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Barking and lunging

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Recently my 7 month old dog (border collie x not pure) has started randomly barking and lunging at random people who walk past us. There does not seem to be any common denominator for who incites his rage except maybe slightly more frequently men and slightly more frequently people who engage with him somehow. Also (but this is predictable) people who are acting oddly (drunk or angry or muttering or walking oddly) I don't know how to approach it because it is so unpredictable. He does similar thing with skateboards only more extreme and for that I wait for that split second where he has noticed but not flipped out and reward him heavily but I don't know how well this applies here because usually he is fine. Should I just start doing that for every single person who passes us? I am not sure it is entirely realistic but I could try. I would love to hear suggestions if you experienced people might have any. Thanks in advance.

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Mine started doing that about the same age as well. We've taken him to a behaviour specialist and she says it's fear aggression (he does it with kids, random strangers, scooters, and bicycles). We haven't broken the habit yet, but we're working on it with the behaviour specialist. Basically the goal is to re-teach him how to respond to something when he is scared. The action I'm teaching him is to come touch my hand and then heel with me as we walk away. He knows the behaviour when there isn't a trigger, so next time we see the behaviour specialist later this month we're moving on to start teaching the behaviour in the presence of a trigger.

I'm not saying yours is fear aggressive, but I am saying that the teaching him the action you want him to perform might help. Also, totally rewarding him every time he behaves as you want him to is great! When he does lunge, don't say anything, just walk away with him from the trigger. Any sort of talking to him can reinforce the behaviour because it's giving him attention.

I'm not a great dog trainer when it comes to things like this (hence the behaviour specialist ^_^), but that's the theory of it put very very simply! Might be worth getting a dog trainer in to help him overcome that behaviour.

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I somehow stumbled on to something that works for my dogs. When they see something that concerns them and stiffen up, I cue them, "Check it out" They learn to go up to whatever it is, (an inanimate object, I don't recommend doing this with a human that you don't know very, very well) and get reinforced for it.

At first I might need to accompany the dog to the Scary Thing, but it has never taken long for a dog to trust me when I tell them , "Check it out".  Gibbs will look at me if he's worried ~ if there's something to worry about we move along with no comment. If it's benign, I'll give him that cue. He's gotten braver, and gotten more cookies, too.

My previous 3 all learned this one, and it helped a lot.

Ruth & Gibbs

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