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john G

Careers of Border Collie owners

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Hello Everyone,

 

Let me first say that I am new to these boards and that I am amazed at how insightful the posts on this board are.

 

While I have never owned a BC I did own a Sheltie, which has allowed me to understand what some posts are discussing better. It's clear that a BC seems to be a "nuclear powered" version of a Sheltie, which carries some additional responsibilities and rewards for the BC owner.

 

Despite being a marathon runner and someone who is interested in SAR training, I must say that it seems that the needs of a well socialized and cared for BC might be too much for me for the simple fact that I work a 9-5 job at an engineering company. It doesn't seem fair to a Border Collie to be locked in my home or a crate for 8 hours of the day....

 

So my question to the forum is, what are the careers of BC owners out there and how are you able to give this breed the attention that it needs?

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I am an executive assistant and office/facilities manager. I mainly work 7:30-4pm but have at least an hour commute each way. I have 4 dogs australian cattledog, toy poodle, border collie/jrt mix, and a border collie. I have a dog walker that comes every day to let them out and play for a few.

 

I just make the most of the time I have with the dogs. I do not play with the dogs every day and they are content to lay around with me as much as I want. When we do play they get ball/frisbee time, flyball, a itty bitty bit of agility, training, etc...

 

Working 9-5 is not a problem as long as you make the most of the other time and in my case I have to have a dog walker during the day and that helps.

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Welcome! These boards are a terrific resource, with lots of caring people who are eager to help you and your (potential) dog.

 

I don't believe that your having a full-time job is as much an issue as what you are willing to do with your dog the rest of the time! We have folks here who work full-time outside the home, work at home, work part-time, and are retired or at home all the time. Some can take their dogs to work, or have worked out ways to get home at lunch time, have a neighbor walk the dog during the day, have their dogs where they can take care of them during lunch or breaks, etc. My three spend (normally) from 7 am until 5 pm in their crates on days that both my hubby and I work. They do just fine.

 

It is a myth that a Border Collie needs "room to roam" (also translated as an excuse for being outside without supervision, often for long periods of time) and also a myth that reasonable crating (or being loose in a house, if that suits the dog and owner) must be like a prison cell for a dog. Dogs spend lots of down-time in a day. Mine have been asleep by my feet, on the couch, or by the rabbit crate (we have a house rabbit) for hours today. They would have been just as comfy (well, maybe not the one on the couch) and content in their crates for this same period of time. I am home today but they will still spend the majority of their day asleep.

 

Use the search function at the top of the page to find many threads concerning crate use, crate training, and other similar issues. Some dogs with several anxiety issues may not be able to be crated, but that's a whole 'nother topic and an infrequent occurence.

 

My schedule varies with the season so I am sometimes full-time (for a couple of weeks to several months at a time). My dogs are all crate-trained so they are crated while we both are gone (or even if one of us is at home and can't be interrupted). Depending on the season and the weather, our dogs are fed and exercised each morning (and, with bad weather or total darkness, sometimes the exercise doesn't happen other than a couple of potty trips) and evening. We have a small farm and so the dogs accompany us on trips out to check the stock, or the status of drying hay, or whatever other outside jobs we have to do where the dogs can come (and sometimes provide help). Walks and fetch games (using a chuckit to make it more exercising) are the major components of our dogs' physical exercise.

 

I think a major issue rather than strictly time or exercise, is interaction and mental stimulation. A dog often becomes more "tired" when it has to use its brain than its body. Therefore, providing your dog with things that require brain-power (obedience, agility, mind games, interactions with other people or animals, etc.) are essential.

 

Suitable Border Collies make excellent SAR dogs. If you check on the UK SAR site, you will see what appears to be a vast majority of their SAR dogs that are Border Collies. They are athletic, intelligent, trainable, and possess many positive characteristics that make them excellent candidates for SAR training. They are also, as you have gathered, wonderful dogs for the right, active life.

 

Best wishes!

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LOL. nuclear powered. I like that!

