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Found 18 results

  1. Hi, This is my first post on the forum (on any forum to be honest) as I feel the need to share and hopefully receive guidance on the problems I am facing at home with our 6 month old border collie. Starting with the background. Our puppy is a male pure bred border collie (5 generations) whose father is a working sheepdog and mother is an agility dog, trained by a Reputable trainer in Devon, South West England, UK, which is where we live. We are a family of two adults and 2 young children (9 & 5) who he is excellent with. We brought him home at 8 weeks and kept him in the house for all of the next 5 weeks until he had his second vaccination at 13 weeks and then lockdown happened which meant no puppy training classes and no opportunity to take him everywhere so he could get used to all the sights and sounds he needs to be comfortable with. When we did start to take him out all sorts of things started to go wrong. He was aggressive towards any body and everybody, wanted to chase anything (bicycles, cars, joggers) and wouldn't listen to any command to come back to us or to stop what he was doing. In the time at home we worked on basic commands using treats, particularly recall and he seemed to be pretty good at this in the garden, but once out in the park it doesn't matter what treats you have its not enough of a distraction to people playing with balls, other dogs, anything moving as per above. By our own admission we have got this wrong and the lack of socialisation has led to a very nervous and anxious dog. We know we have some real work to do to rebuild his confidence and my question is where and how do we start? We have been keeping him at home much more and some days he doesn't get to go out for any long walk and his only exercise is running around the garden and when we are playing games with him, fetch, tug, basic agility stuff like jumping onto chairs. We have also introduced scatter feeding for his lunch so he has to go and find food hidden in various places in the garden and we like to give him bones and chews that mean he has periods of calm. Trying to make him more calm would be really helpful, so anything we can do here I think will help, but I also understand he is a 6 month old puppy who just wants to play so trying to be realistic here as to what to expect at this age. He is at his happiest playing with other dogs and a few minor squabbles aside (where he has been put in his place by older, wiser and calmer dogs) he loves herding or playing fetch or just chasing other dogs and when we meet dogs he knows it suddenly becomes a joy to have him outside as you can see the fun he is having and in this situation he is engaged enough to not be distracted by other people, cyclists, etc. That said, the other day he was playing fetch off the lead with a stick (no one else around) until suddenly a women jogging came round the corner and he was off and ran towards her and even jumped up at her twice making her very scared. So now we are too scared to take him out because off lead he can't be trusted and on lead he pulls like crazy and its no fun. It feels like we are caught between providing the required physical stimulation border collies needs and preserving his obviously fragile confidence by keeping him at home and not putting him in situations where he will make the wrong decision. He is getting better with people he knows, but any strangers are met with a lot of aggression.... heckles up, barking, lunging, enough that would make me slightly nervous if I came across a dog like this. What is the best way to build his confidence whereby he does not feel threatened in these situations? Many thanks Bruce
  2. Hello all, thank you for taking the time to read my post. I recently acquired a Border Collie puppy. He is now 16 weeks and I am concerned that he is displaying aggressive behaviour. The lady I got him from could not handle house training him or training him at all as she was on her own with two young children. Why these people get a dog is beyond me! Sometimes he is sweet, placid and very obedient; others he is growling, curling up his upper lip and even biting. These “aggressive” behaviours usually take place in the following circumstances: If he is asleep and we NEED to move him either (I wake him calmly and gently). He used to just growl and now he will show his teeth and even snap and bite. He is not food aggressive with myself or my partner, but he did try to bit my mum when she was near his food. He also seeks out my sister’s dog if he has food and really goes for him! He will also jump up and bite us if he feels he’s not getting enough attention...he walks for at least a couple of hours a day, spread over two walks; plays fetch in the garden and has interactive toys. He is not left on his own for hours. We do not shout at him and could never hit him. I’m very aware that this behaviour needs to be nipped in the bud quickly. Any advice, or insight would be great. I have never had this behaviour from any of my previous dogs, I am understandably concerned and getting rid of him is not an option for me...he is my baby! Thanks everyone!
  3. My husband and I adopted a BC 5 months ago. He is a male 2 year old. When we first got him, he was perfect. He was introduced to my mother-in-Law’s dog (cockapoo) the second day we had him and he has always been fine with him. He also seems to be fine with the neighbors dogs. After a month of easy walks and near perfect behavior our dog started becoming aggressive towards other dogs. He lunges and barks at other dogs and can be challenging to control at times. We tried avoiding other dogs. We tried distracting and positive reinforcement (not effectively). We switched to a no-pull vest, which was a game-changer for a few weeks. Then it was ineffective. We began working with a trainer as soon as we could get in with someone. We have tried pinch collars and are now encouraged to use a shock collar to correct his behavior. He still lunges and barks aggressively at other dogs. I really hate shocking him. I am worried it is driving our training backwards. I know a lot of his behavior is because it’s part of his breed and he might be trying to heard dogs. I also know it’s harder to train dogs when they are older. Other than the dog aggression, he is the sweetest dog. He’s gentle and loving towards all humans. I honestly don’t know if we should switch trainers and try a new approach or continue with the shock collar. Please don’t judge, I’m just trying to do what the trainer told me but all of you seem very knowledgeable.
