Jump to content
BC Boards

Is My Dog Getting the Better of Me??


Recommended Posts

Hi all, once again,

 

Please don't yell at me as I am a first time BC mum and I am a little concerned about my 8mo female's behaviour towards me.

 

First things first. Yesterday I thought I would treat her with a bone - BAD IDEA!!! Jeckyl & Hyde, she turned into a scary evil thing that wanted to take my head off. In the end I distracted her by saying "Walk" went for a lovely walk and before I let her in the backyard I threw her bone in the bin. I tried being assertive and confident with her to get rid of her bone, but it didn't work and I think I got more nervous and the super smart dog she is picked up my nervousness. All night I was so nervous as my husband and son are away, it got to the point where I would not sleep with the bedroom door open. I just didn't trust her.

 

Anyhow today, we had a good day and have had four walks and a puppy play date with my friends staffy - awesome time. Now, however, Lilli is just constantly staring at me. I don't know if it is out of love and affection or something more sinister.

 

It scares me that she is sooooo smart - and is possibly still angry that her bone went missing when she came back from her walk.

 

Am I just being silly or can someone please give me some guidance on how to deal with the staring. Do any of your dogs stare almost unemotionally at you?? I feel ridiculous as she is only 8 months old but does have "Resource Guarding" issues. I am a human and she is a dog but has got very sharp teeth and I am just not sure how to deal with this.

 

Oh, one other thing 99% of the time she is so beautifully natured but then there are those weird moments where she seems like a different dog.

 

Any help or advice would be appreciated.

 

Forgot to mention also, today whilst at the puppy play date, Lilli and Abbey (Staffy) were sharing Abbey's bone (what was left of it) with no issues whatsoever - absoloutely amazing on Abbey's behalf really but Lilli actually gave it up for her and vice versa.

Link to post
Share on other sites

She's a teenager, she is testing her boundaries with you. This was the first time you ever gave her a bone? What made her growl at you? Did you try to take it, just walk by? Does she know a "give/drop" command? If she's never had anything like it before she probably thought it was awesome and thought you were going to take it and never give it back...

 

I think she probably did get the better of you. She growled, you got scared she learned that she can scare you off.

 

I'd say practice taking things from her, and giving them back. So she learns that even though you take something that doesn't mean she's losing it forever. Give her something even better when you take something of high value from her. "Mom took my ball.... but she gave me my favorite squeeky instead!"

 

She does have sharp teeth... But she's an eight month old puppy, she's not going to sneak into your room at night and harm you. She's not evil.

 

As for the staring break her concentration, distract her.

 

What other "resource guarding" issues does she have? Have you talked to a trainer about it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Jescano,

 

She has had bones before but her guarding seems to be getting worse. She is very good with most commands except the give/drop - same issue when playing ball she refuses to give the ball back and just wants me to take it out of her mouth which I refuse to do. She is extremely stubborn. As I said I am new to this amazing breed and I have ordered a couple of books off Amazon to help me understand the best way to achieve positive results. I know she is capable of learning anything, I just have to learn myself the right way to teach her.

 

She is an awesome dog but she scares me when she gets like this. I was attacked by a dog when I was about 6, no real physical damage but nevertheless traumatised at the time and I guess that creeps back when she gets all "maybe pretend" aggressive. The stupid person just allowed his german shepherd to run right at me off lead and knocked me over - don't really remember what happened after that.

 

I have had a couple of dogs since, funnily enough a shepherd cross and a staffy /boxer cross but had not issues with either. Didn't have the guarding issue.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My Border Collie has tested my boundaries many times she is very strong willed and she wants to be the boss I have to correct her as soon as she disobeys or it escalates very quickly. At one point I was convinced she had hearing issues but a friend of mine who is a dog trainer told me she was blowing my commands off. I began doing a scheduled set of obediance commands with her daily. This made a huge deference when ignored I corrected her.I was convinced she did not understand so was repeating my commands changing tones expressions ect. He watched a session of us and said she knew on the first command she was waiting to see what I would do he got me to give a single command stead tone but firm she stared at me for a second or 2 then did it single command only.When she ignored command I correct her was very hard for me to adjust my think by correction i dont mean violence I mean making her complete the action.I know what you mean about smart she is by far the most intellegent dog I have ever owned

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

The original poster is not alone. Many, many people are afraid of the dog they love. They're the people with absolutely no slack on the leash when other dogs or toddlers appear, they're the people who bribe their dogs with treats/toys/meaningless praise, they're the people who beat their dogs because "he defied me!"

