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Should we try and rehome our border collie?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Elaine76, Jan 13, 2012.


  1. Elaine76

    Elaine76 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi
    I've posted before about our BC's behaviour issues and always had good responses, so I'm wondering if anyone out there can give me advice again.

    We are really struggling with our BC, blue merle male 19mnths, to the point where I'm thinking it might be best to try & rehome him. There are lots of issues (see my previous threads), some I think down to his breeding (we got him at 8 wks but from an inexperienced breeder.) We are inexperienced dog owners but have learned a lot over the past year and a half!!

    Just as a brief summary main issues have been: object stealing & guarding, occasionally leading to biting, fear of most things but especially cars, strangers, children; lead biting; jumping and nipping in the house & shredding our clothes; carpet & furniture eating, and in the last 6 months fear of other dogs. Basically he's hyperalert + anxious.

    We did puppy training & socialisation initially when we got him, he was castrated at 7 mnths (vets advice) & we saw a dog behaviourist early last year and since the summer 2011 had phone/e-mail advice from another dog behaviourist. We've put in a lot of time since Sept 2011 on a de-stress programme for him ( under behaviourists guidance)& made big changes to try & help him.

    (That's just a quick summary as I'm trying to get to my main question!:)) Due to the fact that my health has not been that good & we have 2 teenagers+ an 11 year old in the home things in our home are often hard and I think the dog is at times tipping us into 'not coping.' My husband & I have discussed having him rehomed lots of times but he (husband) is reluctant. (None of us really want to as of course we love the dog but I'm feeling like it's becoming a question of survival). I have approached the Border Collie Trust but gave up when they sounded very reluctant to even consider taking him (I was honest about his issues). I was completely disheartened in fact:(.

    I'm scared that nobody would take him on but I'm wondering does anyone know of any rehoming places/rescues who I could try, if we come to this decision? From the past 19 months I feel that given an experienced BC owner with the right kind of lifestyle, confidence & patience, Dylan could really cope better with life. And I'm not sure that we are that person.

    Sorry for the long post. Any info or advice would be more than welcome, thanks so much :).

    Elaine
     
  2. Mese

    Mese PetForums VIP

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    Try giving Wiccaweys a call
    They are a rescue , but are also willing to talk to owners about their dogs problems and help with advice
    There isnt a lot they dont know about BC's , and is def worth a try

    http://www.wiccaweys.co.uk/

    on the left hand side scroll down to Border Collie SOS - 1-2-1 Advice and then click Behavioural advice

    Hope this helps hun
     
  3. Obzocky

    Obzocky PetForums Member

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    It sounds like a very stressful situation, recognising that you're not the right home for your dog can be heartbreaking.

    Have you tried Wiccaweys, Border Collie Rescue - HQ and Contact Information or The Border Collie Spot: The Border Collie Rescue Centre ? Your dog would not be a priority as he's in a private home, so could be with you for a while, but always worth a go. Wiccaweys I know spend a lot of time giving advice to owners to help manage problem behaviours so that the dog can stay in their home/until a place becomes available.


    Edit: and once again, i'm slow. Wiccaweys is usually a sound bet.
     
  4. Dober

    Dober PetForums VIP

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    Its a very difficult decision, I mean there are lots of border collies already in rescue without all these issues. Unfortunately there are not a lot of owners who are very experienced with behavioural problems, dont have any other dogs, dont have any kids and have buckets of time to spend training out these issues. And why would they want to, for that matter. In a normal rescue, I doubt he would last very long :(

    It sounds like you've tried to do a lot of work with him, has he made absolutely no progress? Collies are working dogs, how much exercise does he get? Could the rest of the family (including the teenagers) get more involved with the dog? Could you try another behaviourist or trainer? How much time a week do you dedicate to training?

    Its ultimately your decision, I'm not an expert and that’s just my input.
     