  4. Hello I am having some negative and unsettling experiences with my 6 months old (neutered) BC male, and I was hoping you guys might have some insight.. This is my second BC, a spirited male from strong herding lines. He’s mostly very well behaved and very sweet. Obedient, a quick learner and has great focus during training. So far we have mostly been doing obedience and some scent work. I got him at 8 weeks, and he learned quickly that play biting had to be gentle, and the play biting on people was phased out entirely somewhere between 1-2 months ago. He still gets to play and bite on appropriate things, but doesn’t mouth me (or other humans) anymore. The main issue that we have been working on is that he has a strong urge to chase cars. I have gotten help from a professional dog trainer, and he has been getting so much better. It is all positive, training focus and contact with toys and treats. I have been sitting down with him, holding him gently and praising and rewarding when he looks at me instead of the passing cars, while gently holding him back/preventing him from running after the cars. He used to bark and lunge at the cars, ignoring everything else around him, but now he is so much calmer and usually sits calmly and looks at me again a few seconds after the car has passed (or doesn’t even look at them if I have a toy out). He has improved so much, however today a car was passing on a road we have walked quite a lot on (and we have had many cars pass us here). And so I was sitting with him, just petting him a little and kept a hand on his collar just in case as the car passed. But suddenly he started pulling, growled, started pulling towards the car and bit my arm when I held him back. Not just a nip, but a proper bite. He’s never bit me this hard before ever, his teeth broke the skin even through a thick woolen sweater. My arm is swollen and turning blue. I was caught entirely off guard, and for the first time he has actually scared me a little. I am quite shaken, and even though he is still just a puppy, I worry something might be wrong. About 6 weeks ago, I discovered a very odd behavior in him as well. Everytime we cross a road, I would have him sit next to me, tell him “over the road” before we cross the road. It was never a problem, and I cannot recall any situations where he seemed scared or agitated while doing this. But one day it was like something just clicked.. I was walking him and I had him sit before a crossing and when I said “over the road” he just started screaming. It sounded like I was torturing him. And then he started growling and lunged at my legs. I had never seen him behave like that (it didn’t seem like playing at all). And since then, any time I say “over the road”, no matter where we are, he would freak out entirely - growling, screaming and attacking me. Whether we were by the road, in the garden, in the kitchen or the bedroom.. Even if I said it quietly and calmly, while petting him or when he was relaxing. So my trainer told me to just not say those words again, and just drop it. And he hasn’t had any episodes like that again since. Crossing the road was also not a problem at all as long as I didn’t utter those words. I just find the behavior to be very strange, and paired with what happened today, I find myself a bit concerned for his mental state.. I suppose I’m just hoping someone can tell me that this is all normal puppy stuff and that it will pass, and maybe hear from someone who has seen similar behaviors in their dogs who can reassure me a little? I apologize for the long and messy post, but I could really use some help. I offer up this photo of the cute lil goblin in exchange for advice
  5. Hello BC Community- This is my first post. I have read hundreds of yours. I was hesitant to start a new post. I suspect that what I am experiencing is not unique, yet I simply have not been able to find a thread that matches exactly what is happening with Ryder. Since I am nearing a heartbreaking decision of perhaps having to re-home, I decided to take a risk and throw out my case study to see what I can learn from your expertise. The DOG: 9-month-old Border Collie x Golden Retriever (three-quarters BC). I purchased him from a 'breeder' and have had him since he was 4-months of age. Whip smart (of course), highly responsive, very affectionate (a cuddler) with his herd, super-glued to his alpha (me), high drive, high energy, not seemingly timid or anxious. Beautiful- RED bc markings. Obedient in low-to mid stimulation environments (sit/stay, down/stay, "bed", "watch me", loose leash, plus a few tricks). The BEHAVIOR: 'Aggression' toward humans he does not know only in certain, specific but unpredictable situations. Aggression expressed as fierce growling/barking, rushing, leaping to shoulder height and 'porpoising' (bumping with nose) if especially aroused. He has not (yet) bitten nor snapped nor shown any nipping behavior in play. Behavior first started at about 5-months when people would pass our front yard. But over the past few months, it has spread to other areas (a vacation rental, a lakefront picnic spot, a sand dune area where we had been hiking/picnicking, a campsite). Most interesting to note- the dog does NOT exhibit this behavior in new situations. If he is entering new space anywhere (a new neighborhood walk, a park, a new hiking trail, a cafe, a Saturday market) he does not show any aggression or anxiety toward strangers and can be approached and touched with growling, crouching or showing any distress. Also, once the 'intruder' has been introduced into the herd, he accepts strangers easily with no further signs of anxiety or aggression. Last, he has recently begun to show high reactivity to cyclists. The ENVIRONMENT: We are a family of two adults; two older kids and one elderly Golden Retriever. We live in an urban neighborhood (lots