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Hi please help if possible.

Short history of my Meg. She is three yo , first 6 months I gather were not good and she was probably badly treated. Next 6 months were with a very kind person but she spent most of her day in a pet shop where her owner worked. was treated very well. Then she came to me.

I gather there was some history of ankle nipping while in the shop.

Meg is a a very lovely and loving dog and a great companion. BUT she gets in a frenzy and circles when anyone is getting in, out or driving a car near her. This also expresses itself in lawnmower chasing and circling. This can be quite scarey to some visitors.

Yesterday we were visiting a friend who was having some work done on her home. When one of the workmen went to get in his car Meg grabbed and tore his trousers at ankle level. This has to stop I think you will agree.

Now Meg for some reason is very scared if I go near the outdoor tap to fill can or use hose. I have no idea why but she slinks into the house.

I am tempted to try spraying her with the hose the next time she gets into a frenzy, there is NO way to get her attention by voice.

Should I try this or is it cruel?? If she has had some bad experience with water will it further harm her? She is quite happy paddling in the sea and keeping her head under looking for stones etc.

Keeping her on the lead is not going to solve the problem , neither is shaking a bottle with water as she associates bottles with being filled with treats when i go out.

I have to come up with some cure , the torn trouser gent was most understanding but not a good experience for him. I honestly don''t think she would bite as she is so gentle taking food from the hand and on the whole a very cuddle loving type dog. It is the nipping and the mindless frenzy that is worrying me so much.

Do please give and opinion there is no way I want to be one iota cruel to her as you will know.

Thanks so much.

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Keeping her on the lead is not going to solve the problem

 

I think what you mean is that it actually WILL resolve the issue, but you don't feel like taking the steps to ensure she is on a leash around vehicles. Because actually, she cannot engage in spinning and ankle biting if she is on a leash, so it will actually go a long way toward fixing the issue.

 

Punishing her for it with something she is frightened of might be easier for *you* but it's not nice for her. Taking the time to teach her an alternate, more appropriate behaviour around vehicles is a much more sensible route to take. What are you going to do if she bites someone in the ankle and they make a complaint with animal control - tell them it's not your fault because there wasn't a hose around to stop her? They're going to ask you why you didn't leash her if you knew that's the behaviour she was going to engage in when a vehicle came about.

 

Teach her an appropriate behaviour around cars by proactively leashing her in these situations and asking for a behaviour that is NOT spinning and biting. This is the responsible thing to do.

 

RDM

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I think what you mean is that it actually WILL resolve the issue, but you don't feel like taking the steps to ensure she is on a leash around vehicles. Because actually, she cannot engage in spinning and ankle biting if she is on a leash, so it will actually go a long way toward fixing the issue.

 

Punishing her for it with something she is frightened of might be easier for *you* but it's not nice for her. Taking the time to teach her an alternate, more appropriate behaviour around vehicles is a much more sensible route to take. What are you going to do if she bites someone in the ankle and they make a complaint with animal control - tell them it's not your fault because there wasn't a hose around to stop her? They're going to ask you why you didn't leash her if you knew that's the behaviour she was going to engage in when a vehicle came about.

 

Teach her an appropriate behaviour around cars by proactively leashing her in these situations and asking for a behaviour that is NOT spinning and biting. This is the responsible thing to do.

 

RDM

 

Thank you for replying. However you are not correct about what I mean regarding leashing. I have tried to do this over quite a long period but it is obvious when an unexpected vehicle arrives and she is off leash that she reverts to the frenzy behaviour. Do you suggest I keep her on leash all the time? It would certainly not be easier for me to punish her, I hate if I gave that impression. I love Meg and would take all the time and patience needed to rid her of this habit but so far have failed. I posted because I know I need guidance and obviously had reservations about using a method that may damage her in any way.

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If she needs to be on a leash all the time to keep herself and others safe, then yes, keep her on a leash or a long line. But while on leash you also need to be teaching her what behavior is appropriate for the situation - it shouldn't just be used as a way to restrain her.

 

What kind of training do you do with her? Have you worked to desensitize her? Have you worked on self control training?

