Socialisation and Training


Socialisation isn’t something that you should only consider during the critical period of a puppy’s development (chiefly between 8 and 14 weeks) Even if you’ve really done your homework during this time it is necessary to keep exposing your young dog to good positive experience to a vast number of environments,people, dogs etc.

What is socialisation?

Socialisation when it comes to dogs is a vast subject. A lot of people think that socialisation is all about letting their dog play with every dog they meet and letting their dog be handled/stroked by every person they meet. It’s a lot more complicated than it first appears and takes some thought, preparation and understanding of a dog’s body language to succeed and achieve your goal of a happy confident friendly adult dog.

The late Dr Sophia Yin produced a lot of free material about understanding a dog’s body language and you can find it here  http://info.drsophiayin.com/free-poster-on-body-language-in-dogs/

A puppy’s first experience of another dog should be a pleasant experience, however a puppy’s play style is often quite boisterous and if they are constantly allowed to play in this rough way you could encounter problems later on. As with everything in live you need to strike a balance I prefer to use a 3 second rule where puppies are given a cue to “go say hello” I then let the puppies meet and after 3 seconds back away calling the puppy to me. In this way you manage the greeting so that it is calm and civilised thus teaching the puppy how he should greet other dogs in the future. You would ideally repeat this with a variety of breeds/ages of dogs as long as the dog you were introducing your puppy to was friendly. It is almost inevitable that you will come across an off lead dog at some point running up to your on lead puppy/young dog. Wherever possible try to avoid an off lead dog barging into your young dog’s space whilst it is on lead, you could try throwing some treats in the direction of the off lead dog to stop it in its tracks whilst you walk away from it. Try to keep calm in such a situation and keep your dog’s lead loose if you really feel your puppy is in danger of a nasty experience and they are small enough pick them up to protect them.


For every bad experience you will usually need a number of positive experiences to get your young dog back on track.

You do not want your dog to think he can say hello to every dog he meets so socialisation is also about learning to pay attention to their owners in the presence of other dogs. A lot of people think the best puppy socialisation/training class to go to is the class that has the most other puppies in it for their puppy to meet. This isn’t the case, most puppy training classes are held indoors so the puppies are immediately in close proximity to each other in a big class and this can cause stress. Stress is not conducive to learning and you ideally don’t want  your puppy to associate  new dogs/people/places with the emotional state stress causes.Like all training socialisation is about building layers and going at the individual puppy’s pace this means giving the puppy space and time to adjust to new things.
Different puppies progress at different speeds and a small class can give this extra space and time to the puppies that need it whilst keeping the more confident puppies from invading the space of the quieter ones.

Attending one course of puppy training is certainly more  beneficial than not attending at all, but the most benefit would come from continuing to attend a good training class throughout your puppy’s adolescence to ensure they are at least once a week mixing with other dogs/people. In most cases you will be looking at at least a year of work to help your puppy become a well behaved good citizen in the busy society we live in today. Although this may seem a lot of effort to put in ,when you consider that your dog could be part of your family for the next 15 or more years it isn’t a very long time at all. If you put in the time and effort in the first year you will reap the rewards for many years to come.

It is helpful to use a check list to ensure your puppy encounters everything throughout his early life to ensure a happy confident adult in later life. Socialisation Checklist

It is important that puppies/young dogs continually have positive experiences with the items on the list throughout the adolescence period and into adulthood. Remember to introduce places items gradually, for example ,for your first visit into town with your puppy choose a quieter time/day so they are not over faced. If your puppy is uncomfortable don’t push it and try again another day perhaps taking him to town after the shops have closed so he can get used to the new environment and smells without the hustle of shoppers.

Rescue Dogs


A lot of rescue dogs have missed out on this early socialisation/training but this doesn’t mean you cannot improve their behaviour, it just means that it will take a lot longer. It may not be possible to completely change certain behaviours as a nervous dog may always be a little unsure. But in almost all cases you can make significant progress with a second chance dog. However immediately joining a class situation isn’t always the best option it depends very much on the individual dog. A dog that feels nervous in the presence of other dogs or people and lunges and barks would not do well in an ordinary indoor class as again stress inhibits learning and I’m pretty sure the owner wouldn’t learn much either.

