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Friday, 29 July 2011

Collie wobbles

I wrote a number of years ago regarding my collie Jake who was frightened of whistles. The advice helped enormously and although he was never really cured of his fear I learnt how to manage it. Sadly Jake passed away two years ago due to an aggressive cancer and last year I gave a home to a two-year-old collie who was not being treated very well. He settled in quite well and I gave him time to adjust to his new life, which he did although he was quite nervous but he had my new friends and their dogs and the "pack" got on very well together. Since the New Year things have started to deteriorate. If one of my friends does not come into the park he was constantly looking for her dogs. Now he does not want to go out at all. If I manage to coax him to the park he has to stay on the lead as he wants to get out of the park. If my friend comes in with dogs he is happy for about five minutes to run with them and chase the ball then all of a sudden his tail goes between his legs and I have to put him on the lead again as he tries to escape. He is pulling so much on the lead and I have a long lead as well but he is beginning to hurt me. Around the home he is very obedient and to reinforce that I am pack leader I always feed him second to me and make him wait for me to lead the way in and out. It just seems outside he has no faith in me and there is nothing that has happened to make him feel this way.

In his previous home he lived with a young man who then moved in with his girlfriend who had a female Jack Russell and then she got a male Jack Russell. It seems there was a bit of aggression between the two males and they had to be kept in separate rooms when the owners were out all day. I have found out that the girlfriend used to slap my dog Woody quite a lot. It makes me wonder if he doesn't trust me because I am a woman. He has no collie attributes at all, he is more like a lap dog and I feel for him as he is only three. I have read a lot of dog behaviour and especially collie behaviour and I cannot find anything to help me with this problem. I have to work part-time but he has always been left and he is very good at being left since living with me. I am desperate to help this poor mixed up little fella because he is very lovable and deserves the best. I did think another dog for company might help but I don't want them to fight while I am not here.

I would appreciate your help as I have not come across this problem in any book I have read.

Sue Delaney, by email

1 comment:

  1. If you're desperate to help him, you need to go down the right roads.

    Perhaps by trying to "reinforce" that you are "pack leader", you aren't giving Woody what he needs. Eating before him, and making him wait for you going through a door first teach dogs nothing, dogs are not pack animals, though this doesn't mean they aren't social - invest in Barry Eaton's "Dominance: Fact or Fiction?" and read it, it's more a booklet than a book, but it is a very good book.

    Dogs don't need "leaders", they need someone to care for them, give them instruction in a kind and fair way, and make sure their needs are met. Perhaps one of Woody's needs *isn't* "go to the park and play with other dogs", and there is another activity you and him could do together?