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Serious problem with our border collie

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We got a 1 yr old border collie from the humane society about 5 mos. ago in St. Augustine, FL. They said that she was a mix, but we later found out that she is a pure bred. She has improved in some areas, but the most serious problem we have is her inability to get along with other dogs. She is a very sweet dog with humans, but turns into Kujo whenever she even sees another dog. We had a one on one session with a trainer a few times and she gave us a gentle leader collar which has helped her with some of her behaviors. We also watched the dog whisperer dvd's and we got her a doggy backpack. The backpack has helped prevent her from trying to herd cars while we walk her, but still does not prevent her from going off when she sees another dog. She is about 100 times worse than any dog that had problems dealing with other dogs on the dog whisperer. We think that she probably wasn't socialized with other dogs as a puppy or possibly she was abused. All of the websites we have been to say that these dogs usually get along with other dogs. We feel like her aggression toward other dogs is getting worse. Unfortunately, we live in an apt. (in a busy neighborhood) but we walk her 30 min with her backpack on and we exercise her in this private secluded area (to make sure she is not around other dogs). We don't know anyone that has a balanced dog that we could practice having her come up to. Has anyone ever seen this kind of behavior in a border collie and do you have any further recommendations?

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We got a 1 yr old border collie from the humane society about 5 mos. ago in St. Augustine, FL. They said that she was a mix, but we later found out that she is a pure bred. She has improved in some areas, but the most serious problem we have is her inability to get along with other dogs. She is a very sweet dog with humans, but turns into Kujo whenever she even sees another dog. We had a one on one session with a trainer a few times and she gave us a gentle leader collar which has helped her with some of her behaviors. We also watched the dog whisperer dvd's and we got her a doggy backpack. The backpack has helped prevent her from trying to herd cars while we walk her, but still does not prevent her from going off when she sees another dog. She is about 100 times worse than any dog that had problems dealing with other dogs on the dog whisperer. We think that she probably wasn't socialized with other dogs as a puppy or possibly she was abused. All of the websites we have been to say that these dogs usually get along with other dogs. We feel like her aggression toward other dogs is getting worse. Unfortunately, we live in an apt. (in a busy neighborhood) but we walk her 30 min with her backpack on and we exercise her in this private secluded area (to make sure she is not around other dogs). We don't know anyone that has a balanced dog that we could practice having her come up to. Has anyone ever seen this kind of behavior in a border collie and do you have any further recommendations?

 

I would call the Cesar Milan, the dog whisperer

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So how much exercise does she get each day? A 1/2 hr walk is NOT going to be enough for a young BC - remember, a tired dog is a good dog. Do you play any mind games with her? What kind of training has she had? What type of training do you do on a daily basis? Have you trained for distractions? Have you done any work with focus?

 

To me it kind of sounds like you have a young, bored, high drive dog, without much training. If you can give some more details of your structure and routine, maybe we can come up with some steps for you to work on with her.

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My Maggie was, and still can be, dog reactive/aggressive. Corrections (like you see on TV) made her about 10 times worse around other dogs, so I'd steer clear of those. If I were in your spot I'd get the book "Fight" by Jean Donaldson and "How to Speak Dog" by Coren - Dondaldson's book addresses dog-dog aggression of all types and Coren's book teaches you how to read body language well which will help tons down the road.

 

The bottom line is that you'll need to take baby steps with your girl to rehab her to the point where she's not actively reacting to other dogs w/in a certain distance (many dogs never can play with other dogs and that is ok, some may be able to play with others w/ a lot of work and supervision).

 

You should def look into working with a veterinary behaviorist (or a Certified Pet Dog Trainer with experience with interdog aggression) - they are totally worth the money and will be better able to help you than someone online since they will see the reactions in person.

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I agree - BABY STEPS!

 

My dog was really dog reactive when I got him (human reactive, too)... and the best advice was to go really slowly.

