July 18th, 2010, 04:12 PM
My border collie is 9 months old, she's great! Perfect dog minus the barking while dogs are playing, I know she is trying to herd them but the barking will aggravate other dogs to attack her. I have tried having her on leash while dogs are playing to correct her barking with a tap (usually a physical touch, not cruel, will snap her out of her focus) but when she's not on leash I can't get to her and she can't hear me through all the barking and focus. Are there any exercises I can do that don't include other dogs.
It also seems the bigger the dogs the more focussed she is to herd them, smaller dogs playing is easier to get control over the barking.
She knows 'no noise', it works with everything except this. She's very obedient, comes when called 99.9%, knows all commands for obedience basically plus more, she's very very eager to please us.
Any help from a border collie owner would be great!
July 18th, 2010, 07:27 PM
I have exactly the same problem! Nova is a 2 year old BC. It's while other dogs are playing, she wants to be in control of the situation. Nova though, takes it steps further and nips/bites the other dogs, cuts them off and has actually made a 90 lb. lab trip and fly through the air... This combined with her anxiety of meeting strange dogs, and not allowing dogs within her space makes for a very stressful time in allowing her to socialize. She likes other dogs, but is hard for us to stay in control.
If anyone has any suggestions I'd love to hear them too. The only some-what success I've had is in redirecting to her favorite toys.
July 19th, 2010, 08:45 PM
... I know she is trying to herd them
No, she's not. Stockdogs don't bark while working. And if she's exhibiting any other BC traits like stalking and using eye on other dogs that in itself is not herding and some other dogs find it quite rude. Just out of curiosity, how does she carry her tail during all this? Up high, out behind, hanging down or tucked under?
but the barking will aggravate other dogs to attack her.
Not surprising, they're telling her to back off. Most likely they are reading far more subtle cues from her than the barking that sets them off.
I have tried having her on leash while dogs are playing to correct her barking with a tap (usually a physical touch, not cruel, will snap her out of her focus) but when she's not on leash I can't get to her and she can't hear me through all the barking and focus.
you've already hit the nail on the head...keep working with her on leash or a long line for now. When you think she's ready to try off-leash again don't give her the chance to keep repeating self-rewarding undesirable behaviour. If she blows her chance, backtrack and put her back on leash/long line and continue working at that level.
Are there any exercises I can do that don't include other dogs.
you could work on her focus on you with something like a "watch me" command. Do you do any clicker training? If you do just click and treat for her making eye contact with you. Lots of repetition...add the command "watch me", click and treat for the correct response.
She's very obedient, comes when called 99.9%, knows all commands for obedience basically plus more, she's very very eager to please us.
Will she leave whatever she's doing under other circumstances to come to you? What command do you use and is it always consistent? "here"? "come"? said with or without her name or not always the same? This could make a difference in how she responds. If there is any inconsistency at all in how you call her you could start right from scratch with a new command and always, always, always use the same one. "That'll do" is the command normally used for working stockdogs and it means "stop what you are doing and come to me". Properly trained it will call them off the livestock, which is not always an easy thing to do when all they want to do is work. If you can teach her an effective "that'll do" then if you try her off leash and she starts barking, call her off and give her a time out. With consistency she will figure out that barking earns her more leash time.
One of my younger dogs is quite taken by my horses and if they are doing anything more than just standing around he likes to get in with them and then he's deaf to me. I might call his name and give him a that'll do once but if he's tuned me out I don't keep calling (don't want to desensitize him to either the command or his name), I'll put the other dogs away, go close to him and break his focus by putting myself in his line of sight and getting eye contact. Then I'll tell him again "Dru! That'll do" and usually he is like "oh hi, were you looking for me" and happily follows me back over to the yard. If the horses are goofing around and he tries to get running around them I'll tell him in a gruff voice "Dru!!! Get out!!!. This is a younger dog that's had no stock training yet (he's had exposure to my poultry and horses but no training on sheep yet) He does understand the that'll do command, he just gets drawn in by the horses movements. He is getting better, at first I used to have to go get him and put him on a leash to draw him away. The most effective thing I've found if any of them try to blow off commands is to physically put yourself between them and the object(s) they are so intent on. Break that eye contact and make them give it to you instead of whatever they were looking at and then their hearing turns back on again. Sometimes you have to be quick on your feet. ;) Arms spread wide doesn't hurt either to cut them off/block them and a stock stick can be tapped on the ground in front too to help break their concentration (just have to be careful not to whack the dog on the head or back if they're quicker than you!)
A couple of my other dogs that have had stock training with sheep are now working goose control dogs and I can send them into the river swimming after geese but when I say "Rain, that'll do!" or "Storm, that'll do!" they call off the geese and come back to me.
ETA: One other thought, you said that with all the barking she can't hear you. Maybe instead of trying to call her name and the command use a whistle to get her attention and then the command (I mean an actual whistle, not just you whistling). Or teach her the "that'll do" command by whistle instead of the words. If you're not working her on stock you don't need a special shepherd's whistle that can make all different kinds of noises and tones, a short blast on a normal whistle (a good one like a Fox 40) should be loud enough to penetrate the noise of the barking. That's if you mean the other dogs are barking too. If it's just your own dog then it shouldn't be as hard for her to hear anyhow.