Jump to content
BC Boards
reploidphoenix

Pup being assessed for behavior modification

Recommended Posts

So, my husbands pup wellington (who i believe is inbred with bad genetics) will be assessed today by a trainer coming to my house. They are going to set up a game plan.
He's 6 months old. He is reactive to sounds, people, animals, reflections, odd objects. He can pass by an object many times, and one day suddenly isn't ok with it being there anymore. He has impulse control issues as he'll jump full force onto you or bite your hand to get the ball in a frantic manner. He doesn't have dog manners(what i mean is he doesn't listen when another dog corrects him or tells him enough. Another dog can growl at his approach when they have a treat and he'll ignore them and take whatever they have reguardless if he gets bit or not. He's very unfocused and only seems to listen when he feels like it.
My question is since i'm thinking alot of these behaviors are genetic, also linked with past trauma from his litter mates;
Is there any hope for helping this issues if i build his confidence?
The trainer has a board and train facility, but i feel this option may be way overwelming for him?
At his age, is this something that is likely fixble? or is it just something that's going to be maintence?
What things as a professional should i hear from this trainer?

I did visit the facility beforehand. They are completely positive training with no shock collars, prong collars,or anything that may make his anxiety worse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this is what my pup would have been like if I hadn’t trained him to have regular naps and time outs! 

I don’t think we should be cruel to dogs but like little kids they need boundaries - otherwise they go nuts! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He had a bit of trauma that caused resource guarding when i first got him. At 7 weeks, his litter mates were attacking him over food and toys..and not playing..
I got his assessment..but im not sure i agree with it. They said he's too smart and normal "training" won't work with to keep his mind working and occupied. And because  of it, he's making bad choices and choosing instinct over anything else...which is causing the barking..He also thinks he has a bit of an OCD. It was recommended not to use treats very often, only verbal praise..
He said my girl that is 11 months is just a more simple dog..
But it doesn't explain his peeing as he crawls along the floor when meeting another dog..It doesn't explain any little noise wether he's sleeping or not he's barking and wakes up startled. He hides behind things as he barks..wether it be reflections or people, or animals..or any other object that scares him.
TRainer said if he was truely reactive, he wouldn't have warmed up after a couple mins to him, and would regress to the same behavior everytime he talked or moved..
if hiking 5 miles a day isn't help..and trick training and puzzles games isnt working..than how do i keep his mind occupied..? If i can't "train" him in a normal way, how would i even go about even trying agility or anything else to KEEP him occupied...
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He’s hiking 5 miles a day and six months old! I will let others chime in here but that could be a big issue too. That seems huge for a six month old. Ours is 5.5 months and he’s on 30-40 minutes a day plus some sessions playing ball or training or with toys but a lot of time lounging around and we had to teach him to switch off by enforcing nap time. 

We got some bad advice when our pup was wee which was to keep him active all the time because he was a collie. Thankfully folk on this forum helped tremendously and we stopped that nonsense after a couple of weeks.

I hope some more experienced BC folk will give you some more pointers :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've tried to force nap time on him as i did my older girl. Sometimes he sits in his crate and screams...his bark is more like  yelp..its peircing.Sometimes he'll nap, other times he won't and throws a hissy fit.

Besides the hiking, he's running around up and down the stairs with my girl. When i was able to enforce naps, it still doesn't seem to change any of his behaviors

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What do you do when he screams and throws hissy fits? If you give up and let him out of the crate, then you're actually teaching him that it works. The only way to resolve that is to ignore it, no matter how long or how painful it is for you to listen to.

Changing these behaviors is going to take time, patience and perseverance. Giving in just teaches a dog (or puppy) that infinite persistence on his part will win him what he wants in the end. IOW, you create a monster.

And you may want to do a search here for the term "extinction burst."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I try to leave him in there. I can't seem to leave him in his crate when i play with my other pup. He hears her in the other room..and screams,,scratching and banging on the cage. He's already an anxious pup.
i Read somewhere never to let them cry it out, but i did with my older girl. She gets jealous too if i crate her..and she'll bark for hours if she thinks i'm here and she's locked away.