I am a graphic designer who works 8-5 mon to fri, I do free lance design work at home in my spare time and dabble in photography. This averages out to about 7 hours a week. I volunteer for ARF, but from my home right now, so that's pretty minimal. My bf is just as dedicated to the dog as I am so we kind of "tag team" her. If I'm working he's her play toy if I'm not working she is learning something. It's handy that he works exactly opposite me night shift 9pm-5 pm, so she is never home alone and we are at home together to walk her evenings and week ends she goes every where with us. She's kind of our kid and our family doesn't mind that she's always there. Lucky for me I have him because I am afraid that without the help I would be in deep trouble with a really bad dog! Or poor 'cause I couldn't free lance! Mind you I have had to give up some stuff, like painting, but I will be able to get back into it one day I'm sure. It's just easier when you're bc isn't running around the house covered in red oil paint! :rolleyes:

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This is a shepherds breed, not a turbo charged machine as some would present them. A shepherding dog will work some, lie around some, work some. Some weeks of the year they work hard 24/7 it seems (lambing) and some weeks they do nothing at all. There are many chores on a farm that a dog has nothing to do with.

 

These dogs need structure, rules, sensible mental and physical activity. Most do fine sleeping away the day - crated or otherwise. You would have to make more adjustments for a puppy bladder of course.

 

Those most unhappy with this breed expect them to self exercise (they rarely do) and to self train (they only do the bad habits that way). They worry too much about body exercise, and not mental exercise and structure. They encourage neurosis -relently fetching at all hours with all objects, chasing laser lights, etc - when the pups are young and cute, then don't know what to do when the dog is big and annoying :rolleyes:

 

by structure I mean clear rules and expectations from the start. When play is appropriate versus work/calm or resting time for example.

 

edited to add - I work 50-60 hours a week in an office, farm and "dog" before and after work, nights and weekends. Hyper dogs aren't possible here, dogs who understand "on versus off" are essential. We love this breed for that reason :D

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I live in a suburb in Ontario, Canada and there are 3 families which own Border Collies that live around my block, as well as my family with our BCX, Petey.

 

When we first got Petey, both my parents had full time 9-5 jobs while my sister and I were in school till 3 and we did fine. He was crated during the day and worked his way up to being confined to larger parts of the house. He is given 45 minutes to an hour of exercise before I go to school and when we come home we take him to the park for another hour. Then sometime before we go to sleep, we do something in the backyard like frisbee or take a short walk around the block.

 

As for the other families that live nearby, I've had conversations with them when we happen to meet at the park or on walks and they have awesome dogs that are doing well with their owners having full time jobs.

 

I'm a believer that you can live in the suburbs and have a job and own a wonderful Border Collie! My family is very active though, and we try to include Petey in everything we do whether it's just going to the store with us or watching us rake the leaves (or jumping in all the piles! grr!) The other families I've spoken to have said the same thing. Although, not every family or person could be happy with this lifestyle or be suited to a Border Collie, I am.

 

Someone from BCRO told me that "They aren't 24/7 dogs, but they are every day dogs". Or something to that extent :rolleyes: But you get the gist, and I think it's great advice!

 

Hope this helps!

 

Kayla

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^^^Wendy's (Lenajo) post is an excellent one! I have worked in an office (with a long commute) and at home and have never had a problem leaving the dogs crated for a work day (adult dogs, that is). As long as you are prepared to spend quality time with your border collie, it won't matter that you work full time.

 

I have 9 border collies that live in this house. Right now I work most of the time (full time) from home, though I do go into the office one day a week, and the office is just over an hour away (when I'm not home, all are crated except for the geriatric fellow, and he's gated into the bathroom where he likes to sleep). I raise sheep, which takes up pretty much the rest of my non-work time. When I'm at home working, I'm NOT entertaining dogs. We go on a couple of walks a day, the chore dogs help with farm chores as needed, and the rest of the time they know they need to settle in the house (or in the yard if it's a pretty day and they want to be outside). In other words, even though I'm home a good part of the time, my time at home is not devoted solely to entertaining my dogs. And yet they are all happy, healthy, and well adjusted (okay, so we can exclude Farleigh from that latter group, but he can't help himself!).

 

J.

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Welcome to the Boards!!

 

Most adult Border Collies can handle being left at home for a 9-5 job--though for much longer than that, you'd probably want someone who could come by and let them out mid-day, depending on the dog. A puppy would require some different arrangements but could probably still be managed.

 

I'm an academic and work between 60-70 hours a week 8 mos out of the year and something closer to 40 hours a week 4 mos. of the year. During the 8 mos when the university is in session, I work about half of my time at home and half away from home. During the 4 mos when the university is not in session, I do the majority of my work at home. ETA: I see virtually no difference in their behavior when I'm working more (or less).

