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I'll try not to make this too long. We took in a young (3-ish) border collie from a shelter about a week ago. The shelter coordinator said that he was very sweet and good with other dogs. Great. When he arrived, he was in terrible shape. He was extremely malnourished, very anemic, and didn't have much energy. Long story short, we had to hospitalize him for a couple of days and weren't sure he would survive. He's been back for over a week now. We initially had him in quarantine as we always do with shelter dogs. But, we needed to move him to my house because we had a puppy that had recently been treated for parvo coming and we needed to be able to put the puppy in quarantine until we were sure he was no longer shedding any virus. Initially, the vet suggested that we keep Pip away from the other dogs for a little while longer, since they don't know, exactly, what caused him to be so anemic. They *think* it was just a result of having so many parasites; on top of everything else he is dealing with (he also has heartworms).

 

So, we managed to set something up so that Pip could be crated in the garage and have access to the side yard, which was fenced off so that he couldn't interact with the other dogs just yet. Well, any time Pip would hear the other dogs he would start to go crazy. He'd spin in circles and let out this high-pitched bark. I figured that we needed to integrate him with the other dogs as soon as possible because he seemed to be getting a bit neurotic with the current set up. So, I called the vet and asked him if he thought it was safe to introduce Pip to the others. He said, yes. So, we started with my oldest dog, first, because Milo is very tolerant of even the rudest behavior from other dogs. We introduced them in the back yard like we always do. Pip immediately went after Milo. So, when it was clear that Milo had had enough, we brought out a different dog, Joey. Joey is a foster dog and is also very tolerant of other dogs. He basically ignores them. Same thing happened. Pip immediately attacked him. The video link shows Pip's interaction with Joey. This was a few minutes after they were initially introduced and Joey was already quite done with the situation by then. I also didn't get the initial attacking on video, but I think you can get a sense of Pip's behavior from the video anyway. After we put Joey away, we decided to up the ante a little and bring out a dog that wouldn't be such a pushover. Same thing happened. That dog, too, wanted nothing but to get out of the situation as soon as possible.

 

Pip's behavior is very disturbing to me. He seems to be treating the other dogs as prey. I've had dogs that maybe didn't get along great with other dogs or preferred not to interact with other dogs. But, I've never seen a foster dog target, stalk, and attack dogs the way Pip does. What makes it worse is that Pip seems obsessed with trying to get to the other dogs and he starts acting really neurotic when he is not able to get to them. But, obviously, I can't have him terrorizing and attacking the other dogs. So, I have to keep him crated when they are out, which only makes him more neurotic. We are planning on getting him out and running him a little this evening to see if we can burn off some of that pent up frustration. Then, we'll move his crate into the house and see if he can start to adjust to the other dogs. But, I have a bad feeling about how that might go, since the few times that we let other dogs in the garage with him (him in the crate), he goes nuts barking and trying to "crate fight" with them.

 

I’m curious what those of you with a lot of experience with dogs and dog behavior make of Pip’s behavior in this video. Please be patient loading the video. It can take several minutes to load, depending on your connection.

 

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I'm interested to see the responses here as well.

 

It looks like a well-formed habit, whatever it is. He's been doing this for years and he's been getting yelled at for doing this for years as well. He immediately backed up when you asked him to, but circled back around to do it again.

 

This may be a fearful reaction. It may be a prey reaction. I'll be interested to see what improvements more exercise and time with you bring.

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I would love to know his back story. He reminds me a lot (minus the attacking part) of my friend's rescue BC, who reportedly spent most of his first 16-18 months in a crate. The circling and staring at other dogs, that's very much like him. He will fixate on another dog and not take his eyes off of him. He does it to Alex all the time in flyball (which is fun when they run 1 & 2, :lol: ) But, there is no aggression, just obsession. I wonder how much interaction with other dogs Pip has ever had? He really seems to have no doggie skills. IF he hadn't outright attacked Milo and Joey, I would have guessed that he's an undersocialized, rude border collie who almost seems to be trying to "work" the other dogs. And if were just that, he should be fixable. Was there any barking, growling or vocalization during their interactions and the attacking?