There are other options to start these types of dog’s on the road of socialisation and training such as 1:1 sessions or outdoor group lessons specifically for “reactive” dogs. You may never have a dog that enjoys the close proximity of other dogs but there are ways to help them ,and you to manage the situation much better.

I hope I’ve given you some food for thought on the topic of socialisation, people are beginning to understand the importance of puppy socialisation but sometimes just don’t grasp what it is all about. The amount of calls I get from people wanting a puppy class where  puppies can purely play with other puppies/dogs in order to socialise them is very high.

Simply put it’s all about balance but it’s getting the right balance where the difficulty lies.


Maccadale Rosie 5-6 months old


Rosie is beginning to look like a big girl, she’s shot up in recent weeks.
Her loose lead walking is still a work in progress. She was doing so well but is a bit more confident and wants to be involved in everything. Her strong herding instinct has well and truly kicked in and feathers blowing in the wind and birds are amongst some of the things she wants to chase. We are working on her gaining her attention around distractions by only giving her treats when she pays attention to me when close to the distraction. If the distraction gains her attention she misses out on the treat that time. You can often get dogs that will pull towards another person/dog to say hello and then once they’ve passed give you perfect attention but giving the treat at this point doesn’t teach the dog to pay attention when the other person/dog is near by. I use the lead attached to Rosie’s harness to prevent her from getting to the other person/dog, if she did manage to get there it could be rewarding to her. I say could as if the a dog didn’t want her to say hello and growled (or worse) at her it could result in a bad experience. Contrary to what some people believe this wouldn’t necessarily teach her to not approach other dogs, and could make her reactive towards certain dogs.

Rosie is loosing a lot of her first teeth at the moment much to my daughters delight we have found one that she didn’t swallow. This period also means she’s chewing an awful lot again – nothing is safe.
She still spends time in her crate when I have to leave her which ensures she can’t chew anything dangerous.
She will now go into her crate on the word “bed” and I’ve reduced the number of bits of food I put in there as her reward for going to bed. At night time she runs into her crate and gets one biscuit and she is now sleeping consistently right through the night until 7.30 am.

At the minute she is spooking at somethings when out and about it seems to be when it is quiet and then suddenly something appears.

We’ve had a little break from training due to my grandma being ill and unfortunately we lost her in June. Getting back into formal training has been difficult but Rosie still remembers everything. We did revisit the basics briefly but the break hasn’t done us any harm.

Rosie is mainly being walked with my other young dog and then when time permits I’m still trying to get her out on her own so she doesn’t rely on my other dog for her own confidence.
Her character is a bit of a mix she’s really settled and quiet in the house (other than sometimes playing with Snoopy) and has been well behaved when visiting other people’s houses. Outside she is always up for a game (although she won’t play retrieve yet) Her instinct is very strong and she would stare at a ball all day willing it to move if you let her. I’m sure that her waits are good because of this instinct and although she will chase she eyes the situation up first.

It’s because of this that she sometimes seems a little stubborn as she appears to weigh up the situation, quite clever really. When you consider what a border collie is bred for independent thought is quite useful in sheep herding (less so in sheepdog trails)
Rosie is making good progress with her formal retrieve and will hold the dumbbell for longer periods, will hold my keys in her mouth and loves holding scent cloths.
Her recall we are tightening up the present by encouraging her to sometimes go right through my legs for a toy. Just this week we’ve made great progress whereby she will now work for a toy rather than just treats. I like to have my dogs working for toys quite early on in training as I feel it builds the handler dog relationship/bond.

I’m also starting to build her heelwork duration and adding circles and about turns. She’s managing the left turns really well I don’t know what it is but all my dogs have always been good at left and left about turns they all seem to enjoy them better than rights.
Out and about I haven’t had her running about off lead I’ve used a training lead. Although I have taken her lead off in places and done some wait and formal recall training. Even when I let my dogs off lead for walks I’m mostly interacting with them ; doing little bits of training – waits, heelwork or retrieve. I do of course allow them free time to sniff about and be a dog but I don’t let them off and ignore them until it’s time to go back on lead. It would be like going on a walk with a friend and then totally ignoring them for the majority of the walk I’m sure the friend wouldn’t be keen to walk with me again anytime soon.
My goals now are to do more proofing of all the training she is doing introducing gradually more distractions. Each time I change the environment I attempt to make what I’m asking of her slightly easier. I want her to succeed as success is extremely motivating for both dog and owner.

