Introducing...Rocky

JennBags

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A few weeks ago, I was introduced to a lady in Scotland who had a border collie that she was struggling with. I agreed to take him on, but at the last minute they cancelled as they decided to try again with him themselves. I can understand it, they love their dog, and really wanted to try to resolve their problems. Just before Christmas Eve they had got to the end of their tether again, and asked me if I'd still be prepared to take him. I spoke to a transport company as we're now in tier 4 so can't travel and they said they could fit him in with another job they were doing on Saturday, so 2 days later, he arrived.

He's certainly challenging, 1 year old and had almost no training, he's definitely never been told it's ok to be calm! I must admit that the first few days I was feeling a bit out of depth and wondering what we'd done. If you count his birth home and the rescue we are his 5th home in a year, and he's confused and energetic. He has zero recall so all walks are on lead and we have to channel his energy into training and play. As he's never done any training, it doesn't hold high value for him so we need to really up the energy for it. However he's hugely affectionate and cuddly, and has a superbly active wagstick, so you can't stay cross with him for very long.

The last couple of days we've started to find the right buttons to push and he's settling in. Juno and Rocky absolutely love each other, although Juno is taking her promotion to Boss Dog very seriously and makes sure the young upstart knows his place.

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MrsMozart

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He really has landed on his paws with you lass.

Bugger that he's blotted his copybook though... We found with the Rotties, despite having had them from 8 weeks and 10 weeks old and never having failed to house train even the rescue dogs, that the only way to make sure they don't mess at night is to have them outside for hours during the day. I hope Rocky didn't need that level of exercise and soon learns what and how and when!
 

JennBags

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He really has landed on his paws with you lass.

Bugger that he's blotted his copybook though... We found with the Rotties, despite having had them from 8 weeks and 10 weeks old and never having failed to house train even the rescue dogs, that the only way to make sure they don't mess at night is to have them outside for hours during the day. I hope Rocky didn't need that level of exercise and soon learns what and how and when!
He's messed in the house quite a lot, I think every night, despite apparently being house trained. At first I put it down to him being unsettled, then we discovered that he's better off having a walk last thing to get the bowels moving rather than just going out to the garden. That's what we did the last couple of nights, so it is very frustrating that he then came in and poo'd again last night. He's also just wee'd in the hallway after being out in the garden. I'm sure we'll get there with him, he's not even been here a week so still needs time to settle.
 

MrsMozart

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He's messed in the house quite a lot, I think every night, despite apparently being house trained. At first I put it down to him being unsettled, then we discovered that he's better off having a walk last thing to get the bowels moving rather than just going out to the garden. That's what we did the last couple of nights, so it is very frustrating that he then came in and poo'd again last night. He's also just wee'd in the hallway after being out in the garden. I'm sure we'll get there with him, he's not even been here a week so still needs time to settle.
He's lucky he's with you, though I feel your angst. I hope he gets the hang of it very quickly!
 

Pearlsasinger

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Good on you for taking him on! Wired BC's are *very* energetic. I am sure that having Boss Dog to show him the ropes will help. As for the messing overnight, is he crate-trained? If not, I would start that immediately, obviously for short periods of time initially when you can leave him in a crate overnight, that should break the habit. In the meantime, have you considered using puppy pads, they do attract/encourage the dog to use them when you might not want him to but at least they are easier to clean up than having to sort out your carpet.
 

JennBags

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Good on you for taking him on! Wired BC's are *very* energetic. I am sure that having Boss Dog to show him the ropes will help. As for the messing overnight, is he crate-trained? If not, I would start that immediately, obviously for short periods of time initially when you can leave him in a crate overnight, that should break the habit. In the meantime, have you considered using puppy pads, they do attract/encourage the dog to use them when you might not want him to but at least they are easier to clean up than having to sort out your carpet.
Not crate trained, we have started working on it but he's got an aversion to the crate, I suspect he already has bad connotations with it which iof course makes training harder. I opened both doors in the office the other day and threw some treats in, but he wouldn't go in to retrieve them until I left the room. It will take time.
To be honest, our carpet is ruined from when Suzie got older, we were planning on replacing it at some point this spring, so may as well leave it until he's sorted!
 

Karran

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Gosh, he sounds SO similar to Miss Collie in terms of background and energy levels!

