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Posts Tagged ‘Border collies’

After seven years of pet sitting, it finally happened – a dog nipped me.

He’s a border collie, like the dog in the picture, named Jack.  He and his owner participate in agility contests, and the owner trains dogs in this sport, as well.

Border collies, according to websites devoted to them, are among the most difficult dogs to keep as pets. Their energy level is off the chart. They’ve been bred to work hard as sheepherders, which involves a lot of running around and occasional nipping at slow moving or wandering sheep.

Unfortunately for Jack, he spends most of the weekday in a crate while his owner is at work. When I arrive, it’s not to walk him, but to let him and the owner’s four other dogs into their back yard for a bathroom break.

Jack already had a habit that expressed his discontent. Whenever I entered or left the room where he and another border collie were crated, he’d attack his dog bed in a frenzy of biting, ripping, shaking and snarling. When the crate door was opened, he’d explode out of it like a missile.

Our routine included a treat after he had returned to his crate. This time, after dashing into the crate, he immediately ran back out, turned to nip me on the knee and then dashed back in. He left one shallow puncture and several raw scrapes. Bruises appeared the next day.

Websites I looked at for insight into border collies suggested that nipping is hard-wired into them, as is their need for a tremendous amount of exercise daily. Jack’s owner has decided to find him another home. Since he now has a history of nipping, this will be a challenge. Here are some of the websites I consulted:

http://www.aspcabehavior.org/articles/43/Mouthing-Nipping-and-Play-Biting-in-Adult-Dogs.aspx

http://dogscouts.org/Aggression.html

http://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/bordercollies.html

I still visit his home almost daily to let out the other four dogs. He remains in his crate, without even that brief mid-day break. His dog bed has been eviscerated, its stuffing strewn all around the outside of the crate. It’s very hard to leave him in there while he watches the other dogs go out. I don’t blame him (or his owner) for taking out his frustration on me, but can’t risk letting him do it again. Next time might be a bite instead of a nip.

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