It is alot harder training 2 dogs at a time instead of 1 lol
http://www.simplybehaviour.com/letting-dog-cry-cause-permanent-damage/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How does he get on with your older dog. Probably a lot of his barking is because he hears you playing with her and wants to join in and gets frustrated. My 5 month old puppy get 3 walks a day, in total 2 hours. I try stopping him going up the stairs as I know being so young is not good for his joints but he does manage it sometimes and I carry him down, he also barks at things outside and runs inside and hides behind me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've decided to go with another trainer. The trainer that assessed him i felt didn't know what he was talking about after thinking it over. He was teaching him to jump up on him, when ive been trying to get him to NOT jump up on strangers..and he didn't address any of my concerns. I spoke with someone else this morning and may go with him. I am cautious as he uses a prong collar to correct bad behavior and eventually phases it out. He also uses positive reinforcement.

Unlike the other trainer, he said this is probably more of a genetics issue and it won't be "fixed", but i can teach him howto react appropriately and look to me in situations that trigger him. He said he'll never be 100% if it IS genetics. I knew this going into it. I just want to be able to actually take him out of the house in public. Right now unless we're on a secluded trail away from ppl, he stays home.

The walking 5 miles a day has been built up. He started at 10 weeks going aroun the block..then we did a mile part of the trail..then half the trail..then the whole trail. He's still rowdy when we get home lol that's when i usually try to force him to nap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, reploidphoenix said:

Unlike the other trainer, he said this is probably more of a genetics issue and it won't be "fixed", but i can teach him howto react appropriately and look to me in situations that trigger him. He said he'll never be 100% if it IS genetics. I knew this going into it. I just want to be able to actually take him out of the house in public. Right now unless we're on a secluded trail away from ppl, he stays home.

Good call going with a better trainer. I have a 5yr old pet BC that I've had since 8 weeks and he's a great dog that is pretty reactive. He also lacks confidence. I maintain it as best I can, for instance on walks, he get's so nervious/fearful when just seeing another dog near us that I have to use treats to keep him in check (along with some common sense on my part). People, bikers, joggers are never a problem but throw in skateboards, scooters and big, bouncy balls and he goes defcon 1. And I too have come to the conclusion that maybe gentically...he's just not wired right in regard to his reactivity. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
48 minutes ago, highway61 said:

Good call going with a better trainer. I have a 5yr old pet BC that I've had since 8 weeks and he's a great dog that is pretty reactive. He also lacks confidence. I maintain it as best I can, for instance on walks, he get's so nervious/fearful when just seeing another dog near us that I have to use treats to keep him in check (along with some common sense on my part). People, bikers, joggers are never a problem but throw in skateboards, scooters and big, bouncy balls and he goes defcon 1. And I too have come to the conclusion that maybe gentically...he's just not wired right in regard to his reactivity. 

So, since you have experience.. is it bad to use a trainer that uses prong collars on a reactive pup? I'm very reluctant it will make him more fearful. At the same time, this dog hasno impulse control and throws temper tantrums to try to get his way.
He explained to me if you have a child exhibiting bad behavior and there's no consequence to this bad behavior, whats to stop them from continuing their bad behavior. He said it's like telling a child over and over again to stop something, until you finally smack em upside the head to pay attention lol
I'm just weary because we had a german shepherd before that these techniques were used on, and it did nothing but make her more fearful.. But at the time i think THAT trainers echniques were being used incorrectly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, reploidphoenix said:

So, since you have experience.. is it bad to use a trainer that uses prong collars on a reactive pup? ....I'm just weary because we had a german shepherd before that these techniques were used on, and it did nothing but make her more fearful.. 

