"MY COLLIE JUST WON'T BEHAVE!"

And a lot of owners think their collie is stupid because they won't do as they're told.

For Border Collies, the relationship between you and your dog is really special.  To have a healthy friendly relationship between you and your Border Collie, he has to respect you.

Some people demand that respect by using outdated and often cruel "negative reinforcement" techniques.  Then, there are others who know how to tell their dog what to do, but don't understand HOW their dog thinks.

We've see examples in real training sessions, where body language is telling a dog one thing, whilst the verbal command is saying another.  In this case during "Agility" training, a lady was telling her dog to "wait".  As she did this, she walked forward, swinging her arm with finger pointed toward the first jump.  The dog obeyed both commands - she waited, and then ran on to the first jump.  In agility, pointing is often used in conjunction with verbal commands to quickly communicate to the dog where to move on the course.

The lady was getting frustrated, and the trainer didn't even notice this subtle body language happening.  Body Language is very important, and after the lady was told to keep her arms by her sides, the collie simply stayed until commanded to move.

Until this had been pointed out, they had been blaming the dog for being "too eager" or "not listening", but it was the owner giving mixed messages.

How many times have you seen an unruly dog in the park who runs off?  They're having a great time while the hapless owner yells "Fido" a hundred times - but when the dog eventually returns, the owner scolds him and shouts at him?

Well, that just makes Fido worse.  To him, he's been off having a great time, then when he came back to his owner, he got told off.  Fido thinks he got told off for coming back - not for having a good time.  So next time they're out, Fido is even more reluctant to come back because he thinks he'll get a telling off if he does go back to his owner!

 

So, one of the first things we have to do is assess whether your dog is getting mixed signals from you.  This is where it's a good idea for the owner and dog to go on a training course together - it means you both learn the right things together.

"SO HOW DO I KNOW IF IT'S ME OR HIM?"

Take up a training class, or call us for advice.

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The advice given in this site is no way to be taken as a replacement for professional advice either by a Veterinarian or a Behaviourist. Situations of individual animals vary greatly, and what causes problems in one Collie can be different for another.  If you would like one-to-one advice, then please get in touch by using the 'contact us' link.  This site 2004 Border Collie SOS.