Jump to content
BC Boards


Registered Users
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by jonesgirl88

  1. Quote

    Now the location and any memories associated with it make it an even more fearful place.

    But that would mean he would be afraid of that one particular location and he's not afraid to return to the couch or kitchen or other locations. Even if we go broad, he would be fearful of the old house in general. But with the latest bite, he was in a completely new location so there couldn't be any fear of discipline, yet he still bit.

    In every situation too, there's no loud noises, no sudden movement, no one bothering him. No one has ever pulled his tail or ears or hit him (as much as we know since he was stray) so he has no reason to retaliate. People are standing around talking and he has plenty of room to maneuver--he has to go out of his way to bite. 

    I know zapper collars are controversial because they are so easy to misuse. That's why we don't discipline when we're angry, we never use excessive punishment, and we always use the lowest setting. It's also why we work with a trainer. We found him through a friend and when we saw the effectiveness of zap collars as he trained with them and how they are a tool in the arsenal of training, we agreed to try it. We've also used flat leash training, choker collars, and clicker training along with a zapper collar as a whole approach. 
    If what you're proposing is true (that we misused the zapper collar and created fear), then he would be scared to be around anyone who's ever corrected him (which would be mainly me) or any place he's ever been corrected and that's not true. He slept in my bed until I moved out (and continues to sleep with me at my parents house when I visit) and I jokingly call him "my shadow" because when I'm around he follows me like a shadow.

    I don't mind bluntness, I do appreciate it, but when what's happening doesn't match up with what you're saying should be happening then we're having a failure of communication or a failure of understanding. I have received wonderful ideas of what to do (switching meds, talking with my parents about training and increasing mental exercise) and how to go about that. I'll definitely update on what happens.

  2. Quote

    The first question then is what changed or happened 10 months ago?

    For the past year and a half, my parents have been in the process of selling the house, I got a stable job a year ago, my sister and I moved 7 months ago, and they moved about 3 months after that. The only thing that changed was the amount of training he was being given.

    Basic timeline (I don't know if this helps):
    Stray for a year and a half (born about 08/2015 if my backwards calendar math is correct)
    Adopted in 02/2017
    Started training in 02/2017 (within a few days of adoption)
    Stable job 01/2018 (training decreased)
    First bite 05/2018
    Sister bite 06 or 07/2018
    My sister and I move out 09/2018 (training and walks decrease more)
    My parents move 12/2018
    Most recent bite 03/2019


    By "zapper collar" do you mean a shock collar? If so, when did this begin?

    A training collar? It could also be called a shock collar. We've been training him and the GSD since day one with it. We hadn't had a problem with Tucker for over a year (after taking him to multiple parks and populated areas) and we've never had a problem with Dakota. The first and second bites we didn't really correct, we told him 'no', but nothing more than that because we thought it might have been instigated. Then the bite with my sister happened. 
    We've never zapped either dog for something they can't control or something we haven't trained them not to do. We've owned 4 other dogs, all of whom we've trained (with help from the trainer mentioned above) with a zapper and never had this problem. At this point, it's more of a "oh, I'm wearing this so I have to behave". We vibrate it more than anything to get them to gently break concentration in the yard (they both have a thing for chasing cars).

    Yes, zappers can be dangerous in the wrong hands. I understand where your fear of us creating the triggers is coming from. I want to say it's unfounded but I will sit back and look and talk with my family to see if this was something we created. The only reason I want to say we didn't create the triggers is because the problems didn't start immediately, they started several months after I had to stop training as much.


  3. After rereading that, I phrased that horribly. Sorry, I'm emotionally drained and it's coming out in poor wording. 

    After a bite, we separate Tucker from the person. He would stay in my room/his cage/outside and I take him there by leash and let him calm down away from the commotion. After the person leaves I lead him back to the site where he bit and by body language, he remembers what happened. That's when I zap him and then lead him away. For example, one time he bit in the kitchen so later that evening, I led him back into the kitchen and zapped him before taking him outside to work off energy through a training walk.

    And I say "zapper collar", that's the term my mom came up with ages ago and it stuck for our family. It's a training collar by Garmin on one of the lowest settings where we use the 'nick' or 'momentary' button. The only time I've ever used continuous was on accident.


  4. Both of these were written almost back-to-back so I'll reply to both in this message.


    Tucker might be vocal and bark/moan/howl when shut away from you.

    He actually isn't that vocal. He'll bark at loud trucks on the street or when Dakota starts barking, but that's about it. He doesn't howl or moan or whine, which is good.


    have him crated in a different room w/a closed door whenever there is anyone but you around.

    Considering I live an hour away and I only get to visit on the weekends as my schedule allows...I've thought about that too. I've thought about crating him when people are over but I fear my dad would take it too far and crate him all the time because Tucker wants to play 90% of the day.


    The second thing is to try a different medication. Are you able to work with a veterinary behaviorist?

    It's definitely something we're talking about. We've already dropped at least a grand into training him (and other than this, he's very well trained) so we're working with the vet on medications. The vet did offer to give us the name of a trainer who deals with high-risk cases like him, but how much money do we want to continue spending vs when is it inevitable and we're playing with fire?


    what you have done on the occasions when he bit someone. What was your reaction? What training have you been giving him - a) in general, and b) with regard to the biting?

