Kai is fourteen weeks old. Even when they visited him in his litter at four weeks old he growled when picked up.

This has now developed to sudden lunging and biting when he doesn’t want to be carried or cuddled.

One answer is quite simple and that is not to pick him up at all unless strictly necessary.

They do do need to carry him downstairs and possibly to lift him into the car.

For this they will teach him to either ask to be picked or to actively participate in being picked up. They can teach him, when asked, to jump up and put his paws on their legs so that he will be picked up in the most comfortable way for him.

When he comes over to them supposedly for a cuddle, they can do the ‘consent test’; Does your dog REALLY want to be petted?

Kai doesn’t like being picked up an put into the car.

He could physically get in onto the back seat by himself, so have they tried getting in ahead of him, sitting down then calling him in? Then rewarding him for jumping onto the seat?

They say the sudden biting is without warning but that’s not really so. The growl when he was a tiny puppy was the first warning. His ignored or scolded growls then force Kai to do something else to get the person either not to pick him up or not to touch him.

Despite this he will usually give another warning, backing off and staring or looking away.

Then lunge, snarl, snap or bite.

What worries the lady in particular is he does this when he’s picked up by a friend or other person. My advice is not to let them do it. Be his advocate. Apart from restricting his movements it could be scary.

Kai should have a choice in the matter. To quote the lady, ‘it’s like he wants to get down because he’s too busy’. Border Collie’s are busy, aren’t they. They’re not lap dogs.

Old-school discipline (which the lady certainly doesn’t use) would make things a lot worse and could start a conflict and actually cause aggression. It’s the same with forcing things out of a resisting puppy’s mouth or interfering with his food while he is eating.

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ and is always written with permission of the client. If you listen to ‘other people’ or find instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog it can do more harm than good. Click here for help