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  • Border Collie Puppy Problems.

    Hi guys I have a gorgeous female Border Collie puppy called Bonnie who is thirteen and a half weeks old. She has the best temperament and is super smart. I have been researching collies for 2 years and already have an older one, but this one problem stumps me. She is gentle normally, but sometimes in play she starts snarling and biting. I'm thinking this is maybe connected to some dominance thing, but she doesn't do anything else like this. She has been doing this for about 2 weeks (we got her when she was 9 weeks old), but I don't know how to stop it. Whenever she's naughty, I have tapped her on the nose, because it said this in a training book. This doesn't seem to work, as whenever she does do something naughty, and I use this technique, she snarls and yaps at me. It might be a game to her, I'm not sure, but I'm starting to get worried about it, because I don't want her to become an aggressive-dominant dog. Is there anything you can help me stop this behavior with? Am I doing something wrong?

    - Striker

  • #2
    I don't know how useful this is but it's most likely a 'pack mentality' thing, establishing the pecking order perhaps?

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    • #3
      If she snarls and yaps at you when you tap her on the nose (give that idea away IMO) I'm just wondering WHY you feel she has 'the best temperament'?
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      • #4
        Border collie puppy problems.

        It's sort of hard to explain without knowing her, she only does it if I tap her on the nose for doing something naughty, she doesn't just do it after coming up to me or anything. It's not a 'out of the blues' thing. Her parents are excellent dogs, as are her litter mates. I'm thinking it's probably some dominance thing, as I have seen dominance mentioned in books and from other collie owners. Overall though, I could not ask for a better puppy.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Striker View Post
          It's sort of hard to explain without knowing her, she only does it if I tap her on the nose for doing something naughty, she doesn't just do it after coming up to me or anything. It's not a 'out of the blues' thing. Her parents are excellent dogs, as are her litter mates. I'm thinking it's probably some dominance thing, as I have seen dominance mentioned in books and from other collie owners. Overall though, I could not ask for a better puppy.
          Thanks for explaining further Striker.

          I personally find BC's beauitful dogs, incredibly smart, if not THE smartest dog breed in the world. Active as, mentally, not just physically.
          But with your problem I would not even consider what breed of dog she is.
          Snarling, yapping anything like that at any human, little own her owner must be nipped in the bud asap IMHO.

          I don't agree with the tapping on the nose thing, but that's me. I feel there are kinder and BETTER ways to teach without a tap, slap, etc...

          There are so many different things you could try with this issue.
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          • #6
            I think it is my fault too, but after the snarling/yapping, she stops doing the naughty thing. I don't know how to teach her not to do those things properly,because plain verbal commands won't stop her. I have read that grabbing them by the scruff and giving them three shakes works, but she is still little, I am worried about damaging her neck if I do that, so I don't. What method would you recommend instead? I am just not sure...

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            • #7
              A gentle grab around the neck is the way mum would tell her no...
              sigpic

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              • #8
                If you choose to grab her scruff (around the neck) make sure you are serious about it. Look her directly in the eye (yes, directly!) and make it VERY CLEAR you are the boss. Does that make sense to you?

                Other things you can try when her behaviour is unacceptable is a spray bottle of water squirted into her face at the right moment of misbehaviour, clapping, stomping feet, loud noise such as two papers smashed together, with a loud and serious 'no' or whatever command you hoose to use. make sure whatever you choose to do, you do so consistently. Only repetition will teach her, so it must be consistent.
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                • #9
                  I'm interested in what you mean, exactly, when you say she is being naughty, but I would probably try a different approach at the moment as the physical reprimand doesn't seem to be working. I would not use that as a first choice anyway.

                  As DA says a squirt bottle or, I have found with Jenna, a sudden sharp noise has worked best. We have small plastic bottles with little stones in them and when she is going to do something we don't want, generally barking at dogs going past the fence, we give the bottle a good firm shake. It just instantly distracts her from what she was about to do. Even a loud clap works well if the bottle isn't to hand.

                  Good luck and keep us posted
                  sigpic
                  The best things in life, aren't things

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                  • #10
                    Pretty, mother to 4 nine week old pups here grabs them around the snout to say no to bad behaviour. I am going to continue doing that myself, with a no, with Jodi (a pup I am keeping) I am learning so much about behaviour from her and them.
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                    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

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                    • #11
                      Place your thumb and 'pointer' finger just behind the jaw and apply firm pressure. Give an stern "NO". Hold for a few more seconds then let go.
                      I only ever 'tapped' my dogs as a 'punishment'. When I knew for a fact that THEY knew they were doing the wrong thing.
                      For example, Lady snatched food out of my hand and bit me on th way. I gave a stern "Agghhh NO" and tapped. I then held it out again and she took it gently.
                      Education not Legislation

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                      • #12
                        Tapping on nose doesn't work.

