Badger is a beautiful 17-month old blue merle Border Collie.
He bites his male owner. Everyone else is safe. It was interesting to see just how much of Badger’s day was ruled by Badger’s wishes, and just how much he rules the roost. Like most of us, because we are living in the situation, we just can’t see how much our dogs are controlling us, and it’s not fair on the dog. Children who do what they want when they want, where no doesn’t mean no and who always get what they want if they pester for long enough, who are shouted at one moment and cuddled the next, are not carefree well-adjusted children.
There is mixture of strong harsh-sounding commands and controntational control from the lady and the son, and quiet indecision from the husband who had been quite badly bitten a couple of days ago. The people feared Badger may have to be put to sleep.
On anaylising the biting occasions, they seem to be around the gentleman putting his hand in or towards Badger’s personal space – particularly anywhere he chooses to sleep. Badger is clearly confused.
Badger left is mother and siblings too young, at five weeks of age, so he started life without learning valuable lessons from the others in bite-inhibition and sharing. Things escalated a few weeks ago, and this seems to coincide with their changing his diet to a well-known brand that is full of colourings and additives. Would we feed a hyperactive child with food containing additives and colourings? I think not. At the same time they had started giving him a very high protein intake of raw meat.
Straight away they are changing his diet to the best quality. They are going to try to cut down on commands, to talk quietly and gently to Badger and through their actions rather than words to allow Badger’s clever brain to work out for himself what is and is not acceptable. The man is understandably on tenterhooks, so initially he is going to have little to do with Badger until he is able to send out more confident vibes. Badger’s personal space will be respected. The play with the son is going to be toned right down – why encourage Badger to do the very things we don’t want – grabbing and biting. Everything possible will be done to reduce Badger’s stress levels. The calmer he is, the less touchy he will be.
Three months later: ‘hi haven’t spoken for ages. just thought would share this as a proof of how far things have gone: Simon (name changed) was just putting on his shoes to go out and bent to tie his laces. Unprompted, Badger walked up and licked his nose! He also allows Simon to fix on his lead and comes to him when called! (and to all!) He likes Simon to fuss him but Simon keeps those to a minimum.
We have a lot of activity at the moment as we have builders in and one forgot where the dogs were and walked in there without warning. Badger was silent and sat to wait to be allowed to greet him! When I said ok, he went up, sat and was fussed for his good behaviour. Progress! As I write this he is asleep at my feet, his favourite spot.
If you live in my area and have a dog that bites family members, please give me a call. There is no magic wand or quick fix, but in nearly every case if the owners change their own behaviour, then the dog’s behaviour will gradually change also.