  5. spaniel04

    spaniel04 PetForums Member

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    You said that at the beginning of last year you called in a behaviourist to help with your dog's 'issues'. At that time he was just a young pup of 7months or so by my calculation.At that young age I would have consulted a very good trainer with lots of experience with BCs instead and I would have got the whole family on board to train the dog. I could be wrong but I feel that a lot of his problems could have been prevented that way. What made you decide to get a working bred dog in the first place? I know you said you were inexperienced owners but did you realise that the drive of any working bred dog, be it guarding, herding, hunting or retrieving, will need an outlet or the dog will develop problems? I have spaniels which I work in the field but if I didn't then I would still find activities for them that would involve hunting and retrieving, and if I didn't fancy gundog stuff then I would try agility. Anything that keeps them active, their brains working and interacting with me. I don't know that much about BCs but I am sure there must be activities and sports at which they excel and which gives them an outlet for their high energy and drive. Agility, flyball, treibball just to mention a few.
    I am not unsympathetic to your situation, I am sure it is difficult but you must have had some sort of idea what sort of dog you were getting with a BC. Last year I adopted a working bred cocker spaniel who had had already several different owners before he came to me. All of them wanted a nice little pet dog and had not bargained for such a high drive hunting machine. Out of sheer frustration he had developed quite a few of the problems you describe in your dog, guarding, snapping, hyper activity, barking, and so on. He has been with me now for six months and he is a different dog. And that is without consulting a behaviourist and just by training him patiently and consistently and at last giving his drive some outlet.
    Please, forgive me if you have already tried group training, 1-2-1 training and some fun activities (I haven't read your other threads) but if you haven't then it might be a good starting point.
    You got your dog as a cute little puppy and fell in love with him and still love him now, I am not saying nobody else could learn to love him but it won't be an easy journey for your dog if you give up on him.
     
  6. Border Collie Trust GB

    Border Collie Trust GB PetForums Newbie

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    Sorry to hear of the problems Elaine faces and that she felt disheartened by contacting us. We do our very best to discuss the issues a dog might have and offer whatever advice and help we can as I'm well aware that some rescues can very "blunt" in situations like this.

    But we have to be realistic and finding homes for collies, and indeed any dog, like this is so very difficult. At the moment we have 30 dogs with us of which about 15 have serious behavioural issues that will require a special owner to not only consider them but have the time and patience to do so.

    The harsh reality is that the vast majority of prospective new owners coming to our centre want exactly the type of dog that Elaine hoped for - a dog they can socialise with, have fun with and relax with.

    As I've explained we do take in dogs with issues and spend a great deal of time and effort in assessing them, helping their fears and finding homes for them, but we can only manage so many at a time and our ability to help another is dependant on succesfully rehoming one and we just don't know when that will be.

    This week alone we have taken phone calls for more than 20 dogs all with problems like Dylan and to make matters worse most of them have been over 6 or 7 years of age. We have to do our best to help as many collies as we possibly can and that means having to make difficult decisions every day.

    I'm sure we may have suggested a behaviourist that we would recommend to speak to but if not and Elaine wishes to contact us we'll be happy to do so.

    I do regret we're unable to offer anything at the moment and as much as any rescue whether a general breed or specific breed would love to be able to do more it's a very sad fact of rescue life.

    I realise this doesn't help Elaine but hope it helps everyone understand the situation in rescue

    Ben Wilkes
     
    #6 Border Collie Trust GB, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
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  7. SLB

    SLB PetForums VIP

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    Pardon me if this is a stupid question - but what training has he had? Does he do any obedience with a clicker, flyball or agility? He sounds like he needs an outlet and quite often some behaviours disappear with an outlet

    The behaviours you have posted:
    The stealing and guarding can be worked on with a swap technique - which means you can safely take an object off him.

    The fear of things can be helped by simply sitting somewhere where most of his fears pass (obviously gradually leading up to them) and reinforcing good behaviour - even if it is just ignoring them.

    Lead biting, fixed with a chain lead and praise when he doesn't chew it.

    Jumping up and nipping - a turn around and "ouch" and then ignore him. Then go into a game.

    Clothes, furniture and carpet eating sounds like he's bored.

    And fear of other dogs; can be fixed by letting him have the company of other dogs around him that aren't bothered about him i.e: agility.

    I don't know if any of this has been suggested at all or if you have tried with any of this but if you haven't, please don't give up on him yet; give agility a go or flyball or obedience and try that way.. give him something that will work his brain - that way he'll be too tired to focus on other things... And if you cannot take part in these activities, surely one of the kids or your Hubby can?

    And I know this is a horrible cliche and CM quote: but you don't get the dogs you want, you get the ones you need. Louie taught me patience and confidence and perhaps you need to be taught that too?
     
    #7 SLB, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
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  8. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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  9. PennyGC

    PennyGC PetForums VIP

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    I would be careful over the choice of 'behaviourist' as I had a youngster returned because they 'couldn't cope' and they'd apparently had a behaviourist in but the dog was 'incorrigible'. Well, I had him back straight away and he was a cracking youngster, I had him 3 weeks and then went to a fantastic home. In under a week he was walking off lead, not herding cars, not destroying stuff and is now a 'perfect dog' in every way.

    Sorry but your youngster sounds like a perfectly normal border collie, shame the advice was to castrate him as this probably made it worse. I worked out that the original owners probably grabbed him and made him fearful of coming when called - he was fine with me, but you could tell he'd had problems with them. They do need a focus and many behaviourists aren't up to the job.

