My Border Collie Won't Allow Other Dogs To Come Around Us!

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by Hayley Thompson, Apr 13, 2011.

  1. Hayley Thompson Well-Known Member

    I have a 10 month old border collie, Riley who is extremely intelligent and can pick tricks/training up no problem at all! But she is very protective of myself and my boyfriend. When people she doesn't know come to the house, she is very protective and will bark non stop, we've been trying to counter condition her by moving her enough away to still see the visitors yet enough space she is comfortable to take treats which we continuously feed so she will associate treats with new people.

    But...she has a doggy friend Lucy (my boyfriends parents dog) that she goes to visit and has spent overnights with and gets along very well with her, however...if my boyfriend or i are within sight she instinctivly tries to "break" up Lucy from coming in contact with us. At a puppy class we attended they said that this is a "breaking up" technique that alot of dogs will do but especially border collies, in a way to "keep the peace" , if other dogs arent too close together they wont fight, likewise if Lucy isnt too close to us, she wont start a fight with us. Her hair on her back will stand up and she gets very vocal to keep Lucy away, but not to the point where she would bite Lucy. As soon as we're out of sight the barking almost instantly stops and the playing begins, she also is ok if other people are around the other dog, just not myself and my boyfriend.

    We've tried counter conditioning her with treats around Lucy, to get a positive association, but it is almost impossible because anytime she is too focused or on gaurd she refuses to take a treat.....

    Any help at all would be excellent!!!!

    Hayley & Riley

    The picture is deceiving lol We dog-sat Lucy for a week and they were so tired out that evening from playing outside Riley didnt care Lucy was hanging out in the living room with us!!

    Attached Files:


  2. mewzard Experienced Member

    hi,
    i have no actual experience with this and i'm hoping someone who may know better will come along....one thought i had was that maybe just ignoring her would work? Or calling Lucy to you showing Riley there will be no fight?

    Honestly, thats the kind of situation i would call in a trainer who knows what they are doing, as it's obviously stressful for your and your dog.
  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    My dog did this too, even with dogs he "liked", which isn't very many dogs.
    It was either Tx_cowgirl, or Snooks, who advised me to try this: (your dog sees YOU as His POSSESSION btw, he is "resource guarding")

    We were in a house, and each time Fido---a dog he IS friends with---- approached me, my dog Buddy growled. NEVER EVER CORRECT A GROWL, DON'T DO IT. All you will do, is teach your dog to skip that all important growl, and then you are left with a dog who goes straight for a bite.:mad: Always listen to a growl, pay att'n to it, it is your dog saying out loud, "Help, i am about to blow over here!!!"
    but do NOT teach your dog not to growl.

    So Fido approaches, and my Buddy growls, and does his gangsta body posture that reads, "Oh yeah? YOu wanna fight or what?" and they told me, (have Buddy on leash) REMOVE BUDDY.

    so i did.
    I calmly, silently, took my dog (via leash,) out of the living room with all the people and dog, into another room, put him in there all by himself, door is then shut, for 30 seconds (30 seconds is LONG TIME to a dog) and then, calmly led him back into the living room.
    soon as Fido approached, Buddy growled, postured, etc,
    again---I calmly, silently led Buddy out of the room, put in empty boring room x 30 seconds, and then, calmly led him back into the living room.

    yes, yes, it took many tries, but, in one day, Buddy, that canine einstein that he is, figured out, "If i want to be in here with everyone else, i have to be a gentleman. And i guess Mom is not MY possession, and i guess, Mom does not appreciate my gangsta routine here...guess i will be a gentleman, then. " and so he was.

    Eventually, in that same day, Buddy layed calmly on the floor, while i petted and fawned over Fido.

    worth a try. Not sure how you'd do this outdoors, though...guess you could, though. GOOD LUCK!!!
  4. Hayley Thompson Well-Known Member

    Thank you so much Tigerlily!!! I am absolutely trying this!! PS. love your enthusiam, "gansta routine" "gentlemen" ;)
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  5. Cass The Collie New Member

    Crikey, this is such a familiar situation - but it's not my Collie that's the problem - it's the in laws bloomin' Viszla :mad:
    Good luck with Riley - you've been given some good advice there.
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  6. Hayley Thompson Well-Known Member

    I just got around to trying this last night! Each time Riley would bark at Lucy when we were in the house she was removed and put in the garage for about 30 seconds, after about 5 minutes of doing this, you could see a major improvement! However, we had to stop because Riley was catching on and calmly sitting beside me but Lucy the pest she can be sometimes too would come over and try to play with Riley but she was too tuckered out from our walk we had earlier and wasnt having it, so she would bark to tell Lucy to bug off! I don't want to train all the barking out of her since its not aggressive and I feel she should be allowed to tell another dog "Hey, your kinda annoying me, I'm just tryin to relax!" I just want her to calm down and realize she doesnt need to always exclude other dogs from us!!

