Sex and the suburbs

At least somebody’s getting some action!

This entry is not actually about sex, although Dexter the horndog would sure like it to be!

Hummunna hummunna

Still intact, his goal in life is to impress all the ladies.  He attempts this by giving them flirty ears and then spinning around to BUMP them with his hips.  Frequently, they do not appreciate his moves and give him Mad Teeth™.  Dexter likes Mad Teeth™ a lot and thinks they are an indication that his lady friend is flirting back.  It reminds me a lot of people – men think they’re impressing us, and we just want them to go away and come back when their manners are better and their brains have matured.

Alas, I do not think Dexter’s brain will ever mature.  This puppy is a test from doG, and I’m failing!  Never in my life have I had a puppy I want to throttle so often, so much and so until-he’s-dead.  Maybe you all can help, as you are useful sorts.  Please make Dexter stop being so freakin’ frenetic.  My word, his little key is always wound so tight he’s bouncing off the walls.  I don’t mean he’s hyper or never settles – he’s asleep right now after a piddly little 45 minute excursion through the property.  But doG forbid I move in my chair, because if and when I do, he will awake in a mad panic, fling himself to his feet and go scrambling through the house like Wile E. Coyote on the laminate and launch himself at the front door on the off chance that me reaching for a kleenex was code for “let’s go outside.”

And if I do get up and open that front door, he jumps off the deck OVER the barbeque and starts running in a big idiot circle making high pitched yipping sounds, turning his head to look at me and sometimes running into fence posts, or my car.  Then he goes flat Dexter on the ground and vibrates so hard I think we’re having an earthquake.

He is ready to go at a moment’s notice.  His drive is one of the things I like about him, but also what I HATE about him – and  managing it and keeping it below sea level is something else entirely.  He is not at all relaxing to be around!

Are you ready? Are you ready?  Are you ready?  Are you ready?  Are you ready?  Are you ready?

I’m one of those people who operates on the principle “when in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” ha ha.  But really, he scares the bejesus out of me every time he does the leap up in a panic thing, which is about 40 times a day.  I am going to have a heart attack – I’ll be working away, editing photos, and shift in my chair and BLAMMO!  DEXTER PANIC ATTACK and it startles the shit out of me!!  Someone suggested I desensitize him to me moving by getting up frequently and ignoring him, which we tried for a few days.  Dexter won – he can outlast me with his eternal optimism that THIS time, I’m moving to do something exciting with him.

I could list lots of other stuff – breakfast time, he paces at trotting speed around the kitchen and must be told to “sit” at least 5 times.  He can and does wait for his breakfast until released and has every day of his life, but it’s a struggle to get him into a sit-and-wait.

I have had a lot of border collies through my house, many of them puppies and adolescents.  I’ve never seen anything like this.  Got any brilliant  ideas?  Sometimes I crate him when I need a couple of hours to let my heart rate drop back to normal ;-)  And we do lots of self control exercises, like waiting at the door and doing a down-stay while I work weaves with Piper, as a couple of examples.  It’s just that Dexter finds LIFE exciting as hell, and I’m a bitter old jaded harpy and I don’t share his enthusiasm.

And neither does TWooie.  He hates Dexter, probably for the same reasons I do! But I can’t be *that* bad of a trainer, because we have two TWoo accomplishments to share this week:

1) Yesterday, TWooie came to East Beach and didn’t eat anybody!  He did have one minor spaz at a Labradoodle who came too close for comfort, but all he did was bark, no rushing.  Big step for the TWoo!

2) He initiated PLAY with Wootie yesterday. This is the very first time I have seen him pro-actively play … occasionally he has gotten wound up by the other dogs and gone in for a heel nip or a short chase, but last night he play bowed for Wootie, and started doing crazy puppy around the lawn stopping in for more play bows and invitations to chase him.  He has never, ever done this with another dog.  Ever.

Oh Big Whoop De Doo.  TWoo played.  *yawn*

Okay so Tweed didn’t care.  But I did!!  I am so proud of The TWoo!

Yay, me!

