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Sudden biting. Psychological issue?

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I would be concerned that his actions of biting, snapping, growling are getting him what he wants and becoming more frequent because of that regardless of the reason they began. I would also want to do research on the "calming' stuff he is being giving. Is it simply slowing his actions and reactions or it doing something different. Sounds like it might be treating symptoms and not the cause. Doesn't sound it is making him feel any better just slowing him down and not addressing the issues.

Dr Ian Dunbar is in the US doing a bunch of lectures this month. He is a vet and one of the top guys in figuring out dog behavior. I would my darndest to get in touch with him and meet him with the dog. I doubt there are many better qualified or even as qualified as he is to give you his take. Check out www.jamesandkenneth.com that might get you started. He might very well know of who else to contact.

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Update: I'm heartbroken. We found out after finally getting in contact with his breeder that Declan's issues are genetic. We're talking through our options--any possible managing/training methods--but I know that for dogs with genetic aggression issues, the outlook is bleak.

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I am so very sorry to hear this. :( :(


But, I am glad that the breeder disclosed the genetic issue. Many would not have.

I agree. But why not avoid the issue by not breeding dogs with human aggressive issues? Or is it just with the litter and not the breeding adults?


Either way I am so sorry to hear this. I would stay positive though and maybe if you give your location someone could recommend a trainer who could be helpful.

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I am always amazed how genetic behaviors can be, from silly things about how they lie down and roll to working sheep to temperament to the things that annoy or bother them. That is why I suggested contacting the breeder and talking with others who have sibling. Without knowing the parents at all or how they act or what has been done with them to correct or make the situation better it is hard to give suggestions. There are some things that will help in most cases. He is young enough that training and conditioning can have a positive effect. Just how positive you will not know till you do it.


I had a family interested and buy a pup for a pet. It was an active family and it all sounded good and I choice a nice quiet girl for them, social, easy going.... When they picked up the girl at 8 weeks I could tell she was going to spoiled just by the way they acted. I cautioned them that spoiling was fine just make sure you all agree on family rules and then teach her what is and is not acceptable. They called 2 month saying they were having trouble. She was growling and did want let them take toys from her ect. I asked what her boundaries were, did she have a routine, where she slept ect . Basically she did what she wanted when she wanted and they did not address any unwanted behaviors. I told them to set rules and begin to limit her time loose, use a crate and do not appease her - correct her and train her. In a week she was much better.

This was their first border collie. They wanted a smart active dog but were not prepared for a dog who figured them out quicker than they figured her out. They know how to get the things they want, we humans are easy to figure out.

If you want him to change it may only come from you changing first. What and how to change I do not know without seeing you and the dog. If you structure his life so all good things- good in his His eyes not necessarily yours- comes through you then I bet his outlook will change some.

With behavioral issues it can be a life or death issue. This is the single biggest reason pets are given up or euthanized. If you are not able to fix it then his future may not be so bright the time to start is NOW.

I hope things improve for all of you

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Hi there,


The behaviour with your dog that you have been experiencing, is exactly how our BC started to show issues. We dealt with 3 behavioursts and the 2nd one diagnosed her with major personal space anxiety (and other fears & anxieties).

Up until a point (for us her age was 4-5months) we could pat & interact with her, then anything could set her off & she became aggressive, even though she wasn't deep down.

She would approach to be patted, then mid pat (maybe only after a couple of strokes) she would crack. This only got worse, picking up things near her, dogs coming near her. We did decide to put her on meds 9months ago as she was becoming to much to handle & we couldn't get through to her.

One training technique we practice with her is her Stay command. Stay to be stroked, Stay, when walking towards us, when walking away from us, when walking to something/someone. STAY when about to attack, then followed by another command such as drop.


We are managing her much better now & she is a delight, even if we can't fully trust her


I would really recommend getting a good vet behaviourst out because like it said,our girl only got worse with her aggression, anxiety, fear & confusion


I have a couple of posts her the latest behaviour one being 'The effects of Prozac'.


If you perservere you will get through. I was told by this behaviourst dogs with personal space behaviour issues are the highest euthanasia cases (apart from the elderly/sick & pound puppies :( )


Every dog is worth it, we just struggle to read their signs and understand what they are feeling


Good luck!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am so sorry to hear this. Jade was thought to possibly have some wired aggression issue and it is scary. It was discovered she does have some wiring issues but currently aggression is not part of that BUT after much trial and error and behaviorist and people who thought they were behavorists but only trainers it was decided to try her with Composure Pro - prescribed by the vet and Prozak. I can tell you that Jade is an entirely different dog...still with issues but most of the time delightful to have around.


You haven't posted for a bit so I don't know if that is good or bad but I hope for peace for you no matter the decision that is made.


Thinking of you!

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