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LittleLondoner

Over-friendly collie

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Hi everyone! This is my first time posting although I've read and valued a lot of the posts I've seen on here! Really hoping someone can help with our weird collie!

We have a very sweet collie pup who is nearly a year old.

He's developed this strange behaviour, which on the surface seems quite sweet, but is actually causing some trouble! Basically, whenever he is out in the park, he takes his ball (or a stick if we don't bring the ball out) and puts it at strangers' feet for them to throw it for him. I dont know which outcome is worse: either they think it's adorable and throw the stick and then he won't leave them alone and I have to put him back on his leash to get him away; or they are scared of him and either run away (which he thinks is great fun) and/or shout at me. 

He's never ever aggressive, he just wants to play. And his recall is excellent in every other situation except this one!

We've tried everything we can think of to stop him approaching strangers but don't want to accidentally cause him to be afraid of strangers. We've tried rewarding and praising him for coming back to us, but the potential reward of playing is always more exciting. We've tried asking the strangers to not pick up the stick, but often he targets people quite far away and we can't get there in time.

Has anyone else ever experienced this or have any tips for how we could avoid this behaviour without damaging his innate friendliness?

 

Thanks in advance!

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My dog does the exact same thing. Sorry, but l don't have any good advice because the only success I've had was through avoiding dog parks and by picking up the ball when anyone comes near

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A2B4A6EA-A09D-471C-987B-914928125631.thumb.jpeg.516b3cb22439d7e198008a3ec39972e2.jpegSimilar with our Ben. Incredibly friendly and gentle, but some people just don’t want him approaching them at all. The stick thing is just an add-on to our problem really. 

We’ve got some great parks here, and I suppose you could call some of them “dog parks” but the thing is here really they’re multi-use. So the idea of taking your dog to the park before work seems great (and I tried for a few months), it becomes problematic when runners use the same park to do laps round. Ben would just run up to them. 

 

 

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I've had one like your guy, a couple sort of middle of the road, and one stand-offish guy. The stand-offish guy is currently in residence. If I had to choose between super-friendly and stand-offish, I'd go with super friendly. There are still issues, but my Gibbs has growled at people he doesn't know when they've approached him too quickly. And unfortunately, there have been times when I've had to physically put myself between my dog and an idiot human who is telling me, "I'd love to pet him and I'm really good with dogs." 

My advice is to work, work, work on his recall. Start at home, ask friends to come over and help. Keep him on a long line. He heads for Friend, you call. If he ignores you, use the long line and gently reel him in. Reinforce w/treat or head scratch or whatever works best. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Jackpot when he turns and trots right back to you without a tug on the long line.

Then take it on the road, starting w/him on the longline again, go thru the whole process. Ask a friendly looking stranger to be the 'lure' AND the reward. Lots of people are happy to help. So your pup is on the long line, friendly stranger is standing a bit away, Pup heads for FS, you call, he returns without being tugged back by the longline. JACKPOT! AND, the jackpot is getting to greet the FS!

W/my very outgoing Buzz, who loved EVERY human, this worked well. It takes time, but the jackpot being the wonderfulness of getting to greet the FS makes a big difference. AND, always, always ask a potential FS if they would mind helping you train your dog. Don't assume.

Good luck! Let us know how you get on.

Ruth & Gibbs

ETA: Thanks for clarifying that, GL. It was what was in my brain, but it didn't make it to the screen!

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Welcome to the Boards.

Good chance he'll become less enthusiastic about interacting with strangers as he matures.

However, what this illustrates is that you don't have a reliable recall on your pup and therefore he shouldn't be off leash in situations where he might not respond when you call him. You can use a long line to give him more freedom on walks in the park, but you'll also be able to control his unwanted greeting behavior when you need to.

I'm guessing you attempt to call him back to you at some point as he's approaching a stranger in this way. The problem is that each and every time time he blows off your attempt to recall him, you're teaching him that he really doesn't have to comply and, worse, he's getting rewarded for it by being able to do whatever he wants to do until you catch up with him to clip the leash on. As you've noticed and as Ruth pointed out above, the biggest reward for him is being able to approach the stranger.

1 hour ago, urge to herd said:

So your pup is on the long line, friendly stranger is standing a bit away, Pup heads for FS, you call, he returns without being tugged back by the longline. JACKPOT! AND, the jackpot is getting to greet the FS!