Here is Tweed’s infamous gamble run, the one where he didn’t understand what I was asking and had to bark at me until the timer nearly ran out.  You’ll notice though that in the closing gamble when I say “go OUT weave” he tries to go to the opposite end of the poles and do an off-side weave … before the days of 2X2 weaves, we were taught that on-side weaves were “Weave” and off-side weaves were “Out weave” so he tries really hard to do an “Out weave” even though what I was really trying to say was “no, please go out away from me, and then weave.”   At the last possible second, he finally figures out what I’m asking and he completes the closing gamble with .22 seconds to spare – no kidding, it was THAT close.

He also misses his dog walk contact in the opening.  Oh the curse of the quick-release contacts, improperly trained and executed for 8 long years …

You guys have now viewed his Standard run 831 times, and Piper’s Standard run 539 times.  Holy cow!


  1. Catherine says:

    I wish I had something surefire useful for you. The dogs here – right now blissfully asleep – will do the crazy spin run dance at: the sound of keys being moved, the word WALK being spoken or spelled, coats, shoes and socks being touched, plastic bags being crinkled even if they’re coming out of the fridge. To have 150# of dog dancing around your feet… is an experience not to be missed.

    I’m working on the “We’re not doing anything until you settle down” routine, and we have moments where that helps. ie, I touch the leashes, and they now go bolting for the door they think we’re using, and sit, waiting to be leashed up. The cats, do not appreciate the bolting for the door thing. We got there because when I’d touch the leash, and they started their thing, I’d freeze – motionless and silent – until something calm happened.

    One technique I’ve seen used with a JRT, but not used myself because these two are older big dogs one with serious leg issues, is that each time the dog starts the fly around thing, make them do a series of jumps straight up into the air. I don’t know of that’s okay for Dex, based on age, or if that might somehow untrain an agility skill for the future, but it apparently worked like a champ for the JRT. The psychology as explained to me was that it exhausts the dog in a controlled way, and eventually when they don’t want to DO that jump thing, they’ll stop the flying around thing that leads to having to do the jump thing.

    I look forward to other suggestions too.

  2. I wish I had some sage words of wisdom to pass your way….unfortunately I do not. I have had Bonnie and Brynn since they were puppies. Every time I move, twitch, sneeze, or fart they both shoot up like shots out of a cannon – ready to go! My only chance at any type of peace is to exhaust them – but that only works for about 1 hour. I feel for you…I am really do.

  3. I have a Sheltie that does the same “OMG something amazing is happening because you shifted in your chair” thing as Dexter. I’ve trained MYSELF to give a “stay” command if I am only shifting, reaching for a drink, changing the channel on the television, or scratching my head. It doesn’t always work, sometimes even me uttering the “ssss” portion of “stay” is enough to elicit a jump-up-and-bark reaction. But it works about 90% of the time. He’s learned that if I say “stay” in this situation, I’m not going to do anything awesome so he should just chillax a bit. This likely doesn’t solve the root of his mental little problem, but it allows me to maintain a somewhat even heart rate.

  4. Watson was an idiot in the house like this for a while — drove me insane. I’d just tie him to something solid on a chain martingale where I wanted him. If he leapt around when I got up to get a cup to tea, so be it — he dealt himself a couple of stiff corrections this way and nothing good ever came of it. As soon as he gave up and lay down I’d give him a pat and a cookie. When we were actually going out I’d ask for a sit, unclip him and give a happy “let’s go!” and let him leap around a little. It took about a month, but he eventually learned to pay closer attention and I learned to be a little clearer in my signals (I’m getting TEA now, versus we’re going OUT now). Not the most positive of methods, I’m sure, but it worked for us. He’s great now.

  5. I enjoyed watching Tweed’s run – you probably have gotten jaded by now, but for a neophyte agility wannabe like me, it’s like watching magic.

    As for the ‘freakin’ frenetic’ Dexter – I dunno – maybe drugs or a heavy hammer? Could be worse. He could be frenetic and a biter. We have the whole spazzy-maybe-she’ll-take-us-out-today behavior too. If I put on my wool socks in the morning, they are off and running. Like Catherine, I’ve started the “I’m going to stand still here until you stop screaming and flying around” stuff. Sometimes it brings the energy level down to a dull roar. The two dogs will sit in heel position quivering and whining. It’s a start. I’d like to hear other suggestions, too.

    btw – you’ve got to admit – Dexter’s behavior makes for some good writing material – lol!