    Great advice, thanks!!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  7. abby_someone Well-Known Member

    Tigerlily is very expressive in her writing! I always know that I am going to have fun when I see her avatar.:)
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  8. BruceLover Active Member


    Thanks so much! I will try that the next time I go to the dog park. Bruce likes to act up and growl and be the boss but I want him to have fun! I want him to realize he needs to be nice! Thanks again so much!;)
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  9. laramie Experienced Member

    There was an episode on It's Me or the Dog where the owner had two dogs and every time one dog got around the owner, the other one freaked out. I don't know if this will work for you, but Victoria told the owner to leave the room every time the dog growled at the other. If the problem is Riley wanting you to herself, then this might work because if she does this and you leave, she's not getting your attention. It seems like this would work in other instances as well. I don't know whether you leaving the room or removing Riley is best, but it's just another option.

    Also, make sure that you aren't doing things like this for more than 10 minutes, if even that long. Make sure you stop training when your dog is still wanting to do more. It will make it more pleasant for them next time if you haven't bored them to death the previous time.
    Hayley Thompson likes this.
  10. Hayley Thompson Well-Known Member

    Thanks for all the help! I did try removing Riley for a quick time out when she wouldnt allow Lucy around me and it did seem to work a bit. The thing that I find most frusterating is that Riley doesnt growl or seem like she wants to fight Lucy, she just exhibits "splitting up".

    My vet told me when Riley was a pup and I had her in a puppy socialization class that she was doing that and that some border collie's are known for exhibiting that behaviour, they don't want people or other dogs to get too close or rough play with one another as they feel they will fight, so they try to stop the closeness before a fight can happen. I dont know if this is true or not, but it really seems that this is exactly the way Riley behaves.

    When we are around Riley and Lucy together, if I am tossing a ball, walking etc. Riley is fine and will chase a ball with Lucy and whatever, but unless they are both tired and will lie down beside me, it seems that if I am sitting or standing still and Lucy comes over for a pet or to play with me, that is when Riley tries to get in between us and will chase Lucy away. I guess if I look at the positive it is a good thing if I am ever in a situation for some random reason that I need Riley to protect me but otherwise it is just annoying! lol Actually Grant's family had 3 dogs (2 of since had passed away) and one was a border collie as well, and she often showed the "splitting up" behaviour amongst the other 2 dogs.

    I think it definatley has to do with possesion as well, because as soon as I leave they are fine, Riley has even had "sleepovers" with Lucy and the only time she does this is when I drop her off/pick her up. When anyone else is around the 2 dogs together, I am told that she does not act this way!!

    But like I said I have tried removing Riley and it actually did seem to help, I think I just have to keep on top of that technique even for the first 5 minutes they are together until Riley is quickly reminded "Oh yeah, I'm not allowed to behave like this or I get put in the garage for a little bit"

    I actually have a video of them together and would like to post it as soon as I can to get some opinions on her behaviour. She is still in a puppy state of mind, and I feel like this is something she can overcome, it is just that she hasn't learned the proper doggie etiquette yet...and she definatley is a little bit bossy around Lucy. In another video that I must upload, Riley and Lucy got into a fight over a toy (nothing major) but at first Riley had the toy, and Lucy (a very wimpy dog) was over trying to subtly take the toy from Riley- everything was fine, Riley held on to the toy. When Riley was done playing with it, Grant threw the toy and Lucy got it. While poor Lucy was standing with the toy in her mouth, our Riley just went over and took it right from her mouth!!! And a wee little fight erupted, no actual biting just some telling each other off. The toy was removed and both dogs carried on playing together. But I was actually glad that happened (is that wrong?) as Riley learned "Hey, that was bold of me, I can't just take another dog's toy" so I really think doggie etiquette is playing a big role. What do you guys think?

    I am just so scared to take her around other dogs, even though I have never seen her actually try to attack Lucy or even growl at her, I am just affraid that if another dog pushes her buttons and riley pushes theirs that an actual fight will break out. Am I being over protective?
  11. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Oh, well, this idea i had was *only* for when your dog is reacting to other dogs approaching *you*, i have no idea if it would work for dogs reacting to OTHER DOGS just in general. I only meant it for when your dog is not allowing other dogs to approach *you*.

    However, i think i much prefer Laramie's idea (sounds better than my idea):

    //There was an episode on It's Me or the Dog where the owner had two dogs and every time one dog got around the owner, the other one freaked out. I don't know if this will work for you, but Victoria told the owner to leave the room every time the dog growled at the other. If the problem is Riley wanting you to herself, then this might work because if she does this and you leave, she's not getting your attention. It seems like this would work in other instances as well. I don't know whether you leaving the room or removing Riley is best, but it's just another option.//

    THAT IDEA ROCKS!!!

    thanks for kind words, btw. :p
    Hayley Thompson likes this.
  12. 7Riddler7 Member

    [quote="Hayley
    Any help at all would be excellent!!!!

    Hayley & Riley

    The picture is deceiving lol We dog-sat Lucy for a week and they were so tired out that evening from playing outside Riley didnt care Lucy was hanging out in the living room with us!![/quote]

    Gday. Sounds simple but hope it helps..>> More exercise does seem to keep really smart dogs from wanting to cause mischeif n just relax with visitors dog. also set up something for the dogs to do as guests give the "come through the door treat or whatever, but not to much. more activity and exercise. Good luck hope does not stay stressful (also could practice submittance with the dog for easy corrections when they get into a "triggered" state :)

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