Piecing together Jigsaw

21st January 2013
I am looking forward to fostering an 8 month old collie, called Jigsaw, for Dogs Trust, Bridgend.
He has not a good start. He had been living in a shed with another dog and went to Dogs Trust at 5 months. He then had two nasty bouts of tummy trouble. When this cleared up he started limping and was found to have OCD in both shoulders. He had to have 2 operations and after each, had problems with fluid build up, but hopefully this is clearing up and I hope to get him in the next couple of weeks.
He has never lived in a house and only knows sit and of course, is not housetrained. He has had minimal socialisation due to his problems but has a nice personality, which hopefully will help overcome this. I hope he doesn't find our house too warm!
1st February Day 1
Picked up Jigsaw today. He's a real livewire. He still has a swelling on his leg. Heidi (14) and he just said hello calmly. Peggy (3) and he would love to play, but due to his operations he can't and they've accepted it really well. We've put a crate in the living room. We either put him on a lead by our chair or in his crate. He gets excited when we go near the crate but settles really quickly, so we try not to talk to him until he's settled. He hasn't soiled the house, but doesn't like pooing in front of people, but he'll have to get used to it as we have to keep him on the lead in the garden.
2nd February
He settled really well over night. He ate his food last night like an industrial hoover, so this morning I hand fed him and he started to get the connection between command-action-praise-titbits. I introduced the clicker and the watch and sit commands. As he won't be allowed of the lead for a long while, I'm introducing the recall command when he's coming towards me. He is only allowed 3 15minute walks on the lead a day for a few weeks. I introduced the headcollar - a Gencon, using titbits.
3rd February
He's still been clean in the house and even asked to go out for a poo. He's wary of the outside world, but not in a 'I'm terrified of it ', way. He'll get used to it by introducing new sights and sounds gradually. He's better with the Gencon. He met three quiet labradors and was fine with them. He and Peggy are looking forward to the day they can have a proper play. She's very good; she'll come over and sit by him and let him paw her and sniff her, but when they start to play we just say 'That'll do' and they accept it.
4th February
We did a few minutes heelwork in the cul-de-sac outside with the clicker and it went really well. He's heard a few bangs and didn't mind them. When traffic goes by on a walk I get him to sit and concentrate on a titbit as he is still a bit wary of, but not reactive to, traffic.
8th February
After 1 week he has accepted a headcollar, sits to greet people and to have his lead put on. his loose-lead walking is coming on well. He has only had 2 wees in the house. He is learning to settle down.
He freaked out the first time we put him in the car.
When we took him to the local park he was very fixated on anything that moved.
11th February
Today he walked near a busy road with lorries, an ambulance, motorbikes and car horns and went near skateboarders and cyclists. He was very calm. his 'puppy' recall in the house is very good.
We have actually adopted Jigsaw! He is such a lovely dog. He is so friendly with people and dogs. He's very biddible and well behaved. He only has to meet a new situation a couple of times and he becomes used to it. I do competitive obedience with my dogs, but if Jigsaw can't manage the preciceness due to his shoulders, so be it; if he can, it will be a bonus.
Walking to heel
I make sure that when he is on a collar and lead, I stop as soon as it goes taught, or walk back a few steps until he is back with me. when I haven't the time to keep stopping he wears his Gencon. We do lots of little bits of heelwork and by May he is getting really good, but it's taken a lot of patience and committment.
His recall is very good. I have taught him by both voice and whistle (A bonus, because our deaf, elderly dog can hear the whistle)
Because he was unable to play with other dogs for a few monthe, due to his shoulders, I took him on the lead where other dogs were. I did a lot of getting his attention with a titbit, so that he would turn from them. Sometimes I let him say hello and sometimes not. If there was a dog walking in front, I would stop if he pulled towards it and only walk forward if the lead was loose. He has learnt that if another dog is around it is not compulsory to play with it.
When he started to be able to play with other dogs, I picked calmer looking dogs and made sure I was close by when I called him, so that I could do something about it he he ignored me.
Basic commands
I am building up the sit, so that he will sit even when he is excited. Not quite there yet, but getting better. Going into a down without a titbit took a while, but we're there.
I had to restrict playing with dogs until the end of May, as he would occasionally limp, but he seems OK now. He has lost a lot of weight over the last few weeks, and the vet thinks it may be lungworm, so he has been treated with advocate and we take him back in two weeks.

Jigsaw has gone from strength to strength. His training has gone well and he has done very well in obedience competitions, winning many rosettes. He is a very loving dog.
Linda Dewar,
15 Aug 2013, 21:20