Scout: Not a Retriever

Whatever Scout’s lineage may be, she acts like a herding dog.  That is to say, not only does she like to herd things, she also plays with our other dogs in a lot of the same ways that a Collie puppy we had for several months did.

Outside of the Collie, I’m not very experienced with herding dogs.  So I’m hoping for some suggestions on how to keep her out of trouble.  She loves her stuffies and her bones, but she also loves chewing rugs, shoes, and doggie steps.  I give her a cup of kibble in the Kong Wobbler every afternoon and she’s very excited about that.  Unfortunately the kibble runs out pretty quick.  She doesn’t like to be left, inside or outside, by her humans, even though she has doggie company.  She’s escaped the yard many times but we keep blocking her escape routes as we find them.

I realize many of her behaviors are probably due to her age and her history.  She’s very young I think and obviously she’s never been in anyone’s home or fenced yard before.  All things considered, she’s doing really well.  Very few housebreaking accidents, good sleeper, and only one Really Super Major Incident – eating my gelato which I left unattended briefly on the table.  (Since it was technically my fault, I decided to spare her the death penalty.)

I know some of you will have good insights and suggestions on things I can do to help Scout continue her transition to life as a pet.  We are taking her for her first vet appointment this afternoon.  I’ll report back afterward.

Update: Scout did great at the vet’s office.  She has been vaccimilated, her blood work was good and her heartworm test was negative!  She’s scheduled for spay next month.  On top of all that good news, I found out my vet gives a 25% discount for pets taken in off the streets.  Bonus!

11 thoughts on “Scout: Not a Retriever

  1. If she is a herding dog she obviously needs lots of exercise. Leaving her in the yard probably isn’t enough. At least one long walk a day should help alot.

    1. I walk the dogs on our walking path most of the year but not in the summertime. We created the walking path because it’s unsafe to walk in the neighborhood due to roaming packs of dogs.

  2. She seems to like to play with toys, but she doesn’t return them to you? Seems to me, even border collies (who are not retrievers) learn that if they want the game, they bring it back to be thrown again. (Or is she scared of thrown things?)

    How about dangling a toy on a rope and tossing it over a tree-branch so that it flies? (Sorta like a game of tetherball.)

    How is she on a leash? Have you crate-trained her yet? Everything you do is helping her transition…more positive, loving, and “normal” life experiences are what she needs.

    1. Thanks for the ideas. Billy has already started her on retrieving the tennis ball and I imagine she’ll get the bringing it back part down. He taught our Beagle to retrieve so I’m sure Scout will come along too.

  3. Over at Terrierman, I recall reading that he stuffed the kong with canned dog food and then froze it. That made it last a long time, as the dog couldn’t throw it down on the floor to make the kibble spill out. Sounds like a good idea.

  4. Dogs with collie and shepherd lineage typically need to be mentally challenged in their interactions with their humans — not just exercised and given puzzles to play with.

    Obedience training. Tricks. Agility. All of the above.

  5. To keep our chewer occupied longer, we do this: Get a big Kong, put in on a counter and press your palm down HARD on it, so that the round hole elongates; then stuff several BIG dog cookies in it (as large as you can make fit). It makes it really hard to get the cookies out, and she’ll spend a really long time working on it. Have to do it outside, or in a crate though, because it takes alot of slobber to soften those cookies up enough to come out of the Kong, and once I ended up with a gross, brown spit/cookie carpet. Won’t work with all dogs, my other two dogs will just give up. But not my young maniac, she keeps at it. We do cut back on her food when we do this, since she gets quite a few calories from the cookies. We use different cookies, but the best are the big cookies from Blue Dog Bakery, and Mother Nature’s nice hard square cookies like Carrot Cakes and Buffalo Stew, etc.

  6. Yes, mental exercise as well as physical exercise. Obedience, tricks, agility, disk dog, canine freestyle, flyball–mix and match according to your own tastes and what’s available locally, but she needs something that challenges her brain as well as her body.

    Find the right activities, and you’ll both have a lot fun.

  7. Thanks for all the chewing and physical interaction tips. She’s been rather mellow since the vet visit of course so if nothing else works, I’ll just give her 150 vaccines every day.

  8. In addition to those mentioned above, two things really helped with my Border Collie; tricks and ball work. I found the book 101 Dog Tricks to be quite helpful. You can teach her to fetch slippers, turn on/off a light, and one of my favorites, hit the button for the walk signal.

    I have a collection of the Therapy balls. I am always surprised at how tired she can be after what seems to be a short workout, but they requite that she really think about her balance and what her feet are doing. Get on the Ball is a good video to get started.

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