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Formally Introducing Scotch (Lewie’s Successor)

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I adopted Scotch Dec 4, so it’s been just 6 weeks that I’ve had him. He is sweet, smart, funny, obedient (usually), a great snuggler, agile, a little stubborn at times, and sensitive. He has really helped fill the void left by Lewie’s passing in September.


Scotch seemed to bond with me right away and it didn’t take long before he wiggled his way into my heart. He and I are really enjoying getting to know each other. We already have a bit of a routine for play time, snuggle time, and life in general. He is very good in the house, no chewing inappropriate things, no potty-ing, etc. I’m a big advocate of crating but he definitely does not like being crated. Since he's so good in the house I don't force that. But, he will crate himself, occasionally. :blink: He gets on the furniture and bed when I'm not home which is something I’ve never allowed with my previous dogs. But, I’ve decided to pick my battles and not sweat that for now.


Scotch does have some real sight and sound reactivity issues. He gets really amped up if he hears unfamiliar sounds or if he sees someone in the neighborhood when we’re in the back yard. Forget about walks! A few times he has "gone Cujo" and gotten scary. It was never directed at me, always another person. He's never been anything but wonderful with me. I can't help wonder if some of the reactivity is triggered by experiences from his previous life.


The reactivity has calmed down a tiny bit since having him home, but I am seeking advice/help from a behaviorist who specializes in behavioral problems. She was recommended by foster mom and holds classes for fearful and aggression behaviors. I need someone with more knowledge/experience than I have to assess whether it’s “normal” for him or if there’s some psychological issues. Since Scotch is my first (assumingly) full BC, I have much to learn. I’d like to be able to expand his little world, take him on walks, car rides, and just give him and me a fuller life.


Anyway, for now, we are getting to know each other and having a blast!






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Well, congratulations to Scotch for finding himself a good home.


Reactivity to sounds is fairly common in Border Collies. It may be intrinsic or perhaps be something that is related to a previous experience. My own Senneca came with a powerful reaction to someone smoking -- especially when lighting up a cigarette. An ex-foster, Rhys bach, would get panic attacks while out for walks. I never figured out what triggered them, but they slowly diminished as time went on. As a general rule issues related to a previous experience tend to fade as a dog gains more confidence with its new environment.

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there are Border Collies who simply react strongly to certain things, not necessarily due to experience. try to just maintain a calm, in charge, silly dog that's no big deal attitude and it will transmit to him that he indeed has nothing to worry about. I give a dogs a bit of a Ah. Most all of that snarling, barking, lunging is from fear in most dogs so I let them know that is not the behavior I want and we just want it out until they settle down. They simply have to get to the point that they are thinking again and not reacting so I talk to them but don't pet them or make them do anything.


If I and the dog and other people are safe I just stick there because I feel leaving reinforcing to the dog that there must be something really scary since we left. I don't pet because I don't want to give the wrong signal. It is something the dog needs to deal with but I am there to let him know 'we got this."

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Congratulations! Scotch is stunning and you look very happy together.


Since you don't know his history there's no way to know if his reactions are because of bad experiences or are his genetic makeup. And it really doesn't matter because the ways of working with it are the same. Besides, you can't change his past, so again, you'd approach it the same way anyway.


Best wishes to you both as you continue to bond and grow together.

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