Reactive dog help...again

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Lipsmackerpony88
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Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Fri Mar 04, 2022 5:41 pm

I posted a while ago about my border collie cross that got reactive / aggressive when my daughter's friend was over, through the baby gate. I'm not going to really go over that situation again since there's already a thread but I thought things were going so much better since then. Yes we modified some things. If my daughter does have friends over we keep them completely separate, absolutely no contact with dogs whatso ever. Over all the training has been going good and he's been pretty easy to live us in most aspects. He still is a bit reactive but is okay out in public. Just a bit weird at home but again it depends on the person. Direct eye contact from strangers is a big trigger. But most animal people don't stare and do fine with him. Non animal people are a trigger.

I've had no issues with him and my daughter up until this morning. Granted he is getting ready to turn 2 years old. And my daughter is 10 years old. But a very mature 10-year-old. I would say most would peg her mentally as a 12 or 13 year old. She's a very calm child and very intuitive about animals. She has long known to not mess around or be rambunctious around Ollie. He always seems happy to see her and never is nervous around her.

But this morning, he was laying stretched out on his side in the living room. I heard a pretty nasty sounding growl /snarl And asked her what happened. She said she was simply walking by him to get ready for school and he kind of jumped up and growled. Then a few minutes later I just petted him just to see if he was okay, And he reacted quite largely and jumped up and crowd and then kind of went after our little dog. He didn't hurt her but he told her off even though she was across the room not doing anything to him.

Now he has been injuring his dew claws lately. He just slides when he's catching the ball outside and kind of cracked them. So I've been wondering if they were a little sore although there is no sign of infection or anything. That's the only thing I could think of. So we are going to see about getting them into the vet and even seen about getting them removed because it seems like a problem lately no matter how short we keep the dew claws.

But I got me thinking what would I do if he had jumped up and bit my daughter for walking next to him. I want to say that it's a bit out of character for him although I guess that's not completely true... He really just doesn't have the best temperament although he does try.

I'm not sure if I want advice so much just vent here as I know people won't really judge so much. But any advice is welcome to. Things on the table are more professional training, obviously vet, medication... I don't think he would be a dog that I would be comfortable rehoming. I don't want to think what that would mean.

I really hope not he's just a little sore (although he let me touch his paws and no reaction But I will try again later) I would rather there be a good reason for him to act that way then it just be out of the blue.

Lipsmackerpony88
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Fri Mar 04, 2022 5:49 pm

I will say ever since he was even a puppy he was the kind of dog that if he was sitting by your feet or sitting on the couch and you actually bumped him even lately that he would growl. He just gets really offended by that type of stuff. Which I haven't really thought was too much of a problem We just know how he is. But I certainly hope it won't get to the point where we can't even walk around him!

Many other areas of life he's very sweet, and easy to live with. But I'm not going to say that I've ever 100% trusted him. And that breaks my heart. We've done a lot of training already, He gets lots of physical activity as well as mental. When I worked with professional trainers before they said we were doing everything correct. But I do think there is just an inherited temperament that is more reactive. And not any high strung kind of way more like grouchy dog.

Tanga
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Tanga » Fri Mar 04, 2022 8:54 pm

My first thought is something is hurting, like the dew claws. I think a vet visit is good.

I'm two months on the new dog, Ozzie, and navigating his temperament. We got him because he had zero aggression I saw. The only thing he does growl at his the the older (fat) dog trying to steal his food, so that is a good thing. His balls come off Monday, but we've been to the dog park and to the barn and he has been jumped on by all kinds of dogs (including the three little shits at the barn) and he has only growled with hackles once with a still intact GSD at the dog park that was overly aggressive, but he was backing away. I always rub his belly and back with my feet when he lays down and I didn't that once and he growled. I did a sharp "eh!" and he never did it again. He clearly was beaten by someone because if it looks like you might have your hand up or you yell at him (for eating and destroying one of the many things he as) he cows and runs. One time he bolted through the railing on the porch and did a six foot drop to the ground.

That said, he still has to listen and can never bite and growl. The best way to do anything with him when he is not listening (like when he did not want to go in the crate for bed at night) is just to "ah!" at him when he is not doing what I want, and praise when he is.

So, what I am saying with your dog is get 100% no growling ever allowed. Make the really loud, annoying "ah!" and back him off when he does, looking for opportunities to reinforce that.