Training is a great way to tire your dog, much better than hours and hours of walking as the more you walk a dog thr further they are able to walk – your basically building up stamina. Also too much exercise can put undue strain on young dogs joints.
I’ve got my first obedience show of the season coming up with Snoopy, this month and Rosie will be coming along for the experience. I’m hoping I will have proofed Rosie’s training enough that she will cope with the atmosphere and manage a bit of training on the side lines.



Maccadale Rosie 15 Weeks


Time flies Rosie is getting bigger every day and we’ve done a lot over the past couple of weeks.

Right from the beginning I’ve asked for little bits of attention/ training when I’m out and about with her. It’s important to know your puppy and only ask for something if there’s a reasonable chance they will respond. If the place we are in is very distracting I help her out by luring her with food to the behaviour I want. So when it is busy in town I show her the treat and lure her closer to me and get her attention focused on me. At other times I take advantage of her nature desire to look at me (young puppies are very attentive) I’ve then captured these moments by rewarding with a treat – the result she looks at me more and more as there might be a very tasty treat in it for her. I’ve also made sure I’ve praised her “good girl” for general good behaviour and “yes” if I’m marking a specific behaviour ie a sit, down.

Today we walked through town. We’ve not been for a little while as she lost her confidence for a few weeks so I gradually built her confidence back up by choosing carefully places and times to walk. I gradually built her back up to busier places and she’s a lot better at meeting new people. I rewarded all calm behaviours and gained her attention and walked her close when there were lots of people about.
Lots of people like to stop and stroke a puppy but it’s not necessarily something you want to actively encourage as an adult dog which wants to say hello to everyone wont always be as welcome.It’s a balancing act between positive encounters with new people/dogs and being able to focus on the owner when required around new people and dogs.

Rosie offering a self settle outside the shops

We waited outside whilst my mam went in to the shop I would never dream of leaving a dog alone outside a shop these days.

Rosie also enjoyed a playdate with Pippa who is a similar age. It was great to watch them playing, and to test Rosie’s recall away from distractions. Rosie was a little unsure of Pippa at first as she was in an unfamiliar place but she soon came out of her shell playing in the garden. She also met a cat whom she ran away from (the cat was being nice).

It’s great fun for puppies of similar ages to play together so long as it’s not a total free for all and there’s an element of control. It’s no good if puppies learn to play with other dogs and ignore their owners. You would in effect be teaching them it’s ok to completely ignore you when there is a friend to play with. I’m not of the belief that dogs should be left to sort themselves out and I’ve always intervened if things get over the top between my own dogs. I use the word “enough” when I separate them, when they are older the word alone is often all that’s needed to stop their interactions.

Puppies play slightly differently to older dogs often jumping in with two paws it’s not a good idea to let them play like this with every dog they meet as once they are adults this behaviour won’t be tolerated by all dogs so can get them into trouble. Also quieter dogs may find this intimidating so you have a bit of a bully on your hands. So it’s always good to take time to teach calm polite greetings.


Rosie controlling her impulse to jump on Snoopy.

With the nice weather we’ve also been to the beach a few times. Sometimes I’ve walked her on her normal lead both on her own and with Snoopy. Other times I’ve put her on her long line to give her a bit more freedom. I always walk her down to the beach on her ordinary lead and pop her long line on once I’m there. I don’t personally like the extending leads as they can easily be dropped and if your dog is running with it trailing behind it it can make quite a noise which can frighten some dogs and result in them running further away as they try to get away from it. Also if the stop mechanism fails you can’t grab the line as you’ll get nasty burns so your dog could end up in the road. The lines have also been known to snap. If your dog’s collar where to snap at all you can make a makeshift slip lead with an ordinary lead and get your dog home safely. Extending leads can be useful with very small dogs and if you take into consideration the cons and also make sure you wind them in when close to other people as they can trip or burn people’s legs if your dog runs around them.


