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Mollie-Breaking one aggravating thing


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Mollie is the sweetest girl there is.

Except for one thing.

 

When we go outside, she goes into a crouch and waits for me to step off the porch.

At that time, she circles me, growls and yips, and nips and grabs my arm.

 

I believe she's herding me.

It doesn't matter if I tell her we're going for a ride (which she loves) or going to the chickens.

 

I can sometimes distract her by telling her to find a stick.

Sometimes I turn my back to her and walk backwards.

Sometimes a squirt gun will keep her back

 

Never happens in the house and, usually, only happens when we first go out.

After we get over this initial interaction, she's fine.

But it happens every time.

 

She obeys in all other ways.

 

My forearms are usually marked with scabs in the summer.

 

In the house she cuddles and loves me up.

 

Mollie is 3-1/2 and this has been happening for a long time.

 

Any suggestions on breaking her of this would be welcome and appreciated.

 

Thank you

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Í feel a bit cpt. Obvious, but if your corrections don't work they are not strong enough.

I would regard this as totally unacceptable behaviour, and would not suffer it. Certainly not to an extent of walking around with scabs on my arm all summer.

You know when it happens, I'd grab her lightning quick by the scruff of her neck and give her a shake and a good growl.

 

The reason I propose such a harsh correction is the fact that this has been going on for quite some time. I get the impression from your description that softer correction (as I would start with if this was a pup trying such nonsense for the first time) a passed station.

 

This is ingrained behaviour you have allowed to develop. To break her of it is going to take time, effort and consistency.

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I was thinking the same thing as Smalahundur. It's time to seriously increase your response.

 

An alternative would be to have her on a leash Every Time You Go Outside With Her. No exceptions. Keep her at your side, no waiting to pounce on you at the foot of the stairs. Keep the hand closest to her tightly on the leash, just above her collar. By holding her down w/the leash you can prevent her from circling/leaping at you and still get in her face and roar "NO" at her.

 

I'd go a bit further and repeat the whole sequence a few times. Leash on, step outside w/Mollie at your side and your hand tightly on leash right above her collar. Restrain her vigorously the instant she starts to circle, etc. Emphasize it with a yell.

 

Echoing Smalanundar's post, this will take many repetitions and absolute consistency on your part. And vigilance even after you think you've broken her of it.

 

Is she doing this to anyone else in the household? If so, they all have to be on board and consistent.

 

And this is not herding - this is bratty behavior that she does because you've been excusing it as 'herding'.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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Thanks for the suggestions.

I get where you're coming from but she hasn't received mild correction

 

She's been kicked in mid-lunge, back-handed.

These are things I hate to do.

 

I have carried a "walking stick" to keep her away.

 

She's pretty fast.

I'd like to see someone grab her in the act.

 

Several evenings ago, I caught her with a solid back hand that I knew hurt because she stayed away and to be coaxed to get in the truck for her ride.

 

These aren't mild corrections.

 

After that, she continued.

 

I am the only one she does this to.

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Leash. Leash leash leash. Held tight to your side. Leash her in the house, then walk outside with her held close to your side.

 

Correcting her after she's launched isn't working, so work on preventing the launch. By the time you've touched the door knob, she's got the picture in her border collie mind of attacking you.

 

Break the chain of events - and I bet it starts earlier than you think. Whatever you do just before you leave the house, do it differently. Take her out another door. Put your jacket on after you get outside, instead of before. Put your car keys in your pocket several minutes ahead of your exit, not just before. Dissect the whole chain, starting with realizing your intention to leave the house and see what you can change in your own actions. She's cuing off this pattern, so disrupt the pattern.

 

Praise the dickens out of her for walking nicely on the leash - do this separately and a lot. Take whatever your idea of 'a lot' is and double it.

 

If you need help breaking down the action chain, pm me and I'll send you my email.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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She is not herding you. It's a self rewarding game for her and she knows she can get away with it with you.

 

Put a leash on her. Put a basket muzzle on her. Walk out the door with her walking loose leash, by your side. Before she starts the circling behavior, give her a command like a lie down. Praise if she obeys and give her a treat. If she doesn't, you have a means of physical control (leash) and prevention (muzzle) already in place. Do this EVERY SINGLE TIME you go outside until the habit has been broken.

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She is not herding you. It's a self rewarding game for her and she knows she can get away with it with you.

 

Put a leash on her. Put a basket muzzle on her. Walk out the door with her walking loose leash, by your side. Before she starts the circling behavior, give her a command like a lie down. Praise if she obeys and give her a treat. If she doesn't, you have a means of physical control (leash) and prevention (muzzle) already in place. Do this EVERY SINGLE TIME you go outside until the habit has been broken.

