Training Tips

Remember your pup will go through stages just like a human baby. He will have a fear stage that must not be babied. If you baby him when he spooks you are teaching him that there is something to fear or you would not be trying to protect him. Example: A new person comes to your home that is loud and tall and moves quickly. Well your pup may bark, back up and shake. You try to comfort your pup by holding him and tell him it is okay and you don't let the stranger come near him. You just taught your pup that strangers are dangerous and you protected him from the bad man. If the man was not bad then why did you cuddle him and protect him. Not only did you protect him but your pup picked up on your emotions and knows something was wrong.... Instead tell your pup "Enough" and ignore his foolish behavior. Have the stranger toss him a treat and leave it at that. Once he has good experiences he will be fine.


Do not allow your pup to learn any behaviors as a pup that you do not want him/her to do as an adult. So no herding cats, kids, other dogs, bikes, cars or anything else. This will not hinder your dogs ability to herd later in life.  Herding kids and the cat may be cute to watch when your dog is a little pup, but when he is full grown and weights forty pounds it is not cute at all.

Do not over stimulate your pup when you get him/her home. Give him/her a few days to settle before you have people come over to play. Don't over do it. Once your pup is settled then have more and more people come visit. Please do not take your pup to a dog park or ANY pet store until he has had all his shots and your vet says it is okay. (usually not until 2 weeks after last puppy booster !) There is no need to take your pup to public places where other unvaccinated or sick dogs may be. A good rule is that if you don't know the dog don't let your pup get to know it until your vet says it is okay to take your pup out in public. There are so many things your puppy can catch from other animals or even people so just don't take the risk. I don't think you should expect your pup to live in a bubble just make wise choices about where you will take your pup before he is fully vaccinated. Instead of taking your pup out have friends or family bring over healthy vaccinated animals to play with your pup.  As long as the visiting dog didn't just come from a dog park or other place he could pick something up you should be fine. Make sure you do get visitors of all ages so your pup will have great experiences with adults and children. (If your pup came from my home he/she was raised in a home with kids but he/she still needs to be around more kids)

Puppy proof your home. Yes puppy proofing. Puppies are going to find things to chew on in your house if you give them a chance. I personally think that a puppy should have NO free roam of my house. If a puppy is in another room I can't correct him or keep him out of trouble. I keep puppies in the same room I am in either confined in a room with me or connected to me with a leash also known as umbilical training. Having said this if you are going to puppy proof your home the best thing to do it get down on your hands and knees and see what the puppy sees and what is within reach of the puppy. Cords are a favorite of puppies so make sure all cords are out of the puppies reach.

TRAINING If you take time to train your pup right in the first year of his life you will be rewarded the next 10+ years. A pup is a product of his environment please remember that. You need to know that in animals there are things that are instinct and there are behaviors. A behavior is learned and repeated when there is a pay off or rewarded. Some things are self rewarding and some are rewarded by humans or other animals.


