if I was late) to walk them, especially in the morning.
Routine, bonding and confidence; confidence building through the routine and bonding.
Q: I have a Border Collie and she is 31 months old when we first got her, she was in poor condition and the vet seemed to think she may have picked up something from the dogs home but she got better. She has always liked lying on the bed with us and being lazy but we have recently moved house and she has gone very quiet she goes out for walks etc and is eating but seems sad. Please help as she is like a child to me.
A: A couple of theories are.
After living in a dogs home and just getting settled in a new home (yours), she moves again. This may have happen several times before she went to the dogs home and she is seeing the same routine start to form, and it scares her. You have to reassure her and involve her in as much of your activities as possible.
Maybe she became very friendly with a neighbours dog that help her settle in her new home (yours after the dogs home). She has since moved again and lost that friend. It might have been something in the house that settle her that you left behind.
Was she a creature of habit and that habit been broken since moving. Has your lifestyle changed since moving, so its not the moving thats worried her but a new routine for you.
Has something in the new neighbourhood scared her or reminds her of a past life (pre dogs home). We are getting a bit deep aren't we?
Has she simply matured, and simply enjoys what she has. The quiteness she demonstrates might simply be contentment.
Dogs like children can reflect us, they pick up when we are not happy, is stressed or nervous. Maybe the move has sapped you in some way and she is simply reflecting how you feel.
As long as she continues to eat regularly and enjoy her walks and you involve her in your activities we believe that she will revert to normal.
Q: We have a 12 month old Border Collie and during the day, he tends to disappear for up to an hour at a time. We have now found out that he chases neighbour's livestock, as well as our own small flock of sheep. How do we stop this tendency to wander off?
We do generally keep him active but as we live on a rural property he thinks any animals are available for chasing. We don't want to tie him up everytime we go inside to do something but are worried that he thinks it is alright to wander off.
A: It great that your pup shows a strong interest in herding but don't let your dog chase any livestock .... farmers don't understand (or care) whether your dog is playing, working or attacking their sheep, they dont like it and the end result is that your dog will get shot. It becomes very expensive if he chases sheep into a dam and they drown or they drop because they are over worked especially this time of year with the sheep carrying lambs.
We don't like tying up dogs, but we do have pens which the dogs go into when we are not around. The pens offer shade, protection and an area to run if they need to amuse them selves. They are cheap to make and will out last most dogs, this is good as we all want our dogs to live a long and healthy life.
The other thing you can do, is not let your dog in with the sheep unless you or other family member are there. This is needed in the training process, both in teaching him to work the sheep and teaching control when you don't want him to work the sheep.
It has been said in past answers to questions. In most instances a dog will do something or continue to do something upto the time it learns that it is wrong, we must tell them that it is wrong but we don't have to be hard on the dog.
Q: I am getting a girl puppy of only 9 weeks old. What generally should I feed it at this age, how much and how many times aday?
A: Most breeders have feeding charts prepared, I'm surprised that you were not supplied with one.
Most reputable dog food brands produce excellent food for pups, always ensure that the dry dog food is of a suitable size for the pup to eat. Maybe soak half and leave have dry. Leave plenty of water. You can give diluted milk but watch for soft droppings if too much milk.
Feed 2-3 times a day, if the pups eats in small amount then more meals of a lesser amount. Err on the side of too much food, the pup will leave what it cant eat and you will get a feel for what it needs. With dry food, try different brands, it is difficult to recommend any as all of our digs preferred a different brand from pup to pup.
Normally at 6-7 weeks our pups are eating meat such as raw chicken necks/wings, red or white coarsely minced meat and/or boiled vegetables stirred into their food.
Q: My border collie is 4 months old she has started scratching holes in my walls and I don't know how to get her to stop doing this.
A: Try a product called "bitter apple spray". It should be available from most pet stores or vets.
Most dogs hate the taste and importantly it is not harmful to the dog.
At this age if the dog hasn't been told that it is wrong, then it will continue to behave in the manner that it does. This must be done at the time you see the dog scratching at the wall, once this is done, take the pup outside and play with a toy/ball/something and praise the dog. Ensure that the dog knows scratching the wall is wrong, playing outside is right.
Do not be afraid that you are going to upset the dog, if corrected at the time, he will quickly relate to that and will modify his behaviour. Remember to reward when he stops the adverse behaviour.
