Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by foreverdawn, Apr 30, 2008.

  1. foreverdawn Well-Known Member

    I have a Border Collie who will be turning 1 this weekend. He did extremely well in puppy & obedience classes. He is in a Novice now & acting like he has never heard commands before. He doesn't want to listen & would rather pull & play with his leash. We practice at home almost every day & usually more that once each day. First people said it may be due to a new environment but he has had 5 classes. I was also told he may be regressing, what can I do & How long should I expect the regression to last? Will it be as long as he is in the adolescence stage? He has acted like a different dog in this class compared to others that has taken, to tell the truth it has been embarrasing & very fustrating. Oh, and yes he was neutered around 6/7 months.

  2. stormi Well-Known Member

    I think most dogs do go through a 'teenage' stage where they do test things out. How long it lasts and how difficult it gets really depends on the dog. The best thing I have always found is to just work through it...even if it means going back to teaching him something over to make sure he does it when you ask him to. Your dog will be stronger for it when he does come out of his 'teenager stage'.

    My other thought as I read your post is that maybe you are practising too much with him? I didnt do a great deal of precise formal work with my border collie till she was about 18 months. Mostly I focused on attitude and motivation and the 'basics'. I was really careful not to overdo her training with her as I was advised that a lot of heavy training with borders when they are young can really put them off.
  3. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    You are the proud parent of a teenager ;)

    Essentially every dog goes through this stage some time between 1 and 3 years of age. It can last a week or a few months, depending on the dog. A lot of times the dogs that are so great as puppies get hit the worst, but it's only temporary.

    The biggest thing is to not show frustration. Teenagers (regardless of species) are testing boundaries and trying to find their own way in the world... they retaliate to everything even if it makes perfect sense, they pretend to be 'deaf', they embarrass you...

    In my experience, the stage lasts longer and often is 'lurking' for years, when the trainer gets frustrated with the dog... that kind of attention is gold to teens.

    Try working on active things that he enjoys, and activities that make him use his brain rather than responding directly to your cues.

    Charlie was a wild child as a pup, and I thought he was going to be absolute hell as a teen, but it went pretty well. He was about 1.5 when he hit that stage and I stopped giving any commands that weren't safety related. Instead, I'd just wait him out and ignore him until he did what was expected... for example, he already knew that he should sit before I put his bowl down - when he started his 'teens' I stopped telling him to sit and would leave his food on the counter until I noticed that he was sitting patiently, then I would praise him and put it down.

    By not giving commands I accomplished two things: 1) no bad habits were formed by him thinking about whether or not to respond, 2) he couldn't frustrate me because he couldn't contradict anything I said.

    Charlie's stage only lasted a bit over a week before he became eager to be given commands again and have fun.

    Conversely, I know a Border Collie that was an amazing puppy and sooo easy (though active and learning different sports). Her owner thought they had breezed by the teen stage, but it hit her real hard around 3 years... it lasted for months, and she was nearly impossible to live with... finally it ended and she went back to being a great dog.

    Good luck, lol... :)
  4. storm22 Experienced Member

    have you tried training your dog different things other than every day obedience, some times storm needs a break from agility and i'll do some fly ball (just learning it at the moment, when he wasnt injured) or ill do some obedience (storms torture) maybe your dog just needs a break from it do some other things and then go back to it in like a month, some of our obedience dogs at my training club have joined in agility just to give thier dogs some fun and a break from learning, they dont need to be good at it but they just try everything and if they dont get it they'll go do something they know they're good at and the dogs really excell at obedience now
  5. foreverdawn Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the suggestions, I am sure he picks up how fustrated I become & that is something that I will have to work on. There is only one more class left & we'll just work on the basic commands, fun & motivation for awhile, he does do a whole lot better at home than he does in this class. He has started flyball, it has been about 6 weeks now & he is doing rather well at that. I guess my expectations were just a bit high because of how well he had been doing in obedience & it seemed like we hit a brick wall.
    Thanks again
  6. CollieMan Experienced Member

    What is he like when he's at home, and in other environments, such as your local walk route?
  7. foreverdawn Well-Known Member

    Taser is pretty good at home but can be stubborn at times. We don't practice for more than 15 minutes each time & try to do it twice a day. Once may be flyball stuff rather than obedience but he is only in the beginner stages of that. He is pretty good on walks, rarely pulls, never barks, sits when I stop at all crosswalks, heels & watches me when told, although is easily distracted as he is very intrigued with flying birds, hopping rabbits & whatever the wind may be blowing. However, he never attempts to chase those things he is just courious about them. This class is twice the size as the others that he has taken, do you think that would make a difference? Even after 5 classes? I like the fact that this class has been constant "work" while the others he has taken (not same trainer) there was a lot of story telling & such. The down side is that there isn't too much time for individual attention. I have had 2 parties at my home in the last 2 months (no more than 15-20 people), each time people commented on how well behaved he was. My pet sitter said she may have to find a new nickname for him (she called him Dr Destructo in December). My cousin commented on how he'd matured since Christmas & the friend she brought said, "this isn't the same dog I heard about driving out here". Actually, in other environments I thought he has doing better where before he "shined" more while in class.
  8. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I've mentioned before on here that I believe the whole 'teenage' thing is often a little too overstated and frequently used as a catch-all explanation, but that aside...

    If I read you correctly, Taser is fine at home and in other places, and it's just at the new training class that he's behaving a little out of character. If that is the case, it just doesn't add up really does it? Why would he suddenly suffer teenage hormones when he enters a classroom, but not in other places?

    Remember, things learned in classes are very specific to the location. (Which is precisely why the good trainers insist that you practise, practise, practise in as many different locations and scenarios as you can.)

    If your dog learned x, y, and z in the previous class environment, it doesn't naturally follow that he will perform them in the new environment. It also doesn't follow that because he had adapted to the previous set of dogs, he will feel the same about the new set of dogs.

    I think this is more a case of just waiting for the dog to settle into the new routine, in a new class environment, with a new trainer, with new dogs around, and in a new training regime. He's acting like he's never learned the behaviours before, because, in this context, he hasn't. He learned how to do them in the previous environment, not this new one. Older dogs can adapt more readily and perform behaviours at any location, as they have experience and years of routine performance on their side. Dogs at the age of your dog (and mine who is eleven months) don't have that advantage. Everything that they do is very contextual and specific.

    Just continue to believe in him and have a little patience; he'll shine through in no time, I'm sure of it. Good luck!
  9. sarhaspups New Member

    I agree Collieman. Sounds to me like he is over threshold in different environments and you just need to work on that with him. It will take time but he is young and he is probably going through some changes "teenager" and just needs to learn how to control his excitement. I would work lots of focus on you and making yourself more exciting and fun than the things / dogs/ people around you. My pup just turned 14 months old and we struggle with keeping attention in certain places... I just keep working on it a little at a time as I don't want to over work the problem and cause more problems. They do grow out of rebelious stages but you also need to work on them while it is going on b/c they will push their limits with you (ignoring you, acting out, disregarding what you say) and if you let them, you will create bigger problems.
    Good luck and let us know what works for you both.
  10. mysomerdai Well-Known Member

    Sometimes they are telling you that you are pushing them too hard, too fast. Try taking a step back into an easier environment where he was successful.

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