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Hello .. My name is Amber.. Last year I bought a house with a decent yard and I promised my children that when we bought a house, we would adopt a dog. Really I was looking for an older dog 1-2 yrs. I was interested in a border collie or aussie shep.


I have 4 children ranging from teen to toddler and we are an active family. I run a small pet friendly Inn and I was looking for a companion dog who could go hiking with us, play in the yard, go for walks or the river and also join me at work as well as be put to work helping to protect my chickens from predators.


I believe in adoption over buying from breeders.


I found a rescue organization based out of DC called City Dogs/City Kitties and as I was browsing their site I came across a female BC and her 6 pups. I fell in love with one of them (I really didn't want to do a puppy again but .. I fell in love) and immediately put in an application on the puppy they were calling "Cap'n Crunch". The mother is roughly 8yrs old and she was found on the streets with her 6 pups. No chip and were not reclaimed. They were calling the pups "Border Collie/Aussie shep mix"


So what ended up happening was after I put in my application for this pup, all the pups were taken off the site and I was told they were sick and might not be coming to DC.


I decided to wait to see what happened because we really liked this pup. So I waited and about 2 weeks later, Capn Crunch was back up on the website! But not his siblings.. I thought it was odd but started spamming them with emails/calls because I didn't want to loose my chance for this pup!


I got a call two days later that my application was great and it was explained to me that the pups all got sick with distemper in the shelter EXCEPT Capn Crunch (the one I wanted) Apparently, he never even got sick!! His siblings all passed away from the distemper. I felt more than ever that this pup needed to be with my children and I so we completed the process and on July 3rd we brought the little guy home from DC!


He is super adorable, super smart and we love him to death.. He was 3 months old when we brought him home. House training/crate training was a breeze. He loves to learn and do tricks for us. I had my oldest daughter work with him and she has taught him to roll over, sit pretty, dance (work in progress) and she was working on a bit of agility stuff in the yard (nothing heavy.. just simple stuff) He LOVES to chase a ball and I love the fact that he is perfectly content to stay in our yard (never tries to escape).. unless he sees us across the street haha. He learned the basics real quick (sit, lay down, shake) and is extremely food motivated (which I'm reading is a BC trait)


BUT .. I have an issue too :( And could use some training suggestions.


He "attacks" my children. So far it hasn't been too bad but enough to make me never leave him alone with my kids, especially outside in the yard! That's where he gets really bad with it.


Then 2 days ago, the weather was beautiful! So we were out in the yard.. I kind of forgot that he acts that way sometimes so I was in the side yard throwing a ball for him and playing with him. My 8 yr old son was in the front yard cleaning Logan's mess (his chore) and I saw my 3 year old son heading towards the incline to come join Logan and I on the side yard. I threw the ball and Logan chased.. but to my horror.. he took one look at my son.. ran straight past the ball, up the incline where he grabbed (I was already running) my son by his arm (sweater) and started shaking him (hard) and growling like I have never heard him growl. After I got him off my son I had my son by my side and I was telling Logan "NO" when Logan proceeded to try to get around me and go at my son again! By this point Logan knew I was angry and kept darting away from me. I ended up bringing my son in the house.


He consistently gets rough with my 8 yr old and my 11 year old in the house as well when playing seems to escalate to the point of .. I wouldn't say attacking.. but just shy of it. As soon as I walk in the room.. he stops. The minute my back is turned.. hes on them.


I don't know how to correct this. I WONT give up my dog, but I WONT allow my children to be bitten.


I also have two cats. One is 4 years old.. Jazzy and she doesn't tolerate him.. but then.. she doesn't tolerate anyone haha. She likes things quiet and calm.. but she has her escape rooms where she can go to get away from him or my 3 year old. Then there is the kitten we just adopted, Jinx. Logan and Jinx get along pretty good! They had a blast playing the other day when I introduced them after Jinx's initial quarantine since we just adopted him from the shelter.


Logan also killed one of my chickens, but it was my fault that I didn't count them when I cooped them. I think it was an accident. He likes to chase them which is why they are never out at the same time.


TIA for any suggestions and I'm happy to be here!


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I am sure others will give some good advice but i will say... someone needs to see the dog in person to help you. Advice online only goes so far as we are basing advice off of what you are telling us. Which is obviously very subjective, bias and definitely leaving out all the small things (body language and such that we can't see online).


We would need to see how your dog interacts with your kids, you, and how your kids interact with the dog. There is little way for us to tell what the dog's intentions are and if he is safe to live with such young kids.