 

My partner works 40 hours a week pretty much throughout the year. We both work within 5 miles of where we live, so if no one will be home for more than about 7.5 hours, one of us will generally run home mid-day to let them out.

 

I don't really think this breed *needs* that much more attention than other dogs. The thing that seems the most different about them to me is how much they want to do things with you and how invested they are in figuring out what you want them to do. Like all dogs, they tend to thrive on consistency, in my experience, and it seems to me that the lack of consistency in training and expectations leads to many of the problems people sometimes have with them and their "energy"

 

I think ours benefit a lot from living in a multiple dog household--since managing their relationships seems to be something that keeps them all mentally engaged. We spend a little time every day (very little some days) doing some kind of one-on-one training with them and we train all of them but the oldest one in livestock work, agility or both a couple of times a week. They go out and have a 20-30 minute play session (mostly fetch kinds of things) about twice a day--once in the morning before work and once in the early evening. More on the week-ends.

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I work 8-4 job as a graphic designer, then work as a dog trainer and SAR handler after that. I used to spend so much time exercising/working my BC but lately, we spend less time doing the physical work. I do however take her to my second job (dog training facility) where she gets to be around people and dogs. On weekends, I spend more time exercising and training with her for SAR. Both of my dogs do fine staying at home 8 hours a day but since I don't get to spend much time exercising like before (after I got my second job), I do take my BC to daycare twice a week. That has been helping a lot as far as releasing her energy.

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I'm an attorney and I work at least 8-5 during the day. Add on a half hour for driving each way and that's how long my BC is home alone each day. He would probably be fine if he had the run of the house, but I crate him for that time period. He is happy with his routine, loves his crate and runs in happily to get his treat every morning when I say "kennel." After work, the first thing I do when I get home is let him outside to potty, then do 5-10 minutes of training with him, then let him finish his dinner and then we go outside to play for usually 45 minutes to an hour. This time is spent playing fetch with a frisbee and usually wears him out well enough that we then go inside for the night and just hang out. As the weather gets warmer we will spend more time outside, take more walks, etc. A couple days a week we have training classes at night. Weekends we play outside longer and more often. I will sometimes take him in the car with me to do errands and if I go to my mom's to hang out, he will come with. An hour of running a day is enough physical exercise to keep him content (although he would be outside all day if it were up to him). He's happy to just hang out with me the rest of the time.

 

The schedule works pretty well for us. It usually ends up being about 7:00 before I have time to go work out or make myself dinner. Also, I'm single and live alone and don't really have any other responsibilities besides my job and taking care of my dog and my house. If I had much more to do, I don't think it would work out. For the first week I had him I was working two jobs and basically only had time to get home, let him out, play for two minutes, and then off to work again until about 10:0pm. That did NOT work, and if I had needed to continue that schedule, I would not have gotten a dog. He was unhappy, I was unhappy. It was not a good situation.

 

Good luck! As most people have said, a career shouldn't stop you from owning a BC if you have enough time outside of work to spend with the dog.

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I've had border collies most of my adult life. Some worked sheep, some did agility, some did obedience, some were just pets. I could not even imagine another breed. Friends ask me how I deal with some of the "quirkiness" of the border collie, for example- staring at the hose when you turn on the water. Things I just don't notice anymore. That is part of the reason I love them.

I don't work. I'm disabled and my 2 border collies are with me all the time. I take them to the park a couple doors down to play fetch for about 15-20 minutes and it poops them out, but they are content to be by my side. With proper training you will have the best dog you've even known and I doubt that you will ever switch to any other breed. I haven't. Good luck and welcome!!!!

Dianne

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My household has 6 dogs, 2 border collies, 1 staffy, 1 boder collie/jrt mix, 1 pap/jrt/doxie mix and 1 pit/boxer/bc mix. 4 out of the 6 are high drive sport dogs. On top of my 8-4 job (Exec Asst/Project Mgmt in a high tech company), I also am a dog trainer (I teach two flyball classes one night a week and dock diving classes one day a week) and on top of these two I'm studying Canine P/T and M/T.