  6. I can’t decide which would be worse. A dog like Dexter, who settles, but jumps up at the slightest sign that anything might be happening, or a dog like my Jun who just NEVER settles. If she’s not crated, she alternately runs circles around whatever room we happen to be in and/or chases her tail. She has run countless miles in laps around my living room and I’m surprised she hasn’t yet worn a path in the floor. She’s been doing this since I got her at 8 months, and at 2 1/2 she has STILL not stopped moving! It’s not exactly “drive,” more general busy-ness. And “mental exercise” doesn’t help, as half the time when she is doing this it’s because her little brain is fried. She can’t think anymore, but her legs just don’t stop moving.

    Sorry, FL. No help here. Just sympathy. I do the same as you and just crate when my I need a break for my own sanity!

  7. Sounds like a Vizsla or Doberman to me. And I will tell you that is EXACTLY what drives my BC friends crazy about my dogs. The second you move or think of moving WHAM they fly into motion. What what where how when??? Sorry though I’m of no help in training in out of them.

  8. We have a german short hair pointer who is the same way and is almost 4 years old. Then even better part is that if you don’t do anything he does this constant low whine, which makes me want to beat him severly. When he acts like a total spaz, he gets crated. I do try hard to keep him exercised but when the weather is bad, I just have to spend some serious time playing with the monkey ball toys in the house. Good luck!

  9. No help here – I’m an average trainer. When my boy was young and was on leash potty breaks only when he had panosteitis flare ups, I drugged him for both his and my sanity. Acepromazine is NOT the stuff of a good trainer. But it worked.
    I guess I can send Dexter downer thoughts, though!
    Tweeeeeeed! Weeeeeeave! LOL! He is so happy out there on the course!

  10. Poor Dex, hims just a widdle puppy!! hehee ;-)

    Yay Twoo!! Congrats on some progress!

    Way to go TWEED! That was exciting to watch :-)

  11. Funny, I took a picture of the same type of daisies this morning, but no sex to be seen in my picture:)
    I’m enjoying watching your runs, as I didn’t get mine filmed, so I can rehash it by watching yours. In fact Jake is barking at the 19 second mark on yours. And he bailed off that dogwalk too, first class, first obstacle, a bit depressing. At least his final gamble was good.
    Good on Tweed for figuring it out and squeaking through just before the buzzer:)

  12. LOL…i don’t really mean to laugh, but it is funny to me. Sounds sorta how my girl is…except now that she is almost 4 she is sorta settling….I have shadow every minute i’m in the house or in the yard unless i have ran her butt off via frisbee or other adventures. You havent lived until you have to explain that you have a split lip and black eye from your dog pushing the door open as you go to sit down to pee LOL. Another reason why i made sure the door is securely latched before trying to sit!

  13. Forgot to add that like Dayna, I try to remember to use a STAY command with Luna. We have two sets of stairs that I am up and down a lot, and just because I’m going downstairs doesn’t mean I’m going outside or doing anything particularily exciting, so a STAY before I get to the stairs seems to help.

  14. First, I’m terribly sorry that you ended up with a Man-Kate, but know that I feel your pain.

    It’s hard because you don’t want to squelch the enthusiasm, but still, chill the fuck out, right?

    Kate and I have come to an agreement, of sorts. You can act like a crack head, but only on my terms. I had some hope at one time that maybe she would relax, but I have come to terms with the fact that it’s just who she is.

    The only thing that worked with her was to be super, super consistent and react quickly. I don’t ask her to do anything more than once (stuff she knows already, I’m not talking about training new things). You can be a spaz, but you must be one that listens. If she was told to sit or wait or whatever when I’m getting dinner ready and she ignored me I immediately removed her. No talking, no negotiating, just grab and go. Crate, another room, etc. Leave her for a few minutes, try again. Ignore? Back you go. Listen and you get what you want.

    One thing that I have no tolerance for is a noisy dog in the car. It drives. Me. NUTS! Kate, of course, would do the monkey scream thing when she figured out where we are going. (Sidebar- when people ask me why my dogs ride in crates in the car, I tell them it’s to protect them from me. Haha) Now, she will sit in her crate with her chin tucked down and make these huh-huh-huh noises. It is so funny. She tries so hard to do the right thing. If I laugh, she will go back to monkey noises. I swear chuckling is dog for she-doesn’t-mean-it.

