Can border collies be friendly?

NushLovesChicks

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2018
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I have one border collie who is 7months and she is terrified of new people and places. She’s fine with us but she hides as soon as a new person comes over. Even if we introduce slowly it doesn’t work. We also can’t take her on walks because she is too scared of everything!!! What do I do?!?!
 

sourland

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Welcome to BYC. Generally there are two causes of excessive timidity. The first is genetic which is very difficult to overcome the second is inadequate socialization as a puppy. This is also difficult to overcome, but can generally be improved upon. When walking her have at least two individuals and allow her to walk between them. Have a friend meet you on the walk with a treat that the dog really likes. Obedience training can also help as it gives the dog a 'behavior' to fall back upon. Good luck and patience. Such a b*itch should never be bred.
 

rosemarythyme

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Most border collies I've met are pretty outgoing and adventurous. Have you had this dog since she was a puppy, and do you know anything about her upbringing?

Both of my current dogs came to me as adults and both had shyness problems... my male dog spent weeks huddled by the garage door, only leaving to eat and potty. My female dog took to me immediately however she's terrified once we're away from the house - we're still working on her. I've gotten the best results from being persistent with making them face their fears, and consistent with rewards/praise for doing so - in the case of my female dog, she HAS to go on walks, but whenever she passes something scary without bolting she gets praised a lot, and I try to set her up to succeed by letting things like noisy trucks pass with her sitting instead of trying to drag her past while it's moving towards her. Obedience classes can help as well, to improve communication with your dog.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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At 7 months she could be going through a fear period. There's a couple of times as a pup is growing when they suddenly are more fearful of things.

If you introduced her to lots of people when she was younger, and socialized her well she should be okay as she matures past it. If you didn't it will be harder for her to accept new things.

I recommend distracting with treats if she is acting afraid. Otherwise ignoring the behavior completely is another option. The worse thing to do is to try to comfort a fearful dog. Petting and saying it's okay rewards that fearful state of mind. You need to be confident and sure of yourself or else your dog will pick up on it.

Go back to your basics and drill her on obedience daily. If you haven't already done that at a younger age now is a good time to enroll her in a beginner's obedience course. It will encourage her confidence and direct her strong working instincts.
 

NushLovesChicks

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2018
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Thank you for all the advice, I had her since she was 3 months old and she has been fearful ever since we got her. She was brought up on a BC and sheep farm which we've been to many times and we are good friends with the owner. We met her mother and she was the last girl left from her litter. Its got to the point where we have to leave her in daycare to go on a simple day trip that any other dog could have gone on. She's very clever and frequently slips her collar, but she always runs straight back home. When she is afraid she doesn't take treats. And we are taking her to obedience classes. She has a dog walker whom she adores and is so excited when she turns. So what is causing this behaviour! Thank you for all the advice you've given me so far:D:D
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
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My guess is it's just a phase. So did you socialize her a lot at 3-4 months? Taking her places and meeting new people? It can help. My oldest Australian shepherd wasn't socialized at all when I got her at 3 months. She was fearful too for her first year or two. Eventually she grew out of it. Keep things positive and moving forward. She will get more confident as she matures. Sounds like she's a sweet little girl.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
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Oh and sometimes the last puppy left in a litter can be a bit more quiet and reserve. Most people take those boisterous in your face puppies first. I've had a few last puppies and they are always less trouble in my opinion. Just keep encouraging and building your dogs confidence.
 

NushLovesChicks

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2018
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Thank you, is your Aussie friendly now? As in, would she be able to go to new places without being fearful? Just wondering what to expect! We tried to socialise ours but she didn't really respond. every time we tried to make her face her fears she just resumed the same behaviour! I will keep trying to build her confidence though :)
 

NushLovesChicks

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2018
11
17
27
Most border collies I've met are pretty outgoing and adventurous. Have you had this dog since she was a puppy, and do you know anything about her upbringing?

Both of my current dogs came to me as adults and both had shyness problems... my male dog spent weeks huddled by the garage door, only leaving to eat and potty. My female dog took to me immediately however she's terrified once we're away from the house - we're still working on her. I've gotten the best results from being persistent with making them face their fears, and consistent with rewards/praise for doing so - in the case of my female dog, she HAS to go on walks, but whenever she passes something scary without bolting she gets praised a lot, and I try to set her up to succeed by letting things like noisy trucks pass with her sitting instead of trying to drag her past while it's moving towards her. Obedience classes can help as well, to improve communication with your dog.

Did obedience classes help your dog? because my family were a bit doubtful, because I wasn't sure whether obedience classes would just teach her to sit and lie and paw and stuff which she can already do? So anybody who went to obedience classes please tell me whether it helped?
 

Dona Worry

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Jul 5, 2018
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Did obedience classes help your dog? because my family were a bit doubtful, because I wasn't sure whether obedience classes would just teach her to sit and lie and paw and stuff which she can already do? So anybody who went to obedience classes please tell me whether it helped?
A border collie *can* be wasted in an obedience class, but they will probably be a challenge for your dog, not because she doesn't know what they will teach, but because in a room with strange people it will be extremely difficult for her to focus and obey. I would definitely give it a try, and if you have the funds, take an agility class. Agility is a great mental and physical workout for a young BC, and it will build on the needing to obey and focus when exposed to strange people and dogs. A few important things:
DON'T try and reassure your dog when she first starts to be anxious . It sounds counterintuitive, but by trying to reassure her, you are actually reinforcing her fear.
DO express confidence, and a calm and cheerful demeanor.
DON'T offer treats to her when she is scared. It won't help. Oddly, this works wonders with my basset hound, but I've had bc my entire life, and it has not once worked on any of them.
DO keep a high value toy and in a really tight spot, oh-so-casually squeak it in your pocket or toss it down in front of the dog while you are walking. A lot if bcs are OCD about their toys, and can't not pick it up. Do not do this around other dogs or children as your dog may attack them.
DON'T allow your dog to slip her collar. End that at once. Get a choke or prong collar, but make it something she can't slip.
DO learn how to properly fit and use these devices before putting them on your dog!
DON'T allow people to approach your dog without permission.
DO encourage other people to avoid eye contact, reaching over the head, or touching the sensitive ears.
 

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