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Border Collie Mix Behavior Question

July 20th, 2004, 07:18 PM
We recently adopted a Border Collie mix and I was wondering what some of her behavior means. She is very high energy (go figure) and loves to play. In the morning after her walk she constantly try's to continue to play by following me around and nipping at my ankles/back of feet. It's not an aggressive nip at all - more of a 'play with me' vibe. Is this a dominance issue or just a play issue?

Also, at night after her walks and ball time she likes to chase me and out other dog and kind of body checks us (she sort of leans into you.) Is this the herding in her or the dominance?

Any thoughts are appreciated!

BTW - she is about 7 months.


July 20th, 2004, 08:22 PM
I FOUND THE PERFECT ANTI NIP LIQUID WITHOUT BUYING FROM A PETSTORE..vinegar..YES vinegar..Jin use to nip at my hand and arm..but now i soaked my hand and arm in vinegar and now he destested it and never niped my hand again( he still licks it though) it worked for me :D but it was a stinky process

July 20th, 2004, 08:28 PM
I don't know about the leaning, but the nipping at the heels is typical BC herding. Every BC I've known were constantly "working". Get a tennis ball or a frisbee and develop strong arm muscles! They are truly wonderful dogs. I found I could hit a tennis ball a lot further than I could throw it and my shoulder held up better. :D

July 20th, 2004, 08:42 PM
Nipping is typical of border collie yes, herding instincts. Every herding breed has a tendancy to do this.

Distraction and avoidance. Consult with a trainer as well. :D

Murph's Mom
July 20th, 2004, 09:50 PM
First off, what did you name your pup? And if you have any pictures please post them!!

I have a couple of questions before I offer my advice. Does she know her basic commands (sit, down, stay, etc.)? Also, does she have a favorite toy (aside from a ball of course ;) ) or treat?

I have an 11 month old BC myself so I have been where you are - emphasis on BEEN!! :D

July 21st, 2004, 11:47 AM
Hi - thanks for the advice !

Murph's Mom - she knows her basic comands (except down..that has been very hard to teach her...) She LOVES balls and stuffed animals. Her name is Hanna I will try to post picture.

Any thoughts on the leaning? I am just curious because she does it a lot. When we are in the car, sitting on the couch or just standing. It's like she has to make sure she is touching you. Maybe it's just a quirk that Hanna has?

Heather MH
July 21st, 2004, 12:04 PM
This isn't really advice but sharing of experience :D

I have two 11 month old BC, I have found that walking them is not the answer when I walk them they get MORE energy. They need to run and play off leash for at least 1 hr a day and that is a minimum for exercise. When we can not accomodate these needs ;) we pay for it. They are such fun dogs but yes they do have a lot of energy and if it is not delt with they will anoy you so much LOL, its just their nature. I think both the nipping and leaning is just little Hanna telling you "Mom come on you can't be tired yet" My Chevy (the male) leans lots to especially when I am relaxing on the couch, or in the mornig getting ready for work, I think it is a more subtle way of letting you know they are still waiting and will play when ever you are ready :D

You will have so much fun with Hanna, life will never be boring again :p

Murph's Mom
July 21st, 2004, 07:25 PM
First let me say that Heather MH is definitely correct in the fact that walking a BC is not always the answer. Just like Chevy and Daisy (Heather MH's puppies) Murphy will want more the more I walk him. :rolleyes: Off leash play is dead on the money and the more of it the better. This is one reason why I was asking if Hanna (GREAT name by the way) knew her basic commands as she will need to listen when off leash.

Try to get her together with other dogs. The socialization with them will help Hanna learn her "manners" when with you.

I don't know what you have tried or are using to teach her "Down" but most trainers will use the reward system. You take a treat and put it in your hand. Hold it in right in front of Hanna's nose and use it to guide her to lay down while saying "Down". Once her belly is completely on the floor praise her and give her the treat (always praise first, treat second).

