Border collie biting

Posted by Watchman
Jan 23, 2012
I have a border collie who is 9 months old. Her mother was a working dog in essex and I got her when she was 8 weeks old. Biting has always been a problem and I have managed to control it up till now.(following the loud ouch and turning my back on her)

She has for no reson started to be[U] very [/U]agressive with all the family members. Wife and 2 daughters
Yesterday (sunday) I was calling her back from our hall way when she jumped up and bit my arm and held on the the point that she has torn the sleeve.
I tried to exclude her from the family by shutting her in our back room but when she came out she promptly bit my daughter on the arm when she went to give her a ball.

Both bites are firm enough to cause marking of the skin and brusing

I then thought that maybe she was hungry so when I put down her food she went for me.

I have tried the many ways to assert my postion, which includes no free feeding, feeding her from my hand and removing the bowl.
Ignoreing her for 24 hours but she still seems to want to bit first, bark and inqiure latter.

As you can imagine i cant have this situation carry on, as I have grandchildren and I am very concerned to have the dog around them.

She gets walked for an hour in the mornings which include 45 mins off the lead, a quick 1/2 hour play in the back garden around dinner time and then a 2hour walk at night with a lest and hour off lead playing fetch. (Although lately she has been a nightmare to get back on the lead, she comes but sits just out of reach and skips off when I try to clip her lead on)

Please can you help as I really wanted a four legged mate to join me on my canoeing and camping trips, not a biting agressive dog.

many thanks
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 24, 2012
Hi Watchman,

I am sorry for all the headache that your BC is giving you. As you know BCs are one of the smartest breeds so I am sure she will be a wonderful companion once she learns how to live with human family in a respectul way.

First of all, she came from a working line so I think she needs "work". This includes some "mental" work too. Have you taken her to obedience trainings? Does she know basic obedience commands, such as "Sit" "Down" "Stay" "Wait" "Leave it" "Drop it" and "Come" commands?

If she masters, for example, "Sit and Stay", it will make it much easier for you to control her when she starts jumping or biting (I think it's more like nipping?) you or anybody. Make her "Sit and Stay" and give her a treat. This will give her a chance to settle herself down.

Secondly, she is 9 months old, which is the worst canine age They ignore commands, they talk back, they do things on their own, and think they are the boss, like human teenagers. Therefore, it will be very helpful to give her extensive positive trainings during this period.

Thirdly, and this is maybe the most important thing that she needs to learn and you have been already working on this, it is "Mutual Trust". Since she bites you, you don't trust her 100%. In your mind there is always a fear or concern about her. She senses that and it makes her feel insecure. This is like a chain reaction, or catch 22.

In order to re-establish a mutually trusty relationship with your dog, please start with structured daily training sessions. Praise her a lot when she can do things well so that she gets self-esteem and will try to please you more and more. Please think this way, your BC loves you but just doesn't know how to please you. You can show her what to do, rather than what not to do
Posted by Watchman
Jan 25, 2012
Hi MaxHollyNoah

Thank you for your kind words

Since the orginal post I have do some more reading and have adopted a differant tack

1st A visit to the vets to confirm all was well.

2nd A disscusion with my girls found out, that my youngest had been chasing the dog around the house waving her arms. Thinking it was fun but didnt realise that the dog was running away in fear (ears down tail tucked away):mad

3rd You are right I was "concerned" when dealing with the dog, I have relaxed and not been so expectant, if fact last night for the first time she came up and slept head on my lap whilst I was watch TV

4th The dog does know sit , stay and come but I have started to spend longer 15 mins to "work" her more

So not feeling as dispondant as I did at the weekend

Thanks again

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 25, 2012
Hi Andrew,

I am so pleased to hear all the changes

I think dogs want a calm, stable, firm and relaxed owner that they feel comfortable with and willing to follow directions from

You are now on the right track so keep us posted on her progress. She cannot change in a day but when you look back like on weekly basis, I am sure you will see some positive changes on her.

Good luck
Posted by KOPCaroline
Jan 28, 2012
Hey Andrew,

Its good (and bad!) that you found out what probably triggered the episodes (your daughter "playing") - hopefully she understands now that when doggies run away its not very fun for them!

If your keen, its fun to make home-made agility courses - tunnels and jumps and sticks to weave in and out of. Border collies and other working, active dogs really enjoy this kind of thing, and its something you could your daughters in on as well.

Just an idea, if youre not keen on classes or group social activites

I hope you see progress with increased training times at home - let us know how things go!
Posted by Watchman
Feb 23, 2012
All was going well and then our little collie started to act strange
She would suddenly get aggressive when meeting strangers
I was unable to hand feed her any more with out her snapping at my hand

The final straw came when I was home from work one morning.

Having had breakfast I decided to play with my puppy dog outside in the garden.
I let out and turned round to shut the back door, on turning back around my dog jumped up and bit my hand, after pushing her away she lunged at me again.
Several moments later I had received bad enough bites on both my hands legs and arm to require hospital treatment.

An hour later the dog was behavouring just as a puppy should.

A vists to the vest confirmed that my little puppy had sezures which resulted in jeckal and hyde personallity. Sadly the only proper and safe option had to be taken.

I write this to provide some experance should any other owners have the same symptoms from their puppies.

RIP Daisy sadly missed
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Feb 24, 2012
Hello Watchman,

I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Daisy is now resting peacefully and she remembers you and your family so dearly.

Her biting was something that was beyond her control. She was a sweet dog after all.

Please know that you did the right thing throughout her short life.

RIP Daisy...
Posted by KOPCaroline
Feb 25, 2012
So sorry to hear about Daisy, but you really did right by her - it was the best thing to do for everyone.

Hope you and your family are getting on well.