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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19828
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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Rescued a border collie mix and before she came in the door

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Rescued a border collie mix and before she came in the door she ran away for twelve days. Got her back unharmed four weeks ago, but she won't respond to her name, so I changed it. Still won't respond. even when she is on her back she won't make eye contact with me. She does make me a little nervous at times. Last night I found her bone under my pillow where she hid
it and I moved it to top of covers, She laid next to bone and the looked me in the eye and let out a low growl. I yelled at her but was a little nervous.
Why won't she look me in the eye even when she is laying on her back and should I be concerned

Hi JaCustomer,.

My name isXXXXX have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.


.In order to supply you with the best information, I do need to ask for some additional information. Once I receive your answer, it will likely take me about 30-45 minutes to type up your response. I hope you can be patient. .


Do I understand correctly that you adopted a dog and never even got it into your house before it bolted?

How was the dog returned to you?

How long have you had her back?

Do you have any idea where she was when she was gone?Is she spayed?

Are you letting her on the bed?

What obedience training has she had that you know of?

Was she classified with having any issues before you adopted her?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Yes I adopted her from a resuce on August 15th , she had been in a foster home for one week, previous owner had three dogs she was the youngest and they had to move, so they got rid of her. She bolted before she even got in my house and was on the run for 11 days, Numerous sightings of her durng that time and she would run like crazy when anyone saw her. She got trapped in a backyard on the eleventh day and the SPCA picked her up. I got her back the the next day from the SPCA. She had no issues that I was aware of before I got her. She seems very mellow in the house and with most other dogs. No obedience training as far as I know. Yes she does sleep in my bed at night and I do lock her in my bedroom when I am at work during the day because I don't want her on my furniture and I thought the bedroom was better than a crate. She is spayed. And I have now had her for four weeks. She can definetly hear because if you ask her if she wants a treat or to go for a walk she does respond. She know the command sit, stay and since I have her she know does "give me your paw". The growling is what concerned me and know today when I was rubbing her belly she would not turn her head to look at me. I even tried turning her head and she would not look me in the eye

Ceil,.It is unfortunate she was on her own for 11 days. It is likely that she had things taken from her and was forced to forage for food and was probably chased away by humans during that time. That might affect her interaction with strangers. To her you are a stranger and she isn't quite sure of her role in your house. .Dogs are pack animals and their is a leader and it is important for the human to be the leader or boss. This can be accomplished in several ways and one of them is through obedience training. Another way is to keep them lower than you. Alpha dogs stay higher than other animals so keeping her lower than you is recommended.

Dogs that are allowed on furniture tend to feel that since they are elevated to your level, they mentally feel elevated as well in the pack order and thus are the boss. Keeping them on the floor can help lower them mentally back to a submissive position in the pack. So the first thing is to not allow her higher that the humans or even on the same level.Attach a leash and use it to remove her from the furniture. Give a correction in the form of a quick tug and firm "NO" when she attempts to get on and a treat when she starts not trying to get on the furniture. Thus you are providing negative reinforcement for the getting on the furniture and positive reinforcement for the desired behavior (not attempting to get on the furniture).


Obedience training should be done as well or at least daily practice. Dogs growl to warn humans. She may have been warning you to stay away from her bone or reprimanding you for getting too close to her object or even to her. This is unacceptable. Dogs do not growl or reprimand their leader. They accept what ever the leader decides. They voluntarily give up anything if the leader indicates they want it. So becoming the dog's boss will help stop those growls if they are rooted in dominance or if she is unsure of her place in the family.


The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.


Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.


I also want you to teach her the leave it command. The following site goes over this command and how to train for it.


One thing to remember when using the leave it command is to initially always give the dog a higher value treat when taking something away. It can also be helpful to take something that she can have away then give it back. That helps teach her that not everything is taken away but if it is, she gets something better in return.


I'm confident if you institute these changes and start training, you should be able to stop the behavior pretty quickly. I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .


If you have questions in the future that you wish me to answer, you may go here and bookmark the page or make it a favorite. It is best to put my name "JANE" in the question as well. Please recommend me to your friends and family members if they have any problems with their dog as well. I would truly appreciate it.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thanks for the advice I will certainly try your suggestions. Also do you think it is Ok if I put her in the bedroom instead of a crate while I am at work? I thought it was giving her more room but I don't want her to feel it is her bed and I am the intruder. My dogs have always slept on my bed but she is the first rescue older dog I have gotten. All my other dogs were puppies when I get them. I decided I wanted a rescue because she was older and house broken already

I personally feel crating is the best, XXXXX XXXXX is your choice. If she gets on the bed when you are gone she will quickly learn to get off when she hears your key in the door. My one female still believes that I don't know she gets on the couch when I'm gone. The minute she hears my key, off she goes. Her hair left on the couch gives her away. It is good because she does recognize that I am the ultimate boss and if I'm home she has to be off the furniture. Many dogs will just not get on anymore, but an alpha dog around a large number of other dogs will still often get on but off before the owner comes home.

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