Ask Colleen Paige

Q: My dog has developed a dislike for all Border Collies. My normally friendly, peaceful dog goes into snarling attack mode (all bark and no bite) whenever she encounters a BC. What should I do?Is it normal for a dog to take issue with all members of a particular breed? – Jim, Golden, CO

A: Dear Jim, It's evident that your dog has had a negative or hostile encounter with a dog of this breed. Of course, knowing this, every time one approaches, you yourself become nervous and inadvertently give your dog a signal that her owner is also quite uptight about Border Collies!

Generally, what causes this situation is a canine bully who runs around the dog park trying to dominate every dog in sight. If verbal canine confrontation develops into "Fido fisticuffs" she may end up disgruntled with every similar-looking dog from then on.

First, do your best to limit any further encounters with this offending dog and try a different walking route or dog park so your dog can run and play in peace while you're working on the issues.

Then, every time you encounter this breed, try to leave the leash loose, speaking in a happy manner and offering reassuring comments while giving rewards such as a ball or a treat the minute your dog sees the other and before she reacts negatively. This way, if you are able to reward your dog when she comes face to face but before she reacts, you're not inadvertently rewarding her for lashing out. If all goes well, Border Collies will begin to represent something good and fun to her instead of the need for a garlic choker and some holy water. ■

Colleen Paige is an animal behaviourist, author, TV personality, and the founder of National Dog Day. Her websites include,, and

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