of pedestrians, cyclists). I am not inexperienced with animals and started Ryder on basic obedience early. He has never been allowed to wrestle with our kids, resource guard, lie on furniture or show any dominant behavior with our family. He has had an average amount of socialization for a family pet (likely not too much, not too little). I'm sure he is not getting as much exercise as a full BC needs but he gets more than the average pet. It consists of a 45 minute jog each morning with 2-3 additional frisbee sessions a day. This is normal routine but we also take the dogs to the river (he loves to swim) at least once a week, take them hiking whenever possible, etc. Last- I have interviewed 8 trainers and paid for a two hour consult with one (worthless). One camp (positive only) tells me I must ALWAYS do what the other camp (pro-correction, strong leader, pack leader types) tells me I must NEVER do (and vice versa). Aggression towards humans is a dead serious issue and I am terrified that I will do the wrong thing and make the situation irreparable. My QUESTIONS: Has anyone experience this very specific type of stranger directed aggression ( a term borrowed from James Serpell)? What are thoughts on use of the e-collar (maybe even Vibration only stim) in a situation like this in order allow the dog off-leash freedom while maintaining safety for all involved? If yes, any favored resources for HOW to do e-collar training the RIGHT way? Do you think this is a TRAINABLE issue or one that realistically will need to be managed (on leash, making sure to avoid triggers/situations the dog can not handle) the rest of his life? Last, if this behavior (fierce protection of his herd against intruders) stems from hundreds of years of selective breeding and is part of this dog's deepest breed imperative- is it FAIR or RIGHT to ask a dog like this to be forced into the job of urban family pet? Or, is the most loving thing to do (yes, it would break my heart) to look for a home where this behavior would be an asset (e.g., livestock guardian) versus an unacceptable liability? For anyone still with me after this lengthy missive, THANK YOU. I would be extremely grateful for any counsel this group would be willing to offer. Jennifer & Ryder
  6. Hi everyone - really need some advice regarding my 10 month old border collie pup! Apologies as this will be long but I want to include as much detail. we’ve had Roo since he was 8 weeks old and we got him from a family (his parents are working dogs) Roo is extremely clever and quick to learn. He knows many tricks and commands and will do them 99% of the time with no issue. he has always been very sociable, seems to love everyone and everything! Unfortunately in the past month, there have been 4 instances where he has attacked me (3 times) and his dog walker (once) the first time was when we went away to a dog friendly hotel. He didnt seem to like the fact he could smell/hear people in the corridor so began barking loudly (had never previously done this anywhere), his tail was up and puffy and his eyes big & black. I made the mistake of coming off the bed to comfort him, as i went towards him he attacked me (punctured arm, drew blood and very bruised) i was so shocked i didn’t react. I just went into the bathroom where my partner was and had a cry. After 10 minutes we both came out, completely ignored Roo and went out for dinner. Upon our return Roo was back to normal, very happy to see us etc so we didn’t punish him. The second instance was on a walk with my partner - he had walked on ahead and Roo was struggling very hard to get to him, I’m the one who walks Roo the most so I was trying to get him to listen to me with treats etc, as he wouldn’t, I stepped infront of him to get his attention, Roo bit my leg and arm, again drawing blood. This time I did shout (wobbled due to shock, upset) and carried on walking, when we got to my partner he took Roo off me (this caused Roo to lunge at him angrily) my partner pulled him away by the scruff and walked home without me (to give us time apart) the 3rd time, i was home alone with Roo and was sat between him and the front door (please note - since first attack Roo has started barking at the door but we ignore this habit and that seems to work) i was setting up a treat puzzle game when Roo suddenly went for me (barking, puffy tail, big black eyes, lock jaw) thankfully he only got my jumper. I stayed very quiet until he let go and then moved myself back a bit (i was a bit cornered so didnt want to stand up quickly) Roo just went to lie down a few feet away with his back to me. The 4th time, we were on a walk with his walker, her dog and another dog. As we got to the park I put Roo on his long line, he seemed very eager to get into the park so I let him go (checked no one was there first) and he beelined for a tennis ball (Roo isn’t really allowed tennis balls as he literally destroys and eats them and gets very angry possessive with them) i managed to remove the ball by bribing with treats, after a few minutes Roo was sat between me and dog walker (seemed happy, tail wagging) as she was putting a harness on him, as she was adjusting the straps he went for her (same reaction - puffy tail, black eyes, lock jaw) luckily he only got her jumper but it was very shocking. It took about 10 minutes for him to seem back to normal (we didn’t punish, we simply ignored him behaviour and put him on a short leash for remainder of the walk) as we went back to van after he bit the walker, he went for one of the dogs and unfortunately came away with a puncture in his neck (healing now) i know dogs don’t bite for no reason but i’m at a total loss. He doesn’t seem to give me any warnings (i always try my best to read his body language) i’ve seen a behaviourist who has told us to muzzle train him, limit my physical contact with him and avoid conflict situations (let him have all his toys, don’t go near him at meal times etc) Roo is honestly so loving & friendly most the time, that this has been a really big shock for me. He does seem quite submissive (he will drop and army crawl towards dogs to greet them), he rolls on his back a lot etc but never has he been violent before. please if anyone can offer any advise, i’d really appreciate it
