Here's my story of my 18 month old female Border Collie, Hollie.
Basically, a year ago, when she was nine months old, I bought her off Gumtree.com from an older lady, who said she didn't have the time for her anymore, she also said she was good on the lead and with other dogs, and children. How wrong was that!
First night we had her in the house, she was very, very timid, however, gradually she got used to being around myself, and my girlfriend. Then, out of the blue, she would just do the toilet in one specific area of the living room, in the corner, at times we didn't even know she had done it as she gave no indication that she needed to go out to the toilet. We got her a training mat, etc which seemed to work, but eventually we managed to get her to go out the back yard. The original owner also stated that Hollie (who was called Lady at the time) was excellent being kept outside and she didn't bark and such like. When Hollie was put out the back, she went absolutely crazy, barking, clawing, scratching, etc. I think that it was due to the separation between Hollie and myself, yet I couldn't sort it out. When it came to walks, that was completely different to what the original owner had told me... Hollie, when she was out on the lead, she would pull so hard, that it was like she was taking me for a walk. As we had only just got her I was rather hesitant of just letting her off the lead up the park. When we passed other dogs, she would start jumping, and screeching loudly, almost like a whimper, but louder and excited. Her body language was hard to decipher, she would be excited, but her body would be rigid with her ears erect and she would try and charge at passing dogs. After walks, and when it was time for bed, we would leave her in the livingroom/kitchen, with some toys and plenty fresh water, we would only wake up to the whole place chewed to pieces, got to the point, if we were going out she had to be physically put outside, or muzzled if being kept inside.
After many months went by, she got a bit more calm in the house, though the chewing didn't stop, but it got easier for her to be kept out the back, walking was still a bit of a nightmare.
We opted to get another Border Collie, this time it was a neutered dog - Shadow he was two years old. When we first introduced them together, it was against all advice and suggestions, rather than gradually, we just threw them together and it took a few days, but from showing teeth they went to cuddling up and being playful - a result by any standard I would say.
Shadow is a fantastic dog, he didn't pull on the lead, ignored other dogs, he even plays fetch, lets you know when he needs out, etc. Couldn't ask for a better dog. Best of all he doesn't chew.
We've had both dogs for a good while now, but it's only more recently that the two of them are playing off each other. By this I mean, Hollie thinks she's top dog, though I let her know she isn't. Shadow accepts he's at the bottom of the chain. However, that doesn't stop him getting excited and bouncing all over the place. Basically, Hollie will occasionally attempt to go for Shadow but I put a stop to that. He's actually scared of her, and they need to be fed separately. Hollie gets her food in the kitchen, and Shadow gets his bowl of food and water on the bottom step in the hall. Granted, he goes and eats his food no problem at all - only when you close the door, yet Hollie won't eat unless Shadow is present in the room. Hollie has a tendency that when everyone is calm, she will come up to me, and try and jump up, then when I tell her to get down, Shadow looks up and sees Hollie getting excited, so then he starts to get energetic and it ends up I have to shout at them as they don't listen.
When it comes to walking them, it takes about 20 minutes to get their leads/harnesses on as they just go completely ballistic. When we are on a walk up the park, Hollie will still act up, but now it's like she's trying to go for the dog, she barks, and attempts to charge the dog, when Shadow sees this he does the same, his only reaction is when Hollie does something. He never used to pull, but unless he is on a harness, he pulls like mad.
At night, I try to keep them in the kitchen, but Shadow will do all he can to prevent going in the kitchen with Hollie. If I am able to get him in the kitchen, it's a result, if not, then it ends up with Hollie going in the kitchen, and Shadow being kept in the hall.
Does sound like you’ve got a lot on your hands! Where are you based roughly? Have you tried any local dog trainers yet? Have you had dogs before? It would have been easier to sort out Hollie’s problems first before you got Shadow, but I’m sure it is still possible to sort things out but it’ll mean a lot of work with each dog separately.
I’ve put the question on think tank now but I’m sure people will want to know where you are based.
Yes, it can be rather tedious at times. I'm based in Woodvale, North Belfast. Unfortunately, I can't seem to pinpoint local trainers, plus the cost is more than I can cover at the moment. I have grown up with dogs, yes, however this is the first time since leaving my parental home that I have owned my own dogs. I agree, it would have been a lot easier to help Hollie on her own, but we just jumped in feet first.
I'll try and keep checking the post as oft as I can, though I don't have internet access in the home, so I can only keep updated when I frequent the library.
So folks, it is Christmas - are there any lovely positive kindly trainers in Belfast that can help Christopher sort this all out?