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I got thrown into the deep end of the doggie pool.

My Wife's parents dropped off a 7 month old female Shorthair border collie. I fell in love with our new companion. The wife, not so much.

Time and patience is running out, I need to make my remaining time with her count, or we will both be very sad. If this is not the right companion for us, I feel I owe it to Lucy and her new owner to train her the best I can.

Add to that, we may not be able to keep our rental house at the end of our lease, and may find ourselves back in a two bedroom apartment in about 5 months.

a key question is:

Is it at all possible to acclimate an active breed to a more laid back lifestyle?

I enjoy a brisk walk before bedtime, but doggie wants PLAY PLAY PLAY NOW NOW NOW!!! 24/7. Movie? No way. internet? f-you

I will be crate training her, and I hope it is effective as I have been told. accidents are not too frequent, but it is still hit and miss. The parents exaggerated her "housebroken" status. ;) At 7 months old, is she physically mature enough able to hold her 1's and 2's through an 8 hr work day?

I need some coaching on how to discipline her.

I use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior, and over the time I have had with her so far, has been effective.

It's the misbehaving that will be what drives us apart:
dragging food off the kitchen counter
going into mommy's room
nipping when she wants attention, or gets too excited.
chewing and shredding paper

Please help. need an action plan.

1,096 Posts
It's not fair to her to expect a high drive dog to sit quietly all day, then settle with a brisk walk in the evening. This is a working breed. An extremely smart breed. Not only does she need lots of exercise daily, she also needs plenty of mental stimulation.

It's very possible to teach her to quietly behave in the house. AFTER she has had plenty of the above. As she ages, she will slow down a bit. Just a bit. Look into agility, flyball, herding, search and rescue, there are many options for you.

The misbehaving is simply a bored, hyper puppy that needs an outlet. Get her busy, mind and body, and she will be much easier to train and behave.

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10,820 Posts
7 month old Border Collie? She's got energy to spare and if you don't give it an appropriate outlet she'll find one for it and it won't be a way that you like.

No, she's not going to acclimate to your life style, especially not at her age.

Yes she's more then old enough to go 8 hours without a bathroom break, but until she's full housetrained she won't.

1 brisk walk before bedtime is no where near enough exercise for her. Get her into agility, fly ball, or frisbee, play with her with a flirt pole, clicker train her as many tricks as you can find, feed her from a puzzle toy, hide treats around the house and have her find them.

Whining, is likely because she is very bored. BC's are one of the smartest dogs out there, and they are also one of the most active. Draining some energy and train her will most likely stop the whining.

Dragging food off the counter, it's up there, she can smell it, and it's VERY rewarding once she gets it. Keep food off the counter, if you don't start doing that now you will have a counter surfer on your hands, the more she steals the food the more ingrained it will become to check the counters for food.

Going into Mommy's room, is there any reason she isn't allowed in there? If their is then block the room with a baby gate, close the door, or tether her in the room that y'all are in. In other words prevent access.

Nipping when she wants attention, or is bored. That's a BC for you LOL. If she's bored then giving her more activity will help. If she's wanting attention then not giving her that attention and teaching her something else to do when she want's attention (like sitting in front of you and offering a paw) will help. If she's persistent you may have to simply leave her when she nips, nipping should never get her attention.

Chewing and shredding papers, she's bored and it's fun. Keep all paper out of her reach. If you don't mind the mess you can hide some food in a paper towel roll, fold up the ends, and give that to her to shred, it'll give her a mental workout and be fun for her.

71 Posts
With appropriate mental and physical exercise it is possible for border collies to be good apartment dogs---BUT it's not a matter of them acclimating to the situation but YOU acclimating to their needs (though, IF their needs are being met, you can absolutely teach these dogs to have an off-switch and relax).

I lived in a studio apartment just outside of NYC for a few years with my border collie mix and I raised a whippet/cattle dog from a puppy there as well. They were mostly great apartment dogs but I also got my butt out of bed at 5am to spend an hour and a half exercising them in the mornings before I went to work--they got two walks (one of them about 45 minute walk), some training, and fetch/play time before I even left for work... I hired a dog walker to come in mid-day for a 20 minute walk.... when I got home they got another hour outside exercise or a training class.... then they earned their dinners with training or from a toy ... and then they got their last walk around 11 or 11:30. Only getting 5 hours of sleep a night was the price I had to pay to have the dogs I wanted in the environment where I lived. Besides making sure they got the mental/physical exercise they needed, I spent a lot of time teaching them to settle on a mat so they learned calmness, they learned stillness, they learned relaxation--because it's not soemthing they "came with."

With the about 2-3 hours of exercise and training every day, they were really relaxed dogs who gave me all the down time i needed as long as they got what THEY needed. I could do computer work, i could watch movies, I could sit and read a book and they would just relax with me.

Don't worry so much about learning how to discipline her, you need to learn how to BE disciplined in preventing all the unwanted behavior--don't want her counter surfing, keep the counters clear or use a gate to keep her out. Don't want her in a specific room, keep her tethered to you or use a gate. Don't want her nipping when she wants attention--keep her occupied doing other things like puzzle toys, frozen kongs, or other similar things. Don't want her chewing the paper--keep the paper off the ground or use a gate to keep her out of that particular room. Whining is just boredom--give her CONSTRUCTIVE things to do and she won't be nearly as annoying.

Border collies are not for everyone and they are not right for all situations--it can be an incredibly tiring life LOL! If you aren't sure you'll be able to keep her in the long run with your move, I would focus on house training since that is a big 'seller' especially for an older dog.
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