Leaning - Leaning is Hanna's way of "marking" you. She is saying that she is the boss. A simple way to break this habit is to give her a nudge moving her away from you when she leans on you then give her your sit command. Try not to repeat the command, simply wait her out (the first few times you do this you may have to repeat "Sit" but try not to). When her butt touches the floor praise her and go on with what you were doing. Be sure everyone in the family knows this and does it when she leans into them. Should she not seem to respond to "Sit" ( meaning the leaning isn't stopping) use "Down" and have her stay a full minute before you release her.The only lean Murphy still does and I don't mind is when he first gets up in the morning and gets his "morning hug"! :D

Nipping - This is as everyone else has mentioned to you a perfectly normal herding instinct. When Hanna nips at you she is trying to make you do what she wants (herding you). Our trainer and a BC rescue operator suggested I put Murphy in a "Down, Stay" every time he nipped for about two weeks and then after that when he nipped to command "NO NIP" and if he did not listen to put him back in the "Down, Stay". It took about a month total for Murph to get it.

Whew! I apologize for being so long winded! :rolleyes:

I hope some of this helps. My word certainly is not the Gospel. I just know that this has worked solidly for Murphy and he is so much more fun to be around with out the bad habits.

July 21st, 2004, 07:29 PM
Great info :D

July 21st, 2004, 07:38 PM
cute cute doggie

July 21st, 2004, 08:16 PM
She really looks like a happy girl! Sweet! :)

July 22nd, 2004, 01:41 PM
Murph's Mom - Thanks for all the info!! It wasn't long winded, it was great.

Regarding the walking - My husband runs with Hanna in the morning for about 45 minutes and I walk them (we have another dog named Cassie) about 1/2 hour at night and play ball for about 45 minutes. Yet she is still a bundle of energy - does she need more exercise than that? I just don't want her to be bored. Our other dog is older and was an abused rescue (back problems) so she doesn't need much activity. Hanna has taken to digging so I am thinking maybe not enough exercise?

Murph's Mom
July 22nd, 2004, 11:06 PM
Hanna will always love to have as much exercise as you can give her. :D The trick is to find a way for her to be able to get it without you sometimes. The secrect with most BC's is to make them work at something to help exercise their minds and body. Two of the best things we have found to exercise Murphy, keep him occupied and happy are a reward ball and an empty pop bottle.

The reward ball is just a ball, they are different shapes and sizes, that you place their regular kibble in and they work at the ball to make the food come out. You can set the ball/shape to make it easy or hard for them. Murph will spend FOREVER with his until all the food is out.

The empty pop bottle is exactly what it sounds like - an empty bottle that once held pop or liquid of some sort. Believe it or not they just LOVE these :) . They can be any size just be sure to remove the label and the lid and to rinse the bottle first. It really is the perfect dog toy. It bounces and crunches, they can chew at it or toss it around and it lasts a really long time.

Now the digging. Murphy didn't start digging until he was almost 7 months and then I swear we had more direct routes to China then an airline :rolleyes: . The secret was a digging pit. This an area that is any where in your yard you want it to be. You remove the top layers of dirt to the size you want (Murphy's is 7' by 2 1/2') and them frame it with whatever your preference is. We framed ours in garden rock as we didn't want him chewing on wood. Fill the space with sand, mulch or both. In it bury treats (dog biscuits, bones, CET chews, etc) and fun little toys (small pop bottles, nylabones, a rubber ball) and then...let her go. Be sure to teach her that this is the only place that she can dig.

One last thing to try, and it may not work for you but Murphy has taken to it quite nicely, is when you get back from the walk at night and you are done playing ball pick up the ball and say "All Done". At this point don't go in the house. Stay outside with Hanna and Cassie and just sit, pat them a little (if you have had children this is kind of like "quiet time"). When you're ready after a bit head on in. This should help let Hanna know that her work day is done.

Once again I have gone on a little long. I just remember looking for answers and ideas with Murphy so I hope this helps. Hanna is one BEAUTIFUL gril!!!

July 23rd, 2004, 12:31 AM
My friend's BC loves his basketball-size ball. He rolls it all over the yard by the hour. He won't stop til they put it away. :D

July 23rd, 2004, 03:45 PM
Murph's Mom ~ Thank you sooooooo much for all your great ideas!! I really appreciate you taking the time to share with me. The pop bottle is a great idea and I will try that tonight. I also really like the digging pit (funny that Hanna just started digging at 7 months too!) my husband will be happy for a solution to that. She dug at the base of our rare Myer lemon tree and he was none too pleased.

Thanks again!!

Murph's Mom
July 24th, 2004, 04:25 PM
Glasslass - great idea!! Murphy loves my son's basketball too. :)

Cassie&Hanna - Your welcome. It's too bad we didn't live closer to each other we could get them together to play! :p Be sure to keep us posted on how it's going.