    The instant reaction is shock and surprise and making sure the person was okay. I pull Tucker away and would either put him outside, in a spare room, or in his cage to keep him separate while we're making sure everything is okay. We train on a zapper collar (which he always has on) so I clip on his leash and give him barely enough leash to walk. Then I lead him to the person and in a calm, but firm tone, say "no biting" while momentarily  zapping on 'no'. I'll do this several times and lead him back out of the room. 

    General training is on and off leash walking, heel, sit, down, stay, extended stay, stay while someone is moving around, come, multiple commands in a row (sit, down, come, sit, down within 10 seconds and 100 feet). For mental exercise, I taught him the names of his toys, different tricks with catching a ball, putting his pack on him with a water bottle in it so he has to mind the weight while walking. 


    you need to get him out of that living situation with your folks and bring him to live with you. Even if that means you have to move.

    If had the option of moving out on my own and taking him with me, I would. I can't afford to live by myself and I certainly can't afford a mortgage if I'm barely making rent with my sister. I also don't want to force her to live with the dog that bit her. I also want to take the GSD with me to give her the proper care she needs so the problem of care isn't specifically just for the collie. It's more of "my parents are older and don't want a lot of responsibility but adopted 2 herding dogs and don't know how to handle it" deal.
    I can teach my dad to work with him effectively, it's more a matter of he won't do it. He's almost...70? And to him, he's meant to be watching TV and not taking dogs to the park. That infuriates me to no end but he hasn't changed in 30 years so he's not about to change now. (My mom is a teacher and she totally does some training but not enough because of her schedule).


    I know I sound blunt, but as I said, this is serious. I wish I could help, but over the internet it is not really possible except to say what I have said above.

    No, I need blunt. I need someone with no personal attachment to the situation to look at this and help me point to what's best. In a perfect world we could figure out his trigger and avoid it or he wouldn't bite at all. But it's not so I have to deal with this. 

    Of course I'll keep you guys updated. I have fallen in love with collies and no matter how this situation turns out, I will be adopting another :)

  5. I just found this website and I wish I had found it so much sooner. I want to delve in and read all the posts but I have a serious problem and I need help stat.

    About 2 years ago my family (my mom, dad, sister, and me) adopted a 1 1/2 year old male short-haired smooth-coat collie (who we named Tucker). He was stray when he was found with no chip or collar. He was picked up 5 counties away from where my family lives so we don't know anything about his history. When we picked him up at the shelter, he didn't even have a name let alone answer to it.

    We worked with a trainer (Mark Frederick, if anyone is familiar with him) and I was the one (due to my schedule) who took over training. We also have a female white GSD of the same age (named Dakota) so 2 herding dogs in one house requires A LOT of walks and A LOT of training. Until I got a steady job, we were fine because I was able to devote so much time and attention to walking, training, and playing. Once I got a steady job the training decreased and while Dakota needed extra walks to balance out the lack of training, Tucker started lashing out (for lack of a better term) by biting friends and family. He's mainly bitten people in the butt so there's no broken skin but there's a deep bruise and it hurts for days. The most severe incident was with my sister.

    When I lived at home, he would sleep on my bed with me. She was in my room and handing me a charging cable when Tucker, who was lying on the bed next to me, out of nowhere jumped up and bit her in the face/upper lip area. I've noticed a slight trend of biting in the nose area? I don't know, and can't say, if he was aiming for the nose or just her face in general, but he practically bit off half of her upper lip. She was rushed to the ER and required almost 20 stitches. Blessedly, he had just received his shots and was given a clean bill of health so there was no severe danger of infection but she did have to say it was a dog bite for antibiotics just in case.

    I know he's on thin ice so I was working with him as much as I could but within the last 7 months, my sister and I moved out on our own and our parents moved about an hour away so for 7 months he hasn't had a real training regimen let alone a walking schedule. My mom does what she can in terms of walks but my dad...he doesn't discipline properly so I don't trust him to train. I don't like how he handles anything with the dogs but that's a completely different issue.

    Yesterday my aunt and uncle were visiting my parents and Tucker struck again--he bit my uncle in the butt and tore his jeans. I wasn't in the room so I didn't see what happened. We had double-dosed his anxiety meds (with vet permission) but he still struck. Now I have to deal with the decision of putting him down, which pretty much all my family is on board with. He's bitten my mom in the butt and my sister in the face, two family friends 3 times, and now my uncle for a total of 6 bites, 1 severe. 

    I feel like he's paying the price because my parents (especially my dad) aren't willing to put in the work of giving Tucker the physical and mental exercise he needs. Am I biased? Am I reading this entire situation wrong? Is there an option I'm not thinking of? I don't want to put my familial relationships on the line because of a dog, but I feel as if there are other avenues we can take. We can't afford another bite and my mom and sister have said they don't feel entirely comfortable in the house with him.

    Literally other than this, he's the sweetest boy possible. We've had him for 2 years and this pattern started about 10 months ago. We can't figure out the trigger so we can't predict when he'll snap. 


    This is a picture I took of both dogs as they were getting ready for a hiking trip I took them on. It's the only one on my computer at the moment. I'm rambling now but any help with this would be much appreciated. I will answer any additional questions if you have any.

    Thanks in advance!

  • Create New...