Cooper (ADOPTED!) is a 6 month old, 28 lb., Australian cattle dog and border collie mix. Besides being cute as can be, he is a sweet, loving, happy, playful pup, who is fun, energetic, and full of life. With the right training and slow exposure to new things, Cooper will be a great dog. He is keenly observant, curious, and smart as they come.
Cooper wants to be with his people whenever he can. He loves snuggling next to someone on the sofa and doze off for a nap. If you let him, he would sleep on the bed with you. Cooper is a sweet natured boy, who does want to please and do the right thing. He needs people who have the time to work with him on basic obedience, rules and how to be polite. He is very treat motivated, and with some positive (treat and praise based) training, he will try to do what you want. Knowing a household routine and training will give him confidence, when he realizes he can control or predict what will happen when he follows commands.
Before we got him, he was not socialized or exposed to very much, and he had only be taught to “sit.” As a result, he is a little nervous when he encounters new things and situations. Cooper left the only home he knew, and it took several days for him to begin to trust his foster mom. He seems to favor men, and immediately began following his foster dad.
He is a fairly calm boy when it is quiet around the house, but when playing, he is a wild man with energy to spare, and needs room to run. When he gets too wild in his playing, he will respond to a strong, yet calm voice and body language, and gradually stop and calm himself. He is also learning that rude behavior does not get him what he wants, and that polite behavior will work for him. He will sit politely at the door before going out, and is learning to “Wait.”
When Cooper is comfortable, he is very playful and bold. He seems to have a little angel on one shoulder, telling them to do the right thing, and a little devil on the other telling him that he’s the little boss who does what he wants. He is extremely smart and definitely has his own ideas about what he wants to do. As with most cattle dogs, Cooper needs patience and calm yet unrelenting consistency. Negative or punishment based (including prong collars or spray bottles) training will NOT work with Cooper, and will never win him over.
Although clearly part border collie, Cooper’s personality is all cattle dog. He definitely has herding instinct, frequently grabbing the rear legs of another dog while playing. He is a little mouthy, and likes to mouth at hands when trying to play with people. We have been working with him on his mouthiness.
Right now, he is the equivalent of a 2-year old child, testing everyone to try and get his way. When on leash, if he wants to do something that you don’t want him to, he will lie down and refuse to move, or begin biting the leash. His person must discourage any stubborn or rude behavior by simply not giving him the attention he wants.
Our boy is nearly housebroken, and will try to let you know when he needs to go out, but as a puppy, when he is excited or scared he may squirt out pee. Currently, during his waking hours, to avoid an accident, he needs to be taken out every hour. He does sleep through the night without accidents. Cooper is NOT crate trained and does not like going into crates, especially plastic (airplane transport type) ones. He fought for his life not to get into a plastic crate when he was being transported, and had a meltdown in it, peeing all over himself.
Cooper is a very happy and friendly pup, once he feels secure and trusts someone. Unfortunately, when he was a small pup, Cooper had to resort to snapping at people to stop them from ‘playing with’ him against his will. As a result, he can be a little cautious if he thinks you are up to no good. If you try to put a collar or harness on him, he may either pee in fear or struggle to protect himself, by air snapping or nipping at your hands. He is also afraid of small children, and does not like to be picked up against his will, and will growl and get snappy. The only time he is ok being picked up is when he lifts his front paws asking to be lifted in or out of the car.
To work on his snapping, we are not initiating attention that he doesn’t ask for, and we let him approach us for petting and attention, to help him realize that he is safe and does not need to protect himself. Once he trusts a person to not manhandle him, he is much more accepting of being ‘handled’ but will still object to being picked up. After three weeks at his foster home, Cooper is happy, relaxed and initiating a lot of interaction with his foster mom and dad and their dogs.
Because he never truly met other dogs before, Cooper’s first instinct is to be afraid. He seems to be fairly good with smaller dogs, but will growl and bark at larger dogs out of fear. It took almost three days before Cooper figured out what a canine invitation to play was. The first several times that my playful male, who is taller than Cooper, did a play bow, Cooper would run and hide in the bushes. Now, he plays like a normal puppy, chasing, and wrestling. He has also learned to play tug with another dog.
It may take a while for Cooper to feel comfortable with each dog he meets. If a dog is easy going and/or playful, he will eventually realize it and be fine. However, when on walks, when he sees unknown dogs, especially larger ones, he will try to growl and try to bark them away. Cooper needs active socialization with other friendly and playful dogs. Every meeting with another dog must be a positive fun experience for him.
Cooper is a wonderful pup with great potential. He is still a very impressionable puppy, and his personality is still developing. He needs a very nurturing situation, with adopters who have the time to spend with him daily to teach him how to feel comfortable and confident in new situations. Cooper needs to make up for lost time to learn about the world, other animals, and people.
Currently, we are unable to take him to public places, as he received his very first vaccinations very recently, and should not be exposed to public places until he has developed proper immunity in several more weeks. We are socializing him with friends, dogs, and homes that we feel are healthy and safe.
Because of his need to make up for lost time in socialization and training, we are seeking adopters who will NOT leave him alone during the workday, and will begin working on his socialization and training immediately.
Cooper would benefit from having a friendly, playful, polite adult dog to act as a good example to learn from. Observing another dog that he trusts will help him learn how to respond appropriately when encountering other dogs and new situations.