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The Border Collie and the Behaviourist.

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Quinccyxo, Apr 2, 2017.


  1. Quinccyxo

    Quinccyxo PetForums Newbie

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    Hello,
    I have a 1 year and 5 month old border collie. His name is Max and he's one of the most loving and affectionate dogs you could meet. However, he recently has shown signs of being over-protective and aggressive towards strangers and when put in certain situations.

    Examples of this:
    A)
    If I am in my room and a member of my household comes up the stairs if the door is open he will guard the door and watch people who are coming upstairs/past the door. If they get close he will physically go for them at first we thought he was playing but after a while he's started getting more aggressive with this and started nipping/biting them leaving visible teeth marks. Just to emphasize this, this can be both family members and strangers who come upstairs.

    B)
    When out walking, he use to be really good off lead and could be trusted but as time has gone on he's become more prone to being over-protective of me towards people who approach/come near me. Be this people talking to me or people who are just simply walking by, this has therefore resulted he is not allowed off lead as much unless in enclosed and none-public areas. He is not the best on the lead so this has resulted in him becoming worst on lead by pulling and barking at people who are passing by. I am not sure how to stop him from being over-protective or doing this behaviours in public and this has resulted in me taking him for less walks as I am not able to control him when out. Resulting probably if not likely his behaviours getting worst at home (See example A).

    C)
    Today a family member brought a works man in to the house to inspect the garden and did not tell me. I did not expect Max to react how he did but he went over to the man jumped up on him and bit his arm (he did not do it hard but enough to leave visible teeth marks which is unacceptable; luckily the man understood and said he was not bothered as it didn't hurt but this situation is horrendous to be in as it could have been a child or someone who maybe wasn't as hardened to dogs). I understand that Max may not have known the man and may have seen him as an intruder but with me being present and another family member for him to do this is not a situation I would like to be in where I can not trust my dog or for people to be able to come into the house without the possibility of them being harmed by max. I do not know how to deal with this and do not know how to rectify this behaviour or what it is that is triggering him to do so, so I am able to correct this myself.

    The point of this post was for if anyone could offer any professional advice on this situation or/and if anyone knows any trainers local to M46 area (UK) who specialise in behaviour with Border collies would be really appreciated.
     
  2. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    I can't recommend any behaviourists I'm afraid, but I definitely think this requires one. It's all very well getting advice on a forum for some things, but for something as serious as aggression you really need someone who can see your dog's behaviour and advise accordingly. In the meantime make sure you keep your dog away from all visitors of the house and members of the public to ensure everyone is safe. I hope you manage to get it sorted and hopefully someone on here can recommend a behaviourist.
     
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  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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  4. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    It's not likely to be protective behaviour in a Border Collie, more likely resource guarding and fear aggression. But it's great that you are seeking help, @smokeybear may be able to recommend someone.

    With regard to a.) just don't let him upstairs. This sounds like resource guarding you/your room. Don't put him in a position where he's able to practice this.

    b.) again, you are right in being careful, it's not worth him nipping a stranger.

    c.) there is really no need for a dog to interact with tradesmen who may need to come into your house. It would not be abnormal for most dogs to react to a stranger on their property. However, it's REALLY important that your family inform you if anyone is coming over so you can remove him from the situation. This is not something you need to train directly for, just manage. You know he'll use teeth so just don't put him in that position again.
     
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  5. leashedForLife

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    .
    a tether can be a very useful tool, to confine a dog safely in an open-plan house or when a baby-gate is insufficient.
    I wouldn't trust a baby-gate to keep a dog who may actually bite away from visitors / trades ppl, as if the dog hops over it, all H*** can break loose.
    .
    Most big-box stores can make a bike-cable tether to custom lengths; U want no more than 15-inches of free cable between the clamps at each end, & the ends should be swivel-base spring clips. If there are no swivels, ADD one by clamping a fig-8 swivel & then use a double-ended spring clip to secure the tether to the baseboard.
    .
    Install the tether at least 8-ft & preferably 12-ft from the entry door of the house / apt; the dog's buckle collar is clipped to the tether BEFORE anyone opens the door to let someone in. // The tether is clipped to an eyebolt screwed into the baseboard - this makes a very small hole, easily filled, so if U rent, it's not an issue. :)
    If U can't / don't want to screw into the baseboard, buy a 2-ft long hunk of 2 x 4 lumber, screw the eyebolt into a wide side in the center, & lay the wood down behind any convenient door in the house - interior, closet, or exit, doesn't matter. Clip the cable to the eyebolt, lead it under the door, shut the door, pull the wood against it, clip the dog's buckle collar tot the free end.
    U now have a portable station that can go anywhere in the house where there's a door to secure it - move him room to room as needed.
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    He won't be able to chew thru an airline / bike cable of wound steel fibers with a nylon coating; he'll be safely secured, & U can deal with whatever business is needed. :)
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  6. leashedForLife