A pup should be expected to hold his bladder for only short periods of time. The general rule used by trainers is how ever many months old a pup is plus one would be a good guess for the time you can expect a pup to hold his/her bladder. So if your pup is 5 months old he can probably bladder for 6 hours. No dog should be expected to hold their bladder for more than 8 hours. (can you?) Your pup will need to go potty after every meal, after play and after a nap. I suggest you feed and water the pup then take him outside and do not bring him back in until he has went to the bathroom. When you notice the pup is starting to sniff the ground give him the command "go potty" or whatever you are going to use and as soon as he goes praise and say  "Good Potty" Then toss him a small treat or toss a toy. I suggest you take your pup to the same area every time so he will use the bathroom in that area instead of all over the yard. If your pup has not gone to the bathroom after 10 minutes and you are tired of standing get a chair and wait. You want to be there with your dog as soon as he finally does go to the bathroom so you can reward him. If your pup does have an accident in the house, and you catch him in the act, you should clap your hands loud and growl
 and rush him out the door. The reason you clap your hands is it startles the pup and gets his attention so you can rush him out the door. If you find that your pup has used the bathroom and you did not catch him in the act. Clean the area with half vinegar and half water but don't let your pup see you clean it. Do not rub your pups nose in the spot. That teaches you pup NOTHING! Well except that you are a crazy human who goes around rubbing his nose in urine. A pup has no idea why he can not use your new carpet as his toilet. Your pup must be taught where he can go potty. Please do not spank your pup with a rolled up newspaper. I don't know who thought this up but it is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of. Hitting your pup makes no sense to a dog. If your pup does pee or poop in the floor I suggest you roll up a newspaper and hit yourself in the head 3 times and repeat ' I will not leave my pup alone and I will not forget to take the pup out, bad human.' Learn to pay more attention to your pup. Punishing the pup for doing something he does not know is wrong makes no sense to the dog. Some people have told me that the pup knows he/she has done something wrong because the pup is cowering, hiding or being submissive. First off dogs do NOT speak English in dog language being submissive keeps you from getting into as much trouble from the "alpha" or higher ranked animals in the pack. If you pup is submissive that is natures way of self preservation NOT that your pup is sorry. Think about it ... If you were under a foot tall, weigh under 15 lbs and a 5.5', 100 plus pound person stomps over to you speaking a foreign language you are probably going to try to save yourself just like a pup does by being submissive or running away. Example: Lets say you were taking a foreign language class and your professor told you to 'take out your blue ink pen' you don't speak the language yet so you have no idea what you are supposed to do. The professor walks up to you and pops you on the head. You would be totally confused right? Then the professor repeated herself and hit you again and the process is repeated. What would you have learned? Well, you may have learned to duck or hit back but either way you still did not learn what she was trying to tell you. Same goes for your dog. You may think he will eventually figure out peeing on the floor equals a swat but all your pup really is going to learn is when his humans come home or walk into a room he may get swatted for no reason so eventually he will hide or retreat when you walk into site. You will think he knows he did wrong but really all he knows is you are unpredictable and he better get out of your way.



Crates are great if used in moderation. Your pup may hate going into a crate at first. He will learn to at least tolerate it or if you are fortunate your dog will be like my dogs and love stretching out in his crate. A few tips for crate training are: Do not allow him to come out if he is crying. Be strong, buy ear plugs, go out to eat, go outside do whatever you must do but do not give in. If you do your pup has learned the most important lesson of his life. He is the boss you are not. Yelling 'Shut up' over and over will teach him that 'Shut up' = BARK! Put your pup in the crate once he has had a chance to use the bathroom outside, do not expect him to be able to hold his bladder for long periods of time. If possible start out slow and introduce him to the crate easily. I suggest you put his food in the crate with the door open to start. Let him go in and out on his own a few times. Toss a toy or treat in so he will want to go inside. Once you have shown him there is nothing to fear you can close the door and get ready for the barking. If you got your puppy from me your puppy has already started crate training at 4 weeks of age. Yep 4 weeks. I start putting pups in crates at 4 weeks old so they learn they can take naps there and it is a safe place to be.


Do not put a choker on your pup until he is at least 4 months old. (if at all) You can cause damage to your pup with a choker. A trainer can show you how to properly put one on if that is what you choose to use later for training. A pup can wear a snap collar, but I don't recommend it for an adult. Snap collars are known to pop off and wear out fast. A buckle collar will stay put and not pop off and can easily be used for training. You can also use a Premier Collar for training which is what a lot of people use for walking because it will not slip off but I wouldn't leave it on the pup or dog all the time.


