The Lounge is for Lounging

How I manage to live in peace with a houseful of crazy Border Collies
By Sally Bradbury

have several dogs and very few rules, but one that is very strictly upheld is that the lounge is for lounging in.

When we have a puppy, I spend my evenings in the kitchen entertaining the puppy while hubby watches TV with the other dogs in the lounge. We do all our playing and training in the kitchen or outdoors. No toys in the lounge ever.

Over a period of approximately six to ten weeks, I can usually teach a puppy to settle on their bed in the kitchen for an increasing amount of time so that by the time the pup is three to five months old, we can transfer that behaviour to the lounge. Of course, it helps that all the others are setting an example.

In the beginning, I’ll be playing, training, teaching some impulse control, doing handling exercises: looking in ears, bit of grooming. This leads to some gentle massage and a settled pup. I might check Facebook on my phone for a minute while the pup is relaxed. A week later, I might be able to reply to an email on my laptop while the pup is quiet on his bed.

We can then go and join the others in the lounge for a few minutes while pup is settled. This is gradually built up, until walking into the lounge becomes the switch to settle.

I would never expect them to do this for longer than they can manage, though. It is built up over several weeks.