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NWOSeven April 11th, 2011 03:15 PM

Bored Border Collie
Hey guys,

I'm brand new here and a new dog owner - My fiancee and I got a border collie/black lab mix when he was 8weeks old and quickly saw how MUCH of the border collie was in him. He picked up on ANYTHING we taught him (be it potty training, tricks, etc.) right away, loved to herd/run etc. and was rarely tired.

Now that he's 7 months old we're finding it difficult to keep him entertained. We have him in "Puppy Classes" once a week (with the hopes of getting him into agility - but you have to go through the lower levels first), we take him for AT LEAST one-one hour+ long walk each day (most days it's two-one hr+ long walks) which consist of him being off-leash, running around and playing frisbee 95% of the time we're out (we live down the street from an off-leash nature path that leads to the lakefront) and I usually play fetch/do some indoor training with him in the house on a daily basis quite a bit - and he STILL doesn't tire and constantly wants to be doing something.

If you don't keep him entertained - he'll bring his toy-of-choice to you and place it in your lap and bark until you play with him. We've tried correcting him, tried letting him play the backyard with the other pup, tried getting interactive games to keep him mentally stimulated (he figured them out within 5 minutes and then was bored with them) etc.

If you have annnnnnyyyy ideas on keeping him entertained PLEASE share - it's frustrating because, as much as we love him, we don't have the time to play 24/7.

Thanks in advance for your help =)

Melinda April 11th, 2011 03:28 PM

could you feed him his meals in a kong? or those balls that they have to roll around to get the feed out? I have a VERY active labX and I have the kong wobbler that I fill when I leave the house or when Im busy at something and it keeps her entertained for awhile


pattymac April 11th, 2011 03:32 PM

Does he have a treat ball? I have a doggy pyramid for my dog, there's also a new kong one out. I like those for icky weather days and stuff like that. I just put her kibble in it and reduce the amount she gets for her dinner. She spends quite a bit of time playing with it. Keeps her busy for awhile.

Maybe teach him a 'place' command so you can tell him to go to his place and he has to stay there as long as you tell him to. Be handy for agility when he needs to stay on the table.

hehe Melinda, I guess I was writing and you were posting :)

Melinda April 11th, 2011 03:39 PM

[QUOTE=pattymac;1002606]Does he have a treat ball? I have a doggy pyramid for my dog, there's also a new kong one out. I like those for icky weather days and stuff like that. I just put her kibble in it and reduce the amount she gets for her dinner. She spends quite a bit of time playing with it. Keeps her busy for awhile.

Maybe teach him a 'place' command so you can tell him to go to his place and he has to stay there as long as you tell him to. Be handy for agility when he needs to stay on the table.

hehe Melinda, I guess I was writing and you were posting :)[/QUOTE]

can you tell we both have "busy" dogs?? *L*

reanne April 11th, 2011 04:01 PM

I also recommend the kong wobbler, or freezing his meals in a kong (or multiple kongs of different sizes-this is what I do for my younger dog). Also, the place command is a good one! I use "on your mat" or "in your bed". So handy! Also, if you use "on your mat" this can be used anywhere-visiting people, camping, etc ec, just bring him a mat, towel, something to mentally "tether" him to.
Alternately, you can toss him his kibble one at a time. Time consuming, but good if you're reading, doing homework, etc.
And there are toys you can get where they take things out of stuff, or put blocks in and get treats as a reward.
Keep teaching him tricks too...keep his mind busy. Anything you can think of! And start putting tricks together in sequences.
Also, you may have to consider just getting up earlier in the morning to exercise him. When my (now geriatric) male was younger, he needed about SIX HOURS of running EVERY day (not a border collie, he's a Ridgeback/lab cross). I used to get up at 3:30 or 4 in the morning and take him out. Rollerblading or biking with them is an excellent way to tire them out, although you'd need to wait a little longer for those until his bones and joints are done developing.

pattymac April 11th, 2011 09:58 PM

yup Melinda, but she's 5 now so she's learned how to turn it off! Mind you she certainly has no problem switching on!!

hedgiemama April 12th, 2011 03:01 PM

Border collies are definitely very active dogs!

As the others have mentioned a Kong wobbler is a great device to stimulate them, my border collie loves his! Also a regular kong frozen with different things in it can stimulate him, you can google good recipes for these. Lots of short training sessions will engage his mind around the house. Since you say the border collie is prevalent in your pup, you should look in to doing herding classes when he is around a year old. I am putting my pup in herding training over the summer, from other BC owners they say there is nothing better than doing their natural job to tire them out!

Lots and lots of exercise will also be necessary for your pup. He may need 3, 1 hour walks each day, i know that seems like a lot but when you are dealing with such a high energy breed it is necessary. Lots of off leash play with other dogs is another great way to drain energy. Enzo will tire out 3 or 4 other dogs before you see him actually start to get tired. They honestly do calm down as they get older and more mature :)

NWOSeven April 14th, 2011 09:52 AM

Thanks for the tips everyone...

