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Found 7 results

  1. Hi again all, it's been a while since i posted. Bailey is now just over 19 months and has turned into a wonderful dog. However, 2 months ago we had him chemically castrated via Suprelorin (6 months) and the change in him has been unbelievable He's far more anxious, reactive and on edge than I've ever seen him. We're assuming this is implant related but possibly this also coincides with more adolescence (his recall has also dipped)? Any thoughts on this? He's always struggled with leash reactivity but we have been DS/CC training for months and had got to a really good place with him, but now it's been a gigantic backwards step and he's hugely reactive to all sorts of things, including the door and people, but also some inanimate objects he sees on walks. Thankfully we opted for chemical, not surgical, castration as we knew there was a risk it could impact his reactivity, but i wasn't expecting this reaction. It should wear off in ~4 months and in the meantime we're going back to basics with DS/CC and training calm, as we don't want these behaviours to become habitual. Has anyone else been through this? Any advice on how to help his anxiety and confidence? I love him dearly but it has been very hard and stressful on all of us.
  2. 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
  3. Hi, I'm new here! I've been reading up on some of the boards, and I have one question I haven't been able to find an answer to, and maybe there isn't a definitive one. I recently lost my 9 year old border collie rescue (got him at the age of 2) after an almost month long battle with pancreatitis. It sucks, and he left a rather large hole, and things just aren't the same with only my 12 1/2 yr old lab mix as the only dog in the house. So, I've been looking for a reputable BC breeder. I considered other breeds, and ultimately, I just loved so many qualities of the breed and they really are a good fit for us. About us: I take my dog running (well did, my lab is too old), hiking, and we played a lot of frisbee. We go to the lake where the other homeowners on the lake front and us let our dogs run and mingle together and they got along well enough- my BC was a bit of a snob. He was known as the frisbee dog that wouldn't quit out there and everyone loved him. We spend a great deal of time at rodeos and softball/baseball games and tourneys in the summers. I tried to bring my BC several times, but he was very "reactive." He would lunge and snarl at horses, spooking them, and bark incessantly when other dogs were present at these softball/baseball games (or really most places). My 16 year old rodeos, so when we go, we are there for the weekend and sleep in the horse trailer. There are farm dogs everywhere. I now understand this can be part of the breed and I should have managed it much, much earlier. I plan to prevent these behaviors by early, careful, and frequent socialization, which is why I want a puppy to bring home by early summer so I have ample opportunities. We will also be doing puppy classes and going forward, CGC for any new dog in my world. The issue is that we don't live on a farm/acerage with these livestock and horses. My daughter barrel races, and the horses she uses are 30 minutes away at my sister's home. My sister's pit bull has attacked both of my dogs, so I will not take my pup there. I do plan to visit other friends with livestock and horses. So, is it best to pick a BC from a breeder with proven working or farm dogs? That maybe has seen a cow or horse before I've ever brought it home? Or can I pick one from the breeder I like best that trains BC and uses them for agility, obedience, and what not? Is that dog going to potentially be more reactive in these situations? Thanks for taking my rookie question
  4. Hello, I'm feeling discouraged and need to hear your encouraging stories about difficult reactive OCD dogs. :-( We adopted Merlin a year ago. He was 3 years old and had been given to a shelter by his previous owner. We know very little about his life before: he was with the same owner for 3 years until he moved in with his girlfriend, who had "a little dog", the two of them didn't get along well and they decided to give Merlin. He was with 2 different foster families for 2 months until we adopted him. Since the beginning, we noticed Merlin was very anxious and fearful. He had this spinning behavior and obsession with the neighbor's cat that worried us and he was not interested in toys or in playing games. We did a 2-week test before officially adopting Merlin and I remember sitting on the floor and crying one day because I already loved him, but I wondered whether we should return him and try to find a "normal" dog. Of course, we ended up keeping him. Time passed and nothing changed much. Merlin was an anxious, fearful dog who had very little interest in us. I assume he was raised as an "object" and had very little attention from his former owner, never learned how to play with humans, never learned to have fun with toys or games or tricks. We first tried going to a group obedience class, thinking it would help him learn new things and bond with us, but it was a disaster. We knew very little about the different training techniques and the "no violence" method this trainer offered turned out to be pretty violent, with choking collars and scaring the dog to respect you. It didn't help Merlin at all. We finally found a positive reinforcement professional and we tried a few training techniques. But Merlin is not very crazy about food and treats, so we have a hard time making progress. We tried several natural aids to help him calm down, with no or very little success. We ended up asking a veterinarian to give us something to help him. He made a lot of progress with fluoxetine (calmer, fewer spins, no more shut downs, more interest in us) but with time he started developing a reactivity with other dogs on the street (barking and snapping). We finally had an appointment with a veterinary behaviorist, that diagnosed Merlin with OCD and did not discard neurological problems (due to his pretty intense shut downs). She changed the drug from fluoxetine to fluvoxamine to see if it could help with the reactivity. She said he could have adverse reactions during 5 days or so (like more anxiety). Since day 2 he was at already 10x more anxious, restarted old behaviors like the spinning and shut downs (which had been gone for a couple months with the fluoxetine) and started having terrible panic attacks whenever we went for a walk. By panic attack I mean barking non-stop and spinning and pulling on the leash for no obvious reason (no dog, no cat, no person, no car: nothing). The vet told us to try for a few more days, so he was on fluvoxamine for 10 days. The next step would be to wait 1 week and then try another drug (Clomicalm). And this is where we are now. It's been 5 days we stopped the fluvoxamine and no sign of Merlin getting back to normal. I'm starting to lose hope he will ever stop those panic attacks on the street. We need to go for walks for his pee/poo needs, so we have to live with that for the moment. Sorry for the long text, but I needed to get it off my chest. :-( I would love to hear your stories of difficult dogs that eventually got better with the help of drugs and/or time, patience and love. Thanks!
