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Hi,

I was on these forums in the early days of Flo's arrival and found them very helpful, we have come through many normal phases but felt like we had a lovely well rounded dog.  She is now 10.5 months old, she has been through her first season and 99% of the time is a dream dog, incredibly affectionate and obedient. Our first dog and the best decision we ever made.

just before eher first season she started to show aggression to other dogs when in confined spaces, for example pub/cafe.  She is well socialised and always been great with other dogs, so it was a suprise when she lunged at a miniature schnauzer very aggresively giving the poor owners and dog a huge fright.

We put it down to her being in season and were very careful for the next few weeks.  then it happened again in a pub, she had had a long walk was fast asleep under the table we were all relaxed, didnt even notice another dog in the pub when suddenly she flew across the pub at a tiny dog. it qas really shocking for everyone.  I took her outside and shouted at her, which I now realise was the exact wrong thing to do ( I dont normally shout at her, it was just the shock of the siutation and felt that she had been extremely naughty and I overreacted).

so we kept taking her to cafes etc and kept her on a short lead and petted other dogs and whilst dong the watch command and praising her for not going for the other dogs.  thought we had a good plan.

But now she has started doing it on walks!!! she had a proper fight with another collie, again I over reacted as i thought she was going to hurt the other dog.  I walked her again in the evening.  she was fine with other dogs unless they came near me (or were being overbearing to her) and then she growled and snapped at them. we tried this a few times with different dogs and its always the same so it seems she is jealous or protective of her human family.

I am concerned that she ends up doing it with people, at the moment she is completely affectionate and submissive with people, she comes to work with me and meets people all the time.  occasional dogs come to my office and she does now growl and snaps at them where before she was happy to see them.

I have booked a dog behaviour specialist to advise but we cant start for a couple of weeks and I wondered if anyone can advise on how to handle the siutation in the meantime or if you have encountered and overcome this yourself?  Any advice much apprecaited.  

I am now aware that reacting to the behaviour is not helping and plan to remove her from the situation and ignore her for now but is there anything else you can suggest?

She is also going to be spayed in a few  weeks, could that help?

Thank you!!!! PS I STILL do not understand how to post pics on here but have added attachment pic of her
Beautiful picture! She does look intense lol. She actually looks a lot like my Ember!

It may be a fear period. How you handle it is pretty important. Do some threshold work. Find the spot at which she doesn't react (as far away as it takes - could be so far that even you can't really see the dog), ask her to look/down/sit - whatever gets her attention on you. If she does it, reward/play (play is actually better than food here, if she will - but avoid high arousal games like tug and fetch if she is ball-centric).

If she doesn't or won't take the reward, back up even further.

Once you have her attention successfully and she isn't showing signs of concern, move a few feet closer to other dog. When she notes the dog, ask for a sit/down/watch. Again, whatever turns her towards you. Same as above - if she does it, reward/play. If not, back up and try again.

The goal is to show her that she gets good things when she notices the other dog and doesn't react negatively. That being said, if you ever hit the point and she notices the other dog and goes stiff, stares, etc - back up. You are too close.

Don't beg for attention, don't lure her with the reward to turn her around. You are looking for her to decide that the other dog isn't worth as much as you and that reward are.
Everything Ember said. Tongue One thing I would suggest though is if you have a behaviorist coming to help try to avoid these situations all together. Any practice she gets at displaying the behavior the worse it gets. So if you see another dog and are afraid she will react don't be afraid to walk away from it. Just stay within threshold and don't try to test its limits too much, at least until the behaviorist comes to help. So basically just be extra careful. Grin

Keep us posted on how she does, I'm interested to know. Hope this can be resolved soon and with minimal effort.
Thank you, she is spending a few hours with us and sometime with Flo on her own ad she is going to write a plan up for us, i will post it here as a way to help others.  I hope we are catching it young enough so we can fix it.
Our last collie pip wasn't very friendly towards other dogs I put it down to an over zealous male  trying to mount her just after she had been spayed she was very aloof and had no interest in playing with other dogs , she would never charge at them but would give them a nip If they got to close
Quote:so we kept taking her to cafes etc and kept her on a short lead and petted other dogs and whilst dong the watch command and praising her for not going for the other dogs.  thought we had a good plan.