I'd say you answered your own question ;)  

I'm no trainer or behaviorist so I can only speak to my own experience. I will agree that any punitive training technique on a reactive dog like my Sammy would be deterimental. Prong collars have their place, just not with the more intelligent, soft, sensitive breeds. I'd say you're on the right track with the "watch" technique that works for leash reactive dogs like my own (see Patricia McConnell's Fiesty Fido).

But you kinda loose me with the temper tamtrums you see your pup using to get what you say he wants. My reactive dog has his triggers but is very well mannered and poilte around me. He's also not a pup.

sammy01-1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, highway61 said:

I'd say you answered your own question ;)  

I'm no trainer or behaviorist so I can only speak to my own experience. I will agree that any punitive training technique on a reactive dog like my Sammy would be deterimental. Prong collars have their place, just not with the more intelligent, soft, sensitive breeds. I'd say you're on the right track with the "watch" technique that works for leash reactive dogs like my own (see Patricia McConnell's Fiesty Fido).

But you kinda loose me with the temper tamtrums you see your pup using to get what you say he wants. My reactive dog has his triggers but is very well mannered and poilte around me. He's also not a pup.

sammy01-1.jpg

Like this morning..i put him in his crate to settle down..Gave him a treat. Well he didn't feel like settling down..
I told him quiet several times since he was crying and whining..
3rd or 4th time i Raised my voice and he started digging and banging on the crate.
I then removed him and put him away in the crate in our bedroom by himself instead of the one in our main area. He did THEN settle down.
Maybe it's the the one blue eye.... lol 

welle.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, reploidphoenix said:

He explained to me if you have a child exhibiting bad behavior and there's no consequence to this bad behavior, whats to stop them from continuing their bad behavior. He said it's like telling a child over and over again to stop something, until you finally smack em upside the head to pay attention lol

I had my first collie before I had kids and as bizarre as it sounds, it was what I learnt from him that helped me with my parenting. And I have never needed to smack my kids upside the head to pay attention. If a child (or dog) is displaying a behaviour I don't like I try to understand why and I try to adapt things (the environment, my behaviour etc) so they don't need to keep displaying that behaviour. Sometimes it takes a lot of concentration on my part to stay one step ahead, but in the long run it pays off. It helps if you try to think of them simply as behaviours, rather than 'bad' behaviours. They don't do them because they want to be bad or to deliberately upset you.

18 hours ago, reploidphoenix said:

They said he's too smart and normal "training" won't work with to keep his mind working and occupied. And because of it, he's making bad choices and choosing instinct over anything else...which is causing the barking..He also thinks he has a bit of an OCD. It was recommended not to use treats very often, only verbal praise..

My puppy makes bad choices when he has been overstimulated or is tired, he barks at bloody nothing, he digs holes in the garden, chew furniture legs, tries to snatch things away being careless with his teeth etc. My kids also made bad choices when they were overstimulated or tired, I never considered it instinct and I never slapped them upside the head. :) 

I don't know about not using treats. I never used food treats with my first dog, but then I didn't need to. This current puppy gets through a ton of treats but if it means I can get him to stay in one place and not bark while people walk past or get him to watch the wheelie bins be put out, or can walk past something shiny without going mental, then I think they're worth it. And then we do those things again and again and again, and now I'm finding that we're getting through less treats.

18 hours ago, reploidphoenix said:

I've tried to force nap time on him as i did my older girl. Sometimes he sits in his crate and screams...his bark is more like  yelp..its peircing.Sometimes he'll nap, other times he won't and throws a hissy fit.