Yes to what everyone said. You need to reinvent what going out the door means. Leash her so you can physically prevent the behavior. Hitting her after the fact or in the middle of the behavior isn't going to work (as you have seen). You need to show her (reward her and practice) the behavior that you want. Waiting until she is in the act to correct, is too late. Prevent the behavior and practice the good behavior.

 

My thoughts....Leash her in the house, approach the door, put her in a down/stay, open the door, close the door, open the door, repeat. When she looks calm you can hold the door open and walk out, then walk back in with her in a down stay. Eventually you can invite her out the door but only at your release and when she looks calm. Down her again once she is out if she is starting to look excited. Or you can just keep her on a short leash and walk in and out the door like normal man/dog and repeat, a lot. Take the fun out of the game for her. Walking out this door is no different than you two walking in or out of any other door.

 

Again, re-teach her what the door threshold means and what you walking out the door means. It means calm behavior.

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Leash. Leash leash leash. Held tight to your side. Leash her in the house, then walk outside with her held close to your side.

 

Correcting her after she's launched isn't working, so work on preventing the launch. By the time you've touched the door knob, she's got the picture in her border collie mind of attacking you.

 

Break the chain of events - and I bet it starts earlier than you think. Whatever you do just before you leave the house, do it differently. Take her out another door. Put your jacket on after you get outside, instead of before. Put your car keys in your pocket several minutes ahead of your exit, not just before. Dissect the whole chain, starting with realizing your intention to leave the house and see what you can change in your own actions. She's cuing off this pattern, so disrupt the pattern.

 

Praise the dickens out of her for walking nicely on the leash - do this separately and a lot. Take whatever your idea of 'a lot' is and double it.

 

If you need help breaking down the action chain, pm me and I'll send you my email.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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I have a male who loves to rough house play with me. Mollie sounds a lot like him -- she's playing. Now there's been plenty of advice about stopping her, but what I have done is to encourage play, but control it before it gets unacceptably rough. When Mollie is about to nip shout NO!, look angry, stiffen your body; refuse to continue. As others have mentioned, a scruffing might be needed initially. Please don't hit her. That tells Mollie that you are willing to play even rougher -- quite the opposite of what you want.

 

Watch dogs play together. Read their body language and see how they tell each other when things have got too rough. Learn from them and Mollie will moderate her play to your signals. This will make both of you happier.

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Those are all great suggestions to try and I appreciate them.

 

I'll give the leash a try.

 

Strong "Nos" while she's thinking about it have had minimal success.

 

It makes sense to me that changing the routine may change the behavior.

 

Writing makes it difficult to explain clearly what is happening.

I may see if my daughter can video this if I can upload it here.

 

Thanks, again.

I'll keep an update of our progress.

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Strong "Nos" while she's thinking about it have had minimal success.

Timing is of the essence here. By shouting NO! as she is going to nip -- not while she is thinking about it -- you disturb the action. Mollie is most likely nipping you to goad you into playing with her. Indulge her by participating and control her actions by inhibiting the unacceptable while encouraging the acceptable.

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My trainer used to do amazing things with puppies: get them into a good "sit" when greeting strangers within five minutes. His rule was that as soon as the dog showed the unwanted behavior (jumping on people), the people needed to withdraw exactly what the dog wanted (their approach).

 

Cricket started growling and barking at me for attention and walks mid-afternoon a while back. For a little while I got up and walked her then... but realized I was totally training her to bark and growl LOUDER when she wanted attention. So, instead, I started going into the bathroom and shutting the door every time she did it. It took about two weeks, but she stopped barking at me.

 

Seems like your dog is wanting to go outside and rough you up? Is there a way you can directly link the BEGINNING of her bad behavior to the REMOVAL of the desired outcome?

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I do not tolerate a dog biting me more than once or at most twice. After that, the dog has a muzzle on any time that we are going into the activity that involved the biting previously. I agree with the above advice you have received, and strongly agree with putting a basket style muzzle on her before you go out the door.

 

This may be something you can fade in time, or it may be something you will always have to do. One of my dogs is the sweetest thing in the world, until it comes time to trim claws. Then, he bites. So, basket muzzle on before claw trimming, every time. He then knows he cannot bite, and has stopped trying. But I will always put the muzzle on him for claw trimming.

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Without seeing it, I will say that it sounds like rowdy inappropriate play. Border Collies are notorious for having ritualized and repetitive behaviors, and this sounds like it has become one in addition to making her very aroused and excited.

 

It also sounds like your corrections have only amped up the arousal that surrounds it, and she may actually enjoy the chemical amp she gets from the increased excitement, like it gives her a moment of a high (I feel like I am not explaining this very well).