  7. Hi everyone, I’m just hoping to get some advice with my pup, I’ll try and detail as much as I can - we’ve had Reuben since he was 8 weeks old, he is now nearly 10 months old he is well trained, house trained etc however in the last couple of weeks he appears to be getting a lot of fear aggression. The first instance, we went to a dog friendly hotel for a night for my birthday and Reuben didn’t like the idea of being in the room and hearing people in the corridoor, he started barking (big black eyes, puffy tail) and I (probably stupidly) went over to calm him down and he bit my arm (drew blood and bruised) i stopped moving so he would let go, went into the bathroom and then we went to dinner, we ignored him before leaving him alone and when we returned he was very happy to see us. The second time, myself and my partner were on a walk, my partner was up ahead and Reuben was pulling loads trying to get to him whilst I was trying to get his attention on me, asked him to stop and sit, he wouldn’t so I stepped infront of him and he bit my leg and arm again (drew blood, bruised) I wailed, shouted No and walked on ignoring him. the third time, I was sat in the kitchen between Reuben and the front door and was setting up a nice treat puzzle game when he VERY suddenly barked, big black eyes, puffy tail and went for my arm again! I just got him off and then sat there crying - he laid down a few feet away from me with his back turned - I ignored him for the rest of the evening. A bit of back story, he has recently started barking at the front door (even in the middle of his food) we ignore his and he stops quickly and usually comes running up to us (as if afraid) We own our own dog friendly cafe and Reuben comes to work with us everyday, nothing in his routine has changed recently - however I am wondering, as he is a puppy and we’re training him inside he is leashed to his bed, he gets a 15 min walk in the morning and evening and between 1-3 hour walk in the day with dog walkers, but perhaps he feels trapped in the cafe? He is such a loving dog, enjoys cuddles, merting new people and loves everyone he meets. he is extremely submissive, when he meets a dog he will crawl on the floor to greet and then roll on his back, he also does this when customers go to greet him in his bed. please if anyone has advice? I am planning to take him to see a behaviourist but wanted to see if I can do anything in the mean time? I don’t ‘punish’ him as such after the attack, apart from ignoring, as honestly i’m afraid if i do, he’ll attack me more. he has only bitten me but has gone for my partner once to which he got a smack and dragged off thank you if anyone can help, feeling extremely desperate, scared and alone with this!
  8. 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!
  9. So I have a 2 year old neutered male. Since the day I brought him home he has been agressive to certain dogs. As long as a dog doesn’t bother him he’ll never go out of his way to attack. He responds this was both on and off leash. Off leash is generally better. He socializes with many dogs and loves to play but certain dogs he wants to kill. We have another dog in the house and they get along perfectly, however we just got a new dog and he hates her. I introduced them in a neutral area off leash and that didn’t help. I’ve tried associating her with treats and playing but he wants nothing to do with her and she just avoids him. I’ve also tried verbal correction but that did nothing. Any ideas?
  10. Hi, I was just looking for some advice. I have a female border collie and she’s 5 months old. She is such a confident pup and she loves playing with people and other dogs. The only real problem I’m experiencing is that she is really aggressive with resource guarding when it comes to chew sticks, bones and the like. She isn’t as bad with her normal food that she has at meal times but anything of ‘high value’ you just can’t go near her without her growling, showing her teeth then if you go to close she snaps at you. I’ve also found that if she’s fixated on something and you try and get her away from whatever it is she does the same thing. My girlfriend has guinea pigs and she will just sit and stare at them all day and won’t move even if you call her then when you go over to her she growls. Does anyone have any tips or training methods I can do to try and get her to stop this behaviour? Anyone with success stories having had this problem?  Any advice appreciated!  Thanks!
  11. Hi, I was just looking for some advice. I have a female border collie and she’s 5 months old. She is such a confident pup and she loves playing with people and other dogs. The only real problem I’m experiencing is that she is really aggressive with resource guarding when it comes to chew sticks, bones and the like. She isn’t as bad with her normal food that she has at meal times but anything of ‘high value’ you just can’t go near her without her growling, showing her teeth then if you go to close she snaps at you. I’ve also found that if she’s fixated on something and you try and get her away from whatever it is she does the same thing. My girlfriend has guinea pigs and she will just sit and stare at them all day and won’t move even if you call her then when you go over to her she growls. Does anyone have any tips or training methods I can do to try and get her to stop this behaviour? Anyone with success stories having had this problem? Any advice appreciated! Thanks!