*Only use cheese or peanut butter or other things as fillers hollow toys if your dog is not allergic and they do not make your dogs stomach upset. The Kong is a wonderful toy and great for both pups and adults. For a special treat I like to put pasteurized cheese or peanut butter. Dogs love both! Or you can cook rice in chicken broth put it in the blender to make a mushy paste then put it in the kong and freeze. The Kong company also sells filling for the toy or you can make your own. No matter what you put in the Kong Fill the Kong let the pup try to get it out for a few hours. You do not want whatever you put in the Kong to spoil. Then you take a finger and scoop it out... BAM you are a wonderful human for getting that yummy stuff out for the pup! If you decide to give rawhide bones please be aware that the knots on the end are dangerous. If you pup chews the middle first and leaves the knots, he may attempt to swallow the knots whole. If you give rawhide be sure to check it often and when it gets small enough to put the whole thing almost in you ups mouth throw it away! Please be careful of rope toys. The string comes off you don't want your pup to have a belly full of string. They are okay toys to use when under your supervision. No toys with button eyes pop them off before your pup does.

Want a pup with a ton of ball drive? Take a tennis ball and with a knife slice to lines on each side. You want to be able to squeeze it and have it open up a little. Put hot dogs or treats inside then toss the ball and let him fetch it, when the pup brings the ball back to you(or if you have to take the ball when teaching the pup to fetch do that) then you open up the tennis ball and let a few treats drop out! BALL DRIVE.

For hot summer days. Fill a 1 or 2 liter bottle with water and glue the cap on tight. Freeze the bottle then give to the pup to lick, lay near and try to chew on. I would not recommend this for a pup who could get the lid off or chew a piece of the bottle off. My favorite thing to do is buy a Kong (great toy) fill the Kong with canned dog food, put it in a zipper seal type of bag then freeze. The pup gets his own frozen treat that thaws as the day goes on.


Yes puppies teeth just like children and just like kids they want to put things in their mouth when they are teething so you find them good things to chew on so they will not find your good shoes! Pet supply stores sell toys that you can soak in water then freeze for the pup. Frozen toys feel so good when teething. I even put rawhide bones in zipper seal bags then freeze them adults and pups like them on hot days.**I personally have never had a pup chew till the cold made his/her mouth sore, but I am sure a pup could do that so it is something to watch.

Summer time:**Most pups will love a small kid pool that they can cool off in! Toss a few tennis balls and floating toys into it to make it even more fun. Please do not add ice on hot days and expect your dog to drink it to keep cool. Dogs do not cool down like we do and drinking ice cold water will make them think they are cooled off enough when they are not and they can get hot and dehydrated.

If you have children please consider 4H dog projects for them. Call your local 4H and ask if they or surrounding groups offer it.

Umbilical training is wonderful for the whole family. Please try it if you need info on umbilical training call me or you can look it up on the Internet.

A bonding tip for your pup is to hand feed him. You don't have to do it everyday, just from time to time so he will associate food with you not a bowl. Please put your hands in your pups bowl to keep him from being food aggressive. TIP: Let your pup associate your hand with a good thing.. Put a piece of hot dog in your left hand so the dog does not see it. Put your right hand in the bowl and move it around. After a few seconds switch hands and open your hand to reveal the hot dog. Tell your pup Good BOY/GIRL and give the treat. Repeat every day for at least the first 2 weeks. Your pup will associate hands in his bowl with something good. While you are getting your pup used to hands in his bowl you will also want to get him use to people touching him while he is eating. While he is eating pet him and talk to him. Make sure your pup is handled in every way possible. Pet him all over, play with his feet, play with his tail and face. Make this a positive experience for your dog so he will be friendly and not stress out when a child pulls his tail or steps on his feet. (The more you do now the more you can enjoy your dog in the future)Please do not take your dog to a herding instructor for training unless you are serious about herding and you are going to do it on a regular basis. It is not a good idea to get your dog's instincts going and then stop. It also serves no purpose.


Please be aware that a lot of common house plants are poisonous to your pup. You can get a list from the net. If you ever are having training or behavior problems let me know and I would be happy to help.


Trish~ 337-353-5238 or G-Force Border Collies