dracina Posted February 16, 2009 Report Share Posted February 16, 2009 This is my first post, but I do read the board often, and am very grateful for the information I have received from all of you! I have seen some discussion about BC behavior, particularly aggression and other "quirky" BC issues, but I do not recall seeing this particular problem discussed. Please accept my apology if this is redundant! First, some background about our situation: I have two border collies, both adopted from shelters. Marcus Antonius is our 2 yr. old black-tipped sable BC who my husband and I adopted at 10 weeks old. He is very BC typical: super intelligent, a bit bossy but biddable enough, really active, and extremely loyal. Last May, we adopted Jack, a black and white BC who was found as a stray. He was skinny, a bit timid from being kept in a cage at the shelter for a few weeks, but otherwise happy. He has turned out to be a fantastic dog: very intelligent, very biddable, and very active. The problem is this: when exercise stops (say, frisbee is stopped by me or my husband after what we deem an acceptable amount of time, 20-30 mins.), Jack will redirect his energy toward Marcus, attacking him without provocation. This happens whether he is leashed or not, and whether or not he has had a period of calming time after exercise (for example, after taking away the frisbee, I will make him lie down and stay for a short period to try to refocus him). When his attack on Marcus is thwarted by me or my husband, he then turns his rage onto us by jumping up, biting, snapping and growling. I try to calm him by remaining calm, speaking to him firmly but calmly, physically blocking him by standing in front of him, leash correction (which is pretty futile when he escalates like this), and physically touching him (think slight shove; nothing harsh at all). Strangely, he will abide by my sit or lie down command, but will continue biting and growling at me. It takes anywhere from 2 to 25 minutes for him to calm himself, and I do not allow him to move forward until he is calm. Sometimes, after he will not calm for 20 or 25 minutes, I pick him up and carry him back to the car. Once he finally refocuses, he turns back into a sweet, biddable, calm-seeming dog. This same behavior also happens while walking on a leash if he sees a bike or rollerblader, if his brother is playing with other dogs, if he sees a child bouncing a basketball, or after he participates in obedience class. However, this is easier for us to control since we can see the signs and re-direct his attention or move him quickly away. But we are not fixing the problem, and it seems as though his reaction is escalating. He bit my mother (requiring stitches) when she tried to seperate Jack while he was going after Marcus. Both dogs have a high herding drive, and we try to redirect this with frisbee, agility and obedience. We have some experience with dogs, and have done much to understand this breed. We belong to a dog training club, and the dogs are in class one night a week, year-round. Marcus has successfully completed two obedience courses and is currently in his second agility course; Jack has successfully completed Beginner's Obedience and is now in Advance Beginner's. They have both taken sheepherding courses. We also practice agility at home with a small course in the backyard. Both dogs lean toward trying to be dominant; so we work very hard to maintain our status by practicing obedience in our daily routine. They also walk on a leash 4-5 times daily, for about 15 mins. each time (rather than potty in the backyard). In addition, we play frisbee daily for about 15-30 mins. (both dogs at the same time). The dogs DO have plenty of down time, too. I am home most days with them, and they rest, chew bones and sleep alot. At home, they are pretty calm, and Jack's aggressive behavior rarely (if ever) surfaces. I have tried limiting Jack's activity (thinking that he may be over-stimulated), but this behavior continues as soon as activity is resumed. I have spoken to several trainers, none of who are familiar with border collies in particular. They all give me the same solution: try to redirect with food or praise, but his does not work at all with Jack. This might sound naive, but I do not think that Jack is viscious, just misdirected, frustrated, and lacking self-control. Does anyone else have a similar problem, and have any suggestions about how I can help him, and keep my other dog and family safe? Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
Join the conversation
You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.