We stopped shutting our puppy in the crate when he got to about 4 months old because he would bark and make a big noise and with a partner that works shifts and needed to sleep, even a few minutes was too long to allow. I didn't know how to enforce naps or teach a settle, I even tried those dog calming videos on YouTube. But then someone posted this link on another thread. It caused a bit of controversy amongst more experienced collie handlers but I tried it one day when I was at my wits end and within a few minutes my puppy was asleep. I only actually followed it properly a couple of times but now if he's being a pain in the ass and needs a nap I just fetch the lead and he drops his head and goes to his place to sleep. It is like magic. I only do it when he has passed his best and if he didn't settle I would put him on the lead. I also make sure the environment is quiet. Here's the link:

http://sanityshome.blogspot.com/2010/01/sit-on-dog-aka-long-down.html

18 hours ago, reploidphoenix said:

if hiking 5 miles a day isn't help..and trick training and puzzles games isnt working..than how do i keep his mind occupied..? If i can't "train" him in a normal way, how would i even go about even trying agility or anything else to KEEP him occupied...

Again, thanks to advice from this forum, I found doing less was better. I didn't believe it in the beginning and thought everyone was nuts, but honestly restricting outside exercise to a few shorter lead practice walks a day rather than a big hike to try and run off the energy made such a huge difference. To start with it was only five steps up the garden path and back again because anything more and he got stupid. The first day was a pain, but by day three he was much calmer. If I'm not tired and take him somewhere quiet to practice lead walking and to watch the world together he is calmer when we get home, if I'm tired and I take him somewhere to play fetch or for a long walk to try and tire him out we get home and he is crazy.

18 hours ago, reploidphoenix said:

But it doesn't explain his peeing as he crawls along the floor when meeting another dog..It doesn't explain any little noise wether he's sleeping or not he's barking and wakes up startled. He hides behind things as he barks..wether it be reflections or people, or animals..or any other object that scares him.

It is such a big scary world. I remember reading about cortisone levels, it's basically the stress hormone and once in the blood stream can take anything from hours to days to return to normal again. I understood this to mean that if my puppy got overstimulated from too much exercise or too many new experiences or something that caused a fright, then he would be more sensitive for a while afterwards and even more likely to react to things. Would it be possible to provide a really calm quiet environment with very little hiking type exercise and lots of gentle training at home (lead walking, sit, down, wait etc) with loads of treats for getting it right for a few days to see if it helped calm him down? I know it sounds crazy but it really helped with my puppy.

Obviously all puppies are different, so just because these things worked for me doesn't mean they're helpful to you. I just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one whose puppies have displayed these behaviours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, jami74 said:

I had my first collie before I had kids and as bizarre as it sounds, it was what I learnt from him that helped me with my parenting. And I have never needed to smack my kids upside the head to pay attention. If a child (or dog) is displaying a behaviour I don't like I try to understand why and I try to adapt things (the environment, my behaviour etc) so they don't need to keep displaying that behaviour. Sometimes it takes a lot of concentration on my part to stay one step ahead, but in the long run it pays off. It helps if you try to think of them simply as behaviours, rather than 'bad' behaviours. They don't do them because they want to be bad or to deliberately upset you.

My puppy makes bad choices when he has been overstimulated or is tired, he barks at bloody nothing, he digs holes in the garden, chew furniture legs, tries to snatch things away being careless with his teeth etc. My kids also made bad choices when they were overstimulated or tired, I never considered it instinct and I never slapped them upside the head. :) 

I don't know about not using treats. I never used food treats with my first dog, but then I didn't need to. This current puppy gets through a ton of treats but if it means I can get him to stay in one place and not bark while people walk past or get him to watch the wheelie bins be put out, or can walk past something shiny without going mental, then I think they're worth it. And then we do those things again and again and again, and now I'm finding that we're getting through less treats.

