Training New Pup

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by In The Woods, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

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    I'm having a hard time with one aspect of training our new pup - not to run off.

    We've had English Mastiffs for the past 27 years (3 different males) and they were never tied. They could be outside by themselves and never went beyound the boundary that we set for them. In fact in the nice weather the front door would be propped open all day so they could go in and out as they pleased.

    All we did with them as pups is take 2 daily walks around their boudary for a couple weeks and that was it. We lost our last Mastiff last June and finally decided to get another pup. Being we are getting older and kind of crippled up we decided on a smaller dog this time.

    A mixed Border Collie.

    He is now 3.5 months old. It took 10 days to get him housebroken. He listens to and obeys simple commands and seems very smart.

    But we have to have him tied when outside and we can't stand it!

    I consulted with a semi-pro dog trainer. His advise was to use a long 15' lead and walk him around with that at first. Then after 15 minutes, drop the lead. When he goes to run off, step on the lead. After a while he will learn that that 15' is his boundary when we are outside with him.

    We never leave him tied outside alone - if he is outside we are outside.

    I have ~3 acres of mowed lawn - then it is endless woods living in the middle of a 200k acre state forest. Neither of us can run anymore to chase him. One time was enough - we had a heck of a time getting him back. He thinks it is a game.

    The trainer thinks he may be too young yet. What happens is that he gets easily distracted - chasing bugs, birds in distance, and general exploring.

    A fence of any kind is not an option. I figure that if our Mastiffs can do it I should be able to train this one to do it.

    We feel so gulty having to tie him (20' lead) when taking him out. Any suggestions on a training procedure?
     
  2. Hitch

    Hitch Well-Known Member

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    One thought is a remote shock collar. We use a bark collar on one of our beagles and it works very well. With a remote one you can activate it if he strays to far from you. Eventually he'll learn to not wonder off.
     
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  3. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

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    That's something I didn't think about - thanks! I had in my mind the electronic underground fence but not this. This would work for us as we are always outside with him.
     
  4. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You had Mastiffs for 27 years, then get a Border Collie (mix) pup and expect it to act the same? Not saying that you can't train it to stay on your property, but all together, it is going to require *more* work than a Mastiff! Too, I wouldn't use a shock collar on a pup that young...if you don't use it RIGHT, you could end up with a very spooky dog. And yes, he would get distracted easily, as he's a pup AND a Border Collie mix.

    Mon
     
  5. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

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    I understand that it will be more work - knew that going in. I'm dealing with a very different breed than I am used to.
     
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  6. mnn2501

    mnn2501 Dallas

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    Border Collies do roam, and this is a puppy. I'd stay away from a shock collar for now, just continue to work with him on a leash.
     
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  7. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

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    Thanks - that's the plan going forward. He is getting better by the day - getting better with paying attention to us and learning his basic commands.

    One of us is walking him around what we call his border on a regular leash every day - he is doing well with that. In another week or two we will start doing that with the 15' lead and take it from there.
     
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  8. CountryMom22

    CountryMom22 Well-Known Member

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    He needs to have a solid recall before you try any kind of off lead work with him, or you are just asking for trouble. Freedom outside is earned. Do you know what else he is mixed with? If it's a hunting breed you will definitely have your hands full! Good luck.
     
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  9. frogmammy

    frogmammy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The cool thing about Border Collies is, (once older) that if they do something twice, they're "into" it. Makes them easier to train, and, not so cool, teaches you how to "untrain" a particular behavior....or six. I love BC's! I have NEVER had a dog that caused me to laugh like my little Chica did.

    Mon
     
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  10. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a border collie. He is fifteen years old and has been very good about staying on the property. At 3.5 months old he was never off leash. I worked him in the country and in town to keep him from going into the street/road. With a harness on, I would walk him near the street and when he got to the shoulder of the road or the grass near the street, I would say "road" and tug him away from the danger. After awhile, I just had to say "road" and he would check himself. After more time, he knew not to go into the street or the road.

    I agree with using a long line. However, I would keep him on the line (use a harness). Do long line work. Every time you go out with him, walk in a single direction. When he steps outside of the leash perimeter he will find himself compelled to follow you. Change direction often, making him follow your direction. After a bit you will find that he is staying within the 15' perimeter. He is keeping an eye on you. This can be accomplished in less than twenty minutes, but continue to do long line work. Add whatever commands you are working on. Sit. Tell him, in a nice voice, "Rover, sit." and quickly step up to. him and treat. This is to teach him to sit when you say the word and not run up to you, then sit. Work on sit, then down, then come (come and sit in front of you) and other such commands. This makes being with you more interesting and leads up to off leash work.

