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Are BCs prone to dog aggression?

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When Ace was younger we took him to a puppy socialization class nearby. During one playtime he and a pyrenees/bloodhound mix were playing and wrestling and I guess Ace decided that she was being too rough or that he'd had enough so he let out a snarl and snapped at her. She snapped back and they got into a little bit of a riff. We separated them and I didn't really think it was a huge deal. Neither dog was afraid/cowering from the other and they weren't lunging to get back at one another, either. The trainer was very weird from that point forward. She said, "Is he always like that? Because that was all him!" I was kind of like, "Well, maybe? I don't really think he was wrong, he was just letting the other pup know she was being too rough." The trainer went on to defend the other dog based on the reasoning that "It's in her blood not to back down." The lady had previously told me that (and I quote) "All BCs have some sort of aggression issue toward other dogs or people. They're all snarky in some way."

 

The socialization classes were supposed to last for 12 weeks, but we only went to about 4 weeks of them before I had enough of the trainer's rude comments. She made several nasty comments about BCs and their "attitudes" as well as saying she "never trusts Lab owners." After we left we enrolled in a different obedience school and it has been wonderful and I've heard no such comments from any of the instructors there. Needless to say, I'm glad I left the first class when I did, but I'm curious: do you think Border Collies have a propensity for aggression towards other dogs? Could it be that they are more sensitive to the behavior of other dogs?

 

I'm curious because Colby can be very leash-reactive to dogs (she normally just ignores them when off-leash). It's mostly just poorly-behaved (dragging their owners down the street) dogs that she reacts to, but I've seen her get huffy if a dog is making direct eye contact. We're working on the look/watch "game" to control the tendencies, but it makes me curious about the breed in general. What do you think?

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I do think that, generally speaking, border collies are less tolerant of rude or overbearing dog behavior. They're quicker to tell a rude dog off, and they also don't generally like to wrestle with strange dogs. Many border collies won't play until they know a dog well, and many never really get into the frat-boy/bouncy/in-your-face wrestlefests that other breeds enjoy (retrievers).

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I think dogs are individuals and border collies as a breed are no more prone to dog aggression than any other breeds (dogs specifically bred for aggression excepted).

 

You were smart to get away from the first trainer. Her own biases were coloring her reactions and attitudes about dogs and their owners. A trainer who has preconceived notions about dogs as a breed vs. taking each dog as an individual isn't going to be a great trainer.

 

I do think border collies can *provoke* aggression in other dogs because of their intense stare and the habit some have of working other dogs. I've owned a number of border collies and none of them have been dog aggressive. I know lots more, and none of those have been dog aggressive either. Some are snarky on occasion, but that's not quite the same as being dog aggressive.

 

Remember that a leashed dog feels more vulnerable than an unleashed one, and that you can also transmit feelings through a leash. If you get tense when another dog approaches while Colby is walking with you on a leash, you may also inadvertently communicating "danger" to him.

 

J.

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Thank you both for responding. I don't really think BCs are any more likely to be dog aggressive than another breed, but I like how vaporflowers put it: that they're potentially less tolerant. I've met tons of superb BCs that have no issues. Even my parents' BC gets along with most dogs (he despises a female Malamute and every pit bull he's ever met).

 

I try to keep my own feelings in check when we're on walks and every once in a while she'll see a dog before I do and will become very alert. Now that you mention it, however, maybe by simply defining a dog as "poorly behaved" I'm transferring some negative energy to her. Need to work on this...why is it so much easier said than done?

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I agree with vaporflowers. In fact, she must have been secretly watching Lewie. :D

 

Even though he is not full BC, Lewie will give a rude dog only so much leeway before he corrects. For lesser offenses he will try to walk away but he has zero tolerance for in-your-face and blatant displays of dominance. In the case of a my-head-over-your-back dog, I spring into action the second I see the telltale signs in the other dog and before it escalates. Lewie absolutely will not tolerate that and he won't back down. Most owners are pretty clueless about body language so I don't hesitate to step in to keep my dog safe, even if it means correcting someone else's dog. Quite frankly, I don't care if I offend someone for correcting their dog. It's my job to keep my boy safe and I do it gladly, as I'm sure we all do. B)

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I agree with Julie......your first trainer was unprofessional in her behavior and attitudes.

 

I have not had any dog aggression issues with my BCs or with the majority of the foster BCs that have come through my home. That having been said, I also find that my dogs are not very tolerant of rude behavior from other dogs, and will let them know. To me, that is completely acceptable. If a big bouncy happy-go-lucky labrador or some such dashes up to Jester and pounces on him or tries to get up in his face, even though playfully, Jester will lift a lip to tell him to back off. Some see this as unfriendly, but I liken it to how I would feel if I walked into a party and some complete stranger ran up to me and tried to hug me or gave me a big slap across the back. I would want them to back off too!

 

I also find that my dogs seem to be a bit snobbish, and would much rather interact with other border collies than with other breeds. :rolleyes:

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I do think that, generally speaking, border collies are less tolerant of rude or overbearing dog behavior. They're quicker to tell a rude dog off, and they also don't generally like to wrestle with strange dogs. Many border collies won't play until they know a dog well, and many never really get into the frat-boy/bouncy/in-your-face wrestlefests that other breeds enjoy (retrievers).

 

This times a million.

 

My dogs hate labradors and golden retrievers. Which is funny, considering that Luke (my oldest) is a lab/shepherd. But still, my dogs strongly dislike large black dogs....

 

Secret most definitely has a preference for other border collies.

