Untrained, Aggressive Acting Dog
QUESTION: We have a 2 year old Border Collie/Labrador mix male. Since a puppy he has been growling and threatening visitors to our home unless they come often enough for him to recognize. He also wants to attack people walking by our house!!! We tried to train him ourselves but end up putting him outside or locking him in a kennel to protect visitors. What are we doing wrong?
ANSWER: The Labrador is generally an affectionate dog even with strangers. Only occasionally do you see aggressive tendencies in this breed. Almost always it is from either a poor cross between the parent dogs (genetics at play here as in never breeding two dominant type Labradors to each other). Or lack of exercise and lack of Basic Obedience Training. They are known to bark deeply at strangers they are unsure of and even hold their ground but no actual snarling or actual attacking.
The Border Collie leads on the list of Intelligence in Dog Breeds. It is this extreme intelligence that gets Border Collies in trouble. Also they are a working breed who MUST HAVE something to do every day to prevent Boredom. They also require Advanced Basic Obedience Training to be happy, well socialized companions.
On top of that they need exercise, then more exercise, then add some more. This exercise must be daily and coupled with both play time with their master and TRAINING time with their master. Again daily.
Both these particular breeds (not all breeds are the same) mature both Physically but most important Mentally at about 16+ months old. In both breeds, Aberrant Behavior first rears its head from approx. -9 to 11 months old.
NOTE: If your saying that he has had dominance problems since a puppy as in 3,4,5 months old, then It Is usually Hereditary coupled with uncertainty if he is doing the right thing expected of him?
If it started more in the time frame of -9 months onwards, then it is lack of Basic Obedience Training and Respect for humans.
Regardless he needs to attend "Basic Obedience Training Classes". Not only is the dog learning to RESPECT his masters commands (the dog Loves you, just does not RESPECT you), the best part of such classes the owners are learning When and How to correctly Discipline a dog and When and How to correctly Reward a dog.
What is learned in class must be continued at home daily coupled with enough stimulating exercise.
If a dog is so out of control that it must be put outside or in a kennel then that dog IS NOT respecting it's masters commands to behave properly.
If not neutered, do so immediately. Expect up to 60+ days at 2 years old before the aggressive tendencies caused by testosterone leave the dogs muscle tissue and body organs where it is stored.
For starters, when someone comes to the door, he should have a leash on. He should be made to Sit, Stay beside you and not so much as wrinkle his lips, let alone growl. This dog needs to learn his behavior is unacceptable and putting him outside or in a kennel or where ever is not teaching the dog anything at all. TIME OUTS may work for children but do not work for Dogs.
Only through you learning how to Teach him and him learning that you won't put up with this nonsense from him will he stop.
Remember the big 4 when training all animals. Patience, Kindness, Consistency and Repetition. All 4 combined never fails to work.