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Hi Jessica,

Thanks for replying! And incidentally, I recognize you from FDSA! Your biology of socialization webinar was actually my very first webinar purchase back in March 2018. 🙂

I’ll have to think about it a little before deciding which one to do, then. I think whatever genetically might be contributing to her fearful behavior would be really useful for scientists’ and breeders’ knowledge far in the future, at least, and my own curiosity may just have to wait until I can save the funds to pay for that level of analysis.

And hi Jennifer, thank you for your post too! That’s good information to know about purebred ACDs. My dog Raven would definitely be in the reactive category, alert barking/howling at strangers, but especially when they surprise us on walks, as in coming around a corner, and growling and lunging if they keep trying to come over and “say hi” to her. (I wish people wouldn’t do that!) I have no knowledge of her background, except that she was finally caught after weeks of running around rural middle of Missouri at an estimated 7 months of age, taken into a rescue group, and then stayed in a foster home, where she acted like she’d never been in a house before (foster didn’t provide specific observable behavior examples, just that statement). Then I got her at 13 months. So I’m guessing she had very little to no early socialization, and probably also learned in her running around days that if she barked at people they would leave her alone.

Off leash at a dog park type place, she also displays circling and barking behavior that looks like an attempt to control people’s movement, especially a kid running, and acts like she’s about to nip at their heels. To my knowledge she’s never actually made physical contact, but now I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to let her “practice” that behavior or not.

My previous dog was a border collie, a detection dog washout, so I’m familiar with their crouching/stalking behavior, and what she does is not the same at all. Buzz, my previous dog, used to creep forward a bit and then drop down and wait when he saw a dog running towards us from a distance. Incidentally, he also had neophobia, probably due to being raised in a kennel type environment and not being exposed to the outside world as much as he should have been, and he was also dog-reactive towards dogs who were getting too close to me, essentially resource guarding me. I sure know how to pick the fun dogs! 😀

Could I send you a link to a video showing how she intensely stares at a stranger but in this case didn’t bark? I’m just curious about how you would interpret her behavior, if it’s that “hard stare” of an ACD you refer to. She was pretty ok with the stranger in this context because it was at a workshop where she decided how close she was going to get, but still never approached her past a certain point.

Editing to add her profile on here: https://darwinsark.org/dog-profile-page/?dog_id=25630