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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20217
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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i have adopted a border collie from a rescue centre. he is

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i have adopted a border collie from a rescue centre. he is 10+ years old and
barks at every dog he sees, sometimes growling as well. he also barks
sometimes at traffic. what can i do?
Hi Jacustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient.
Does he bark at them if he is off leash?
Or is he behind a fence when he is barking at them?
Does he lunge at them or just bark?
Does he shed excessively such as when you pet him?
How many walks are you taking him on?
What type of games does he seem to like?
What commands does he seem to know?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

in answer to your questions:

he is mainly on leash, but has barked a couple of times when off leash.

he has lunged at my daughters dog when in our back garden twice,

but stopped immediately when i called his name.

he has 2 long walks a day plus one run in the field. also he has 2 or

3 short walks for a "pee".

he does not play games as he does not know what toys are. he only

plays with a kong ball to get the biscuits or sausage out! he looks at

an ordinary ball as if it is an alien.

the only commands he knows really are his name and to come when

i call him.

he does not shed excessively when being petted.

as he does not play, i do take him on these walks but it is getting

difficult now because of his barking at any dog he sees.





Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful.

Dogs are aggressive toward other dogs for a variety of reasons. It might be that they are fearful of other dogs and thus are aggressive before the other dog can be. In other cases, a dog is aggressive in order to dominate the other dogs and be the alpha member of the pack. Other causes could be that the dog feels they are the alpha member of the pack and as the alpha member they must protect the pack (you) from threats (other dogs).


In this dogs case, it may be that he was not socialized around other dogs as a pup and now growls to warn them to stay away from him. However, he may not feel you are in charge and thus has to be the protector as well.


Another thing that happens is that owners sometime make the situation even worse by tensing up and worrying about what will happen. The dog senses the owner worry and feels that he is justified in his aggressive stance because you are obviously worried about the other dog. They don't know you are worried about them attacking, they just feel that you are worried and assume it is the other dog. so it is important to relax when walking to avoid this cause.


The fastest way of correcting the situation is starting obedience training with him. I would start with training at home if you can't do group classes, but you will want to do group training at one point or another. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.



Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.


Obedience training serves various purposes. It helps a dog learn what humans expect of them when they state a command which leads to self confidence and less fear and thus helps with fear aggression. Each time a dog obeys a command, even if it is for a treat, it makes them a little more submissive to that human in the future which helps with dominance aggression. And since it is the leader or boss who is responsible for protecting the pack, if the dog is made submissive with training, you are responsible for protecting him, so that can reduce aggression due to fear and dominance as well as aggression that is protection based.

It will be helpful if you can find someone with a dog (perhaps your daughters at first) to help you once you have your dog listening to commands consistently. However, if your daughters dog lives with you, you will need to find another one. What you will do is have your dog on the leash. You will have your helper off in the distance. Your helper will gradually move their dog a bit closer to you preferably walking past your position in the distance. As long as your dog ignores them, you can give your dog praise and a treat. The second you see her fixate on the other dog or show any other sign of aggression (hair standing up, etc.) give your dog a correction by giving a short tug and a firm low toned "NO". It shouldn't take your dog long to realize you will not tolerate the aggression and that if she ignores the other dog, she gets treats. Once this happens you can repeat the training moving the other dog closer until she is no longer trying to lunge at other dogs. You will need to practice this when you and your dog are walking as well.


You might go ahead and teach him the quiet command as well. As crazy as it seems, you may want to teach the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after your dog has learned the speak command. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.


The breed is a herding breed so barking is a common issue for the breed as is nipping at heels. He is pretty old, so I wouldn't expect him to start playing but you may find he wants to run around a bit once in a while. I think with just a little training you will be very pleased with him.


I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


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