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I agree with the suggestion to teach your Meg an alternate behavior around cars. It can be something simple, like sitting or a lie-down. It's probably easiest if it's a behavior she already knows. My Juno is pretty interested in anything that moves. In fact, a few years ago I started a thread about her desire to chase cars (also manifested as spinning and barking at cars when she was on-leash) that generated a lot of discussion. What the eventual resolution of this was is that I just started telling her to lie down when a car was approaching her "bubble." And this goes for scooters and skateboards too. Now she pretty much lies herself down when a car approaches. And it's interesting -- she seems to distinguish cars that are going to come close enough to rile her up from cars that will pass without provoking this annoying behavior. However, I doubt I will ever feel comfortable leaving her unleashed where cars could come close to her without me having time to anticipate and call her over. It may be that Meg shouldn't be off leash when she is not separated by a fence from areas where a car or other vehicle could approach closely without you having time to call her to you. Good luck getting this problem addressed. We can't have her ripping pants, after all, and one day she might miscalculate and get the leg too!

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I had success with the "alternate behavior" training, too. My dog used to freak out at bikes and other dogs. I taught him to walk off the path and sit when a bike came near us - and within a couple weeks, he was doing the behavior on his own, without being asked. Ditto with strange dogs: if I took him off the path and did a "lie down," he seemed to understand that that was the way to "stave off" the strange dogs. (Obviously, this only worked if the other dogs were under leash control or very well trained.)

 

It seemed to me that Buddy quickly learned to trust the alternate behavior as the "protective" mode: something that kept scary things away from his space bubble.

 

Mary

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Just to ask, what does she do when she IS on leash, and a vehicle comes or any other thing occurs, which would trigger this spinning or trouser-biting? Does she try to do these things while on leash, or is the manic behavior completely absent when leashed?

 

I believe what RDM was saying is not that you must leash her all the time, but that you might try exposing her to those triggers while she IS on leash, and encourage correct behaviors (i.e., sitting down) when you are in a position to enforce your commands.

 

So, is she perfectly well behaved if a car comes and you have her on leash? Or does she react in any way? Does she try to nip ankles while leash? Or does she ignore them? Does she try any of the spinning on leash? Or only when free?

 

It would help to know if she ONLY exhibits these unwanted behaviors while off leash, or if she ever reacts while you have her on a leash. If you can explain that, maybe we can help you arrive at some solutions. :)

 

 

~ Gloria

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Just to ask, what does she do when she IS on leash, and a vehicle comes or any other thing occurs, which would trigger this spinning or trouser-biting? Does she try to do these things while on leash, or is the manic behavior completely absent when leashed?

 

I believe what RDM was saying is not that you must leash her all the time, but that you might try exposing her to those triggers while she IS on leash, and encourage correct behaviors (i.e., sitting down) when you are in a position to enforce your commands.

 

So, is she perfectly well behaved if a car comes and you have her on leash? Or does she react in any way? Does she try to nip ankles while leash? Or does she ignore them? Does she try any of the spinning on leash? Or only when free?

 

It would help to know if she ONLY exhibits these unwanted behaviors while off leash, or if she ever reacts while you have her on a leash. If you can explain that, maybe we can help you arrive at some solutions. :)

 

 

~ Gloria

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Thank you Gloria for replying.

When Meg is on the leash and there is a car coming or going she strains at the leash and barks . If I do get her to sit, occasionally, I reward her with a treat and 'good dog' words.So in general she is not well behaved when on the leash.

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Thank you Gloria for replying.

When Meg is on the leash and there is a car coming or going she strains at the leash and barks . If I do get her to sit, occasionally, I reward her with a treat and 'good dog' words.So in general she is not well behaved when on the leash.

 

A dedicated car chaser is a hard nut to crack. Clicker training might be beneficial. It speaks a universal language. Do something right = get treat.

 

I do agree, keep her leashed to stay out of harm's way but don't give up on the training. Along with the desensitization, you might work at teaching her a "LIE DOWN" command so that she'll take it from a distance. If she does get away, that might help to stop her charge.

 

Liz

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You could look into Control Unleashed. The Look at That Game, coupled with some of the other techniques in the program, could go a long way to helping with this. It is self control training.

 

There is a yahoo group run by the author of the book, if you read the book and then have questions about how to apply it to your situation. Might be something to consider.

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I agree with the suggestion to teach your Meg an alternate behavior around cars. It can be something simple, like sitting or a lie-down. It's probably easiest if it's a behavior she already knows. My Juno is pretty interested in anything that moves. In fact, a few years ago I started a thread about her desire to chase cars (also manifested as spinning and barking at cars when she was on-leash) that generated a lot of discussion. What the eventual resolution of this was is that I just started telling her to lie down when a car was approaching her "bubble." And this goes for scooters and skateboards too. Now she pretty much lies herself down when a car approaches. And it's interesting -- she seems to distinguish cars that are going to come close enough to rile her up from cars that will pass without provoking this annoying behavior. However, I doubt I will ever feel comfortable leaving her unleashed where cars could come close to her without me having time to anticipate and call her over. It may be that Meg shouldn't be off leash when she is not separated by a fence from areas where a car or other vehicle could approach closely without you having time to call her to you. Good luck getting this problem addressed. We can't have her ripping pants, after all, and one day she might miscalculate and get the leg too!

