Champdogs Information Exchange
We have a male castrated border terrier, he is 14 months old and we have had him since he was 8 weeks old. First the good points, he is quite tolerant of our very young grandchildren, a loving dog who likes nothing better than to be close to the family.
My husband adores this dog, he is the main dog walker and just laughs when I get mad at something the dog has done. Our last dog was a westie and we had him for 13 years before lymphoma took him. Our westie fit it with the family and was a joy to have around. I swore I would never have another dog when he died but after 18 months my husband wore me down and I agreed to getting the border terrier.
I am finding it very hard living with our new dog, I know I constantly compare him to our westie and always find him wanting. Our border is very energetic and constantly jumping, he steals food off the kitchen table and if we didn't watch him he would take food out of our grandsons hand. I feel stressed out every day, I find I can't relax at all and don't really want to join my husband on his walks with the dog as I am constantly on edge.
I am really hoping our border will calm down a bit this year, I am desperately trying not to ask my husband to rehome him as that wouldn't be fair to anyone. If I knew it would get better I would hang on in there and try harder to accept him. I know I am wrong to compare our border with the westie but I can't help it, I am always going on about the things the border does that our westie would never do etc....
Sorry for the waffle and I know I am not being fair but I am so mixed up.
08.06.17 21:17 GMT
Do you take him training? Might be a good way for you to handle him and take him. It will tire his brain and give you things to work with him during the week. Also work on the bond between you both
08.06.17 21:57 GMT
One thing to remember - this youngster is 14 mths added to the 13 years you had your Westie........... that is over 14 years since you had a puppy........... could you maybe be looking back with 'rose-tinted glasses' when you remember things that the Westie did - or didn't do.
It is something we ALL tend to do
Thank you for your reply sue-jaw . I think your right, I do need to do something to bond with him. My husband has taken him to all the training classes and we have nothing else booked. Maybe I should start taking him for a walk on my own? I think what puts me off is that he is so bouncy and excitable that I feel more stressed thinking about it. I need to get a grip of myself.
Thanks tatty-ead- I'm sure your right, it is a very long time since we had a puppy. I have been used to living with a westie who knew the rules and what was acceptable behaviour. Walking with him was relaxing and enjoyable, walking with our border is like taking a meerkat for a walk !!. Of course he has longer legs than a westie which means he can get to places our westie couldn't. Don't get me wrong, he is a sweet dog and he tries his best to win me round and then I feel guilty for not feeling as my husband does. Maybe I just got used to not having a dog with all the ties that come with it and am taking it out on the dog ? Thanks for your comments and taking the time to reply, much appreciated.
It will get better but I doubt it will without training as suejaw said I would suggest u join a good positive training class or even find one who will visit the house and do one to ones with u .have a look at the apdt website for some good trainers in your area. Unfortunately dogs do what they want uness we show then a different way a bit like kids with no guidance neither Understand what they should do until trained. Training should always be with reward be it treats or toys or praise depending g onwhat is your dogs main thing ..
09.06.17 08:01 GMT
Yep, definitely get some training in there. And make sure he's got stuff of his own to do - chews, kongs, treat balls etc - and keep the table and worktops clear until he's learned some manners! Every time he gets up there and finds something, it's rewarding him for doing it and he will keep trying.
09.06.17 08:45 GMT
It is hard work going back to having a puppy! And if you didn't feel ready for another dog, it's only natural that you will somewhat resent the new bouncy youngster and the curtailing of your freedom, there's no denying they are a huge tie. I would try doing some training or some walks with him and really make the effort to bond with him - hopefully all will come right in the end. :-)
I would definitely try to bond with him more, we have BT's and they remain lively and demanding well into middle age so I think you need to do something rather than wait until he calms down, it is almost impossible to tire them out so walking for hours will just make him fitter. On the plus side they are charming friendly dogs and very intelligent so working on using his brain is a great idea, they can certainly do obedience, agility, flyball and mental puzzles as well as what I would call "tricks". It is very hard to replace one breed with another but he will win your heart eventually.
