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Old 08-13-2010, 10:26 PM
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Default A bit of help needed

Couple questions

First, Blaze does well with people. He's good at ignoring when told, and loving on people when given the chance. But, we seem to have a problem with the greeting. He tends to run straight up to the person, barking like mad, then stop when he gets up to them. He's *never* hurt anything and I don't think he ever would. He just runs up to them while barking mad like he's so big and mean. But when he gets up to the person, he stops and gets all giddy. So when ever someone new came over I always made sure to lead him over to that person slowly when they first got here so he can see there is a new person in the house. He generally does very good with this.

But I can't seem to get through to him that he doesn't need to do this run, bark, stop thing. Any ideas? It can even be as simple as I'll be in the kitchen talking to the new person, he'll hear us, run down to the kitchen barking, then stop when he sees the person.

The other thing is the dogs were boarded at the vet while we were gone on vacation last week. Normally he's very good with the other dogs and commotion. But this last time they had to stay for 10 days - longest they've ever stayed. And the vet tech said she noticed Blaze would lunge and growl at dogs that walked by his kennel. She also ask when he was going to get neutered. I said soon, because he's mature and I would like to get him snipped before college next year. Do you think having him neutered would make any difference with that? I think it might a little, but I also think it's probably a combination of high high stress in that place and being away from his home/me for so long. Thoughts?

Thank you!
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Lizmo View Post
The other thing is the dogs were boarded at the vet while we were gone on vacation last week. Normally he's very good with the other dogs and commotion. But this last time they had to stay for 10 days - longest they've ever stayed. And the vet tech said she noticed Blaze would lunge and growl at dogs that walked by his kennel. She also ask when he was going to get neutered. I said soon, because he's mature and I would like to get him snipped before college next year. Do you think having him neutered would make any difference with that? I think it might a little, but I also think it's probably a combination of high high stress in that place and being away from his home/me for so long. Thoughts?
Sounds like maybe barrier frustration.

It's not uncommon to see such behaviors in a kennel ~ especially from high drive/high energy dogs ~ between being in a smallish run and being stressed, maybe bored and possibly feeding off other dogs in the kennel. If it doesn't show up in any other environment, I don't think I'd worry. You could maybe try getting him some rescue remedy next time he needs to be boarded, dunno if it would help though.
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Old 08-13-2010, 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Lizmo View Post
And the vet tech said she noticed Blaze would lunge and growl at dogs that walked by his kennel. She also ask when he was going to get neutered. I said soon, because he's mature and I would like to get him snipped before college next year. Do you think having him neutered would make any difference with that? I think it might a little, but I also think it's probably a combination of high high stress in that place and being away from his home/me for so long. Thoughts?
Fence-fighting is extremely common.... so common that I'm kind of suprised the vet tech even mentioned it to you. Every kennel I've been to has at least one fence-fighter. At work we have to work really hard to train dogs not to fence fight, but only because fence fighting raises all the dogs' stress. Some of our most social dogs are also the worst fence fighters, we haven't really noticed a correlation between fence fighting and aggression.

IME, fence fighting is usually just barrier frustration.... for whatever reason, the dog is upset/stressed because he can't get to the dog on the other side of the fence, and it presents itself as an "aggressive" display. At work we've noticed that dogs who are new to the kennel usually do not show fence fighting for the first few days, I'd guess because they're too overwhelmed by everything else going on to worry about other dogs. So we take advantage of this and try to use clickers and lots of treating to prevent fence fighting from ever happening.

Oh, and IME neutering probably won't really have an effect on the fence fighting, unless maybe he's fighting because of same-sex aggression or something else like that. Neutering most likely won't make it worse, but it probably won't help it either.
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Old 08-14-2010, 01:27 AM
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I think it might a little, but I also think it's probably a combination of high high stress in that place and being away from his home/me for so long. Thoughts?
Random side note, I have heard boarding at vet's offices is not a good idea. The high numbers of dogs and cats coming in and out everyday are usually really scared, stressed and sick. Pets being boarded will sense this and it can make them uncomfortable and stress them out. Plus there is a heightened chance they could get sick because of all the unwell dogs coming and going. I have a friend who used to work at the vet's and she said a lot of animals picked up nervous behaviors, stopped eating, shed excessively, etc. She said unless you don't have another option, you are better of sending them to a good boarding kennel or trusted friends.

As for the 'greeting' problem, Spy does the same thing! He can be intimidating to people when they meet him, as they don't know he doesn't actually mean any harm... I want to hear what people suggest you try with Blaze!
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:43 AM
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Thank you for the reply gals. I just don't want him to a big problem for the vet techs who care for the dogs. The vet tech mentioned it because this is the first time he's done this while boarding. Normally he's very happy and friendly.

Em, we don't have any other choice at the moment. We are looking into getting runs put in at the house for the dogs so they could stay at home and then have a pet sitter come over.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:12 AM
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No advice for the greeting problem?
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Old 08-15-2010, 02:02 AM
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No advice either but Bandit does it too. Whats up with our boy border collies? He can easily be told to stay by me and he will but he seems to think that this is a brilliant way of greeting people when he's far from me. UGH. Its embarassing.
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Old 08-15-2010, 10:24 AM
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Finn does the barking thing whenever someone comes in the door at home. Not anywhere else, just at home and only when he's not crated. As soon as he gets to them, wiggle wiggle hop around omg a person I love them, etc etc.

He's gotten better with it because when someone comes in the door, I send him to his crate. He only listens 30% of the time right now, but it's getting better.
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Old 08-15-2010, 01:35 PM
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Hmm. Strange, it seems like a border collie thing now.

He never hurts anyone and I don't think he's actually trying to be mean. I always tell people to not pay any attention to his barking because he won't hurt anyone.
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Old 08-18-2010, 10:16 PM
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I would do lots of desensitizing with people walking towards/away from you, then progress to people approaching and talking to you then walking away, then people approaching and greeting him. Click/treat for looking at people walking by without reacting... repeat over & over until he's getting more relaxed about approaching people, and do your best not to push him over threshold. Gonzo would get overstimulated by people walking up to us and bark, too. Tons of desensitizing and quick, calm meet and greets with lots of people in busy places helped immensely!

Border Collies do tend to get fearful with approaching people. They are not supposed to be a stranger's best friend, though! Lots of them also have submissive urination issues. The best way to cure it is to make meeting people very low key. Ask people not to use an exciting voice, pet him, or even look at him when first meeting him. Give them a treat to offer him, and ask them to kneel sideways to him and gently pet him. Make meeting people a happy, positive, unthreatening experience. Only allow him to meet people when he's calm... if he's barking, redirect him and walk him away, then practice focusing on you and "look at that" from afar. Try again once he has calmed down.

As far as kennel aggression, LOTS AND LOTS of dogs are kennel aggressive who are perfectly fine normally. There's this 9 year-old BC who will grab her bed and thrash it around while screaming every time a dog passes by, but who completely ignores other dogs in group. I think much of it depends on the energy level of the dogs. I also notice that dogs who get daycamp during the day (6 hours of hanging out with other dogs in playrooms per day) tend to not be kennel aggressive. I would arrange for him to be placed in a more low-traffic area next time, ask for a sign to be hung on his door instructing the employees to toss Blaze a treat every time they pass, and ask that he gets extra playtimes every day. I have cured several dogs of kennel aggression (toward people and other dogs) by simply throwing them treats when I walk by. They begin to look forward to people/dogs passing by and sitting quietly for a treat, rather than flipping out,
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