 

Walk the dog FAR from other dogs at first - where he can see them and still be far enough away to not react. Reward for calm behavior when other dogs are in sight. Then move the radius closer and closer. My dog does best if I make him do a "lie down" when he meets a big, new dog on his "turf."

 

Flooding my dog with too much, too soon only made him worse. Correcting him with leash jerks just seemed to make him even more angry to be near dogs and people.

 

I think Donaldson and McConnell are the best ones to read. Their advice helped more than any "corrective" advice, or dominance theory. Making the dog associate other dogs with GOOD things seemed to be the magic trick.

 

Mary

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Flooding my dog with too much, too soon only made him worse. Correcting him with leash jerks just seemed to make him even more angry to be near dogs and people.

 

I agree with that one. I had a very reactive male dog. He had some underlying issues that when cleared up the habit of dog aggression was just that, a habit. No matter how hard I corrected him he thought I meant to amp up his "correction" to the other dog in the same manner. He does the same on sheep.

I have found that redirecting him to something he likes, like "hey Mick whatcha doing? Or where’s a stick?" has worked well. As time has passed I grew more trust worthy and let him re-direct himself. He'll still bristle sometimes but backs down when I don't react or react very nonchalantly.

 

I have another very dog aggressive female who was not socialized properly when we got her at 10 months. I've found with her the best thing for me to do is to step into the aggressing dog (even if the dog mean well) and stop them from getting to her. She would never start things unless the other dog was in her "space". Over the years she has really mellowed and will allow a dog to step into her space as long as she has a way to remove herself if things get out of her control.

 

I'll bet you are sending very nervous messages down your leash to your girl. Not that I blame you but they pick up on things that our body tells them. Act and think calm and she'll pick up on that. Maybe you'll never have a dog friendly dog but you can get her to accept what she has to with time.

 

I like the suggestions of finding someone who knows how to deal with these issues. You need solid advise that can't be given unless the dog is seen in action, but most of all send her a calm message during her aggression (way easier to write than to do) and remove her before things get out of hand.

 

Kristen

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Check around to see if anyone offers 'Feisty Fido' classes... specifically for reactive dogs.

 

I agree that this is the best suggestion of all.

 

If you can't find a class, here are two more books that you may find useful. Both are available through dogwise.com or amazon:

 

Feisty Fido, by Patricia McConnell

Scaredy Dog, by Ali Brown

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Is your dog aggressive in every situation with other dogs? Luke was the best dog in three obedience classes and is never aggressive in an actual nose to nose encounters. And he never even growled once durring our othe BC's puppyhood even though she nearly bit his nose to pieces. However, on our walks he goes CRAZY for a few moments when another dog on a leash directally approaches us (with an off leash dog, he just stands still). I tried all kinds of things to correct this without luck. It might just be BC weirdness.

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We got a 1 yr old border collie from the humane society about 5 mos. ago in St. Augustine, FL. They said that she was a mix, but we later found out that she is a pure bred. She has improved in some areas, but the most serious problem we have is her inability to get along with other dogs. She is a very sweet dog with humans, but turns into Kujo whenever she even sees another dog. We had a one on one session with a trainer a few times and she gave us a gentle leader collar which has helped her with some of her behaviors. We also watched the dog whisperer dvd's and we got her a doggy backpack. The backpack has helped prevent her from trying to herd cars while we walk her, but still does not prevent her from going off when she sees another dog. She is about 100 times worse than any dog that had problems dealing with other dogs on the dog whisperer. We think that she probably wasn't socialized with other dogs as a puppy or possibly she was abused. All of the websites we have been to say that these dogs usually get along with other dogs. We feel like her aggression toward other dogs is getting worse. Unfortunately, we live in an apt. (in a busy neighborhood) but we walk her 30 min with her backpack on and we exercise her in this private secluded area (to make sure she is not around other dogs). We don't know anyone that has a balanced dog that we could practice having her come up to. Has anyone ever seen this kind of behavior in a border collie and do you have any further recommendations?