                        It really doesn't work with cattle dogs who play that game with cattle ie the steer kicks and dog ducks and goes back in for more - excellent fun for dog, not much fun for you.

                        Belting dog on nose does work but not in the way you want - ie it just makes the dog frightened of you and your hand.

                        She's in play mode. She just wants your attention. When she does something you don't want - take your attention and your presence (if necessary) away. Most dogs in play will match their force (hardness of bites) to yours - so the harder you tap, the harder she will bite/play. Tapping on nose may initiate play mode with a farm dog. Oops.

                        You can also try in combination with ignoring the dog - a nice loud high pitched yip. To get the idea of how that might sound - pay attention to the noise the puppy makes if her tail gets stepped on accidentally, or the older dog gives her a strong correction. Make a similar noise and turn your back on puppy and count to ten. Long enough for puppy to notice you're not playing any more. If that doesn't work. Leave the room and shut the puppy out. Do not return until puppy is quiet / doing what you want.

                        Older dogs stop younger dogs by going completely over the top with an aggressive warning growl and charge. And if that doesn't work then the growl is backed up with a very hard nip, that is clearly beyond play but not hard enough to do damage. And not usually on the nose. Usually on the bum of retreating puppy.

                        You may also want to learn about crate training (google) as sometimes it is more convenient to isolate the dog than yourself - eg when you're trying to make dinner.

                        If she's snarling and biting and hurting the other dog (or another person), you want to distract her with something else - walk between her and the object of her attentiong with a nice high pitched "bab bab bab" noise (as recommended by Victoria Stillwell).

                        Squirty bottle corrections are good, as are distractions - like thowing a squeaker toy nearby. Pay attention to what you do when she's naughty. Are you rewarding her with attention like she wants? My dog Frosty does a whole bunch of things she knows gets my attention. Like ripping up her bed in the office. I try to make getting my attention by doing things I don't want not rewarding for her, ie she gets just a little bit more attention than she really wants or she gets time out or I leave her (she likes to be with me or know where I am).

                        When I'm out, she doesn't do any of these naughty things - because there is no reward in it for her. I know some dogs will rip things up for the sheer pleasure of it, but for some reason Frosty doesn't. And I'm grateful for that. So is my furniture.

                        If your BC puppy is seeking your attention more than you can handle - maybe she needs more walks or training. You could practice getting her doing what you want like 30 second sit / stays. Or a bit of fetch to wear her out a bit more / encourage sleeping. Pay attention to what she likes and remove or give to get what you want. It might be toy, attention, training. Most BC are looking for you to give them something to do - so start with training her to do what you want...

                        And every dog is different in terms of what they want, and what drives them. So when you have it figured for one dog, the next dog is completely different.

                        So I find with Frosty who has been by far and away the most difficult dog I have ever tried to train. And serves me right - I did seek an independent thinker. She's not often interested in food. She often thinks she doesn't need to go on lead when I want her to. She likes to keep me in sight so I hide when she's naughty on the park... works brilliantly. And she loves tug, so I use that often as a reward. Especially when she goes back on lead. The whole lead rope is a tug toy. She also likes to play chasey - but I only play when she is "it" and chases me - never the other way round for obvious reasons.
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                        • #13
                          hi guys sorry for the delay

                          These posts have helped quite a bit, but she still does it (although to a lesser extent). I have stopped the nose tapping thing completely, and I am trying the scruff trick currently. I am quite sure it is a dominance thing and not play anymore, because she really gives me a dirty look - bared teeth, snarls and yips, and if she can get to my hand, biting (not really hard though). I can't look her in the eye because she is too busy trying to bite my hand (which is usually holding her scruff). If I stand up and turn around/walk away, she will follow me, and the aggressive show stops, but it worries and upsets me that she even does it in the first place. If she gets really bad, then I put her in her night pen for half an hour, then come back and see if she is going to be nice. Like I said in a previous post, she doesn't display any other 'dominant' behavior - she doesn't try and control me, she isn't protective of her food, etc. I don't think she is bored, as she gets played with/trained for most of the day, with a walk to an off leash park at 6. Yesterday we took her down to the park and ran around with her for two hours, and practically had to carry her back because she was so tired. Yet we got up the back, I knelt down to pat our older dog and she rammed into her,, growling while pulling her ear. I said a very loud "NO" to Bonnie, shook her scruff, and the whole business started again. I just don't want her to grow into an aggressive dog....

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                          • #14
                            Hi Striker.

                            IMO she already is growing into an aggressive dog. It's not a case of not wanting her to start, it's a case of stopping what has already started.
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                            • #15
                              Well how do I stop it!?!?!?! I don't know if I sound in denial or what, but she's not aggressive in other aspects...

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