 

When he had poor Joey cornered by the bush, Pip *almost* looks like he was about to play bow. Was I imagining that? I know it's easy for me to guess from here, but I'm curious to hear how it goes after he's had time to settle in, get some exercise and maybe get used to seeing the other dogs around. There may be hope for him. I know none of this is particularly helpful, sorry!

 

By the way, Joey got returned? :(

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Was there any barking, growling or vocalization during their interactions and the attacking?

 

Yes.

 

When he had poor Joey corned by the bush, Pip *almost* looks like he was about to play bow. Was I imagining that?

 

I know. I thought it might have given that impression, too. But, I can assure you, he was not trying to play with Joey or anyone else.

 

By the way, Joey got returned? :(

 

Yes, he got returnd about a week ago for barking. He was only gone two months and he already managed to put on weight. On top of that, Thea is going to be coming to live with me this weekend. She has been fighting with one of Dalyce's females and the problem has been escalating. So, yeah, my stress level is pretty darn high right now. Gah!

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Yes, he got returnd about a week ago for barking. He was only gone two months and he already managed to put on weight. On top of that, Thea is going to be coming to live with me this weekend. She has been fighting with one of Dalyce's females and the problem has been escalating. So, yeah, my stress level is pretty darn high right now. Gah!

 

Ah, damn it. I'm sorry. :(

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I also thought he was trying to instigate play before you stepped in and told him to stop.

 

This video does not trouble me. It shows a dog with zero dog socialization skills. I don't see an aggressive dog, I see a dog who does want to be near other dogs, but isn't really sure how they are supposed to interact. His version of playing could certainly come across as intimidating to other dogs, so he'll just need to be monitored for a while and shown proper ways to play.

 

I definitely think you should try to get him integrated into your pack as quickly as possible, as they will be his best teachers. You must allow them to correct him, yet you'll need to step in and monitor things as necessary.

 

I actually feel like he looks like an easier case than my foster -- Who was fearfully reactive to my dogs when they came near him at first. He would scream loudly and then snarl viciously if they so much as looked at him. He would practically wet himself if they tried to come near. He really acted like he would fight to the death if they tried anything.

 

We went on a couple of walks before I even attempted to bring him home. On the day that I did bring him home, I had someone come over so that I could walk all four of them together prior to doing introductions in the yard (similar to you, starting with the most mellow dog first, leaving the bitch for last -- although oddly, now they are the best of friends....).

 

Have you done a pack walk yet? I would get out of your yard and walk. A lot. It's a great way to get dogs to start bonding, along with getting rid of some of that pent up energy. This dog looks like he needs to relax some, and once he does, he will stop being so off-putting to the other dogs.

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I'm no behaviorist, but from what I can see his behavior looks like lack of socialization and dog "etiquette". From the video, if we edited Joey out and put in a cat this behavior would look like a dog who had never seen a cat and had no idea how to interact with it and has no respect for it. Edit Joey back in and lets say this was taken at a park where Steve was throwing a Frisbee/Ball, this looks like annoying "working" behavior that some BCs do. For the most part, it's just plain obnoxious and rude. Obviously we did not see the attacks on Milo/Joey so it's hard to really see where this is stemming from.

 

I think once he settles in, learns how to communicate appropriately, and learns to take corrections from you guys (the second he eyes another dog, a sharp HEY or like Steve was doing, body-blocking)and the other dogs, I think he will get the hint.

 

I look forward to reading others opinions.

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I can assure you that Pip is not trying to insigate play. As I said in my narrative, I didn't tape the intial greeting where Pip made a bee line to Joey and attacked him, as he did with every dog we tried to introduce him to.

 

I can't just "let my dogs correct him" because (1) they are scared shitless of him and (2) I have at least one dog that will NOT back down once challenged, which means there will be blood and it may be human. I'd prefer to avoid that, if possible.

 

I've done my fair share of integrating dogs into my house hold and dealt with my fair share of challenging introductions. But, this dog is not like any other that I've tried to integrate. He immediately approachs the other dog and starts attacking (biting/fighting) them.

 

The woman who runs the doggy daycare has offered to have him come there to meet an entire pack of dogs. Flooding, I guess? I'm a little hesitant to do that, though. I wouldn't want to risk him hurting another dog, though she assures me that she won't let that happen.