 

I have just read that thread thank you. Thing is that Meg is not remotely interested in chasing cars when we are out walking . For example if she has been frantically circling a car about to go out my gate, which is always shut only opened to allow folk in cars in and out, once the car has left she makes no effort to chase it and is quite happy to come back in and revert to 'normal' behaviour. Her relationship with cars is most odd to say the least.

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Hi again, Elizabeth ~

 

You're getting some good recommendations for books and whatnot, and I'd recommend you take advantage of the folks here who understand clicker training. Until you get Meg well-behaved on leash, you won't see improvement in her off-leash behavior. Bear in mind that what you describe is more than a simple matter of telling a dog, "No, don't do that." You're looking at totally replacing habitual, neurotic behaviors with correct responses. The only real "cure" for her behavior is gentle training and re-conditioning, which will take time. And try to avoid situations that might trigger her when she's off leash - even if it means not visiting friends whose homes have workmen doing interesting things, or fencing her away from your gate.

 

So, look into the books and other resources people recommend, here. Others have been down your road, and they and their dogs go on to live much happier (and neurosis free!) lives together. Best of luck!

 

~ Gloria

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Hi there, as others have said it is a tough nut to crack

 

One thing that will help alot - but difficult to do I know - try and keep her away from cars for a week or two - if she is OK IN the car then drive here somewhere a long way from cars

This will let her stress levels drop and start to break the habit

 

also If you can work on getting her really into chasing something like a ball in this time?? This kind on manic behaviour can kinda be stress releif for a dog, they NEED to chase something - better something you have control over

 

Then work on the car thing

 

I would say keep her further away from cars and when she sees one in the distance, when she is aware but not flipping out ask her for the alternative behaviour and then reward lots (with something really yummy ) and walk away

 

Try not to get her to the stage where she is flipping out - it is unlikely she is able to learn anything at this point - she is just reinforcing the habit

You will find you can close the distance slowly, and she should start to look to you when she sees the car - because she knows something nice is about to happen

 

COntrol unleashed is great too - I 2nd that :) - is the group running again? GREAT!

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I have just read that thread thank you. Thing is that Meg is not remotely interested in chasing cars when we are out walking . For example if she has been frantically circling a car about to go out my gate, which is always shut only opened to allow folk in cars in and out, once the car has left she makes no effort to chase it and is quite happy to come back in and revert to 'normal' behaviour. Her relationship with cars is most odd to say the least.

 

 

Are you clarifying that Meg is only upset with cars entering or leaving your property but outside of your boundaries, she's fine with them? This comment makes me think that she is very property-minded. Some Border Collies get odd notions about what should be allowed to come and go on "their" property. If this is the case, then another issue to address is whose property it really is (yours!) and who gets to control the coming and goings (you!).

 

My husband (a contractor) was working in a farmer's barn. All day long he carried tools and supplies into the barn while the Border Collie lay watching him with no sign of problems. At the end of the day, DH started to pick up his tools and walk out of the barn with them....the BC let him know in no uncertain terms that he was not going anywhere with anything that was in the barn. DH laid down his tools, the dog subsided, and DH walked outside unchallenged to get the farmer to lock up his dog so that DH could collect his things unmolested.

 

I've also realized to my regret, since an incident in a store about a month ago - we were both quite startled by a man acting very strangely - that Robin stiffens up when strange men approach me. He's not acted out in a threatening manner but I can tell by his manner that he's not happy. So, I need to follow my own advice and be very proactive in taking control in those situations, letting him know that everything is fine with me and he needn't concern himself with any "protection" duties as sometimes once you give a BC an opening, the pup will drive a bulldozer through it :).

 

 

Liz

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Are you clarifying that Meg is only upset with cars entering or leaving your property but outside of your boundaries, she's fine with them? This comment makes me think that she is very property-minded. Some Border Collies get odd notions about what should be allowed to come and go on "their" property. If this is the case, then another issue to address is whose property it really is (yours!) and who gets to control the coming and goings (you!).