But now she has started doing it on walks!!! she had a proper fight with another collie, again I over reacted as i thought she was going to hurt the other dog.  I walked her again in the evening.  she was fine with other dogs unless they came near me (or were being overbearing to her) and then she growled and snapped at them. we tried this a few times with different dogs and its always the same so it seems she is jealous or protective of her human family.

I am concerned that she ends up doing it with people, at the moment she is completely affectionate and submissive with people, she comes to work with me and meets people all the time.  occasional dogs come to my office and she does now growl and snaps at them where before she was happy to see them.

I don't have very much in the way of suggestions, other than saying that bringing in a behaviourist is an excellent idea. My dog reacts to other dogs as well, although his reaction isn't aggressive; he only reacts if they get "in his space" and then he will snap or bite. Izzy's reactions are driven by fear, as your dog's "might" be (true aggression, I believe, is when a dog will go after another dog viciously without provocation, and will try to maim or kill the other dog). I used to think that Izzy was aggressive, until i realized that he was fear-reactive. I also read once (somewhere) that border collies - very generally speaking - tend to not be the most social of dogs with other canines; they can be apprehensive and snap out at others. At any rate, a behaviourist would be able to assess this with your pup. And unfortunately, sometimes the owner (like me) can learn to tense up and emit 'fear signals' to their dog when another dog approaches, anticipating a negative reaction...which the dog picks up on, and ultimately can make the situation worse. It's sort of a catch-22.

The only thing I really wanted to mention (well, actually two things) is first, be careful if you do the 'approach the other dog' thing, trying to show your dog that the strange dog is actually okay. If you praise your dog for not reacting, you 'might' be praising your dog for not outwardly reacting, while she could still very well be tense inside. If that happens, the whole thing backfires, as you can be inadvertently praising your dog for being tense.
The other thing is, if your dog has shown zero reaction towards other people, I suspect you have little to fear of her developing aggression toward humans. My dog started out with intense fear of both humans and dogs (at one point when he was around 8 months old, he lunged at a woman's face when she suddenly bent down to hug him, this after I'd warned her that he was afraid, and not to get too close). At any rate, I worked with him and thankfully, he slowly began to realize that people weren't out to hurt him. (My success with his fear of dogs hasn't gone as well.) But I can now trust that he won't react negatively to a stranger; generally, he will now approach most people he doesn't know with tail wagging, and - if in our house - he winds up plying them with toys in the hope that they will play with him. So I do suspect that you have nothing to worry about with regard to your girl and humans...but get her assessed by the behaviourist anyway about this, for peace of mind.

And lastly...your girl is adorable! I love her ears. Smile
Hi,

When I was reading this, I thought I was reading about my dog, as he exhibits similar traits. Shady is 9 months now, and for a while he was extremely nervous around other dogs, to a point where he would lunge, bark, growl and sometimes nip. This happened a couple of times, and being a new dog owner myself i didn't really know how to handle it. In the meantime, it developed as a habit for Shady, where he would do this by default, and it began to escalate. I have had three not pleasant encounters with other dogs, and it always seemed like Shady was the "aggressor".

I began to think this was some deep rooted aggressive streak in him, which would only get worse. I was wrong, very wrong. I went to a dog trainer, more for me than Shady, and within 5 minutes she assured me he was not aggressive. This behaviour happens for a reason. For me; I hadn't set acceptable boundaries when out and about, I didn't know how to manage his excitement, he was protecting me, and he was trying to establish his position after being taken out of his family unit and coming to me alone. When out on walks, I was setting myself up for Shady to fail, because I was so tense that he might lose it, he fed off that and did. My trainer got me working on distraction techniques with other dogs around, how to recognise his signals, and getting him focused on me. She said eventually, you should be able to drop a hand grenade behind him, and still keep his focus. "Leave It" is also a great tool.