Hopefully someone here can suggest a professional in your area who can come to your home and evaluate the situation. A dog his size shaking a 3 year old child doesn't sound safe and needs in person help. My guess though is that he needs more structure and clear boundaries in the home.

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Sorry to hear you're having trouble with your puppy.


Siblings all died, taken from the street, it all sounds like a bit of a rough start. So his acting out might be stemming from this. But who knows, it's hard to tell just from a written story.


I second what everyone is saying here: Get an experienced trainer / behaviourist involved, preferably get someone to see your pup at your home.


My other advice would be: calm down around your pup!


I think you're making a bit of a classical mistake: 3 month old, in a home with kids, "light agility" and all these different high energy tricks.. That all sounds very hyper to me, and way way too much for a pup.


A border collie (mix) needs a lot of structure and stability to learn to be calm in the house and around your children.


I think at this point it's a good idea to stop the trick training (no, your puppy wont be bored), and not let your kids train your dog anymore. I think it would be better if you train him, and focus very much on impulse control: stay, sit, leave it, etc.


Supervise playtime with the kids, and make sure it doesn't get too hyped up. Calm play time with the kids: no rough tug games.


And crate train, and lots and lots of rest..


And find a trainer that has experience, if the word dominance, alpha, etc. pops up, run to another trainer..

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Thank you for your replies! Is there anyone on the board in or around Anne Arundel County Maryland that knows of a reputable trainer they could recommend? I figured this would be my best bet.. but in searching.. there are SO many, its hard to choose. I want to get it right the first time and not waste time, money or effort you know? I am also in contact with the rescue I adopted him from and they are going to get me a phone consult with a trainer that works with the rescue. Hopefully they will be able to recommend someone to me as I would prefer in person.


I would like to clear up a couple of things:


Logan is now 10 months old. He will be 1 in April. When I said "light agility" all she did was encourage behaviors he was already exhibiting with treats. IE: He started leaping over my son's wagon so she encouraged him. That was all.. she didn't set up a course and try to make him go thru ;)


I worked on the basics with him when he was a puppy and he learned those quick and from me. I initially wanted to bring him to work with me every day, but it came to my attention he really did not like being in my office. He is well behaved when he is there and LOVES meeting all the people that come by (my clients) and all the pets and love he gets. He absolutely loves meeting new people, but he just simply doesn't like my office. He whines and paces and wants nothing but to go outside. Perhaps its just because its downtown Annapolis and there are sooo many people and dogs there at all times, its much more interesting out there haha.. but I figure if hes not happy then I wont bring him. But that means he is in the crate from 10-2:30 until my oldest daughter comes home from school and walks him. Then at 3:30 my 11 year old comes home and walks him. All of this is done without incident. But if they try to keep him out and loose with them, he starts getting carried away so they are told to keep him in the crate. Then when I get home hes out for the evening until bed time. For now, he sleeps in the crate.


As far as calm down around Logan, I think you are right.. but its a little easier said than done. My 8 year old is ADHD. Then I have a 3 year old. My 11 year old gets excited when she is actually playing with him and then he gets carried away and I have to get him off her. But a lot of times Logan is the one that just starts in on them out of no where. I have already told the kids no more tug play. He loves to chase his toys when we throw them or catch them when we throw them in the air. But a lot of times the kids will be sitting there just watching tv.. not moving or talking and Logan pounces on them biting their feet.. not aggressively but I definitely try to discourage this behavior and the kids know they are NOT to let him pull on clothing or bite at feet/hands during play. I ALWAYS supervise.


Another note.. Logan is by far my first dog ;) Years ago before my divorce (and they came with me) I had a 160 lb great dane and a 55lb siberian husky timberwolf mix. Logan reminds me a lot of how the husky was as a pup.. but she responded better. Logan is more stubborn I guess haha.


Please dont think its constant aggression. I KNOW its something WE are doing that is triggering him to react this way. I just need to figure it out and I think I'm gonna need help.


I added a couple more photos of him with my 3 yr old and 11 yr old and one of the kitties.




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Pretty dog!


I guess it makes sense to not take your dog to the office if he can't adapt. However, my pup as a 10 month old, would not be great in the hands of children. She would have taken every advantage possible to misbehave in that situation. They're pretty smart, those Border Collies :)



But a lot of times Logan is the one that just starts in on them out of no where. I have already told the kids no more tug play. He loves to chase his toys when we throw them or catch them when we throw them in the air. But a lot of times the kids will be sitting there just watching tv.. not moving or talking and Logan pounces on them biting their feet..


Case in point :)


The thing is: your dog simply knows: if I pounce on the kids, activity is the result: either they're gonna play with me, or there is gonna be some kinds of a ruckus. Even if you correct: negative attention, is still attention.