    You could try Valgray border collie rescue, they're in the south. But there are so many collies with issues needing help and new homes - but Valgray will at least address some of the issues before rehoming and a lot of their homes do agility or similar.
     
  10. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    Valgrays is a fantastic rescue. Also you could try Morgan's Dog Rescue on Facebook (based Cumbria).
     
  11. Lexiedhb

    Lexiedhb Team Ginger!

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    Sounds to me like the dog could do with more exercise both physically and mentally. Collies are working breeds, designed/bred to be out all day herding sheep, they need to use their brains/ have a job to do.

    ETS- also you seem to not really know when he was castrated- 9months, 7 months?? differs in differnt posts- just wondered if this would have made a difference? I dont know much about it personally.
     
    #11 Lexiedhb, Jan 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  12. rottie

    rottie PetForums Senior

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    Did you try walking him with a backpack? Even a small walk will get him tired because he will have a "job" and work physically as well. When I wasn't able to walk him for 1 hour, so 20-30 minutes with the backpack was enough.

    I put 3 kg in the backpack, but my dog is big and strong, you can try with 1-2 kg to see how it is. As far as I know the maximum weight is 10% of the dog weight.

    I suggest this if you don't have time to train him for hunting, herding or agility, but you want to give him a job. You can train him to carry a backpack in 5 minutes with some treats. Give it a try, you'll see a big difference, he will be less excited and more focused. You can find backpack on ebay and there aren't expensive.

    Good luck!
     
  13. Elaine76

    Elaine76 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Ben,
    I appreciate you respnding to my message about Dylan. Your help with putting us in touch with a behaviourist was helpful and we really appreciated it.

    Sadly we are 4 months on and seeing little improvement, having taken their advice and put lots of things in place to try and help Dylan.

    I understand that the demand for new homes for collies is massive. I'm just trying to find a positive solution for us and our dog as I'm not sure how long we can keep going.

    Thanks.
     
  14. Border Collie Trust GB

    Border Collie Trust GB PetForums Newbie

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    There is a danger sometimes that in our attempts to try to deal with issues like this we seek so much advice that we're overloaded with it. The dog becomes confused because we try something for a while, it doesn't seem to work so we try something else.

    Whilst you'd hope to see some improvement in 4 months it doesn't always follow and the only way to find the solution is to look at everything surrounding the problem. Diet, exercise (too much as well as not enough or even inappropriate type), the home circumstances, the relationship between all members of the family and the dog are just some of the areas that can affect the dogs behaviour. My own collie took 12 months to de-stress from his previous home and develop a routine that allows him to behave like a dog and actually relax at times. And his only problem was traffic chasing.

    With all the problems Dylan has this will take time and a great deal of effort - whoever has him I'm afraid.
     
  15. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    I agree with the back pack idea, I have Mals and if I can't give them as much exercise in a day as I'd like to, I put a back pack on them and half the walk is the same as the usual walk as they are carrying a weight. ;)
     
  16. missnaomi

    missnaomi PetForums VIP

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    Whereabouts are you Elaine? I might know somewhere!
    Naomi x
     
  17. Longton Flyball

    Longton Flyball PetForums Senior

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    Brain stimulation!

    Ok I have two border collies never had much trouble from Duke but Clover is a different ball game not as bad as Dylan not by a long shot but I always find with her using treats or toys to play with helps a great deal.

    My husband and I have been doing flyball for several years and have recently set up our own team Clover loves coming and watching while we set up enjoys just running up and down the jumps on her own.

    Have you tried the obdience, agility or flyball route it's a great way for him to socialize, get help and for you both to have some fun together.

    We have a german sheppard and he just wants to run and jump all over the other dogs and generally play rough doesn't mean to but he's such a big dog. Yet his owner started coming to us and within a month he concerntrates on flyball rather than the other dogs it's amazing especially as we aren't behaviourists my husband just works hard with him.

    We used to run with a blue merle and he really was a naughty boy and would quite easily try to start fights especially with my Duke but again with obdience and flyball he changed and his owners learnt how to control him around other dogs.

    Sorry for babbling.

    There are other options sorry haven't read your other threads but could you try this route first?

    The other rescue that I can think of is Freedom of the Border Collie.

    Good Luck.
     
  18. Mese

    Mese PetForums VIP

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  19. Longton Flyball

    Longton Flyball PetForums Senior

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  20. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    If you can't/wont' make the necessary adjustments for this dog, and it is getting worse, then you will have to.

    Sounds to me as if the dog is more bored than anything.

    You have a working breed. It needs more than the normal dog...
     
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