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Categories: Dog Fights

Q. My dog has started to display signs of dog aggression. He is unrecall-able when in drive. Do I still carry on with doing the automatic corrections on the prong collar?
I have an 11 months Border Collie and was introduced to your site by my dog's breeder.

I've watched your DVD "Basic Obedience" and found it to be extremely useful and have practised the three phases approach to dog training as you've recommended. Though my dog has been through Obedience classes, but they all lack the "correction phase." Therefore the results have always been inconsistent. With correction built into the training program, I have seen a vast improvement in his consistency to respond to commands.

That said, I still have a couple of problems I can't really solve with him and hope you might be able to help me on them.

1) I've started him on the prong collar about a week ago and begun correction on it. I did a particular hard correction on him once because he was going all jumpy and refusing to listen. After that incident, when I put on the prong collar, he will look as if I've just taken his life away. He totally become unmotivated and shows a stance of fear. He would do the commands but looked very fearful. Have I over-corrected him with the collar? He is definitely a weak nerved dog. If I have over corrected, how do I solve the problem now to make him mind me and not just the collar?

2) He goes nuts over motorcycles. We stay in an urbanized area with lots of motorcycles, and everytime one goes past us during walks, he will lunge for it and bark like crazy. It's dangerous. How is the best way to correct his? I have recently bought a remote trainer from your website, Dogtra1900. Do I need to do an avoidance correction on this? ie. set to the highest level?

3) He has started to display signs of dog aggression and has been picking fights at the local agility club randomly. He doesn't growl or do anything. Just stare and run off fighting. He is totally unrecall-able when in drive. That was when I decided enough is enough and started him on the prong collar because I wanted a 100% recallable dog under ANY circumstance. However, I'm facing problem 1) listed above. Do I still carry on with doing the automatic corrections now that he is so afraid of the collar?

Please advise. Hoping you can shed some insight into the above problems.

Thanks so much for your time.

Best regards,

A. Border Collies tend to be dogs that have a LOT of drive but are very sensitive. This can be a bit of an issue when trying to correct problems like you are having.

I have a couple of suggestions. First off, if you haven't used marker training with him in the past I would recommend it highly.

The Power of Training Dogs with Markers DVD.

Once he understands the marker, I would use that to make getting the prong on a pleasant thing. You won't actually be using the prong for anything during these sessions, merely making a pleasant association.

I would use the electric collar for all the problems you have been having, not just he motorcycles. Instead of using it to create total avoidance (you have a sensitive dog) I would use it to reinforce a voice command like DOWN or LOOK or whatever you choose. Do you have our video, Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner? If not, I recommend it.

I also think you need to back up your training and work on the relationship and obedience you have with the dog AWAY from such high level distractions. Once he's working perfectly for you without a lot of distractions, gradually build up to being near other dogs, then other dogs doing agility. For many dogs, watching other dogs doing agility is almost too much, and if you try to rush through the foundation steps you may never have a reliable off leash relationship.

We have a lot of material to read on the website also, check out our free dog training eBooks.

I hope this helps.



Hi Cindy,

Thanks for your email and your advice. It's greatly appreciated. You are right. Tristan is an especially sensitive pup that's why I'm feeling quite at wits end what to do with him.

He has been clicker trained since he was 4months old, but I've just switched to marker training (after watching your basic Obedience DVD). It makes a lot of sense to me to harness the power of my voice than just a clicker. That said, I'm not saying that there is anything is wrong with the clicker. Just a personal choice. :)

The problem with his training before was that there was only the training phase, no correction or distraction phase. That's why the results I got from him was always very inconsistent. He's much better now when the correction phase is incorporated.

As for the marking the use of the prong collar, it is tough because he has already been corrected on it, so he knows the powers of it (so to speak). He knows there is a potential of being corrected when that collar is on vs just a flat collar. I'm now desensitiving him to the remote trainer I bought from your web site. I hope that goes well.

Yesterday I took him to the agility club on leash to just watch the action and hopefully correct him when he see the other dog that he hates a lot. I didn't plan to let him participate but his trainer asked him to do a run. The other dogs were in the crate. True enough, he jumped once and ran off banging on that particular dog in the crate to fight. And when he couldn't, he looked around the field for others to fight.

I have a question if you will indulge me. Do dogs make enemy of a PARTICULAR dog?!?! During our walks or even at a place with lots of dogs - all on leash) he has NEVER showed such aggression to any dog before. It's just this other Border Collie (who has fought him before). When they meet, they look like they are ready to kill..

I want to set up a situation to correct him on this, but the owner is not very cooperative. I really need this problem to be resolved because they participate in the same agility trials. There will be NO WAY to let my dog compete because I'm very sure now that if I ever let him off leash to run the course and if he even catch a glimpse of the other dog, he will leave the course and run off in the middle of the competition to start a fight.

If you have any suggestion to correct this behavior, I will greatly appreciate it.

I know you suggested to bring him to the field only when he is more obedient. He is 90% recallabe and is quite obedient normally. That's why I brought him to the field to just watch. Another point is, once I put the prong on him, He will avoid the other dog totally. It was when he was off the leash to run the course (His trainer does not believe in a long lead) that he went off to fight.

So I'm finding it very hard to correct him to show him that it's unacceptable to fight AT ALL. doesn't matter who.

Really appreciate your insight in this. Thanks!

Warmest regards,

  Follow-Up Response:

There are dogs that do make enemies of a specific dog. With that said, I don’t allow my dogs to show aggression regardless. It’s a matter of me being in charge and controlling my dog at all times.

I really think that at 11 months old, your dog is not ready to be tested off leash especially since he’s showing aggression to other dogs. I don’t think I’d be in such a big hurry to put him in a position to make mistakes until he’s been working for you close to 100% with no incidence of aggression or disobedience.

I would NEVER bring a dog aggressive or easily stimulated dog to a field with other dogs working “just to watch.” When my dogs are with me they are expected to be mentally connected with me, not looking at other dogs and getting excited. I use other dogs working to proof my training, my dogs are not allowed free time to fixate on other dogs doing agility or any other type of activity. I have very high drive Malinois, and I do agility and other sports there are highly stimulating and because of the foundation I have put in place they focus on me even more intently when there are activities going on. They’ve learned that I am the most interesting person or thing around.

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