Training Border Collies – My adopted Border Collie is scared of everything and took off but stays around nervous to come in the House


by Lisa
(Rhode Island)

I adopted this 9 month old Border Collie Aussie mix. All I know of her is what I was told. I was told she was captured with her mom and litter mate when she was only a few days old. She was first adopted at 6.5 months and given up 2 months later because she wasn’t the playful outgoing puppy they thought they were getting.

The second family was only a foster family and had her for only 2 weeks. She is the sweetest dog and does not have a mean bone in her body but is scared of EVERYTHING and trusts no one. She is especially fearful of men. we had her for a week and she escaped. She was out for 2 weeks before we could get her in. She just happened to follow my other dog into the house. A month later she escaped again. The whole time she was in the house you could see she was never comfortable always nervous and would still never come to us. She has been out now for over 2 months. She stays around our house or in neighbors yards, comes in when you call her, sleeps on our porch or under the shed, eats breakfast and dinner on the porch but will not venture through the door for her food, greets us when we come home etc she just will not let us touch her. She acts playful like she wants out attention but will not come near enough to pet her. We tried sedating her one day but it wasn’t enough to make her relaxed enough to catch her. We have tried safe traps food lures etc nothing works and I am afraid of her getting hurt when we are not around. Any suggestions as to what I may try to get her to come in.

Our Response

Hi and thanks so much for your question – it really sounds like your dog has had a rough time of it. In this situation if you can afford it I would approach a dog behavior expert that lives nearby – the reason for this is that your dog really needs some one on one support. It does sound like your dog has lacked any form of socialization so is scared of everything The reason socialization is so important is that by being introduced to new experiences on a regular basis this reduces any anxiety that the experience might have caused. A behavior expert might suggest building your dog’s confidence through a variety of techniques – for example hand feeding a nervous dog that sits outside is a good method. You already mentioned that your dog does come when you call – so why not put some food in your and and when you call her get down nice and low and let your dog eat from your hand. This will help build her confidence. When she is coming each time and seems to feel less anxious why not try introducing a leash – let her smell it and get used to it. You need to build youd dog’s confidence up over a period of time. Puppy training classes are also excellent and getting a nervous dog used to other dogs, people and different situations.

Hope this helps