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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
I have an 11 month old BC puppy, who I re-homed from another family when she was 6 months old. She spent most of her first 6 months on farm properties and I feel like she had never really experienced all of the sights and sounds of a suburban area until she moved in with us. As a result, she was very reactive to strangers and other dogs at first (lunging and barking). We have taken her to obedience classes and we have been doing a lot of training with her. She is no longer reactive to strangers during the daytime and she is slowly getting more comfortable passing other dogs (we are slowly closing in the space between us and them and rewarding her with lots of treats in the process). However, we live in a country that only gets a few hours of daylight during the winter months. I've noticed that she seems a little skittish in the dark and tends to be reactive to passers by. Our trainer told us it's not unusual for dogs of her age to go through a fear phase, with darkness being a common fear. I take her for her evening walk a little later when I know there will be less people around. Tonight, we were walking down a short and narrow, snowy footpath (a route that we take most evenings). All of a sudden a woman came out of her house and was following us down the path. My pup stopped and turned around and I could tell by her body language that she was nervous. Then, out of nowhere a guy appeared at the bottom of the footpath and started to walk up towards us. She panicked and was running in circles on her leash and I fell over backwards on the ice. I managed to regain my balance and hold on to her. She had dropped to the ground which is generally what she does before she starts barking and lunging at a person. I was trying to get her attention with treats, but the space between her and the guy was just too close for her. I thought he would see me struggling and give us a little space, but instead he walked right towards us, and of course, she jumped up and started barking / lunging. I explained to him that she was very nervous, but he totally ignored me. He continued to try and get past us and I couldn't move at all because she was pulling so hard and the ground was so slippery. In future, do you think it would be a good idea for me to ask people to stop and give us some space to pass to avoid getting caught in a situation like this? I usually avoid narrow paths and stick to the wider roads while we're in training, but this one is so short and we've been walking down it every night for weeks without any events. Do you have any advice on how to better handle these situations in future?
Hi everyone, I have a 1.5 year old female BC who is very nervous around new people. Not all people, some she warms up to quite quickly, where as others she never gets comfortable around. I have had her since 10 weeks, and she has come from a great litter and her breeders are wonderful. She has been well socialized with family dogs, dog parks, training class (foundation work plus agility) and off leash walks. She LOVES other dogs, but she does have some on-leash reactivity, when off the leash she shows no reactivity at all, and she is getting very good about waiting until I give her release word to go up to a dog. However, with humans sometimes she runs up to them barking, sometimes she couldn't care less. If i make her sit and stay until the people walk by, she has taken to running after the person barking, once they've already gone by. She is very nervous around my partners family, even though she has known them since we got her. They are very friendly and love her, but she is so nervous. Anytime any of them get up out of their chair, she runs away and barks. She will go up and take treats, but she leaves her back feet planted and stretches her body till she can just grab the treat, then high tails it out of there. And it doesn't matter if where we are, she is still so nervous. Looking for some tips to help this, as we want her to come out of her shell. We are doing agility and working on trick training to build confidence. I've never had a dog who was this particular about her humans before!