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Border Collie herds cars


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When I walk with Chance he is so sure that the cars are sheep. If he hears one or sees one coming he will flatten down like a pancake right in the middle of the road and watch it. He will not get up, or walk! I have to litterly drag him to the ditch! I can tell him to get over or whatever I want. When he is down like that staring at the cars he cannot hear me!

In his less intense moment he is crouched down very low to the ground crawling! Its hard to walk with him like that.

He will not stop for a treat, or toy, so I am confused how to teach him to cut it out.

 

Thanks!

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Your dog is not mistaking cars for sheep or any other such thing. He is reacting to the motion of the car, just like many Border Collies will react to the activity of running small children, the rustling of leaves, etc. He is reacting to movement and what you are seeing is Border Collie mannerisms.

 

Before this becomes ingrained and escalates to him actually chasing/heading cars, you need to replace this behavior with something constructive that he can focus on. There have been a number of topics dealing with this problem before, and I suggest you use the "search" function at the top of the page to find and read them.

 

I see that you are using treats and toys to get him to focus on you. Good! However, you are seeing that the interest he has in the moving cars is greater than his interest in the treats or toys. Now you need to teach the behaviors you want to see instead of him clapping down and eyeing the cars.

 

To do so, you need to get his attention before he focuses on the cars. In other words, when you realize there is a car but before he sees and becomes engrossed with it, you need to get his attention and direct him away from the car. Face him in another direction, get out of the road, and occupy him with interacting with you. This won't be easy as he is already very interested in the cars.

 

Work at it, be consistent, do not allow him to turn around and focus on the cars. If need be, walk him somewhere else until you can get the focus on you 100%, and then work at returning to where the problem happens - but, do it first from a distance (as I'm assuming his focus on cars is great when they approach and therefore they are closer to him) and with slower-moving vehicles, until he can ignore the car in that situation and pay attention to you (as you work with treat and toy to have him sit, down, stand, do tricks, whatever).

 

Take it easy - away from the vehicles first, then with more distance and slower vehicles (you may have to be creative to set this up), and finally in your "normal" situation. Only proceed from one step to the next when he is 100% solid in each step.

 

Do the search, because you will find much better advice and good training tips for this problem in previous topics. Best wishes, and I hope his infection will be eliminated by the current treatment! He's a very lucky dog to have you taking care of him.

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Hi, I hate this car problem. It can only lead to disaster if not corrected. I assume the dog is young. I have been through similar behaviors with young BC's before. I have a young guy now that is into skateboarders. I agree with Sue, you need to re-direct and re-focus him. Actually that is a nice challenge and you will probably have fun with it. It will probably lead to other fun things you can do with your dog. We are teaching our young guy just about anything positive he can learn. A few days ago my wife started working on getting him to find, identify and retrieve his toys for a treat and it is working well. I have never trained with treats before but it really works and it is fun. I read a thread some days ago about how to keep your dog mentally stimulated. I found it rather inspiring and we are having fun. Do the search as suggested. You will find lots of great information and likely the answer to your problem. If you are not finding what you need in the search get back on, plenty of people will help you find what you need.

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I taught Joy early on that the sight of a car means to lie down and not move a muscle, just in case she were to escape and run into the street (which she has done before).

 

If you don't have it already, I highly recommend you get control unleashed (I always forget the author...a little help here?). It's meant for reactive/aggressive dogs, and many of the games (such as look at that game) really helps the focus around cars.

 

Proximity work is also fantastic. I figured out what is the closest distance I could work Joy around cars without her losing it, and added a few feet. This way, she could perform 100% without looking at the cars once. Everyday I moved her closer to the cars. C/T for looking at me, with cars around. C/T for looking at me as we walk towards cars. C/T for crossing the street with focus. C/T for walking through a parking lot with parked cars. C/T for cars creeping slowly down the street.

 

Another thing I did with working Joy around small running kids: everytime she saw or heard a little kid, I marked it (by saying 'Kid') then gave her a piece of chicken (which is reserved for kids or cars) or a squeaky toy reserved for kids. This way, she started associating the word Kid with something delicious or super fun. This lead to her focusing on me when I say KID, expecting a treat or a toy. This is one of the most valuable thing I taught to Joy considering I have a four year old cousin who is utterly obsessed with Joy and has temper tantrums until I let her out of her crate.

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Hmm, perhaps you should not let Joy out of her crate until the temper tantrums subside. You are teaching the four-year-old to throw a tantrum and she will get her wish (Joy out of the crate). Other than that, I think you gave great advice!

 

Well, at least I think that's what you said. Around here, some of the grandkids would rather be in the crate and so the dogs are out and the kids are in (on their own and not locked in).

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Huh...I guess I've been so focused on Joy I haven't been thinking about teaching the 4 year old that temper tantrums are a "good thing"

 

Thanks for pointing that out!

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Guys, thank you so much for your help.

My sheltie lunges and tries to attack cars. I am working with him on that also. You should see me walking my dogs, one tries to kill cars, and one lays in the middle of the road and refuses to get up. I admit, sometimes i feel hopeless and frustrated walking my two dogs. It can be such a pain! So I guess I really need to be walking the separately to work on the car reactivity, right?

 

Oh Chance is already 4 by the way. I hope its not too late to teach him, but I do not really believe in it ever being too late, just maybe harder.

 

We have been working on the Watch Me command. I hope that helps us out alot.

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Perhaps it would be a good idea to only walk your two in areas far enough away from cars so they don't react unless you are specifically working with them on their issues. The more often they practice the behavior, the better they will get at it; practice makes perfect whether the behavior is a good one or not.

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I have already been working with Ruckus this morning. Ruckus, my sheltie who attacks cars did very well with focusing on me (with a treat in front of my face saying "watch me") we were not really close to a car but that is how you are suppose to do it, right? I think we were close enough that he would had reacted if i didnt have a treat.

 

This afternoon I will work with Chance. I hope it will be easy for us. I am sure its no surprise but he is a very smart boy. He has learned sit, down, stay, come, leave it, drop it, and shake within the first two weeks I got him. I remember that the leave it command only took 1 afternoon and it is hardwired in his brain really well.

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4 is definitely not too late to start!

 

Focus is progress whether you have a treat in front of his face or not. One thing to remember -you give an inch, a dog will take a mile. You cannot budge with your training. Be as stubborn (as it seems) as your dogs. Don't give up, and work it every stinking time you go on a walk.

 

At our new house, Joy "magically" forgot every thing I taught her, which I think was due to stress (she also lost tons of weight). This includes heel, loose leash walking, sit, walk...everything but Twist. So when I was "attempting" to walk her and she saw I car, I told her to twist repeatedly until the car disappeared. Its hilarious because now every time Joy sees a car, its a 50/50 chance she'll down or twist.

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