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  #81  
Old 04-22-2012, 10:26 AM
SaraB SaraB is offline
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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post

Most the issues I see in BCs are reactivity that imo is being handled poorly.
This. I know Zuma would react to dogs walking past... however, I worked with her to get her comfortable with that before I attempted to take her a trial. For her, it was just a matter of creating a job as we walked, if I left her to her own devices she would snark at passing dogs. Same with her in her crate, she's awesome if she has a job to do (crate games FTW!!), but if I just throw her in there and walk away, she will snark at dogs that walk past her. The BC's that I see that are reactive arn't being managed at all. Their handlers just get them from the crate to the ring as quickly as possible. Why not work on that behavior instead? And who knows, maybe they already have and that's the best the can get.
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Old 04-22-2012, 10:33 AM
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I had this conversation with someone else yesterday but from what I see in the agility world a lot of the issues with performance BCs is people getting severely overdogged ie. people not really suited to a rocket fuel dog prone to motion reaction etc. getting a BC because they do well in agility...then focusing entirely on sport and being focused and in drive 100% of the time so the dog never learns how to function in the world and is in a constant state of arousal when around other people/dogs because they are either stuffed in a crate or out retrieving/tugging/running for the duration of the practice...and it just spirals. Yeah a lot of BCs are more prone to heading down that path than other dogs but I think they are also more often started down that path by people who mean well but don't realize the ramifications of what they are doing.

Just my 2cents though.
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  #83  
Old 04-22-2012, 10:57 AM
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The ones I'm thinking of can't be walked by other dogs. It's not a matter of other dogs getting in their space so much as they walk and they're just looking around and trying to bite any dog they get close enough to that they can actually connect with their teeth. It's not even a reaction, it's literally LOOKING to pick a fight.
And the best part is there are some people who actually encourage this behaviour too. Apparently your dog won't run agility well unless it's snarling and lunging and trying to eat the dog who's ahead of you in line at the trial.

I definitely think it's more something these agility people are goading their dogs into rather than something normal in the breed. But I think it's due to their sharpness that they can be encouraged into being, essentially, the playground bully. I agree, I think a lot of the BC "weird" stuff has to do with what you do or don't put into the dog. these people are either not knowing how to handle stuff or are just being stupid and encouraging the absolutely wrong thing. Your dog wanting to fight another dog who's NOT EVEN LOOKING AT HIM has nothing to do with your dog doing well in agility... ugh.


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About 15 of them said some of their dogs are noise sensitive, especially in more crowded cities with lots of cars, people, noises but since they live on farms and away from huge metropolitan cities, they don't see it as a big problem.
IME this can be more of "we live on a farm so our dog has never adjusted to city noises" rather than just plain old noise sensitivity. We had a collie for a short while when I was younger that came from a farm in the country, and she did NOT do well when we brought her here to our home in the city... because of all the sounds she had never heard before in her life. We ended up taking her back to the breeder because she was so stressed all the time. I wouldn't say she was noise sensitive, she just had never heard so many of these noises before and didn't know what to do. I think the sort of "WTF was that noise?" is common in a lot of dogs, not particular breeds, though perhaps moreso in herding breeds.
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  #84  
Old 04-22-2012, 12:11 PM
Michiyo-Fir Michiyo-Fir is offline
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IME this can be more of "we live on a farm so our dog has never adjusted to city noises" rather than just plain old noise sensitivity. We had a collie for a short while when I was younger that came from a farm in the country, and she did NOT do well when we brought her here to our home in the city... because of all the sounds she had never heard before in her life. We ended up taking her back to the breeder because she was so stressed all the time. I wouldn't say she was noise sensitive, she just had never heard so many of these noises before and didn't know what to do. I think the sort of "WTF was that noise?" is common in a lot of dogs, not particular breeds, though perhaps moreso in herding breeds.
I think this is a good point.

These breeders also did say when their dogs are actually working, not just lounging around, their noise sensitivity is very minimal if any. Usually while they work they forget about hearing spooky noises and they're only focused on the livestock.
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Old 04-22-2012, 12:18 PM
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I agree with the sound sensitivity part. What I've seen with the DA is more or less serious BC's that are in working mode that are not wanting to socialize so they will just tell an obnoxious dog off. Zuma does the same thing... anytime she's on leash she's "working", she absolutely does not appreciate any dog getting in her space and interfering with that. Very rarely do I see a full out DA border collie.
This is exactly how most border collies I know are. Even my dog, who I consider really extremely dog-unfriendly, is totally content to completely ignore another dog that chooses to leave her alone. She brings out the teeth if she's focusing on something (whether she's working and paying attention to me, or we're at the beach playing ball, or whatever) and another dog starts getting physical with her to try to interrupt her. I call her dog-aggressive for lack of a better word, and because when she's provoked into going after another dog, she is in full-on fury mode and doesn't stop trying to beat them up. Seriously DOES NOT stop. She has to be called off. It doesn't matter how peaceful she was coexisting with other dogs before, once she goes over her snap threshold and into her bite threshold, she doesn't stop once the other dog has backed off.

