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Dogs
Dogs, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience:  I have spent many years in mixed practice, dealing with pet, working and show dogs alike.
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Our 5yr old Border Collie has started attacking other dogs

Resolved Question:

Our 5yr old Border Collie has started attacking other dogs when out. She approaches them with tail wagging and then seems to change her mind and nips.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dogs replied 2 years ago.
Dogs : Hi there, vet Andrew here. Since she is already 5 years old it's unusual for this sort of thing to start without some sort of trigger. Think back carefully to when this started. Has there been any change in the household? Has she been attacked or intimidated? Have you let someone else look after her while you went away and something happened they're not telling you about?
Dogs : Once the trigger has been identified we can get to work. A lot of these cases are unwittingly perpetuated by the owner: after the first incident you may be unconsciously transmitting tension to the dog via the lead, or a change in pace or voice as you walk the dog. Make sure you are relaxed and get a few friends with relaxed dogs to help you. Go for a long walk with all the dogs going in the same direction, and allow them to loosely interact as they go.
Dogs : The idea is for your dog to get cues from the others as you encounter others walking their dogs towards you. Look for signs in her as she greets these dogs - usually before an attack she will curl or quiver a lip. This is the time to firmly pull her away and keep walking. Shouting and scolding often increase the tension in a situation. Give her a small treat and praise after every successful encounter.
Dogs : Work at this for two weeks. If you feel you are getting nowhere it's time to contact a good behaviourist. Your vet will have details and they are not expensive. The technique above will gradually cure most cases of defensive behaviour related to an isolated event but there is no substitue for direct teaching and re-socialisation.
Dogs : Last of all, is she neutered or intact?
JACUSTOMER-3aqeqg5g- :

Hi Andrew, Yes she is neutered. She has been attacked by some other dogs and I do think this may be at least one trigger. She is friendly with quite

JACUSTOMER-3aqeqg5g- :

Hi Andrew sorry I think I hit a wrong key. Yes she is neutered and has on occasion been attacked by other dogs. She is very friendly with some dogs and can play and interact with them well especially once she knows them. I know I do now get a bit tense when I see other dogs coming as I never quite know how she will react. If she is off lead in an open space she usually gives other dogs a wide berth.

Dogs : I see. It's a shame when years of good behaviour can be ruined in an instant by an attack. This will take time to correct. Does she go for specific breeds of dog, or only those bigger than her, for example?
JACUSTOMER-3aqeqg5g- :

Black labs are one and usually smaller ones especially if they bark at her.

Dogs : It may be beneficial to have these types of dog in the 'pack' as you go walking. The technique remains the same, however: stay relaxed when another dog is encountered, and pull her away and keep walking before she 'turns'. Keep a supply of small treats with you. The idea is that each encounter will get longer and longer as you progress.
JACUSTOMER-3aqeqg5g- :

Thanks very much

Dogs : Some behaviourists recommend a muzzle-type collar such as a Halti which pulls the dog's head from the front to minimise risk to other dogs, but in your case I think this may put her more on the defensive. I wish you all the best, ***** ***** keep in touch. This will not be an easy fix but the advice here should get you started, and with 5 years of previous good behaviour I reckon you have every chance of success. Vet Andrew.
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Expert:  Dogs replied 2 years ago.
Hi there,

Vet Andrew here. Just checking in on your progress with Coullin, in case you need more advice or moral support. Let me know if you need any help.
Kind regards
Vet Andrew