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Mary,

 

It is too bad you didn't get the attack on video. What I'm seeing in his behavior is not aggressiveness, but an intense desire to interact with Joey and ignoring the cues he is getting. I'm sure having just witnessed him attack Joey, you are seeing it much differently.

 

Jenn

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Mary,

What I'm seeing is a dog who doesn't understand the basics of dog etiquette. I can't hear the growling-although he could just be a mouthy one when he plays. But from his posture, it doesn't look to me like he's attacking and his hackles aren't up. He looks like he's playing, yes it's obnoxious, but it doesn't look too bad. When Joey is under the bush, as soon as you said Pip, he backs off. I think that if you introduce him to more dogs and correct him for the "bad" behavior or have another dog correct him he'll get over it.

Laura

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I'm with everyone else... he looks like he's just being an ass. I also believe what you're saying about the initial introductions... I hope you can get that other video to work, I'd like to see it.

 

As for flooding him... well, that scares me. Mostly because you don't know what kind of behaviour you are seeing and why you're seeing it. Where did it come from? Why is he doing this? If it's some sort of weird fear thing, it could make him worse. If you could find a behaviourist or a really good trainer that would offer you (being a rescue) some free time, I'd have him meet another strange dog with the behaviourist/trainer present.

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Hi Mary,

 

My first thought when viewing the video was why are you introducing a dog that you have already seen attack another dog without having a leash on him? He did respond well to your verbal corrections, but what if he hadn't? I would never set up one of my dogs (or foster dogs) to be attacked without a leash on the aggressor as a safeguard. To me, that is one sure way to have your dog loose trust in you to keep him safe. I personally know two people who are active in Border Collie Rescue who have had one of their own dogs killed by a foster dog. First and foremost, please keep your own dogs safe.

 

As to the reasons for Pip's behavior, I tend to agree with those who feel that this stems from a lack of socialization with other dogs. Perhaps he was removed from his littermates too soon (before the canine hierarchy period of development), or perhaps he was a single pup. But, right now, Pip is a dog that I wouldn't trust around other dogs for a second. Not my dogs, anyway.

 

Sorry to sound so harsh, but this is a problem that should not be taken lightly.

 

Regards,

nancy

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For what it's worth, what I see is a very keyed-up dog that is curious and fearful at the same time. His growly rushes and locked-on eyes suggest a dog that is anticipating trouble and is alternately (and sometimes simultaneously) investigating and trying to drive away a possible threat.

 

I would also like to see how he responds on a leash, but many dogs are more aggressive on lead. If it were me, I'd probably turn him out in a basket muzzle with two or three experienced, bomb-proof dogs.

 

I also see inexperience - and possibly some bad experiences. Three or four dogs that know each other well in a large, enclosed space with him muzzled might allow him to interact with dogs who would ignore him and play with each other. In any case it would neutralize any danger to the other dogs from him. He may get told off a few times, but that could actually help him to see that confrontations have a purpose, and don't necessarily mean pain/danger for him.

 

If the other dogs were focused on playing with each other or playing fetch with a person, he could get through his initial fear, and see that the other dogs' movement wasn't about him, and after he got that, he might start wanting to get in on the fun.

 

It would also ratchet down the anxiety he could be picking up from you.

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Hi Nancy, we did put a leash on him, which you will see in the other video, if I can get it to upload. We normally do have the foster dog drag a leash initially, but Steve had already had the two dogs in the yard together when I came out. And believe me, we are not taking the behavior lightly, which is why I'm here asking for advice. If I truly thought this was just an awkward attempt at play or rude behavior, I wouldn't be here asking for advice.

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Mary - first thank you for all your efforts. Second - as I started to watch the video( we have awful internet access here) all four of my dogs went into high alert with hair up on the gundog. I don't know what the barking was meaning - but my dogs were really upset. Just another piece to your puzzle. Good luck.

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This is a dog who is 1) obsessive and 2) fearful of other dogs and 3) way overstimulated. What he's doing is obsessing, and then getting in a good offensive attack as soon as his stress level goes into overdrive because he doesn't know what else to do with his escalating fear and excitement.