I also feel your pain about toileting. I got her August bank holiday and it wasnt until lockdown started in March that we got a handle on it!

Good luck with him! Maybe we will need to start a deranged border collie support group thread! 😂😂😂🤔
 

Goldenstar

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Not crate trained, we have started working on it but he's got an aversion to the crate, I suspect he already has bad connotations with it which iof course makes training harder. I opened both doors in the office the other day and threw some treats in, but he wouldn't go in to retrieve them until I left the room. It will take time.
To be honest, our carpet is ruined from when Suzie got older, we were planning on replacing it at some point this spring, so may as well leave it until he's sorted!
He’s lovely I look forward reading about your journey with him .
Your carpet sounds like my bedroom carpet first we don’t replace because a dog is old then we don’t replace because we have a puppy or plan to have a puppy it’s an endless cycle.
 

TheresaW

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Bo will still mess in the house when stressed. He was totally clean, then when all the fireworks started in October he was messing overnight again. Took a good couple of weeks after they’d stopped for him to stop doing it. We got some tablets for last night, and plugins for the house, and he was clean this morning.
 

BBP

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I know the messing in the house is a horrible nuisance, but it won’t be forever, he’s probably just a very stressed dog and so house rules aren’t upmost in his mind. He is absolutely gorgeous though, and the fact that he and Juno get on is a huge bonus so early on.
I sometimes think of getting a second dog as company for my collie, but I worry about if he would love or hate whatever dog I got, and the idea of managing two if they had issues is a bit overwhelming (although I am alone so it’s all on me), so I really take my hat off to you for giving him a chance.
 

FinnishLapphund

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That's a lot of homes for a dog only a year old, I hope it doesn't take too long before his problems is mostly a thing of the past.

It's not always easy to figure out how to fix the problem with a housebroken dog who still occasionally pee, and/or poop indoors. Getting the timing between when they're fed, and when they're taken outdoors, right, and maybe also temporarily using a crate, or puppy pen, doesn't always solve the problem if it's stress, or insecurity feelings involved.
Hopefully continuity, and perseverance, will soon pay off.
 

Mynstrel

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We were our rescues 6th home at 6 months, it does leave scars. If our lads upset or wound up he won't poo if any of the others are outside with him and then we have accidents. He's 2½ now and we're still learning with him.
 

MrsMozart

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Our GSD is on her fourth home - I think, I might've missed one, though this is her last one for sure - and even though she's never been hit here, if she does something 'naughty' then a slightly raised voice has her cowering. Absolutely hate seeing her like that. She gets so stressed and wound up and will end up running back and forth. The only way to manage her when she's like that is to calm right down, reduce the energy levels and go very calm.

One of our rescue Shi Tzu would cower and bend her body in an attempt to be small and hide. Many years after we'd got them, I shouted at her, only once and never did it again - to see her twist her tiny little self into that shape made me cry.

I'm not sure they ever completely forget, though good lives will push it so far back that it should never become an issue.
 

FinnishLapphund

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We were our rescues 6th home at 6 months, it does leave scars. If our lads upset or wound up he won't poo if any of the others are outside with him and then we have accidents. He's 2½ now and we're still learning with him.
Poor doggy, how lucky for him that he landed with you.
 

JennBags

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I don't know that I can do this. Just took him out (on his own as he's much better), went into a field to practice some games to increase my value to him and took his short lead off, just left the long lead on the harness (I know now this was a mistake). Anyway, he wasn't interested in me or my treats, was just racing around uncontrollably and I started getting worried he'd wriggle out of his harness so I got closer to him to put his short lead back on the collar, and he full on attacked me! Thank God I had gloves and a puffer jacket on, my hands are seriously bruised and the jacket has holes in it, he wasn't playing. He then went crazy running round grabbing the short lead, grabbing the treat bag, every time I went to pick anything up he went for my hands. Eventually got the short lead looped round his neck like a slip lead (it's a rope lead) and got him out of the field where his stress levels came down and I could clip the lead back on. Rest of the walk was uneventful, he was actually quite well behaved, didn't pull me around too much and we didn't meet any other dogs or people so his stress levels didn't rise.
Then got home and went in the garage to clean the feet (as usual) which resulted in him biting my hands and arms again every time I tried to clean his feet. I managed to unclip the leads but didn't dare to take his harness off.
Then thought I'd try a few minutes of loose leash and waiting at doors training which he was pretty good at, but then when I stopped, he launched himself at my hands again.
Think I'll get a behaviourist friend involved as I've never experienced anything like it.
 