I run my own dog training classes and I’ve found having Rosie to demonstrate with makes it much easier to show people what I mean.
When Rosie first went along she would have a bit of a bark at some dogs I could distract her by asking for a watch or recall but she’s settled a lot over the past two weeks.
This week Rosie gave two demonstrations off lead and it was clear to me how she’d gained more confidence which I was really pleased with. A lot of the training with her has been whilst out and about so you don’t realise how much time and effort you really put into your puppies. The biggest advice I would give someone with a puppy is to train little and often but in lots of different places and different distraction levels gauge it to the individual puppy’s personality/ability. But if you want a dog that will behave walking through town train in that environment not just at class or in your living room. It’s important to me to teach Rosie to behave in a wide variety of environments as if she’s good enough to compete in obedience or agility she will have to cope with a huge variety of environments as all Show venues are different.


12 weeks

What a difference a week can make!
Puppies and dogs go through various fear periods in their lives so it is quite common for them to appear to go backwards. It’s also why socialisation is a continuous process it’s no good only making the effort for the first 3 months of puppyhood. Even with the early socialisation done correctly, if you then didn’t expose your dog to anything else except a quiet walk in the middle of nowhere they would struggle to cope with traffic and busy places in later life.
If you add to this certain breed characteristics such as chasing in collies you could be looking at a recipe for disaster near busy roads.
All puppies are individuals, some puppies appear to sail through this period, others appear to almost shut down. Fear periods are not set in stone age wise so some puppies can go through it sooner than others.

Rosie has been experiencing a fear period and is even anxious of things she has seen many times before. I have been managing her exposure to these things even more closely. I’m careful not to get stressed myself about it and I haven’t avoided places altogether just been careful of the times I’ve taken her ie avoiding extremely busy times. One of her anxieties has been meeting new people. She is ok when she is left to approach somebody but if they come towards her hand outstretched she panics.

Rosie just too cute for her own good

When I take my big dogs out people will ask if it’s ok to stroke them but when I take Rosie out very few ask. It’s only polite and I wish we had more education in schools about dogs. They bring in all these laws after incidents have happened why not put the effort into education which might actually prevent incidents.
Even when I recall Rosie to me and tell the approaching person not to approach as they are doing, they continue to do so.
In a worst case scenario this could cause a dog to be fear aggressive. A dog on a lead can’t escape (flight) if you keep coming at them there is a chance they will fight.

I’m lucky to have some good dog training friends who understand and took the time to let me rebuild Rosie’s confidence slowly around people.
Rosie is bouncing back and a lot happier now although I’m still keeping a close eye to ensure she doesn’t have a negative experience. They say for socialisation a pup should meet 100 different people which is an awful lot when you think about it.
It’s best not to force the socialisation process and just to ignore other people/dogs in the environment so they become no big deal and just blend into the background. An overfriendly dog can be just as much trouble, as people may be happy for a puppy to jump all over them or even encourage it but these same people may not be so happy for a fully grown dog to do the same.

Rosie’s training
I’ve recently added rollover and toy impulse control to Rosie’s training. I’m also doing short bits of training and play in different places. Every place that we’ve been I’ve done a little bit of something with her. If you always train in the same place your puppy won’t learn to give you the same behaviour in new places.
If I’m luring/asking for the behaviour I don’t ask for anything new in a new environment. However if I’m doing a free shaping clicker session I often get new behaviours and will click and reward these.
Yesterday I took Rosie to a doggy dancing class, we didn’t join in with everything I haven’t even started formal heelwork with her yet. I just wanted her to get used to the atmosphere and join in with little bits that she could do. Jackie Reid who was taking the class was really good giving everyone individual attention and gearing the training to the particular dog and owner.
Rosie did a little bit of clicker work offering me lots of behaviours sit, down, walk back, twist and a bow as well as both paws up on a stool. Which showed me her confidence was growing. A really stressed dog won’t always eat, play or be happy to interact with new “strange” objects.
Training in the real world shows you areas that need work – impulse control with children playing football and Snoopy being off lead whilst she’s on lead are some of Rosies.
Training a puppy is hard work but by laying good foundations and building on them it will pay off as your puppy becomes a well behaved adult.


Rosie 10 & 1/2 weeks

Another busy week.
We took Rosie on a long walk (carried) around Cleator Moor cycle track. It’s a fantastic walk as you can walk as little or as much as you want, with lots of different routes to choose from. I must admit with Rosie now weighing 6kg my back did ache a little from carrying her. I chose this walk from a socialisation perspective, my daughter took her scooter which Rosie wasn’t bothered about at all.

