So you have or are looking to get a Border Collie, but you are not sure how to introduce them to your other dog? Or maybe you just want to know how to socialise your dog so they play nicely with other dogs in the park or on walks. We know it can be a worry, but if you introduce them in the right way, they will soon get along with your current dogs like a house on fire and the popular kids in the local park to boot.
Below we will take you through the steps you need to take to ensure your dog is properly socialised and gets on well with any other dogs.
INTRODUCING YOUR BORDER COLLIE TO ANOTHER DOG
Border Collies have their temperament and level of comfort with other dogs. Some dogs that have been developed to be watchdogs or guard dogs are more aggressive than dogs that have not been bred for that purpose. The nature of your dog’s breed is what you need to keep in mind, especially where training may not yet have taken place.
If you plan to add a dog to your home it’s important to know that spaying or neutering animals tend to get along better with other animals than intact breeding dogs. A spayed female and a neutered male will generally get along better than two males or two females. Both dogs can become aggressive when the female is in heat, so keep in mind that a neutered male and breeding female will act the same as a breeding pair.
Start on Neutral territory
The Border Collies need to meet in a place where they are new to each other. The dogs should be kept on a leash but should interact with the person they are with. Keep the dogs’ attention by moving them closer to the handler. When they are comfortable, move them closer. Meeting in a neutral place like the park can often be a good idea – it would be a good idea also to ensure that no other dogs are around and create a distraction.
Keep dogs separated initially
The chances of aggression increase if the Border Collies are on very tight leashes. The handler should remain calm and relaxed. Before having the dogs play together, they should be introduced several times. Pulling on the leash can potentially increase anxiety and therefore increase the chances of a feeling of aggression.
If there is aggressive behaviour by either of the dogs, be prepared. They’ll most likely try to establish which dog is the leader by growling, posturing or even fighting. If there is any aggression, have a way to separate the dogs and keep them out of the way of each other.
Walking side to side next to the dog is also a great option rather than having the two dogs go face to face.
Rewards and treats can be provided to your Border Collie (and also the other dog) to keep things relaxed. If it feels like the dogs are showing signs of being over-excited, take a break.
If you are introducing the Collies at home rather than in an open space – keep them separated until they have become used to one another. Separate them in crates if trained, or in a different rooms and feed them in separate rooms to prevent any potential food-related conflicts.
It may take a few weeks for your two dogs to get used to each other, so we always recommend some patience and perseverance be required. More often than not, dogs become accepting of one another fairly quickly due to their companionship.
INTRODUCING YOUR BORDER COLLIE TO A CAT
Some dogs are cat chasers and some cats are afraid of dogs. It’s good if the Border Collie and cat are introduced to each other when they’re young, or at least one of them is familiar with the other species. The cat can seriously harm the puppy if it is introduced to it, so care needs to be taken when introducing it to a mature cat. Even a small breed dog can kill a kitten. Don’t leave the Border Collie and cat alone until they are safe. Bear in mind that Border Collies (whilst not being the largest of dogs), still hold a substantial size difference between themselves and a cat which can cause some potential injury if overzealous, even if they don’t mean to.
Cat fixation can be a common problem with dogs but seems to be worse with Border Collies, as they are bred purposefully to manage livestock and the like with the signature intense stare.
Border Collies are bred to herd other animals, and therefore are genetically wired to herd anything that moves, which also includes cats. This strong herding instinct may mean that your Collie decides it would be a good idea to follow a cat around the house or try and guide your cat into certain areas of the house. They may take on this herding behaviour by using eye contact, barking and possibly bearing their teeth – it would therefore be a good idea to keep an eye on this behaviour.
If your cat is the type of cat that prefers its own company or does not like massive amounts of attention, this may be an issue as Border Collies will be inquisitive and most likely annoy your cat with this attention. On the other hand, if your cat is playful and loves attention, then a Border Collie will be a likely ideal playmate. The combination of Collie’s physical and mental energy will likely mean some fun times are to be had between your Border Collie and your cat!
We’d recommend introducing your Border Collie to your cat slowly – ideally, if the dog is crate trained – you can use this to ensure that they can be kept at arm’s length if need be. We’d recommend removing the cat litter box and food from areas where your Collie can access – this will prevent the dog from eating the cat’s food as well as any waste material in the litter tray. Using a leash can also help in the early moments to allow you to monitor the behaviour and pull your Collie away if you feel they may be becoming a little overzealous with your cat.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT INTRODUCING YOUR BORDER COLLIE TO OTHER PETS
Are Border collies scared of other dogs?
Some Border collies may be frightened by other intimidating dogs and start barking, as a method of safety. Their genetics as a pack breed will also mean that they do this. Previous bad experiences of events may also trigger the mental health of your Border Collie. A lack of socialisation earlier on in life may also be a reason for why your Border Collie is frightened of other dogs.
Can Border collies be suddenly aggressive to other dogs?
Usually Border Collies are calm and collective but as they have the genetics of a pack breed – they may show aggression to all other animals they see as a potential threat to their pack. This may manifest itself in the form of barking at other dogs.
Are Border Collies overprotective?
Herding dogs like Border Collies can be rather excitable – they won’t however be protecting dogs and protecting you by attacking intruders – as its not in their instinct to attack, but rather for herding them. Border Collies do however have an inherent instinct to be attached to one person in the family, in the olden days, this would have been their master so they may become overprotective of that one person! They will also display absolute loyalty and devotion to their owners too. Their overprotectiveness is likely to be maxxed out at their desire to herd the family into one place!
Whilst Border Collies are generally not food-driven, they arent likely to be overprotective of their food – unless they have an innate fear that someone or something will be taking their food away from them. It is also unusual for a Border Collie to be overly protective of their toys.
What do I do if my Border Collie is growling at other dogs?
Your Border Collie may be growling because he feels threatened by the existence of another dog. We would heed this as a warning that he does not want to see them in front of them – this could include growling at the usual suspect, the postman! If they are out for walks in the park, leave your dog on a leash if this becomes a regular occurrence. Everytime your Collie growls at another dog, use the ‘quiet’ command and when he obeys, give them a treat. If your Collie does not respond, make him lie down until the other dog passes.
What do I do if my Border collie is snapping at other dogs?
Your Border Collie may snap at dogs if they enter into their personal space, even if the dog in question is doing it in a playful way or coming over for a sniff. Keeping your Collie on a leash can help avert any of this situation if their recall is not great.
Do Border Collies kill cats?
Whilst it’s common for some dogs to want to hurt cats, the size of the Border Collie is a medium size so may not be so much of an issue. It’d be highly recommended that they are kept away from cats and as long as some of the tips above are used, you can have a good first introduction to cats. As Border Collies are avid herders, they may attempt to herd cats, this may create potential situations where injury is possible to your cat if overzealous.
Hopefully the information we’ve provided gives you a feel for the different things you may need to consider to introduce your Border Collie with other dogs and cats – they can be nerve wracking times, but by following some of these instructions – in no time your Border Collie will be making friends out on walks and in the park, and getting on with some new kitten friends!