The only thing I'd add to this is that the first jackpot should be with treats, head scratch, whatever you're using as a reward, and then being able to approach the stranger is a second and even bigger jackpot that he only earns when he's successfully returned to you without being asked twice. If he doesn't and you have to reel him in, then you reward for his coming back to you (even if you had to reel him in), then promptly and quietly turn around and walk away from the stranger. No voluntary recall, no getting to meet stranger reward.

For the initial trials, I'd probably arrange ahead of time for someone you know but the dog does not to be the stranger. It''s kind of hard to explain what you're doing to an actual stranger while the dog's squirming at the end of the leash trying to greet them at a sufficient distance for him not to actually do it. :lol:

 

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I don't have advice, but it sounds sweet. Saying that, I've had dogs throw balls at my feet and as I've gone to pick them up they've grabbed at them, their teeth narrowly missing my hand. I've been really strict with our boy about not doing that, he either gives it to me or he doesn't but he is certainly not allowed to give it to me and then change his mind and snatch it back.

Our boy tends to retrieve other dogs balls for them and return them to the owner, he's very fast so often gets there first. Once he's returned their ball he will come back to me and I have to grab him because not all owners have the sense to wait until I've put some distance between us or got him running after his own ball.

 

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Thank you all for your helpful advice - we'll start thinking about long-line training him, but I've always been apprehensive about this as it doesn't seem to give him a good enough opportunity to actually run around and get some exercise or get the positive reinforcement of playing with other dogs and people that we do know. An under-exercised dog must be worse than an over-friendly one! His recall is excellent in every other situation, even when there's food on the ground! We'll give it a go and see how we get on! Thanks again for the support!

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Using your words here re: Long line


If he's getting the positive reinforcement of other dogs and people there is nothing you can do to to train him because YOUR positive reinforcement won't mean anything.


You HAVE to prevent him self-rewarding to be able to have a reliable recall.  

 

How good are you going to feel when you can't call him off someone  really, really afraid and they really freak out and pepperspray or kick him hard for approaching or chasing them or their kid?


Using a long line.  Work the recall.   Exercise him in other ways or other times or within the 50-100 feet allowed by the long line until he earns the freedom to go without it,.  Teach him the positive reinforcement comes from YOU, not the environment/people land dogs in it.  Before the people in it use some heavy duty punishment to do it for you, he becomes traumatized and less friendly and you're up a creek because your dog CHASED someone who was truly afraid and that's not at all ok.

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That;s a really good point - I hadn't even considered someone else punishing my dog. So far I've just had a few stern looks and a couple of people telling me off, but the thought that someone might hurt my pup just for being friendly hadn't occurred to me! Although pepper spray is illegal here, so if anyone did use it I'd call the police straight away. But a kick or a stamp on my poor dog isn't too hard to imagine. Alright - I'm persuaded to give the long line a go!

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6 hours ago, LittleLondoner said:

An under-exercised dog must be worse than an over-friendly one! 

Perhaps in the long run, but in the short run I wouldn't worry too much about it. I'd be much more concerned about a dog learning that "come" doesn't really means "come" because you can't enforce it and then you've poisoned the cue and have to start all over with recall training. Or worse, that the dog generalizes his newfound independence (yes, they can and sometimes do generalize in this way) and decides that compliance in general is optional.

Re: the long line -- freedom and privileges should be earned, not granted before the dog's demonstrated the maturity and training to behave as desired under your control. There's a reason teenagers have to demonstrate proficiency before being issued a drivers license.

You can still allow him some freedom to exercise by dropping the long line and letting him drag it in an open area while you throw a ball. Of course you'll have to be much more diligent in paying very close attention to him at all time so nothing goes amiss and there won't be quite as much freedom as before (e.g. less interactive play w/ other dogs), but the sooner you get the recall proofed and he's under voice control the shorter the length of time he's restricted. Each day -- actually each instance in a day -- he gets to practice blowing you off you lengthens the time he'll need to be on a long line.

Even if your dog never gets "punished" by a negative interaction w/ someone else (BTW, your "poor dog" won't be the victim in that situation but the offender receiving a well deserved consequence for his uninvited, unwanted, obnoxious and out-of-control behavior), as CptJack points out every time he has an interaction he perceives as positive it's self-rewarding and is undermining any effort you may make to teach him something different.

 

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5 hours ago, LittleLondoner said:

An under-exercised dog must be worse than an over-friendly one! His recall is excellent in every other situation, even when there's food on the ground! 