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Is your dog aggressive in every situation with other dogs? Luke was the best dog in three obedience classes and is never aggressive in an actual nose to nose encounters. And he never even growled once durring our othe BC's puppyhood even though she nearly bit his nose to pieces. However, on our walks he goes CRAZY for a few moments when another dog on a leash directally approaches us (with an off leash dog, he just stands still). I tried all kinds of things to correct this without luck. It might just be BC weirdness.

 

We received our 4 year old female when she was 1 year old. She came from a home of multliple BC's and Labs. She was the youngest. She to this day does not like other dogs. I think the older dogs may have picked on her. She came to live with us because she would not perform her agility skills anymore.

Something spooked her and all she did was bark. She had to resort to a house dog. (she still has a barking problem. Very afraid of people she does not know).

At first she was okay with other dogs. We had taken a vacation and left her at a cage free bording place. She did well the first time, however next small trip we had to return and take her home as she was nipping at all dogs. Took her to Dog Beach and we saw the same thing. Before I go to work I play 15 to 20 mins. with her. We walk her every night and in time she has learned to behave when she sees other dogs. I pull on her leash when we are approaching other dogs. I tell her be a good girl and if she tries to bark or go towards the dog I pull harder and repeat no, be a good girl. To this day she still does not care for other dogs. We do have an older wired haired terrier whom she gets along with, although he is outside and she is inside.

He does keep her company when she is outdoors. Come treat time she is very defensive with him.

When we have to board her, we found a place where she has her own run. She can bark at the dogs but not nip. She seems to do very good there. She however still does not care for other dogs when we walk, but in time has learned to walk forward as fast as she can and will not be friendly otherwise.

I say keep walking him and just reinforce the pulling of the leash as disaproval of the going off behavior.

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We got a 1 yr old border collie from the humane society about 5 mos. ago in St. Augustine, FL. They said that she was a mix, but we later found out that she is a pure bred. She has improved in some areas, but the most serious problem we have is her inability to get along with other dogs. She is a very sweet dog with humans, but turns into Kujo whenever she even sees another dog. We had a one on one session with a trainer a few times and she gave us a gentle leader collar which has helped her with some of her behaviors. We also watched the dog whisperer dvd's and we got her a doggy backpack. The backpack has helped prevent her from trying to herd cars while we walk her, but still does not prevent her from going off when she sees another dog. She is about 100 times worse than any dog that had problems dealing with other dogs on the dog whisperer. We think that she probably wasn't socialized with other dogs as a puppy or possibly she was abused. All of the websites we have been to say that these dogs usually get along with other dogs. We feel like her aggression toward other dogs is getting worse. Unfortunately, we live in an apt. (in a busy neighborhood) but we walk her 30 min with her backpack on and we exercise her in this private secluded area (to make sure she is not around other dogs). We don't know anyone that has a balanced dog that we could practice having her come up to. Has anyone ever seen this kind of behavior in a border collie and do you have any further recommendations?

 

Hi, I'm kinda in the same boat. Except, in October we rescued 2 Collie mixes. Turns out to be one full Border Collie, and a Border Collie / Sheltie mix. Talk about fun. We have the same problems. Both of my dogs, especially the full BC has issues with other animals. The BCS mix has possession / jealousy issues when it comes to anybody who is petting her is supposed to only pay her attention. Not the other 2 dogs in my home or the cats. We have bigger issues when it comes to cars, trucks, buses, kids outside, bikes etc. She escapes out of the fence to the point we have had to raise all fences and put 45 deg. angled toppers on top of the fence with the theory that she can't reach back over her head and climb out. We'll see. Then you add food/toy aggression issues, and the list goes on. We got them when they were about 6 mths old. I know the BCS mix had been abused due to burnt fur and scars down her back. I'm thinking firecrackers at the 4th of July. She hates loud noises too. Not knowing their background really doesn't help the matter.