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    .
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    when he's on leash away from home, CARRY THE TETHER along, wound in a circle for ease of carrying it - in a backpack, round Ur waist, etc; secure him to the nearest solid object [tree, fencepost, cyclone fencing, park bench...] AND
    ABANDON HIM as soon as he even begins to react to other humans / other dogs. // He cannot 'resource guard' what's not there; walk off, & he's lost the treasure he's guarding.
    Eventually he'll twig that guarding behavior = I'm alone, & stop.
    Walk off - but stay close to monitor & intervene, if needed. // Obviously U can't do that around
    loose dogs - so i'd avoid areas where dogs are liable to be off-leash. ;)
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    Go back to him as soon as he stands down / stops reacting, or if the intensity of his reaction drops - Ex, he stops barking from nonstop angry "turf" alerts.
    U can also teach him clicker-training, then reward him by MARKING every tiny incremental improvement in his behavior, however small - Ex, his ears relax & rise from being flattened back while he bark / snarls at approaching ppl, or his tail comes down from being bottle-brushed & held high and rigid [a flagpole tail is very very intense arousal].
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    the clicker method is SHAPING - U sculpt desired behavior by marking any incremental improvement, in this case, in his body-language. :)
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  7. Quinccyxo

    Quinccyxo PetForums Newbie

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    We're looking into a comfortable and safe muzzle for training purposes but finding it hard to find a sufficient one at the moment most seem either too big for his snoz or they seem to be too restrictive.

    A lot of people have said stay away from the material ones and go for a plastic/rubber one. Is this the best option? I'm thinking the muzzle more for his safety too as well as other people. He's not fond of having stuff on his head so it'll be a process of getting it on and getting him use to it and hopefully over-time be able to remove the muzzle when he's out.

    We are attempting to contact some behaviourist today in order to get a better over-view and thank you for the information so far.


    I haven't heard of this tethering idea but that could be something definitely to be looked into. I do not rent it is a owned home so this could be a viable option. Thank you, I'll look into that and see if that is something that could be worth looking into.

    Also with the examples; c) was a very situational one where I was not informed on him coming in so I do not hold it against him in how he acted however I do not condone his behaviour at all as he shouldn't be doing that if someone is coming into the home. However, as said; It's not a surprise how he acted and I could have prevented it if i'd been notified before hand.

    I am trying to take a more responsible approach to how to handle it. It's just one of those situations where it's hard and I'm not sure where the borderline of "is this right?" and "am I doing it just because it seems safer" comes in. Thank you for all feedback so far, much appreciated.
     
  8. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Perhaps invest in some stair gates to keep him isolated from other members of the family who may be just passing by a room he is in. Hope you will be able to find a good behaviourist and sort the problem out.
     
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  9. leashedForLife

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    .
    box muzzles - not TUBES, no fabric & no mesh, nothing that HOLDS THE MOUTH CLOSED.
    He needs a proper box muzzle so that he can eat tidbits thru the mesh, drink from a bucket by plunging the muzzle into it, or by being given water from a sport-cap water bottle dribbled into the side of his flews.
    .
    It can be heavy plastic, or vinyl-dipped wire - i prefer the wire, myself. The classic version has a leather strap that suspends the muzzle so it does not rest on the dog's face / over the bridge of the nose, but is elevated above it. The weight of the muzzle is thus mostly on the back of the dog's neck, & they are proportioned to the size of the dog, so not heavy.
    A wire basket is very sturdy, but not heavy, & they are durable.
    .
    Introduce the muzzle with a clicker; MARK any approach or interaction with the muzzle with a single click, begin with simply glancing at it, then a step toward it, sniffing it, touching it, etc, raising criteria slowly until he will PUT HIS OWN FACE in the basket & hold it there, to be clicked / treated. Reward is 1 to 1, each interaction with the muzzle gets a click, each click gets a tidbit immediately.
    Pea-sized to 1/2 pea sized, but high quality protein - chkn breast cubed, lean beef cubed, a pinch of shredded Mozz, freeze-dried lamb-lung, whitefish, etc, or pouch / tinned tuna, salmon, jack mackerel, etc.
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  10. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    "Is this right?"; well in an ideal world our dogs would greet every person and dog like long lost friends, and welcome all strangers into the home with a wagging tail. Reality is far different ;) no it's not ideal when you have a dog that is quick to use teeth and react, but it is what it is, you have work with the dog in front of you. Of course he "shouldn't" do it but if he'll go for members of his own family it's not surprising that he'll do the same to strangers is it.

    Muzzle training:
     
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  11. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

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    Jane Arden from Waggawuffins in Bury is one I think Smokeybear recommends usually. Not sure how far that is from you but might be worth a call as many cover surrounding areas not just the specific area they're in anyway.

    Chirag Patel has an excellent video on youtube for teaching a dog to wear a muzzle :)
     
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  12. Quinccyxo

    Quinccyxo PetForums Newbie

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    Bury isn't too far. I think I've got in touch with her before but had no reply... so didn't pursue her as a trainer. I've heard a lot of good reviews about her though, assume she's in high demand and that's the reason no reply (busy!).

    And with the baby gates/gating. He'd scale them - he's a very good jumper... haha!
     
  13. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    There are taller stair gates especially for dogs that jump over the standard ones, I think Amazon have them
     
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  14. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Can you tell me how much exercise and training your young collie gets on a daily basis please?
     
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  15. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Yes, I have the extra tall ones. You can get them from Argos. They keep my GSD behind bars.
     
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  16. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

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  17. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Please ensure the trainer/behaviourist uses positive, reward based methods.

    Any alpha/dominance/aversive methods will simply create more anxiety and make the problem worse.

    The muzzle needs to be a basket type so the dog can open it's mouth fully to pant and introduced gradually as a positive experience.
     
    leashedForLife likes this.
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