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Collie Anxiety/Weight/Neutering ?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Craigcraigcraig, Jul 5, 2021.


  1. Craigcraigcraig

    Craigcraigcraig PetForums Newbie

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    Hello,

    My border collie is 1yr and 8 months old. He's just about perfect apart from recently his dog walker has suggested getting him neutered for the reasons he is underweight and he shows some anxiety before going in her van and my car. And a bit of misbehaving when he's out with her and the group of dogs.

    He weighs 16kgs and the vet says he should be over 17kgs. The vet also said he doesn't need neutered. But she did not ask many questions about his routine, walks or diet. So I feel it was quite an uninformed answer from the vet.

    My dog is mainly anxious before he goes out with the dog walker. Not so much anywhere else.

    He runs after rabbits and squirrels sometimes and wont come back until he loses his focus or manages to herd them all the way back to me. But then he does come back every time for me (not for the dog walker though).

    At the same time I've walked right past flocks of sheep with him and he's just stuck by my side without running after them.

    Just to emphasise, I trust the dog walker and she has never gave me bad advice. This is just my way of making a more informed decision to get my dog neutered.

    Should I get my border collie neutered?
     
  2. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    Well, neutering isn't going to help any of that! I suggest your dog walker knows not what she is talking about!
    Weight is simply calories in/calories out. Yes, neutering might slow his metabolic rate a bit (the reason weight gain can be a function of neutering - plus dogs may become a little less 'boisterous') but neutering to put weight on is not the answer - feeding a bit more is the answer (or exercising less, of course, but I don't advocate that).
    There are good reasons for neutering a dog (if he's not going to be used for breeding, I'd recommend it, personally), but - from a behaviour point of view - it would only 'fix' those behavious which are hormone-based. He herds because that's what he's bred for - not because his testosterone levels are too high! His recall with you is better because he sees the point in going back to you (because, presumably, you've trained him to expect some kind of reward, etc, or he just knows that you're great, that you're worth being with). If your dog walker expects him to come back to her, she would do well to do some training and thereby encourage him to do so - or keep him on a lead if she cannot control him (which she really should be doing, if that's the case!) Again, the real answer with chasing squirrels, etc, is not to let him practice the behaviour (so, keep him on a lead) - the more he does it, the more he realises it's a fun thing to do (potentially more fun than returning to who ever is shouting at him from a distance!) so it becomes a self-fulfilling thing and increasingly difficult to correct - who doesn't prefer chasing squirrels to returning to their wife/husband/significant other? ;)
    Neutering is certainly not going to resolve what sounds like a bit of 'car anxiety' because fear is an emotion and it's not connected to testosterone levels. He needs training to believe that the car is a 'good' place to be. I'm surprised that he gets anxious before getting into the walker's van - most dogs (by my admittedly quite limited experience) seem to associate the dog walker and his/her van with 'fun' and cannot wait to hop in. It would be interesting to know how your dog walker actually inreacts with the dogs in her care. Fundamentally, though, he might just be nervous of getting into cars (not unusual), so you need to work on getting him used to them.
     
    #2 Ian246, Jul 5, 2021
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2021
    Twiggy, Burrowzig, Colette and 2 others like this.
  3. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Couldn’t read and run.

    DON’T neuter an anxious dog, it will probably make it worse as his ‘brave’ hormone will be taken away.
     
  4. Ian246

    Ian246 PetForums VIP

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    That's a bloody good point - sorry I missed that one! :Banghead
     
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  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    If he’s going in the van and being walked with other dogs, maybe he’s not loving all the dogs and interactions he’s having and getting overwhelmed?

    That could be a highly charged and stressful experience for a sensitive dog imo.

    This could spill over to getting into your car too.

    If possible, I’d have him walked directly from home and possibly alone or only with one or two calm, well mannered dogs.

    If he’s failing recall with the dog walker he shouldn’t be let off at all, as that will just get worse.

    Any dog passing sheep should be on leash, just in case.

    I agree, neutering is not recommended for nervous dogs.
     
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  6. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Agree with everyone else here about the anxiety, there’s something going on around the van.

    How many other dogs is he put in the van with? I’m going to assume that they’re all separately caged.

    Is it noisy in there; lots of excited barking?
    BCs can be VERY noise-sensitive.

    Even if he’s caged maybe he’s intimidated by being forced into close proximity with other dogs, and is it always the same dogs each walk?

    There are a lot of questions here.

    My gut feeling is that, if he were mine, I wouldn’t be making him go in that van, but would be looking for someone to walk him from home.

    And I certainly wouldn’t be letting him out in the charge of someone who, despite knowing that he has a weak recall with her, and knows he can ‘misbehave’ still thinks it’s ok to put him at risk by letting him off-lead.
    However nice she is.
     
  7. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    You've already been given some very good advice but just to add I've had several collies who have gone very skinny at around10-20 months old. In the past I've worried myself silly about it but it does seem to be a 'collie' thing so hopefully he will start to put on weight before much longer.
     
    Linda Weasel likes this.
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