Smart Dogs

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Heaven help me if I ever have to train a dumb Border Collie. Once again I’m blessed with a smarter than smart little blond and white ten-week-old Border Collie.  He has already blossomed in the twenty-six hours he’s been with me.  All my worrying yesterday about whether he was the right puppy as an obedience prospect was for nothing.

He slept through the night with only a few minutes of yowling. Then as if the energy to complain was too much he suddenly was quiet and sound asleep.  I think I heard him playing with his toys in the early, early hours but then he quietly went back to sleep.  He should again sleep well tonight since he’s been active most of the day.

Bodie is a clean slate, not even leash trained. Breeder Cheryl Turpin of Infinity Border Collies spoiled me by doing all the hard work last year when she sold me my red and white Border Collie, Razz.  When I brought Razz home at the same age as Bodie, she was house trained as well as leash trained and slipped into the pack like she’d lived here for a year.  But this year Cheryl had too many puppies to give that much individual time to each one.  Not to worry.  Bodie has read the book on living with humans and is learning at an amazing rate.

This morning Bodie did not want to walk on gravel, wear a collar or have any tension on the leash and collar. Now he has realized that in order to join the other dogs he must follow on lead where ever they go.  Within a short time he was pulling me toward Catcher.

He is quite vocal, whining piteously when he has to potty, which sounds the same as the whine he makes when he is bored.  I’ll have to teach him to enunciate so I know what he means.  He left me a stinky present in the training building early this morning.  Shame on me for not understanding his whine meant he needed to go outside.  By our second training session he was quiet, entertained by the other dogs while I trained them.

Bodie had his first obedience training session early this morning, learning to heel, following my fingers which were laced with some very appetizing squirt cheese in a can. I bent down to his level so he could reach my fingers, looking like I was trying out for a Groucho Marx movie.  Bodie’s attention span was about ten seconds and he was pretty much unable to walk and lick.  By this afternoon he was almost in heel position, licking the cheese off my fingers. He even sat when I stopped and lured him as I raised my fingers over his head.  Oh my gosh.

From there he had his first and second session learning to sit, stand and a fold down drop, necessary for the Open drop on recall. Yes, I’m luring him, helping him stand, then putting my fingers under his chest so he has to drop his nose to lick the cheese, thus making him fold front end first into a perfect down position.  When he starts to offer the behaviors on his own then I’ll reward him and quit luring.  He even did a spin (circling to the left) and twist (circling to the right), tricks sometimes used in the show ring when moving from one exercise to the other.

He was groomed for the first time after I finished training and grooming the other dogs. Grooming is hard because puppies don’t know how to stay still at this age.  His little body was a squirming ball of fluff but I think he at least got to experience the feel of the metal comb on his fur.  Later I used tiny, human toenail clippers to trim his nails.  He was not happy about that but I flipped him over on his back and tucked his head under my arm and within seconds he was rewarded with cheese again for being relatively calm.

I’m exhausted, which is why I say that this is my Last and Final puppy. My pack is complete, I’m not getting younger and swinging my leg up and over a 24” exercise pen multiple times is not getting easier.  However, raising a puppy is a day-long, months-long, somewhat inexpensive workout program.  Who needs a gym when surrounded by four dogs that have to go outside seemingly hundreds of times a day?

But at least I don’t have to waste time trying to figure out how to train little Bodie. He is one smart Border Collie.  I can hardly wait to see what mischief he gets into when bored.  Oh, yah, now I own four Border Collie Einstein’s.  Heaven help me.

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