We saw people on bikes, people walking dogs, horses, sheep, chickens, highland cattle and also a child on a motorized car. Rosie was a little unsure about the noise the motorized car made, so we kept our distance and I gave her some cheese treats and just let her look at it.
She was fine with everything else taking in all the sights and smells of the countryside. On the way back we came along the road so we had lots of traffic noise, so all in all a good walk everyone was tired afterwards.

Rosie also went to watch a training class, from the comfort of my knee and met lots of different people. She is going through a stage of having a little accident when she is excited or nervous but happily we didn’t have any accidents whilst she was on my knee. It’s common in young dogs as they really haven’t a lot of bladder control at this age.


Rosie visited the pet shop to try on harnesses. We got a cosy dogs fleece harness in purple of course. At this age their necks are so delicate and in preparation for her going on walks and her recall training I wanted her to already be familiar with a harness.

House Training
This is still ongoing at this age it’s more about me getting her out at the right moment so any accidents are my fault really. Rosie is doing well and most toileting is outside. At night as she goes a little longer so I carry her outside to save accidents on the way and to get her outside quicker. Rosie prefers to go to bed at 9pm and will take herself off and sit looking up the stairs. It’s not always possible to go to bed then, but sometimes I do. I found if I set my alarm and woke her to go out she just tried to lie down outside. So if I wake up (she’s probably shuffled and woke me) and she’s not flat out I pop her out in the garden. I then take her straight back to bed and throw a few treats into her bed (I do this when I first go to bed too, she now races ahead into her bed) cover her crate (just half way across front) and everyone goes back to sleep. Get up time is currently 6am.
I’ve taken Rosie out in relatives gardens for toileting too which is good for pups as some pups initially when they first start going on walks wait until they are home to toilet.
I often find you can get out of sync with the toileting on occasions and other times it works like clockwork and you have no accidents. It’s important not to stress about it as dogs are experts at reading our moods. If you got upset when you saw them toileting inside and expressed this by shouting etc you could end up with a dog that is too frightened to toilet when you are there.
I always take Rosie out on the lead into the garden which serves two purposes 1) I’m right there when she toilets so I can add my cue word “hurry up” and I know when she’s been so can judge easier when she’ll need out again. 2) Rosie is getting used to walking on a lead (remember dogs, especially puppies are always learning)

Rosie also visited the vets again and got her second vaccination. She was very happy at the vets – I took cheese again. She even wagged her tail at the vet nurse just after she’d given her her injection. We got a goody bag which included some James wellbeloved puppy food.

Rosie was started on Beta puppy whilst at the breeders. I continued this for the first week, it’s important to have some continuity in what is a lot of new changes to a young pup. I then gradually changed the food over, substituting a little of the beta for the James wellbeloved.
I’ve fed James wellbeloved for over 12 years and my dogs have always done well on it. It’s not the most expensive but it’s quite a bit dearer than the cheap foods you find in the supermarkets. Often by spending a little more on food you can save on vets bills and reduce behaviour problems.
When Rosie first arrived here if you approached her while she was eating she would growl. I have never had a pup of this age before who did this. But it was soon sorted out by throwing tasty treats into the bowl, from a distance she was comfortable with initially (under threshold no growling) I then gradually decreased the distance until I could go right up to her and add a tasty treat. If I’d practiced taking the bowl away I could have encouraged this behaviour – How would you react if someone took your food away whilst you were still eating it?

Separation anxiety
I make sure I leave Rosie at home at some point during the day. I choose a moment when she is likely to be tired and pop a food stuffed Kong in with her along with chew toys. She gets left when the big dogs go for their walks so is sometimes the only dog in the house. Although mostly in the future there will be a dog in the house with her. I’ve been walking Ben and Snoopy together and I usually walk them separately (Ben has bad hips so can’t go as far as Snoopy) But as Snoopy is shattered with the antics of his new playmate he’s quite happy with shorter walks.

I ensure I do 2-3 short formal sessions a day of training with Rosie. She tends to pick things up quite quickly but I try not to add too many new things into the same session as she tires quickly. I tend to introduce new things at the start and finish with something easy like sit.
A lot of people say to me that they walk their puppy for ages and they are still not tired. A training session can actually tire them more than a walk as its mentally tiring and especially with border collies if the brain is alert they will always muster the physical strength to get up to mischief.

