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Informing Peers About Border Collies -- Would love some input


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So I decided that for this class presentation coming up I was going to inform my class about Border Collies. Where better than the source of people who actually live with them, love them, and are driven crazy by them? I want to inform them about both the pros and cons of this wonderful breed and was wondering if anyone would volunteer their own stories about their dogs. I want the good and the bad especially in the realms of their wonderful and dreadful intelligence and energy/endurance. I want to show them how most traits that seem like fantastic ideas can be very difficult to deal with if they are not nurtured and cared for properly. So anyone care to share the good times and the rough times so I can have quotes from actual Border Collie owners?

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The first thing that comes to mind that they are a wonderful dog for those who want to live an active, dog centered lifestyle. Meaning much of your free time is going to be spent training/exercising/doing activities with your dog instead of going to parties, shopping, etc.

 

For me that's almost always a good thing :D, but for others it might not be!

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The first thing that comes to mind that they are a wonderful dog for those who want to live an active, dog centered lifestyle. Meaning much of your free time is going to be spent training/exercising/doing activities with your dog instead of going to parties, shopping, etc.

 

For me that's almost always a good thing :D, but for others it might not be!

 

What she said. Border collies are for people who like doing things with their dogs daily, if not several times a day. Border collies are for people who enjoy being 'challenged' by their dogs to get involved and active and moving around.

 

Border collies are also for people who tend to be detail oriented and observant. Any dog can tell you a lot by its body language, but I think border collies more than most.

 

I don't have many horror stories, but lots of bragging ones. Shoshone at age 15 still wants to learn and do stuff, Gibbs learned in about 30 seconds to keep his head turned away from me so I can see to clip his leash to his collar. That kind of stuff. Course, I've never had any puppies;)

 

Ruth

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^^^ Yes, what Mara said - "Dog Centered Lifestyle".

 

Most, of my activities/hobbies now include my dogs. (That is not to say that I don't spend time with friends and family, etc.)

 

If I may suggest, I hope that you will address how to find a well bred working border collie for those who are interested in looking into the breed. Also mention the # of Border Collies that end up in rescues because of their need for human interaction, energy level, and need for a "job".

 

Good Luck!

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The first thing that comes to mind that they are a wonderful dog for those who want to live an active, dog centered lifestyle. Meaning much of your free time is going to be spent training/exercising/doing activities with your dog instead of going to parties, shopping, etc.

 

For me that's almost always a good thing :D, but for others it might not be!

Also what she said.

If someone tells me they think they want a border collie I always ask them, "How many hours per day do you really, really want to spend doing dog things with your dog?" If they look at me funny and say "Hours a day??" then I suggest that a BC is not the right dog for them.

I love my dogs and am addicted to border collies because they are in my face, requiring that I interact with them. They are good, well behaved dogs who will go lie down when I tell them to, and won't behave badly if on one day I cannot spend a lot of time with them. But they require my attention and interaction and I love that because I want to spend my time with them. To me they are a lot more interesting and better company and more fun than most other things that people do with their time.

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If I may suggest, I hope that you will address how to find a well bred working border collie for those who are interested in looking into the breed. Also mention the # of Border Collies that end up in rescues because of their need for human interaction, energy level, and need for a "job".

 

Good Luck!

 

 

This is my main point of the presentation. To say, hey, they are great qualities for the right person but otherwise you can just be purchasing a dogs death if your not aware of and meeting your dogs needs.

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This is my main point of the presentation. To say, hey, they are great qualities for the right person but otherwise you can just be purchasing a dogs death if your not aware of and meeting your dogs needs.

 

Because every good presentation has a grounding in history (and politics) I would suggest Donald McCaig's "Dog Wars" and "Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men". Both are told from the point of view of someone who owns, works and loves Border Collies.

I'd throw in "A Useful Dog" too.

 

I will also add my voice to the chorus of those saying Border Collie ownership = lifestyle change. I think most Americans want their pets to be "dumb, fat and happy" posessions. Border Collies will NEVER fit that role. The time, care, planning and education that a Border Collie requires are not completely unlike those required by a human child. And, as with a child, you get back what you put in.