  5. Hoping for some insight and/or training tips for a car-obsessed BC rescue, neutered female, 3-5 y.o. Any ideas for better bonding/training/behavior conditioning, books, youtube videos, etc., would be tremendously appreciated. I fear that if I cannot make more progress on this, I may have to return her to rescue as she is right now at high risk of being killed or causing a traffic accident --- I just cannot be vigilant enough to guarantee she will never have an opportunity to escape the leash/yard/front door. I previously raised a BC from a working line from puppyhood, who loved anything in motion but had no reactivity to cars. I live in a suburb with a fair amount of traffic and traffic noise from a nearby 4 lane street. My new BC rescue (11 weeks since adoption) is highly reactive to cars moving within 50 feet, and wants to eye/stalk/chase. She also becomes extremely agitated (panting/eye stalking) when traveling in the car. She has lunged hard enough at passing traffic to break the leash clip open on one occasion (she now has a chest harness with a heavy duty clip). She is even highly reactive to traffic noise from a nearby street. She has twice escaped from her lead/the house and made a beeline for this heavily trafficked street although there was no car traffic visible to her at the time -- then sat/lay down on the median and watched as if herding. She has NOT actually tried to chase the traffic, but I live in fear that she could cause a serious accident to drivers on that street. I am also at risk of being pulled off my feet when she lunges, which is dangerous because I have early onset osteoporosis. After working on clicker counter conditioning for this reactivity with a trainer over the last month, she is LESS reactive -- I can break her off the stare/drop down/chase sequence to look at me with treats in hand -- but she will not listen if no food is around. We have also done lots of training for "watch me," which also works only to a very limited degree once the treats are gone and she sees a car moving within 50 feet. She has ZERO interest in toys/tennis balls/tugging or chase games with flying objects, and is generally low energy (for a BC). She will actually turn her head away in avoidance if a toy is presented to her. She previously was in a foster family with a farm for 3 months, where she could ramble daily over 50 acres, but showed zero interest in herding their sheep. Because of their relative isolation from traffic, the foster family did see her car reactions, and did not report any reactivity to cars before I adopted. She has no instinctive recall either, nor any inborn circling pattern, and although I am working on it, I don't anticipate that she will ever have the recall that some BCs have that are raised properly from puppyhood, or just have as a genetically bred for trait so that they can do their job for a farmer.
  6. Brix is now 10 mo. old and her behavior is starting to change a lot. She has become very reactive to her environment. It's no surprise since we moved when she was 9 mo. old to a house that had neighbor dogs on either side, a very reactive and aggressive cat as well as a host of noises and yard animals like occasional rabbits and squirrels. To make matters worse we have huge sliding glass windows looking out on the yard. The big issue has been the cat. Her reactivity starting shortly after being attacked by the cat. Now all cats are an issue to be barked at at best or lunged and growled at at worst. I've worked so hard to introduce her to just about everything since the day she came home and she didn't show any reactivity to anything outside of the normal puppy timidness. Barking is a new issue and I'm working hard to keep that calmed down, but the approach on how to do that is still unclear. Just the other day she showed her first sign of defensive behavior and nipped at my girlfriend's hand when she tried to grab and move a bone we had given her. This is the first time she's done that So naturally I'm concerned and quite anxious about these changes. I'm not sure how much of it is a normal phase for this age. I tend to want to make every little thing an issue, mainly because I've been around a lot of bad behavior dogs and I vowed to do everything I could to avoid it. In a lot of ways it feels like the months of training I did with her have no affect at all. Can you all share some of your experiences with getting your BC through adolescence?
  7. Hi! Does anyone have any success stories they can share with me on rehabilitating a fearful dog into one who is able to enjoy life outside the home? Here is what's going on with us: I recently rescued a young border collie at about 8 months old. He is now about 10 months. So only had him a couple months. He had almost no socialization in his early life. I feel his fears are much more strongly nurture than nature. He isn't what I would call skittish because he doesn't jump up and dash when he hears a sudden noise and he slept through the fireworks this 4th of July, he just cannot handle new outdoor situations very well and gets very weird around new kids and unfamiliar big men. In these outdoor settings he will refuse treats and toys. I have gotten him to play ball a bit at a nearby park after a few times going there and getting him used to the park. But he is still wary even as he goes for the ball. I am wondering if this is a dog that will ever be able to do things like agility etc. I mean he may warm up to one training facility but in competitions the locations are always new and different with different dogs and people. I am currently doing sheep herding with him which is the only thing he seems to show no fear with and he has shown interest in working cattle but I will wait on the cattle. I realize this may be a fear period but I feel its more just lack of socialization. Wondering if he will be able to walk out my front door with me happy and excited to see what fun things I have planned for him rather than slinking out the door looking over his shoulder all worried. Also I know I have not had him long to I may be expecting too much too soon but I am just wondering if others have had a similar situation and had a great outcome with time and patience. Thanks!!
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