There a number of signs you must watch out for if you’re suspecting your Border Collie is developing dominance issues. If your Collie has some of the behavioral challenges listed in this article, it doesn’t inevitably mean that he has dominance problems. Sometimes you can confuse a dog’s dominance with his normal behavior, so don’t be quick to judge what is happening.
Below are some common signs indicating Border Collie dominance problems:
- Leash Pulling: If your Border Collie likes leading the rest of the pack, he will think he is their leader. If your Collie begins leading you whenever you are out for a walk and is not listen to you, it can be displaying early signs of dominant issues. However, other times leash pulling can be a symptom of another problem. For example, the dog may not be getting enough walks or he may simply be excited.
- Food Aggression: When your Collie starts growling or gets distrustful whenever you touch his bowl while he is eating, this can be a sign of dominance. This also doesn’t mean that your Collie is aggressive. Most dogs that don’t have dominance issues will also act this way because dogs tend to be protective of their food.
- Begging for Food: This also falls among the “maybe” signs of dominance. If your Collie is constantly begging for food, even after it has just finished eating, it means he thinks he deserves being given food first. It could also mean that your Collie simply loves human food.
- Growling when pushed off the bed: Whenever you try pushing your Collie off the bed and it growls in response, there is a good chance he thinks that you don’t have authority over him.
- Any kind of aggression or growling at you: The reason for this sign majorly depends on the kind of situation. If your Collie is growling at you simply because you are playing with is toys, touching his bowl, moving near his bed or trying to boss him around, this means that he thinks you’re not his leader or he doesn’t trust you. For more information on Border Collie aggression, click here.
Dealing with Border Collie Dominance
If your Border Collie no longer trusts you or is questioning your every move, this means he stopped seeing you as the pack leader or the “Alpha dog”. To regain your Collie’s trust, you will then have to make him see you still have the needed qualities to lead the pack.
The best way of doing this is to initiate simple and basic dog obedience training. Begin by practicing already familiar tricks with your Collie and slowly introduce new tricks for him as well. In the wild, the role of the alpha dog is to tell members of his pack what to do and to teach them how to behave. This is exactly what you have to do.
Below are some tips to help you deal with your Border Collie’s dominance
- Walk tall and proud when you’re near your Border Collie. Although this may seem like a simple task, don’t forget that dogs are very good at sensing other people’s emotions. The main quality Border Collies look for in a leader is confidence.
- Always reward your Collie for obeying your command. This is to show your dog that whenever he listens and obeys you, he will be rewarded. The reward doesn’t always have to be a treat. You can also pat him on the head as you say “good boy”.
- Don’t trick or bribe your Collie into listening to you. Rewarding is different from tricking or bribing your Collie to obeying your commands. If you trick or bribe your Collie to listen, you’ll be surrendering your authority and leadership because your dog will be doing things on his own terms.
- Ignore your Border Collie when he begs for food. Don’t get tempted into giving your Collie a taste of your food. You are the one who is meant to set the terms as the alpha dog. If you want to treat your dog, let him earn his reward.
What to Avoid with a Dominant Border Collie
There are some so called “tips” outlined in dog training guide books and some popular dog training websites that are quite misleading. Avoid following such mistakes as they will only spoil/harm the relationship you have with your Border Collie. Moreover, they will lead to further dominance issues and aggression problems.
- Do Not… Bite your Collie’s ear. Although this sounds ridiculous, there are people who actually do this. Your Collie will lose his respect for you once this happens.
- Do Not… Wrestle with your Border Collie just to prove to him that you are the alpha dog. This is unnecessary, ineffective and cruel.
- Do Not… Starve your dog. Controlling your dog’s food is one thing. But when you start starving him, it becomes animal cruelty.
- Do Not… Follow or believe any advice that suggests that it is good to punish your dog to show dominance. The person suggesting this insane thing doesn’t know anything concerning Border Collies.
If you would like to learn more on how to deal with a dominant and disobedient Border Collie, you can read the Border Collie Owners Guide. It’s the most recommended guide book that covers all you need to know about raising a happy and healthy. The book also covers what you can do to solve your dog’s obedience problems.