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Growling towards other dogs


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#1 Brins123

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:07 AM

Our 2 1/2 neutered male border collie has gotten to where he will start to growl at other dogs, holding his tail high up in the air.  He was attacked by a couple of pit bulls a few months back who jumped right into our truck to get after him.  Since then, he has become increasingly wary of other dogs, especially one's that are bigger and/or small ones that jump on him.  He is good with people, even on lead, but very nervous around other dogs.  He was fine with a smaller australian shepard that we came upon, though still carried his tail up high, acting nervous, but when we came upon an irish setter, he growled at him after sniffing each other.  He has also started to growl and try to show dominance by snapping her (but not connecting) at the neighbor's cat where he never did before.  He will lay with the cat on the porch and be buddies, but sometimes when I let him outside and he sees the cat on the porch, he will growl and snap at it to get it to get off the porch.  I don't want to see him get worse with other dogs.  He stops the behavior with the cat immediately after we tell him to stop, but we will just move him away from the other dogs if we come across one on our walks.  Any suggestions?  Thanks!



#2 waffles

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:18 PM

I just wouldn't allow him to "meet" strange dogs while out walking.

I know lots of people want their dogs to "say hi" to stranger's dogs when they're out walking but it's not something I've ever done.

If we are approaching someone with a dog on a sidewalk we keep walking and get 10' or so into a lawn or move to the road to signal that we are giving space while continuing to walk. I have no clue what a stranger's dog is going to be like (I wouldn't appreciate my dogs being growled at by yours) and I don't want my dogs reacting poorly if the dog does act up towards them.

Neither of them has issues with other dogs on walks and they keep walking with me as we pass with barely a glance. I think a big part of why they don't care about the dogs is because they know they don't have to interact with them.

I personally find it awkward to stand there with dogs on leash sniffing and trying to make small talk with people I don't know. If it's something you are dead set on doing still then I would work on LAT (look at that game) and other confidence building exercises while in the precense of other dogs. Though I think you might find that the growling stops over time if you keep walking, give him space (move into lawns or cross the road) and don't let other dogs come up to him. The growling is his way of telling you (and the dog) that he isn't happy with the situation.

#3 Brins123

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 12:27 PM

Your advice makes perfect sense as I don't want to stress him out.  I think my biggest concern was more of how he will react when we have to kennel him (which is infrequent).  We wanted to make the time at the kennel as stress free as possible, and thought it was best to try and socialize him with other dogs the best was could.  We live on Lake Michigan so he doesn't even pay attention to other people or animals that are going past as he is focused on chasing the waves.  He does bark when he sees dogs and people going past the house, but will also quiet down when we tell him to stop.  It does make sense to try to just keep walking with him and let him pass by other dogs without being "introduced" so he will feel more at ease.    



#4 GentleLake

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 03:35 PM

Good suggestions from Waffles.

 

You could consider a pet sitter as an alternative to a boarding kennel. I pet sit and I find that dogs -- including my own -- are much less stressed when left in their own homes and having someone come in to take care of them and spend some time with them.


“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” - Gilda Radner


#5 Brins123

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 04:59 PM

Thank you for that suggestion, as well. We have someone in mind to watch him and will go back and forth whether to go that route, or the kennel. He used to love going to the kennel as it is a place where all the dogs play in a big pen a couple times a day. He used to love chasing other dogs and vice versa. However, we found that the older he gets, the more he is less into other dogs and more interested in people. When the two pit bulls ran into our yard and actually jumped into the cab of the truck trying to get after him, it made him much more nervous around other dogs. We don't want to push him, yet don't want him agressive to other dogs, either. He is wonderful with people and our 3 year old granddaughter.

#6 GentleLake

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:37 PM

... we found that the older he gets, the more he is less into other dogs and more interested in people.

 

This isn't uncommon in border collies as they mature.

 

A lot of mature border collies really aren't interested in playing with other dogs at dog parks, though I've seen those same dogs do a complete about face when they're in a group of other border collies even if they've never met them before. It's largely about play style, though I also kind of suspect there's a doggie version of racism going on here.  :ph34r: 


“I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” - Gilda Radner


#7 Brins123

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 06:19 PM

Very good points and it certainly makes sense that it has a lot to do about play style. He definitely likes to be chased and do the chasing! I won't worry about introducing him to dogs on the beach and just let him herd waves to his heart's content. We would be disappointed if "Ted" was displaying any forms of racism as we are equal opportunity dog lovers and raised him that way. Lol. Thanks for the suggestions and the laugh.

#8 diane allen

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:58 PM

Another thought, which you may be aware of, but just in case (for you, and anyone else reading this!):

Whatever you do, DO NOT try to make him QUIT growling.  It is his warning sign.  Dogs that have been punished (not saying you would...) for growling often escalate instantly to biting or attacking.  Other suggestions made are great.

 

And yeah, I know some BCs who are racists - or perhaps we should call them breedists!! They love playing with other border collies - but let a boxer enter the picture?  NO WAY!  They might be more tolerate of other herding breeds, as their play styles are more common.  But even sometimes an Aussie is considered at "outsider."

 

Good luck!

diane

 

p.s.:  I'm sooo jealous that you live on Lake Michigan!  I visited there a few years ago, my cousin found a lovely deserted beach, and my dogs had an absolute blast!!



#9 Brins123

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 06:06 AM

Again, another great suggestion. Our first reaction is to tell him "no" when he starts to growl. However, you have a good point when you say that he would just snap rather than growl. We will definitely change our approach. We have always had border collie crosses, but when our last dog died at 14, we decided to get a pure bred. Needless to say, we have to train him differently than we ever had any other dog we have had.
We do love living on Lake Michigan, as does Ted. We have to cross the street to get to the water, so on the way across, we have him on a lead and tell him to "wait" until we tell him it is okay to cross. He sits and waits, but as soon as we tell him "okay", he is across the road as fast as we can go with him being on lead. As soon as we get to the water, we go to an area where there are no people, and the wave chasing is on as soon as we let him loose. He doesn't care if waves crash on him and will run, full bore, trying to stay ahead of the waves. It is awesome to watch. Thanks so much for all the wonderful suggestions. Very nice "chatting" with people who understand the breed.
Jayne

#10 D'Elle

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 03:19 PM

Lucky dog, to get to play in the waves at Lake Michigan!

Beautiful dog, too.

 

My BCs have always loved any kind of beach.

 

It may be that your dog is acting out of the trauma of the dogs who attacked him. I think if that's the case, and you just keep him at a good distance from other dogs when walking for a year or two, he may get over it on his own.


D'Elle

and family.

Left to right: Kit, Jester, Boo, Digger

 

 

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"You gonna throw that?" --Jester:  2001 - June 24 2016. Remembered with much love.
"I'm grouchier than you are" --Kit

"I love everyone!" -- Boo

(Boing! Boing! Boing!)--Digger

And not pictured, Benjamin the cat, who thinks he is a small border collie with superpowers.

 

 

 


#11 Brins123

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 04:24 PM

My husband and I have noticed a change in his behavior around other dogs and even us a little since the attack, so I do agree that we should limit his exposure to dogs who want to come sniff, etc. I think the experience was traumatizing enough without the dogs jumping into the cab of "his" pickup to get after him. We will continue to work with him.
He does love the waves and we do consider ourselves lucky to have a spot where he can run and enjoy life. He loves to snap at the water coming from a hose as well. Thanks for all the advice. Your dogs are beautiful, as well! It is so nice to have a forum to bounce ideas back and forth and get the support from people who know what it is like to have such smart dogs who give us a run for our money, at times!


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