Hi! My Name Is Xena

It’s with a really heavy heart that I’ve come to the conclusion that our pup Xena, that’s been in our lives for a year and a half now, needs something different than what we can give her. This heart-broken dog owner is seeking the right home to help a sweet dog become the best girl she can be.
Xena’s Story
Xena came into our lives in August of 2019. We had been looking for a younger dog, medium sized, that I could run with on the trails and that would be good with the kids. We met her at a shelter in Hayward. She had been a stray and they figured she was about a year old and a heeler mix. She seemed really chill and sweet when we met her. We decided to come back a few days later and introduce her to our senior lab, Ruby. We introduced them and they seemed to get a long just fine. We brought her home and she continued to be super sweet and didn’t exhibit any troubling behavior. That first weekend the kids were at their dads and it was just me and Xena. Friday night I took her for a beer on the patio with a friend at a local brewery. She was an angel. She sat contentedly at my feet. Everyone commented on how sweet she was. Saturday morning we went on a trail run and she did great. Saturday afternoon we met up with a friend at a festival at Bayfront Park. There were people and other dogs everywhere. I thought it would be a good opportunity for socialization. She seemed to be doing great, taking all the new people and dogs in stride, not exhibiting any signs of aggression.
As we got to know Xena more and as she got comfortable in our house and relatively confident that we weren’t going to be leaving her, different behaviors started coming out. As she started to recognize our house as her territory, she started barking at all passing dogs and people. She started aggressively barking at anyone that knocked at the door. With the kids, particularly the squirrely seven-year-old boy, she started to get nippy. When we’re walking on a leash in the neighborhood she likes to meet other dogs but can show aggressive behavior, particularly with small white fluffy dogs. She seems to be slightly more prone to aggression when she is on her leash. She gets along well with most dogs she has a chance to meet on her own terms in an environment she doesn’t feel threatened in. She has done great at dog parks for the most part. Until last fall, the dog park was her happy place where she never showed any aggression toward other dogs or people. But last fall she did get aggressive with a white fluffy dog. She has never done damage to another dog but she does growl and bite and it can be traumatic for the dog and dog owner. And it’s hard to predict when and with what sorts of dogs she will get aggressive with.
We’ve attempted to temper these behaviors with making sure she gets enough exercise every day. I take her on a run most mornings, and long trail runs and skijoring on the weekends. We got her into a healthy habit of chewing on nylon bones or frozen kongs stuffed with treats and peanut butter to deal with some of her anxiety. We got her a thunder vest, which seemed to also help with anxiety. We signed her up for 2 weeks of doggy boot camp last summer, where she got intensive clicker training. She’s a very smart dog and took well to the training. She knows a lot of commands like sit, lie down, stay, come, and does a great job following commands while hooked to a skijoring harness while we run the trails or skijor.
The aspects of training that we haven’t been able to move beyond is how to get her to listen when she is protecting her territory from dogs passing by the front of the house or when people are knocking at the door. The other issue is that she feels the need to herd my son by nipping him in his own house. These issues have resulted in it being very difficult for us to have people over at the house or in the yard. She has nipped friends that come into the yard. She usually has to be put in her room if we want to have visitors. At night I have to have her in a kennel or in a room with the door shut because she has nipped at my son when he has gotten up in the middle of the night. She has never broken skin with her nips but she left a bruise a couple of times when she was highly agitated and feeling threatened. Recently I have concluded that I really can’t be a responsible dog owner and take her off leash anywhere that we might run into other people. She stays close when she’s off leash and is good about coming when I ask her so I can get her on leash if we see someone coming. But if people sneak up on us, she finds that threatening and I’m afraid she will attack and hurt another dog.
Living in town with a small fenced yard, I don’t feel like I can get her what she needs. Even though we run frequently, she is a high-energy dog and needs to be able to run free. An ideal setting for her would be a home in the country where there aren’t strangers walking by the front window constantly. Ideally a home with another dog that is dominant and could keep her in line and take some of the pressure off her feeling like she’s responsible for protecting all her people. I’ve concluded too that her ideal home would not include kids. Her herding instincts are strong and without farm animals to herd, she tries to herd the kids. She is a super sweet girl, very cuddly and loving. It will break our hearts to give her up, but in the setting we have to offer there is too much risk of her hurting another dog or person. If we can find her a home that is better suited to her needs, I’m confident that these behaviors will be easier to keep in check.

  • Cattle Dog & Collie 
  • Female
  • 41 - 50 Pounds
  • Black and White
  • High Energy
  • I Don't Like Kids
  • I Like Select Dogs
  • I Don't Like Cats
  • I Don't Like Small Animals
  • I Have Not Been Tested with Livestock
  • I'm Currently In Training
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