Q: My border collie dog (6 months) comes to me when I call...every time he WANTS to. (ha) (moan). I know I shouldn't scold him when he doesn't come. I praise him when he does come... but he still disobeys when he feels like it, in other words he is in control. I figure there is a right way to teach this but I don't know what it is. Have you any ideas?
A: As part of growing up, everything is more interesting than us, they know we wont go with out them, therefore we can wait for them as they investigate what ever it is that has their attention at that time.
We introduced stays, then mobile stays using the word "stop". The way it works, the dog is allowed to run and where ever the dog is they stop on command, whether sitting, standing or lying, they wait until we catch up before they move off again.
Used when herding/droving the dog simply props, looks around and if no second command, goes back to work. This allows us to control the movement of the sheep if the dog is too eager in his work.
We also use is a long lead, made out of very heavy fishing line or cord, with a small clip on the dogs end and a piece of dowl (wood) on your end. You can also buy retractable leads that do the same work. We allow the pup to run away and settle and get use to the line, then call it back to you, and use the line to encourage the pup back to you, then reward when the pup has came back to you. The length of the cord can vary, don't always do recalls while they are on the cord, AND always make it fun.
Q: Hello I have a border collie pup that is 6 months old. He is very smart and super easy to train and is really active, BUT he is scared to death of water. Even when we go for a walk and there is a small puddle on the trail he will walk way around it. He hates baths, when he hears the water running and I call him, he runs away. Its kinda cute but I would like to get him use to the water, because I do alot of camping in the summer and always go swimming on hot days. Do you have any suggestions?
A: We usually introduce the pups to swimming during hot weather, where the water cools the dog, the dog seeing the benefits of the water. Our dogs hate their first bath and sometimes the next couple, what they do enjoy is being towelled down afterwards so they become tolerant to be washed.
Because it is something new they will hesitate. It is like putting your pup on the lead for the first time, they sit, crouch or simply refuse to walk and you end up pulling them around until they walk, always with some form of encouragement. Eventually they walk without a care on the end of the lead.
Each of our dogs have been different. Sometimes you have to pick the pup up and walk into the water with you to show that there is no danger to it or you. Sometimes just jumping into the water yourself, enjoying splashing around and swimming is all that is needed for the dog to jump into the water.
One time when a (4 month old) pup was close to the waters edge, I gave it a bit of a nudge, when it stepped in and splashed around it didn't want to come out/you couldnt get it out, now when it gets out of the house yard it goes straight for the dam.
When your pup baulks at a puddle, pick it up, simply walk through the puddle yourself, walk to the middle of the puddle and put the pup down, then assure the pup that there is no danger, let the pup walk out of the puddle by itself. Sometimes a distraction is needed, if they are a ball chaser etc, you can throw the ball or favorite toy across the other side of the water, encourage the dog to cross with you, then reward with the ball or toy on the other side.
Like all things new, you cant afford to get angry. Plenty of praise at the end always helps.
Q: Our family have just purchased a Border Collie pup. We live on about 2 acres. The pup has lots of toys, but seems much more interested in human interaction, but the problem is we all work. We spend time with him in the morning and evening/night, but he still has to spend about 6 hours during the day locked up in our double garage. We put him in the garage because he is only 6 weeks old and the fencing on our property can't stop him from wandering away or onto the road. We have some lattice that takes up about half of one of the doors (so he isn't in the dark and can see outside), but when we put him in there he starts to 'cry' because he knows he is going to be left alone.
We had another Border Collie before him, but we got him when he was about 3 months old and he had already been trained (he was an EXTRAORDINARY dog), so we had no problem with him wandering off.
Apart from general advice, my questions are: Should we consider getting another pup so he won't be alone ? and How can we train him to stay on our property and not wander off ?Any help/advice you can give would be gratefully received, and rest assured, there is absolutely NO chance we will abandon him.
A: We don't let our pups go until at least 8 weeks of age, so at 6 weeks the pup is still dependant on mum, or her new substitute "you". In the litter box, if it cried, mum was there to clean up afterwards, by 8 weeks mum would have stopped this and the pup became somewhat more independant. Irregardless of the breed, in most cases 2 pups can be wonderful and in other cases, simply twice the trouble, so please wait for 2-6 weeks and see how this pup develops, make sure the pup is right for you/family.