Lipsmackerpony88
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sat Mar 05, 2022 4:06 am

I had the same thought, Tanga. Pain of some kind. Although my daughter said maybe she scared him because he was asleep. She even said maybe it's possible she accidentally stepped on his ear. He was laying in the middle of the floor. Although I think she doesn't want him to "get in trouble." Hard to say but hopefully we can get him checked out and cleared.

I will work on not tolerating growling. We mostly have ignored it but will try verbal corrections.

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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Ponichiwa » Fri Mar 11, 2022 2:21 pm

Starting with the vet is a good call-- address any physical explanations.

I would also recommend crating for bedtime. That waking-up transition tends to be a time when normal inhibitions (i.e. bite inhibitions, growling, etc.) are lowered, so put a bit of space between you and an accident by crating for bedtime. This isn't punitive-- he's not in trouble, he's not being bad, but it does make sure that you've reduced the risk of tripping-over-the-dog-in-the-night triggering an escalation.

I also have several border collies and they are sensitive dogs. And this one sounds sensitive and also unsure of himself and/or his place in the world, which can result in disproportional escalation (especially if pain is involved). They are also very sensitive to space and pressure, which can be either funny (i.e. my BC Gael, who spent a good 45 min giving a box turtle The Stare trying to get it to move) or problematic (my rescue BC Chip still needs to be monitored when new-to-him dogs are in the house as he'll escalate very quickly if he thinks they've come too close to him or his bowl or...).

The eye contact thing is pressure-- that's how the herding dogs move livestock, although it doesn't work so great on turtles. When sheep or cows turn and make strong eye contact with herding dogs, they are typically getting ready to charge. So it makes sense, behaviorally, for the dog to spring forward first to break that cycle. Acceptable behavior for managing livestock; unacceptable behavior for interacting with humans.

What worked for us: expanding Chip's stable comfort zone so that he's not on a hair-trigger protecting his space. We did lots of training classes-- both to help build focus and just to get exposure to other dogs in a pleasant and controlled setting-- and we did control his environment pretty heavily (crating when new dogs and people entered the house, crating at night) until he relaxed out of that hyper-aware state he was in.

We also did a ton of drop it/leave it/ "that'll do" work to install an off-switch.

Best of luck!

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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sun Mar 20, 2022 6:17 pm

Ponichiwa, thanks! He actually does sleep in a crate at night, for that very reason. But during daily naps he's like. Especially if he's in a deep sleep.

This is actually my second border collie but my first was such a people pleaser and confident in herself. He's very sensitive and definitely can be insecure (he's actually gotten much better.)

He's fine with eye contact with us, but yes with strangers he feels it's very threatening and that he must make the first move. I think working with a trainer (again) will be a good idea. He's an ongoing project but it's okay.

We actually ended up at the vet because he really hurt his nail even more. So he had a minor surgery.

Moving forward, I think we will use booties when playing with the ball to help protect him. Someone suggested these rubber ones that they use for agility. Hopefully that will help.

Ponichiwa
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Ponichiwa » Mon Mar 21, 2022 9:12 pm

How is his hearing? Just thinking about other reasons to be insecure immediately after waking.

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Chisamba
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Chisamba » Mon Mar 21, 2022 10:53 pm

Ponichiwa wrote:How is his hearing? Just thinking about other reasons to be insecure immediately after waking.


This is very interesting, I had an aggressive reactive dog and she was deaf

Lipsmackerpony88
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Mar 22, 2022 12:17 am

Ponichiwa, he sure can hear the neighbors outside! And hears us calling for him although he can be selective about coming lol.

I think it's more he gets into a deep sleep and then gets startled. It might even be that he thinks it's our other dog walking disrespectfully close when it was actually my daughter. No other incidents since that day, even with a very hurt paw.

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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby blob » Sat Apr 16, 2022 6:24 am

One other thought--a lot of aggression stems from fear/anxiety. I know some reactive dogs that have gotten much better since being treated for anxiety--either with a prescription, or in one case with CBD.

Sounds like he's doing better, but just wanted to put it out there.

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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Quelah » Sat Apr 16, 2022 10:22 pm

Lipsmackerpony88 wrote: And hears us calling for him although he can be selective about coming lol.

