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About MarkH

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    Junior Member
  • Birthday 03/20/1956
  1. Melanie, your post seems to hit the target. I have always been nervous about Doug around strangers, especially playgrounds with so much random activity. I kept thinking that the exposure would help him 'get over it'. Indeed, I felt that Doug SHOULD permit strangers to walk up to him. It did not occur to me that I should not let strangers approach him. With the benefit of hindsight and feedback from the more learned BC owners, I now see that an incident was inevitable. On several occasions, young children have run up and hugged the doggie. I could tell that it was stressing Doug, but I kept rationalizing away the possibility that he might not be able to contain his discomfort. Indeed, on those occasions where I would just sit with Doug beyond the outfield fence, away from the crowds, he seemed comfortable, interested, and satisfied with the situation. In retrospect, I can't really say why I put the dog through the stress of the crowds. All in all, I guess we were somewhat lucky. The boy is fine and I have learned much about how to read and raise my Border Collie. I'll work with him to ease his stress. Of greater importance, however, I'll keep him out of stressful situations. Thanks, all! Mark and Doug
  2. Wow! Lisa, thanks a million for taking the time to post such a detailed response. I especially like the focus on controlling the situation to result in success and reward. If I've learned nothing else about this curious breed, I have learned that they are too driven and too darned tough to shape their behavior by punishing negative actions. My guess is that no amount of physical pain would dissuade Doug from protecting my son from a perceived threat. Instead, I'll set about the long task of teaching him to remain calm in the presence of things he may not understand. I can see much work ahead of me to change this controlling dog, but he is worth it. Old Joke: Q. What do you get if you cross a Boder Collie with a Pit Bull? A. A dog that wants to rule the world, and CAN. Thanks y'all. Mark
  3. Thank-you all for the advice. Lisa, I'll get to work on the desensitization right away. As I write, Doug (the BC) is playing with the beagle, the least dominant of my three dogs. Doug gets down on his belly so as not to intimidate the smaller beagle. The beagle runs at him and paws and barks. Doug runs away with the beagle giving chase; he also takes his turn as the pursuer. I just got back from running errands in the car with Doug. He sits in the passenger seat with a constant grin. Doug would rather take a ride in the car than eat. At each destination, I used to leave the windows all the way open, but now I leave only about six inches at the top of each as I worry that someone may try to pet him. BTW, it is still cool enough to do this, but hotter days will soon cut off this practice. In February, I was in Lowe's for about 45 minutes. When I came out, I noticed that the front door of the car was wide open. Doug was just sitting in the back seat, awaiting my return. I'll never find out what happened that day, but I do know that I can trust my dog to stay. He's a great pooch. Well worth heeding your good advice so as to assure a long happy life. Thanks, Mark
  4. THANKS ALL FOR YOUR RESPONSES! After getting past concern for the boy, my next reaction was sadness. At best, I suspected what most of you confirmed; Doug must be kept away from other people. At worst, this lovable, protective dog may be put down. He was having so much fun while playing. The boys were batting tennis balls and he would retrieve them with his usual boundless energy. This is a dog that won't even 'play' bite, nor does he chase or herd running children. He does, however, seem fearful of strangers. I did not witness the event and the boys weren't very helpful in the reconsrtuction. Indeed, they were oddly tight-lipped. We explained that we weren't trying to blame them, that we just want to learn from the incident so it could be prevented in the future. From their account, the boys were doing nothing unusual at the time. I am not surprised that Doug reacted to the helmeted person. You can get a reaction from him by walking oddly, putting on a costume, even donning a hat. I AM surprised that he bit the boy. I wonder if the boy might have made a threatening move -- in jest --, but I do not want to blame the victim. I take to heart all of your advice. One complication is that we have two other dogs; a Brittany Spaniel and a Beagle. Doug is the alpha-male and he will not be understanding of the restrictions that are reserved for him. He'll have to get over it. In most every respect, he is the perfect dog. He is low-maintenance when you need to work on something else. His manners in the car are impeccable. He understands. or quickly learns, the verbal commands that make him a good companion. Though he is young and has many years ahead of him, I believe he can adapt to a worthwhile life. He has become a risk, a liablity. He is a much bigger asset. I WILL be vigilant. Is there training that can minimize this risk? Thanks again, Mark
  5. My son and his friend(Cody) had been playing with my 5 year-old BC(Doug) for several hours. Cody sat down and put on a baseball helmet w/ cage mask. When he stood up, my BC saw this helmeted creature as a threat and bit him in the thigh. There wasn't any blood, but it did leave abrasions and bruising. Doug has never done this before. We treated the bite with ice and Lanacaine. My wife, son, and I took Cody home and explained what happened to his parents. The father wanted to take Cody to the doctor and we insisted that he send us any bills. I don't know what the laws are here, but I'm very nervous about what will happen with Doug should the dog-bite laws be very strict. Of equal importance, how do I go about making certain that this doesn't happen again? Doug seems somewhat typical for a BC in that he is pretty focused on doing what he thinks is supposed to be done. Nonetheless, I do not need a guard dog and I would be very happy if he would NEVER attack a person, no matter the circumstance. I need advice on how to proceed. I'd hate to see Doug locked up for observation, much less 'put down' as a risk. Doug is not vicious. You can take his food, take his toys, fall on him, pull his tail, stumble over him...he never bites, doesn't even growl. How do I protect my dog from his own protective nature? Thanks y'all.
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