 

I cannot agree with everyone who says that he just has poor canine manners - all you need to do is look at the body language of the dog on the receiving end to see that the foster dog means business. Your well socialized dogs are *afraid* and they are afraid because the foster dog is quite aggressive. He's not putting on a big display about his aggression because he's conflicted about what he wants (to obsess on them but also to attack them).

 

My TWoo behaves in the same way. He's not a border collie, so it's not as "stylish" looking when he "stalks" another dog, and he is not as obsessive, but he will follow them around in a slow creep and wait for an opportunity to dive in and bite them. This is not the same as his hunting behaviour (and TWoo is a very accomplished hunter. Just ask my poor chickens, RIP). Your foster does not think the other dogs are prey at all - he knows they are dogs. He has a big bubble where he is very interested in them, but as soon as that bubble gets too small, he attacks them because he is afraid.

 

Do NOT flood this dog. Do NOT allow other dogs to "correct him" for this behaviour. He clearly is not deterred by fighting, probably because once he gets into that zone of fear/fight response, he is no longer completely cognizant of behaviours / response. He is afraid of other dogs, and every time he fights with them, his fear is reinforced. The more times he gets to practice fighting, the better he'll be at it and the more ingrained the behaviour will become. You need to remove this dog from the bubble, even if it's HUGE, and practice getting him to change his own response to stimulus / what he fears (dogs) at a distance, before he goes into that mode where he's no longer particularly responsive. It's a dirty word around here, I know ;-) but whip out your clicker and start playing the Look At That game.

 

I worked on this with TWoo and I took him to a very crowded off leash hiking area last week and for more than an hour, every time we encountered another dog, TWoo deliberately looked at the dog and then looked at me, for which he got PAID, big time. Even when a Great Dane was breathing down his back (it snuck up on us - damn but those giant dogs can be QUIET when they want to!) he very calmly averted his gaze and then looked to me for guidance. It has taken some time to change his default response to other dogs, but I am seeing a lot more success than failure at this point. Incidentally, TWoo was described as being "good with other dogs" at the shelter also. It took less than a week in my household to prove that, in fact, this was not true even a tiny little bit.

 

IME, sometimes dogs who immediately go in for the attack have generally been punished for showing negative warning responses to other dogs. If I accidentally get TWooie into a situation where he is over his threshold and he is OFF leash, he attacks *immediately* - he like flies at the other dogs and starts beating the hell out of it. If he is ON leash, he flips out, starts barking, and cringes after every bark (because he's waiting to be smacked for his response, which was his previous owners' method of "correcting" the behaviour). I can stop him now by yelling at him, but I try not to do this as it doesn't accomplish anything - but it's a big step from a few months ago where once he went into that hyper-crazed mode there was NO stopping him. A dog who responding like this is not thinking - you have to take him back to a place where he can think, and then you can show him how to change his behaviour. Leave him to his own devices, and you're going to have one hell of a dog fight on your hands.

 

RDM

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Hi Nancy, we did put a leash on him, which you will see in the other video, if I can get it to upload. We normally do have the foster dog drag a leash initially, but Steve had already had the two dogs in the yard together when I came out. And believe me, we are not taking the behavior lightly, which is why I'm here asking for advice. If I truly thought this was just an awkward attempt at play or rude behavior, I wouldn't be here asking for advice.

 

Hi Mary,

 

Thanks for the additional information, and it's good to know that you usually let the dog drag a leash initially when interacting with other dogs. It truly was painful to watch the response of the dogs that Pip was victimizing, and I could imagine Pip's aggression escalating before you could step in to intervene (or that you yourself may be hurt in the process). As I wrote, I know two rescuers who have had their own dog killed by a foster dog.

 

I tend to agree with RDM's (MrSnappy) response and that may be the solution to remedy Pip's issues. Good luck with this one.

 

nancy

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Mary, I am sure that if you feel this was aggression, it probly was. However, I don't believe the dog is vicious. For one, you would never be able to simply call him off. He could be under socialized, but he could also have a screw loose. I think the other dogs are reacting more to that. If there were no wounds or blood, Pip is not "serious" about hurting the other dogs. If you seen what Holly does to Skip, you would wonder why I let her near a dog. But, she doesn't draw blood, and if Skip is tired of her antics, he will curl a lip and she backs off. For a minute. I have tried everything imaginable to get her to stop, but to no avail. Sometimes she will "grab" at him when he is just walking by, though most of it occurs when there is play going on or some other level of excitement. She never does it to Jackson or Hank. And I know for a fact that Holly is far, far from normal. That's one of the reasons she will never be adopted. It could be Pip has the same prob. Sorry I couldn't be more help.

