Post # 1
Since we had to put one of our dogs down a couple months ago our remaining dog has aged years. It’s rather nice that he’s so calm and mellow around the house but we know that’s not normal for him (he’s only 8! He’s a social boy and would be much happier with a buddy. So now we’re on the lookout.
I grew up with a border collie and have wanted another one ever since then but knew I didn’t have the right lifestyle or living arrangement. Well, now I think we might actually be able to manage one!
My last dog was a hound mix so he was more than happy to laze around the house in between adventures so I feel like I need to brush up on my keeping-an-energetic-dog-happy skills. What are some of the games, exercizes and tricks that you guys fit into your busy schedules? Some of mine are:
I noticed that Rusty would be more tired after walking at heel for 20 minutes than after running free for 40. It made him think and wore his poor little brain out!
I used to have a Buster Cube so that he had to work for his food. (Rusty was also a scarfer.)
My aunt will make her German Shorthair sit/stay in the middle of the house and then carry a bone around, pretending to hide it all sorts of places and then stashing it somewhere relatively easy to find and access. Then Ruby searches the house for it!
What are some of the things that you do?
Post # 3
We have a Swedish Foxhound mix and a lab mix. Both of which need exercise and we don’t have a fenced in yard. I run with each dog here and there, they get lots of walks too. And, they have tons of busy toys. The latest one I’ve purchased for them (two of them) is this:
They work these toys forEVER! The cool thing is there are also bristles in there so it assists with cleaning their teeth. The rawhide discs have to be replaced about every other day, so that is your constant expense with this. And these are great for chewers.
I also work with my dogs on different tricks. I’m always looking for new ideas to tire out my dogs. Curious to see what others post.
Post # 4
Our younger dog, George, is a ball of energy all the time. His favorite activities are swimming and chasing, so we spend a lot of time at the beach and near creeks/streams in the summer. You can buy floating toys (like balls or frisbees) and throw it far out into the water; it’s a lot more work for them to swim to retrieve the toy than to just run after it on solid ground.
In the winter, we take them out to deserted meadows and throw snowballs for them. Again, it’s a lot more work to run through snow than to run on solid ground, so they have to really work at it. I know in Cheyenne you have plenty of snow drifts during the winter months. 🙂
Also, George and our other dog, Louie, both love to dig. In the summer, we make a special area of the backyard for them filled with soft dirt. We hide toys and treats in there, and they get to dig them out. Seriously, it’s like their favorite activity ever!
Post # 5
I have two border collies. One will be 2 in June and the other is 16 weeks, so we are very active. In order to tire out my older border collie we hike a lot (since she can run back and forth off leash), we also take her to the beach and she loves to swim and will sleep all day after we get back. During the week we do take walks as well as play soccer. She is obsessed with the soccer ball so we either play in the yard after work or I take her to the park. Also we taught our dog to play frisbee since it is mentally challenging as well.
For the puppy we are learning to walk and our commands as well as playing ball (tennis ball), tug, and she also went swimming for the first time this week.
Post # 6
AGILITY! I really, really want to do agility with my dog (lab/golden retriver mix), and I am fortunate that a place opened near by that trains for it. I will have to retake basic obedience with him in order to join, and I know that he’s never going to be competition worthy since his hips aren’t the best. However, it’s fun for owner and dog, mentally AND physically challenging, and I’ve been told it’s a confidence booster for shy/timid dogs (which my guy is). I’m trying to save up some money to take both the basic obedience class and the agility class after that. 🙂
Also, look in to getting your therapy dog certification and visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Intelligent dogs like BCs need jobs to do, and a lot of them excell at therapy work.
Check out herding. It’s what BCs were bred to do, and lots of people offer training and even competitions for herding.
BCs also excell at sports like Flyball and Frisbee. Again, you can do these just for fun, or you can compete.
Also, check out helpingudders.com and similar sites for toys made specifically for keeping your (future) high-engery dog stimulated and happy!
Post # 7
@missapricot- I love that you mentioned the therapy dog certification. Once mine is two she can get her canine good citizenship and then we are going to train for her to become a therapy dog. I would love to volunteer for children with autism and down syndrome.
Post # 8
Also in regards to adopting a border collie, I would try local shelters as well. I have a pure-bred from a local shelter that we adopted at 8 weeks old. I know around here since less people have farms there have been a lot more bc’s up for adoption. Just a thought, my newest member is a border collie mix (w think either retriever or lab).
Post # 9
My brother has a border collie and he comes to work with us everyday. He greets everyone at the door and people are constantly tossing the ball for him. He loves the water so my brother tries to take him to the lake, pool or river whenever possible. And of course loves to herd cattle. He gets to do this once or twice a year when the in-laws offer to take them to the farm they have.