I don't ever see reactive adult BCs. I haven't ever seen a border collie hit the end of the leash, screaming and barking at another dog, except at an agility trial where a woman was running a VERY young nutcase dog. For the most part, I think most border collies are content to leave other dogs alone and only react when a dog literally gets up in their grill.

I also honestly think some agility and flyball people create really weird dogs out of otherwise normal puppies. The dogs are quirky on their own, but the kind of thing I've seen a lot of agility people do - black box or kennel the dog unless it was running agility or obedience, for example - just creates nutcases. And it's not just border collies. It would create nutcase aussies, nutcase shelties, nutcase pit bulls, you name it.

ETA: I do know a lot of border collies that redirect onto toys or other dogs when overstimulated. I hardly ever see one redirecting onto its handler.
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  #86  
Old 04-22-2012, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Lizmo View Post
For the most part, I don't know very many Border Collies with noise sensitivity, but I wonder if that has to do with the type of dogs I'm around? (all working bred BCs) Blaze has about two different sounds he freaks at, and only at home, garage door and bags.
I don't think it is just a working thing. Spy often acts interested in noises but is not spooky, just curious. I wouldn't classify him or his siblings as noise sensitive (in a negative way, again, just curious). Of the other sporter collies I have met from GOOD breeders, sound sensitivity does not seem to be a big issue. I would tend to think that if a breeder is consistently producing sound sensitive dogs they are a) not responsibly addressing the issue because BCs shouldn't be overly sound sensitive and/or b) selling dogs to people who are failing to properly socialize the puppies to loud noises. Particularly for dogs being bred for sport, sound sensitivity is a big issue and not something that should be being brushed off as "oh it's just a border collie thing".

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Originally Posted by Shai View Post
I agree that most BCs I know aren't really social butterflies who want to go love on the world. However I wouldn't say most BCs I know are one-man dogs. They are work-centric dogs. They in general don't really give a d*** who's giving the instructors so long as they know which instructions they are to follow and that the person isn't a blooming idiot. And if the handler messes up they are more than happy to yell at them (lol)

You see this a lot in agility. The dogs love the sport and quite often don't really care who is running them so long as they are running (in their mind: working) and the handler of the day understands their cue system and gives instructions several obstacles in advance. Herding, same way. Their person is their preferred human in life but most importantly the person who most often gives them a chance to work...if someone else offers work they will leave their owner in a flash without looking back til the job is done. And ensuring their isn't any chance for more work at that moment.

Now the jittery ones tend to be more handler-exclusive but that's often more because they are leaning on their person for a support system because they don't have the stability of personality to function on their own.
I agree with this for the most part. From what I have seen and my own experiences with Spy, working for other people who seem to know what they are doing is not an issue for a sound, stable dog. Key-words, "people who know what they are doing" lol. If Spy thinks the person is flaky or if he can tell they are unsure he flips them the bird and does his own thing Spy probably won't be that affectionate with a stranger he has never met who is working him though. Once he sees me interacting positively with the person in question he becomes cuddly and friendly but he wouldn't go running up to people looking for hugs.

When Spy gets really frustrated he will bark once or twice but he is not a big barker when you don't know what you are doing. I am pretty sure he just rolls his eyes at said person and waits until they pull themselves together with this look on his face --> That said though, I have noticed other BCs who bark in frustration when their owners are handling them in a confusing or sloppy way.

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Originally Posted by BostonBanker View Post
Oh, and I can't say I've seen any more noise sensitivity in border collies than I have in any other breed I've known. I would never have put it on a list of concerns about the breed.!
Yep, totally agree

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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
I've known a lot that aren't really dog friendly but aren't at that level. Quite a few seem to redirect aggressively onto other dogs when they get overstimulated. But these dogs all come from the same kennel so it could be a kennel problem moreso than the breed.
I haven't noticed more redirected aggression from BCs than other breeds, but I do agree that they aren't super dog-friendly. For the most part, I see BCs that tolerate other dogs but aren't keen on playing. When other dogs (specifically ones without a good sense of personal space) get in their face, they aren't afraid to snark at them, either. Spy growls at puppies but seems to get along relatively well with other dogs... If they pester him to play he will snark or just give me a really sullen mopey look Basically on walks he wants to either explore and sniff around or play with me, playing with other dogs does not interest him.