09.06.17 18:17 GMT
I would suggest taking him to training classes. Even if he knows what he is doing with you at the end of the lead it is different and it will help your bond. He needs to work his brain a lot more so during the day, working out how to get food out of a kong which has been frozen
You've all been so helpful with your advice - thank you very much. I have a problem with treats for our border, we have had real issues with his food. When we first got him he was fed on Eukanuba and we changed him onto raw. He took to the raw really well until he was 10 months old when he became very ill. The upshot of it was we had to take him off raw, we tried to introduce it back into his diet but he refused to eat it. We then tried for about 3 months to find a food he could tolerate and didn't give him runny poos which he was doing upwards of 15 times a day, he became very malnourished and we were very worried. We have found that Burns suits him and he is now a healthy weight but we are finding it difficult to get treats for him that suit, we are actually using his food as treats. We used to stuff a kong with mince and freeze it so I know the merits of this way of feeding. I will take on board all your advice and really try my best to make this work - wish me luck
10.06.17 07:57 GMT
I've bred dogs a very long time which means some people have had repeat dogs from me. When they get a young, naughty, wilful youngster they often tell me that "old So and So was SO good in comparison". Trouble is they've forgotten that Old So and So was just the same as a young dog....they forget the times they'd called for advice.
Very soon your Border will settle down and with some training will no doubt become all you want from a dog.
Thank you toolz for that advice, I know you are right and our westie was probably a tinker when younger. I look at westies with longing but I could never replace our old boy with the same breed which is why we researched the border. He has stolen my grandsons breakfast this morning and got a severe telling off. They are such good jumpers that nothing is safe to leave anywhere. We are going to look into local agility classes and see if that helps with his excitement. . I must admit, when my family visits us all you can hear is the dog being told off for something so that doesn't help either. No one will look after him for a few hours as he is such a handful so I feel trapped at home instead of free.
Get a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself with it for leaving temptation in way of puppy. From ian dunbar I think
I think a good 12 1 trainer who can work with u and show u about impluse control and ideas to protect him for getting g the chance to do the wrong things would be good. Unfortunately although it's very human telling a dog off rarely achieves anything as they still don't understand what they should have done and even worse don't know what they should have done .I have a food thief and I really have to work on both what I do when food is around and how i want her to behave. At one point I swore she lived in the fridge as everytime I think opened it she was in their faster than me and removing anything g she could. The list of food and meals she has pinched is endless .even removing bread from the worktop while I am buttering it
10.06.17 10:31 GMT
I would look at either local training classes for general obedience at this stage (you'll need it before you can start agility anyway), or 121 help at home. I think the latter would be better in this instance, and a private trainer can so general obedience as well - the whole package, so to speak.
If he is that bad then separation at mealtimes would be sensible at this point, while you work through training with him. Every opportunity he gets to thieve that gets rewarded by successful theft makes that behaviour so much stronger!
Thanks Nikita good advice. My grandson has just come home from a party, he was given a kinder egg. He took the egg out of his pocket and put it on the kitchen table. Now if you know what a kinder egg is you'll know it's in foil, chocolate crispy coating covering a plastic container that has a toy in it. The egg was in the middle of the table, not near the edge or anything. Yes you've guessed it, our border has been on the table and eaten the egg and tried to chew thru the plastic container - my grandson was really upset. I had just walked five paces to hang his coat up. To be honest I am really sick of it now, my grandson is 3 years old and I am.not living my life on constant watch.
10.06.17 16:52 GMT
If you know your dog is a counter surfer prevention is better than cure, so please don't leave anything out he can access & steal. Some chocolate can be fatal to dogs
Hi Tommee, don't leave anything out?? So I have a border terrier, not a big dog. I'm cooking in the kitchen, chopping things up, the door bell goes, I go to answer it - what are you saying I should do? Clear everything away before I answer the door? It is impossible to never have anything on the worktop - that's normal life. I am panic stricken in my own home, paranoid about anyone having something to eat here - if you got up to get a drink the dog would be on the table. The house is already like Fort Knox with baby gates up at each doorway and bottom of the stairs. Sorry Tommee but I am losing patience very quickly and don't intend on barricading myself away behind baby gates. I am quite aware of what a dog should and shouldn't eat and would never give a dog any of those foods however my 3 year old grandson doesn't understand why he is unable to eat a biscuit without the dog taking it from his hand
10.06.17 18:09 GMT
>So I have a border terrier, not a big dog. I'm cooking in the kitchen, chopping things up, the door bell goes, I go to answer it - what are you saying I should do? Clear everything away before I answer the door?