Here is Rosie’s training so far


Rosie’s 10 day update

Rosie has been here 10 days already. She has slotted into the family so quickly it’s as if she’s always been here. She sleeps an awful lot, I always think puppies in multi dog households tire more easily due to the interactions between each other. Snoppy is her play mate and often her snuggle up to pal too. DSC_0320

Rosie has been in the car almost everyday. She travels in a crate in the boot happily, not a sound from her. She has been in a pet shop, been carried through the town centre and at the beach. She has met lots of people on her travels most of which stop for a fuss of her. She came to agility at west lakeland dog club on Sunday and met a lot of fellow club members. She has been to my mam’s and my grandparents house, where she’s happy to settle on her own bed (which comes with her most places)
Her raccoon toy comes most places too although the big dogs have bitten its ear off, so the squeaker had to come out. It’s important to check toys regularly for damage as once exposed the squeaker if swallowed can cause problems. I personally am not too keen on squeakers in toys so was quite happy to take it out.

There are still areas of socialisation I need to cover, at this age they learn so much it’s important to make the most of the time. It’s also important where possible to cover the areas more than once in this time. The more positive experiences the pup has the more confident they become with that same situation.

In the past few days I have started short formal training sessions – remember your puppy is learning from everything you do with him/her so everything is training really.
As I want to train some heelwork to music elements I’ve started training paw with a treat enclosed in my fist. Most pups will paw at a treat held in a fist. I’ve taught this first as I’m going to teach her to back off a treat when it’s between my fingers and if I’d taught this first she may not have used her paw when I wanted her to.
I’ve also started teaching her to twist, sit, down, stand, walk back, recall and touch all with the aid of a clicker.
Initially she was mainly offering sits. She has a default sit whereby if she doesn’t know what to do she sits. This is handy for letting her out of her puppy pen/crate, as I only open it when she’s sitting.

Today we had a mini break through in training and she’s now offering other behaviours too – downs etc.
I’m mainly rewarding with food – her own food and tiny bits of cheese.She enjoys training and also will play with a toy. I’ve yet to build the toy playing into the great outdoors, but she’s played well in other people’s houses. Puppies and young dogs won’t play when they are uncomfortable about a situation the same is true of food rewards. A stressed dog will not eat even the tastiest of treats, although in some situations I’ve found they will eat but will not play. I also have to build in the distractions to her play I wouldn’t expect to go to a training class full of dogs and expect her to play straight away or for as long as she does at home.

Training classes
Its important that you take your puppy to a good puppy class as soon as their vaccinations are complete. Even if you’ve got years of experience of training dogs it’s important for the puppy to experience other puppies/dogs/people/environments in a positive way. A lot of dogs you meet out and about will not be so well behaved or friendly!

I find with border collies in particular the later you leave it to join a class the harder it is for them to cope with the class situation. Border collies being herders may want to herd all the other dogs and can get frustrated when they can’t keep the group together. Also a lot of collies can be noise sensitive and with most training classes in halls you often get an echo effect.
Some owners only consider joining a class when they have a problem usually when there bundle of joy reaches around 6 months. It’s far easier to prevent problems than to cure them.
Collies in particular can be prone to chasing which can be very dangerous when they want to chase cars. Usually this behaviour appears as they get a little bit older from 4 months onwards.

Rosie will be attending training classes as soon as her vaccinations are complete. My daughter will come along to training classes with me, it’s important to involve all members of the family in the training of your puppy, so everyone is consistent and the puppy gets the same message from everyone.

