I have a 1 year old neutered Blue Heeler mix and he's a great and smart companion overall. However last week, when my 8 year old daughter wanted to leave the room, he ran after her barking. She was really scared and shocked. So were we. Was it aggression or herding behavior? What can I do to prevent this in the future? My daughter loves Rick (our dog's name) and in fact it was she who persuaded us to get a dog, but I'm afraid I can't tolerate his aggression towards my kid. Thanks.


It's difficult to tell what it was because but I tend to think it's herding behavior. How long has Rick been living with you? Who's the leader in your pack? Usually a dog tries to herd only when it thinks it's the pack leader. Therefore, you'll have to reclaim this role. There are a lot of technics allowing to do so, the main idea being that whenever the dog does something you don't like, you have to stop it and let it understand it's not acceptable. Be firm, confident, and calm (aggression never helps but triggers more aggression). Don't think the dog will take offence at you, dogs don't know what it is because they live in the present moment. Don't hesitate to post more questions if you have any.

As an owner of a high drive border collie, that sounds like herding instinct to me. You cannot suppress a herding dogs instinct, but you teach him what is acceptable to herd and what isn't. You need to give him an appropriate outlet for his instincts and energy. Check your area for any livestock herding classes offered, as he would really benefit from them. Also see if you can teach him a game such as frisbee, as that may satisfy some of his drive. A positive reinforcement obedience class would also benefit him by providing mental stimulation as well as helping you build better communication with him.