 

I don't believe the BC really requires more time from it's owner, what it requires is quality time. The 2 BCs in our home get the same amount of time that any other dog in the house gets and are all quite happy and normal, for what it's worth. All of our dogs, including the BCs are perfectly content lounging around if that is what we chose to do. If you think BCs require a lot of time, try living w/a Border Jack...yikes talk about nonstop!

 

Our normal weekly schedule consists of down time, training time and conditioning time. My oldest daughter is home for 1/2 the day so the dogs get time out of the kennels and to run around the back yard in the mornings. Then crated until I get home at 4:30pm. Then it's time for excercise or training for the 4 sport dogs (I do have help from daughter and her bfriend to get everyone out) and then just quality time w/the older 2 dogs. We excercise/train the dogs every day but in different ways. MWF, we take the dogs swimming or to the park for a work out. T, TH they relax and do general training sessions w/either obedience work or tricks. Saturday is a quiet day and Sunday is Flyball practice.

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Hi John and welcome to the forum! *wave*

 

I have two words for full-time working "parents" who don't have the resources to "work" their BCs"....day care!

 

I'm fortunate enough to have a FABULOUS doggie day-care facility available to me. I take Lewie3 days a week and it gives him the opportunity to socialize with canines of all kinds as well as people. It also gives him a safe, well monitored environment to "run the biscuits out of him". :rolleyes: After a day of day-care he's pooped. He's also pretty laid-back for the following 24 hours. Come Sunday night he's ready to rock and roll again.

 

Of course, when I'm not at work, he's with me. He goes where I go.

 

Good luck finding the right balance for you and your special dog.

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In other words, even though I'm home a good part of the time, my time at home is not devoted solely to entertaining my dogs. And yet they are all happy, healthy, and well adjusted (okay, so we can exclude Farleigh from that latter group, but he can't help himself!).

 

I must protest on behalf of Farleigh! :rolleyes: He is an adorable charming fellow who has just a few tiny idiosyncracies. :D

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One thing that I find very helpful is to set aside 5 minutes per dog almost every morning to do a quick training session. I do clicker training and some days I'll do some operant conditioning, some days I'll work on tricks and Freestyle moves, and some days I'll work on heeling, etc.

 

I've read that if a dog does training and then goes to sleep, it helps the dog process the new information and integrate it faster. I'm not sure if that's true, but I figure it's a bonus if it is!

 

The training session in the morning takes the "edge" off.

 

I also toss the ball around the house in the morning for them. Usually for about 5 minutes.

 

That's really all it takes for my dogs. Morning snuggle ritual, ball, breakfast, light training session. They are ready to sluff around the house while I go and earn our living!

 

When I get home I let them out to do their business while I get changed and open mail. Then I give them my undivided attention for about 20 minutes. It's play at that point. Outdoors if it's nice, indoors if it isn't.

 

After I play with them, they hang out with me while I do some household chores and maybe go on the computer. If I don't have a training class in the evening, we usually do a second play session around 7 or so. If I have a training class, I go to it with the appropriate dog. After class, I do my main training session with each dog.

 

Of course there are days when this doesn't all happen perfectly. There are days when I oversleep and have to skip the morning training, or something comes up in the evening. But for the most part it all fits in and works out well.

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I work 40-60 hours a week, and my schedule really varies. But I try to keep a consistent dog schedule. I have two, one who is 12 and is VERY happy to lay around all day, but is still very healthy and active when I want him to be, and one who is six and is very active but extremely manageable.

 

Our general schedule is AM snuggle time until about 6:15, then outside to eat and do some business. Then when they come in, they just hang around me while I'm getting ready for work. Interspersed in my getting ready, I play a game of tug, or practice obedience, agility or tricks, along with a random ball toss for good behavior. :rolleyes: By the time I leave, around 7:45, Ling is quite happy to lay on her bed (or I'm sure the couch after I leave) and nap (Bingo goes back to bed a lot sooner!). I sometimes come home for lunch (about three days a week) and they get to go outside again, and weather permitting catch some frisbee for a bit. When I get home at 5:00, they outside for a few minutes and get their dinner. About 4-5 nights a week we go on a brisk 3 mile walk, and Ling gets about 20 minutes of frisbee almost every night. Then the rest of the evening the dogs just hang out with us while we make dinner and do chores or watch TV. I generally give Ling a couple of 5 minute practice sessions with obedience and tricks each night, and she and I do at least one night a week of formal agility training, along with some practice in the back yard once or twice a week. I don't feel like I have to play with them all the time, and they both have a great "off switch". And both of them are happy to snuggle on the couch if I'm not feeling up to a lot of activity.

