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Is our BC puppy fixating?

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Colby loves toys. She loves balls, frisbees and anything that could potentially be thrown and there is no amount of distraction that can tear her from the toys. Here's the irony: she is fixating. She is completely and utterly obsessed with toys. We can't even go to a field without her running a few feet ahead, turning around and waiting for us to throw something. Even if we have nothing to throw. Ace, on the other hand, doesn't care as much about toys. He'll choose Colby over a toy any day.

 

There are several fields near our house that we take the two of them to play fetch. Colby knows the drill. She sits down to have her leash taken off and will stay put until I tell her "okay." Then we play for 15-20 minutes. When we get there, Ace immediately does the Border Collie "eye" and slow-walks towards Colby and then tries to pounce on her. Or, he'll lay down next to one of us and wait for her to get within a few feet and then pounce. She completely ignores him.

 

I'm trying my best to be objective because I've seen obsessive and fixating behavior and I've seen it get out of hand. If we have a problem, I want to fix it. For the most part, I think Ace's behavior is a non-issue. I think he's just trying to play with Colby and trying to do everything in his power to get her to pay attention to him. My fiance is convinced that he is fixating on her and that we need to stop the behavior now (before he's a 50+lb brute).

 

I suppose by writing this post, I'm at least considering that my fiance may be right. What do you think? And, if he's right, how do I correct the behavior?

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I say Ace's behavior is extraordinarily rude. I would not let it continue. There is a time for dog/dog play, but Colby is obviously not interested in that time and would prefer to chase the ball.

 

If Colby hasn't laid into him for that behavior she is being very tolerant.

 

The foster puppies that come through here always start that way because they just plain old don't know how to fetch yet and playing with other dogs is how they drain their energy. I do not allow stalking or jumping behavior onto my dogs who are trying to engage in a fetch game. If I have to, I put the puppy into the house until the fetching is done. When the toys are put away my other dogs are more than happy to play games with the puppy.

 

Puppy must learn that there is a time and place for those things.

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Thank you! I appreciate the response. We're trying to teach Ace to fetch now, but he has no interest when Colby is out. I guess we'll have to play fetch with them separately until he starts to understand...

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Thank you! I appreciate the response. We're trying to teach Ace to fetch now, but he has no interest when Colby is out. I guess we'll have to play fetch with them separately until he starts to understand...

 

That's what I did with Dean. When he first came, he would stalk/jump on Speedy. Well, that simply wasn't happening.

 

So, they went out separately until Dean learned to fetch and play his own games. Then I started running them together and it worked out well. Dean fetches and Speedy runs around with a toy in his mouth. All is good. But I did have to run them separately until Dean had the idea.

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Don't let Ace do that. It is rude, and it will probably become a fixation and that's darned hard to break. Plus it's dangerous to let him pounce on her, when she's not looking for him.

 

I've run into something like that with my two, and honestly, it took Nick being laid off for 6 weeks and me taking Gael out without him, to start to break a pattern I unwittingly allowed to develop. It was fun and cute when they were younger ... but Nick is getting over a back injury most likely caused by Gael running into him, playing their "game."

 

So, yes, I recommend you break the pattern with your dogs, though it may take time.

 

It also may turn out that you simply can't play fetch with Ace when Colby is there. I'm getting Gael to stop fixating on her brother, but if I throw a toy for Nick, she instantly kicks back into her obsessive behavior. So, playing fetch may be something you can only do when your dogs are separate from each other. That's not a bad thing, though, really - I'm extremely gun shy about dog-on-dog accidents, having gone through so much worry about Nick's back.

 

Best of luck with your furry kids!

 

~ Gloria

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I'd be interested in hearing other opinions on how to correct this behavior. Many times people say, "don't allow it" but do not go into how to stop it. I see just putting the stalking/pouncing dog away....that manages the situation, but does it stop it long term? If not, are there any other ways -- especially when dealing with an adult dog that is doing this?

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This is where commands play a part. A good leave it and/or stay command work well for this. When they pester the other dog you tell them leave it. If they are beside you, you make them stay.

 

You may need to work this with the dog on a leash or long line so you have some control at the beginning. If you use a long clothes line you can start cutting off pieces slowly when they get at that distance and the dog is doing what is asked. Yout cut a foot of line off and start over.

 

I have been lax with this training with some of my dogs but a couple won't budge until released even if I am throwing a toy or whatever.

 

You really need to work on leave it and stay. These 2 commands are worth it.

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That's what I did with Dean. When he first came, he would stalk/jump on Speedy. Well, that simply wasn't happening.

 

So, they went out separately until Dean learned to fetch and play his own games. Then I started running them together and it worked out well. Dean fetches and Speedy runs around with a toy in his mouth. All is good. But I did have to run them separately until Dean had the idea.

 

This is what i would recommend as well, teach Ace games and commands away from Colby first. Once he's reliable on his own, start small, work with him while someone else has Colby on a leash nearby, not doing much and progress up to when Colby does some running some distance away. The point is to teach Ace what you want from him, "pay attention to me, not Colby", first when he really has nothing better to do and work your way up. This way you can correct him (verbally) later on and he will understand the reason.

 

I have this problem with 2 german shepherds i work with, an 18 months old male was stalked and attacked by a 4 months old puppy-girl all the time. The female would now, at 15 months, ignore the male if we're working, but she would still pound on him if he has a toy in his mouth and she's off-duty.

 

Don't wait too long to address this.

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That's what I did with Dean. When he first came, he would stalk/jump on Speedy. Well, that simply wasn't happening.

 

So, they went out separately until Dean learned to fetch and play his own games. Then I started running them together and it worked out well. Dean fetches and Speedy runs around with a toy in his mouth. All is good. But I did have to run them separately until Dean had the idea.

I think this is excellent advice. Oftentimes, when I find myself pressed for time, I tend to take all the dogs together to do things, and it just isn't as productive or the same as working one-on-one.

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