  12. Hi, We have a wonderful 14 month-old male BC. We have not neutered him yet on concerns that doing so too early might cause problems later on. I have read that we should wait at least until he finishes puberty. He also has an undescended testicle. He goes to training (agility) camp five times a week, is toilet trained and so has free access to the house. He wags his tail so hard I think he is going to break himself in two when it is time to go to camp. When in his normal routine, he is happy, fun and great. It is when things change a bit that he goes a bit (or a lot) crazy. When we have guests, he might be ok or he might lunge at someone to attack him. On one occasion, he lunged at a 13 year old boy (we were obviously there to manage him) and the dog peed himself. We have also tried to take him out on walks but he is extremely difficult to manage. At camp or in our back yard he walks perfectly. Right beside the owner. At camp he even does so without a leash. But the moment we step into somewhere that is not his normal routine, he goes crazy. Part of his craziness is to mark territory everywhere he can. He is also quite eager to engage other dogs aggressively. My guess is that he is just going through puberty and will eventually calm down. My plan is to 1) keep pushing forward as best as possible with socialization events, like having guests over, taking him on walks, hiring someone to walk the dog, keep sending him to camp, etc.; 2) to wait until he is fully grown and neuter him (18 months?). So, I would very much appreciate any comment, suggestion, critique, etc. Are we going about this the right way? Is 18 months a good time to neuter him? Thanks,
  13. This will be long as I try to include any information that may be useful. Wink will be 10 months old next week. I adopted him as a 10 week old rescue border collie puppy back in January. He was from an unplanned but un-prevented litter on an Amish dairy farm. Wink was well socialized for a couple weeks at the rescue, then with me. I was planning to do pet therapy work with him and took him to all sorts of places, met lots of other people and other dogs and he was doing well. From the beginning there were some issues with resource guarding. I'd transitioned him to a raw diet within the first week and sometimes I'll give my dogs large pieces of food that are difficult to cut up, letting them eat enough for one meal and then taking it away for a later meal. The first time I did this with Wink he objected pretty ferociously. The intensity was unsettling in such a young pup, but I worked with him trading up and learning a leave it cue with lower value food items. He's never been happy with my taking high value food from him, but we'd gotten to the point quite some time ago where it's been manageable. And he was also quick to bark, both at things that caught his attention and demand barking. So, things had been going well up until maybe around 7- 8 weeks ago. I noticed that he was barking at more things more often and more excessively; he was quickly becoming more reactive to both people and dogs. I chalked it up to adolescence and possibly a fear period, but it kept intensifying. And it started becoming more aggressive. I took him to a farmers market one day and he went berserk barking at people, in particular a boy of about 11-12. He actually jumped up at the boy and nipped him. Fortunately he only got the boy's shirt but it was really unsettling; it looked aggressive to me, not just over excitement. I know this boy. I think he has Asperger's but he did absolutely nothing to provoke this. He hadn't tried to pet Wink (I think he may have asked, but hadn't moved to do it yet) or done anything out of the ordinary. A couple weeks later there was a boy visiting at the neighbors' house on the other side of the fence. He reacted very intensely. The boy moved further into the back of the yard and Wink followed, barking more loudly and aggressively. I was finally able to catch him by the collar and he tried to bite me. I'm not proud of this, but I reacted and slapped him on the muzzle. When I did that he snapped out of his frenzy, much like what you see in old movies when someone gets slapped to bring them out of hysteria. It was that dramatic. During this time he was also having slight brief scuffles with both of my other 2 dogs, especially the female. Tansy can be a bit of a brat, but until July of '15 I'd had three dogs and they all got along without any trouble. I rarely saw who started these tiffs and they usually lasted no more than a second. Then two.Then they kept increasing both in frequency and magnitude until there were a couple full blown fights. The latest at least have been over food. On Friday there was a huge fight over a cow hoof he was trying to steal from Tansy (when there were half a dozen nearby he could've had). She was trapped in a corner and he wasn't going to stop; even when I had him by the collar holding him back he was still trying to attack her. They've always been able to share licking food bowls or containers, but yesterday I gave them the basin I'd been using to cut up some beef and he went at Tansy in the worst fight yet. And he's attacked Bodhi for being near the garage door (dog food is stored in and often handed out from freezers in the garage), and Bodhi never starts fights. Ever. In between episodes he's still the sweet pup I've always known. He plays nicely with the other dogs, sleeps curled up with Tansy and is affectionate to me. It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I've taken away all chews except when he's crated and am very careful to be sure to avoid any food when either of the other dogs are around. I'd been considering it for a while, but after the fight with Tansy on Friday, I contacted the rescue to tell them Wink wasn't going to work for me and made arrangements to return him. We have an appointment for me to relinquish him this Thursday. As you can imagine, I'm heartbroken, but I need to have some peace in my household and I know my limits when it comes to the amount of work that it would require for the behavior modification he would need . . . if it would even work. But then there was a post from Dogs Naturally magazine on FB this morning about bad behavior being caused by health problems. www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/dogs-bad-behavior-health-problem/ Of course I'd considered the possibility, but this didn't look like the examples of thyroid or pain based aggression I was familiar with. But then this paragraph especially is making me wonder. After episodes, most of the animals appeared to come out of a trance like state, and were unaware of their bizarre behavior. … Investigators in recent years have noted the sudden onset of behavioral changes in dogs around the time of puberty or as young adults. (Ellipsis original) The first sentence describes perfectly what happened in the back yard, and the second is right on the mark with his age. The article goes on to say: The typical history starts out with a quiet, well-mannered and sweet-natured puppy or young adult dog. The animal was outgoing, attended training classes for obedience, working, or dog show events, and came from a reputable breeder whose kennel has had no prior history of producing animals with behavioral problems. At the onset of puberty or thereafter, however, sudden changes in personality are observed. Typical signs can be incessant whining, nervousness, schizoid behavior, fear in the presence of strangers, hyperventilating and undue sweating, disorientation, and failure to be attentive. These changes can progress to sudden unprovoked aggressiveness in unfamiliar situations with other animals, people and especially with children…. Could this be related to a thyroid issue? Is it something that could be treatable? Has anyone here had a similar experience? Of course I'll call the vet first thing in the morning to arrange for a blood draw, but in the meantime I'm really hoping some of the vets and/or techs may be able to shed some light on this. Thanks for reading. roxanne p.s. Just now as I was proofing this he went for Tansy again. No food, no chews, nothing to guard. Keeping them separated now.
