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Hello all,

thank you for taking the time to read my post.

I recently acquired a Border Collie puppy. He is now 16 weeks and I am concerned that he is displaying aggressive behaviour. The lady I got him from could not handle house training him or training him at all as she was on her own with two young children. Why these people get a dog is beyond me! 

Sometimes he is sweet, placid and very obedient; others he is growling, curling up his upper lip and even biting. 

These “aggressive” behaviours usually take place in the following circumstances:

If he is asleep and we NEED to move him either (I wake him calmly and gently). He used to just growl and now he will show his teeth and even snap and bite.

He is not food aggressive with myself or my partner, but he did try to bit my mum when she was near his food. He also seeks out my sister’s dog if he has food and really goes for him! 

He will also jump up and bite us if he feels he’s not getting enough attention...he walks for at least a couple of hours a day, spread over two walks; plays fetch in the garden and has interactive toys. He is not left on his own for hours. We do not shout at him and could never hit him.

I’m very aware that this behaviour needs to be nipped in the bud quickly. 

Any advice, or insight would be great. I have never had this behaviour from any of my previous dogs, I am understandably concerned and getting rid of him is not an option for me...he is my baby! :( 

Thanks everyone! 


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, I have a 3 yr. old ABCA female that I brought home at 7 weeks old, during the first week of my retirement She is the smartest dog i have ever owned. For example, it took her five minutes to learn to hand me a stick instead of laying it at my feet. She loves catching a frisbee or stick (on a 100 foot run in my back yard). She will spin to catch a ball (270 degrees or a slippery wooden floor and 360 degrees outside).

But I was foolish to have bought her. I was wrong to think she could learn to stay in my yard or walk with me in the woods without a leash. Having failed that, I had hoped I might at least train her to walk on a leash without choking herself. But she snarls and snaps at random with food (that she has ignored for hours) or perceived  threats (such as my feet landing near her as she sleeps in front of my reclining chair). And she does this even after I have exhausted her many times on a 100 foot run to the point that I must bring water to her as she is too tired to stand. Even with the disappointment that I bought the wrong breed, I was willing to live with my mistake.

But then my son moved in with his wife and three daughters, and her behavior is now intolerable. What I had hoped would be a positive in the life of a lonely widower has become anything but. I want very much to move on in a humane way. Maybe you should consider it.

I let this website make me believe I was doing the right thing to acquire an ABCA dog. I'm convinced now that you and I should look elsewhere for a house pet. I wish I could find a good home for mine, but not too many people want a dog who will run away (speedily) any chance she gets, or who will snap at random. She is sweet and loving toward people 99.9% of the time, but that's not good enough.

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@Charlotte has he been to the vet to rule out any health concerns or any bone/joint issues that could cause him discomfort or hearing issues?

Is he free fed? Or fed at specific time? Or your mom dog free fed?  

I’m not sure what you have tried so far?  

for the jumping a biting for attention I would put him in a time out. Not as punishment but it’s unacceptable behavior. Also reward for calm behavior. He is only 4 months and is getting 2 hour walks plus additional play time? You can try cutting back on the physical exercise and work on mental exercise like learning manners. 

@Joe I’m sorry border collie isn’t working out for you. I hope you can find her a good home. They are an amazing breed but not suited for everyone. Mine have been good for off leash hikes. I wonder if a rescue would have been better then a puppy that way you know what you’re getting into? 

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Hi Charlotte,

All the things you describe could be caused by a physical problem, so having him check by a vet is #1, as SS Cressa says.

If there is no physical problem, then what you have is a training issue. You need to train your dog not to behave in that way, and this can be done. I applaud you for not yelling or wanting to hit; that's not good training protocol, but your training does need to be firm and, most importantly, 100% consistent. In order to train your dog not to behave in these ways, every single person in your household, and anyone else who comes into contact with him regularly, must agree to the training methods and adhere to them If you can do this, you can train your dog to have better manners. He's still very young and you can deal with this if you start now. 

What have you tried in the way of discouraging this behavior so far?

Is this a new thing or have you been dealing with this for months?

If you free-feed him, stop. Feed him only at certain times and work with him before and during feeding to train him to allow you to interfere with his food without being aggressive.



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@Joe McKee I understand your disappointment and heartache

I am a first time BC parent (I feel more a parent than an owner) anyway

I did loads of research online about the breed and from that information thought I was getting an intelligent,

sensitive, needy breed of dog -- so I bought Randy, he is a very dominant, pushy, rowdy dog but he is intelligent!

I love him and have also now rescued a second border collie.My plan is for these to be my only border collies since 

small mutts seem to be more my speed. I also intend to embrace these two BC's for the length of their lifespan. 

I understand your circumstances are different and I don't have any advice, I just want to let you know you are not alone.


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