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Laddie (my border collie) is 2-3 years old and is very energetic. She is friendly and has a big heart, but we have been facing a few problems on our hour-long walks lately and I just wanted some advice on how to lower her aggression levels and how to over-all create a better atmosphere for the walk. I try to take her out as much as I can. It is mostly everyday, but sometimes it is eroded to every other day. I do not have time to take her out in the mornings. That is absolute. I have tried the treadmill, but Laddie did not seem pleased with the idea, so that was scratched. I am usually out of the house for most of the day, and I get back at around 4:00. I immediately take Laddie, out, and for about 10-15 minutes I ride my bike around my large yard, with her following and running along beside. I do this so that on the walk she is tired and spent of any energy, but that does not work. Still, I start off with that, then when she seems tired I hook on her leash and doggy backpack filled with weighted knickknacks. We start our hour-long walk, but when we start getting into a rhythm Laddie plows ahead of me. I reign her back and keep the leash about a foot long so that she stays beside me (I have had blisters from this part because the leash is so taut it slices my fingers). It's hard to hold her back, and I try to keep my energy calm-assertive, but she seems oblivious to my inner struggle for control. Apart from pulling, Laddie is aggressive with other dogs on-leash. Off-leash she is okay, not overly friendly but not aggressive. When we are on our walk, however, she goes into attack mode. When a dog comes into view, I tug her to the other side of the road, so they are not walking towards eachother. But Laddie has her gaze set on the other dogs, and her hackles and shoulder-fur start to rise. Nervous at this point, I try and snap her out of whatever trance she is in- gently nudge her, click my tongue, call her name, clap my fingers, poke her ear, touch her hackles, whatever I can think of. I have even held a treat out in front of her, but usually she just ignores it and stares at the other dog, her muzzle going crinkly as she bares her teeth. Then when the other owner and dog are close enough, she goes into a flurry of barking and lunging and growling. She tugs so hard on the leash that when I pull her back, it makes her stand on her two back legs. At this point, I am thoroughly embarrassed and try and walk her forward, but she refuses to budge as she portrays aggressive behavior toward the other dog (One time, she was so excited that she accidentally tripped me). When the owner and dog walk quickly away, I am thoroughly irritated and hurry to finish the walk, and this whole process repeats over again. Advice on how to correct this aggressive behavior would be appreciated. Thank you!
On Wednesday I had the chance to have a big hat come to my farm from Grass Creek to work my sheep. They wanted to practice driving and I wanted to see what my sheep would do with an experienced dog. Until now the only times have been pup gets lose or neighbors dog trying to move them and being chased back to us. I called the sheep down to a large open hay field and he asked how many he could work I said all them if you want. So away went the dog with in a couple of minutes they were moving around the field in an orderly fashion. It was unbelievable for sheep that had been attacked all summer by coyotes and never moved with a dog. It was exactly what I had pictured a flock moving with a dog should be. He was explaining whistle types and theory He was attempting to show me if the whistle he gave was quicker the dog would speed up slower dog slowed down. He gave the whistle to speed up dog didn’t change speed he did again no change. He gave the dog a hard down which he said he used as his correction then gave command again. As soon as the dog attempted to speed sheep up ewes began to spin and face him. One ewe which is the daughter of my most protective ewe. Actual made contact with dog her lamb which is about 4 months old joined in and went after the dog as well he backed off and everybody was driving around the field as per instruction as soon as there was an attempt to move them quicker ewes took exception. I truly believe the dog sensed that the speed he was moving them at was the right speed and that is why he was ignoring speed up command. This experience left with a few questions Is it the confidence of the dog that allows the sheep to trust him/her enough to move them instead of head long flight which is what I get when they see my pup. Is it common for experienced dogs to be able to read sheep and know what there comfort/flight zone or bubble is Did the sheep handle better because it was a large group with dog or would a smaller group move just as well Dan & Tilly