    So, basically it’s just say what you mean and mean what you say. The nutjobs can be hard to live with, but they are so fun to train!

    And hey, if all else fails, there is always a large stick.

  15. Sorry about your frustrations with the Dexter…I sympathize but can’t really offer much help. My first Aussie was exactly the same way – except she scared the sh*t out of me by randomly barking (extremely loudly, and from right next to me!) at things only she could see…she was an absolute spaz for what seemed like FOREVER, but she finally calmed down around age 5. So maybe Dexter is just a super long endurance test for the food lady :]

  16. Emily Parker says:

    Count yourself lucky lady, at least YOUR border collie lays down! Tag, notsomuch. He’s just a year old this month and he never.stops.moving. He’s crated for everyone’s sanity. Thank doG I have a nice long stretch between my living room and dining room where I can throw Dumball all night long. Tag has been known to chase the mechanical sheep(kid’s PowerWheels) all day at the neighbor’s, wrestle with my aussie Aspen, chase dumball all night and still be ready to go at bedtime. It’s amusing, frustrating, and awe-inspiring all at the same time. What I wouldn’t give for an ounce of that energy….

  17. Connie Brannen says:

    I believe I have Dexter’s doppelganger. Here’s a test. When Dex is outside and wants to come in and you walk over to the door to let him in–does he run away? I think my Big Dopey has a sudden impulse that maybe I’m coming to do something FANTASTIC and he want to be “in position”.

  18. Hurrah for Twooie! You wrote about how much Woo wished for a playmate, so this is awesome news. Can we please have some video of those two at some point?

  19. I’m lucky enough to have a rather laid back border collie. My rat terrier on the other hand has always been a bit wound tight. What I found to help is a DAP collar. It releases the hormone of a lactating mother which really seems to calm her.

  20. SweetCeana says:

    I think I have Dexter’s mental twin living at my house in the form of one of my foster dogs. -sigh- If Dex is worse I promise I will testify for your defense if you happen to loose it.

    We went to a dog behavior seminar this weekend and one of the things the behaviorist does is not feed any of the dogs at her house until they are relaxed and calm. We are currently attempting to do the same at the moment with the five ( OMG 5???) border collies in our house. She feeds the dogs one at a time, and the most relaxed dog eats first.

    Dinner has looked like this at our house for the last 4 days: Everyone is super excited about dinner. They gather in the kitchen wiggly and noisy and there are 5 happy dancing sets of dog feet prancing about. We put the food in a bowl and place it behind the invisable line… then everyone tries to go and get it. When we stop them and tell them no they look up at us as if we are cruel. Next all 5 dogs start the wheels in their brains, some will run through their resume of tricks, others will run and sit at every spot they have ever been fed in the house hoping that “this” is what the crazy people want. Finally one of them gives up and decides they’ll never eat again and goes and lays down. That dog’s name gets called and everyone else quickly lays down and stares at us. One by one they yeild. It takes about 25 minutes to feed all five, and the wild foster needs ALL 25 minutes to finally relax around the bowl. She usually eats last.

    LOL, they really are starting to get it and relax sooner. Maybe if you do something similar with outside and food time Dex will learn to chill out? The whole “if I always have a calm mind when going outside or eating when it is time to do those things I automatically start out with a calm mind” routine. The major draw back is the amount of time it takes. We’re starting off with food and we’ll branch to other areas later, lol.

  21. Would having a firm schedule help?
    Buzz doesn’t pester me for walks and I think this may be because they always happen at the same time. If fact, he may think that the alarm clock is the trigger for his big morning hike, not me.

    When Buzz gets jumpy about what I’m up to, I usually yell at him to get a life. Or, actually, “get a fucking life!” (Buzz responds well to swearing.)

  22. Catherine, with the leash craziness, maybe try picking it up ALL THE TIME, and then going off to do whatever? Like, pick up the leash, take it with you to go watch tv, pick up the leash, take it with you to the washroom, etc?

