Anyone else have a skittish border collie? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 07-05-2006, 11:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We got Jack (now 6) from a shelter when he was a puppy...he's actually considered a border collie mix.

He is extremely scared of people he doesn't know (reacts with barking and won't allow them to touch him) and it takes him a good 2 years to feel comfortable with someone. He does a lot of territorial barking. He won't lay down somewhere if there's a piece of paper or other object in the vicinity. He jumps if you touch him when he's not expecting it. He's just a *very* nervous dog overall. (Sidenote: he is very good with DS and has never so much as growled at him. We also have another dog and two cats that he really likes playing with.)

We tried some training to control the barking, but the trainer was all about Jack needing to understand that I was in charge. He wanted me to use a spiked choke collar, which I just wasn't comfortable with. I know it really works for some dogs, but it seemed to achieve the opposite effect with Jack.

Does anyone else have a dog like this? Are there things I can do to help him?

TIA
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#2 of 8 Old 07-06-2006, 12:33 PM
 
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We have a Border Collie/ Corgi mix, and she is the most skittish dog I've had. She is tons better than when we got her about 8 months ago, though. She is much more secure and sure of herself when she's with another dog... She barks a lot, but mostly to herd the other dogs or get attention. She doesn't like changes in her environment and she hides from new people until she has time to adjust.

The thing that helps Boomer the most is for us to never coddle her when she's fearful. It was hard to get used to but helped a lot.

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#3 of 8 Old 07-06-2006, 02:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks mama!

Jack is also more confident when he's with our other dog.

When you say don't coddle him when he's afraid, would you just ignore him?
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#4 of 8 Old 07-06-2006, 03:54 PM
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I also have a skittish bc. We've had her for 3 1/2 years now, and she's probably about 5. She has come a long, long way... she still won't usually let strangers touch her, but every once in a while she'll take a fancy to someone at the dog park and go right over to them... the person never seems to realize what a great honor it is, since she's done it maybe 3 or 4 times, total... but it's progress. Usually she's at least ten yards away, or as far as the leash will reach.

We also don't coddle... we ignore her fear-based stuff - we don't force her to do things, but we don't cajole and sweet-talk, either. If anything, I'll give a very upbeat, "No problems!" to let her know that I'm aware of the "threat" and that I'm not worried. We also intentionally do things that make her a little bit nervous, like hugging her and other physical stuff, and she's gotten better with it.

She's learned a lot by watching our other dog... often if he does something first, she'll be willing to risk it. He's an older lab and very slow and steady, and it helps her.

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#5 of 8 Old 07-06-2006, 06:53 PM
 
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Yeah, just acting like she is being silly for being scared and proceeding like nothing is wrong instead of reassuring her went a long way.

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#6 of 8 Old 07-06-2006, 11:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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All right, mamas, I'll give it whirl. We have practiced what you're suggesting to a certain extent, but I think we've gotten kind of complacent. We have problems with people thinking that *they* will be the one who breaks through Jack's shell and gets him to let them pet him. I've said, "please just ignore him, he's a very shy dog" until I'm hoarse...
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#7 of 8 Old 07-07-2006, 03:25 AM
 
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Yeah, Leah's a little like Jack. Very fearful of people she doesn't know. Lots and lots of barking. She's BC and Australian Kelpie.

No way am I recommending this, especially for a fearful dog, but just something I noticed. When she's forced to interact, she does better. Like with the vet. We just put her up on the table, he touches her all over, opens her mouth, looks at her teeth, we go home. No damage is done so she will trust the vet, now that she knows that he won't hurt her. Also with the vet tech. Leah hadn't met her before, but she saw Leah (Leah's back was turned), she reached down and petted her while saying "oh, what a good doggy!". Leah just looked at her and at me and was fine with her ever since.

She loves anyone she met as a puppy, but generally doesn't warm up to strangers. Except I had this one neighbor in my last house. He saw her and asked what her name was, I told him. Then he called her and she ran right over, jumped up on the fence and gave him kisses.

Most of her barking is nervous "I don't know you and I don't want you here, please go away" barking. Twice it was ferocious barking. I stayed away from those people she barked like that to.

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#8 of 8 Old 01-21-2014, 09:58 AM
 
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I have a 1 yr old BC rat terrier mix. She is such a love to me, my family and friends that she knows! Otherwise, she loves other dog, however any strangers, she is fearful of. She will not let a stranger pat her. She barks at strangers if I have her out playing with her other dog friends. She barks and chases them. She is fine in the house and not too muc scares her. She doesnt mind vacuums, or any loud noises. I just dont understand why she is so afraid of strangers. She sometimes is frarful of bigger dogs, but in general LOVES playing with any dog, male or female. I dont know how to get her to not be so afraid when I have strange ( to her ) people come in the house or we come across in the neighborhood

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