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Morning Y'all! I just found the site and got squared away to participate.  I am a 70 year old white male with a 15 month old male BC and I have a problem I don't kknow how to handle. I'll spell it out below.

 

I have an old female Lleyellen that shares space with my new BC Gabe. He is very jealous of Dotty! Gabe is a lap dog and if he is up on my lap, and I mention Dotty, hr perks up right now and looks for her. He looks at you like " why are you talking about that old stray,? Don't even think she is coming up here. I'm the only one that gets to be here! If she even walks by my chair he will nip her.  If I am doing something and Dotty walks up to me, he will get between us and nip and force her away. If I scold him for it he goes to her bed and urinates in it!  He will also position  himself where she can't get to food and water.

I really don't know the best way to handle this. I know part of it is in the pecking order  but it's to the extreme. I need to be able to show affection to both dogs but don't know how to get there from here! Any advice would be helpful!

Thanks,

Wade

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Welcome to this site, Wade. There are many knowledgeable, long-time border collie owners here willing to give great advice.

I have just a couple of minutes, so will be brief.

IMHO, Gabe is not jealous. He is being territorial and claiming you as his. Dotty should not have to deal with his aggressive behavior in her old age.

You definitely do not want it to escalate more. There are several strategies, but I would start with not allowing Gabe on your lap any longer until he can behave (no more nipping). Put him on a leash and let him lie quietly next to you. Dotty should be able to walk by without him bothering her. If he is on a leash, you can hold him back from nipping her. But primarily use a LOT of rewards for calm behavior in the presence of Dotty. For example, if Dotty comes into the room, and he remains calm, give him a food reward and/or a pet. If he tries to pounce on Dotty, he should be removed from his special place next to you. (Lead him into a bathroom or other small room for a 'timeout' of a minute or two. You don't have to scold him. Just do it calmly.) Then bring him back to sit next to your chair. Rinse and repeat. Generally, he will begin to get the idea after a few times, but because his behavior is so ingrained, I predict you will have to reinforce his good behavior and also remind him of the consequences of his bad choices for quite a while.

As far as poor Dotty eating, at this point, I would feed her in a separate room (door closed). Or at least keep Gabe leashed up until she finishes her meal. That is a behavior I will not tolerate in my dogs and quickly take action to either manage it, or train them to leave the other dogs alone while they are eating.

I am sure you will receive more good advice.

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Gabe sounds like a brat trying to take over. Remind him who is in charge. No more lap time, when he is fully grown you will not appreciate it! Any inkling of him looking at Dotty sideways, place him in a crate.  You have to protect Dotty while at the same time teaching Gabe what is and isn't acceptable. Remove him from the situation before it becomes an issue. When feeding, feed Gabe in his crate. That way when he's done he cannot go bother Dotty.

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Agree whole-heartedly with the above, and recommend a crate rather than a different room that Gabe might decide to "redecorate" out of frustration. Make sure the crate is in a different room, so you are not crating him in full view of the other dog, which would make things potentially worse.

Gabe sees you are his resource, to be guarded. This is an erroneous assumption on his part, and needs to be corrected.

Also, your older dog should not have to put up with any of this for one moment, not being pushed away, none of it. Dotty has seniority in all respects and deserves to be treated with respect. If Gabe cannot do that, he should be removed from contact with Dotty. Be 100% consistent with this, and don't allow one moment of bad behavior from Gabe without the consequences being crate time.

As said above, don't do it with a punishing attitude, don't scold. Just calmly put Gabe in the crate for 5 to 10 minutes every single time he is unpleasant to Dotty. And cut out the lap-time entirely. 

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Wow! Y'all have a lot of good advice! I do have a small problem with caging him. In the first 2 day (at 8 weeks) he learned to(load up) and he has been free to come and go from his cage at will after the first week. I don't want him to associate the cage with being in trouble. Tell me if you think this would work.

 

The setup is in a partially finished basement that has sliding glass doors. Would it work equally well if I put him out for a while? He loves the outdoors so I don't want to reward him for bad conduct.

Wade

Edited by 1shotwade
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Nope. Outside he has the freedom to act and self entertain. While technically this is stopping the behavior, it's not teaching him anything. 

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If you crate him calmly and without anger he will not become fearful or reluctant to go in his crate.  He is being a brat and he needs to understand the consequences, like a kid being sent to their room.  Since he already knows his crate as his 'home', he'll be fine in that regard.  Agree with all the others, beating up on senior dogs is absolutlely not allowed.

Good luck and let us know your progress!

 

Amy

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Agree with Journey and amc. Using a crate for a (short) timeout, if done calmly, is fine and should not have negative repercussions. I do it with my puppy, but she still runs to her crate when I tell her 'kennel up". I also treat her (a few pieces of kibble) when she does 'kennel up'.

Putting him outside for punishment is like sending a kid to their room for punishment, but that room has a TV, mini-fridge, cell phone, etc. No punishment (removal of privileges) is being accomplished.

Again, the timeout doesn't need to be long. Try a minute or two at the start, repeat as needed when Gabe rushes at dotty. If he still doesn't show any improvement after a couple of days, then you may need to increase the timeout by another minute or two. Don't forget that being consistent is one of the most important parts of training.

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Agree with all of the above. Remember that it is your attitude that makes going into the crate a punishment or just a little time out. Never do it with anger or frustration, even in your body language, and speak kindly to him as he goes in. Think of it as you would putting a toddler down for a nap because he's over stimulated and acting out. 

I like to say something like "Uh-oh! Time out." in a nice tone of voice.

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Thanks Y'all! Yoou have convinced me. The cage it willl be! The last couple days when he has been up and perks up when Dotty moves, I've been giving him a very genyle slap to the side of his head. You couldn't really cll it a slap but I don't know how else to phrase it. 