 

YMMV

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Because every good presentation has a grounding in history (and politics) I would suggest Donald McCaig's "Dog Wars" and "Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men". Both are told from the point of view of someone who owns, works and loves Border Collies.

I'd throw in "A Useful Dog" too.

 

I will also add my voice to the chorus of those saying Border Collie ownership = lifestyle change. I think most Americans want their pets to be "dumb, fat and happy" posessions. Border Collies will NEVER fit that role. The time, care, planning and education that a Border Collie requires are not completely unlike that required by a human child. And, as with a child, you get back what you put in.

 

YMMV

Thanks for those suggests.

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To me they are a lot more interesting and better company and more fun than most other things that people do with their time.

 

Glad to know I'm not the only one who feels that way. I practically live the life of a hermit, unless going out in public involves dog events. :P

 

I'm trying to think of one of my BC-owning friends who has a social life.... Umm.... Coming up blank here... :lol:

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Border Collies can make you look like the most incredible trainer. My Cody makes me look so talented - which I am not. At the same time - he is what one would call a "soft" dog - be to harsh and he just shuts down. Always thinking, always wanting to check in with you. Our BC/springer mix - I swear that she is a person stuck in a dog's body...... looking at us like " I cannot believe I got stuck with you". To me it is their mind, their amazing mind that makes this breed so special.

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Sometimes people think they'll get a border collie because they're so smart and would be easy to train. Well yes and no. They are extremely observant of body language and their mind is always working. This can work against a beginner who doesn't know what they're doing. For example, when I was first training Jedi in obedience if he learned a hand signal one way and I wasn't precise in my movement the next day, he wouldn't do the command. Today, I set up a few home made agility jumps and a tunnel to see what he would do. He picked it up in one minute, but at one point, when I was hesitating about what to do next, he made the decision for me and did the whole sequence. He came back and looked at me like, ok is that what you wanted me to do, can I have my treat now? He made the decision for me. Another time I called all the dogs in except for him so that we could have some private ball time. For the longest time after that he wouldn't come in on my first command because he thought I was going to do the same thing. I should have called all the dogs in first, then let him out. So sometimes their intelligence can make things more difficult if you're not on your toes. Good luck on your paper! :)

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The first thing that comes to mind that they are a wonderful dog for those who want to live an active, dog centered lifestyle. Meaning much of your free time is going to be spent training/exercising/doing activities with your dog instead of going to parties, shopping, etc.

 

 

Yes, this. Although, I still find time for shopping. ;)

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After having Brady, I find other dogs boring. He's exciting and almost like living with another human, albeit a pushy one. He's smart and amazing; I could go on for hours about him. On the bad side, he can definitely be a little pill. He's figured out which buttons to push when he's in his 'I-honestly-just-feel-like-being-a-brat-right-now' moods. We have a lot of work to do together (especially around soccer games; the last one he macgyvered free of a closed tennis court where we were working on desensitizing and rushed out on to the field to join...super embarrassing) and I love every crazy moment of it. Border collies can be infuriating, but you can't help but laugh and enjoy the journey. They're definitely not for you if you're not wanting to be a step ahead of them or aren't willing to put in the time; otherwise, they make the absolute BEST companions.

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Some input for your project.

 

We got Fergie in 1996 because we had fallen in love with border collies on our first trip to Yorkshire. But, also, because we were in the process of gradual retirement and wanted to keep our minds and bodies active. And we knew that a border collie mix would require that of us.

 

I can't remember if we were both on our usual short-term contracts when we got her. But when we were, we worked out a plan. We ate breakfast. I walked her while DH went to work. A walk always was at least a mile. When she was a pup, he took an early lunch and walked with her; I took a later lunch and walked her again. As she got older, we both came home and took a run with her. DH came home early and walked her. I came home and made dinner. The I walked her. And that was just the physical exercise. Which we kept to even when we both fully retired. Heck, we became the neighborhood busybodies, newspaper retrievers, mail collectors, trusted observers.

