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Question
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. sio 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. :)

Answer
Hi Erza,

It's hard to say without seeing your dog and knowing more about her what her reaction would be to an intruder. I would focus on building your relationship with her and training her using positive reinforcement training - no force and no dominance.

We now know that dogs are not similar to wolves in their social structure, specifically that they are not "pack animals" so any training based on this notion is misguided.

Further, it (dominance theory or the idea that dogs are "pack animals") can be used to justify the use of force in training which can have some serious and unintended consequences. If you build your relationship with your dog in a positive way, which positive reinforcement training will do, she will probably, but I can't say certainly, act to defend you if necessary.

I would focus though on building the relationship rather than whether or not your dog would defend you, because none of us has the ability to see into the future. We can know, however, that if we train our dogs using positive reinforcement methods without the use of physical punishment or intimidation, we can build a great relationship and enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Thanks,
Cindy  

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Cindy Ludwig, M.A., R.N., KPA-CTP, CPDT-KA

Expertise

My specialty is clicker training. I'm a Karen Pryor Academy graduate and Certified Training Partner (certified clicker trainer). Karen Pryor was a marine mammal trainer and one of the early proponents of force-free animal training who helped popularize clicker training in the early 90's. I also do behavior modification with dogs that have fear, anxiety and aggression. I work with service dogs and was a certified therapy dog evaluator with two other organizations before starting my own therapy dog program, the first of its kind requiring all dog candidates to be trained with force-free methods and all evaluators to demonstrate a commitment to force-free methods. I made weekly visits with my own therapy dog to a nursing center in Dubuque, Iowa for four and a half years. I have an undergraduate degree in science and am a registered nurse with a previous specialty and certification in critical care, so I can answer questions pertaining to biology, behavior and pharmacology but because I am not a licensed veterinarian I cannot legally or ethically answer questions requesting a diagnosis. I have done graduate work in animal learning and wolf ethology, and have also completed coursework in dog biology, behavior and pet nutrition at regionally accredited U.S. universities. I continue my study of applied behavior analysis with top experts in the field. For more information and to schedule a consultation or enroll in classes, see my Canine Connection website: www.click-r-train.com.

Experience

Prior to becoming a full time professional dog trainer in May 2009 and opening my business, Canine Connection LLC I worked part time as a professional dog trainer and behavior consultant and also volunteered at humane societies in several states over a period from 1992-2009. My previous full time occupation was in the medical profession. I have completed various continuing education programs including but not limited to the Purdue University Veterinary School Principles and Techniques of Behavior Modification course; Clicker Expo; undergraduate courses in dog biology, behavior, and pet nutrition; and graduate coursework in wolf ethology. I was a Field Representative for Paws with a Cause for 3 years and train service dogs. My Golden Retriever that accompanies me in my work as a Field Representative is a "career changed" dog from the Paws breeding program that I have clicker trained as a demonstration service dog. This same dog I trained to earn the first Dog Scout title in the State of Iowa. She and I were also members of the Badger Kennel Club Drill Team and performed with the group annually at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. My dog, Ginger and I provided weekly pet therapy visits to a local nursing center for the past three and a half years. I continue my education by participating in seminars and class offerings provided by such notable experts as Dr. Sophia Yin, Dr. Ray Coppinger, Michele Pouliot and others. My services include in-home private training and behavior modification, group classes and pet sitting. More information is available on my website: http://www.dubuquedogtraining.com.

Organizations
Founder and owner, Canine Connection LLC; Founder, Canine Connection Positively Trained Certified Therapy Dogs; Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT); 2010 APDT Education Committee; Truly Dog-Friendly Trainer Coalition; Doggone Safe; American Kennel Club

Publications
Top Tips from Top Trainers: 1001 Practical Tips & Techniques for Successful Dog Care and Training (March 2010); The Golden View; Family Connections; WQAD.com; Animal info Publications; HubPages; Finding Fuzzybutt Four Blog; Petopia Newsletter, Galena, Illinois; Suite 101; Livestrong.com; eHow.com; Dubuque 365 Ink Magazine; Dubuque Telegraph Herald; Columbia Business Times; Columbia Senior Times; Columbia Missourian; Columbia Daily Tribune; Graphic Education Corporation; Belson-Hanwright; Critical Care Nurse; Journal of Emergency Nursing; Home Healthcare Nurse; Nursing; Journal of Emergency Medical Services; Shape; Houston Community College Egalitarian; Findlay College Obelisk

Education/Credentials
B.S., Science; M.A., Higher & Adult Education with graduate work in animal learning, canine biology and behavior, pet nutrition; Graduate, Karen Pryor Academy for Animal Training & Behavior; Karen Pryor Academy Certified Training Partner; Diploma, professional nursing; licensed registered nurse (R.N.); Paramedic completion program; previously licensed paramedic in Texas and Missouri

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