I'm glad you're looking into physical issues/pain possibilities but this that I've quoted really jumped out at me. For a dog that needs to be solid at least around your own children and a dog that gets taken out in public, this is a big hole in training. That recall needs to be proofed as close to 100% as is possible. I'm saying do as I do not as I say because my GSD's recall isn't what it should be, but I don't take her out in public. Our own Sparkleby, who is QUITE the dog trainer among her many other talents recommended a book to me, I think it was this one

https://www.amazon.com/Total-Recall-Per ... 1846891493

Also, suggest you start regular work (like weekly at a minimum) with a good professional trainer. If nothing else, that will do socialization work in a "safe' productive environment.

Lipsmackerpony88
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sun Apr 17, 2022 3:08 pm

Quelah, his recall is much better than it was but it takes constant work. I have been told this typical of the Kelpie part of him. That being said, of course he's never ever off leash in public. Thankfully, he's more territorial and not as reactive in the general public but if course I never will truly trust him.

We are looking into dog training again. When he was young we did puppy classes in a group and had a weekly trainer at our house. And had an additional trainer come evaluate him. All those trainers said we were on the right track. They acted like I was kind of crazy to even involve any trainers but I just knew he was a different type of dog.

COVID didn't help things as it was so incredibly difficult to socialize him. We took him out a lot but we didn't have people over much and that is a hot button issue. We definitely need to work on that.

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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Quelah » Sun Apr 17, 2022 5:37 pm

Ah I was thinking he was all Border Collie, sorry for my not reading for comprehension! Ditto that then on pro trainer at place other than your house. People are going to jump on me for anti-breed bias but I put ACDs and Kelpies in the category of dogs that bite. Yes there are exceptions, and no I'm not anti those dogs, and I have GSDs so I'm not anti top ten bite breed dogs LOL. I have a lot of friends (real working cattle ranchers who list that as primary occupation on their taxes) who have Kelpies of ACDs. I assume they bite. I don't make that assumption of border collies.

And yes, all dogs are different. My rancher friend has had several. We live in the summer with the ever present threat of fire evacuation. When they had their last dog I kept a pair of welding gloves handy because I knew if I had to go grab that dog during a fire I was going to need them! Their current ACD is a doll though. But yeah, those dogs do have a tendency. I don't judge, I just acknowledge it.

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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Tanga » Sun Apr 17, 2022 8:02 pm

Interesting. The older dog that we just had to put down from severe age and pain issues was 100% Kelpie. She was extremely submissive and never came close to biting anything. With her spinal issues as she got older, she did bark at dogs that got to rough/close her because of pain I think. And my friend had a Kelpie she adored for 15 years and never had any tendency to bite, and after she died I picked up a new rescue Kelpie and kept her about six months before she moved back here and she also never had any tendency to bite. From my experience, they are very sweet, want to please dogs very unlikely to bite. They are nothing like the tough, individual minded AC's I've seen a lot of.

Lipsmackerpony88
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Apr 19, 2022 6:33 pm

Quelah, oh he's actually a border collie Kelpie heeler mix so you are still correct! But I'm familiar with border Collies but the Kelpie/heeler part in my opinion is more challenging. He's actually matured a lot the last year and I know I make it sound like he's horrible but he's not. Deep down he's actually pretty sweet with the family and well behaved overall. But there is a more reactive side to him than my previous dog. I do agree with you. I definitely wouldn't recommend for a stranger to come grab him.

Tanga, honestly he is such a mix of the three. There is an extremely sweet side, pleasing, intelligent animal in him. But there is just this little bit of reactivity. I actually never fear him biting me. But I want to put it past him for a stranger at all.

And a lot of ways he's turning more and more into an easy dog to live with. But he's not easy and he's definitely taking an educated approach.

Lipsmackerpony88
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Tue Apr 19, 2022 6:36 pm

Just for cuteness. He's learning well that there is a time to play and a time to chill.
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Anne
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Anne » Sun Apr 24, 2022 9:23 am

No advice from me, but wow, what a gorgeous boy! Did I miss his name?

Lipsmackerpony88
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Lipsmackerpony88 » Sun Apr 24, 2022 2:37 pm

Thanks Anne. It's Ollie. He definitely is a pretty guy.

Ryeissa
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Re: Reactive dog help...again

Postby Ryeissa » Sun May 08, 2022 1:30 am

So cute!


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