Me, Jenny, Bella & Zara


Experienced Member
Bella doesn't lunge or bark at strangers on leash. She only does it sometimes at the park but if the people approach she backs off. Zara is the one that does on leash and at the park she sometimes goes right up to the person.

With Bella i think its just a socialisation problem and that's my fault - it was 11 years since the last puppy i had and i was only 11 at the time. Bella is my first just mine dog.

Zara might be socialisation but its worse since she got chased out of a park by a dog and then hit by two cars.

Oh and she did say she has had very scared dogs in her classes before. Oh and she is a member of - this site is how i found her.

And Bella is doing very well with her training isnt't she, shes suprising me how well and quick she is getting stuff. I've been doing more training in the garden and she seems more relaxed in the garden now too.


Honored Member
oh, i misinterpreted this: (all these kind of remarks from you made me wonder if there is a possibility that Bella IS a shy dog)

//"She doesn't enjoy going out for walks as she infact hides if i get the lead out. I've seen trainers for her and they say to reward her with treats for positive reinforcement but Bella is usually a fussy eater in her best days lol so as soon as she steps outside the door nothing is entering her mouth................She does however run towards and bark at other people in the park but does come back when called. Out of her fight and flight instinct she orefers to hide if anyone approaches her or even talks to her even running off into the woods where her head can be seen poking round a tree as she checks to see if the coast is clear. "//

and this:

//"If Bella is on the leash she tends to pull back and try to hide if someone directly approaches and talks to her or me. In the park she does tend to lunge at them and bark. Although in the park she responds when i call her back and try to distract her with a ball. I usually move away to a distnce where she doesnt bark and run towards them."//

and this:

//"I feel Bella is a shy dog I just am unsure what I need to do to help her get over her fears as I don't want to do the wrong thing which could make her worse or unknowingly reinforcing her fears. I think its just fear of the unknown but as I said I don't know anyone who has a dog that i could have a training session or trip to the park with."//

but, even IF IF IF Bella is a shy dog,---and that is a big IF,
there is much reason to HOPE, as you ARE working on it,
and we CAN make these dogs BETTER!!!!!!! I think Bella is in good hands with you, Tif, and i think you CAN help Bella become her best possible self!!!

and Tif, IF IF IF Bella IS a shy dog---------it's NOT your fault, shy dogs are born that way.

and Re: your remark on why Zara doesn't like dogs, most dogs have experienced being chased by another dog,
and car accidents do not usually make a dog become dog aggressive.

Dogs can and do survive horrible abuse even, and still stand there loving everyone and other dogs. Stories that'd break your heart...........Just 1000s of such stories. Trauma, and abuse don't cause permanent, lifelong aggression issues, but, DNA can.
STill, we've alllllllll heard it all our lives, that if a dog has an aggression issue, it's the result of some trauma, so we search our minds for "the event" that permanently ruined a dog's attitude forever. If that event happened anywhere near the dog's 9 to 12 mos old age, bingo! THAT's what caused it then. ........but geneticists have shown, it's on the DNA.
We can still make such dogs better, though!!! YES WE CAN!!

IF IF IF Zara does have dog-aggression, it's genetic, and it tends to show up at about 9 mos old usually. Later on for some dogs. Most dog-aggressive dogs LOVE humans.
it's TWO DIFFERENT DISORDERS---------shy dogs, and dog-aggressive dogs.

Shy dogs don't like UNKNOWN HUMANS.

Dog-aggresssive dogs don't like UNKNOWN dogs.

there can be a lil spillover of targets, but ,typically, dog-aggressive dogs LOVE humans, and many to most shy dogs get on fine with other dogs.
So i'm not surprised that Zara goes right up to humans,
and Bella won't.

and Zara might not even have dog-aggression. It'd be hard to evaluate a border collie who doesn't get walked, as many BC s do act nutty:confused: if they dont' get enough exercise. It's almost a hallmark of the breed.
I know MINE does, wow, he can get nutty!!


Experienced Member
I did say i was rubbish at saying what i mean when i type. I know why she is how she is. It's just doing something about it. She is more unsure i think than necessarily shy. like i said totally my fault. Bella wasn't shy when she was a puppy its as shes got older and not really socialised properly that she's got nervous.

With Bella in regards to her barking at the park, its when they are moving away so she is reinforcing her behaviour thinking oh i scared them off. I can usually distract her with her Ball but now I've started the attention building game by.

Out of Bella and Zara I think zara is the one we will struggle with as she is harder to get to focus and listen even in the house.