We have a redheeler. They are just as busy as the collie. My husband takes her for a 2 mile run almost daily. She’s still a pup and can’t make it much longer then 2 miles. We also have the Kong which she loves! I try to fill it every now and then for her but don’t want her to get sick on all the food in it. We also do the hide and seek game. And she loves to ride in the car. So I take her with me when I’m doing a quick in and out errand.
Post # 10
@stephinPA – That looks pretty neat! How well do they hold up? That’s really handy it brushes their teeth for you!
@MrsSpring – You are SO right about the snow! I love watching them flounder and bounce around!
@roxy – The shelter used to be the first place I looked (and we did actually check out our local one the other night) but I don’t think I can get a shelter dog this time around. My last dog (the one we just had to put down) was a shelter dog and I loved him with all my heart but he also had a lot of issues they couldn’t tell me about and I’m not ready to roll the dice like that again quite yet. Even though I had said I would get a puppy this time so that I could have a “blank slate” I can’t quite do that either right now. So we’re going to go through a breed rescue. 🙂
Post # 11
Oh, another question I had… What commands and/or tricks do your pets know? Bones knows the basic sit/stay/down, etc. but also
“here”/”stay close” (kind of a loose heel, anywhere within 10 feet of me or so),
“this way” (if he’s ahead of us and we want to change direction he doesn’t have to come, just go the right way. This one was Rusty’s favorite. :-))
“Bang” = Play dead
“Wait” (used if he’s ahead on the trail he has to stay until we catch up or until we release him to eat his food)
“Go potty” Though I’m honestly not sure how much of this is command and how much is he-was-going-to-do-it-anyways
We’re working on sitting up but I havent’ decided on a command/cue for it. What do you guys use?
Post # 12
For sitting up, we say “sit pretty.” We first trained our dogs by getting their front paws up on our forearm while they were sitting; now they put their front paws up all by themselves. It’s very cute. 🙂
We also taught them to “shake” and to army crawl (we say “save the baby” and drag a treat in front of them; they follow it in an army crawl). Also very cute! Louie knows “quiet” and George knows more complicated physical tricks like “roll over” and “play dead.”
ETA: Oh, and both of them know how to “dance” where they stand up on their hind legs and paw the air.
Post # 13
Buddy knows the basics…”sit”, “down”, “wait”, “stay”, “let’s go”…he knows “off” but since he never tries to get on anything, we never use that one.
He also knows “go potty” for pee, “go poopy”, and “are you done?” Hehe…if he’s playing, and I ask that and he actually still has to go, he’ll wander off and go, and if he doesn’t, he’ll run to the gate to go inside.
He knows “go upstairs”, “go downstairs”, “kennel up” (to go in his crate at night).
And my two personal favorites… he likes to go between your legs, so your basically straddling him like you were riding a horse backwards. When he does this, he wants you to scratch his rump, right above his tail. If you do, he marches in place with his hind legs. Hehe…we call it “Buddy Dance!”
Also, even though he’s a nearly-90-pound lab mix, he loves to jump. Not ON people; straight up and down. He does it when he gets really excited, or when we tell him “Jump, Buddy, jump!” 🙂
Post # 14
We want to teach Sunday to bow! Haha. I think that’d be so cute. I’ve read that with the smarter breeds especially, it’s good to make them sit before they get their food, go out, get in the car, etc, just to make sure the respect is still there. I think of it like a horse – you can’t let them push into your space uninvited.
As for exercise, we’ve been looking into agility and dog parks and beaches as well – and I can’t wait to go for runs and long walks.
Post # 15
My MinPin really needs a long walk everyday, but between work & school, its hard to find the time and motivation. Inspired by Cesar Millan, I found a cheap treadmill on craigslist and bought it for the dog to use. It was very easy to teach her to walk on it and she loves it. Even without any cue, she’ll jump on the treadmill and bark for me to turn it on (she does get a treat when she’s finished exercising to reinforce how much she already seems to enjoy the treadmill.) Once I start the treadmill, I can go about whatever I’m doing (our treadmill is right near the computer desk, next to the kitchen) and just let her keep walking.
If you’re going to try this, just be sure not to put the dog on too fast of a speed – my vet warned that if you make them run too hard, it can put too much stress on the heart. I just use a moderate walking pace and it is the perfect amount of exercise to keep my dog from getting too wound up.
Before investing in a treadmill, it might be a good idea to try it on a friend’s treadmill (assuming you know someone with a treadmill.) While it was very easy to train my dog to use it, my sister’s dog is afraid of treadmills and wont go near it, let alone get on it.
Post # 16
Grand Carpet Mill (I don’t have one but have heard great things), a flirt pole (we made one), hide food all over, busy buddy and kong items, Amazing treat machine (FI looked it up online and recreated instead of buying), practicing and teaching tricks. I’ll also have my dog run up and down the stairs to burn off a little more energy before and after walks. Also, play dates with other dogs!