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Thread: Really Need Help! (BC reacting to new things, and redirected aggression)

  1. #1

    Default Really Need Help! (BC reacting to new things, and redirected aggression)

    Hi all
    Have a bit of a problem with my 2yo Border Collie.

    My son was trying out his new water backpack where you store water in the pack and suck it through a straw - it's for hiking. Anyway, he tried it out, Lilli looked at him jumped up and barked.

    Problem was our friends dog was in close vicinity and she turned very aggressive towards this other dog like she was ready to take his head off.

    He is a staffy cross and Lilli would have come off second best. The other times she has done this is when I was putting nose drops into my son's nose and when I was taking a puff of my ventolin inhaler. Why does she react this way. I just don't understand.

    Normally she has a beautiful nature but in these instances she literally turns into Cujo (minus the rabies of course) any ideas??? I am at a complete loss. She gets all sooky afterward as I chastise her every time.

    Lilli's Mum
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 05-17-2015 at 03:12 PM. Reason: put some spaces in make title specific for reference later

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    You need to look at the scenarios in time chunks. At what point did she react and what was she reacting to. Chastising her may be just confusing if she doesnt know what for. In the dogs mind she may have been protecting either you or herself, it is a stress reaction, so what was it that stressed her? I am not too clear from what you have written.
    My bc is 15 kgs but that doesnt stop her telling off a rude 40kg dog that pushed into her so I hear your concern, feisty dogs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    It is almost as if she is super sensitive to some sound or action and willl then redirect her stress onto any dog near her. Some Border collies can be like this. Once you have sorted out what she is reacting to you can then be prepared to try and desensitise her.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    I have to agree with the others.

    I would stop Lilli from jumping up and lunging etc but I wouldn't scold her for it. Chances are she's going to blame something else for her being scolded and try to get that before it gets her next time ie make the problem worse.

    She seems to not like new things that hiss eg the succky straw thing would hiss, the inhaler would hiss, the nose drops would gurgle or look like you're threatening your son's safety. Not sure about the nose drops except it would look very strange. And your son might hiss (sniff?).

    And with the other dog there - it was a "redirected aggression" - ie if she can't get the thing she perceives as threatening (to her, you or your son), she will scold the next available target eg the SBT.

    So I guess I would not be doing anything hissing like around your BC when there is another dog or child or adult or critter around.

    Have you ever used a squirty bottle to "correct" her or discourage a behaviour - that can also set off reactivity to hiss noises. As can a citronella collar that is supposed to stop barking - some dogs subsequently find any kind of hiss noise very upsetting after that.

    So you can either manage the problem by putting her away any time you want to use a hissing thing. Or training her that it's ok.... and rewarding her for calm behaviour near (or far away to start) the hissing thing.

    If you do have a lot of snakes near where you live you might not want to train her to ignore hissing... but it should be possible to train her that an inhaler is not the same hiss as a snake?

    Google BAT (behaviour adjustment training) or LAT (Look at that) dog training for more info.

    Be careful not to do what I did and train your dog to be cujo then calm to get the treat. Ie when I'm doing this kind of training - I can't use food or evil hound pairs the cujo act followed by being calm to get the treat. that's called "back chaining" if you want to research that.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    melbourne australia


    And now you get to be detective, trying to capture the behaviour to work out the trigger.

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