One asset for our family raising a puppy is that the older dogs do help teach right from wrong to the puppy.  The older girls, Kate, age 6 and Tam, age 3 have already been trained on house rules.  They act as a friend, helping Chris out.  

For example:  When they get treats to eat, they all must go into the living room and eat the treats on a rug that is located in front of the fireplace.  This comes in handy for me when messes need to be cleaned up.  I can simply toss the rug into the washing machine for a quick wash and the mess has been taken care of.

Other rules that the girls are helping Chris learn is where the approved place to relieve themselves is.  I have a small grass yard, but lots of weed areas across the driveway.  That is where I prefer they do their business, so I don't have to pick it up.  Out in the weeds is great for me.

The only time there are problems with peeing in the weeds is when it is raining.  I tend to not want to clean off dirty muddy feet, so they get put out in the back dog yard for relief.  The dog yard is grass only, no weeds.  But their feet stay clean.  And once in a while, Tam does get confused and in the winter during the rains she might go in the front yard.  She gets reminded of what she did, and then I forget it.

One other major rule for me is no barking or whining when tied up while other dogs are working sheep.  Since Border collies will usually run the fence line when other dogs are working sheep, they must be contained.  They usually are not allowed to do that fence running, for not wanting to develop any nasty habits.

When they are tied up, many times they get excited watching.  In fact, not all Border collies can watch other dogs train or trial, it just gets them too worked up.  So when they do get excited, often they start to bark or whine.  I must be noise sensitive because that irritates me.  I want them to be quiet while watching and I surely do not want them bothering anyone's runs at a trial by barking.  The older girls set an example for Christian to follow, by being quiet while tied at the sheep pasture fence.  The couple of times that she has made noise; I have been able to correct it with a verbal command to knock it off.

There have been many other instances where the older girls have helped encourage Chris about the right moves to make in a given situation.  She now can get into the pick up on her own, and jump on the bed without assistance, and is even having fun in the big dog pool, getting brave enough to jump in with the girls.  

But she can learn bad or unwanted behaviors also from the older girls.  When their dad comes home from work and they are outside, they run to the truck.  Just today they did that, and Chris couldn't be seen because she is so little.  That learned behavior caused some problems, as we don't want her run over.

Wouldn't it be great if she could completely learn how to work sheep, to the advanced level, just by watching the older girls work them?  I could always wish!  But then, that would take all of the fun out of training her on sheep when she gets older.

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