The Art of Natural Dressage

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:22 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1622
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
mmmm......difficult if the dog is loose most of the time (ie not contained)
You are not going to like what I am about to write....BUT I have had a similar problem with my dog in the past now resolved. He is a german pointer x so again a "working" dog as is your collie. They need LOTS of exercise, and I mean LOTS, every day. The dna and instinct is to chase anything leaving which left unchecked leads to nipping and an escalation of possible biting.
I had to go back and reassess what was missing to get my dog back in balance. If I so much as opened the gate a crack he was out and charging/nipping at people walking/cycling or driving past...BIG game! He started to growl at my youngest child if he went near his food etc. I was at my wits end and looking for a muzzle..........

So the pack mentality....he was free fed (ie food available at all times), this was changed to me being the one who fed a set amount at a set time each day and he was made to lie down before the food was produced (he knew how to down and I would wait until he would lie down before putting the bowl down).
Over the top affection had led to him walking in front of the members of our family and pawing etc to get attention. I changed this to affection given when we wanted and not because he was asking inappropriately. If he sat quietly and didn't paw or nudge, he would recieve attention but when it stopped if he pawed he would be sent away or we would physically remove ourselves from him. When coming back to our home all members of the family were told to ignore him completely until after we had settled and then he would be invited to come and receive attention (our terms).
Walks were on a lead and became a routine time every day and until he was panting.
It was important he got the message that ALL members of the family were higher in the pack than him. No shouting or hitting but very stern body language and totally consistant rules ALL the time. This was hard as we are a family of 5 and have a worker who visits too. I had to make sure everyone knew the new rules and no matter what he tried he got the same response.
Nowadays he is a pleasure to be around. No more growling, downs immediately the food bowl is seen and he stays there and looks for approval to eat, can be walked off the lead with no more chasing (unless it's birds taking
I am no dog expert but it seemed to me that he had elevated himself above the pack and was doing exactly as he pleased with no consequences. He is a big dog and could seriously have hurt someone (a friend told me to have him put down!!!).
So my advice would be to contain her to a smaller area until she can be trusted not to chase and if she is out with the horses she must be on a lead. Get her exercised safely every day and establish a boss with food. You will find that she will then pay attention to you as she will not feel the need to burn excess energy and will be respectful to the higher ranking members of her pack (people). Once she has stopped the wanting to chase behaviour (because she can't on a lead and you can catch it as she starts to try) you can then begin to let her off as long as she stays "on heel" within a range that you feel comfortable and her recalls to you are 100% reliable.
It will take a bit of time and even when you have her back on track you have to be mindful of her trying to elevate her position (rushing through doors in front of you, coming and nudging for attention etc) and respond accordingly so she doesn't slip back.
My dog is also terribly sweet and this behaviour crept up on us and I know how stressful it can be, but you can change it around.....I hope that helps a little....

Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:16 am 
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Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 2:05 am
Posts: 444
Location: Perth, Western Australia
Just a quick post -
I saw this video on youtube the other day and its a great step by step guide on how to teach a dog to stay from a distance and with distractions with clicker training: ... re=g-all-f

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am
Posts: 6248
Location: Dresden, Germany
I have no experience with dogs, but if you are looking for a positive reinforcement based solution, maybe you could ask Brenda, who also has Border collies. I don't know much about her interaction with them, but when it comes to horses she is such an inspiration in terms of training in a very systematic, purely positive way, so I guess it will be similar with her dogs (you can see some videos in her dog video channel). Unfortunately, she does not write here anymore, but perhaps you could simply send her a PM.

PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:42 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 4:14 pm
Posts: 15
Just a short response, I would look on the internet or on tv for Cesar Millan, you know, the dog whisperer?? He's so great solving problems with dog's, maybe you find some useful tips to re educate your dog! I have a better relationship with my dog now that I follow some of his leadership techniques. :yes: He also wrote a book but I've never read it...Grtz Naomi

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