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Help! My 14 week old BC only wants to focus on Herding my other dogs

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I am hoping to get help with a BC issue that I am experiencing.  I have a now 14 week old BC, (3) other 13 year old dogs and (2) 7 year old dogs.  She is obsessed with constantly wanting to herd them, to the point of ignoring anything else.  She is particularly obsessed with herding my 13 year old chihuahua to the point that she has attacked her.  She is an extremely smart girl and can be taught most anything when she is not around other dogs.  She loves balls and squeaky toys, unless she is attempting to herd the other dogs.  Then she ignores everything else but the dog she is circling.  She is also  fence aggressive.  If she is on the opposite side of an xpen from the other dogs, she goes crazy barking and growling up and down the fence.

When she is not in this obsessive mode, she is sweet and loving.  I have had five border collies before and have been training and showing in dog sports since 198, so I am not new to training, but I am struggling with this behavior and how to focus it.  I can't put my other older dogs at risk, so I am seeking any suggestions from those who know the behaviors of this great breed.

Thank you for all of your help




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Your bc is not herding, she is harassing your other dogs. This is aggressive behavior, particularly that you say she's attacked a very small and vulnerable dog. 

Counting the BC, you have 6 dogs. Working with a dog with this extreme behavior is time consuming and long-term. With the other dogs to care for, and probably work that you do for income, I don't know that anyone would come out a winner.

Your BC seems obsessive/compulsive to me from what you describe. I don't believe this behavior can  or should be 'focused'. Have you tried medication? Are you willing to isolate her from the other dogs while you work with her for weeks and months?

You need to think about the cost to yourself and your 'pack' that keeping this dog brings with it. I'm sorry I can't be more positive.

Ruth & Gibbs

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I agree with the above post from Ruth. This behavior is obsessive and is not too uncommon in border collies but cannot be permitted, most especially when it involves the harassment of other animals. 

You need to train her not to do this, and while that is in process (which may be a long time) you need to keep them strictly segregated and away from her.  If you are for whatever reason unable to do those things then perhaps she should have a different home. If you can and want to put the effort into it, I believe this could be changed with help from the right trainer and very consistent work that involves positive reinforcement, not punishment.

The barking and growling on the other side of a barrier is also something which should not be permitted, and again requires absolute segregation from the others, as this behavior in itself is self-rewarding and if allowed to continue will only cause it to become more ingrained in her.


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As they said, this isn't "herding" behavior. It's predatory behavior, upon which herding behavior is based, but truncated so it doesn't present as full blown predation. No shepherd wants a dog that's going to run amok with their livestock and the dog that does it will end up with a bullet in his head.

If it's as severe as it sounds in a 14 week old pup, you'll have to take some serious steps to get it under control before it becomes full blown predation with serious consequences. I wholeheartedly second removing her from her triggers, i.e. the other dogs, until she's learned self control and is responding to well proofed behavioral cues including recall and "leave it."

Yes, you'll have to make sure the puppy doesn't have interactions with the other dogs, especially the Chis. She's  probably honed in on the weakest dog, which again is a predatory instinct.

And remember, every time she gets to practice that barrier aggression in her x-pen, it's self rewarding and cementing this behavioral pattern in her brain. She simple can't be anywhere where she can do this.

I agree that this pup is gong to require a lot of serious individual training. I'd work with a good positive reinforcement trainer. If any of this escalates once you've been working with her own her own, I'd consider consulting either a veterinary behaviorist or a certified applied behavior consultant sooner rather than later.

I don't know if a pup that young can be diagnosed as obsessive/compulsive yet, but it sure looks like it could be headed in that direction without immediate intervention. And I don't know if a vet will give a puppy that young psychiatric medications.

As young as she is I think there's a good chance that with early intervention she can learn appropriate ways to interact with other dogs. But until that happens, you've got to consider the safety of the little guys especially.


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