We stopped shutting our puppy in the crate when he got to about 4 months old because he would bark and make a big noise and with a partner that works shifts and needed to sleep, even a few minutes was too long to allow. I didn't know how to enforce naps or teach a settle, I even tried those dog calming videos on YouTube. But then someone posted this link on another thread. It caused a bit of controversy amongst more experienced collie handlers but I tried it one day when I was at my wits end and within a few minutes my puppy was asleep. I only actually followed it properly a couple of times but now if he's being a pain in the ass and needs a nap I just fetch the lead and he drops his head and goes to his place to sleep. It is like magic. I only do it when he has passed his best and if he didn't settle I would put him on the lead. I also make sure the environment is quiet. Here's the link:

http://sanityshome.blogspot.com/2010/01/sit-on-dog-aka-long-down.html

Again, thanks to advice from this forum, I found doing less was better. I didn't believe it in the beginning and thought everyone was nuts, but honestly restricting outside exercise to a few shorter lead practice walks a day rather than a big hike to try and run off the energy made such a huge difference. To start with it was only five steps up the garden path and back again because anything more and he got stupid. The first day was a pain, but by day three he was much calmer. If I'm not tired and take him somewhere quiet to practice lead walking and to watch the world together he is calmer when we get home, if I'm tired and I take him somewhere to play fetch or for a long walk to try and tire him out we get home and he is crazy.

It is such a big scary world. I remember reading about cortisone levels, it's basically the stress hormone and once in the blood stream can take anything from hours to days to return to normal again. I understood this to mean that if my puppy got overstimulated from too much exercise or too many new experiences or something that caused a fright, then he would be more sensitive for a while afterwards and even more likely to react to things. Would it be possible to provide a really calm quiet environment with very little hiking type exercise and lots of gentle training at home (lead walking, sit, down, wait etc) with loads of treats for getting it right for a few days to see if it helped calm him down? I know it sounds crazy but it really helped with my puppy.

Obviously all puppies are different, so just because these things worked for me doesn't mean they're helpful to you. I just wanted to let you know that you're not the only one whose puppies have displayed these behaviours.

Thank you so much for your input. I'll try some of these things =) I know every dog is different, he's definitely different from my 11 month old.. She was rather easy and displayed none of these bizarre behaviors. It's upsetting because i'm not sure i caused it to him. I thought i did all the right things by socializing him early, taking him everywhere. Somehow the person that sold him to me blames me.. she said he wasn't like this before i had him. He started exhibiting these behaviors at 10 weeks.. But all his relatives in the area have some sort of fear related issues..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, reploidphoenix said:

Thank you so much for your input. I'll try some of these things =) I know every dog is different, he's definitely different from my 11 month old.. She was rather easy and displayed none of these bizarre behaviors. It's upsetting because i'm not sure i caused it to him. I thought i did all the right things by socializing him early, taking him everywhere. Somehow the person that sold him to me blames me.. she said he wasn't like this before i had him. He started exhibiting these behaviors at 10 weeks.. But all his relatives in the area have some sort of fear related issues..

Yes I can identify with your upset. I've often wondered if I got a 'faulty' puppy or if I have just screwed him up completely. It's easy to see how so many collies end up in rescues.

Maybe he doesn't have great genetics but it doesn't really matter now, you just have to work with what you've got.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So Wellington is not only a split face but walleyed too, I see you have your hands full! :D

From your video, he's reacting the same way mine will if say, he hears barking outside. When I'm home, I quickly stifle it with re-direction using toys that are placed in the usual places in the house. Outside the home I use treats. Amazing how quick and easy his attention is diverted to the toys (or food, whatever is handy). It's no permanent fix but it's how I manage.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’d find a good trainer, that uses “both sides of the aisle” correctly and has had a lot of success with reactive dogs. Nothing wrong with positive trainers, and nothing wrong with prong/shock collars as long as they are used correctly. A good trainer will use both. The biggest thing I would look for is not what methods/tools a trainer uses, but his success with dogs that have had the same issues as yours.

I agree with denice-a lot of it sounds like he just knows he can get away with acting like this. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regards to crawling and peeing when meeting dogs, my puppy has done this. I looked into this and found it is common for border collies to do this submissive behaviour and peeing is a sign that they are worried about the other dog.  When we meet dogs that we have not met before I just let them have a quick hello and walk away.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, reploidphoenix said:

...is it bad to use a trainer that uses prong collars on a reactive pup?