Really not, for the reasons GL gives above. AND, if you have an exuberantly friendly dog, as I saw one day at a dog park, that dog can do some real damage. Young lab mix, racing around to meet and greet everyone, humans standing by and smiling. Until the lab mix jumped up on an elderly woman and knocked her over. I don't know if she was hurt, the dog's owners did the right thing and literally ran to her side to check with her. But, it could have been too little, too late for that woman who got knocked down.

Your dog will possibly have an injury or illness at some point that requires crate rest, and you'll be looking around for some way to keep the dog reasonably content. Most of what you'll find is advice to train behaviors and tricks that the dog can do from a stationary position, or that don't require much movement. Training tires a dog out mentally AND increases the bond between canine and human. It's also a sanity saver for the human when the dog can't do physical stuff for whatever reason.

If you google crate rest exercises, you'll find some good stuff. It's good to have those options in your back pocket. And right now, you can incorporate more training of this type to create more focus on you and get that bc brain engaged.

Ruth & Gibbs

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When you say “long lead” for recall training how long are we talking? Fortunately Ben is quite happy on his lead these days, but I do want to get the recall right to stop him running towards people to say hi. 

I do want to get this recall business right. I accept that I let him off his lead way too early, but I don’t think it’s too late for him. 

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On 4/17/2019 at 4:40 PM, GentleLake said:

(BTW, your "poor dog" won't be the victim in that situation but the offender receiving a well deserved consequence for his uninvited, unwanted, obnoxious and out-of-control behavior)

Thanks again for all your helpful advice - so far he's not responding well to the long lead, but we'll persevere!

On another note I completely disagree with this statement and find it offensive. My dog is not out of control or obnoxious. He doesn't jump up, or bark, or anything else that could be construed as aggressive. He just places a stick or a ball at people's feet and usually lies down next to it, wagging his tail, albeit making rather intense eye contact. If anyone chose to kick a dog while it's lying on the ground, it is absolutely an undeserved attack, and I would call the police immediately. Please be kinder with your words when talking about other people's dogs, and ensure your comments are based on the information provided rather than assumptions you have made and have some respect. 

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With all due respect, @LittleLondoner (and I don't mean that sarcastically), your dog is indeed out of control if you can't call him away from people he's annoying:

On 4/15/2019 at 1:30 PM, LittleLondoner said:

He's developed this strange behaviour, which on the surface seems quite sweet, but is actually causing some trouble! Basically, whenever he is out in the park, he takes his ball (or a stick if we don't bring the ball out) and puts it at strangers' feet for them to throw it for him. I dont know which outcome is worse: either they think it's adorable and throw the stick and then he won't leave them alone and I have to put him back on his leash to get him away; or they are scared of him and either run away (which he thinks is great fun) and/or shout at me.  (emphasis added)

If you can step back from your own reaction for a moment you'll see that what I was doing was offering the perspective of someone else, not you, experiencing a dog's behavior that could lead to their reacting with a punishment or some other action that could lead to the dog's developing the very fear of strangers you want to avoid.

From the POV of someone who's scared of your dog to the point that they feel the need to run away or yell at you because you can't call him off or stop his approach until you get close enough to put him on a leash, he isn't a "poor dog" but a frightening, possibly aggressive animal who won't leave them alone and that you can't control. Even if they understand that he's not aggressive, if they don't welcome his attention then it's still, from their POV, uninvited, unwanted, obnoxious and out-of-control behavior.

It all depends on which side of an experience a person's on how they perceive it, and yours isn't the only perspective in these situations. And if you can't understand this, be sure to know that if you call the police they'll be taking the other person's POV very seriously indeed.

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^This.

You HAVE to realize that not everyone can read dogs, likes dogs, or feels safe around dogs.  Even with that aside, PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW YOUR DOG do not know how aggressive he may or may not be, or under what circumstances.  Does he resource guard his ball? T hey don't know!  There are dogs who will drop a ball and then snap whwen you go to take it because they're conflicted.  Will he jump up on them? They don't know!  What if it's a small child, a frail elderly person, or someone with an immune condition or undergoing chemo or otherwise made more fragile than you can immediately tell!  Is he dog aggressive after an initial greeting (or to other males, neutered males, intact males, puppies)?  Is he fully vaccinated?   They *don''t know* and they don't want to interact with your dog.


If you cannot keep your dog to yourself they are WELL Within their rights to, when the dog blows a recall to protect themselves, their children and their dogs and since they do not know your dog, he IS a potential threat who has the capacity to do harm.

