Help With A Crazy Dog


Experienced Member
My Border Collie, Fairley, is the smartest dog, but she's always getting into things and I can't trust her outside of her crate unless I'm right there. Does anyone have any tips for games or activities that would tire her out kind of quickly? I'm going to start going to college this August, so I won't have the time to work her out for hours. Also, she likes to learn and knows a lot of tricks. She knows stay, but are there any other commands that I could teach her that would give me more control?

Another problem is that she's also mouthy. I have a feeling this is because she's in her crate for too long. If this is the case, any tips for tiring her out should mostly solve this problem. When she's in her crate I give her a regular Kong and stuff it with cheese or peanut butter, but she tires of them quickly.

I really don't want to have to get rid of her, but if things stay the same I might have to. It stresses me out when I have to worry about watching her every second. Please help!

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
My heart just sunk when I read "get rid of her" but ultimately that is your I am going to flood you with ideas in hopes that some will work.

I have a border collie and she is very hyper just like Fairley...the thing I found that has worked the best for us is when she is getting over excited and barking, whinning, pawing when she wants to play, she gets tethered for a quick 30 second time out, if we have to do this 5 times in a row, we do, and then when she is released and is quiet we can then play an appropriate game.

Doing trick training is sooo mentally stimulating it "tires" out her mind and she will most likely be calmer just from that. Tricks that will tire her out learning as well as ones that you can use when she is getting too excited is
-Go to your bed
-Lie down
-Bring me a ball
-Hide and seek
-Find it
-And the usual sit, stay, come, etc.
-We also taught Riley to relax, so when she lies down, when given the command she will fully rest her chin on the ground, in an even more calm position

The relax works well for us when she is barking, because apparently dogs are supposed to find it difficult to bark when they lie down??? Not my girl lol, if she wants to play and is barking and you ask for a lie down, she will lie down and continue to bark, and groan at you. asking for a relax, really calms her down and prevents barking

As for physically tiring Fairley out, combine trick training and self restraint here for him as well. IE. You ask for the ball and he brings it or he just brings you a ball when he wants to play, when you have the ball, ask for a sit, lie down, or whatever it may be, and wait until he does whatever you want him to do first and then reward him with throwing the ball. This is giving a double whammy of mental and physical exertion! Also it really improves the speed of sitting, and lying down (which my girl would always take her time, and not listen to commands when she was in the "border collie stare" with her favorite toy) also having him be able to break his stare by just asking him for a friendly, playfull command, greatly increases your chances of him listening to you if he is ever giving "the stare" to something dangerous, you know his chances of just listening to you will be better, as at first Riley zoned us out completely!

How old is Fairley, and I just realized I was calling her him before...:S sorry, I'm typing as fast as I think LOL And what type of things is she getting into? Things that could be removed from the area that she is allowed to play in? If so, pack em up and move em higher...she can't mess up what is not there for her to...

Riley loves to swim, and depending on where you live, you may even have the option to do that year round, sadly we dont, but its great to tire her out verrryyy quickly!

Also what do you mean by mouthy, how mouthy? Like playful or like ummm your hurting me Fairley!!! :S :O riley is a mouther a bit as well when she gets over excited, but this is when she gets her time outs until she can play nicely, but we worked on her having a soft mouth so its never hard...

Anyway I have to run, this post probably doesnt make sense..please let me know how its going with your princess!!!


Experienced Member
I feel the same way when I say "get rid of" and I really don't want it to come to that. I'm starting college next month, I just moved, and I'm already extremely stressed as it is. Then when you add what she does on top of it all, it drives me to the point of a nervous breakdown. By the way, she's 8 months old. (Sorry about leaving important stuff out; I've never done this before.)

She's extremely good about listening when you give a command. Commands she knows are:

-lay down
-roll over
-shake/ paw
-get your toy
-jump into my arms
-weave between my legs
-touch it
-leave it (this doesn't help with stuff sitting around when I'm not there)

As for the getting into stuff, it's mostly stuff off of the coffee table. I'm not sure what I can do about it because when it gets cleaned, people just put crap back on it. They don't care and nothing I say will be able to change it. I really want Fairley to learn self control, I just don't know how to go about doing it. I already do the whole thing with giving her commands when she brings me her ball, but it's not helping. She also gets into my Aussie's toys. Sparrow (the Aussie) has soft toys because she's not a big chewer and I've had to replace them quite a few times because Fairley tears them up. She'll also just randomly chew something if you're not paying attention like furniture.

Before we moved, we took the dogs swimming, life jackets and all. Fairley, however, would suck water up her nose when trying to retrieve her toy and now doesn't really like the water. Without the toys, she has no interest in getting into the water. I don't know what else to do about that.

She's mouthy only when she gets excited. It doesn't hurt, but it leaves marks and I don't want it to continue. The relax command sounds wonderful. How did you teach it?

Your post made complete sense! I'm really glad for the help.


Experienced Member
As for the time out, it may work for Hayley's dog and maybe Fairley as well (haven't tried it yet), but I have heard of it working well, especially when they are young. If it doesn't work I'll just try something else. Right now Fairley is doing everything to test me and see what she can get away with, so we'll just have to see.

Fairley already knows everything you listed but high five and retrieve objects by name. We're working on shy and bow right now. I really want to take her to a dog park, but she's terrified of people and other dogs. She's just so shy it's nearly impossible, especially off leash. She wasn't socialized like she should have been, although we took her to puppy class and there was a play time and everything. I'm worried that it's too late and that I've ruined her because I didn't do my job. Her fear of people and dogs is the worst thing about her. I would be content to handle everything else if I could just fix this. If she wasn't afraid, we could take her out and walk her without having to worry that she'll freak out, and she would get so much more exercise.

