I'm new to posting here though I have been around before to browse general information. I am writing today because I have a 1 year old male Border Collie named Scout. He very large for a Border, standing at my shoulder level when he is on his hind legs (I am 5'8).
He is intact, though he has an appointment to be neutered at the end of this week. We were told to wait until he was about a year old for the surgery in relationship to his leg bone growth.
We have owned him since he was 12 weeks old, purchased from a breeder. We have 3 other dogs: 13 year old pom/chia mix, 10 year old black lab, 5 year old fox terrier, whom Scout has known since he arrived in our home.
He started fighting some with the 13 year old when he was about 7-8 months old, just a lot of mouthing and growling no matter how ugly is actually looked. The older dog used to be the most dominant one in the house regardless of the fact that she was the smallest.
We assumed the fighting between them was because the female would get into Scout's face and growl at him for no apparent reason and he just was old enough that he'd "had enough".
He hasn't fought with her in several months now, but he does lower his head and grumble at her if she gets near him when I am around. With redirection he quickly leaves the situation.
In the past week he has gotten into 2 fights with the other two dogs, both of which he has had no issues with since the day we brought him home.
The first could be classified as food aggression: my husband was feeding all the dogs, and instead of feeding Scout first and crating him, he had all 4 dog bowls down at the same time.
Scout may have perceived that the black lab was too close to his food and he bit her on the back side of her ear, leaving a relatively good size puncture wound. This dog yelped and escaped with no fighting back or even a growl.
Fast forward to last night. I was letting the dogs in from outside all at once, just as we have since January. Scout and the fox terrier are suddenly fighting in another room! When I arrived, the fox terrier was still growling and bleeding from a small puncture wound under his jaw, and the entire side of his neck was soaked with saliva.
After each fight that led to blood, my husband and I cleaned up the bleeding dog and disinfected wounds and Scout acted terrified....almost as if he was doing this out of fear/anxiety instead of a dominance thing. At one moment, he went into his crate and actually growled at me...I'm guessing because I was standing over him looking down? I'm not sure because within 30 seconds he was normal with me again.
I'm really at a loss of where to go with this. It almost feels like the aggression is escalating, but I can't pinpoint the source. I'm afraid because I also have a 3 year old daughter and he sometimes gives her one of the border collie stares, or even lowers his head and turns his gaze from her.
Do I find a behaviorist? Do I continue with my plans to neuter or will it make the situation worse? Any help someone could give would be great. Thank you!