Generally, aggression is not a common habit in Border Collies. However, sometimes it can occur. The reasons and causes behind your dog’s barking, growling and even biting can differ depending on the circumstances.
When handling an aggressive Border Collie, remember that unlike the other behavior problems, this one tends to have some serious consequences. If you’re suspecting your Border Collie may be displaying early signs of aggression, act immediately. If you let the behavior unattended, it will only become worse until you try to rectify it.
It is very rare for Border Collies to become aggressive without displaying some early signs beforehand. Unless your Collie feels threatened or is in physical pain, he will show some signs of aggression before he does something drastic (such as biting or attacking you).
The following are some common signs of aggression that you should look out for:
- Dominance issues
- Disobeying familiar commands
- Showing teeth or growling at you when you push them off the furniture
- Barking at you and other people without any reason
If you’d like to learn how to deal with your Border Collie’s disobedience and dominance, check out the Border Collie Owners Guide. This is a complete guide that will show you step by step how you can deal with every behavior issue.
Common Causes of Aggression in Border Collies
There are numerous causes for aggression in dogs. Some causes can easily be detected and cured while others take time to be spotted and can only be cured through consistent behavior training.
- Dominant Aggression: If your Border Collie seems to have developed dominant behavior, he may be feeling he needs to be aggressive to remain dominant over you. Any dog that feels like they are above you in social hierarchy doesn’t hesitate to growl or even bite you. Take caution when dealing with an aggressive or dominant Collie puppy.
- Food Aggression: It is common for a dog not to be sure if the food you have given him will be there a few minutes later. The dog will feel like they have to eat the food as soon as you provide it before someone snatches it from them. So, the dog may growl at you when you try to adjust his bowl or try to take their bone. If you think your Border Collie is defensive of his food, don’t try to put your hand in his bowl. He will not like it. However, not all dogs will react this way. Still, it is their nature to be protective of their food. You can try to deal with this aggression problem by calling your Collie and giving him another treat to distract them from the food bowl. This will teach your Border Collie that they can leave their food for a while and it won’t be stolen by someone else.
- Physical Pain: When your dog is in pain, it is often under a lot of stress. As much as your dog may trust and love you, be very careful while tending to his wounds. If your dog is in pain, he may snap at you once if you touch him to let you know that he doesn’t want to be touched.
- Border Collie feels threatened: This kind of aggression is usually caused by strangers or people the Collie isn’t very familiar with. If your Border collie doesn’t trust someone or feels threatened, he is likely to make them stay away by barking or growling at them. This kind of aggression can be seen when dogs bark at strangers, the mailman and your neighbors.
How to Deal Aggressiveness in Border Collies
The best way to approach your Collie’s aggressive nature will depend on its cause. The first step to solving aggressive behavior is to figure out what is causing it. When does your Border Collie become aggressive? How long has he been having this aggressive behavior? When you answer these questions, you will be able to understand the cause for you Collie’s aggression.
Whenever you feel like the situation is getting out of hand, stop whatever you are doing and leave. Make sure that you don’t make things worse because you cannot solve your dog’s aggressive behavior by making him angrier.
If your Border Collie has already developed dominance issues, you’ll have to reclaim the “alpha dog” title. The best way of dealing with this problem is by initiating obedience training since this is the main role of the alpha dog. As soon as you begin teaching, training and leading your Border Collie, he will start recognizing you as the pack leader. Read this article for more details.
What to Avoid When Dealing with an Aggressive Border Collie
When dealing with a dog’s dominance and aggressive behavior, there are a couple of thing you should avoid doing. This is because they will not help you solve the problem. In fact, in many situations, they will only anger the dog even more.
- Do Not… Pressure your Border Collie during stressful situations. If your Collie is growling or barking at you as you try to approach him, do not continue getting closer. If the dog is growling, it’s a warning that you should stop trying to get closer to them. Respect your Collie’s wishes.
- Do Not… Yell, shout or hit your Border Collie. Since your goal is to solve the problem, try not to make things worse. You should only use these tactics as the last option or if you are under attack. If you feel endangered, try taking yourself from the situation as soon as possible.
- Do Not… Initiate aggressive dominance based games when playing with your Border Collie and it is already displaying signs of aggression. This includes games such as keep away, tug of war or any kind of chasing games. Instead, initiate peaceful but fun games like fetch.
Seek Border Collie Professional Help
Dog aggression is not a matter to be taken lightly, especially if you have a larger breed dog. If you think you cannot take care of the situation by yourself or you are afraid of your dog, seek assistance from a professional dog trainer. Since dogs can sense when someone is nervous or unsure, your Collie is less likely to obey and listen to you if you show such emotions.
If you feel endangered by your Collie or suspect he may bite someone, don’t hesitate to contact the nearest professional dog trainer. Let him know everything about the aggressive behavior because that is how they will know how they can handle the situation. Don’t wait till last minute before you do anything.