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Weird collie behaviour

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Mazza1011, Sep 22, 2018.


  1. Mazza1011

    Mazza1011 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, looking for a bit of advice!

    A couple of months ago, we adopted a 9-month-old border collie who has recently started developing a couple of really weird behaviours. I would really like to hear if anyone has experienced something similar.

    Two things really: firstly, about a month ago he started to refuse to go into the field where we often walk him. He wants to go through the gate, but as soon as we're in the field he pulls to go back out and go home. There is nothing different (that I can see) about the field, he doesn't seem scared, just really doesn't like it anymore. It doesn't really matter as there are other walks, but I can't see why he would suddenly refuse to walk there.

    The other thing is a bit more concerning - he has become obsessed with a little part of the path to the house. When returning to the house, he will stop there and stand over it with head down, ears back and legs apart, almost zoned out. He won't come when called and tried to nip at my welly when I went up to him. Today, I stroked him while he was there and he snapped at me, not in a friendly way. I've also heard him whining at this patch of ground and circling it. There is nothing there! I'm concerned as it's escalating and I'm not sure that he wouldn't bite (me or someone else) if they touched him when he's in this zone.

    Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    Both these situations do sound a little obsessive and whilst there may be (have been) a genuine trigger ie; a sound or smell or movement the response is without doubt a little over the top.

    What do you know about your Collie before you had him (ie; his home environment and the reason given for his being rehomed). Collies can be sensitive dogs and as dogs who require a 'job' (a routine of good physical and mental stimulation) they are also prone to OCD (obsessive compulsions) if this side is not fulfilled (which his previous home may not have done). Of course, if your dog does show such behaviours (and his obsession with an area of your path may suggest that he does) then this may be a job for a behaviourist.

    In the meantime I would look to engage him in some good training and look to find activities that offer him stimulation so that he is mentally as well as physically fulfilled. Maybe get to a class. I wouldn't try to push any situations (and yes, that means at the moment avoiding the field he has become fearful of) and personally I would ignore his 'obsession' with your path, walk away and carry on as normal calling him to follow you only when you think he can respond. Calmness is important as if we become stressed or draw their attention to the obsession, this may increase their response.

    More than that I can only suggest that you engage a professional for advice. :)

    J
     
    O2.0, tabelmabel, Lurcherlad and 2 others like this.
  3. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    Also if you can avoid that bit of the path (by walking round it fairly briskly, on lead?) that might help.
    Sometimes Collie breeds have to be 'managed' rather than 'cured'.
    Is he tuned in to a tuggy toy yet? That would be one that you keep control of?
    Tugs are a great training and distraction tool for BCs.
     
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  4. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    A couple of months is enough time for the "honeymoon" period to pass so what you are seeing now may have been issues he had before coming to you or his teenage phase is just kicking in which is causing issues.
    Are there any shadows or bright spots on the path that he stops on?

    I would speak to the rescue to try to get some incite into what they can about his behaviour and then I would look for a reputable trainer with experience with collies...Collies can be delicate souls that develop some pretty severe OCD behaviours if not given things to work that brain of theirs :)
     
  5. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Maybe try entering the field from a completely different side/entrance and block or cover the spot on the path, which might change his reaction?
     
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  6. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    What is this path made of? I recently lifted a paving flag to find a vole nest under it with babies. A dog would easily notice something like that (by smell or sound) that we poor humans are totally unaware of.
     
  7. Mazza1011

    Mazza1011 PetForums Newbie

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    I did dig a bit of the path up and removed a few stones that he had been biting at, but he just moved to a different part. I did wonder if something sinister was buried there...!
     
  8. Mazza1011

    Mazza1011 PetForums Newbie

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    Yes, I have done that and it works to a degree. Once he is in the field (through some coaxing with a ball/toy), he is happy enough, though when he sees the gate to go home, he races towards it.
     
  9. Mazza1011

    Mazza1011 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks - I think there are some issues that he may have had before; he seems quite scared in some situations. We do try to give him physical and mental stimulation, and are hoping to get him into an agility class once he's a year old. I wish I could understand what he's thinking so that I could deal with it!
     
  10. Mazza1011

    Mazza1011 PetForums Newbie

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    He pulls like mad to stop at that spot, and I would have to drag him past it. He has got a couple of toys he likes, but once he gets into the 'zone' nothing registers with him, neither treats nor toys. What I have been doing is trying to manage his behaviour by letting him stop there, passing him, then immediately distracting him with a toy to get him away from the spot. Sometimes that's enough, sometimes he goes back to the spot and I do it again. He's always happy enough once he's away from there, and back to his usual self.
     
  11. Mazza1011

    Mazza1011 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for all your advice! We are keen to try working with him ourselves before we involve anyone else, but we'll see how that goes. For the meantime, I have done what you suggested and ignored him when he stops there, but then distracted him with a toy once I'm past the 'spot'. Sometimes if I run past, he follows me to see what exciting thing I'm going to be doing! I have also tried to play with him and treat him at the spot, so that he has more positive associations with it. We will try to get him to a class and have started doing some agility exercises at home to challenge him. He still goes there, but is easier to get away from the spot, so hopefully we're doing something right.
     
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  12. Mazza1011

    Mazza1011 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks to everyone for your suggestions; I really appreciate your time to reply to this thread. If anyone has any other ideas, or thinks that I should alter what I'm currently doing, please do leave a comment. He's such a sweet dog, I really want to help him.
     
  13. Linda Weasel

    Linda Weasel PetForums VIP

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    The only other thing I can think of, if you're not already doing it, is to start the tug game before you get to the spot.
    Pretty much sounds as if you're doing everything that can be done, other than avoiding.
     
    Burrowzig and Mazza1011 like this.
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