BC amaze me! I've had some smart dogs and great companions but BCs are of another class. So much so they should have a different name than a dog!LOL! A few minutes Gabe jumped up on my lap without being invited. I grabbed him firmly with both hands so he had to look at me and said " You're not going to do that! You're suppossed to sit and wait for me to ask you to come up!" He immediately got down and sat at my feeyt until I ask him up! I was totally shocked that he actually understood what I wanted of him!Amazing!

Thanks so much for the help. If anyone wants to chime in, please feel welcome. be advised it will be Monday before I'll be able to respond. Thank you again.

Wade

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Just one comment ----I am sure your little slap is very gentle, as you say. Nevertheless it might be better no physical correction at all, but rather a verbal one like "ah-ah". I much prefer that myself, especially as it can be used universally, outdoors, when the dog is far away from me, and so on. I shy far away from physical corrections like that because there is the inherent risk of it being too hard on some occasion even if I don't mean it to be, and also I simply don't like the idea of any form of slap, no matter if it is gentle. I wouldn't slap a child or another person, not even gently, and would not like it one bit if someone slapped me, even if it were gentle, so I apply the same to the dog. None of my dogs ever get that, and they respond immediately to "ah-ah".

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Thanks D! I use verbals at the same time as the gentle slap. It's more like "I need your attention now." kind of thing. I don't know if I mentioned earlier but I have grandkids so I do a lot of playing with Gabe as in tug of war, and wrestling in general. This way I am able to get in all those things that a child is going to do to a pet when they don't know better etc. I use this as a tool to teach Gabe what is allowable and what is out of bounds. When he scratchs me I'll say"Ouch! That hurt! Be easy!" Or the little nipping as play fighting. The same thing. Yes I have a few holes in my hands but that's okay. Better in my hands that that of a child. Gabe is responding quite well to this thus far.

Wade

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if you are going to stay with a physical correction, might I recommend you use a cheek or neck scruff instead of a slap. It's hard to convey on the internet precisely what you mean but the conjecture of the word triggers many ;) A scruff otoh gets their attention and can be adjusted depending on the situation.

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Thanks J! I guess the proper discription would be that I use my hand in a slaping motion to move his eyes from dotty to me.  My common comment is " NO! dotty is a good girl. You be nice.(Sorry for the confussion. My computer hasn't learned how to phrase things yet, and it doesn't spell any better than I do!) LOL!  Nothing is concrete with this. I will be intagrating alternate methods and do appreciate  All of you folks input.

Thanks again,

Wade

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I have been focusing on Gabes Nipping and such that today I just noticed that he is waging his tail while doing it. He has also been nipping me since I have been gone a couple days. Could I have misjudged the situation and this is more playful than I thought. I'm kind of confussed by the signals I'm picking up on. Other than when they are with me, both dogs seem to get along fine.

Thanks,Wade

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You may be confused as you we're gone a few days. Keep an eye on things, document it when you can and adjust the protocol accordingly. By documenting, you can see a pattern, if there is one, or what the trigger may truly be.

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@1shotwade Look online for explanations of dogs' body signals, especially the different ways they wag their tails.

Tail wagging can indicate the dog's having fun, or that the dog's frightened and wary or even that it's angry. Especially with differences in posture and facial expressions - their mouths and eyes in particular but even ears and foreheads - are very expressive. Familiarizing yourself with the nuances and combinations can tell you a lot about your dog's mood and intentions.

There's a good chance with your having been away for longer than normal that Gabe was excited and happy to see you and he expressed it with nipping. A couple of mine will do that sometimes when they're really excited. They're older and more practiced (and have had gentle training - no slapping, just mild verbal admonishments ["tsk, tsk", "aaaach" or "OWW!"] accompanied by an immediate withdrawal of my attention - so that they understand that teeth really aren't supposed to be touching humans) but every once in a while they go so excited they just have to express it.  The difference in self control though is that their teeth barely graze my skin and it's barely noticeable.

But this is probably entirely different from what Gabe normally does with Dotty, which, as GVC-Border points out sounds like possessiveness/territoriality - he's claiming you for himself. The rest of his body language will be entirely different and can explain a lot if you learn what to look for.

I'd also not allow him on your lap or the furniture for the time being, and perhaps never if he doesn't learn his place (literally, both height and proximity to the desired possession = power). Try interrupting him with a verbal sound as above (aka an interrupter) and immediately redirect his attention towards you or a toy and reward for breaking his concentration on Dotty. If you have to, physically step in between them to block his access to Dotty and redirect him away from her. Praise him every time he breaks contact and especially if he makes a move or even looks towards her and then doesn't follow through. Eventually - if you don't escalate the situation with aggression of your own (e.g. slaps) - he should begin to reorient his place the dynamics and stop trying to boss her around all the time. It may take a little longer b/c it's been permitted to become habitual, but if you're consistent and don't let him learn that he can get away with it sometimes if he just keeps it up things should start to change.

And don't be surprised if it intensifies when your first start intervening. It's called an extinction burst (something else to look up) and it's perfectly normal but can be extremely frustrating if you're not prepared for it. Just grit your teeth, breathe, smile at the dog and persevere. ;)

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey Y'all! I just wanted to touch base with Y'all on the progress with Gabe. He is coming around finally. Still have plenty of work to do but much improver. He seems to have reached a plato where things are starting to click. It seem that all the training if you will has done good. He has learned what is exceptable and just how roough he allowed to be with me. I certainly hope that transferes to the grandchildren also. He just loves the kids.

So all in all, I am quite pleased at the progress I'm seeing and your advise played a major roll in getting to this point!

Once again, thank you so much for your interest and advise with Gabe!

Wade

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