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1801 Views 10 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Karin
heh... i'm literally just walking in the door... tilden is in his kennel... so you may sense a bit of frustration here.

this evening tilden's herding lessons were a bit different, it was actually a herding game day / bbq. we get there, excited, prepared, etc etc... we're greeted by an off leash border collie barking like mad in tildens face. he was his usual self and just slowly approached the dog, they sniffed, licked, things were fine. we successfully met about 10 other dogs before the BC approached us again, this time tilden did one of those growl/snap type moves and it sent the dog off yelping. after that - our day went to **** and he was lunging, barking, snapping at all the dogs. i attempted to correct and distract him using treats, balls, obedience work, everything - but it was his mission to act a fool.

for those who have met tilden, i'm especially interested in your opinions.

my take on the situation was a) he got some sort of alpha rush by scaring the BC off... and b) the environment of 30+ dogs on leash and in cages jumping and barking and whining with excitement was just an environment that he didnt (doesnt?) do well in. i took him down to the creek to play awhile, walked the perimeter of the facility so that he could see and smell from afar... by time we made it back they had started the exercises and he began to lunge at the pen towards the sheep (after being described more than once as a "polite herder"). so finally i left, frustrated and embarrassed. i could feel it building and it wouldnt be fair for me or him to stay.

help, advice, comfort, experiences, explanations... anything?

i dont even feel like i knew him today.
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How old is Tilden? Could it be a stage he is starting to go thru? Sounds like the day was full of excitement and the BC just got the energy dynamics started when you arrived. You did the right thing to leave, and next time, hopefully he won't be "greeted" in such a does set a tone when from the get-go something happens to ramp things up.
i'm glad you think leaving was the right idea - i had a couple of people stop me in the parking lot advising to reconsider... i called it "stress" they called it "excitement" telling me that i want my dog to be excited to herd - but i felt like it was too much at other dogs expense, and that i'd be rewarding negative behavior by letting him still go in the pen. isnt it crazy how similar it is to raising kids.

he's 1.5yrs and i will admit that his obedience has been crap the last couple weeks, but he's never showed out in an aggressive way. ever.

i'll also add that he hasnt really been in a group of more than 6 dogs unless it was in an off leash situation. and if you've been to a herding or agility event - you know the other dogs arent generally interested in "playing" with other dogs. they're there to "work", and tilden still sees other dogs as "playtime".
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Yikes. That does not sound like the Tilden we met. But you mentioned that you were seeing a new and different side of him when we were at FF.

Haven't dealt with this kind of situation before so only guesses (and lots of
) thrown out there. I agree with onyx' girl that it sounds like the BC set it off-especially since Tilden's actions sent the BC off could have encouraged Tilden to further test this new found capability.

Maybe in that environment you want to start further back from the crowd? Did you try crating Tilden for a bit during any part of this?

How was your frustration level? Being on leash in that kind of excitable environment and feeling your frustration level could have also added fuel to the fire.

Hope you get some great advice and suggestions on this. Tilden's a terrific dog and you are great with him. Hoping for only a bump in the road for you two here.
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Just a thought. Crate the dog. Take him out to work, and give him chances to earn some freedom. Events like that do not happen often, and training opportunities are important.
^ you both are right, i should have taken his crate and tried that while i was there. i was a bit confused about how the event would be run - being my first time - but should have packed it as a precautionary measure. when i got there i felt like such a n00b - everyone had tents and chairs and ice chests and crates and x pens, etc... i walked in with... tilden and a fruit basket (it was a potluck bbq)!

the border collie set the initial tone (and that woman got spoken to and asked to leash & control her dog) but like i said, most of the dogs there were anti social... and tilden sees other dogs as a social opportunity.

samuel - i hope as well that this is just a bump in the road and even better, just a bad day for him... at FF it was his confidence that surprised me - charging into the water, showing interest in the ball, taking the huge pipes on as if he'd done it all before... maybe that confidence was the beginning, and now more than ever i need to make sure he stays in check.

i made sure to keep my frustration level under control. left his leash loose and removed both of us from the situation several times to just enjoy the scenery.

here's proof

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It was late when I read your initial post, and I did not catch the fact that the other dog was off leash. Holy crap, if that was a SchH event the handler would have been sent home after getting an earful. Crates are essential for seminar's, events and even regular training groups in my opinion. Then start from afar, and redirect for any butthead behavior. Honestly, it's not a big deal. He's just loading for the work.
Originally Posted By: Camerafodder^ you both are right, i should have taken his crate and tried that while i was there. i was a bit confused about how the event would be run - being my first time - but should have packed it as a precautionary measure. when i got there i felt like such a n00b - everyone had tents and chairs and ice chests and crates and x pens, etc... i walked in with... tilden and a fruit basket (it was a potluck bbq)!
That happens to a lot of us the first time out. I did not take a crate (or chair) for Kayla's first Rally trial. THAT has never happened again. I leave a soft crate in the car so it's there at any time and usually take a wire crate/ex-pen depending on the event now.

Make sure you have a cover for the crate as well. Here's to the next successful outing.
Originally Posted By: Everett54Yikes. That does not sound like the Tilden we met.
I agree, he seemed very comfortable being around a bunch of dogs at FF, pretty unflappable. Sounds like he just went over threshold in a very stimulating environment. The good news is now you know where his threshold is, and you can be better prepared next time.

I wouldn't worry about it unless you start to see his behavior degenerate under conditions that he used to be able to handle just fine. It could simply have been too much going on at once for him on that particular day and he'll continue to be his sweet goofy sociable self.
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^fingers crossed. i'm going to start trying some new things during his playdate today. normally i park farther down the park, do about 10 mins of obedience with him, then walk calmly until we reach the other dogs and then release him. i doubt that any aggression will come out, but i want to just try keeping him focused and controlled in a playful environment... closer to the dogs... on leash... or maybe just sitting on the side of the fence awhile in a sit/stay.

thanks for the encouragement guys! i know he's a great dog, its just hard to handle seeing him not in his best light.
Sorry to hear about your and Tilton's bad day. I can totally relate because Heidi definitely has her ups and downs in the area of dog relations (see my post in the agility section for more details:

I think that Tilden was just having an off day and it didn't help to have the border collie rushing into his face. I agree about the "alpha rush" because I've seen Heidi get that way when another dog seems to be scared of her or overly submissive toward her. When she gets like that, it's best to take her away, saying "Let's go" in a cheerful voice.

Tilden was so good with ALL the other dogs when we got together at FF. He was even good when Heidi when she was acting ornery toward him when he tried to play with her.

So, don't feel bad. It's just one of those ups and downs with a rescue dog. We don't know their history, so it's hard to know why they do the things they do. More socialization in a controlled way has helped Heidi a lot, as has clicker training and us being very aware of our feelings as she's coming in contact with other dogs. I have a tendency to be worried no matter how I try to control it, whereas Dave is more relaxed. And she does better with him holding the leash.

I'm sure next time, Tilden will do great (just like Heidi did in her subsequent agility class!)
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