  14. Hello, I'm new to posting here though I have been around before to browse general information. I am writing today because I have a 1 year old male Border Collie named Scout. He very large for a Border, standing at my shoulder level when he is on his hind legs (I am 5'8). He is intact, though he has an appointment to be neutered at the end of this week. We were told to wait until he was about a year old for the surgery in relationship to his leg bone growth. We have owned him since he was 12 weeks old, purchased from a breeder. We have 3 other dogs: 13 year old pom/chia mix, 10 year old black lab, 5 year old fox terrier, whom Scout has known since he arrived in our home. He started fighting some with the 13 year old when he was about 7-8 months old, just a lot of mouthing and growling no matter how ugly is actually looked. The older dog used to be the most dominant one in the house regardless of the fact that she was the smallest. We assumed the fighting between them was because the female would get into Scout's face and growl at him for no apparent reason and he just was old enough that he'd "had enough". He hasn't fought with her in several months now, but he does lower his head and grumble at her if she gets near him when I am around. With redirection he quickly leaves the situation. In the past week he has gotten into 2 fights with the other two dogs, both of which he has had no issues with since the day we brought him home. The first could be classified as food aggression: my husband was feeding all the dogs, and instead of feeding Scout first and crating him, he had all 4 dog bowls down at the same time. Scout may have perceived that the black lab was too close to his food and he bit her on the back side of her ear, leaving a relatively good size puncture wound. This dog yelped and escaped with no fighting back or even a growl. Fast forward to last night. I was letting the dogs in from outside all at once, just as we have since January. Scout and the fox terrier are suddenly fighting in another room! When I arrived, the fox terrier was still growling and bleeding from a small puncture wound under his jaw, and the entire side of his neck was soaked with saliva. After each fight that led to blood, my husband and I cleaned up the bleeding dog and disinfected wounds and Scout acted terrified....almost as if he was doing this out of fear/anxiety instead of a dominance thing. At one moment, he went into his crate and actually growled at me...I'm guessing because I was standing over him looking down? I'm not sure because within 30 seconds he was normal with me again. I'm really at a loss of where to go with this. It almost feels like the aggression is escalating, but I can't pinpoint the source. I'm afraid because I also have a 3 year old daughter and he sometimes gives her one of the border collie stares, or even lowers his head and turns his gaze from her. Do I find a behaviorist? Do I continue with my plans to neuter or will it make the situation worse? Any help someone could give would be great. Thank you!
  15. We adopted Bear when he was about 9 weeks old. He is a BC/Lab mix. We've never owned either of the breeds before. We have a beagle who is a few years older than Bear who we also raised and trained from puppy hood. Both are hobby agility dogs (meaning we show fewer than 6 times per year and train with a club weekly for fun's sake). Bear was not very good with new situations when he was a puppy, probably due to being taken to the vet so much due to an eye issue. He would throw up in the car due to anxiety every time we went anywhere. We still made him go places though, poor guy, and gave him a lot of positive reinforcement. He loves the car now as he knows it means we are going somewhere fun! When we first started going to the dog park, we took him to the small dog park and he seemed to have a great time romping around. We went 5 or 6 times and he was always relaxed. So we took him to the big dog park which is connected to the small dog park and completely in view. He ran screaming when the dogs came up to him. We didn't think much about it as the same thing happened to our beagle but she quickly got over it. Long story short, Bear was always uptight when we would go to the park. I thought he was just excited. He was submissive to dogs who paid attention to him but he never played. Eventually, however, he would start lick-attacking dogs that came too close to me. We worked on this by me holding on to his collar and saying ah-ah if he lunged and then saying yes (mark word) when he sat down and looked calmer. Eventually he ignored dogs that came near me and we were good...or so I thought. We rescued a 6-month old Great Dane/hound/lab pup, Happy, from the road in July. Bear let him know that Bear was allowed access to the porch when Happy became possessive the second day. They have been great friends since, constantly wrestling and tugging. Bear frequently flops on his back in front of the pup when they are playing. The pup was attacked by a dog a few weeks after we got him. We were desperate and let Bear and the beagle play distraction as the dog, who had slipped out of her collar, refused to get off the pup. Bear has again begun to lunge and snap at dogs who get too close to me when he is in his crazy state which is caused either by agility happening nearby or water being nearby or balls being thrown nearby. This almost always happens when he is on his leash. However, we went to one of our fairly regular dog parks recently. Bear and Happy had a stand off with two other dogs just a few moments after entering the park. I attempted to diffuse this by running off and singsoning, "Let's go, puppies!" Both followed me as well as one of the stand off dogs, whom my dogs promptly ignored. About half an hour later, a small dog decided to get snippy with my pup who responded by barking loudly at it, which set Bear off. He came zooming in from behind and growled and snapped at the little dog. the little dog drakes out and ran back to the bench its master was sitting on. My dogs followed the little dog and I immediately walked in the opposite direction and called them. They came to me and we put some distance between us. They calmed down and when the pup walked near the little dog later, he