We have tried treat balls/kongs before and it only kept his attention for a little bit (he must had ADD haha). He was only interested in the treat ball if it had TREATS in it - he noticed when I put his food in there instead and refused to play with it. I just started buying the sample packs of the other flavours of his dog food (by Acana) and used that... even still he's not really crazy over it. I'll have to give freezing stuff into his kong a try - haven't done that yet =) He sure did like peanut butter in the kong. I would fill it and then hide the kong somewhere in the house and play "find it".

As for the walks, I think I've come to that realization that 2 1hr walks just isn't enough for him. Oh well, at least it gets me in shape too! haha When we do go, it's not on-leash-around-the-block walks. It's either to the local hiking trails/to the lakefront by our house/to the dog park etc. I know what you mean hedgiemama about them tiring out the other dogs before you even see them pant haha Loki has yet to find a dog to keep up with him/tire him out. We're still lookin' though! =)

hedgiemama April 14th, 2011 12:23 PM

Another idea would be to go biking with him on the street for a while, but that should wait until he is at least one year old as forced running on pavement at 7 months could be to much for his little body. But you could start walking him next to the bike to get him used to being near it. Also if you have any doggy daycares or doggy play socials ( we have these:dog: at least once a week at one of the doggy daycares near us ) you could go to, they will tire him out like nothing else, not at a kennel where him will be caged all day, but one where he can run in a fenced in place and play with other dogs all day. They are great for if you know you will be busy all day and may not have the time to go for a couple hour long walks!

Mirela April 14th, 2011 12:30 PM

Teach him fun tricks - to tire [B]him[/B] mentally - when [B]your [/B]legs hurt ;)

Things like - roll-over, jump trough a hoop (even one made with your arms) weave through the table legs, hide-and-seek... etc. that you can do in the house/ backyard.

Gail P April 14th, 2011 11:21 PM

[QUOTE=NWOSeven;1003514]Loki has yet to find a dog to keep up with him/tire him out. We're still lookin' though! =)[/QUOTE]

Come by for a visit if you're in my neighbourhood...he'll be trying to keep up with my pack ;) 5 BC's, 1 BC/lab, an ACD mix, another mix and a collie. All but the ACD and collie are sled dogs and fit, fit, fit...used to running miles all fall and winter.

The problem with trying to exercise him to tire him out is that the more exercise he gets, the more fit he becomes, the more stamina/energy he has, the more exercise he can become a vicious cycle if you let it. He needs to get enough exercise obviously, but also needs to be taught to have an "off switch".

For instance, when he brings the toy-of-choice and drops it in your lap demanding to play...maybe sometimes you want to, sometimes you don't. If you decide enough's enough he needs to learn to settle down. Put the toy away or that can be a good time for a stuffed kong, or some kind of other yummy chewy...anything to keep him entertaining himself instead of demanding you entertain him. Or, another alternative can be a time out in a crate (which, to be a pleasant experience can still involve treat or chews).

Border collies are active dogs but can easily learn to settle. Right now I have several just crashed around my chair and they'd sleep there for hours if I was to stay on the computer that long. As soon as I move, they'll be up and ready to go where ever to go. If I'm outside, they're outside. If I'm inside, they're inside...depending on where in the house I am they may be found on/around my bed, crammed into the bathroom with me, or taking over every piece of furniture in the living room. But if I'm busy doing something for a period of time they just crash and sleep, they're not in my face demanding attention all they time. Though despite appearances of being "dead to the world", flat on their back with all 4 feet in the air, they do seem to sleep with one eye open...always waiting to see what's next...ready to jump up and go on a millisecond's notice ;)

My BC/lab Lightning can be demanding about playing with toys and he's very vocal about it. He'll drop a ball or something and bark (usually when we're outside and I'm scooping the yard). When he does I ignore him or tell him he has to wait, and I only kick the ball if he's quiet. If I were to give in and do it when he barks it just reinforces the behaviour.

Something else you can do for mental stimulation...if he has a bunch of toys teach him the names of each one and make up games where he has to get the one requested from a pile (or his toybox if he has one). Or hide various toys and ask him to find them by name. You can also teach him to put his toys away. Another thing too (which may help you later in agility too depending oh how your trainer teaches), you can teach him to touch a target. When I did agility with Lightning, to teach the dogs to pause at end of the contact zones we used targets they were told to touch (the target was just a clear plastic sleeve you can slide a business card or name card into - a lid from a plastic container can work well too). Our at home practice was to first get the dog touching it right in front of their nose. Usually they will automatically reach out and touch it to investigate what it is, and when they do, click and treat if you're clicker training or say yes and treat. After they are starting to do it, put the word "touch" to the action. When they are consistently getting it right you make it more challeging, moving the target around so the dog has to reach further for it, seeking it out rather than it being right in front of their nose. Then you can move it further, place it on the floor across the room and say "go touch". I used to make a bit of a game of it with Lightning, putting it in all different spots on the floor and also up on coffee tables and end tables etc.

When he's a bit older there are so many dog sports you could think about getting him into...besides agility you could think about disc, dock diving, and flyball. And if you're thinking about biking with him you could get him bikejoring and in the winter skijoring if you are a skier.

Even at his age besides the puppy classes he could do some of the basics of agility...things like weaves, tunnels and contacts, you just don't want to ruin his joints doing the jumps at a young age. Then there's also rally-o and some disc trials also have puppy roller classes (no leaping for flying discs).

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