The patience part is hard, because I have none. I'm trying though! :D


Honored Member
About the socializing part. The fear of people and other dogs is hard to overcome, but it can be done.
Ask people to squat down to her level, not facing her( turn their side to her, not look her in the eyes) and offering a treat. Don't let them approach your dog, but let her go up to them, if she wants to. If people are able to pet her, ask them NOT to pet her on the head, but under her chin or on her flanks. Petting on the head is a dominating gesture and many dogs don't like it.
As for the dogs, don't keep her away from other dogs. Take her to the dogpark, try to find dogs, who are calm, so she can get comfortable with them. Don't pet her when she is scared, but you can squat down to her level, to offer support. Reward any contact she allows from other dogs. You mention an aussie being around, so Fairley knows how to speak "dog" Maybe take Sparrow along so she can rely on him al bit.
I would advice going to a dogtrainer. Because we can give all the tips in the world, but it is hard to give the right advice since we can't see you in action.
About the nipping: that's how I call it. My Aussies do it too. I stop and freeze, untill they calm down, then go on at a lower pace. (my dogs nip during agility or while I run with them. I have some bruises on my bottem to proove it:D)
And something else that might help is: try to stay calm when playing/training with her. Dogs pick up on stress and it can be the reason why she is acting up. I speak from experience here... My Jinx can be hyper, when I am(sometimes I don't even know I am, but she lets me know through her behaviour. I really have to stop and breathe for a minute to collect myself. Or if I can't, I stop training.)

My trainer allways tells us: the dog is your mirror, so if you are not calm, they are not eitherO_o:confused::D


Experienced Member
Thank you for the tips; I will definitely try them soon. We had taken her to puppy class, but the trainer said there was no way she could work on the shyness during class, and since I've moved I don't know of a good trainer. What you've told me I think will help a lot, so I'll just manage until I can find a trainer.

Thank you! :)


Experienced Member
She picks her toys out of the water, but still gets water up her nose after quite a bit of swimming. She does the same thing when I put ice in the water bowl and she picks it out. I'll have to give her some ice and see if she can figure out that she shouldn't inhale.

We have a kennel outside that's 10x10 and she and Sparrow have been out there for the past couple of days. It's been 105 degrees and I don't like leaving them out there even though they have water and houses. The problem is, they don't do anything but lay around, even with toys and a stuffed Kong. As soon as they get out, they act like they have been in their crates all day. We are in the process of installing an electric fence, so they can be in the yard. I think this will definitely help, but I have a feeling they will still be board out of their minds.

Thanks for the tips! I'll try the thing with picking treats out of the water. :)

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
Not offended at all Cowgirl, you absolutely made a great point that I left out, time outs on their own are great for maybe stopping that behaviour at that specific moment but they will find something else to do, generally I use is kind of as a short calm down period when Riley is being bad and either give her a Kong to chew while she is in time out, or as soon as shes out we will play an acceptable game

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
As for the relax command, I found it surprisingly easy laramie! Have Fairley in a lie down position and with a treat in your hand in front of Fairleys nose, lower your hand to the floor and allow her to follow you hand until her chin touches the floor, progress to no treat in your hand, just her following the movement, and then finally to just the verbal command. I was surprised at how fast Riley picked that one up, and it is especially funny when Fairley will start to get it, if she is anything like Riley, you can ask riley to relax and she moves her head down like a lightening bolt down half way to the ground, as is like, there I did it, happy? When she is really excited, we will ask her for a relax and sometimes the first time she will do it much too fast and wont leave her head rested on the ground, so she doesnt get a treat or praise for that anymore, she must be fully relaxed with head on the ground. Plus, everyone I have showed Riley "relaxing" to, thinks it is a super cute trick! I especially like to use it if she gets excited when we come home for the day, I'll have her lie down and then relax, so she can calm down and I can at least set down my purse before being bombarded by toys and soccer balls!


Experienced Member
Wow, this trick sounds perfect. I've started teaching Sparrow how to put her head down, and I think this might be the same trick, or at least close. Fairley is so spastic, I'm not sure it will be that easy to have her calm down. She's been a lot better because we've been putting her outside in the kennel.

Thanks for the instructions. (y)

Hayley Thompson

Well-Known Member
Yeah it might be the same as putting your head down, I like to rename tricks which is weird lol but I do it to try and get a rise out of my 4 year old neice. I'm also teaching Riley how to put her paw over her nose but I want to use the command "Boo" So my niece can say boo and riley will cover her eyes as though she is frightened lol another one I renamed is cross your paws, to "Be a lady" Just cause I thought that was alot cuter too!! A friend of mine had a dog before and taught him "Stolen" and "Paid for" for leave it and take it! She said that was such a crowd pleaser lol I would love to rename leave it and take it to Stolen and Paid for for Riley. The only thing I suppose that is a dissadvantage, is that if Riley ever had to stay overnight at a vets or daycare I would have to write a list of all of Riley's "special" commands... I could just see people getting frusterated telling her to leave it, leave it, LEAVE IT! and all they would have to say is Riley, that's stolen! :ROFLMAO:


Honored Member
Staff member
LOL too cute. My friend is a Law Enforcement major, and I taught his dog, "STICK 'EM UP!" where he sits in a beg position with both paws in the air. It's adorable. ^^ Mud's "shy" is BOO too, thought it was much cuter, plus I taught it around Halloween so it just fit. Love the "Stolen" and "Paid for," that's creative.


Experienced Member
I love using cute names, but I'm not creative enough to think of good ones. I do remember in tricks class, the instructor was telling us cute commands and crawl was called "be a marine" I thought that was adorable. My boyfriend and I are also into video games and he suggested "do a barrel roll" from Starfox 64 instead of roll over. I think I'm going to use that one.