seemed calm but wary. Bear ignored the dog in favor of playing fetch with a little boy. Yesterday, I purchased new dog food. Bear joined his beagle sister in raw feeding a week ago. He growled at the pup for being near the food bin and then attacked him when he got too close to me on my chair. I grabbed him, gave him a firm no, and then rolled him on his back. Positive reinforcement when he calmed down. I have no idea if this was right but it was all instinct. I have little experience with aggressive dogs. He didn't break skin on the pup, but the rest of the day was pretty miserable with the pup being submissive and Bear doing a lot of posturing. Bear gets a lot of exercise as we have a fenced in back yard and 10 acres behind that. Also, he and the pup wrestle for hours. We do some sort of training about 15 minutes a day with each dog. Lastly, I have been doing some research and noticed there are stages of aggression, the first being growling. Bear has never growled before lunging. What am I doing wrong and how can I fix it? Did I break Bear when he was puppy? Is that why he plays like a maniac at home but won't play at the dog park? I know he has gone through a lot of changes recently, but I want to make sure he is successful, even if this is just a phase. Also, I have been researching calming methods, but wanted to get some direct recommendations from experienced BC handlers, particularly those who do agility or dock jumping or have ball obsessed dogs. I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to be as detailed as possible. Thank you, Julie
  16. My family dog is a young collie, about 2 years old, who seems to be suffering from extreme anxiety. In the house he is fine, but taking him out for walks is fast becoming impossible. He seems to stop when provoked by nothing, and cower, constantly pulling in the direction of home. He is very scared of trucks and motorbikes and will become stressed if they drive by, but it seems just being out is scaring him. He has been attacked by other dogs a couple of times in the park, and he has actually attacked another dog, even though he wasn't threatened. If another dog walks past him while he is on the lead he will sometimes growl and make a lunge for it. I have been abroad for a year and a half and have come home to find him like this. My parents are having a hard time coping with him. My dad has Parkinson's disease and so finds it very difficult to move, and having an out of control dog is extremely frustrating to him. To the point where he has actually been hitting the dog to try and discipline him or get him out of the way. This breaks my heart and I have had many arguments with him in an attempt to get him to stop. I am leaving to move to London on Monday and am worried that the dog will only get worse if I am not at home to train him. My mum wants to get a shock collar, but I think this is a terrible idea and will only serve to make him worse. Sorry for the long winded post, but we really love our dog, and I'm desperate to get him sorted out. At home he is extremely loving and playful. I have suggested to my mum that we should take him back to the Dog's Trust, because I am sick with worry at what might happen while I am away. Please any advice will be appreciated!! To get him to calm down on his walks and stop being so scared, and be more disciplined with my dad. Thank you!
  17. Hello fellow Border Collie lovers! I'm just going to start by apologizing that I'm another newbie who's going to post asking for advice, but I have read through so many threads that now I feel like I have too many competing ideas floating around my head. I am 22 and Addison is my first dog on my own. I know a Border Collie is a bold choice for a first dog, but I have a lot of time to devote to her, previous experience with dogs, and the commitment to work with her. Plus I found her on craigslist and felt responsible for taking care of her so she didn't end up with someone less capable! I had been looking for a dog for a while and found a college kid's add for her on craigslist. He had gotten her before he had an apartment and only had her for two weeks before he signed a new lease that didn't allow dogs.....idiotic, but none the less he needed her gone by the end of the day. He told me that she is "probably" a Border Collie Sheltie mix, but he wasn't sure because he had bought her from someone who rescued dogs from Amish farms. So far, I think he's correct. Addie has the body of a Sheltie and a coat that looks like it could be a cross between Sheltie and Smooth coated Border- longer than a smooth coated, but shorter and less silky than a rough coated border. Addison is 10 months, 28lbs and stands just below my knee. She has extremely long legs, and a long face like a Sheltie but the coloring of a Border and definitely the temperament! Addie is everything you could hope for in a BC. She is inquisitive, aware, playful, sweet and devoted. She is the sweetest, most quiet, most loving and attentive dog I've ever met - when people meet her they are basically mesmerized by her soft, expressive eyes. She has the BC stare and is very chatty but pretty much only with me. She was surprised/afraid of anything unfamiliar when I first got her and would bark and bark until I could get her to investigate it. She still does this rarely, but she is much more confident and less skiddish. She doesn't crouch like I had expected, but from what I understand not 100% of BCs do. Since she's from an Amish farm she may not even be mixed at all - who knows. I've definitely found that mental games and human interaction wear her out much better and faster than anything physical so I try to do both every day. As far as mental games go, Addie really enjoys anytime I hide something - especially treats inside of something. She loves to guess which of the three cups a treat is under when I shuffle them around. She loves to try and guess where I'm going to through her ball and to follow me around the house. I've never seen her as tired as after we take a walk down a really busy street or to the quad on my campus because there's so much to see and so many people to meet. It also only took me a couple months to realize that she's probably not a dog park kind of dog. Like the other BCs on this