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Old 10-18-2011, 01:51 PM
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Default Normal ACD behavior?

So FOHA has this red ACD named Kloie (I call her FOHA's own Evil Reddog). She was adopted out to some people, did pretty well with those people, but was returned recently due to a really stupid situation. Kloie was on a leash with her people when two off-leash dogs ran up to them, I don't know if it was an attack or if there were injuries to any dog, but after that Kloie "became DA" (my guess is she became dog reactive, not surprising for an ACD). Her people rented a condo, and the owners of it told them to get rid of Kloie after that, so back she came I guess. I feel bad for the dog, none of it was her fault.

At the shelter Kloie hates most people, and is very cage aggressive, barking and snapping and snarling at anyone who approaches. She was the same way the first time she was at FOHA too (when I still worked there), and even though I gave her treats all the time, she NEVER warmed up to me. In fact, when I let her out in the yard once, she charged me snapping right after I had given her cheese! The only time I was able to touch that dog was when she was out with a former volunteer named Ren (who is no longer there because of stupidity I won't go into). Ren was Kloie's Person, and Kloie was a different dog when Ren was around. With everyone else she would either tolerate them for a walk or outright be aggressive to them.

What I'm wondering, is that a normal temperament for an ACD? I really haven't been around purebred ACDs.
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:10 PM
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I've heard of some ACDs being extreme 1 person dogs, but that is *not* normal behavior for them. If anything they see to turn inward in a shelter when stressed. We saw a LOT more very shy ACDs than aggressive ones at the shelter I worked at.

It boggles my mind that a shelter would even consider placing a dog that severely cage aggressive.
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:40 PM
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I've seen some that were total attention whores and would go home with anyone (Dally, lol) as well as some who couldn't care less about people other than their owner, but to be that outright aggressive isn't normal ACD behaviour. They aren't dogs that cope well in a kennel environment so maybe it was a habit picked up caused by anxiety, or maybe she had a crappy upbringing, or maybe she was just badly bred. Could be a lot of different factors! Not normal though.

The DA isn't uncommon, especially in females. I've known a few bitches who were really, really nasty with other dogs. I've known quite a few males who were surprisingly tolerant of other dogs. Never met a HA ACD though.
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Old 10-18-2011, 05:57 PM
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Sounds sharp shy to me which is unfortunate - very unfortunate. Sharpness is fairly standard in cattle dogs - they are after all cattledogs. Shyness happens - it especially happens when dogs are thrown in situations where there is not a clear establishment of order or familiarity - not uncommon when you're dealing with a dog in a loud - chaotic animal shelter. This is not going to be a dog who will be your best friend because you hand her a treat and add in her fear and she's going to try to take out sources of that discomfort before it can take out her.

If this dog is going to be saved I'd contact a rescue, sanctuary, or foster system. This will only get worse in a shelter environment IMO.
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:24 PM
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Poor dog. Can you try to transfer her to a cattle dog rescue?
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:06 PM
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Seems like all the normal ACD "bad" traits magnified.
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Old 10-19-2011, 10:46 AM
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Thanks for the input everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stardogs View Post
It boggles my mind that a shelter would even consider placing a dog that severely cage aggressive.
Actually, I have met some dogs who were very cage aggressive, but completely fine when you had them out. Some dogs just don't handle being in a kennel well at all. For example, FOHA has a yellow lab mix named Brandy who acts like a slobbering maniac in her kennel, but get her out and she's happy go lucky and friendly to everyone. And most dogs do get over it when you start giving them treats through the kennel. They go "oh, humans approaching my kennel is a Good Thing, I get yummies!" And actually, I did get Kloie to stop barking at me when I walked by the first time she was at FOHA by giving her treats every time I walked by. It got to the point she would just lay there. Still didn't make her friendly when she was out though (unless she was with Ren. Then you could pet her and love on her and do whatever. The dog had split personalities!)

Its not likely FOHA would release Kloie to another rescue, but I'll see what I can do. There aren't many ACD contacts in the area (so far I've only found one on google).
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Old 10-19-2011, 11:03 AM
stardogs stardogs is offline
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Oh I know full well that cage aggression doesn't always mean that the dog is HA, but it does mean the dog is highly stressed and is indicative of a dog who, at minimum, needs some sort of help to deal with this stress more constructively.

The shelter I worked at didn't have the luxury of space to work with all dogs with behavior problems, but when we did have the space/time to work with a dog showing some of this type of behavior we moved the dog to a low traffic kennel, used a screen on the front of the kennel (just a large piece of a solid color shower curtain cut to fit lol), *and* paired it with some classical conditioning work like you described a bit in your post (humans = yummy treats). Perhaps some of this might help keep Brandy and Kloie sub-threshold more.
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:33 AM
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When I worked at the shelter, I had a ACD like that. Now, keep in mind that this was before Chaz and I was only 15 years old, so you have a leg up on me there.
I was Pandora's Ren, and she would have gladly laid her life down for me. Everyone else could burn as far as she was concerned. I tried with her almost every day, using almost 100% PR training. Granted, it was a kind of cobbled together training and I would have done better with her now, knowing what I do, but I don't think I did too bad with her.
She and I battled it out for six months before it became obvious that Pandora really had a grand total of two choices. She could go home with me, or she could be PTS. She was too much of a liability to do anything else with.
Since my parents were not exactly thrilled at the thought of a HA cattle dog coming to live with us, especially considering that college was on the horizen in a few years, we made the decision to let her go.
It broke miy heart, and, had it happened today, I would have taken her, no questions asked, but even then I knew she was a liability.
Sorry that I don't have any concrete advice for you
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Old 10-21-2011, 09:35 AM
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I would say it sounds normal but not "correct"
To me a correct ACD should be a one person dog, not overly tolerant but able to live in the real world. But many, many ACD's become those extreme one person dogs, Harry was an example of one (although his was magnified by what we think were probably bad early experiences in the critical period and bad genetics)

Its why people don't pat Buster when I'm out with him, most people understand that if a dog is blue or red, you just don't touch it.
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