 

There is a solution and, indeed, it is the only solution. Train the dog. Find someone who has successfully trained his/her own dog and many others: someone with, at least, four years of experience. This person must be someone YOU can learn from - degrees and certifications demonstrate seriousness but neither competence nor compatibility.

 

There is no correct training method but you do not want a training theorist you want someone who can show you dogs he/she has trained.

 

While you may not care whether your dog sits/stays/heels/comes, the fact that you can tell the dog to do so makes the dog happy - his becomes a dog rational universe.

 

There is a bright side: Border Collies love to be trained and they respect the owner who trains them.

 

Donald McCaig

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shaz, the border collie stare can be a bit unnerving. My dogs have all done it, my first bc used to wake me up in the morning by staring at me. I swear I could hear her eye balls, drilling into my head.

 

It's part of their herding genes. They use the intense look to get stock to move, etc.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried being assertive and confident with her to get rid of her bone, but it didn't work

Hmmm... sounds like you tried to "challenge" her in order to take the bone away once she had already begun guarding it. I'm guessing it only escalated the behavior and made things worse? Resource guarding is a very natural behavior between dogs, but entirely unacceptable between dogs and humans. This blog post is mighty long, but please take the time to read it... I think could be very helpful to you and Lilli. http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/resource-guarding-treatment-and-prevention

 

This is certainly a behavioral issue that needs to be tackled right away. It will take time and it will take patience. Please don't be afraid of your dog... it won't do either of you any good. I understand that's easier said then done, but do try to remain calm and in control of any situation. I wish you the VERY best of luck with Lilli and let us know how her resource guarding training going!

 

Not sure about the staring... could you be a bit more clear on what it looks like? Is she stiff or relaxed? Are her eyes "hard" (intense, whites showing, not blinking) or "soft" (relaxed, half closed, blinking)? Is she crouched, laying down, sitting or standing? I'm not really sure, based on your description, what's going on with the stare. If things have been weird with you since the guarding incident she might be trying to figure you out. I'll catch my dog watching me a lot more when I'm "off" (i.e. stressed, not feeling well, etc.). I think he's just trying to figure out what's wrong with me... or if in my weakened state he can manipulate me into throwing a ball at him. :P

Link to post
Share on other sites

I will echo what others have said - teach her to drop a ball, etc. by playing what I call "the trade game". Give her something she likes, then offer her something better. Wiggle it, make it look enticing so she drops the first item to take the second. At this point, you can say "Good girl" or "Yes" in your happy voice if you want. Start training with an object that she likes, but it likely to give up for something better (i.e. don't start with a ball or a bone since it is really hard to find something better than those items for many dogs.) So start your training with low value items. I will also say "Wanna trade?" in a happy voice when I offer the second item. Basically, in the beginning, I try and make a game of it, rather than a command. If she doesn't want to play, walk away and ignore her. Try again later.

 

To get a reliable "Drop it" or "Give it" or "Wanna trade" may take several months. I swear it took me about 5-6 month to get my pup to reliably drop his ball on command. He loved the first ball so much, he had trouble letting go of it to get the second ball. I did a lot of wiggling the ball in front of him, bouncing the ball or other methods to entice him to drop that first ball. He would often look like he was going to drop it. His mouth would quiver and he would start to open it, but then he would shut his mouth again. It was sort of funny when he did that. After a while, he trusted me enough to drop it reliably. Once your dog does drop the first item to take the second, you can also give her really, really good treats (i.e. meat) to reinforce her action.