thread, she is very choosy about who she deems worthy of friendship. At the park she often acts as the "fun police" and comes home more wound up that before we left. Addie has an alpha dog personality and always wants to be top dog in a group. Only on a couple occasions have I seen her take spot number two and that's my parents labradoodle and my boyfriends parents dogs. Both occasions involved her and I visiting someone's house where there already was an alpha dog and an extensive introduction among the dogs where I had to have Addison lie on her back and let the other dogs sniff her. She's occasionally stubborn when it comes to me giving her commands, but it's becoming less frequent as I'm strict about being top dog. I'm starting to think it may just be a teenage phase. Sorry for the extensive description I'm just hoping the more you know the better you can help! Now for the two behaviors I'm having a hard time understanding and choosing a method of training her on! 1. She barks out the window constantly and excessively/loudly. I have read that this could mean she isn't stimulated/exercised enough at home and that could be true..but more than anything it seems like she has chosen the job of guard dog and is taking it very seriously. She hears and sees things I've never noticed and makes sure I notice them! I've tried a couple different things - telling her off the couch or away from the window and making her sit until she relaxes then allowing her to return - just recently I started going over to the window letting her know I see what it is and then giving her an end command. Both work to get her to stop barking in the moment, but neither has taught her to stop or at least limit her barking overall. She will bark at something in the street endlessly unless I give her a command or come to the window and even then she's really reluctant to stop. 2. She's a nightmare on her leash. And I don't mean tugging which she does, but we've made a lot of progress towards heeling recently so I'm not so worried. Anytime she sees another dog she goes completely insane - lunging, growling, barking like a maniac. Usually she spends a couple minutes intently watching the dog - her posture will be alert but not aggressive at first. Sometimes she will even sit and wait for them to pass - which I think is because she knows she must sit in order to get anything she wants (not that I give her everything she wants, but I only ever allow her to do things once she sits first) I also taught her to do this when there are too many people walking by. I live in Chicago so sometimes there's a stroller, a kid on a scooter and two parents all on one side walk and I find it a lot easier to just take a step aside and have Addie sit and wait for them to pass. The only problem is a lot of fellow dog owners think this is a sign or her being very friendly and well behaved..only to realize once they get too close that she's a maniac who wants to literally murder their dog. Here's the issue - I can't decide if it's fear aggression or just straight up aggression. At first I was all about strict discipline and it only kind of worked like she knew she had done something bad but it seemed as though she cared about the job more than anything. Recently I've switched to a baiting/distracting tactic. I also read that she could be picking up on my fear/tension so now when we're walking and she sees a dog approaching, I'll use a soft happy voice and say something like "Addie who is that? is that a puppy friend? look at that friend!" (dont laugh haha) it seems to help especially combined with a happy, comforting but very rushed passing by the dog. I guess I'm looking for advice because like a typical BC she learned everything so quickly and I feel like I've got to be doing something wrong, or at least not good enough, if I still haven't been able to discourage her from starting these two behaviors. Like I said I've gotten pretty good at getting her to stop once she starts, but is there hope that someday she just won't start? Ideally I would like to absolutely eliminate the walking problem - Chicago is a busy city and I want to be able to walk my pup in peace! I understand that the barking out the window might not be able to be completely eradicated and I don't mind, but if I could just get it to a couple, not so intense, warning barks I would be so pleased. I'm open to anything and everything, but mainly looking sincere, helpful, friendly advice. I'm sure I've exposed some of my BC ignorance or just naivety in my post, but if you could just be kind I would really appreciate it. Thank you!
  18. After much thought, my wife and I have made the hard decision to rehome one of our two BCs: Cocoa, a 2.5 year old red female, 51lbs, spayed, and up to date on her shots. Cocoa is so sweet, full of love and excitement. She loves people of all ages (she has been great with our son, from birth to the toddler he is now), and has just enough "puppy" left in her to be fun and trainable. Unfortunately, although we purchased her as a companion to our 4yo male, Toby, she just isn't good with other dogs, not even him. While it appears to be aggression, we believe it's mostly fear. Basically, she growls and barks at other dogs from a distance, and she may nip at them if they get too close, especially big black dogs. Obviously her behavior is not terribly uncommon, and is far from severe. If we weren't a family of two working parents with a 2 year old son and another son due in two months, we'd definitely do what we could to train this problem out of her. Overwhelmed, as you can imagine, it's just not in our capacity to address the problems properly right now, and it just isn't fair to her to have to live with this correctable problem. Cocoa is an ideal family dog. She was an "indoor" dog with us, but as a purebred from a working line, she is intelligent and loves being outside too. Cocoa would do best in a family where she was either the only dog who didn't get taken to "dog-rich" environments often OR with an owner with the time, resources and patience to work this problem out of her so she could live a full life! We live in Colorado Springs, and we'd be happy to work out specifics with any interested party.
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