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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20222
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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My border collie is 22 months old and I have had him for 6

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My border collie is 22 months old and I have had him for 6 months. He came from a good home where the owners were going to live abroad. He has settled in really well but he nips everyone who comes to the house. Outside on his walks he never bothers with people so it is just territorial. Apart from having him put down how can I stop this behaviour as we have already had a visit from the dog warden
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.
How much obedience training has he had?
What have you tried to stop the behavior?
Is he running up to them and nipping or sneaking up behind them to bite them?
It sounds like you used a training collar on him for nipping. Is that correct?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I took Ben on in January when he was 18 months old. He has been trained to come, sit and stay but nothing else. He does not come to the call when he is distracted. I have used a spray collar which he is oblivious to, an electric collar which does has a bit of effect. He runs up to them and nips them. This has now happened 6 times but is only territorial as he is fine when out walking

Border collies are a herding breed. Often they nip as a way of herding people where they feel they should be going. They can be territorial as well and protective. However, it can be corrected. Training collars are usually not effective when used in cases where a dog is showing aggression. In fact, a dog will sometimes associate the shock of a shock type collar with the person and become even worse feeling that they are being attacked.
Now some trainers will use them to stop a dog from approaching people and stop aggression before it starts. They do time the correction in such a way as to correct it before the dog actually gets anywhere near the person. I personally do not think it is a good use of a remote training collar.
Since this is a herding breed, Ben needs a lot of exercise and mental stimulation as well. You might increase the number of walks you take him on and then start additional training with him. Focus on a good sit or down and a release. Often owners teach a dog sit and down but never teach a release command and thus the dog makes the determination of when they have sat long enough. If you have a release command, the dog knows they are supposed to stay until you tell them to move.
Between this command and the recall (come) command you should be able to control him and stop him from approaching people entering the yard. Let me give you the instructions I normally give for people having problems with their dog not obeying the recall command consistently.
Many dogs don't come when called because they have learned that the only time they are called is when fun time is over. People call their dogs to them to make them come inside or to stop chasing prey (cats) or to be put on leash (end of free running time) or even crated. The only association they have with the come command is negative.
Additionally, dogs find chase to be a highly amusing game and have learned that if they get close to a human, the human might chase them. They love a good game. So what you need to do is make coming to you more pleasurable.
The easiest way is to reward your dog with small tiny treats and praise whenever your dog comes to you when you give the command. Do this even when the dog wants to come to you. After a few treats, the dog will associate coming to you with getting treats and praise. Outside, you will want to use a long lead. Do not drag your dog to you, but say the command and if the dog doesn't come, give the leash a short tug. Start with short distances and gradually extend the distance as your dog becomes more familiar with the command. You will use this when you have people come over to help with training. Over time, you will reduce the treats and increase the praise until praise is the only reward. Another thing to remember is to never call a dog to you to discipline it, go to the dog. During training I don't call a dog to me unless it is going to be pleasant for the dog. I usually don't have much of a problem since the dogs quickly learn that I have thinly sliced hot dog treats just waiting for them to obey me. You have to use high value treats like hot dogs or liver. It has to be something the dog will like more than going after the people.
Also some dogs learn to ignore the come command but changing the command to like "HERE" will often get them listening again. I would also teach agility training using jumps, tubes, seesaws, etc and teach your dog to run through this. It is great exercise as is tracking which might be a good activity as well.
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.
Training will help the dog see you as the boss and as the boss, you will own the yard and house, not the dog and thus you will determine who is allowed on the property, not the dog. This should help with the issue as well.
Now there are some other things you can do such as have him wear a muzzle and/or create a dog free walkway zone for visitors using an underground fence system running the wires along both sides of the walkway to the house. You also need to post signs stating people should stay on the walkway to avoid the dog. The dog will also need to be trained and have visible flags to identify the zone he is not allowed to enter. The collar will stop him from entering. You train before people come over so when they do come, he will already know he can not enter that zone. Petsafe makes a good underground fence and they are often available on auction sites.
Of course, if he has a muzzle on he can not bite either but it would have to be the basket style muzzle that prevents bites. I'd use that during any training session where you have helpers come to try and set off the unwanted behavior.
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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