 

My husband (a contractor) was working in a farmer's barn. All day long he carried tools and supplies into the barn while the Border Collie lay watching him with no sign of problems. At the end of the day, DH started to pick up his tools and walk out of the barn with them....the BC let him know in no uncertain terms that he was not going anywhere with anything that was in the barn. DH laid down his tools, the dog subsided, and DH walked outside unchallenged to get the farmer to lock up his dog so that DH could collect his things unmolested.

 

I've also realized to my regret, since an incident in a store about a month ago - we were both quite startled by a man acting very strangely - that Robin stiffens up when strange men approach me. He's not acted out in a threatening manner but I can tell by his manner that he's not happy. So, I need to follow my own advice and be very proactive in taking control in those situations, letting him know that everything is fine with me and he needn't concern himself with any "protection" duties as sometimes once you give a BC an opening, the pup will drive a bulldozer through it :).

 

 

Liz

 

 

Liz thank you. Meg is not interested in car chasing. I think you are right that she assumes she owns the property and the only other place where she behaved badly, torn trousers episode, was at the home of a friend who she knows very well; maybe she thought she was a two property dog! Here the postman is certainly not welcome , a lovely man who brings treats for her but I try to intercept him before he comes in and in fact will tell him to sound his horn so i can go collect the mail . She has never nipped him and I want to keep it that way. I so hope I can sort out Meg and my problem so we are both happy.

 

Today I spent time with the 'sit ' command. I used it when she was on a high waiting for me to throw the ball, hope this is a correct approach. Meg knows very well what this command means and will respond instantly when she is told to sit while her dinner is being put down. She was reluctant to sit in the ball context , knew what it meant but wanted to get on with the fun, However we stuck with it and she improved a lot. I will continue with this but not overdo it.

 

 

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Making her sit before you throw the ball is great, in my book! You're teaching her that patience and responsiveness is rewarded. ANYthing that's high value to her, whether it's a toy or a treat, is useful in teaching her to look to you, and to seek your approval. I think teaching her self-restraint when she's amped-up, such as waiting for a ball or toy, is a good thing.

 

Continue on, and please check back in with the folks here, any time you feel you're stuck or need some more advice. As I said, this will take time, but it will happen! :)

 

~ Gloria

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I echo Gloria's comments. Any opportunity you have to teach a dog impulse control helps to gain your control over them - and teaches them good manners. If she'll sit and wait for a ball, she'll sit and wait at the door -- eventually. It does take time and if you are dealing with a young dog with some history of which you are unaware, it makes training more of a challenge, but Meg is more than willing to learn "the game" if the reward is strong enough.

 

Liz

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Making her sit before you throw the ball is great, in my book! You're teaching her that patience and responsiveness is rewarded. ANYthing that's high value to her, whether it's a toy or a treat, is useful in teaching her to look to you, and to seek your approval. I think teaching her self-restraint when she's amped-up, such as waiting for a ball or toy, is a good thing.

 

Continue on, and please check back in with the folks here, any time you feel you're stuck or need some more advice. As I said, this will take time, but it will happen! :)

 

~ Gloria

 

 

Thank you for the encouragement Gloria I will stick with it and do my very best for us both. Have to remember to have my pockets filled with treats all the time.!

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Thank you for the encouragement Gloria I will stick with it and do my very best for us both. Have to remember to have my pockets filled with treats all the time.!

 

Um... yeah... that is me. Walking around in almost any situation (work, the mall, driving my car, visting my parents) I reach into my left front pocket and find a little pile of kibble.

 

But, for what it's worth, my kibble-carrying has made Buddy a lot more comfortable moving around in the world.

 

Mary

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Thank you for the encouragement Gloria I will stick with it and do my very best for us both. Have to remember to have my pockets filled with treats all the time.!

 

 

You're welcome. Oh, and the little zip-lock snack-sized bags are great carriers for pockets of treats. Also, remember that diced up hotdogs or little chunks of cheese make wonderful, inexpensive treats. Good luck! :)

 

~ Gloria

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You're welcome. Oh, and the little zip-lock snack-sized bags are great carriers for pockets of treats. Also, remember that diced up hotdogs or little chunks of cheese make wonderful, inexpensive treats. Good luck! :)

 

~ Gloria

 

And remember to remove the said treats from your pocket before you do laundry. You might wind up with a load of freshly washed and dried clothing or bed linens that smell strongly of dog food. Might not bother us who post on this board, but you won't know till you've tried it!

 

Ruth

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And remember to take the treats out of your pockets when you take your clothes off. Many a hole in the pocket has occurred when the yummy smelling treats are hidden in a pocket in the laundry pile. Sorry- just couldn't help myself.... the things that we do.

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