    It might help make them go from “When she touches the leash there will be walkies, even if it takes a bit to get to them” to “There she goes with that leash again, I suppose she’ll tell me if we’re going for a walk : |”

  23. Hmmm. Don’t know what to tell you about Dexter, but I giggled myself to bits at this post. You’re probably doing all the right things, but it will just take time for him to settle into being a grown-up. I’ve noticed with both of my dogs that they had to be AT LEAST two years old before they started to settle the hell down and chill out. After that, it was like they were completely different dogs.

    Congrats to Mr. TWoo on his graduation to initiating play! One of my dogs is very dog-reactive too, and he was always fine with playing with another familiar dog if they took the lead during play, but this last month, HE wanted it, so he asked for it. Warmed the cockles of my jaded black heart. So proud!

  24. Love the ladybug porn! Great pic.

  25. *But doG forbid I move in my chair, because if and when I do, he will awake in a mad panic, fling himself to his feet and go scrambling through the house like Wile E. Coyote on the laminate and launch himself at the front door on the off chance that me reaching for a kleenex was code for “let’s go outside.”*

    my dog Puppy still does this. for a while i was convinced he never really sleeps, he just waits for me to move. which of course leads to

    *he can outlast me with his eternal optimism that THIS time, I’m moving to do something exciting with him.*

    Puppy is 5 now, and while his ‘naps’ have gotten longer, he still pops up at the slightest noise or movement. he does spend more time now laying around the backyard watching absolutely everything, as opposed to patrolling, sniffing, and peeing on everything. he also spends a good deal of time eating the tall grass that grows along the fenceline. i call him my cow-dog and tell him only cows eat grass. he smiles, wags his tail, and eats more grass.

    i love reading your blog.

  26. Catherine says:

    Laura I’ll try that after I make sure my health and life insurance premiums are paid up and my sports med doc is in town for the next month. I can see it now – I’ll be wearing leashes as an accessory.

  27. This too shall pass. Just repeat that to yourself until Dexter turns three. One day shortly thereafter, you will look at him and think “Damn. He turned out to be a great dog after all.”

    At least that’s what happened to me with Faith. She was a lot like you describe Dexter. Jack Knox, referring to Faith at a clinic, once began an address to the spectators by saying “If you want to avoid the embarassment of having a dog like THAT . . .” LOL.

    I responded that I actually enjoyed taking Faith out in public, because it had the effect of making other people so much happier with their own dogs.

    Anyway. She turned three. She grew a brain. She’s an absolute treasure now.

    I predict you will feel the same way about Dexter one day. Just resist that urge to murder him in the meantime!

  28. You’ve mentioned before that Dex is cryptorchid, right? Supposedly all that extra body heat on the nads can cause them to churn out extra testosterone and that might be why he’s so jumpy and excitable. So maybe after he gets the snip he shall calm down?

  29. riosmom says:

    Nice distance work on Tweed’s part in spite of his confusion about the last weaves. Bless his heart, he figured it out even if his person did give him confusing cues. :-)

    Re: Dexter, I don’t know if you could make the “dumb mommy” routine work in some way. In “dumb mommy”, the dog drags a short lead in the house and whenever an unwanted behavior occurs, the dumb mommy says “Oh, you want to go out?”, grabs the lead, takes the dog to the door, puts him out while holding the lead. The dog is now tethered on the other side of the door until dumb mommy. after a minute or two, lets him in without saying anything. I did this when Gracie was bullying Rio and it only took a few days for her to figure out that bullying him ended with her outside staring at the door and she stopped bullying him. I don’t know if it would work with Dexter’s bouncing off the wall but, if every time you shifted in your chair or moved, he ended up outside staring at the door he might decide to lay low when he saw you move.

  30. Certainly continue to crate him as needed to get a break!

    Here is my suggestion – as I didn’t read all the comments and if someone said it already, I apologize.

    Teach him a “go to mat” cue, if he doesn’t already know one. Then, prior to you doing the “panic inducing activity,” send him to the mat. Reward heavily. Eventually, your formerly panic inducing behavior may become a cue for him to go to the mat on his own.

  31. I was glad to hear Tweed’s bark in the latest video-it’s more meaty than I expected! And as for Twooie’s accomplishments, bravo! I’ve been taking my Half Pint (sheltie) to the park to hang with the neighborhood dogs about 4-5 days/week since September or October, and she’s finally learning to bark at the others, move away from my side, steal other people’s cookies, get petted, and ask certain dogs to chase her. It’s been a wonderful (though noisy) transformation, and we both with Twooie continued success at the parks and watering holes!