 

Like others here, I believe you will have to change the behavior from its earliest start and create a new routine so that the ritualized one she has now will fade. Pay close attention to the entire sequence of how you go out the door, from the moment you think that you will go out. How does she act when you start towards the door? Is she excited, does she start getting whirly and not listening? Go from there. Mine would likely include a down stay on a predetermined mark, a reward ON that mark (not for being released and charging off of it) than a quiet release. Eventually the reward can be faded, and maybe the down faded to a stand on that spot.

 

Try to not feed into the frenzy of her behavior by getting angry or excited yourself.

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You have got very good advice above.

Maybe she just likes rough play and has never understood you don't, in spite of you correcting her. Which, if this is true, makes me think it's not so much about correcting the behaviour but about teaching her what behaviour you want instead.

 

My Tess loves rough play where she puts her mouth on people's arms. For her, it's the best play ever. But it's very diferent with her. For one, she has great bite inibition and never even scratches the skin. And she never ever initiates that kind of play without first being invited to it. And she stops imediatly when the person says enough.

 

There are two people that play with her like that, my bf and our trainer (I guess it's a guy thing, I don't care for it myself). This trainer is recent and the first time he invited her to play like that she was sooo happy but also hesitant, like, wait, you mean I can play bitey with you??? Really??? You sure? Yes!!!

 

This is to say she is very aware that she can't just put her mouth on people's skin, and she doesn't, not unless the person very specifically tells her she is welcome to it.

 

She was always very mouthy, and I never corrected her for it, just oriented her and provided rules. Her mouthyness is very handy as she's a natural retriever and great at getting things for me so I don't have to bend my pretty screwed up knees. So I nurtured her desire to use her mouth but oriented it so she could satisfy that need in good ways. I play a lot of tug games with her where she has the chance to bite as hard as she wants and get very excited about it. The games have rules she understood from puppyhood and she is quite carefull not to touch my skin during them.

 

Every night when we go to bed I get in, pull the covers and invite her up. She jumps into the bed, gently mouths my arms, then licks them and my face, then settles in a position where I can pet her belly till she goes to sleep. It's her ritual and I can see she gets a lot of pleasure from being allowed to mouth my arms. But she does it very gently because she was thaught to. Sometimes I think it's a lot wiser to work with the dog's inclinations that to fight them. But to be honest I have no idea if your dog is in any way like Tess, so just something to consider.

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This behavior only last for a few seconds.

 

I let her out and then step onto the porch.

She goes into the crouch and waits for me to step off.

 

She circles, gives a little growl, jumps and nips my forearm and then runs off.

Rest of the time outside, she doesn't do anything like that.

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This behavior only last for a few seconds.

 

I let her out and then step onto the porch.

She goes into the crouch and waits for me to step off.

 

She circles, gives a little growl, jumps and nips my forearm and then runs off.

Rest of the time outside, she doesn't do anything like that.

 

How does she act before you let her out? is she calm, or bouncing in front of the door, or nose mashed into the door waiting for it to open? Can she hold a stay before being released?

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She is excited to go out and will bounce around waiting for the door.

We do make both dogs sit and wait for a release to go out.

 

She will hold a stay before being allowed outside (reluctantly :) )

 

This morning I let her out to go to the chickens with me.

She went into the crouch.

I saw a stick by the edge of the porch and got her to grab the stick which diverted her attention from me.

She, happily grabbed it and ran off.

 

No "attack" on me.

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She is excited to go out and will bounce around waiting for the door.

We do make both dogs sit and wait for a release to go out.

 

She will hold a stay before being allowed outside (reluctantly :) )

 

This morning I let her out to go to the chickens with me.

She went into the crouch.

I saw a stick by the edge of the porch and got her to grab the stick which diverted her attention from me.

She, happily grabbed it and ran off.

 

No "attack" on me.

 

Good! So she can be easily rerouted from her habit.

 

Can you designate a spot outside the door to have her go do a stay on? like a doormat or the like? So then you could snap a leash on, go out to the spot, ask for another stay on that mat (and rewarded on the mat quietly for staying, a pet and sweet word or a small treat) them a very quiet release. You can fade the leash over time, and also the mat over time and have her just go to the spot and wait.

 

Sometimes the stay on the inside with the release results in a dog who gets overly excited when released and that could be the start of the crouch grab thing.

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That's good news, Larry - was she on a leash? If she's really in play mode, then switching up the pattern/behavior chain to be about a game of fetch or tug when you go out is a good idea.

 

Please be cautious and watchful as you go forward. Work with the leash a bit, just in case. Keep a stick or toy on the porch for her to play with, or take one out with you.

 

As nice as this is, you're not done yet. You've got to keep on top of the lead-up to the going outside and stay in control of it.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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I hadn't started any training yet.

This was normal, usual behavior.

 

She wasn't on a leash

 

Sometimes the stay on the inside with the release results in a dog who gets overly excited when released and that could be the start of the crouch grab thing.

She only does it to me

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