 

But here's what helped. Work her. Walk her. When she learns a recall (come), practice it - ALOT! Get a long lead and play fetch with her. Play fetch in the house. Hide things and teach them to find things. Alot! She needs to learn to listed/respond to you no matter what the distraction. BC's are a working dog. I'm finding, not meant to be couch potato's. (Though, I will say since we started a routine with them, she has no problem lying on the couch upside down looking cute and cuddly with her head hanging off the couch, feet up in the air and on the back of the couch. She's a 45 pound lap dog. Just ask her.)

 

We also began obedience training. This has accomplished alot. Do this in a controlled GROUP setting. This not only gives the basic commands, but it also gives controlled socializaton with other dogs. When we first started going, both of them wanted to attack everyone. By the third time, they calmed down. Now, we can walk anywhere, and they will wag their tails, look at them, and perhaps bark a little. But no more going nuts trying to attack someone. Now keep in mind, this is only when the leash is on. When she's in the yard, (which I know you don't have) she's protecting and continues to carry on trying to escape to herd everything. She wins every time because in her mind, after she pitches a fit, the person/dog/car/truck - whatever- leaves, and she accomplished what she wanted. She ran them off. This is where a "recall" will come in. Once they learn to come to you, no matter what distractions are around them, (and it will happen if you work her enough), the problems will cease. We have problems with the BC trying to get at the same things when she is in the house thru the glass windows and doors. Hence the 2 X 4's and plexiglass (already tried metal screens that you would put up to keep a toddler from falling thru the door - she ripped them down with her teeth.) Talk about anxiety.

 

We just completed Basic obedience training, and are actually repeating the same class. I like the socialization as well as the reinforcement of the commands. When she sees other dogs doing what she's told (and actually doing them - ) she is more apt to respond as well. Monkey see, monkey do. And believe me, after an hour of training, they come home, eat and crash. Then after a "power nap", they're ready to go again.

 

Another thing, when you are walking her, does she pull?? One of the best things I did was teach them to walk in a heel position, without pulling. Takes alot of work and patience. If your halti collar does not work, there is a different type of collar called a Canny Collar. Uses the same principle - regular collar around the upper neck, but then has a strap that comes from under the chin across the bridge of their nose (doesn't affect their field of vision) and then that strap leads to behind the ears where you attach your leash. What this does is when they pull, it puts pressure on the bridge of their nose and they don't like it. They figure out that if they don't pull, they don't have pressure. They don't get choked at all. Works wonders. I like it better than the Halti. Also better than Cesar's Illusion collars. I liked the idea of having the choke collar held in the correct position, but found that the rest of his collar was too cumbersom. I also didn't like that they kept choking themselves. Another suggestion that was made to me (which I don't really approve of....) is a pinch collar. Though you alleviate the choking issues, the pinch collar introduces many other hazards. If used improperly, can really hurt the dog. (Seen pictures and stories from my vet. Not good.) The Canny Collar was developed in the UK, and there is a seller here in the US if you would like the address, let me know and I'll find it. (Kinda developed after a horse halter.)

 

After she gets the basic "obedience" thing down, then start reintroducing her to her anxiety issues such as strange dogs, cars etc. But slowly. You can't just go out and throw her is the situation. It won't work. After you have had obedience training, look around and see if you can find a "play group". Sometimes there are groups of people/dogs that get together for socialization and excercise. I haven't gotten there yet, still trying to get the obedience thing down. Got a long way to go with mine.

 

Good luck!

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Thanks for all of the advice. We will definitely read those books. Yesterday, a pit bull passed by and she remained sitting so it was progress. We exercise her every day, but we feel like she could still get more so we may invest in a used treadmill. Unfortunately, we cannot get Cesar b/c we're not in Calif. We have not been able to get her to come to us yet. How do we teach her this "focus or distraction training"?

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