"Herding" collie(6 Posts)
Hi, I'm looking for advice on dealing with my collie's car obsession. We have to cross a busy road to go on our usual walk/run. She's MESMERISED by the loud approach of cars. She scrambles to get something into her mouth & then fixates on the road. Doesn't seem to hear me at all. Her recall is normally not too bad, but not bombproof. She's allowed to roam around our 3 acres & doesn't seem so bothered by us driving. She's been fine with bikes on our runs. So I think it's the noise & speed of the cars on the road that grabs her attention. She doesn't always try to chase them, either. She lies down a lot of the time & will NOT budge/follow commands. This morning she wanted desperately to stay in the middle of the road.....
once we get into our lane & are walking home I can let her off & she has never tried to get to the road again. The behaviourist I saw with her said she wasn't seeking the cars out, but when put in a situation with them she thinks it's her job to herd them/watch them. I'm working on desensitisation; but TBH I'm worried about exactly what to do when I'm down at the roadside with her. What I'm doing is allowing her a loose long leash (safe distance) & when a car approaches & her ears flick back to me saying "leave it" firmly. After a few cars we play in the lane a bit. Any other suggestions/experience dealing with this?
She's 14mths. Not neutered yet, very active & as mesmerised by power tools/gardening/lawn mower.......
She thinks it's her job to herd the cars and she thinks she has successfully done that every time the car drives away. You need to give her a new 'job' which is to watch you, heel, walk on etc when she sees cars. Teach her those commands if you haven't already. This way she is actively doing something she has to think about as opposed to just being told not to herd the cars.
really high value treat to get her to watch you/distract her....she doesn't get it until she looks away from the cars
Our collie never got past this and actually found being around cars very confusing and stressful. We generally managed to avoid it as we also had a lot of land at the time (she was our childhood dog). Good luck! I loved our Collie, she was be cleverest dog we ever had.
There's a number of things I'd try doing in your situation.
The first is impulse control exercises away from the things she fixates on. You can find loads of these online. A good place to start is Susan Garrett's "It's Yer Choice". There's a very good book, 'Control Unleashed' by Leslie McDevitt, which I'd also recommend.
The second is using something like the CARE Method to work on her response to her triggers. Although it's really aimed at reactive dogs it can still be used in situations like yours. The fact she also reacts to power tools at home does at least mean you can start with this in a very controlled environment.
Finally, I'd look at getting her an appropriate outlet for her herding behaviours. There are trainers about who offer sheepdog training and there's a relatively new sport called Treibball which is designed specifically for herding breeds. If these aren't an option then I'd look into other dog sports (agility, flyball, obedience, heelwork to music, etc.) to give her a specific "job" to do.
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