No, that's not practical.
You take the dog out of the kitchen with you. I have a barrier that I slide across the access between the kitchen area and breakfast room area whenever there is food on the worktop. It doesn't take long to get into the habit.
>my 3 year old grandson doesn't understand why he is unable to eat a biscuit without the dog taking it from his hand
If the little boy is sitting at the table to eat his biscuit the dog will find it much more difficult to take it.
10.06.17 18:12 GMT
You sound as if you are the end of your tether with this dog, I don't like to suggest it but maybe a new home would be the way forward, perhaps ask your dogs breeder if they would have him back, as they should do if they are responsible, if not contact BT rescue and they would be in a position to rehome him, tell the whole truth about him to give him the best chance. Possibly an older dog would be a better choice for you in the long run, I have never given this advice before but sometimes the match is not made in heaven, I used to say to people with difficult horses " would you be relieved if I took him away" so you could ask yourself the same question. Good luck with whatever course you choose and don't feel you are a bad person if you decide to rehome.
Hello mixedpack. Thank you so much for your understanding post. I have considered rehoming many times but the honest truth is I couldn't do that to my husband - he really adores the dog. I would certainly be relieved if he was rehomed but I wouldn't get over the guilt, I have never given up on a pet. I do watch the dog with my grandchildren and he is so good with them in many ways except for the food stealing. I truly am not a bad person but I feel like one over this problem. I will keep in mind your post and see if the situation changes over the next few weeks. Thanks for taking the time to post.
10.06.17 22:00 GMT
Like Mixedpack I wonder if this will ever work for you. You have had him for 12 months now and not bonded so it seems likely you may never be fully happy. I suppose it could help if you set up a largish pen to pop the little rascal in for some time out for both of you or for mealtimes and if the children have food. Does your Grandson live with you ? if not then a safe area for the dog to be shut in during visits could help. Try agility and train him yourself so you have time to build a bond and he learns to enjoy his time alone with you. You may then find he is more receptive to your training in other areas. If you have baby gates then if you have food in the kitchen and have to leave the room take him with you and close the gate to the kitchen, or you could have a tie out in the hall or near the door so you can just clip him onto a leash and know he is safe while you answer the door. Give yourself the ability to restrain him during the activities when you know he could misbehave and make it part of normal life for him. The in the times when you can devote 100% to watching him allow him his freedom and watch like a hawk. I have had a superior thief myself and know it takes just a second for them to steal. You need to make 100% sure that he cannot do it. A lead tied to a radiator in the kitchen allows you to clip him on at any given moment so you can relax while you attend to something else, or set up an area with his bed and water and a lead always tied firmly, then whenever there is food around clip him on with a treat to chew and once the food is cleared away he can be released. It really is up to you to work with him and he will mature and may one day be the dog you want. If you find it is impossible to love him then do think about a new home it would be better for all of you before you and your OH fall out over him.
10.06.17 22:08 GMT
> all you can hear is the dog being told off for something
This can be a problem with dogs as well as children, we rarely praise them for being good, and any attention is worth having in their minds.
So try really hard when he is being settled, or does something right to praise him, in a low key way (if it's for lying quietly).
This way he will try to earn the reward of your positive attention more often.
Also don't set him up to fail, or allow him to practice bad behaviour.
So be careful not to let him get into situations where he succeeds in stealing food, or whatever.
Means getting food always off counter tops, (hide stuff in oven, microwave etc while defrosting. Don't leave anything unattended, and have kids keep toys in rooms where he isn't allowed to go (use a tall baby gate).
Many of us here are multiple dog owners so have a new pup/youngster every few years, and do these things almost automatically and still get caught out.