Neither the kids nor you, are walking toys. Logan cannot decide when he gets attention, and when it's playtime. You, and only you, decide when Logan gets to play. If he comes up to you or the kids, nagging, pouncing. Gently walk over, don't talk,just take him to his crate for a time out. No fun.. No energy..


I get that it's difficult for a child with ADHD to sit quiet when there is a dog around that wants to play most of the time, but I guess the only way is to implement strict rules and try to find a way to get the kids on board.


I live nowhere near you, so no advice on the trainer :D

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Check with Sarah Ruckelshaus who runs Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue and is based in Chestertown MD. She may be able to give you some references. She is on Facebook, not here, or you can Google Mid-Atlantic to find her contact info.


Nancy Cox Starkey is here and I *think* she might know people in that direction, or know people who know people, so to speak. I hope she sees this and chimes in. You can also find her on FB.

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Thank you! Makes total sense! I know this is not going to be an easy task but we all love Logan.. even if we don't quite get him nor him us just yet.


The husky that I mentioned, she was my first baby. I had her before my children. She was probably 1.5 when my daughter was born. When my daughter became mobile (crawling) I started having serious issues with Tasha growling at my daughter. Tasha was sooo territorial.. and I ended up making the situation worse. I started searching online and found a woman in Alaska that has a pack of working Huskies that she would allow to breed from time to time. I ended up talking to her on the phone and she gave me some FABULOUS advice... informed me of what *I* was doing wrong. I had actually created a situation for Tasha's territorial instincts to become stronger and had inadvertently made the issue worse. After speaking with her.. things got better and I never had an issue with Tasha again! So I find insight like that very helpful. Sometimes it just takes someone looking in on the situation from the outside.


You also mentioned about all his siblings passing away.. and then the van ride up to DC from Va was I am positive, extremely stressful for him. We adopted him "off the bus" which means he never went to a foster, we picked him up first thing and he came right home.


@Sue R


Thanks so much!! I will definitely look into those recommendations!

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This all sounds like great advice. :)

The only thing I can add is this: you've adopted a herding breed and they react off movement and activity. It's in their DNA to do something - even if it's wrong - when activity and excitement occur. They have an ingrained urge to control and respond to it. Some dogs have it more than others and it sounds at this distance as if your dog has pretty high play drive. He's young enough that his self restraint may be lacking and that's not at all uncommon in Border Collies or Aussies. It can take a lot of patience and time to teach self restraint and the presence of distractions or activity can make it harder.

Which is to say, your family sounds very active with those kids. The only thing I suspect you're "doing" to trigger him is being a normal, active household with children of various sizes. Once he's playing and that little switch in his head flips, he may not be selective about where he directs it. All he knows is that he's overcome with this sudden urge to do something. Control or stop movement.

It's kind of like when kids are playing and they start running and screaming and they don't hear you yell to Cool It right away. ;) So it's not abnormal behavior by any means and given his young age and a houseful of kids, it's not entirely unexpected. But as others have said, this is more than we can handle here online, so I hope you can find a trainer to help you.

The only caveat I would add there is that if you find someone and they start spouting about "dominance" and "pack leaders" or "lack of respect," please run, do not walk away. Border collies and BC crosses can be excitable and exuberant, but they are also very sensitive and heavy-handedness can cause other behavioral issues. A patient firm, kind and consistent approach is probably what he needs.

Do keep us posted and best of luck~


Check with Sarah Ruckelshaus who runs Mid-Atlantic Border Collie Rescue and is based in Chestertown MD. She may be able to give you some references. She is on Facebook, not here, or you can Google Mid-Atlantic to find her contact info.


Nancy Cox Starkey is here and I *think* she might know people in that direction, or know people who know people, so to speak. I hope she sees this and chimes in. You can also find her on FB.

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Good for you to look for help with your issue. I would second Sarah Ruckelshaus as a source to find a 'good' behaviorist/trainer. As you know, there are a lot of people out there who hang out a 'dog trainer' shingle, but don't really have good insight into dogs.


As far as his other siblings dying -- it depends on how old the pups were when he became a 'single'. If a pup is born as a single, s/he doesn't get the crucial inter-sibling socialization that helps produce a more balanced dog. A particularly important lesson that the pups learn from each other and their mother is bite inhibition. This is one of the reasons why it is important to keep the litter with the mother until at least 8 - 9 weeks of age.


As far as the van ride, most well-balanced pups will take traveling in stride - sometimes better than an older dog that is mores set in his ways.

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