July 2012 – Training our Collie Puppy

We’ve been thinking about getting a dog for a while, but our
needs were quite specific. It had to be good with cats, pigs, and chickens and
not too noisy. I decided on a collie, as I have fond memories of my welsh
collie that I had as a child. My first thought was to contact the local animal
sanctuary, but they didn’t have any farm dogs available. Then my guests, kindly
mentioned to me that they had seen a sign in a village nearby saying ‘Collie
pups to a good home’. I was straight on the phone and a couple of weeks later
‘Bertie’ arrived. He’s a white Collie crossed with a Border Collie, and has a Border
Collie face, white back and black spots on his legs like a Dalmatian.

Phantom, our old cat, who is 19 years old, immediately set about training him that cats are in charge. It’s not easy for her, because
Bertie comes from cattle dogs, which instinctively nip the cows’ heels to control
them and he trys it out on her! I had to get the nipping under control, so I
contacted a dog trainer, Liz (www.animalsolutions.ie) who worked wonders on him. In just one morning she had trained him to sit and wait until his food was put down and to take treats ‘nicely’ rather than nearly eating my fingers as well. Really it was owner training. I got in trouble for giving him old boots to play with, as it’s impossible for a dog to distinguish between boots that can be played with and those that can’t. I was good for a couple of weeks, but
I’m afraid I’ve weakened. Bertie gets so much more pleasure from his collection
of brushes, boots and old flowerpots that I’ve relented and all the forbidden
things have reappeared. I tried giving him Bonios to gnaw on, but he just
buries them. Oh dear what would Liz say!

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