 

And on one very specific scenario?  If your dog approached me when I was out with Molly and would not recall AND brought a toy into the mix? I 'd stomp toward him, yell and if he continued to approach probably kick him.  Because if he doesn't leave?  Molly's going to make him go - with teeth.  And given that she would be on leash and minding her business until your dog charged in, your dog would be the one in trouble legally (as well as because he'd have holes in his body from my dog - or bruises because I kicked the crap out of him to save him from puncture wounds).

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Thank you for your response, I completely understand the point you're making, and I do agree with it! I just have an issue with the way you have phrased your opinion and would encourage some reflection on that,

Thanks!

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4 minutes ago, CptJack said:

And on one very specific scenario?  If your dog approached me when I was out with Molly and would not recall AND brought a toy into the mix? I 'd stomp toward him, yell and if he continued to approach probably kick him.  Because if he doesn't leave?  Molly's going to make him go - with teeth.  And given that she would be on leash and minding her business until your dog charged in, your dog would be the one in trouble legally (as well as because he'd have holes in his body from my dog - or bruises because I kicked the crap out of him to save him from puncture wounds).

This seems very unkind. Showing aggression to another person's dog who has shown no aggressive behavior whatsoever seems completely unwarranted. And if your dog attacks a submissive dog when on the lead, I suggest looking into some behavioural advice or not taking your dog out in places where other dogs may well come and want to say hi in a perfectly friendly way. 

I'm fairly new to this forum and have found some of the feedback and advice so helpful, but honestly find a "senior member" here admitting that they would kick someone else's   dog while it's lying on the ground fairly appalling and will not be participating in this forum any further. 

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3 hours ago, LittleLondoner said:

I'm fairly new to this forum and have found some of the feedback and advice so helpful, but honestly find a "senior member" here admitting that they would kick someone else's   dog while it's lying on the ground fairly appalling and will not be participating in this forum any further. 

Which would you prefer? Having someone do their best to scare your dog off, including kicking out at the dog, or have your dog to the emergency vet with serious injuries?

Capt. Jack has the dog under control, but the dog is very wary of other dogs. She will react if she feels threatened by another dog. It makes no difference whether or not you (or your dog) think there was "any aggression whatever" in your dog's actions or intent. We are talking consequences here. If your dog is not under your control, which you have admitted it is not, then no matter what, you and your dog will be the ones blamed if there is an incident with another dog who IS on leash and under control.  Cpt. Jack wouldn't want to kick your dog! It would only happen as a way of trying to protect your dog from worse harm than a kick.

Bottom line: It is up to each dog owner to control his or her own dog. You need to take that responsibility 100% seriously, no matter what your opinions are about how nice your dog is.

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Um, yeah.  I have no desire to hurt anyone's dog or see anyone's dog hurt, but the reality is MY dog, who is under control, on a leash, and unable to retreat, will behave in a defensive manner if approached by an off leash dog.  It does not matter how friendly that dog is.  My dog is unable to flee (fight or flight), which leaves fight.  Which means that me kicking out at - or even kicking! - your dog is protecting your dog from my dog.  My dog that is on a leash.  Under control.  That your dog should not damn well approach. 

If I see your dog coming, I'm going  to ask you to recall your dog.  My dog will stand there while this is going on, possibly putting herself behind me or between my legs.  If you either do not or cannot  recall your dog and your dog continues to approach you have shown me that your dog is now out of your control and the ONLY MEANS I HAVE to prevent your dog from being bitten by my perfectly under control dog, who is on a leash and was minding her own business when approached, is yelling, screaming, throwing something, and finally kicking. 

And if I don't do those things?  My dog WILL handle it and she will handle it by putting holes in your dog and I will be -legally as well as ethically, completely without liability.  This is not even unusual dog behavior.  Lots of very friendly dogs HATE being approached in that manner and will behave defensively and who can blame them!?!. 


Doesn't matter if your dog is friendly.  My dog does not want your dog in her face/space and my dog, due to being leashed, cannot retreat.  That means growling, snapping, and ultimately biting or potential for bite


The solution to avoiding ALL of these is very easy and they are ALL , legally and ethically, on you:  

Keep your dog within your control.  If your dog will not recall, use a leash.    PLEASE.  I *don't* want to see your dog hurt, that's the whole point!

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And let me go ahead and point out that my dog regularly competes in dog sports/activities in the presence of other dogs and has dog friends she's perfectly happy to interact with (or ignore).  She isn't a loose canon.   She is a dog who doesn't want another dog charging up to her - particularly with a toy and when she cannot retreat - an d getting in her face and will behave accordingly.