    As for Dex, other than medication (which I’m not a fan of for dogs, unless they’re ILL), I don’t know any way of permanently calming him down other than old age. I know some people will medicate their hyper dogs, but I don’t like that idea, and I don’t imagine you will either. It’s expensive, and NOT at all good for their liver, obviously. But, you could try to give him more to do. Until he’s old enough to try out agility or herding, give him active toys, like the kong (I think they’re kong) puzzle treat holders (if you can keep toys in the house), see what kind of crazy commands you can get him to learn. Also, when you’re going to get up and move, put him in command mode (sit stays, down stays, pose) til you come back to your spot. I guess my final advice is try to give Dexter some QUIET time with you-whether on the couch or the floor, cuddle with him, and make him relax on his back. Again, all these are easier if only Dex is around, and I don’t know how likely that is with the other heathens running amok… :) best o’ luck with the hyper one!

  32. Claudia says:

    Loved the photo of the ladybugs! It’s gor-geee-geous!!!

  33. onlyonewoof says:

    Mat or crate, absolutely. You can teach a dog to be calm, just like you teach any other command…only instead of a command, you reward for default behavior, such lying down with utterly calm and relaxed body language. Crating makes this easy, prevents self-reinforcing behavior (big problem with drive-y BCs), and provides the dog with a safe haven (often, not always, being in a state of constant excitement/stimulation is not genuinely enjoyable…though Dex may be enjoying himself just fine :). For a little pup, you don’t need to reward, if you just ignore the craziness to start with you’ll probably end up with a dog that is utterly chill unless you invite her to go outside, do something, etc. Then she knows you’re happy to reward her for being a whirling dervish and playing fetch/doing agility, etc. Mer (2.5 yo) is usually quite settled in the house alone or with me, not b/c I’m a good trainer by any stretch of the imagination, but b/c I accidentally did this when she was a pup. But I tried intentionally doing it (with liver cookies :) when I took her to lab/lecture…now she can sleep under my chair for a morning, then get up and go outside for a few hours of play.

  34. Man I love the Twoo!

    Thanks for reminding me about puppy-ness. My Cookie is 9 1/2 and no trouble and you forget how trying it can be when they’re young. It doesn’t have to be male testosterone either. I had a female collie mix that used to drive me nuts just like Dexter. Do you ever have to fake that you’re asleep in your chair just to have some peace??? I did. I’d forgotten about that. She turned two and became a great dog. It was a long time before she reached two years old though.
    : )

  35. I once saw two squirrels fornicating in the middle of a country road, priceless. Wish I too had had my camera.

    You know what amazes me about agility? That YOU know where the hell they are supposed to go and when! Really enjoy watching the videos :)

  36. My suggestions are:
    Karen Overall’s relaxation protocol (esp when paired with a mat; there are podcasts of it online & you can load them onto an mp3 player to work through the exercises. The key is that they’re not obedience exercises – they’re relaxation.)
    & Leslie McDevitt’s Control Unleashed

  37. nickelsmum says:

    Throw a treat where Dex was lying before he exploded into the air. Get up, throw the cookie, sit down. That should at least get him to stay where he is (after a while) when you move. And yes, work on a relaxed stay formally with “Food Lady getting up and down from chair” as the distraction.

    You want an auto-stay in response to you moving, so make sure to systematically teach “getting up from chair” or “reaching for a tissue” as explicit cues.

  38. Any way to add a cue that does mean *THIS* is the magic time? Like, ring a bell, ask for a sit in a specific spot, put on your shoes, something that isn’t just “get up and go out” but “get up, give clear signal, and go out”?

    I prefer to be barefoot at home. My dog absolutely watches me like a hawk if I’ve got shoes on and dances and spins (92 pounds of HAPPY-HAPPY, LET’S GO, LADY!) but if I’m barefoot, he stays sacked out because he knows I’m not leaving. Sort of the reverse of separation anxiety training- instead of trying to desensitize to all possible cues, give one very concrete cue that this *IS* what they’re waiting for?