Sandstone1

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He sounds a handful. Perhaps dont try free running him yet even with a long line attached as his arousal levels clearly go sky high.
Its very early days for him so calm short lead walks would be best. Possibly consider muzzle training him so he can not hurt you if he does get over aroused.
 

SAujla

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Could he be going through adolescence as well? Seems about the right age for it. Combined with all the upheaval he's had and lack of training plus being a BC it's all a lot. I applaud your patience and effort, it's maybe going to be a longer project than you expected though
 

CorvusCorax

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Don't panic it's not unusual, just redirecting and your hands were in the way/the first thing to grab. It's the same as when pups start mouthing you after zoomies or when agility or flyball or IGP dogs bite into the lead after their round, it's a release of pent up pressure/frustration. Dogs feel the world through their mouths the way we do with hands.

You've only had him days, it's just too early to let him off the long line/give him the benefit of the doubt/let him go too wild. Carry a soft/chewable toy or one of the soft leads designed for holding/biting/carrying so he can take his drive out on that if he does get overwrought.
Use a slip line for close handling/so you can keep hands out of way. I'd also keep a house line on him.
 

Karran

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Bless you! I've had plenty of those thoughts and tears, even this morning when the little cow decided to ignore everything in favour of a jogger.
We've also had over excited savaging, I really feel for you!
CC is right, it calms down. He's overwhelmed by everything. How about ditching walks for now and just practice basic obedience in the garden and building up from there slowly.
I've been there, still going through it, so if you need a vent, sounding board, feel free to message me.
It took Miss Collie ages to settle around the house just enough to listen to me.
 

JennBags

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Karran that's really interesting that you had similar with Miss Collie, how is she doing now?
Definitely will not be doing long lead walks again for the moment, we've already discovered that walking for more than about 35-40 minutes gets his arousal levels up so we've been keeping them shorter. Even in the garden his arousal levels are too high for obedience as yet, but he hasnt quite been here a week yet.
Mr JB came home with Juno, and they all spent some time out in the garden, when they came back in, Juno wanted to go to sleep but Rocky was over aroused, she lay down and he was jumping and barking at the back door, we totally ignored him and now he's gone to sleep thank goodness.
Have contacted my behaviourist friend to book in some 1-2-1s with her.
 
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PapaverFollis

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You'll get there with him, Jenn. Sounds like it's going to be one millimetre at a time rather than one step at a time but you can do it. I don't really have enough experience to recommend anything. I can kind of picture how I'd approach things but don't know if it's right (would mostly be teaching "place"... just lie down or sit calmly on a mat basically. And nothing else for now). I think contacting the behaviourist is a good move, real life support is always best.
 

Karran

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Karran that's really interesting that you had similar with Miss Collie, how is she doing now?
Have contacted my behaviourist friend to book in some 1-2-1s with her.
We had a huge blip in November that we are struggling to get over in terms of park recall but shes back to being really cuddly in the house, brilliant in the garden (shes been learning how to weave over xmas) and good on the long line.

You're already better than me, as she was too scared to be near me when she arrived so I had that hurdle to get over.

If garden is too exciting, then dial it back even further. Gentle obedience in say the kitchen, and then see if he can do it in the bedroom or living room. His world has been turned upside down repeatedly and he doesn't know how to cope.

Miss Collie is super wired and it transferred into her being super sensitive and worse than my spaniel in terms of being able to tell her off (and my cocker is the very definition of a velcro dog who cant cope with a raised voice).
I made the mistake of expecting her to fit in instantly with my life when she needed a lot of time to feel safe at home and around me first of all.
He (like Miss Collie) needs to learn to be calm and feel safe and I stopped feeding her from a bowl and having a set mealtime and only fed her from my hand, getting her to play catch or flicking it to her. Things that will drag out meals might also help like kongs and slow feeders. So might be an idea to try?

Other people might know more than me, but that's how I went about it with Miss Collie and eventually we went to the garden for games, then short on lead walks around the roads before we went back to the park and it was a good while before I let the long line drag freely on the floor.
 
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