Thread: border collies
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Old January 4th, 2004, 08:38 PM
RDM RDM is offline
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: British Columbia Canada
Posts: 32
Originally posted by LuckyRescue
You're lucky to get info from RDM about BCs. She knows everything about them.
Hey thanks, that's a nice compliment, but I sure don't know everything If I did, Piper wouldn't be cutting in short on her outruns.

There are lots of ways to get a dog to stop biting your kids pantlegs, but it really depends on what kind of handler you are in general. For example, I'm fairly cut and dry with my dogs, so nipping gets a face grab and a stern "That'll Do" and it has stopped all my puppies.

BUT kids don't have that kind of control over pups, and they shouldn't be manhandling dogs anyway. What I have found generally works for kids is for them to immediately STOP moving the second the dog goes for the pants and completely ignore the dog no matter how he tries to get their attention. And this is something you want to set up over and over again in controlled situations. You might like to add a correction as well - for example you could maybe have him on a long light line and get the kids to run. As soon as he starts going for the pants, tell the kids to stop dead and totally ignore him, and you give him a leash correction and say "HEY" in a stern voice. As soon as he changes his focus from the pants to you, ask for a command he knows (like "sit") and then praise.

The thing is, grabbing pants is not a herding dog trait, it's a high-drive dog trait. The dog is not herding your kids, he's just being a puppy. I emphasize this because it's important to NOT let the dog get away with behaviours that you don't like because people tell you the dog is "herding." The dog isn't herding, he's chasing and nipping at your kids.

The other thing you can do is simply train the dog to lie down everytime the kids start running around him. This works really well for chornic car chasers - teach them a behaviour alternate to the one they want to engage in, that directly contradicts the undesired behaviour, because the dog cannot engage in both at the same time. If he has to lie down everytime the kids start running, he can't also chase them and bite them.

If the dog starts nipping at your kids when in general play, handle it the same way you would with a small puppy. Teach your kids to say OUCH really sharply, get up and walk away from the dog. No dog likes having attention withdrawn for them, so he will start changing his behaviour to find one that allows him to keep playing with the kids.

Finally, and this is just an unsolicited observation, remember this and make it your mantra: "once is a habit for a border collie." That means if you let him get away with ignoring a command, he's going to keep pushing the limits to see how many times he can get away with it in the future. It is so incredibly important with these dogs to set the groundwork early, which means never ever give him a command you cannot enforce, even when you are training him in early stages. I'm not suggesting you be harsh with him, but rather don't ask him to "sit" when you have your hands in the sink doing dishes, unless you are willing to take your hands out of the water, walk over to him and guide him into a sit if he ignores the command. These dogs are incredibly responsive, but they will one-up you at every turn if you let them. Stay on top of him, expect a lot and you'll get a lot.

Good luck

That'll Do Border Collie Rescue
"Working Hard to Rescue and Rehome Hard Working Dogs"
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