Agressive Border Collie

Posted by bordercolliesrule
Oct 24, 2007
We have a 9 year old border collie (Zeke) whom we love very much. He comes directly from 2 working lines of border collies, so has very well developed herding instincts. We live in the country on a large farm, but do not currently have any livestock for him to "play" with. He is in general very well behaved, especially with my husband who is very much the Alpha "shepard" of the family. He is primarily a house dog, however he does spend alot of time out doors with my husband working around the farm and chasing the 4 wheeler when he can. He is not very socialized given where we live, but warms quickly to anyone who will through a ball for him. He is also not fixed, and has suffered from epilepsy which is controlled with drugs for the last few years.

Because my husband and I both have off farm jobs, he spends lot of days with 'Grandma' (also on the farm). As with a normal grandchild, spoiling is an issue and re-programming the dog after an extended stay is usually required.

The issue we are having with Zeke is his relationship with me (which has escalted in the last few years as well). i have unfortunately not established Alpha over him, and this has now come to be a problem. On one hand, he sees me as his protector when he is scared by something. However, especially when my husband is not around, he can suddenly turn on me. this tends to occure if i am not giving him my full attention at all times. His turning on me includes growling, snarling, nipping, and rarely (but has happened) biting (generaly when i am cleaning house and he just rushes me suddenly). the other times we have a problem with him is in the bed room at night (he is not allowed on the bed, however his kennel is in the room (door open at all times). If my husband goes to bed first, Zeke becomes very protective & tries to keep me from the bed. i am the first up in the morning and he tryes to keep me in bed at that point, and will try to keep me from the bathroom, or the door to leave the room, thus requiring my husband to wake up and control the dog.

This problem is now compounded by the fact that i am expecting our first child. we are pretty certain that with the proper introduction (and we have been allowing him in the baby's room, etc to get him used to it), that he will be fine with the baby, as he is will all childeren. he seems to know the level he can behave instinctively. However, my biggest concern is that he will start to try and protect the baby from me. I am also concerned that he might start to turn on Grandma (who will also be watching the baby when i have to go back to work). Any help/advise would be GREATLY appreciated. We do not want to loose this wonderful dog, which he is....
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Oct 25, 2007
Thank you for your post. It really sounds to me like you need to try your hardest to show Zeke that he is actually at the bottom of the pack! I recommend that you closely read and begin using the Alpha techniques as set out in the bonus Alpha book. You will need to be strict and consistent with the techniques, and you will probably also need the assistance of your husband to reinforce them. Your husband, as currently established Alpha, will need to help you with any commands and corrections when your dog is acting aggressively.

You may want to think about shifting your dog's kennel into a different room. In doing this you will have more freedom to move around your room, and it will hopefully break the cycle of morning aggression.

Have daily obedience lessons with Zeke, and offer him lots of praise and a few treats for obeying you to help reinforce a postiive association with doing what you ask him to.

Perhaps you should also stress to your mother about the importance of not spoiling Zeke. I dont want to frighten you, but I have heard that most people who report dog bites are actually known to the dog that bit them. A lot of people assume that it's strange dogs that are largely responsible for dog attacks, but that's not the case at all.

Has Zeke ever been around babies? I am a little concerned about how he will react. I have heard of some people testing reactions using a doll that has a crying mechanism. I would also recommend that you avoid leaving your dog alone with your baby. I'm not sure if any dog can be trusted 100% with babies. For example, I have a dalmatian cross who is just under one year old. He has a really lovely nature, but unfortunately he does not know the meaning of the word gentle. He wouldn't intentionally hurt anyone, but he is so full of energy that he might be too rough, and accidentally cause some harm.

Good luck with Zeke!