 

I think the key to a having a BC that's easy to live with is mental work. Practicing obedience, tricks and agility (and even frisbee) seems to satisfy Ling more than a long walk or even running. And they're both fine in the house hanging out for full 8-9 hour work days if they need to.

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I'm a program manager for a nonprofit...the wife works at a hospital. Our schedules vary, but our BC spends anywhere from 5-8 hours in a crate during the day. On longer days, he comes to work with me and hangs in the car between breaks...when it's not too hot. He's happy. We're happy. Similar to the other folks who've posted, I'd say it's how you spend the time when you're not at work that makes for a happy BC.

 

Not much happens in the AM...maybe some play or a walk, but not always.

 

When I get home, it's off to the park for some good, hard ball play and maybe some socialization with other dogs. Or maybe a run, or a walk. Then dinner...and he pretty much follows us around the rest of the evening, "helping" with household chores, encouraging us to partake in some "inside fetch", chewing happily on a bone...maybe a little wrestling with dad. We usually do some sort of training each evening, whether clicker games or reviewing the old standards: down, stay, etc. But, some nights we don't. We have a pretty good routine, and he thrives in it. He's a working dog, working hard at being a companion.

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Thank you Sally for sticking up for Farleigh. You should see Chris around the yard and house! Can we say kindred spirits!?

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I'm ANOTHER graphic designer, employed by a major bank, who is progressive enough to allow me to work remotely full-time. (Yes, I know how lucky I am!). I work for the 'backshop', have nothing to do with the retail banks.

 

My husband is an acupuncturist, who sees clients out of a small clinic located in a separate part of our home. When he doesn't have clients, he's working on craft projects in his garage workshop. We worked hard to set up a live-work environment for us both: hurray, no more commuting, ever!

 

So we are both here, all the time. There are times when I need to be on conference calls, etc. when I crate Kaylee for a while: she doesn't mind. (She once started barking when I was on a call with 200 people: had to sneak off that one).

 

For exercise we get out for a mile-long walk several times a week, dog park usually 2 x week (6 miles away) and weekend hikes or snowshoe romps of usually 2-5 miles. We do a little frisbee with her, but are waiting until her joints are stronger before doing much of that. We play ball and soccer in the yard a couple of times a day, as well as 'collie bowling', indoor ball down a long hallway. She gets playdates with friends' dogs 2-3 times a week, as well. Indoor games of tug, hide n seek, basic training and lots of chewy things get us through the days when we are housebound by weather. There is an agility class starting in June that we are interested in trying. There are few training classes offered in this area. She's 10 months old: we'll see what her adult activity level looks like. We are too far away from sheep to get her started and maintain a training program.

 

I do my best to give Kaylee lots of opportunities to be busy, active and social. She has nonetheless developed an OCD in which she fixates on lights and shadows, indoors and outdoors, for hours, if I let her. She stares, pants and drools, bites at the floor or wall, digs at the floor, etc. when she really gets into it. I interrupt with a rattle can and redirect as often as I can, but I cannot ride her on it all the time. She does this obsessively whenever she's not asleep or actively engaged by a person. dog or activity: it is now her 'job', unfortunately. We believe it was triggered by a single session with a laser light toy. I have stopped beating myself up for not giving her enough stimulation. It's a quirk. Suggestions always appreciated.

 

Beki

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I sell Insurance for an undisclosed large company, and my other half is a probation officer for Maricopa county. Both of our dogs are crated while we are at work and Chris can flex his hours around scheaduals as well as having every other friday off. The pups do fine in their crates, and honestly- for the 6 months a year when it is ridiculously hot my dogs would be in the house whether i worked or not. Every morning we walk before work - and play the entire time we get ready. Our evenings are devoted to the dogs as well, playing frissbee, ball or going to training classes. The weekends are Ceana and Poke days as well and we only leave them when we have to.

 

The dogs are fine while we work. As long as you pay as much attention to them as you can when you can and keep a regular scheadual they will be fine.

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Yep; employed full time.