Yeah that's why I'm hoping she's gonna be able to help Bella. I didn't just google dog trainers and find her. *fingers crossed*


Honored Member
Tif, i dont' think it is your fault. I do completely believe you can help Bella get better, but, i do not think Bella's being "unsure" or being "shy" is your fault, at all.
(other words ppl use for "shy" include "timid", "fearful", "reticent", "insecure", "anxious" etc etc I just use "shy" cuz that is old school word for the disorder, IF Bella even has it, she might not)

There are 1000s of outgoing dogs who never see anyone. It's genetic.

there are 1000s of shy dogs, who see ppl all the time. It's genetic.

i'm stoked and excited for you to be making such great progress with Bella,:D:D:D
but, i don't think Bella's "unsure" (or shy) is your fault,
and neither do veterinary geneticists. It's inherited. It's a recessive gene, the parents are usually normal.


Experienced Member
there can be a lil spillover of targets, but ,typically, dog-aggressive dogs LOVE humans, and many to most shy dogs get on fine with other dogs.
So i'm not surprised that Zara goes right up to humans,
and Bella won't.

Zara doesn't go up to humans though shes just as bad as Bella at the park. Shes worse on the leash in regards to humans as she lunges and barks then too. She doesn't like people either.


Honored Member
yes, a dog-aggressive dog CAN develop spillover aggression towards humans,
but, that is often surprisingly easy to fix.

My dog was BOTH ppl-aggressive, and dog-aggressive, when i first met him. He LOVES humans now, just loves 'em.
It's not hard to rehab most dog-aggressive dogs to love humans again, if they don't already love humans.
(that is, IF IF IF Zara even has dog-aggression, we don't know that yet, til Zara is evaluated. It'd be hard to evaluate a border collie who doesn't get walks, it might be a lot of unspent energy in there).

some shy dogs can also develop spillover aggression to other dogs, too.
But that is often more amenable to rehab, than the shy dog's fear of humans is.

It's way easier to rehab either dog's SECONDARY target,
than it is their primary target.

Dog-aggressive dogs, it's more work to reduce their aggression towards dogs, but, getting the DA dog to like humans, is not that hard.

Shy dogs, it's more work to reduce their fear of humans, or aggression (if any) towards humans, but, getting the shy dog to like dogs, is usually easier.


Honored Member
it's two different disorders,
two different kinds of dogs (the shy dog, and the DA dog)
with two different primary targets.

dog-aggressive dogs---primary target is unknown DOGS.

shy dogs------primary target is unknown HUMANS. (whether it's fear or aggression, it's usually directed to HUMANS)

BUT, either dog can develop a secondary target,
but, the secondary targets are usually easier to rehab out.

but again, we don't know if Bella IS shy,
and we don't know if Zara IS dog-aggressive.

both dogs might be just fine, who knows??? And even if either dog does have either disorder, there is reason for much hope for huge improvements.


Honored Member
also, to further complicate the picture,
dogs sometimes seem to influence each other. I heard of a shy dog who grew up from infancy on, right alongside a dog-aggressive dog, and developed fairly strong dog-aggression, until the DA dog died---------------- then more progress was made in rehabbing that shy dog to get on with other dogs better.

so dogs can sometimes influence each other to some extent.


Experienced Member
Ye I agree with that for example Bella who never barks on a walk ever - if taken with Zara who does, she starts barking too once Zara has.

Plus we have noticed Zara is becoming abit bity with the other dogs. Including the old one,
Before I started clicker trick training Bella she tending to join in in zara tried to start a play fight now she doesnt react. Zara is definately an instigator, can see her brain ticking away thinking what can i do to get into trouble.

Bella and Jenny are only 2 months different in age. I feel we should have got a brother and sister of the same litter if we were going to get two as the relationship between the two would have been already more established. I got Bella as a companion to my older dog Jenny after our rescue saddly and suddenly died. Jenny has always had another dog as a companion. My mum picked Zara on her eyes and because she wanted one. Not a good reason to choose a dog. But my mum has a go at me if i point that out to her.

Bella is very alike to Jenny in temperament and obsessions (the Ball) lol and fetch. I feel mum made the wrong decision in picking and getting Zara. I feel she would have made a better farm dog maybe as she does have high herding instincts. But mum never wanted to know, and if i mentioned it, it would just start a fight. I think if we never had have had Zara, Bella may not be as bad as she is. They definately feed of each other.