A set of rules agreed by everyone is a good idea, some of these will be personal rules – ie where puppy will sleep. However it’s important to consider societies rules, lots of people don’t appreciate being jumped on by dogs when out and about. You can always relax these rules when puppy is a little older eg allowing them to jump up at you when you say “up”. DSC_0317


First few days

rosie n evie
Well so far so good, Rosie’s first night went well with only a few whimpers. She’s in a crate right beside my bed at night so I can take her out to the toilet when she wakes. At night I throw a few pieces of her food into her crate so she enjoys going in and allows me time to shut the door and cover the crate. The first night she slept from 2am until 5.30am and is settling into a nice nighttime routine, getting up at 6am today.
Toilet training is going well, and I’m taking her out approx every hour and when she wakes, after she’s eaten and had a play. I’ve been taking her on the lead which allows me to be close to her and introduce my toilet commands when she goes “hurry up” and “quick quick” it also enables me to get her used to walking on the lead. rosie garden

Dog introductions went very well, I put Rosie in to her play pen and allowed Ben and Snoopy to sniff her and her them through the bars. By the end of the first day everyone was comfortable with everyone and they could all be loose in the same room.
rosie n snoopy 2

Rosie loves her toys and will play with you even whilst you stroke her, sometimes a less confident pup will drop the toy when you stroke them. We will have to work on the drop command though. I’m really happy with her enthusiasm for toys as a big part of my training revolves around play. Rosie will even take on Ben to get her favourite toy
rosie n ben
Rosie is puppy mouthing a lot already but we try to always have a toy handy and re direct her biting onto that. She also chases feet and tries to bite trouser legs, so we are standing still and again re directed her onto something more appropriate. Ankle nipping is common amongst the border collie as a breed and Rosie comes from a good working strain, so whilst this behaviour is normal it is in appropriate within human society so it’s important to curb the behaviour.

Rosie has been to the vets for the first time and was a really good girl. She got cheese from me in the reception area and in the consult room. She also got cuddles from all the staff and was weighed and is currently 4.2kg.
rosie at the vets

I haven’t started formal training as such yet but I have been ensuring she sits before I let her out of her puppy pen/crate and before putting her dinner bowl down. We’ve also been using the recall command “come” when we have her dinner ready. She’s currently getting four small meals a day.
I measure out at the days rations at the beginning of the day which then allows me to use some for training or to go in her kong when we leave her without me giving her too much food by giving her extra.

New puppy preparations

Puppy preparations

With just under 2 weeks until our new edition to the family joins us there’s lots of preparation still to do.
The breeder has started the socialisation process with unusual objects, car travel, sounds and people to name but a few. I intend to carry on with this, where appropriate taking Rosie to lots of different places. But  I also intend to teach her to be happy with calm quiet alone time. I’ve set up a puppy pen in the living room so Rosie can have somewhere safe to entertain herself (with safe appropriate toys) so she doesn’t learn to expect constant attention. I must admit I’d looked at puppy pens but after talking to Mary Ray I could see it was a really good idea. I intend to teach Rosie to be calm in her puppy pen even when I’m training another dog.

Training dogs is a constant learning experience, every dog is an individual and what works for one won’t always work for another. It does however help to have an action plan of how you’d like to approach things.

I intend to crate train Rosie and she has actually already been in a crate with her litter mates in the breeder’s car. Used correctly crates are a god send, they can ensure the puppies safety when you can’t supervise, it can be used for car travel. If they have to stay at the vets when they are older they are already comfortable with being in a crate so its one less stress for them. She will be in the bed room at night as I believe this is the easiest way to settle her in and I intend to take her out to the garden for toileting in the night. She will go out into our garden from the day she comes to live with us and will come with us out and about wherever she can, initially being carried. I will however put her down in certain places that are not frequented by lots of dogs. She will also meet older vaccinated dogs along with the two here that she will live with.

IMG_0279Snoopy and Ben

I intend to be careful and thorough with her socialisation, I want wherever possible her experiences to be positive ones.

I intend to take her out lots on her own partly because she won’t be going as far as the other dogs and also so she gets the one to one attention for training purposes.

My goal for her is competitive obedience and agility although I’ve always wanted to learn sheep herding and I like the look of working trials, so I’m quite flexible. I hope to use a clicker more with Rosie’s training, with snoopy I only used it really for the retrieve. I might also train her some tricks as I’m feeling very motivated after watching Mary Ray’s cabaret evening.

I still have bedding to sort out, some more kong toys to get and a dumbbell to order. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick some things up whilst I’m at crufts. I already have a collar, lead and some toys and have ordered her a tag. I will wait until she’s here to measure her for a harness which I will get from xtradog.

But like all good plans I will probably have to tweak bits and pieces. I hope to record a lot of Rosie’s training on this blog so you can follow her progress.