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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Let me begin by saying we're getting a professional dog trainer to help, but I'm trying to figure out what is triggering our dog so I'm curious if people have some ideas. Our dog is 1-year old and is part border collie/Aussie. She has never shown an ounce of aggression to us or our close friends.

Seemingly randomly, however, she'll 'go after' someone and start aggressively barking and lunging. Here are the times it's happened.

- My girlfriend was walking her and a bunch of people were walking and running by on the sidewalk. The dog randomly barked and lunged at a kid who was running by.
- yesterday at the beach, a buddy was petting my dog then stopped. A few hours later he came over to say good by. She was laying behind my chair, I reached up and slapped him a goodbye handshake and she lost it, barking and lunging at him.
- At a bar a woman was petting her. A few hours later when she was leaving she came over to say goodbye to the dog and she lost it.
- A man came over to say hi to her randomly at the beach. She licked his hand, stared at him for about a minute, then lost it while he was talking to me.

In none of these instances has she bit them and she had the opportunity in each of them to do it, but she is definitely aggressively lunging and barking. I usually grab her and pin her down to keep her restrained. When they walk away she's quiet again and just laying at my feet, but once it happens she's usually 'on point' and more susceptible to doing it again.

Given she's usually friendly and hanging out, then snaps at some unknown stimulus, it makes it especially difficult to anticipate.

Any thoughts as to what might be the cause? Like I said, we'll be getting a professional in as soon as possible but it's perplexing. I'm also curious if people have a recommendation on what to do when she starts lunging and barking. As it stands right now, I usually grab her and forcibly restrain her.
 

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I would start with removing her from the situation when she starts to react and stop pinning her or restraining her with force (use the minimum handling needed to walk away from the stimulus basically). Gain distance and get her focus back on you with rewards.

You removing her from the situation is an important distinction from the trigger/person/situation lingering until it removes itself (by the person leaving for example) because while she is restrained, it is doing nothing to improve her mental state or teach her an appropriate reaction. It is only stopping an outward show of reaction while letting the emotional state continue to boil up

Figuring out her triggers is probably a lot harder but I have yet to see any disadvantage stem from NOT pinning a dog.

Eta: also look up "trigger stacking" to understand how she ends up more on edge afterwards. Dogs do not clear stress hormones like humans do
 

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I don't know your dog so, can't guess at the triggers. I do know my dogs and, there are certain things about some people that will trigger them and, certain actions by people that set them off into defensive mode.

With one, he has a bad habit of playing well beyond when an animal wants to stop playing, he also thinks surprising animals and, putting everything form oversize hats to buckets over their heads is funny. One encounter with him and, after that, all four of mine go off when they see him coming toward them. I don't blame them, he needs to learn to leave them alone.

One owns two aggressive dogs and, thus has their smell on him and, that sets mine off since they have had a run in or two with his dogs.

One, the son of a neighbor, was the only one my dogs went off at seemingly without reason. A week later that person was arrested for child molesting and, after that I learned that he had been to juvenile hall for molesting a younger cousin several years before.

I trust my dogs, they feel the need to defend themselves or me against you, then I need to keep my distance, there is a reason, even if I don't know the reason, they know when someone isn't right.

Best thing to to is remove the dog from the person or ask the person to leave and not go near your dog again.
 

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She's a border collie/aussie. They are both motion sensitive, generally sensitive, dogs that are prone to reactivity of both fear and frustration types - with some straight up issues with various kinds of aggression. They are more prone to it when inadequately exercised and mentally stimulated/trained, but it's a fairly problem in both breeds, period.

Which, if I recall, about half the forum told you when you became determined that this dog was a good fit for you. Along with warning you about literally every other problem you have posted about, like having difficulty settling. I have no idea why you're so constantly surprised she does this stuff.

Yes, get professional help. There is no way for us, online, to read the dog accurately enough to tell you WHY it is happening. Someone in person can.

And yes, for the love of god, stop pinning and handling the dog. Create distance. Also the more often she does this, the more likely she is to continue doing this and the more likely she is to 'work up her nerve' or escalate and actually bite so actually manage her.
 

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What Cpt. Jack said.

Here is something else to consider. Some dogs, like Golden Retrievers, are social butterflies and their breeds are known to be social butterflies.

Other dogs, like Aussies and Border Collies are working dogs and are not social butterflies.. they want a job and that is all they really care about.

Behavior is hard wired. It is genetic. Both Aussies and Border Collies were bred for specific jobs and were not bred to be social. You may be able to be trained (note I did say YOU) to better manage the dog in social situations but in the end it may be that this is a dog you leave home and that is happier when you do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm setting up an appointment today. We've taken her to a professional before and he was fairly positive about her situation and felt, overall, she was well trained, surprisingly.

And I think you're mis-remembering, CptJack as I didn't solicit the board's opinion on what dog I was getting. I had her before ever learning about this Board. Most of the stuff I posted about we've fixed - including settling in the house. And my posts aren't meant at shock at what she's doing, but simply soliciting advice on potential solutions while trying to address it myself.
 

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Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm setting up an appointment today. We've taken her to a professional before and he was fairly positive about her situation and felt, overall, she was well trained, surprisingly.

And I think you're mis-remembering, CptJack as I didn't solicit the board's opinion on what dog I was getting. I had her before ever learning about this Board. Most of the stuff I posted about we've fixed - including settling in the house. And my posts aren't meant at shock at what she's doing, but simply soliciting advice on potential solutions while trying to address it myself.
https://www.dogforums.com/general-dog-forum/484378-early-puppy-socialization-question.html

Um, no. I'm not misremembering. Your post history is attached to your profile, so I checked to be very sure.

Read the comments there. Nearly every person there warned you that you would have fear and/or general temperament issues and difficulty. I'm not trying to be a jerk, but no. My memory and your post history are pretty in line.
 

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Okay, no, actually re-reading your post history it looks like you asked about *another* puppy that was a bunch of herding breeds + pit, and everyone in that thread told you the breeds were prone to reactivity/fear, stopped posting about them and then another 10 week old bc/aussie appeared on the horizon.

The general advice you got about those breeds still applied, though, and I think that being confused that one puppy apparently disappeared and another one appeared shortly thereafter, both without mention is pretty reasonable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And I knew full well what I would get with a herding dog, including my current Border/Aussie. I did my research, I've been around both breeds, and have a great dog. But like every dog owner I have questions as new issues arise - it's been 10 years since I last raised a puppy and have forgotten a lot of what I went through with him. Plus, I have a very active lifestyle so my dog is put in a lot more situations than the normal 'stay at home' family dog. If you have helpful advice, great. Lots of people have provided good advice and most of the time I'm asking just for confirmation of what I'm already doing. If you're frustrated at all the questions, consider your frustration received and simply ignore my posts.
 
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