However, one thing I always found funny was that at home he LOVED playing with the cat. He would follow her around the house with his talk wagging and she would play back. I think he enjoyed it because she didn't pester him or get in his space and it was all on his terms. It was pretty cute.

Anyway, I would not really be worried about DA between a BC and another dog of mine. Spy definitely likes his space but he does not go looking for fights, and I doubt I will get a breed that tends to initiate things. Plus I am not really into dogs who don't respect personal space so I am not overly concerned.

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Originally Posted by Laurelin View Post
Most the issues I see in BCs are reactivity that imo is being handled poorly.
This, this, this x100. The vast majority of weird and problematic issues I see in BCs (reactivity, OCD behaviour, hypersensitivity) are because the dogs came from less than stellar breeders or had a handler who didn't know how to manage a dog with BC tendencies. Left to their own devices without proper socialization, training and management it doesn't surprise me when they develop these sorts of issues.

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Originally Posted by Shai View Post
I had this conversation with someone else yesterday but from what I see in the agility world a lot of the issues with performance BCs is people getting severely overdogged ie. people not really suited to a rocket fuel dog prone to motion reaction etc. getting a BC because they do well in agility...then focusing entirely on sport and being focused and in drive 100% of the time so the dog never learns how to function in the world and is in a constant state of arousal when around other people/dogs because they are either stuffed in a crate or out retrieving/tugging/running for the duration of the practice...and it just spirals. Yeah a lot of BCs are more prone to heading down that path than other dogs but I think they are also more often started down that path by people who mean well but don't realize the ramifications of what they are doing.

Just my 2cents though.
Totally agree with this, too. People get very caught up in sports and activities and sometimes forget that a puppy/dog has to learn to be a house-pet with manners, too. It baffles me how many people think that BCs aren't capable of having an off-switch and need TONS of daily exercise. While I agree that a portion of this is from genetics, so much of it is in training, too. Dogs need to learn that yes, sometimes it is go time and they can rev their engines, but mostly it is down time and they need to relax. It even bothers me when dogs pace. When I am sitting on the couch and it is clear that we aren't about to go on a walk or train I expect the dog to settle and find a comfy place to lay down until it is go time.

I also notice a lot of first time BC people get dogs and are so excited about their first sport puppy that they neglect or don't consider that it is so important to spend time leaving the dog at home, having quiet hours, etc. Basically, they want to jump headfirst into training and having fun that they forget how important it is to teach the puppy that sometimes it won't get walked, trained or payed attention to and that when that happens it is not a bad thing and they need to settle and act appropriately in the house.
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  #87  
Old 04-22-2012, 12:31 PM
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ETA: I do know a lot of border collies that redirect onto toys or other dogs when overstimulated. I hardly ever see one redirecting onto its handler.
Unfortunately I've seen a lot of that too. However, the worst BCs I've seen have all come from the same kennel and have the same owner. I think that is more of a factor than anything.
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  #88  
Old 04-22-2012, 12:40 PM
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ETA: I do know a lot of border collies that redirect onto toys or other dogs when overstimulated. I hardly ever see one redirecting onto its handler.
I know Chloe isn't a Border Collie, but she's a typical herding-type dog, I think, and that is one thing she does. When she gets overstimulated, she will redirect on things. I've never had her redirect on me (expect when she was a pup and would turn into a nipping beast), but she does redirect on to toys and I wouldn't put it past her to redirect on another dog (although with her, I think it is more that she's over stimulated so her dog tolerance goes down, so when the dog does something she would normally tolerate - like bumping in to her - she flies into a tizzy and goes after them).

Funnily enough though, even if she is overstimulated, if she is "working" she doesn't react. She can be worked up into a tizzy, but if I get her focusing on working with me I have her complete focus. I don't know if that is because she knows she'll be rewarded for ignoring distractions or what, but its nice that she does it.

ETA: And by no means is Chloe a stellar example of a herding type breed. More like an example of what poor breeding can produce. lol
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  #89  
Old 04-22-2012, 04:28 PM
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It's odd. Some of it must be regional (or rather the dogs in the regions tend to come from the same lines). I'd put the male border collies I know, for the most part, as some of the best dogs I've seen with dog/dog interactions. Including agility dogs. Just super stable dogs in that regard. The females I know tend to be more like Meg - not looking for a fight, but reactive to dogs that get in their space.
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:57 PM
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It's odd. Some of it must be regional (or rather the dogs in the regions tend to come from the same lines). I'd put the male border collies I know, for the most part, as some of the best dogs I've seen with dog/dog interactions. Including agility dogs. Just super stable dogs in that regard. The females I know tend to be more like Meg - not looking for a fight, but reactive to dogs that get in their space.
I agree that it must be a regional things. I see the exact things here in regards to the differences between males and females.
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