Two of a Kind

We’ve always been a dog family, since I was born. Now that I have my own family, we’re still a dog family. And now, doubly so.

I wasn’t quite sure what this was.

Years ago, my parents adopted a dog. I’m not sure what they were after, but they didn’t want a small dog. Whatever it was going to be, it had to be friendly. Apparently it’s a border collie. This one is high energy. And that was ok when my parents had a lot of land for the dog to run around.

And then they moved closer to their kids and grandkids, into a smaller house. And everybody got older and mellower. Except the dog. She hasn’t mellowed. So now she’s ours. In addition to our older and mellower dog…that knows how to behave. It’s been a challenge for everybody.

What do we do with this?

Our family dog has been a super well-behaved dog since day one. Just one verbal reminder and she remembers what’s ok, and what isn’t. We’ve been spoiled. While this new one is super sweet, she’s also spoiled and has developed some bad habits. Nothing really bad – just annoying.

  1. Exploring the underground smells (digging).
  2. The licking. Oh, all the licking! Put that thing away!
  3. Bark! Let me in. Bark! What’s that? Bark!
  4. I’m going to walk 10% faster than you. Always.

The good news is that she’s easy going and wants to please us, but she’s got some tough habits to break. At least she has a good role model to pay attention to. So we have a plan:

  1. Find a hole? Put something in there that smells bad. Thankfully, she provides us with that. She’ll never dig *there* again.
  2. She’s practicing not licking us when we pet her. If the tongue comes out, a gentle “no!” and no pets. Then try again. She’s getting the hang of it.
  3. You bark to come in? You’re just going to get a scolding, and not what you want. We’ll see how that works out. And she still barks inside the house when we’re sleeping at night. She stopped that for a bit. But for all the barking, she gets plenty of scolding, and plenty of praise when she knows we’re watching her.
  4. All that fast walking? That’s going to take a long time with this dog. For now, it’s a choke collar with a short quick gentle pull and “Heel!” She’s become deaf to that one, so we’re not walking much until we figure this out. UPDATE: While digging through my parents’ pet supplies, I came upon a prong collar.

The New Collar

If you’ve not seen one of these, they look scary.

This is a prong collar. There’s a lot to learn about them to make sure you’re using it correctly. Make sure you research and ask for advice if you’re not clear on something. All I can say is after spending some time with this, we’re both enjoying our now-frequent walks a lot more.


It didn’t take much training time with the prong collar before she learned to not tug on the leash. After about three months, she’s gotten used to a staying closer to me during walks, so now we’re back to the standard choke collar. If she begins to pull ahead, an occasional quick gentle snap and a “heel” reminder bring her back, and verbal reminders after that are working.