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Is our Border Collie puppy fixating?

761 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  hanksimon
Colby loves toys. She loves balls, frisbees and anything that could potentially be thrown and there is no amount of distraction that can tear her from the toys. Here's the irony: she is fixating. She is completely and utterly obsessed with toys. We can't even go to a field without her running a few feet ahead, turning around and waiting for us to throw something. Even if we have nothing to throw. Ace, on the other hand, doesn't care as much about toys. He'll choose Colby over a toy any day.

There are several fields near our house that we take the two of them to play fetch. Colby knows the drill. She sits down to have her leash taken off and will stay put until I tell her "okay." Then we play for 15-20 minutes. When we get there, Ace immediately does the Border Collie "eye" and slow-walks towards Colby and then tries to pounce on her. Or, he'll lay down next to one of us and wait for her to get within a few feet and then pounce. She completely ignores him.

I'm trying my best to be objective because I've seen obsessive and fixating behavior and I've seen it get out of hand. If we have a problem, I want to fix it. For the most part, I think Ace's behavior is a non-issue. I think he's just trying to play with Colby and trying to do everything in his power to get her to pay attention to him. My fiance is convinced that he is fixating on her and that we need to stop the behavior now (before he's a 50+lb brute).

I suppose by writing this post, I'm at least considering that my fiance may be right. What do you think? And, if he's right, how do I correct the behavior?
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So Colby doesn't react, she just moves away or something?

I tend to agree with you. BCs will herd other dogs, which might be part of it, or he wants to play with Colby, but Colby won't respond, so he keeps trying. The only thing I would be worried about is him developing the idea that it's okay to solicit play by jumping on another dog. Kabota loves other dogs and is very tolerant of other dogs, but I think even he would get a bit snappy about that.
Right. If you were looking at the two of them, you'd probably think Colby didn't even know he was there.

Now that you mention it, I guess that is what plagues me about the situation--the way he tries to elicit play. Do you think there is a way for me to teach him that's not acceptable?
That I don't know. Well, kinda, but it depends on if you know somebody like me.

My groomer has a 6 month old standard poodle puppy that likes other dogs but has no dog manners because she wasn't properly socialized (she's only had her a month). So she asked me to bring my dog to the shop for an hour a week so he could teach her to play nicely. I okayed it because I know my groomer and know she knows dogs and trust her, and I know that she was hoping that Kabota would snap and teach her puppy proper manners, but she also knows that Kabota is gentle and wouldn't be likely to savage her puppy.

If you can get a situation like that, it might work. Her puppy is doing much better at properly playing.
Mia stalks and 'attacks' the other dogs in play all the time. It doesn't bother me at all so long as it doesn't bother the other dogs. Here's a picture of her about to get Summer:

lols by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr

Horrible pic (she's dripping wet and it's blurry) but she's going after Bernard here

DSC_0488 by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr

And here she's going after Nard again

DSC_0270 by Summer_Papillon, on Flickr
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Find a friend with a Lab puppy and let them go at it. A boxer might be interesting, trying to bat him out of the pounce. A very socialized Pit might have the reflexes to respond, but might be too rough....

In other words, socialize with lots of other dogs... first some that he can't hurt...
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