 

Regarding the staring: When younger, my dog would also stare to:

1. make sure he wasn't missing any action. Was I going to get up from the chair? Was I going to walk to another room? Or outside? Or ...?

2. figure out my body language. Dogs are very good at reading body language, because they do watch us a lot. This can be very good.

3. figure out your world. She lives in your (a human) world. She is still trying to figure it out. If you were living in a dog world without verbal communication, you would be doing a lot of staring too.

4. I am sure there are other reasons too, but I don't usually associate staring with evilness.

 

She is a dog, do not anthropomorphize (too much).

 

Jovi

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi there ~

It does sound like she "got the better of you," but perhaps you also set it up poorly. At what point, exactly, did she go all Cujo on you with that bone?

The thing to remember is that, for an 8 month old pup, (and indeed, almost any dog) a good bone is at the very TOP of the Doggie List of Valuable Things. So, if you are going to give her a bone - give her the bone, but don't mess with her about it. I don't believe in trying to train a pup with something as high value as a bone.

That said, before you give it to her, set some ground rules. She gets the bone when and where you say, and only if you say it. For example, if I give my dogs bones, we go outside, they all sit politely, and each gets their bone one at a time. In your case, you only have one dog, which simplifies the process.

So, next time you give a bone, make her work for it. Have her sit. If she'll stay, ask her to stay. Require her to wait just a moment. No jumping up on your legs, no barking or fussing. Then give her the bone and simply walk away. Don't try to take the bone from her until she's done with it. What's the point? It's a bone, for goodness sakes. Let her enjoy it. Within an hour or so, she'll be finished anyhow.

Do the same thing with her other treats and food. Have her sit. Require her to wait. If she breaks her patience, put the treat or food out of her sight and start over. I'm betting the trouble didn't start until after she had the bone, right? So, make sure she sees that you control the bone before you give it to her. Then leave her alone once she has it.

After all, you wouldn't want someone fiddling with your steak dinner, would you? :P

Meanwhile, Jovi has a good idea about working on trade games for Lilli. But you must pay attention to the value of the thing she has in relation to the thing you want to give her. If she has a rawhide chewie and you offer her a rope toy, she'll probably think you're nuts. But if she has the ball and you want her to give it up, then offer something she loves more than the ball - a cookie or other goodie. Make it a little game you play a few times a day. She has something, you want her to give it to you, so you pick something she values more than that thing and offer a trade, give the command. It will take time, as Jovi said, but realize this: you're taking her stuff. ^_^ So take the stress out of teaching her to "leave it" or "drop it" by making the process enjoyable and rewarding to her.

Also, if she has food guarding issues, try feeding her by hand, a few kibbles at a time, rather than handing her the bowl. She'll figure out pretty fast that you're the food machine and she should give in soon.

She IS at an age where she's going to test some boundaries. In that, they're little different from children. A child learns to say NO, and pretty soon that's all you hear! She will outgrow this, too.

As for the staring ... you'd have to explain exactly what she was doing and how she was doing it, but I suspect she was simply watching you. A dog is NOT going to hold a grudge for something that happened hours before. That's not how they think. So you had an issue over the bone. That's over, now. If she's staring at you later, she is definitely NOT lying there plotting world dominion and thinking, "There's that person who tried to steal my bone. I must therefore EAT them in their sleep!" :lol: From everything else you describe, she's just a normal pup doing normal things - and that includes pushing a little to see what she can get away with. They all do it.

Last but not least, stop reading so much into her. She's a puppy. She lives in the moment, in what's happening now, and could care less about what happened yesterday or an hour ago. Don't let your childhood fears cripple your ability to handle her. Really, truly, she is just a dog. Enjoy her. Train her. Have fun with her. This, too, shall pass.

Best wishes,

Gloria

Link to post
Share on other sites

As I think someone else said above, resource guarding is really normal behavior for dogs. Of course, that doesn't make it acceptable! Good suggestions above about trading games. You also might want to check out Jean Donaldson's "Mine."

 

My BC stares at me all the time. Sometimes I think he's going go bore holes through my head. :)

 

Leslie

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well said Gloria.

