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Old 10-15-2009, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Romy View Post
Sorry, but I wouldn't pin this on a herding behavior. It's insecurity and bad manners on the part of both dogs. Not a herding behavior.
I didn't say it was herding behaviour, I said it was the most likely place for a herder to bite.

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Old 10-15-2009, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by ihartgonzo View Post
Fortunately, these are herding dogs with bite inhibition, and not protection dogs... I am always so glad for that. And, I would honestly rather have spazzy herding dogs who want to herd people and who are obvious about it than a dog who really goes for people with no percievable warning.
I was more referring to this comment. "Wanting to herd people" has zero to do with Gonzo and Ruckus' behavior. Plenty of non herding fear aggressive dogs will take cheap shots at people's butts too.

Anyway, how is going for someone's rear as they pass giving off warning? The person's back is turned and can't even see what the dog is doing. It's cheap shot. I'd rather deal with a confrontational dog that postures and growls so I know that he's unhappy with my presence, and I can do something about it and not get bit as I stroll by.
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Old 10-15-2009, 12:48 PM
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Herding people should no be allowed, either. That is a huge 'no' in my book. You herd livestock, not people or dogs.

I'm not sure saying, since he's a herding class dog, that it has something to do with where he would bite? To me, Ruckus's bite didn't sound like he was trying to herd them. It sounds like he either didn't want them to leave or, like Romy said, it has something to do with fear.

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Old 10-15-2009, 01:39 PM
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Imo (which I will admit isn't worth all that much) it's likely insecurity/fear issues. It doesn't sound like redirected herding behavior to me. First of all a balanced herding dog should know the difference between a person and livestock. Also, I'd hope a herder didn't bite hard enough to leave a mark- bruise or not. Whenever I've seen a herder go after someone, it's a very gentle nip and it's almost always to the ankles. I've never seen one go for the butt or go hard enough for it to bruise. I'd be pretty concerned if my dog had bitten someone hard enough to bruise for no reason.

Anyways.... Trey was a biter and it was basically impossible to teach him not to. He just was NOT a well balanced dog, and from the sounds of the way you describe Ruckus, he sounds like he has similar issues. It wasn't just because he was a herder but because he was a herder with an improper temperament and I really think he was missing a link in his brain to read body language in dogs and people both. For him it was managing his tendency to bite. Trey NEVER went after a stranger, but family members knew to watch him and their movements with him around. Sharp turns in front of him could cause him to sneak a nip when he was really worked up. So I'd keep an eye on his excitability and when he'd get into that mindset, I'd stop what we were doing and make him calm down.

There were a couple times he left bruises and marks and those times were absolutely not herding dog related. Those were every time fear reactions. If you know what will set him off, then maybe even leash him or send him to another room when your guests leave? I know how much a liability a dog like that can be.

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Old 10-17-2009, 04:53 AM
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I am not saying it's acceptable, AT ALL. Hence the incredibly extensive process I go through to introduce Gonzo to anyone in the home... to avoid him getting into that mode. I know he is fearful of some people, although I would not call it fear aggressive.

I have had some of the best behaviorists I know of over to observe him, and all 3 of them felt that he was not aggressive, he would simply resort to "herding" people that he percieved as erratic or unpredictable. He literally follows them, crouching, and giving them an intense eye... people who are dog-savvy can easily spot it, and he usually doesn't herd them, anyway. But people who aren't tend to either ignore him completely or do stupid things like run at him/away from him. He is also quite vocal about giving warnings and again, does not actually touch people. He does the same thing to dogs who are behaving rudely/rambunctiously, and I know he knows that other dogs aren't livestock!

I will always be managing his behavior, as in the past 7 years it has gotten better but I doubt that I can ever trust him completely with strange people in the home. It's hard to even explain it without seeing it. I'm not claiming that he is a balanced herding dog - he is from shoddy breeding, hard mouthed cattle lines, and his socialization/good experiences as a puppy seems to have been non existant. Additionally, this isn't a breed that is famed for their friendliness toward strangers. It obviously is fearful behavior, but it does make it easier to have a dog who has been bred for hundreds of years to not use their mouth.

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Old 10-17-2009, 08:01 AM
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I play chase games almost daily with my dogs. I let them herd me, then I will herd them. they do jump up and nip at me, but its not hard what so ever. just barely an pressure at all. Are these games encouraging Ruckus bad behavior?
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Old 10-17-2009, 09:21 AM
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Have you proofed against people walking away?? Instead of just a down stay? When he's in a down stay is he still highly focused on the person leaving?
My suggestion would be to treat as the person walks away. No down stay, just make sure he's on a leash, as the person walks away, you can focus him on you with a "look at me" and then treat treat treat. Build this up big time so that he associates someone leaving with high value treats. If he's just in a down stay and still focusing on the leaving person, to me, it's possible he's building up more frustration. Keep it loose and happy, not that structured at first. Person leaving, treat (but always on a leash). Hopefully the association will sink in, and you'll find him turning to you as a person leaves, instead of focusing on that person.
And personally, I wouldn't be playing chase with him. If he can not control himself as someone else moves away from him, I wouldn't encourage it with the chase game.
I only play this game with dogs who can control themselves. And because chase is "run after the person that's moving away and possibly nip" you could be encouraging the reaction to someone moving away.
Hope that helps.

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