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Aggression? - Rakki - 11-30-2017

Okay, so Surprise, I'm still around, kinda lost touch after a while due to the fact we finally got to move.

But, issue now is, Key doesn't seem to appreciate there being other dogs around, (Not in the house) But the neighbors have two St.Bernard pups, and the moment we stick Key in the back yard, he's right at that privacy fence, jumping to reach them, snarling and snapping, trying to get their paws. Now unless this is play and I just don't know anything, this is an issue. Because I'm unable to keep him out in the front yard at the moment, neighbors complain about him barking and nobody comes to approach us, instead we get a surprise visit from the police.

Anyone able to give me some insight into this?

He doesn't listen to anything I say when he's in the back yard, I have to drag him back.


RE: Aggression? - Tamberav - 12-01-2017

Since no one has responded yet, I will give it a shot. I am new to border collies (have a 10 month old) but have owned dogs a long time. I am not sure if you are letting the dog in the fenced yard by itself or just taking it out to potty?

If the dog is out there by itself, I would not let the dog do this any longer. At least not while she is barking/jumping. One thing I have learned is a behavior can quickly become a habit and an obsession and sometimes obsessions can spread to new objects or places.

If you are having problems just taking the dog to potty, then start trying to get the dogs focus on you further away (even if starting behind the door). Do tricks/commands, reward for being calm, ect. Use really good treats like hotdogs or whatever would get his focus on you the best.

As far as aggression goes, it is hard to say. That is her area but it could also be excitement/arousal or even boredom.

I believe this is a pretty common occurrence for dogs of any breed but a serious one. I would look up "fence fighting" as there should be a fair amount of info out there.


RE: Aggression? - Ember - 12-01-2017

Anything that could even remotely aggression related should have in-person eyes on it via an R+ behaviorist in your home observing the interaction. Aggression is a tricky behavior to diagnose and has so many different entry points into a dog's life that there's no one-solution-fits-all. There's also no easy fix, so don't go with anyone that can "solve the behavior in six weeks". And definitely don't work with anyone who wants to board the dog.

Quote:He doesn't listen to anything I say when he's in the back yard, I have to drag him back.

This simply means he's over threshold. As you work through this you may find that his threshold is well inside the house - as he has been able to practice the behavior, he may start anticipating it standing at the backdoor before ever being let out. Tamberav has good advice but I would definitely put that in conjuncture with an R+ behaviorist.


RE: Aggression? - Tasha's&Mattie'sMom - 12-02-2017

Well, first of all, I agree with all of the above.   If you can find and afford a good trainer that is the ideal and never let Key practice the behavior.  If that means always taking him out on a leash every time he needs to potty then that is what you will need to do.  I always supervise my two when I let them out because I live in an area with coyotes, rattle snakes, scorpions, and black widows so letting the collies roam free in the yard isn't a good idea.  Don't worry, your pup won't suffer if he can't have unsupervised time in the yard.

Key's reaction could be aggression, fear, or just a fun game.  My Mattie is fearful.  Whenever she growls, barks, or snaps at a dog it is because she is afraid.  It is my job to protect her so I avoid any situation where she feels the need to protect herself.  "Mattie, get behind Mommy, I will take care of this scary thing" has become the way I deal with Mattie's fears.  Fearful dogs need to know that someone will help them.  They need to know that it isn't their job to scare off the horrible thing.

Tasha is my confident dog and she taught me that sometimes what looks like aggression is just a game.  There is a very fear reactive dog in our agility class and at some point Tasha figured out that she could set him off by giving him a "hard stare".  All the other dogs in the class Tasha would ignore but if this one dog was near her she would flip her head around and stare at him... and he would lunge and bark and she would do the same.  This was a game for Tasha and not a game I wanted her to play.  She started staring at other dogs to try to set them off.  It took a few months but I was able to cure her of the habit and we can take an agility class with that reactive dog and Tasha is fine and Tasha is out of the habit of trying to set off other dogs.  

You won't get an easy or fun solution to the issues you are having but every amount of work you put into Key will be worth the effort.


RE: Aggression? - Rakki - 12-09-2017

Thank you all for the advice!
I do usually supervise him, and he's generally leashed, I tried off leash with him in our back yard and that's when I witnessed the behavior, it concerned me, he was okay with this little pup in petco before, but not the Saint Bernard pups next door, so I had just worried he was seeing them as a threat.

His first encounter with them was when I had him out on the leash to go to the bathroom in our front yard, suddenly the two came running around the corner and to us (They weren't barking or snarling or anything) but I think he took it as a threat.

I'll work with him more in the back yard on a leash and or supervised even in the back yard, I really appreciate all the advice and tips! We just moved to town from the mountain, so this seems to be a learning experience for the both of us


RE: Aggression? - only-borders - 12-09-2017

Keep him leashed and play ball or do basic commands to keep his attention when the other dogs are out. Even if it is for only a couple minutes it is a win. Have treats, and stay as far away from the fence as you can. 

Keep it short. You don't want to give him the chance to get distracted before you go in. Try as often as you can through out the day. The plan is to be more interesting and fun than running the fence barking at the dogs.