Canine Behavior/dog


will my border collie protect me?
details: see i have a border collie female. i adopted her. it was actually accident i met her. see a year ago i begged my parents to get me a border collie. FOR A YEAR! they finally said yes but there weren't any male dogs. i got a white german shepherd instead. we were in houston at the time now brownsville, i found  her. i was looking supplies for a project, when we saw some dog. my mom said we could go look at the dogs. si\o we went and i saw sophia (my border collie) and her brother, jake. i walked both dogs and liked sophia. i begged my mom and she said yes, after some time. we brought her home and yeah had her since.
info about sophia: she is friendly doesn't really growl only barks., and is sweet to me and my family.but there have been times when she's with me and then coco(my white german shepherd) came and he was stepping on my foot so i said OW! she snarled at him, as well as showed her teeth, and bit at the nout (not too hard though) then came back. idk if it' s just playing or to protect me. she's a year old. and yeah sorry this is so long. i want to know if she would protect me, like if someone broke in or attacked me. she follows me around and listens to me. since day she did that. once someone was walking by and she flashed by (in our backyard) barking i went and told her to stop she did and was submissive. so yeah. i think she thinks of me as her master. do you think she would protect me? again sorry for it being so long. :)

First question, a legitimate one:  why do you think you need protection?  If you feel unsafe in your neighborhood or home, tell your mother about this and explain why.  She will stop whatever it is, if anything is happening.

Second:  Your Border Collie is a work driven breed; this means, she needs a JOB.  She needs to have something to do, on a daily basis.  I suggest you learn how to teach her "tricks" for positive reward (small high value food treat).  Go to Dr. Ian Dunbar's website: he is a world famous veterinary behaviorist.  All sorts of wonderful information to train dogs is on his page:  You can do a "search" for various articles; your dog is a natural for eye/chase/control and that means even a large, solid child's rubber ball rolled around in your living room and down your hallway that she can chase and "control", ultimately nosing it to you for high value treat.  Fun for everyone; even your white GSD would love this game (played separately, not with the Border Collie).

Third: When she snapped at your GSD, you need to have verbally reprimanded (a stern "NO") followed immediately by a command to "sit" in a gentle voice and then lots of praise.  The Border Collie is a serious herd guarding dog but this behavior toward your other dog is not acceptable.

Fourth: Any dog will protect you, including the tiniest Chihuahua, if its temperament allows this.  You have two dogs in your home that are intended as herding and herd guarding working dogs.  If someone broke in (and it's highly unlikely anyone would be stupid enough to do that with a large GSD in the house, they'll look for a place where there are NO dogs), if you are legitimately frightened, the dogs will know that immediately and they will protect you.  So, Lucy, the answer is yes.  But the real problem is that I want you to feel safe at home so that you don't need to worry about this.  Please talk to your mother if, for some reason, you do not feel safe.  

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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