I sure wouldn't risk it.

I recently supervised a new therapy dog team through their visit portion of the certification. The dog is a large, powerful young male red Lab whose slight owner with a disability that affects her strength was using a head halter on. You know, the kind that's supposed for controlling and calming a dog? The first couple visits I was pretty sure I was going to have to tell her the dog just wasn't suited for therapy work and needed a lot more training, especially for impulse control. But as I continued to watch him, I realized that he was reacting to and fighting the head halter; it made him frantic. So I asked her to take it off him to see what would happen. She was reluctant but she did. The dog immediately calmed down a ton and was able to work.

So she comes to the next visit sans the head halter but now the dog's on a prong collar. He wasn't quite as bad as when he'd been on the head halter, but he was still pretty wild. So again, I asked her to take the prong off. Same result. He was much better with just the flat collar than he was on the prong. He's still a young Lab and enthusiastic and energetic and is still excitable in the first few minutes after he arrives, but he's much more manageable and was able to pass his certification. His handler, OTOH, still feels insecure and still arrives at visits with the prong on him, though she'll take it off before entering a facility.

As I see it, there are 2 takeaways form this story. 1) is that handlers often come to rely on these devices as a crutch and don't put the work into actually training for the behaviors they want as opposed to trying to control behaviors they don't want. 2) the equipment often doesn't really work the way they're intended. They sometimes make the dog reactive to the device itself. And far too many owners and even the trainers aren't realizing that this is what's going on and label the dog as stubborn or untrainable and/or (too often and) use the equipment more forcefully or worse, escalate to even more punitive measures and the dog continues to suffer as a result.

I think you're right to be wary. If this were my pup, I'd keep looking for another trainer whose first reaction isn't to put some sort of painful or limiting apparatus meant to artificially control the dog. Ask questions about how they'd work with a dog on impulse control. Choose one who describes exercises that teach the dog using incremental methods with positive reinforcement rather than punishment. Border collies can be an exquisitely sensitive breed, even the ones who seem stubborn (I hate that word, BTW; it just means you haven't found what motivates them to learn. IOW, that the trainer is the one being stubborn and not willing to adapt and try out other methods) and difficult to train. I see reactivity as being indicative of that sensitivity, and trying to bulldoze it out of a dog is rarely successful and in fact more likely to have the opposite effect. Along not meeting their need for mental stimulation and interaction, heavy handed training is one of the principal reasons border collies end up in rescue and it's much harder to rehabilitate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, reploidphoenix said:

.i put him in his crate to settle down..Gave him a treat. Well he didn't feel like settling down..
I told him quiet several times since he was crying and whining..
3rd or 4th time i Raised my voice and he started digging and banging on the crate.
I then removed him and put him away in the crate in our bedroom by himself instead of the one in our main area. He did THEN settle down.

I definitely agree that you should not use a trainer who will apply a prong collar to this dog.  

Everything you are describing can be trained out of the dog. However, what you say in the quote above shows me that you have inadvertently been training this dog to think that as long as he is persistent enough he will get what he wants! Do not tell him to be quiet. Do not go to him when he barks. By doing so you give him the attention he is seeking. Do not move him to another crate. You are teaching him he can get what he wants if he is just persistent enough. Having done this may very well mean that training him out of this behavior will take longer. 

This dog needs solid training that is kind, but firm and completely consistent. I sense that you may not be experienced enough to do this on your own....hey, none of us were until we learned how, and I for one am still learning. A good positive-reinforcement trainer is needed. Try to get one who has worked with border collies before. Do not believe it if someone tells you the dog is "too smart", or that "normal training" (whatever that means) won't work. That is silly. Dog training is simple, but you need to know what technique to apply to a particular dog and situation. The simple part is:

Be 100% consistent. 100%. Always.  Watch your dog, observe and learn his triggers, his sensitivities, his motivations.  Always use the least correction you can use that will be effective, and always start with something  very small and work up from there if you have to.  Think about what you are doing from the dog's perspective and see if you are teaching him what you really want to be teaching him. Always reward good behavior immediately.