Hi Merlot, thanks for your excellent advice - I will take it all on board. Our grandson and his parents are between houses at the moment so living with us. They complete on their next home 23rd June so life will hopefully become easier after that as only my husband and myself at home. You have given me some great tips and I will try them out asap. We away on holiday soon and our border is with a minder so I will get a break and time to think. When we come home I will try and start afresh and see if I can improve things at home. Thank you again.
Hi Brainless - again excellent advice. You've made some great points and it has given me food for thought. I will follow your advice and hopefully this will help me to teach our dog some manners. Thank you so much for all your ideas, it's good to know that it's not only me who has gotten caught out with a rascal dog.
I have considered rehoming many times but the honest truth is I couldn't do that to my husband - he really adores the dog.
Then maybe it's your husband that should sort the dog out with training? Yes training will give a stronger bond, but it doesn't have to mean that a well trained dog will ONLY behave for the person who trained it. It's not fair of your husband to just laugh at what you see as big problems. His dog, his responsibility. Well that's the way my husband and I have always worked things anyway. (We have a lot of dogs but there have always been some that are his and some that are mine -usually because the dog chose one of us.) Hand on heart my husband has in the past had a dog I could not bond with at all personally. So training was up to him. It doesn't make you a bad person if you don't feel the same about the dog as your husband does. Feelings can't be forced.
Thanks Goldmali - when I say to my husband that some of the dogs behaviour is unacceptable he goes on a site called Borderfest and asks if anyone's else's border behaves that way. He then tells me that loads borders jump on the table and steal food etc... - other border owners have confirmed this is 'what they do' ? I know our dog responds very well to training so maybe I just pass that over to my husband as you advise. This dog is definitely my husband's dog, follows him everywhere
doesn't like being apart from him. Thanks for your advice, I appreciate your input into this discussion.
11.06.17 07:38 GMT
This is definitely a case where your husband has to step up to the mark and help. Has he reaslised (men can be very
obtuse and often need to be told in words of one syllable!) how unhappy and stressed you are about the dog's behaviour? Sometimes being the caring, tolerant one can badly backfire on us, and then guilt is just piled on top. If the weather's good where you are today, go out for a walk with your husband and the dog, and make sure he gets the message that he must do a lot more of the work with the dog all the time, not just at training classes. Nothing will be a quick fix and turn the dog into a model citizen overnight so in the meantime you'll need to carry on with the contingency plans to keep the dog away from your grandson while he's eating, keep the dog out of the kitchen when you're not there, and so on. It's horrid for you to be so unhappy and stressed, and the dog will pick up on this and it'll make him play you up more because he's not getting the calm, relaxed vibes from you (understandably!) that will help him to be more calm and relaxed. I hope you can get this turned around - but your husband must do a lot more to help.
Hi Jeangenie- you did make me laugh about 'words of one syllable
Hi Jeangenie- I have replied to your post but I don't know what's happened, just seems to be a one line answer that has appeared?? Thanks for your post - all makes good sense.
11.06.17 10:18 GMT
Well you could try training him to do things rather than than telling him off for doing things. Border terrier are one of the more reasonable terrier breeds.
I have lots of friends with one or more Borders & none of them behave as you describe your husband's dog does, but then they have trained their dogs
Hi Tommee - don't think this is a dog who has had no training at all, that is not the case. Maybe when our guests have moved into their own home it will be easier to do further training with him. Our boy is quick on the uptake normally but maybe there are too many distractions for him at the moment ( a 3 year old scooting all around the house and all the noise that goes with him) once we have settled back to normal we can get back to consistent training. Thanks for your input.
Sorry you are having these problems and feeling so stressed. Just wondering if the food stealing started when he was having problems with his tummy and nothing seemed to fill him up. Maybe not relevant but just a thought that it may have become a habit. Hope things improve for you.
Hi Goldenfrenzy - no the stealing has started in the last 3 weeks?? Very odd isnt it. I could have understood it more if it was while we were trying to sort his food out and he was hungry but it didnt happen then. He is waiting for every opportunity, he is scrounging if you eat in the living room, he's never been fed off our plates so don't know why he's started that. I have been told that borders will eat all day, they are never full or satisfied - very food driven. We used to free feed our westie, put down a bowl of kibble in the morning and he would eat it throughout the day. We couldn't do that with this dog, he would eat the whole bowl in about 15 seconds so is fed twice a day, morning and tea time.
