Behaviour Advice
#1
Hi, my apologies if I am repeating what has been asked or/and writing in the wrong place.

I am a first time dog owner (beside growing up with dogs etc but parents did all the work) and we have a gorgeous smooth coat border collie boy, 10 months old currently.

He is our family pet although he came from a working farm at 8 weeks old. We have 2 children (my husband and I, not Dash lol) and they all get along brilliantly with no issues. Over all, from the day Dash came home with us he was perfect. He went into a crate at night no problems, never had an accident inside and is quick and eager to learn.

Long story short because I could go on forever, about a month ago he started snapping at my mum's dog when she went near his food bowl, then the food would be put away before she arrived and it started when she went near his toys but progressed from snapping to full on trying to attack. Dash has known this other dog since he was brought home with us and they had seen each other more or less daily, always getting on brilliantly and never any problems.

This has progressed further now into when we are out. He is very focused when it comes to playing ball so we sometimes don't take one out with us but he recently tried to pinch another dogs ball, the other dog came to take it back and again he went after the dog and I genuinely don't believe it was just a warning but I don't know.

We are trying to keep his toys away from him at home and only giving him set play times when we are able to sit and play, to teach him they are OUR toys, not his. But I don't feel like it's working. I don't want to not be able to let him off his lead because he will never get his proper run that way but I wondered whether we should buy a muzzle to stop any accidents. I would hate for him to harm another dog.

I know inevitable we need to contact a dog behaviour specialist but I just wondered in the mean time is it something we are doing wrong? I also forgot to add he has NOT been castrated as of yet. Could this be the cause of his behaviour change?

Thanks in advance and sorry for ranting on! Smile
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#2
As new dog owners It's really good that you intend to seek professional help. You need to find a behaviourist/trainer. This type of issue can be rectified if handled correctly however can be very easily exacerbated including the involvement of humans if mismanaged.

Meanwhile you need to take measures to remove the opportunities for him to rehearse these behaviours. The situation can escalate very quickly as a dog learns what is "working" for him and it can be a very short jump to trying his learned behaviours out with humans (your children). 10 months is certainly the age where he will be flexing and testing his muscles and while de-sexing can settle some males a little it will not change behaviour that have already begun.

It's probably a good idea for mums dog to be included in the behaviour modification as it also may not be displaying respectful behaviours either. If we got up from a meal at the table to answer the door to a friend that had arrived and that friend walked in and started poking around our dinner plate, we would not be impressed. Likewise with toys, irrespective of who is perceived as owning the toys, your boy is engaged with that toy and he really doesn't have to allow another dog to take it. If he perceives that mums dog is not taking notice of more subtle hints he is going to escalate. Mums dog needs to be taught "leave it" just as much as he needs to learn "leave it" when he wants to take other dogs toys when out in public.
None of it really has anything to do with how long they have known each other or how well they otherwise get on.

In the meantime until you get some professional help,food bowls should not be left down and certainly not with leftover food in them. Feed him, give him a set time to eat it and then pick it up and put it away. Even an empty food bowl should be picked up as this represents to him the thing that brings forth the goodies and a dog prone to guarding will protect it.

A muzzle might be a good idea for the short term prevention of incidents with other dogs if that's what makes you feel comfortable but it is not addressing the real issues. Using a long line so you have control over him in public parks is a good tool as it helps you to teach him to stay out of other dogs business as well.Helps train recall and "leave it". I wouldn't be concerned about the long line limiting his exercise for the time being as you intend to get professional advice and perhaps the sooner the better. I mean, if he doesn't have a good recall and understand the command "leave it" he probably shouldn't be running free where there are other dogs and people anyway. He's only 10 months old, it's perhaps a little too much freedom and responsibility for him anyway unless you are isolated from others.

I have dealt with an extreme guarder in the past however I am loathed to offer any advice on how to address the actual problem. There can be so many factors at play and you really need a professional to come to your home and assess the whole situation. I urge you to waste no time in doing this as every single time he gets to rehearse sets the behaviour and I have seen how quickly things can escalate.

This is very fixable but you must get on with it. I wish you well.
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#3
Thanks for the reply Smile

I have been in contact with someone for help and I'm currently going through the million-page questionnaire I have been given about Dash.

Hopefully be able to update with some good doggy news in the future.
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#4
Trifan love your analogy of answering the doorbell.

Why is food left down?

I do not think you have a resource guarder, however be careful how you handle this, because you may create one. What I mean is if you start being over interested in taking away anything your dog has he may feel very threatened and need to guard. I am not saying you should not sometimes need to or be able to take something from your dog. I am saying YOU are starting to have a issue with resource guarding.

I do not know how he is taking balls from other dogs. If an owner is throwing the ball and your dog gets to it first. He is not stealing the ball.
However people need to be careful with putting unknown dogs in a competitive situation like that. A fight could break out
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#5
That's great that there are lots of questions, it tells a story. I agree with Quirky in that I also don't think you have a full on guarder but how you manage his current behaviours and your understanding of what is and is not acceptable can turn this one way or the other. You are doing right by him and yourselves by seeking professional help before you have a bigger problem on your hands.
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#6
Quirkydog - His food isn't left down. He eats his food the second he gets it and the bowl is licked clean within a minute. The problem we had is when he was being fed.
The issue with him taking other balls is he refuses to let go of them and then the other dog will come over and all hell breaks loose.

What do you think I should be doing when he snaps at other dogs? Just call him back and walk away?

Thanks for replying btw guys
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#7
Does he have a good "leave" for his own toys? If not work on that but don't give him the opportunity to be possessive about other dog's toys until you sort the basic problem out. I would be keeping him on the lead and away form areas where he can get involved in snapping until you have a better handle on what is going on.
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#8
He is brilliant when told to leave things at home, toys, food or anything. We have kept him on his lead around other dogs still but he has seen plenty of dogs on lead and been lovely with them. Still going to get someone in to discuss his behaviour though. Just waiting for them to arrange a date.
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#9
I wondered if the refusal to take treats could be a mild upset tummy from the new meds.
Gotta love 'em.
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#10
Meds?

I have spoken to a behaviour therapist and been quotes £850 for coming out to our house and to be able to contact the guy for 6 months afterwards. Seems a bit steep to me! Anyone else used one and know if that's about right?
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