There is no reason not to use treats, unless your dog doesn't like them. He needs a good reward for good behavior and I would find out what he likes the best and use that.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no problem with correction.  I think it provides dogs with valuable info - that behavior is not accepted- simple.  BUT you need to correct at the right time and appropriately for the individual dog and 'offense.'  Every time he successfully does unwanted behavior without some sort of interruption/correction, something, it will be harder to break.  Yes some dogs are sensitive, shy, submissive... that does not give them permission to do as they wish.  They still need to know what is and is not appropriate.  I still correct I just do it differently for every dog.  Does he need a prong collar most likely not.  He needs a clear set of rules with someone he respects and trusts to let him know what those rules are.

IT IS NOT THE CORRECTION THAT WILL FIX THINGS IT IS THE FREEDOM GIVEN FOR HIM TO SORT OUT WHAT IS AND NOT THE ACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOR. If the relationship is right the behavior modification will be tons easier. He is ultimately responsible for his actions YOU need to GUIDE his actions and teach him what he needs to know to be a well adapted, functioning member of the family.  Dont give yourself or him excuses for bad behavior.  IF he needs to stop doing something ask him to stop doing it.  Putting him in a crate does not teach him to not do it, it may prevent him from doing it but he is not learning other options or what is wanted.

Not saying I am an expert, each dog teaches me plenty.  What I do know for sure if you are clear on your expectations they will rise to meet them.  You have to be calm, confident, understanding but consistent.  Many, Many dogs are reactive because their owners are nervous and reactive.  

I dont know where you are in PA but I have had bcs for 18 years and dealt with a ton of dogs in vet clinics as a tech as a groomer and as a trainer for 25.  I would be happy to have you bring him by and work with you and him.  I am having friends here next saturday the 13th to work dogs on sheep, would be perfect time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This actually may be the first post I have made on this forum, but I do read her steadily :) I have an almost 3 year old collie, or mostly collie, named Radar. Since he came from a rescue as a puppy I do not know for sure, and at some point I'll post pictures and get opinions on that. He is a resource guarder of things stolen, meaning he has no problem giving up food or toys or balls when I ask him BUT if he "steals" something, even a kleenex, he will guard it with his life. Also lots of destructive behaviour, as though he was driven with a motor like digging the floor and biting things like walls etc. Part of that was puppy behaviour but it was more than that. We perpetually work on this and he is better by far than he was. A few other quirks too, although they are fading like fixating on shadows, shiny things etc. I'm pretty convinced that for his first year, he never actually slept!

We took him to a veterinarian behaviourist who told us that he was an extremely anxious dog and that a few things needed to be changed. He prescribed a low dose of fluoxetine (prozac) and told us to just tone every single thing down in his daily life. We had been increasing his activity levels to try and tire him out, doing all sorts of what is known as brain activity etc. He told us to cut his walks short and try to focus on ways to calm him down, make his life less stimulating in just about every way we could.

So we did. His walks, leashed and off leash, went from 3 a day (and they were at least 90 minutes each) to two a day, much much shorter and no off leash for a while. We worked on literally calming him down by teaching him (slowly) to enjoy being stroked, brushed, pressed etc. That we accomplished with a LOT of patience and a bully stick for him to chew on in one hand. We could watch his body visibly calming down, his muscles relaxing etc. The medication helps as well. 

I'd like to say he is a perfect dog now with no issues but he is not. I watch him like a hawk in the off leash parks and redirect him if he is getting too wound up. He still will steal and guard things at times, although not nearly as often as he used to. I truly think the meds help with his general anxiety and that the calming "exercises" make all the difference. In short (although this is far from short, haha) stopping trying to "run it out of him" and focusing more on calming behaviours has made a ton of difference. Just one more thing to try in addition to the other great advice you have gotten here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...