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This is my first post on the forum (on any forum to be honest) as I feel the need to share and hopefully receive guidance on the problems I am facing at home with our 6 month old border collie.

Starting with the background. Our puppy is a male pure bred border collie (5 generations) whose father is a working sheepdog and mother is an agility dog, trained by a Reputable trainer in Devon, South West England, UK, which is where we live. We are a family of two adults and 2 young children (9 & 5) who he is excellent with.

We brought him home at 8 weeks and kept him in the house for all of the next 5 weeks until he had his second vaccination at 13 weeks and then lockdown happened which meant no puppy training classes and no opportunity to take him everywhere so he could get used to all the sights and sounds he needs to be comfortable with. When we did start to take him out  all sorts of things started to go wrong. He was aggressive towards any body and everybody, wanted to chase anything (bicycles, cars, joggers) and wouldn't listen to any command to come back to us or to stop what he was doing. In the time at home we worked on basic commands using treats, particularly recall and he seemed to be pretty good at this in the garden, but once out in the park it doesn't matter what treats you have its not enough of a distraction to people playing with balls, other dogs, anything moving as per above.

By our own admission we have got this wrong and the lack of socialisation has led to a very nervous and anxious dog. We know we have some real work to do to rebuild his confidence and my question is where and how do we start?

We have been keeping him at home much more and some days he doesn't get to go out for any long walk and his only exercise is running around the garden and when we are playing games with him, fetch, tug, basic agility stuff like jumping onto chairs. We have also introduced scatter feeding for his lunch so he has to go and find food hidden in various places in the garden and we like to give him bones and chews that mean he has periods of calm. Trying to make him more calm would be really helpful, so anything we can do here I think will help, but I also understand he is a 6 month old puppy who just wants to play so trying to be realistic here as to what to expect at this age.

He is at his happiest playing with other dogs and a few minor squabbles aside (where he has been put in his place by older, wiser and calmer dogs) he loves herding or playing fetch or just chasing other dogs and when we meet dogs he knows it suddenly becomes a joy to have him outside as you can see the fun he is having and in this situation he is engaged enough to not be distracted by other people, cyclists, etc. That said, the other day he was playing fetch off the lead with a stick (no one else around) until suddenly a women jogging came round the corner and he was off and ran towards her and even jumped up at her twice making her very scared. So now we are too scared to take him out because off lead he can't be trusted and on lead he pulls like crazy and its no fun. It feels like we are caught between providing the required physical stimulation border collies needs and preserving his obviously fragile confidence by keeping him at home and not putting him in situations where he will make the wrong decision.

He is getting better with people he knows, but any strangers are met with a lot of aggression.... heckles up, barking, lunging, enough that would make me slightly nervous if I came across a dog like this. What is the best way to build his confidence whereby he does not feel threatened in these situations?

Many thanks




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