 

The way to get over your own fear is to train her, but also know not to provoke situations that will be bad for you both. As you spend more time with her, as she grows, as you instill more and more self control in her, and as you come to know her limits and triggers, you will be surprised how much they can be trusted. Keep us updated!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all

 

Firstly, thanks again for your fantastic advice.

 

An interesting thought came to mind following my nightmare 4 days with Lilli, my husband and son have been away camping and perhaps without my husband here, Lilli thought she would take on the role as pack leader rather than my husband and she was trying it on with me, hence the ad behaviour. Husband and son came home today, no growling on the sofa etc. she s sleeping on her bed because when she tried it on tonight, my husband made her get off the couch no gowling, no nothing. What are your thoughts? I must remember the order of the rules - discipline, excercise, affection, not the other way around.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I must remember the order of the rules - discipline, excercise, affection, not the other way around.

 

Whose rules are those? Sounds suspiciously like Cesar Millan and therefore to be treated with caution.

 

The only "rules" in my book are (in no particular order) :-

 

Every dog is an individual.

Try to understand you dog and see the world through his eyes.

Be consistent.

Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a solution and, indeed, it is the only solution. Train the dog. Find someone who has successfully trained his/her own dog and many others: someone with, at least, four years of experience. This person must be someone YOU can learn from - degrees and certifications demonstrate seriousness but neither competence nor compatibility.

 

 

Donald McCaig

 

Some of the worst trainers I know have been doing the job for many decades and think they know it all. To the newcomer their dogs might look well trained but those who know better see unhappy dogs that have been coerced into submission.

 

Conversely one of the best trainers I know is pretty inexperienced by your 4 year rule.

 

You either have it or you don't; neither academic qualifications nor years of contact with dogs will alter that basic fact.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shaz, Yeah be careful of which trainers you follow. Mr Cesar Milan does have some good points to his training regimen, but he takes things Waaaay too far. BC's in general are too sensitive for his methods. If she's giving you grief by growling and refusing to get off the couch, keep a leash on her, she growls pull her off that couch by her leash. Check out this link; there's some good advice in there. http://www.dogforum.com/dog-behavior/resource-guarding-causes-prevention-modification-7511/ Also check out KIKOPUP's videos on Youtube, she has some very good training videos, all positive based. Don't get too hung up on the whole "leader of the pack" thing, that's a very dicey road to follow, especially with an eight month old.

A Border Collie loves the one who works him, not the one who feeds him. Train her, even if it's "silly parlor tricks", it will help you to build a relationship with Lilly. And most of all, do not fear her, she will sense that and she WILL take advantage of it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't get too hung up on the whole "leader of the pack" thing, that's a very dicey road to follow, especially with an eight month old.

A Border Collie loves the one who works him, not the one who feeds him. Train her, even if it's "silly parlor tricks", it will help you to build a relationship with Lilly. And most of all, do not fear her, she will sense that and she WILL take advantage of it.

 

This.

 

Trying to be "pack leader" leads to confrontation. Confrontation leads to an escalation of the situation as the OP found when trying to be "assertive and confident" over the bone.

 

We have the bigger brain and should be able to figure out another way to avoid making things worse.

 

Sadly TV shows often give unwise advice to the general public. Some will get away with putting it into practice but some will come seriously unstuck. "Don't try this at home" doesn't really work as a disclaimer when viewers see heavily edited "success stories" involving celebrities.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You have lots of good advice here. I also train the trade game with all my dogs. If I see a dog start to RG the food dish, I will add food as they eat so they only associate my hand coming toward their bowl with good things. Otherwise I make a point to never mess with their food so they have no reason to be on guard with me. On the very rare occasions I have needed to grab something out of their mouths, they didn't even realized what had had happened until I was walking away with whatever I had pried out of their mouths. It is that unexpected to them.