Honored Member
Well, IF IF IF Zara IS a dog-aggressive dog,
many DA dogs have a lil trouble with shy dogs. (that is, IF IF IF Bella IS a shy dog).

siblings can and do fight as adults, too. So can mom/daughters, etc. Two of our pals have dogs from same family and those two dogs can NOT get along at all.

Even if your mom had never added Zara, Bella would still be a shy dog (or "unsure" dog as you call it). IF Bella is a shy dog, i mean.
it's genetic. But a shy dog growing up alongside a DA dog, is more likely to cop some of that dog-aggressive attitude. ---but that can be fixed, if Bella has dog-aggression going on, there is huge reason to hope for vast improvement in that.

Dog-aggression is also genetic, IF Zara is a DA dog. Zara can't help it either. It will be great, once someone finds a way to walk Zara, THAT can only help Zara be less crazy. Even a 'normal' border collie can go nutters if they dont' get enough physical and mental exercise. And Zara might turn out to be an extremely frustrated 'normal' dog, who knows?

Also, in the litter box, is no way to spot a dog-aggressive dog, no way for your mom to know. But, it is a LOT of border collie in one house, THREE border collies does require a person who LOVES training dogs!
But dog-aggression doesn't manifest til they are about 9 mos old, or even later if dog is not around unknown dogs way to spot it in the puppy. I once read an article on how to spot a DA dog in the litter box, but, i am not entirely sold it can be even be done.

Shy dogs DO show up in the litter box, and soon as they are old enough to duck away from an unknown human, they will. It can be missed, though, if you aren't looking for it. Lotsa ppl don't really "read" what baby dogs are doing or "saying", they are admiring their markings, etc etc.
And usually, once a shy dog "knows" someone, they are usually okay with ppl they "know".
Some shy dogs are only mildly shy,
some shy dogs are severely shy dogs.

Either way, both Zara AND Bella can be helped to become their best possible selves! I really think, Tif, that you will be most pleased with improvements!! It's actually kind of exciting watching all the changes as they come along. It might be a lil bit, "Three steps forward, one step back" now and then,
so don't get discouraged, don't give up, both Bella AND Zara can become better and better and better!!

You shoulda seen MY dog when i first got him, an unholy nightmare, cujo dog!! Totally insane, did this whole wild-eyed, screaming, foamy mouthed, leaping and breeching monstrous reaction, was reeeeeeeeally ugly to see it.
and Buddy bit and growled at eveyrone he met, too. Was total gangsta, of epic proportions....reacted at unknown dogs from 400 feet away!!

he loves all humans
and he only reacts to unknown dogs at about 5 or 10 feet away, if he reacts at all. Now when buddy reacts, it's just a bark bark! that's it. No more demonic displays of full on insanity and thrashing about now.
Buddy even has several doggie pals now!!:D:D:):D:LOL:
Buddy is not "cured" of his dog-aggression, but, he is well managed now. Took a while, but it has been a fascinating journey!! I have learned a lot.
I have made mistakes along the way,
but my dog always stands ready for me to try again.
ha ha


Honored Member
Geez.... I didn't know that I would miss SOOO much!!!! O_o Anyways.....great roll over Bella!!!!! She does it soo well, Tif.:D Faster than Shivon, you should be VERY proud of her.:ROFLMAO:


Experienced Member
Geez.... I didn't know that I would miss SOOO much!!!! O_o Anyways.....great roll over Bella!!!!! She does it soo well, Tif.:D Faster than Shivon, you should be VERY proud of her.:ROFLMAO:
Yep I am, she wouldn't do it at all before. Also she seems to be getting the idea of spin too, just had a session half an hour ago. She seems to get things so fast. Sooo clever. Plus she seems to love learning :) or maybe its the treats lol


Experienced Member
She gets atreat after she does it.

Took just Bella and Jenny to the park today and although she looked and once took a step or two towards someone there was no barking or lunging from her today and we saw atleast 4 - 5 people and 3 dogs. For Bella thts great. She was more interested in playing fetch.


Honored Member
WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!! Just GREAT, WONDERFUL!!!!!:ROFLMAO: She started improving even BEFORE the classes!!!!:D I guess she really wants a better social life..... LOL!!!!


Honored Member
For now, I guess.... But Zara still can, and WILL improve. Then all of your dogs will be PERFECT!!!:D


Experienced Member
Heres a short video of Bella and Jenny at the park, And Bellas enthusiasm at getting the ball when thrown directly towards her