We recently picked up a new pup (8 weeks old) and he took a little while to settle in. He was given the luxury of sleeping in the laundry at night, which wasn't far enough away from our bedroom. Every time one of us went out to see what the noise was, he was sitting there wagging his tail. We ignored him for about 3 nights and the noise stopped, he had realised that we were not going to react to his crying. In the 2 weeks that he has been here, he has lost the fascination of being inside all day, he has realised that we are there if he wants affection and/or play time. They do learn quickly, they do settle quickly, you have to resist the urge to respond to the pups crying.
If the pup has the tendancy to leave the property, and not all dogs want to, you simply have to work out why/what it wants; a noise in the distance, the scent of other dogs, not happy/boredom and wants to seek more attention elsewhere or just curious. It is difficult to give firm advice until you know why the dog strays, other than making home more attractive than getting out and wandering the streets.
At 6 week of age, I would say that the pup hasn't learnt the boundaries of his territory and therefore strays, there are a lot of ways of teaching your dog to stay on the property, but not enough space here to list them. Also lot of obedience schools have kindergarten classes for pups 3-4 months old and older. They should all touch on the problem of pups straying.
It is nice to have had an older Border Collie. The most important thing to remember is that every dog has its own personality and learning curve, like girlfriends you should never compare them or place undue expectations on them, but always remember the nicest things about them.
Q: Our pup has "gone to the toilet" a couple of times inside. We say "no!" to him, but he has reoffended a couple of times. Is there something else we should be doing? Ideally, we would like to have him bark to let us know he wants to go outside - is this kind of training possible?
A: In the litter box, if the pup soiled, mum was there to clean up afterwards, the pup would have gotten used to this (it is a bit like picking up after children). The key to any training is consistency and toilet training always seems to take a little longer to master.
We have had pups who also had toilet training problems, we tried to make sure that we put them outside as soon as they woke up and also when they appeared a little bit restless. We would try to stay with them or at least in eye sight when we put them outside so that when they went to the toilet we could give them lots of praise, or a food "treat" as a reward.
We would also take them outside to the same place each time so that they got used to soiling in that one place. It made it easy to locate the landmines when it came time to clean up the yard.
Q: I have just acquired a 14-month-old border collie. She barks a lot but gets on well with the Jack Russell. I am just concerned that she does not seem to hear me sometimes, unless I go quite close and clap my hands or make a noise with something. Someone told me that they are inclned to ignore people. I was worried in case she is partially deaf, but the vet says this is unlikely?
A: Deafness is rare in a border collie though some young dogs do develop selective deafness. This of course means they will only react to something they find interesting, remember that their centre of attention is not necessarily always you, this is something they will grow out of if you keep the dog entertained/amused/involved. It is a bit like getting the childs attention away from the television.
If you are worried about deafness, there are tests that vets can do to eliminate deafness or establish whether deaf in one ear or both, or simply an infection that hampers the dogs hearing.
Q: I have recently acquired a 2 year old border collie. He is extremely bright and I will be taking him to obedience classes in Canberra soon and then on to do agility and fly ball if that appeals to him. I am also interested in learning about classes to train him to do sheepdog work as he loves to run and he is very fast. Are there any classes in the Canberra/Yass/Goulburn area?
A: We have used Laurie Slater, Barton Highway, Murrumbateman and Deb Kelly, Jugiong. Their telephone details can be found in the white pages.
Q: How do I stop my Border Collie from barking incessantly at night, early in the morning and when we are not home? I would like to find out how to gain control of my dog and discipline him without going over board.
A: Don't be scared to tell the dog that its barking is not wanted. Fortunately at our house, I can bark louder (and with more venom when I suffer from sleep deprivation) which is enough to stop the dogs from barking. I don't care if I hurt the dogs feelings are 3 o'clock in the morning, in all cases they are sitting there wagging their tales in delight when I surface in daylight hours.
The barking could result from many different things occurring at that time of day, also the dogs age will determine why it is barking. A young dog has a tendancy to bark more and louder than an older dog. You will need to monitor what causes the barking to work out how to stop it, is it an attention seeking action (do you go outside everytime he barks), is he barking at something out side the yard, has he been a house dog and now an outside dog.
