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(I also posted this in Dog Rescue, where it disappeared, and General - adapted the title here)

Hello friends - I recently adopted a young border collie mix. He was first represented as a collie mix (rather than BC) with a caution about seeing him nip at running kids and interaction with my cat. I was not too much worried about the cat as he's dog experienced and feel he can hold his own. I dont have kids nor are there kids around visiting, so that too was not too much a worry. Although I know collies are herders, I assumed since he's a mix and what I was figuring might be more regular collie or sheltie rather than border, which I know are even more intense. He is such a well behaved dog. He knows commands and is an angel in the house. He is people friendly, rolls over to give tummy, and only when he's in a strange environment meeting people is he anxious and whiney. I know this is all adjustment time, but my first biggest concern is his behavior outside. I walk him several times daily and throw the ball or frisbee in the fenced yard to burn his energy. He is VERY low energy inside - does not reflect antsiness at all. When we start playing outside, however, he is a pretty aggressive heel nipper and arm grabber. It happens mostly when I'm throwing the frisbee. He'll scramble to go after it, but when he returns to me, he'll often run towards me, jump up and kinda bounce himself off me with his front feet. I can anticipate this and turn or attempt to stop this, but this is when he starts the hand/arm grabbing. If I then move, he's on my heels. And he's got a good grab. He lets go as soon as I "eh-eh" him, but it then continues. I will then stop play. BUT - he needs to play. They figure him to be around 2-3 y/o. Can someone provide some input regarding experience with these herding behaviors?

Thanks! :)
 

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This isn't herding behavior- it's misdirected, obnoxious prey drive. While it's most commonly displayed by herding breeds, it doesn't actually correlate with a dog's actual ability or desire to herd livestock. :)

So, that said, how do you fix it? There's a game from a book called "Control Unleashed" (which you'd probalby relaly enjoy in general) called the Off Switch Game, which works by teaching the dog to ask for wild play to start again by performing a default behavior (sit, down, heel position with eye contact, lie on a mat- whatever you like). HOWEVER, you can't start with that game- you really need to work through the whole program- teach the dog that x behavior is a really awesome behavior and will nearly always be rewarded (sitting either in front or in heel position is a popular choice for most folks), then get them used to doing it in more distracting situations, and THEN work up to them doing ot from play.
 

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lol I just adopted a 2yr old Australian Shepherd that has very similar behaviors. He doesn't do the heel biting though. I have to say it has gotten better, (the hand grabbing-happens when playing) If he gets too rough I will either say eh-eh, make an *ouch*dog sound depending on the situation and just not give him the toy and keep turning away from him jumping on me till he sits and looks at me. I would have to say he is a muted case of you BC but I think I'm going to look into that book recommended in the post above!

Best of luck! I'll need it too!
 
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