    Play games with him. Fetch, find stuff, etc. Even if you do not intend to show him, teach him some agility moves. You have a smart dog and if he does not have a job he will get into mischief.
     
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  11. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

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    He is mixed with lab as far as I know.

    Your point of freedom being earned - I am learning this now. I have reevaluated what I am doing and what my expectations are now and it is going much better.

    Thanks - this gives me more confidence! I am seeing that he is a very smart dog. The training we have done so far is going great. So I know I can conquer what I want in time which is eventually having run loose out in the yard with us present.

    I know he will need lots of exercise and challenges. I have visions of at least an hour a day of hard play time outside. Once I get him to do that I want to setup some simple challenges for him - some games like a treasure hunt and possibly some light agility courses I can setup at home.

    For example - when we go outside he is put on a 20' lead. When I open the door he waits for one of us to go through the door first. He doesn't charge the door opening. Then he will come out on the porch and stop waiting for us to attach his lead. He started doing this on the 3rd or 4th day which is amazing to me. So I know he can learn things easily. I just have to be patient and work on the long lead training some more.
     
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  12. CountryMom22

    CountryMom22 Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you have a winner there. Keep up the good work. BC's are usually very easy to train, so as long as you make sure you are training him right, you should make out okay. Let us know how it goes!
     
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  13. uglyamerican00

    uglyamerican00 Member

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    I train service dogs with positive reinforcement. Your dog will succeed best with a solid recall first. To get a solid recall, use a 15'-20' lead, and if you have a recall started use that command when he turns to come to you already. You have to anticipate his movement toward you to allow association to the command. Once he comes to you, give him a high value reward and what for him to reorient to you again and repeat the process. Once your recall is solid and he is excited when recalled, move to communicating the boundaries. You can walk them with a recall and when he chooses to leave the boundaries, recall, treat, repeat. Patience is key here. This was a response on the fly, if you want a better detailed explanation, let me know.

    Shock collars and electric fences don't solve behavior, it only changes the way they see the puzzle. They will escape when they break. You don't want any of your animals to feel good leaving the property, so it's important to train emotional responses to their actions to help them succeed!
     
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  14. ed/La

    ed/La Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you are getting the dog trained. I am training a dog now. It went with me everywhere for the first month. To late for you but may help someone. Get puppy before old dog dies. Puppy learns from old dog. Saves a lot of work.
     
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  15. Oregon1986

    Oregon1986 Well-Known Member

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    Remote shockers work very well for my experience. My parents used them on our labs growing up and they learned very quick where their boundaries were
     
  16. In The Woods

    In The Woods Well-Known Member

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    I am overdue with reporting what I have done.

    I was doing the long leash training but had 2 issues. First was I think he is just too young yet - I just can't keep his attention when walking around with him. Every little thing grabs his attention from a leaf on the ground to a little bunch of mowed grass to every little bug that I can't even see. The second issue is my hip is getting worse and worse - I am to the point of only being able to walk for 2-3 minutes and I have to stop.

    Keeping him tied on a 15' cable (off the front porch) or 25' cable (off the rear deck) just wasn't going to do it. This guy has so much energy he just has to run!

    After doing tons of research and talking with quite a few people, I finally decided on a wireless fence system to try.

    http://store.petsafe.net/wireless-pet-containment-system-trade
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Guardian-Wireless-Fence/43935140

    I just didn't see how the underground type would work as part of the area for Jake would be in the woods and burying cable with all the roots wouldn't work.

    I set up the system and followed the training instructions to a tee. That consisted of 3 training sessions a day on the leash so he could learn his boudary with the flags. I did this for 6 days before letting him loose.

    The first couple days he got a couple "corrections". Then the next couple days he was wary and didn't go near the line. Then gradually over the next couple weeks he has found exactly how far he can go. The wireless unit encompases 1/2 acre which is plenty enough and is adjustable to any area smaller than that if need be. The collar will beep first when he gets close to the line before giving any correction. He has learned to heed the beep now.

    It has worked out better than I have ever dreamed it would. In the morning I put his collar on, open the doors, and he is free to come and go as he pleases. He spends hour upon hour outside running and playing. I feel in another month or so he won't even need to wear the collar.