Well behaved and under control dogs?

 

54ayEnaC2waF797rsRNj07.jpg

 

Not an issue.

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Like Cpt Jack, I have a pretty reactive BC, particularly around dogs he's not familiar with (and for this reason he's not really familiar with any dogs!) So when we go out he'll only be off lead if/when we find a park that's vacant. He has a pretty good recall when one of his many many triggers aren't set off (dogs on leashes, skateboards, big bouncy balls). If other dogs get close I while he's on a lesh I can get him in a sit and keep him from going over threshhold with treats and redirection.

Unfortunately for me and my dog, he has the self control of a grease fire so please try and see it from my perspective and you will see I'm doing all that I can to not just protect us but all of those around us! So if your self described "over-friendly Collie" approaches us off lead while we're minding our own business on a lead and lays their branch/toy at our feet, my boy will flash his fangs and snap as he has no where to run. You can't seriously see us as the problem can you?

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The dog comes up and lies a stick or ball in front of you and lies down. That's not in your face. Seriously, you can easily walk away. 
If the dog after that is in your face and a fight occurs, sure, you do whatever you have to do. Nothing bad has happened yet, the OP understands people can hurt the dog, and is clearly willing to work on it otherwise why post the problem in the first place?  

@LittleLondoner  I have an overly friendly dog as well. She only does the stick and ball thing in the garden so we instruct guests not to throw anything for her. However, she has yet to learn that not everyone likes her when we are on a walk. She doesn't go up to people anymore and we haven't used a long line to accomplish this. Every time we saw people coming we called her to us and put her on her leash. As soon as we passed them she was free to go again. This has to be timed really really well, because you have to call the dog back before he has the intention to go over. Another thing we taught her was that she is not allowed to invite us to throw something for her, because she can become so obsessive about it. 
Now whenever we pass people (without dogs, with dogs off leash she can go and greet the dogs if they are friendly) I ask her to heel without putting her on her lead and sometimes I can see she is busy sniffing and doing her thing and I let her pass them without calling her to me. 
 

I hope you are still here to read this and that you decide to stay. I think more newbies like you and me sometimes have to get used to how some people here give their advice. It sometimes bothers me too. And just like in real life not everyone here will be your cup of tea. But there will be people who are your cup of tea and give advice that is right up your street and say things you hadn't thought about before. And you might be able to give people some helpful insights as well. It would be a shame if you left. 

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...If my dog is with me, on a 4 foot leash, and standing beside me then.  The dog coming up to me is, in fact, likely getting into my dogs face.  My dog who can retreat no further than 4-6 feet and knows it and is therefore more restricted by it. 


That's a problem.


Presumably yelling/screaming/flailing at the dog would work, but I'm not going to wait UNTIL there is a fight to prevent there being one! 


And, yes, I am resenting acting like I'm going to go out and attack a dog for existing.  No.  I'm going to do what it takes to keep a dog from getting close enough to my dog to have an issue.  Maybe she'd be fine, I don' tknow, but I do know I'm not risking it and don't want to be approached at ALL by someone's OUT OF CONTROL DOG. The nice, sweet, young dog doesn't deserve it.   

 

You are right though in that OP already said they'd be using a long line.  Their 'my dog's perfectly friendly tho!' defense just doesn't hold water with me.  Perfectly friendly doesn't remove 'out of control'  if they're allowed to approach.

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1 hour ago, CptJack said:

You are right though in that OP already said they'd be using a long line.  Their 'my dog's perfectly friendly tho!' defense just doesn't hold water with me.  Perfectly friendly doesn't remove 'out of control'  if they're allowed to approach.

Exactly true.  How many times have I heard someone coming at me with their dog either loose or dragging the owner along on the leash, say to me with a big grin "Oh, he just wants to play!!" Well, maybe I and my dog don't want to. To allow your dog to approach another person or dog without asking permission is inappropriate at best and could be dangerous.

Unfortunately for the OP's dog, the OP has apparently left in a huff. As I have said before, none are so ignorant as those who won't learn. I am always disappointed in people who come here for advice, get good advice, and then leave in a hissy because they don't like the advice given. Their loss. But the sad thing, it is also the dog's loss. I hope that the OP's dog doesn't end up badly damaged as a result of the owner's refusal to take responsibility to control and protect the dog appropriately.

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