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Hello fellow owners, I'm in need of some help regarding my new adopt and would love some feedback on training for the particular problems outlined in the post. This is a copy and paste from another forum I'm on so if you've seen this before I do apologize.

My family and I recently (2 months ago) decided to bring a new dog into our lives alongside our other 10 year old dog. He's an absolutely fantastic dog, very loving and adoring and always wants to have part of his body touching us for safety (he tries to hold on to your hand with both paws when you take your hand away from petting him). However, it has become very clear he has a lot of unresolved problems.


Breed: Collie mix (the shelter had incorrectly identified him as a dachshund/pomeranian but it's clear from his size, behavior, and face that he's a great deal collie)

We adopted him around two months ago where he was presented as a very shy and laid back dog, very frightened, and also extremely attached to his handler. However, by the end of the visit it was clear he had imprinted on us as well and was afraid to see us leave. He's around 2 years old, has been abandoned 4 times since he was born, and his most recent owner had him crated for the majority of the day (over 10 hours) with a few cats to keep him company. The constant rehoming reasons have only been noted to be landlord squabbles and the family's incompatibility with puppies. The staff alerted us he had a multitude of possible issues that they've seen in his time at the shelter, however we brought him home anyway as we suspected it was the stress of his environment (they had kept him in total isolation in the back on a metal mesh due to him getting easily excited by the other larger dogs, and while visiting him we noticed he had raw paws and almost no body fat which was camouflaged by his fur - none of their other dogs looked this way either)

When we brought him home it was essentially night and day from how he presented in the shelter. Every behavioral issue that the shelter thought he had has not been seen whatsoever.

However we do have some issues that have become clearer now that he has a new 'pack'.


1. Separation Anxiety
While it's not as far gone as I've seen some dogs (my family and I have had many pets throughout the years and have fostered regularly over a decade), he's very fast on picking up the motions of when we're getting ready to leave and will try to hop on our clothes and cry as if he was dying. It has slowly been getting better each day but it pains me to see him sometimes finish howling and then curl up by the door and cry in his sleep.

What we're doing about it - No coddling, complete ignore of his cries until he settles.

2. Over Protective
Now I know collies are a herding breed and are guardian like, but he has extreme defensive behavior towards strangers. If he hears movement that sounds like footsteps he'll start growling until he sees the person. If the person is someone he knows he'll stop (but sometimes he doesn't recognize them until he hears them speak), but if he doesn't know the person he'll bark and herd them away from me or another member of the household. We've tested this with a family friend and he will not bite whatsoever, only bark and herd, even if the stranger is handling him. If the stranger manages to pick him up he stops immediately.
He also gets this way if he hears a loud noise and will not stop until he's allowed to thoroughly investigate the source of the noise and understands for himself it isn't a threat.
Additionally, if someone used hand motions to speak and is speaking rather loudly he will act this way and have a defensive posture with his back towards the person the other is speaking to. I assume he thinks someone will be hit though that's only my speculation.
Similarly if our 10 yr old barks while running after us (normal for him and not a threat), he will snarl and get between our 10 yr old and our legs.

What we're doing about it - training with the 'Leave It' command which works sometimes but sometimes not even physically holding him down stops him from defensive behavior

3. Doesn't know how to play with smaller dogs
His most recent owner allowed him to rough play with her cats which has led to him not understanding his own size. Our 10 yr old is a chihuahua mix we rescued as a puppy from a puppy mill raid and has largely thought himself to be human, never displaying typical chihuahua traits including not even barking, knowing how to hunt and displaying a higher intelligence than his chief breed (he trained himself by watching our daily routine). However, because of this he is extremely laid back and doesn't know how to play with a more energetic dog. He has been with us through all of our fosters and they have all been respectful to each other.
Unfortunately, our new adopt is fascinated with our 10 yr old a little too much. He frequently displays submissive behavior towards our 10 yr old, as well as stalking him throughout the house, staring at him with minimal blinking for minutes at a time, forcing his nose into his ears and eyes, randomly licking his head, flinging his (large) toys at him and attempting to body slam him regularly to lay down next to him. Our 10 yr old takes a lot of this as aggressive behavior and flees or attempts to protect us if he's near us. Especially since our newest is prone to randomly and quickly popping his head up in personal spaces, which is a big trigger for our 10 yr old. Sometimes however, they'll sleep together.
This is my current big problem right now because they're both extremely social but the clash of personalities is making it difficult for trust to be set.

