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Well, here I am again.

I'll get right to the point when Gracie see's another dog she isn't aggressive at first, well, most times she isn't, my brother in law brought his little10 or 12-week old german shepherd over to a house my husband and I are fixing up. Gracie was cautious then she snapped at him, I then took her back out to the truck. My husband and his brother said, oh they are alright but I think that was just a "hey!! next time it's your throat!" threat. I don't want my dog to be responsible for some kind of serious injury. She has gone after many dogs smaller than her, puppies, she has snarled, nipped, barked at big dogs. How do I change this behavior that I am sure I created.post-18461-0-16079100-1516317490_thumb.jpg

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My first question is, have you ascertained the cause of her behavior? What are the other dogs doing when she reacts? Is there a common behavior in these other dogs that she reacts to?

Many border collies are very sensitive to other dogs who get too close and invade their space. They often don't like dogs who are overly friendly, pushy, bouncy or otherwise "in your face." These less-than-social type of dogs generally prefer to be left alone and if they do snap, it's after a curled lip or quiet growl failed to deliver their message. If the other dog fails to recognize or respect that the border collie doesn't want them so close, the bite or snap may follow.

So even if another dog is trying to be "friendly," dogs like this don't want their kind of friendly. It would be like a stranger running up and leaping into your arms.

Also, some are "breed snobs," which means they don't care for certain breeds or types of dogs who tend to be overly friendly or overly obnoxious. Pushy labs, boxers or bully breeds, yappy little dogs, overly-friendly puppies, all can be things that annoy a border collie terribly. A 12 week old German Shepherd puppy can be pretty darned boisterous, so I'd say pay attention to the interactions. If the puppy is trying too hard to be friendly and your dog is trying to evade him or warn him away with a curled lip, then take the puppy away.

I don't know if this is what happens with your dog, but it's something to think about. It's okay for a dog to dislike pushy, rude or overly-friendly dogs. But of course you don't want biting or fighting incidents. Therefore if your dog doesn't care for certain types of other dogs, your job is to prevent the situations from happening and shield her from those interactions.

Does this sound helpful?

~ Gloria

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Tess is exactly like that. She does love many dogs, but there are many more she wants to jump on and flatten to the ground. So I'm just very carefull with her and other dogs, and don't allow interactions between her and dogs I think, or she says, she won't like.

Some dogs i'm not sure, so I will let them sniff each other, with Tess leashed (she's always leashed around new dogs) and if she stiffens her body, I imediatly lead her away and distract her. Because after that stiffening, she will turn on the dog if I let it continue.

I'm specially carefull with pupies, small dogs and fearfull dogs. She would be nasty to those if allowed. Big confident dogs tend to take a correction from her well, change their aproach, and after a bit they're playing beautifully.

I think it's just a matter of knowing your dog well and read her well, and always be prepared to supervise interactions or just not allow them to happen. And for me at least, it is much better not to think of it as my dog being agressive. She is who she is and intensely dislikes dogs who are overly friendly, pushy, bouncy or otherwise "in your face", as Gloria so aptly describes it. She has that right, and it's up to me to make sure no fights happen. I'm often seen telling an off leash dog to go do something else with his time, and it works, they don't aproach us because I have a very firm and serious attitude.

Your dog could very well be agressive, I don't know as I've never seen her, but she can also just be dog selective, which is a very different thing. Not all dogs love all other dogs, and that's all right in my book.

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Good advice above.

Many dogs simply"do not suffer fools gladly" and this is especially true of border collies.


I like to think of it like this: you are taken to a party and some drunk keeps pushing himself into your space or trying to kiss you or get you to dance and you simply need to tell him in no uncertain terms to Back Off!! This is not aggression on your part, it is setting and holding appropriate boundaries. It may very well be that this is all your dog is doing. As said above, it is your role to protect your dog from unwanted advances from other dogs or people.

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Yep, what they all said. Learn to read your dog - get help with that if needed.


Also, my limited experience with border collies is that they do tend to be a bit "breedist."

Has she ever met and/or done this 'snarking' with another border collie?

I've particularly noted (and it's been mentioned here before) that they particularly don't like short-faced dogs (boxers, pitties, pugs, etc.). Something about the way they look at each other! That might not explain the GSD problem, but a thought.



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Socializing doesnt have to mean playing with other dogs. However, puppies are inclined to play, and not all adult dogs are tolerant of that. One of the best things you can do to protect your dog is to accept that certain play styles are going to be incompatible with and even intimidating to your dog. My Hannah does not like in-your-face play, and she has snarked at my sisters Samoyed because that happens to be the Sammies style. So, in that case, socializing means something a bit different. It means we can walk our dogs on leash together (side-by-side even) and have a pleasant outing.


On the other hand, I was able to introduce a seven year old Border Collie bitch into my home when Hannah was six without one snark. They even play with each other a bit. The difference is they have compatible play styles.


Learning to read your dog and observe the behavior of others will help you to make good decisions regarding how to allow your dog to interact with other dogs or even if you should allow interaction. If you know your adult dog is not tolerant of a rambunctious puppy, you will also be doing that pup a favor by keeping it from an overly harsh correction by a dog that doesnt want to be bothered.

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I don't think Ben was very well socialized before I adopted him but some of his issues are probably down to sight - or rather lack of it. His hearing however is acute. So I have to be very careful as he sometimes perceives unknown things as a threat. Could be someone pushing a push chair towards him or a kid running by. He is better than he was at first however. I'm introducing him slowly to busier environments. He can be aggressive if a strange dog runs up to him though even that is improving. My emergency distraction is a squeaky ball. One squeak from that and nothing else in the world matters. :D

However the giddy female cocker spaniel next door can get into his personal space with impunity - he just ignores her. But there is one dog in the village which he has taken a real dislike to - an intact border collie. Fortunately he can smell that dog way before I know it is in the area. He starts sniffing the air then he squares up as if to say 'I'm the man, don't mess with me', then he goes into a sort of prancing trot as he searches for the scent. So I get an early warning to keep him close by and bring out the emergency ball :rolleyes:

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Do observe your dog closely. If you can, look on YouTube for examples of friendly, playful interactions and the other kind. That can be helpful.


All dogs are different. Gibbs came to me with a love for puppies and smaller dogs, and a good tolerance for well-mannered dogs of any size. Like many bc, Gibbs does not stand for doggy bad manners. He responds appropriately - moving away if he can, escalating to a snap if pursued again, and then he erupts and drives the offender away at a 3rd or 4th transgression.


It's all normal in dog dom.


Ruth & Gibbs

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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't thank you all enough, you have eased my mind. I know Gracie wasn't just being bad, she is with Turner and me all the time and no one else.

Talksalot; Gracie is usually just minding her own business, I don't think she is an aggressor all the time but I have seen her go after other dogs when they came out of nowhere.

Everything you all said was great to read, it's nice knowing you all have experience in these things, I don't know what I would do without you all I really don't. You all have made me understand my dog more than I could have by myself. Your wisdom on border collies is priceless in my opinion. THANK YOU ALL!!

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