Monday, December 29, 2008

Wii + Border Collie = Bad News

Did you know if you have a group of teenagers playing the Wii in your living room, bouncing around & in general having fun - that this will make a border collie (who was before this point rather calm and happy) very agitated and upset?

Friday Night:
John and the kids were playing Wii baseball. Finn & the other dogs were excited and bouncing around the living room with them. Then Finn suddenly nipped John hard in the back of the leg. John corrected him and Finn backed off. Then Grace took a turn, Finn circled around the chair and nailed Grace in the leg from behind. John corrected Finn again & they stopped playing the Wii and found something calmer to do.

Saturday Night: The kids were playing the Wii again. I let the dogs inside from the backyard. Finn came flying into the living room and bit Zach so hard in the leg that it broke the skin through his pants. Then he went after Evan.

I understand border collie behavior & why Finn was lunging and nipping. He is a herding dog, it is his instinct. I decided to work with Finn Sunday. Shaping his behavior with positive reinforcement, by marking the behavior hopefully modify Finn's reactions - basically desensitize him to the kids movements with the Wii. I had all the kids start playing the Wii again. Then when Finn ignored them, I clicked and treated him. He responded beautifully. After several sessions throughout the day Finn started to ignore them and looked to me for direction.

That was reassuring to me. He is trainable.

Later on though he started growling at our 10 y/o Grace and showing some aggressive behavior to the other kids when they would walk by him. That sealed the deal...

I could not trust him with the kids - which is not unusual for the breed. Finn is a young border collie who is very trainable. However he needs more than I can provide him in our home and he should not be around children at this time. Between the separation anxiety (cannot leave him alone & we haven't slept through the night in a week), and the biting I had to send him back to Bob (the breed rep for rescue). Bob has the experience, endless knowledge, patience and facilities to work with Finn. He can give him so much more than the very little I can...

I made arrangements with Bob to meet him this afternoon.

Finn cuddled at my feet all morning - I felt like such a traitor. That feeling lasted until Bonnie walked into my office & Finn started aggressive resource guarding - in a split second he shot out from under my desk and refused to allow her within 5 feet of me. *sigh*

I knew I made the right decision - Finn needed to leave. For my children and dogs safety.

I feel terrible....Finn has so much potential - but it seemed the more comfortable he was getting in our home the more aggressive he was getting.

It isn't his fault. I should have been paying more attention and not allowed Finn to be in a situation where he could fail like that.

Oddly enough...I am going to miss him. However I am REALLY looking forward to snuggling with my hubby and sleeping through the night - we get our bed back! YEAH!

Goodbye Finn


Darci said...

My newest dog Bear has some issues with coming in for a good nip when my son is getting to rowdy, or playing a fast paced game. We know what triggers Bear now, and try to beware of where he is when things get a bit....exciting. He is doing much better with my son, or maybe I should say he "knows" better now, but I would never trust him around my grandkids. You did the right thing, for your family and for Finn.

sheepkelpie said...

Do not feel bad. You didn't see this coming, and his aggression isn't a "one off". He probably was never socialized with kids as a young dog, and never learned what is "normal". Your priority is your family. Finn needs to go to a non-kid home, now, at least, the rescue knows his issues, and can work on finding him the appropriate place. Too bad, but in the end, you are doing the right thing. (())) (hugs) to you.

Raising Addie said...

Sorry that Fin did not work out. Sheepkelpie is right, your family and dogs come first. It sounds like Fin just wasn't the right fit.

At least you gave him a chance, when most people would not have.

There is a right home for Fin out there. I just know it.


fulltilt said...

I am sure there is a great home for Finn! Don't blame yourself or feel like you have failed him. He will find a great home and you will know you were a part of that :)

You can't put your family in danger :(

Versailles Rose said...

Better sooner than later. It's best for you and your family and really best for Finn.

He seems to be a sweet guy, but he needs training without puting anyone at risk. ((hugs))