11.06.17 19:42 GMT
It could be age - sometimes new and annoying behaviours spring up from nowhere in a teenage dog - but has anything at all changed in the last three weeks? Apologies if I've missed something that you've mentioned already.
Most dogs will eat whatever's in front of them at any given moment - as a species they are opportunistic feeders. Some can be free fed and self regulate well, but it's not the norm.
Hi Nikita, I can't think of anything that changed 3 weeks ago, as I said our son, daughter in law and grandson have been living with us but theyve been here about 8 or 9 weeks. I have racked my brains as to why he has started to do this. I'm surprised at your comments about free feeding as a number of dog owners we know also feed like this? Our dog eats his food in seconds, Hoover's it out the bowl really. We have tried a gadget in the bowl to slow him down but it doesn't slow him for more than.a few seconds.
Try only feeding from a Kong. You need 2 black medium sized. Takes them quite a bit longer
11.06.17 20:42 GMT
A good slow feeder is a Kong Wobbler, it slows my GR down quite a bit and is also a lot of interest for her as she tracks down each piece of kibble as it scatters about.
I've never been able to free feed any of the dogs I've had as food vanishes the moment it is put down. My son has. chihuahua and he does free feed as she's quite a picky eater.
Hi Jodi - is that different to an ordinary Kong? We used to use a Kong when he was raw fed but didn't know how it would be with kibble - that would be a good idea thank you
12.06.17 00:34 GMT
No it's not like an ordinary Kong although it's a similar shape . It's larger, unscrews into two halves, is weighted at the bottom and has a smallish hole to allow the kibble to come out. You unscrew the Kong and put in the kibble allowance and screw back together and put on the floor. The weighted bottom means that as the dog nudges or paws at it the Wobbler rolls about, but returns to an upright position. It doesn't take long for the dog to realise that knocking it over means the kibble gradually falls out of the hole. Can be a bit noisy but my dog seems to enjoy batting it around searching for and gobbling up the kibble as it drops out.
Hope that makes sense. Have a look on websites such as Amazon
That sounds great, I think that will keep our border happy and slow him down too. I will get one of those once back from holiday. Maybe they do different sizes for different dogs?
get more than one, so you can give all his daily allowance in Kongs. My black ones work just the same as the wobbler
12.06.17 09:00 GMT
> I'm surprised at your comments about free feeding as a number of dog owners we know also feed like this?
There will always be some but in my experience they are in the minority, and I see dogs of all shapes and sizes in all lifestyles on a daily basis (trainer/behaviourist). With only a couple of exceptions, every free-fed dog I've seen has been overweight at best!
Thanks Louise, I will give that a go.
My dog is free fed and she is not overweight, in fact I have to cajole her to eat.
This morning it was kibble in a Kong in the garden, with me on all fours 'sharing' it with her. God knows what the neighbours think !
14.06.17 19:53 GMT
My god send was crate training. My naughty GSD was trained as a pup to love her crate and getting a treat every time she went in there on command. In seconds she would dive in there, if someone rang the door bell so no need to move stuff off work surfaces. There are benefits to having a dog that will do anything for food.
Hi everyone, just a bit of an update. Our borders food (Burns) started to disagree with him, he looked really skinny again and after a visit to the vet we were advised to put some weight on him. If we just upped the amount he was getting it made his tummy upset AGAIN. The lady we use for dog boarding feeds her dogs natures menu and she advised us to try this. After our dog becoming so ill when feeding raw previously we were unsure what to do. We took the plunge and bought a bag of venison and fruit and vegetables, no grains at all - he loved it and licked the bowl clean. We are now feeding this full time but will give him a Kong of kibble at lunch to try and fill him up - such a hungry dog. Since coming back from holiday and our guests moving to their own home I have made a real effort to bond with our border. We go out into the countryside and walk him, off and on lead and that is quite relaxing. I really am trying not to get cross with him and not to compare him with our old dog. It has only been a couple of weeks, I will carry on and give an update in a few more weeks. Thank you once again for all your comments, advice and support.
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