 

You know, we should get Holly and Pip together. Let them get a taste of their own medicine! (FYI, I am only kidding!)

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However, I don't believe the dog is vicious. For one, you would never be able to simply call him off. He could be under socialized, but he could also have a screw loose. I think the other dogs are reacting more to that. If there were no wounds or blood, Pip is not "serious" about hurting the other dogs.

 

Oh my, I cannot agree with any of this. First of all, this is a newish dog in a newish situation. Sure she can still call him off - he has no confidence in his environment yet. The more settled he becomes, the worse he's going to get, and the more keyed up he's going to get. Further, the more pronounced and dangerous his attacks are going to get. That's why it's called *escalation*.

 

And even if he doesn't get a chance to escalate the severity of his attacks, he's in major danger of getting seriously injured himself when he tries this with the wrong dog. I made a critical error with TWoo back in the day when he he was new to me, and he started it, but came out of it with over a dozen puncture wounds - the other dog was unscathed. And guess whose aggression escalated after that when confronted with another strange dog? So umm no, don't make the mistake of thinking this dog is not serious. In fact, don't make the mistake of worrying too much about what the dog thinks - worry about getting him to think, period, and to respond differently.

 

RDM

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I agree that in the video, the dog doesn't look terribly frightening. BUT, I also agree that you have way more dog experience than I do, and I'm trusting your word on how things went down the first time.

 

My dog used to lunge and growl at any dog who was within a very wide radius of us. The radius has gotten smaller and smaller, till now it's probably 30 cm. from his face - but he will still react if that radius is breached.

 

The answer that sounds most like what worked for my dog is RDM's: remove from the stimulus that creates the behavior, because the behavior is self-reinforcing. Don't let the (weird/aggressive/obsessive/prey/reactive/hunting) behavior happen in the first place, and maybe after the dog has a break and rest from whatever is making him so watchful, he can start again in tiny, tiny steps.

 

Good luck. I'd really love follow-up on what happens with this, so we can all learn.

 

Mary

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Hi Mary ~

 

What Pip reminds me of, here, is a somewhat under-socialized young male BC I know. That dog was neutered recently, at about a year and a half old, but he used to do similar behaviors around my somewhat older and less-confrontational intact male. Circle, stare, intercept, block - and sometimes, given an opening, he'd take a dive and snap at my boy. It never amounted to anything, and now that he's neutered the behavior is tapering off. Granted he ONLY did it with my intact male, not with my neutered boy or the girls, so it was testosterone-driven.

 

But my point is, I see a problem and I wish I could help. I cannot agree with people saying he's not vicious, because you've stated at least twice that he attacked and tried to bite your other dogs. A dog can be vicious without trying to kill or without drawing blood. I do agree that his behavior looks habitual, something he's done many times before and never learned an alternative to. There's an repetitiveness to his actions that suggest a habit, an obsessive behavior he's gotten locked into.

 

I also agree he looks like he's pretty much socially inept, unskilled in correct canine interactions. Whatever he *thinks* he's doing, it's way too forward, way too pushy, and one need only look at your other dog's behavior and body language to realize Pip is rendering himself un-likable and untrustworthy.

 

I wondered if, as others have suggested, he maybe just never was allowed to interact correctly with other dogs, perhaps even weaned too young? I wonder even if he was perhaps left intact for a little longer than he should have been. Again, I wish I could offer suggestions or help, but I can't. All I can do is agree with your opinion that he's got something unpleasant going on, it seems like a habitual behavior he's gotten away with until now, and while he's doing it, he doesn't look like he's really *thinking* at all, just reacting.

 

I hope you can post your other video, as I'm curious. I do wish you luck, as he's a handsome little guy, and it's not HIS fault he's a mess. Humans were the ones to drop the ball, before he ever got to your hands.

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

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