Q: Today is day 60 since our Border Collie was bred. There has been some opaque white discharge periodically coming from her vulva since 7pm last night. She spent several hours last night (3-5am) panting and moving around uncomfortably before going to sleep. She was panting a little more this afternoon. I have seen no evidence of her straining and I don't think she's having contractions. Her temp was 98.4 yesterday but is back up to 99.5 now. This is our first litter and I think these are normal conditions but I am a worry wart. So my question is are these things indication that puppies will be arriving soon? Or am I getting ahead of myself?
A: Most pregnancies are for 9 weeks = 63 days. Sometimes they come early, sometimes later. There can be a clear discharge in the couple days before whelping, their temperature drops not increase just before whelping.
If you have an area set aside for her to whelp, get old news papers and lay them out in that space - 3 or 4 layers deep. When she is ready she will start nesting, shredding the paper, making an area comfortable for her and her pups. This might go on for hours, sometimes stopping for hours before recommencing. The paper will later help tp clean up as the pups start to arrive. It is more common for them to have the pups in darks hours, if her mood changes between dark and light hours this could be part responsibility.
It would not hurt to advise your vet that the pups are due, just in case something happens.
A good book to look at as a novice breeder is The Border Checkpoint - Book by Joan Bray, which covers whelping pups.
Q: I adopted my border collie from my local shelter at 6months of age and last week, I thought she had a bladder infection so I took her to my vet. The vet took a urine sample and it came back with protein and blood in it. The vet told me that it could be a bladder infection or a kidney problem. So we took blood work and one of her kidney enzymes came back in the normal range but on the high side (27 is high and hers was at 26). The vet said it could be because of the infection or its a kidney problem. Are kidney problems common in borders?
I also wanted to know about how long does it take for bonding to occur? How do I know for sure she is happy with me and her new home. I have a stepson and a husband and I want her to know that I am her mommy and love me best over the rest of the family, does this all just depend on who she likes the best or can I help push her in my direction. She loves everyone but I still want her to love me more. I hope this doesnt sound selfish but I want a very close bond with her.
And she gets mouthy when we play with her like she is bitey but not she just has to have her mouth on our hands or grabs at our clothes. How do I stop this with out her thinking playing is bad?
A: There are a lot of questions but all a rather simple to answer.
Kidney problems are not the norm with Border Collies. Ask your vet, could the pup have been injured (deliberately or otherwise) where the kidneys could have been damaged. The past owner might not have been appreciative of the pup, do you know what I mean.
Bonding happens straight away, make this time enjoyable and the pup will learn very quickly, though you must treat the pup the same as a child, in that tell the dog (at the time of doing it) that it has done something wrong, the dog will relate to it, and praise where it it deserved. You must remember that Border Collies are one of the smartest dog breeds around. Think how you learnt as a child, what is right and what is wrong. There were times that you were chastised, and it was when you deserved to be chastised, you probably thought you were getting a bad deal at the time, but you quickly learnt and went on with enjoying your life.
From our experience, the environment in which the dog grows dictates how the dog will grow. Allow the pup to be a puppy, allow it to be an active part of your family and you will reap the rewards.
Happyness is anything from lying at your feet, following you around when you go for a walk, wagging a tail, there is so many things that act as an indicator. Dont forget that as a young dog, everthing is more interesting than us, as this is a major part of their learning curve, they will show more interest in other things as they know we will always be there. Most dogs will pay more attention to those who they know will join in, when they want to play, so simply spend time with her, sometimes it might be as simple as letting her lie next to you when you are sitting and resting your feet.
If you are home during the day you will be spending a lot of time with the pup, when your husband and/or son comes home it is a change and opportunity for the pup to again be the focus of attention. Just because the pup spends more time with them during this time, it doesn't mean it prefers them over you.
I am the crankiest member of our family, I am the one who rouses on the dogs when they misbehave (no body else wants to upset the dogs) yet I am the one they all run to when they are let out. Because when they are out with me we enjoy the time, whether working in the paddock, or chasing ducks out of the dam. (It is a little bit because they might see me as the dominant figure or because even though I rouse on them they see this as attention that others aren't giving to them).
Nipping/biting. Maybe it was encouraged with the past owner because they though it was cute, we don't know, if the pup hasn't been told that it is wrong, then it will continue to behave in that manner. If it is an attention seeking action, it still has to stop as visitors or your son's friends might not be as understanding as you if the pup accidently bites them. Do not be afraid that you are going to upset the dog, if it is corrected at the time, the pup will quickly relate to that and will modify it's behaviour. Remember to reward (not bribe or smother) when the adverse behaviour stops.