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We have a 14 mo. old neutered male Border Collie - got him at 12 mo old. He was really out of control when we got him, but he is starting to settle down. After having him for a month, he has developed a fear of the moon (and later, the sun). He growls and runs at the fence, trying to jump it, flings his whole body at it. He can be easily distracted by toys (he lives to play ball), but we cannot spend all of our time distracting him. We try to not react in a negative way so as to not increase his fear, instead praising him and rewarding him when he stops jumping at the fence. But it is getting to be a big problem, now that he has transferred the fear of the moon to the sun as well.

We had another male Border Collie for 10 years who never exhibited this behavior (he had his own special quirks! :) )

Has anyone else had issues like this? Looking for any advice! Thanks!

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I have never heard of a dog being afraid of the moon or the sun, and it's very hard for me to believe that this is the case here. First, I am wondering if this is actually fear at all or if it is something else, and second I don't think the moon or the sun would be causing this, as they are simply too far away for a dog even to see or be aware of. Without observing your dog or having a good deal more information I can't advise on what the dog is reacting to. 

What does he do when you have him out on a leash taking a walk? Does he constantly jump up barking and growling at the sky?  If not, his behavior at the fence has nothing to do with the moon or sun. If so, I still don't believe it's caused by reaction to celestial bodies.

Even if you don't find out right away what he is reacting to, you can't let it go on as it may become obsessive behavior. Don't permit the behavior at all. Prevent it by not leaving him alone in the yard. Only let him out when you can be with him, distracting him or playing. Maybe only take him for walks, on leash, and don't let him in the fenced yard at all for a time until you have broken him of this behavior. When you cannot be there to work with him, take him back inside. 

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I unfortunately have nothing useful for the original poster (other than maybe it is time to have a consult with a serious behavioral-modification specialist) but I can confirm that dogs CAN see/notice/react to the moon (and thus I'm sure the sun too)... whenever I take my young rescue out to pee in the evening and there is a moon low over the cedar hedge or western trees, we have to stare and stare at it for some time before he can turn his attention to bodily functions. It is always and only when the moon is there at that time of evening, and he's clearly staring at it. (The first time, he kept looking back and forth between it and me, like "hey lady, do you see that amazing thing in the sky? isn't it amazing? do you see it? isn't it cool?" :P)

-Pat

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