 

As far as staring, all my dogs stare at me. Sometimes they just seem to be looking at me with affection. Often it is because they want to go out or be fed or played with or petted. Quinn stares at me a lot, like right now when he is wanting me to put down my tablet and get the fetch party started. I don't see it as a domination thing. More of a hopeful request. That said, I think I will go play with my border collie. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shaz, if you can get yourself the Brenda Aloff book canine body language. It has opened MY eyes and I thought I knew Canine 101 pretty good. Things like "Is he looking at you, but blinking while doing so?" Stuff like that makes a HUGE difference to what the dogs' trying to convey.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago, as a pup, my dog would jump on the bed, and lay her head on my pillow. She still does, but only when she is reasonably dry and clean :o I don't try very hard to prevent it, and if she's wet/dirty, it's easy to close the bedroom door. The new couch has been off limits since purchase, and she honors it.

 

Anyway, when she was young I was too aggressive about telling her to move-off, or to the other side. I made eye-to-eye contact, and walked directly toward her, assertively saying "move". Well, this didn't work at all. Growls and ugly looks. It was far too confrontational and coercive. Figured-out that for her, it had to be more of a suggestion, and no intimidating direct eye contact. I can't remember, but at first may have used a food treat thrown to where I wanted her. Now it's a quiet "move" or "excuse me" (often followed by an upbeat "thank you" which I think she takes as praise), or she simply knows it's time to crate-up.

 

Regarding formal education in dog training, minimum years of experience, trainer's teaching skills, as mentioned above -- to an extent these are things to look for. I see dog/handler trainer fitness as being on a sliding scale. He/she may be high in one qualification, but low in another, yet be just the right person for you and your dog. New owners can learn to train their own dogs, just as prospective dog trainers can learn the craft. Their's nothing mystical about it. Books, experience, video, forums, certifications, clubs, etc, are all good sources. Wide background makes for a well-rounded trainer.

 

Back to the sofa. Your husband's approach to getting your dog to move may be different than what yours will eventually be. In event you are merely imitating him, that may be a clue that your style will have to be different. Experiment with various ways. I wouldn't use coercion for now, as it is often not effective, and risks getting yourself hurt.

 

Yes to training. Like others have said, sit, down, shake, here/come, stay, leave-it, are places to begin. Get those in place and the sofa will be easy. -- Best wishes, TEC

Link to post
Share on other sites

My dog is 10 or 11 now, and his hips aren't what they used to be. I've just started blocking the stairway at night, so he won't try to climb up here and jump into bed with me. (The climbing and the jumping are what makes him sore.)

 

It's 2:23 a.m., and I can FEEL him sitting at the bottom of the stairs, staring at me - willing me to either move the barricade or come downstairs to join him.

 

I'm 50 years old and I'm trying to Ferberize a border collie. ::Sigh::

 

Mary

Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

Ms. Mum disagrees with my prescription for finding a trainer with at least 4 years experience noting correctly that some hacks go on for decades mistraining dogs and owners.

 

I have seen any number of people with less than 4 years experience who could train dogs to the minimum requirements most pet owners have of their dogs.

 

Training the dog is the easy part.

 

Training the human owner in that owner's specific life circumstances to train his/her own dog (and keep it trained) is more difficult. Blustery males, timid females, frail elders, distracted teens, pompous, diffident, depressed, know-it-alls and know-nothings - with dogs genetically programmed to kill rats or pull sleds or kill rabbits or work sheep or "she's a rescue - the shelter thought she was a 'shepherd mix'" from God knows what background - that's the material the pet dog trainer faces on the very first day of class.

 

My hat is off to the good pet dog trainers. I couldn't do it.

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all

 

I don't use Cesar Milan's methods because I think the are way too harsh and I would never want to treat my little Lilli like that. Interesting, since my husband has been home she is back to her normal loveable self. We were out on an extremely long run/walk last night whilst my son was playing soccer and we ran into another BC gorgeous boy and his owner and I were having a chat and Maverick (her BC) has had a couple of episodes of RG also so I felt a little better that maybe I haven't been doing anything wrong she is just being a dog and I need to handle myself better, more calm and assertive rather than a scaredy cat xo

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...