What we're doing about it - training with the 'Leave It' command as well which usually works 90% of the time, but it's taking its toll on both of them because our newest doesn't think he's doing anything wrong. As he still retains a lot of puppy behavior, and is endlessly energetic, I don't want him to think he's being bad because he wants to have a friend.

4. Hyperactivity
Our newest wakes up at the crack of dawn, or as soon as he sees any natural light in the windows and immediately runs to wake every inhabitant of the house. As he has his own gated area he will jump from side to side on the gate entrance for an hour at a time without stopping if he's excited. Usually this is for food or going outside (he holds his bladder until he's let out and will not go in the house under any circumstance). He also dislikes laying down or being still for more than 30 seconds. He is extremely attentive to everything that moves and causes disruption during nighttime hours as he'll randomly bark at the slightest sound.

What we're doing about it - we're trying to do everything earlier however it's becoming that his own routine is running our lives vs. us trying to live ours. While we want to cater to his needs the constant banging on the gate and panting has caused 5 deep morning headaches in a row and severe lack of sleep. We've tried having him sleep out in the house like our 10 yr old does but he gets into a bit of trouble simply because he doesn't want to be still, causing nightly rescues and regular sleep loss.


These are the main problems I would love advice for resolving. It's clear to all of us that he was never trained out of a lot of his puppy behaviors as well (gnawing/play biting when being belly rubbed, teething on furniture, etc.). I also feel like he was abused at some point with his behavior at certain movements or hand motions. The stranger aggression as well, while he doesn't bite, is extremely concerning to me because I want to be able to take him to parks and have him socialize as he is so loving and wanting of physical contact and companionship.

Again, sorry if I seem like I'm rambling. Thank you so much to everyone who replies.

Last Note: I have never worked with a true herding breed like this. I've worked with labs, dachshund shepherd mixes, samoyeds, GSD mixes, and chihuahua mixes. He's absolutely fascinating to watch but a complete 180 from what I'm used to, so any info from people well versed in herding breeds would be MUCH appreciated.

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If the stranger manages to pick him up he stops immediately.
the above should never happen.. never allow that to happen to your dog... so counter productive of teaching the dog that he should be suspicious of strangers..

not even physically holding him down stops him from defensive behavior
never works for anything positive, causes more stress mistrust towards you and more defensive behavior

two months? that is nothing when your retraining and they not your dog yet to gain any benefits from them. What is your daily schedule, that involves learning and training opportunity to be taught and applied as you go. Learning by doing everyday with a focus. If his training was neglected by his previous owners , then your starting from scratch of needing to teach him baby stuff, to include how to learn, what are humans for... way way going back to introducing communications

I grew up with collies.. the dogs were directly taught two commands one by my dad, sit, and one by my mom, shake.. everything else was just talking full sentences to and they an intuitive enough of a breed with their owners that they just get it... Great breed of dog,, but missing tons of information.

and for all the things he can not do right that he doesn't have the skills , then he should not be given the free opportunity to do them right now. leash him with you until his level of training and communication matches being able to learn new skills .. Not going to get everything all at one time... you have to build skills from the bottom up.

Collies are very protective and very feriece.. We the only house in an US Housing Community overseas that never got robbed . knowing my new breed of dogs instinctively will not accept people on my property I don't need to test them and then tell them it's the wrong answer..and correct them... I set them up making good choices so I can praise them. something that they can learn from that I want them to take forward to the next time the situation comes up.

all the stuff you spoke of ,, new dog who is still bounding and learning human interactions, is missing skills and needing guidance and direction consistently. Don't have the skills yet, let them co behind and baby gate and watch while you handle it... but don't set them up to fail....and correct them .. focus on your bonding daily schedule and skill building focus attention and application of simple OB skills .. and build on that since OB skills go with everything in life...
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