    For times when I’m barefoot and want to take him out to walk the property, I make sure we go to the toy box, pick out a toy, he heels from the box to the door, sits until I’m through, and then he’s released to do the “OMG HURRY THROW IT!” dance (I learned very quick that I can maintain balance as 50-60 pound dogs squeeze through the door with me but that the lunker is not compatible with “let’s go have fun” door scrambles.)

    As for general craziness, we do a fair bit of “settle” work with the bird dogs. Put dog on leash, sit down (to eat, watch TV, surf the internet, read, anything lasting 20 minutes or more), put foot over the leash about 6 inches from the collar, or however much slack gives them complete relief if they lay down (if you own your own place, short tethers on the wall can be used). Dog will try to get up, flail a bit, then lay down. We don’t say anything as we do this, and let them figure it out. We shift, reach for stuff, if they’re tethered we’ll get up and leave the room, just generally let them figure out that being excited and leaping up really isn’t such a great idea. After they’re calm and laying down on their own with no help from you, reach down and unclip the leash, then walk away. So far it’s worked on every crazy-busy pup we’ve had… but we’ve not had Border Collies, so consider this anecdata.

    Other people have had luck with Dr. Overall’s Relaxation protocol, if you haven’t tried that yet.

    Go Twoo. He’s really coming along. Handsome little sausage dog.

  39. Silly Dex!

  40. clairesmum says:

    YEAH for Twooie – I hope the Woo is receptive to playing with Twooie! NO great ideas about Dex. Claire is 10 y.o. now, but as a pup/young dog had the same behaviors. She trained herself to get up for “shoes on feet” and “keys in hand”, we didn’t train her to it. (She’s smarter than we are. What we think are ‘commands’ are often received as ‘suggestions to consider’ by her.)
    However, ALL adolescents are bundles of energy that confuses even the person/dog who is experiencing it – lots of ideas that sound good have been posted. Good luck!

  41. I believe your house is too much fun.
    You must loan Dex out to a house where there is no fun.

    I know its no use to you for me to say that my Skye is the complete opposite; lies on couch until I ask three times, while standing at the door holding her collar with my coat on, keys and wallet in hand, “Are you coming?” She is clearly a basset hound in a border collie’s body. But when she was young, she exhibited Dex-like behaviour while outdoors and running around like a lunatic after dogs having more fun than her.

    Anyway, I agree with continuing with the de-sensitizing exercises, scheduling walks, crating and basically just waiting until he begins to show his brains (grow up) — which will, as you already know, happen too fast and then you’ll look back fondly on this time.

    And that’s really heart-warming for TWooie. Good for him!

    Go TWEED! :c) (Could you loan some of your brains to Dexter?)

  42. Natalie says:

    Oh doG yes, it sounds like you’re describing Zeeke. He did learn to settle and lay down – though even that took a while – but even at 7 years old he lives on a hairtrigger. Any small thing that happens – a noise, one of us moving – causes him to LEAP to his feet and go scrabbling across the floor barking and flinging himself from one side of the room to the other until he figures out if there’s something interesting going on. It drives me NUTS. He lives his life afraid he’s going to miss something.

    So, uhhh, good luck with that? No suggestions other than yes the crate is required for the human’s sake.

  43. I’m saconding what Dayna said about teaching yourself to give a stay/wait cue before you move. Kota does the same “OMG are we going somewhere?!” happy dance at my slightest movement but will stay still and relax if I tell him we’re not going anywhere with a stay cue first. I still forget occasionally and get the bejeebus scared out of me when I have a 38lb border collie hurtle past my legs and towards the front door but it just serves as a nice negative reinforcement. ;)

  44. I had a beagle mix who would do the jump up thing every time I moved. Luckily he wasn’t near as hyper about it as you described Dexter being!! He even knew the sound my laptop made when I turned it off – usually I get up after turning it off, so he would jump up then as well.

    The behavior finally stopped when he got old and deaf……….
    Sorry I couldn’t offer any help. Well, maybe cotton in his ears………..

  45. Some models come with that feature, standard. Sounds like that’s the one you got. They do improve marginally with age. For everything else, there’s crating. I guess you could try crating him in the same room as you to get him used to not reacting when you get up or move around or move your hand or lean back or sit forward or . . .

  46. Just a silly question. Since Dexter is a rescue, why isn’t he neutered?

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