Cheese and his ball are my best friend when we are on walks. I still keep him on a lead with other dogs around but really make the play exciting with lots of tricks and rewards thrown in, making me more exciting than the other dog. Then praise and reward. I make sure he knows the other dogs are there, but he doesn't react. This took a month to achieve. I'm now working on sit-stay, and long distance down-stay. This really focuses him, because he wants to know what I want him to do next. 

Confined spaces, paths, alleyways are still a problem. If we encounter other dogs when he doesn't have a good escape route, he can still get very anxious. If this happens, I usually remove him from the situation by turning around. Remember, Shady looks to me for direction, so if I am dragging him into a situation he really isn't comfortable with, he will either react, or lose my trust. 

I have never hit him, shaken him, ranted at him, bit his ears, alpha rolled him or any kind of physical punishment. A stern "leave it", or "NO", then straight back into the focus exercise works for me and he is improving all the time. We still have our moments, and the hard work has only just begun, but don't get down hearted. Trust yourself, and trust your dog. Things get better with work and patience, and the rewards of seeing his behaviour improve is the best thing ever.

Gray
Thank you Gray, great to hear from someone in a similar situation!!

The dog behaviour woman who came was VERY focussed on dominance, one of the things she said was to ignore Flo when we havent seen her for a while. As i feel her reactivity comes from protecting herself and us (fear based and also resource guarding) it just felt that this was making her more insecure and we had 3 incidents in one walk!

So I am ditching this trainer, though there were some valid techniqies like the ones you mention and also she is getting much better on the lead and we are making her work for everything which she enjoys. She is a dream dog with us!

I have found a new trainer not focussed on dominance theory and look forward to working with her. In the meantime we are avoiding busy walks where she has to be in the lead or in any confined space - She is much worse with a dog if i go to show it attention, she is the same with our cat and my father in laws dog who she ignores unless I show affection to them! It does feel like jealousy but must be her resource guarding or fear protecting (cat has ninja pawed her a few times!).

Still feels like a long way to go, really struggling for holiday care as everyone has oither dogs and when I take her to work, other dogs sometimes come in, it does turn me into a nervous wreck and I know this is not good! Hoping the new trainer will be able to give specific advise on exactly what I should do in a heated situation as sometimes they come out of the blue and I am not prepared!

I also find high value treats make her MUCH more reactive, clearly resource guarding - ball would be better though she is very protectve of that too!

I will be very keen to hear how you progress and if you ever reach the magic place of being able to have your dog in the same room as other dogs!

Thank you :-)
High reactivity with high value treats may not necessarily be resource guarding. If the motivator is TOO high, it can cause the dog to go into overload (think of the "kid in a candy store" saying - or even better, think about a kid at a theme park). They can get so overstimulated by the motivator that it causes them to act out, being completely unable to think (and consequently completely irrational). Obviously only the person observing the behavior can decide if that is the case, but I would ask what has happened if you tried to lower the value of the motivator a smidgen?
You are completely right, Ember. Before we started puppy classes we were doing well with training using simple treats but at puppy class they encouraged us to use sausage etc. She got extermely over excited and nippy after this and difficult to control in the class, i always felt it was too much for her but they just told me to distract her etc. I wont use high value treats out on a walk again (only did it that once and it was a BIG mistake)

How can you tell she is fear reactive rather than resource guarding reactive? if i am friendly towards other dogs or the cat she really reacts, i am being upbeat and happy so she cant think i am being threatened surely? it feels like jelousy, or jelously regarding her resource.

I liked your dominance video, that explains things really well. Obedience definately important.

New dog trainer coming next week and also potential understanding dog sitter who has two collies and has also gone through the fear reactive thing but now collie well trained, if still quite tense around other dogs. We have a startegy for walk parallel apart first and very gradually getting closer.

Has anyone else had a reactive collie ad how have you gone about intorduing it to other dogs when necessary?

Thanks for all your help and support. last week I was literally in tears after our walk but feeling more positive ad ready to tackle it. It helps that we had a lovely relaxed weekend with her, she is so adorable.
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