In the am's: short training or games time--most often together (both dogs at the same time).

My two not-high-drive bc mutts spend most of the day (during the very cold or very hot days) in separate kennels with chew toys & treats.

IN the evening, it's short play time (w/o me), then dinner, then some form of foundation training or we all head off & out to some offleash somewhere (winter - parks, walks or trails; summer - swimming). Or I head off with one of them, incorporating some training into the outing--each dog getting this one-on-one time.

This could also include short jaunts in the car - as they love it and it comes in handy when it's too cold or hot, et al.

Weekends is when the longer training sessions / classes typically happen...although that will most likely change now that summer is near.

 

The main thing is that the dogs get constant consideration amongst the other things I've invovled in. Which translates to my finding ways to incorporate them into whatever possible.

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I used to work full time as a doctor in operating theatres/ICUs- usually 7am-6pm, and had a few dogs in a small inner suburban house- generally a cattle dog, a kelpie, and one or two border collies (at one stage, 4 collie pups!).

 

It was fine- the older, better trained dogs had the run of the house and a dog door to the backyard, the hooligans would be crated in a big sort of run. Sometimes they'd go to be dogsat by relatives (eg if I was doing ICU night shift- generally 6pm-8am).

 

I used to run them every morning for about an hour (but sometimes as short as 15 minutes if I was running late) and we'd train agility or on sheep maybe 3 nights a week. On weekends or days off they'd come to the farm with me.

 

People were always surprised that working dogs could live happily in suburbia, but now that I live on a farm, I can see why. The dogs don't run around all day- for long periods of the year they are kennelled for much of the day. When they work, they work hard, but they need to be able to switch off. We'll go and get sheep in, then the dogs need to go and get up on the ute and sit quietly. Dogs that can't sit and chill out when they aren't needed are a pain in the a@#$.

 

Some of my friends have working-bred dogs living as suburban pets, with full time working owners, and they are all happy. They need training and companionship and some exercise, but then doesn't every dog?

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I have two high drive sport dogs and I work two jobs (one at a gun dog place and another as a vet tech) and I am still plugging away at college as well. I just make sure I engage my dogs in things while I am at home and I try to take them places every other day at least. I take them to classes anywhere from 1-3 times a week..and when weekends that arent packed full of family things.. I take them somewhere. It works, yeah sometimes my BC pup can make a fuss but I think she just knows she can be a brat sometimes :D

 

When I let the dogs out while I am sitting on the couch..the goofs tend to lay around my feet anyway :rolleyes:

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I work at a small pharmacy 10-6 monday to friday and weekends a few times a month, plus I am a dancer, with classes from 6-7 on wed.(yes this conflicts, my wed. work scheduals are flexable, often I dont work them at all). with this schedual I have 2 Border Collie, 1 Toller, and 1 JRT mix. I make time for them just fine, I just hang with them after work, plus I have free dogwalkers lol a bunch of 12 year old girls in the naighborhood, they beg to be able to take my dogs out :rolleyes:

 

in the summer, I bike to work which makes my days away from them longer, however when I get home I simpley walk in the house, change, clips lines to my bike, harness the dogs up and take them bikejoring! in the winters when it to dark by the time I get home, I instead do mental stuff with them.

 

being a marathon runner I think a BC would be fine with you lol. my dad is also a marathon runner and works more then full time, he never has a day off. he adopted a cattle dog mix from the shelter,and extremly high energy and very smart dog, he is easily able to make lots of time for the little guy :D

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Yeah, same as everyone else said pretty much. I actually only work two days a week, and only one of those days DH and I both work, so I/we are with our dogs almost all the time, but that doesn't mean we are entertaining them all of that time. I have three, 1 BC and 2 shelties, and they spend a large chunk of the day playing with eachother and another large chunk sleeping or quietly chewing a bone. The dogs get a daily walk, daily short training sessions, a couple times a week off leash at the park playing ball or running. That's about it. I want to teach him to bring things to me, we're working on that, learning the names of things...a friend taught her dog to sort laundry, lights and darks, I'd like to do that too. But my BC is no more demanding than any other breed or mix I've ever had. Actually I'd say My BC is more laid back than my shelties, not as bubbly and bouncy. The main difference between him and my shelties though is that he is more tuned in to everything and aware of subtleties, of mood and language, if that makes any sense.

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