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My Border Collie doesn't suffer fools gladly either. I wonder if this has a genetic component. Though Border Collies do change hands, it seems to me that they were developed to have a strong, but no-nonsense bond with a single person who developed a complex working relationship with them, and worked them every day.

 

Retrievers, on the other hand, may have been bred to be promiscuously friendly so that anyone could shoot over them and get good retrieves. I don't think of retrievers in general as being the sharpest spoons in the drawer, nor do they have the sensitivity of the Border Collie.

 

Border Collies are thinking all the time. Their work demands it, and while they seem to me to be able to get along fine with other dogs, they can seem taciturn to the uninitiated. They can unbend and be silly for a human or canine friend, but otherwise they are all business.

 

This is the second greatest loss, after stock working ability, that I see in the AKC type Border Collie. They not only look like Golden Retrievers in tuxedos, but they are getting the same doo-dee-doo dufus temperament.

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Since I own a border collie and labradore retriever I can concur that my lab is not the sharpest tool in the shed. But one of the best dogs I have ever owned.

 

My Border Collie Keeva knows that Kate is not that smart so she does take advantage of it.

 

Steals Kate's marrow bones, shreads Kate's bed ONLY, not hers. And oh so quietly must bother the crap out of Kate from time to time. Kate low growling. No sound from Keeva.

 

But Agression Never.

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I could see why people would consider border collie as aggressive. Specially by Joe Public.

 

I realize this is generalizing... but a lot of border collie hate certain breed. That behavior is normally seen as aggressive.

 

Border collies have a low BS meter for other dogs. Most people view that behavior as aggressive.

 

Some border collies are more prone to nip. Also consider aggressive.

 

Idk i could underatand why someone would say border collies are more prone for dog aggression. Since it seem most BC just dont like most other breeds and specially those in your face breeds. Generally they snarl, growl, snap, or get into a fight. Normally it isnt just to one dog but a breed as a whole that borders collies target. If the was a owner of the other breed and saw my breed repeatedly getting "attack " yes i would consider the attacking breed as aggressive.

 

Me and my sister were talking about a similar subject and we had a scary realization that a lot of things we overlook as a breed trait, on another breed wouldnt be so tolerated or kept in the gene pool.

 

ETA: typing from my phone. So please overlook any punctuation that are lacking.

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I agree with the low tolerance angle. What i find ironic is that I swear other dogs are attreacted to Orbit because he ignores them and is so intensely focused on what he is doing. Other dogs come over to him and he does not even see them he is so busy. If they get in his face he will raise a lip and if they keep advancing he will snap at them. The worst is when dogs circle around behind him because he has no clue that they are there and then he runs into them when he whips around and has zero tolerance for their presence. Needless to say, i try to keep him at the outer reaches of any dog area we are in but like i said, other dogs seem to zero in on him. Interestingly, being a border collie around these parts seems to give him licence to be intolerant. Other owners never seem to get offended.

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Since it seem most BC just dont like most other breeds and specially those in your face breeds. Generally they snarl, growl, snap, or get into a fight. Normally it isnt just to one dog but a breed as a whole that borders collies target. If the was a owner of the other breed and saw my breed repeatedly getting "attack " yes i would consider the attacking breed as aggressive.

But I think you're showing bias here. Do border collies actively target other breeds? That implies that if you take a border collie out and about and it sees a lab, the border collie is going to go after that lab no matter what, and I don't think that's the case. I think it's more accurate to say that border collies have a lower tolerance for or are more reactive to pushy, in-their-face behavior from other breeds (and of course certain breeds behave that way more than others), so it appears that border collies don't like *breeds* when in fact I would argue that they don't tolerate certain behaviors well.

 

I have never experienced a border collie deliberately going after a dog of these types of breeds when that dog is minding its own business. That to me says that border collies are not particularly dog aggressive, nor do they target breeds.

 

If I were an owner whose dog was constantly being "corrected" by other dogs, whether border collies or not, I'd wonder what it was about my dog that was causing this reaction. But of course most people have a misguided idea of a Peaceable Kingdom in which all dogs get along no matter what. We don't expect that of other humans (at least not to the point that we expect it from our dogs). I know that when someone I don't know lets his/her dog run up to me and jump, slobber, etc., all over me, I have a very strong urge to smack that dog down (and then go smack the owner for allowing the dog to be so rude). Does that make me dog aggressive? No. It makes me intolerant of bad manners.

 

In the winter months I used to walk my dogs on a public beach in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia--not the whole pack, but just one or two I might bring to work with me for the day. My dogs would be involved in what they were doing and would ignore other dogs. And yet owners would routinely let their dogs come up and maul (not in the strict sense of the word) mine and see nothing wrong with that. If their dog was jumping all over my dog's head and then my dog snapped, I'm sure the owner of the obnoxious dog would think that my dog was aggressive, but what I (and apparently my dog) saw was a rude dog that needed to be told off. It's all a matter of perspective, but I think it's a shame that people would label an entire breed as dog aggressive because many individuals within that breed simply don't tolerate rude behavior from other canines.

 

J.

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I too have a dog that doesn't like overbearing dogs. When he's had enough (which doesn't take much), he'll walk away. If the dog follows him and continues, then he'll snap or show teeth. Boxers seem to bother him the most. When he was younger, about from puppy to 1 year, he didn't care who he played with. Now he's very choosy, only playing with dogs he knows, and very sparingly. I was told he's a Border Collie/ Lab mix, funny enough.

I can understand why people would pin BC's as aggressive, they're smart enough to know when other dogs are being rude :) I think any real aggression would more than likely be a product of the dogs upbringing and/or experiences. (Bad owner, being a stray, ect.) My two cents.

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