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Mikey neutered and 16 months old gets along perfectly with lucy almost two years of age. Today we were at the park and we played ball for over two hours we had three incidents.

The first two i understand .

after some play we were lying down on the grass me and the two dogs. A black lab around 1 year of age came running at us full steam not slowing down. Lucy cut him off and met him within a flah the other dog whimpered and ran away. The second incident occured when another dog came up to us without the owner and kept getting in Lucy's face she showed teeth flashed at the dog the dog let out a little whimper and ran away.

The third incident is the disturbing one.

we were leaving from the park after several hours the last 30min

lucy and mikey were playing frisbee sharing their frisbee with another border collie several other dogs were now in the action so i thought it would be a good time to leave. we walked away about 20 yards and one of the dogs followed us particularly Mikey. Mikey growled froze I shouted "leave it" Mikey didn't listen the other dog didn't back down they scrambled a few seconds mikey mounted the dog and pinned him at this time the owner showed up. the other dog had a cut above its eye. the owner said don't worry about it his dog always is getting into fights.

Where did i go wrong? I socialized both of my dogs exstensively as puppies with other dogs. They get along with most dogs including my neighbors dogs. It seems certain dogs set them off. My last dog a mix breed never got into fights. I want to have peaceful dogs? Help? Its important since i like to take my dogs to the beach. Interestingly they never have trouble with other border collies? I know some will respond you shouldn't take your dogs to parks where other dogs run free but this is not an option. Is this common to border collies or did i do something wrong?

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some other interesting things i thought about last night.

Lucy never showed any aggresion until i got Mikey.


Mikey showed aggresion from day 1.


Now Lucy shows aggresion but still a lot less than Mikey

The two of them never fight amongst each other any more.


Is there a way to train the dog-dog aggresion out of them?


I was thinking of enrolling into some dog classes where they have more exposure to other dogs in a controlled situation?

They both take agility lessons but those are private

They both do sheep herding lesson but those are usually around other border collies which they have no problem with.

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IMO, most Border Collies understand each others' body language, warning system and "eye" much better than other dogs understand it. They also (for the most part) do not appreciate other "over friendly" (obnoxious, pushy) dogs getting in their space and not reading their signals. Most of them are hardwired this way - it has to do with the inate silent ability to influence and control livestock - but when they try to use it on other dogs, it may or may not work, and then they may feel the need to escalate the warning to "action". Sounds like your two dogs gave plenty of warning to the other dogs to back off, but when the other dog didn't read Mikey's warning (or chose not to heed it), Mikey felt he had to escalate and the other dog took him on. It would be nice if you did not have to put your dogs in this position. I would have called my dog back to me before it got that far - why wait to see what will happen next?

My Border Collies all get along with other BC's too, they understand each other! But what you described is the exact reason I don't go to dog parks, and I advise my students not to, either. Each of those incidents you describe happened because the other dogs' owners were not in control of their dogs, or close enough to gain quick control over their dogs, or didn't care what their dogs were doing at the time. Since you can't know who will be at the dog park at any given time, it's pretty much like driving on the highway. You may be a great driver, but that doesn't insure that you can avoid an accident with a drunk or lousy driver. JMHO.

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thank you!!

I feel better after reading your post.

I had a feeling the issue was not just my dogs.

I realize after reading your response i have to improve their recall!! I did try to call Mikey off but he blew me off. Lately he has been blowing me off more and more. My trainer says a lot of it is because of his age 16 months he is now a teenager being a little rebelious. I now realize how important a flawless recall and "leave it" are.

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This is a really important point. Knowing your dogs as well as you do, you should try to analyze their behavior (as you are doing) so that you can see the distant early warning signs of a situation where they are moving toward aggression. The best trainers are the ones who can see this brewing from signs that are so subtle most of us would miss them (and can do it without making the dog feel hovered over). An intervention at that point -- before emotions are high -- can often deflect the dog from getting into aggressive mode. Once emotions are already high, it's a lot harder to get through to the dog.


Another important point is that you must try to project CALMNESS when you see this shaping up. Any action you take in a tense, frightened, angry, or otherwise emotional way can cause things to escalate fast. It takes tremendous self-discipline not to show the anxiety and panic you are feeling when you see a fight developing, or even think the situation may be getting out of control, but it's worth training yourself to do it, because it's very, very important. If your actions or tone of voice are telling your dogs there's something to be worried about, this is almost an attack signal to them.

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I did see it comming and i froze for a second(not good)than when mikey stiffend i shouted leave it louder and louder which probably mad it worse.

at the point the the incident occured we were on the way to my car well past the other dogs and this dog was following us as we were walking away

even calling mikey away this dog was following.

At the end of the incident mikey got in the behind dominant position(humping position) and pinned the dog there. When the owner showed up, mikey let the dog go and just lied down.

Does this mean Mikey is in somewhat in control of himself to not create an all out fight? I realize now that this definitely had to do with the other dog's owner. His comment " oh don't feel bad this always is happening to him" If one of my dogs got in a fight and suffered a gash above an eye i would be freaked out not calm and relaxed?

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One thing to think about - I have taught my dogs this from the get-go - is for your dog to defer to you in a situation like that. I use a "Hey, don't even think about it" when I see a situation brewing, in a firm but calm voice, as Eileen suggested. If you can get across firmly but calmly that you have the situation under control rather than waiting for the outcome, or getting tense; and your dog trusts you to be in charge, then a lot of those uncomfortable moments can be avoided with a quick reminder to the dog. The dog actually feels more confident and calm knowing that he doesn't have to take matters into his own paws, so to speak. Your timing, clarity and calmness is important. You can "nip it in the bud" and change the dog's mindset before he over-reacts.


If you can find it here somewhere, refer back to Joe Anne's post about how a trainer took her dog and made it clear that he wasn't allowed to bark and carry on with the other dogs at a herding intro clinic. The trainer got his point across to Joe Anne's Phoenix very quickly, and then Phoenix started deferring to the trainer, calmly leaning up against him for reassurance.

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Originally posted by echo44:

His comment " oh don't feel bad this always is happening to him" If one of my dogs got in a fight and suffered a gash above an eye i would be freaked out not calm and relaxed?

Yeah really. Some people. If you know your dog is always in dog fights why would you bring it to a dog park?!


That happened to me yesterday, a guy dragged his JRT all the way over to my two pups only to tell me he was not good with other dgos!!!


What is wrong with him?!


But the minute I saw the way he was dragging his reluctant dog over I put them on a leash so I was ready and after I asked him if his dog was good with others, and he said No, I just shook my head and walked away.


Like I said, some people...

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You've got some good advice here, echo. As far as the gash goes, depending how big it was, those sorts of things can happen almost accidentally when teeth get caught (as opposed to a deliberate bite.)


That said, heading trouble off at the pass is the ideal - as well as what you've been advised, if you can get in early enough, a quick change of direction and an excited call like "Here, here" (which I use in agility as well) or "this way - let's go" can often re-focus your dog on you as you move away from the other dog.


I've got to say too, that sometimes, particularly if dogs are tired or a bit hyper anyway, their fuses may be a bit shorter than normal.

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