 

We also did all kinds of mental stuff with her. It really helped us while we gradually eased into retirement. Which meant more and longer walks and more mental challenges - for her and for us.

 

We just lost the Wonder Dog, after over 15 years. We're trying to keep up some of the walks, but it isn't the same without her. We do still go to the gym for aerobics and weights 3 times a week and run or bike the other days (we were racers - so I don't mean little short piddles). But even the neighbors notice the lack of us.

 

We are both on Social Security. DH is on Medicare - I get there in October. So we are not kids. We aren't sure if we will be up to another border collie mix - if we are ready for another dog in about a year (last time, it took us 10 years to be ready). I sure hope so.

 

If you want to be sure that you are physically and mentally active, a border collie - or a border collie mix from a rescue - could be the right dog. But you'd better already be physically and mentally active. Or really ready to work at it.

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Dear Doggers,

 

Secret BC wrote:

 

I'm trying to think of one of my BC-owning friends who has a social life.... Umm.... Coming up blank here... :lol:

 

It is true that I keep current with non-Border Collie friends who are within dogwalking distance or live on the way to a trial. I see doggy friends most ofteny who can put me and my dogs up near a favorite trial.

 

Because of my dogs I have friends all over North America, in Europe, Australia and Britain. .My dogs have introduced me to so many brilliant, gentle, animal savvy folk naming them would feel like bragging. It isn't because I'm a writer. Plenty of sheepdoggers have a bigger Border Collie community than I do.

 

 

Sunday someone at my church was talking about his first Border Collie. Dog's eight months old,The ,an runs cows and that pup is the apple of that man's eye. I said, "Next time I hold dog school I'll let you know. Maybe you'd like to bring him up."

 

If he does, I'll get to know someone I've known for forty years better.

 

Border Collies have taken me places I never imagined and introduced me to wonderful people I never would have met. Where they can't go, I don't spend much time.

 

Donald McCaig

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Hello everyone,

 

Donald wrote, "Border Collies have taken me places I never imagined and introduced me to wonderful people I never would have met. Where they can't go, I don't spend much time."

 

This explains it all for me, as well, and I feel so fortunate to have shared my life with some wonderful Border Collies.

 

Regards,

nancy

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Seeing that no one mention it.

 

A con is their prey drive. Not all are the best with small fast moving objects(little kids included). And some have a 4 wheel/car fetishes.

 

Also some of the health issue could be a concern in the breed for the common public: epilepsy, hip dyspepsia(sp? ), early on-set deafness, and DNA disorder: CEA to name one with the possible of more. Ma y be not "serious" stuff but enough to make some people pause.

 

A bonus or course it depends on what happen is their creativity and thought process.

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Seeing that no one mention it.

 

A con is their prey drive. Not all are the best with small fast moving objects(little kids included). And some have a 4 wheel/car fetishes.

 

Also some of the health issue could be a concern in the breed for the common public: epilepsy, hip dyspepsia(sp? ), early on-set deafness, and DNA disorder: CEA to name one with the possible of more. Ma y be not "serious" stuff but enough to make some people pause.

 

A bonus or course it depends on what happen is their creativity and thought process.

 

 

Oh thank you! Yes, don't wanna forget health.

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Also some of the health issue could be a concern in the breed for the common public: epilepsy, hip dyspepsia(sp? ), early on-set deafness, and DNA disorder: CEA to name one with the possible of more. Ma y be not "serious" stuff but enough to make some people pause.

 

dyspepsia = stomach upset vs hip dysplasia = poor fit of the hip joint

 

What DNA disorder are you talking about?

 

I would say that for a purebred their overall health is quite good.

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Seeing that no one mention it.

 

A con is their prey drive. Not all are the best with small fast moving objects(little kids included). And some have a 4 wheel/car fetishes.

 

 

I kind of see where you're coming from, but I'd have to disagree that it's a con. Prey drive is part of what a BC is - is a big part of the sheep working equation! They're a high drive working dog, and those all come with prey drive. I've never thought of prey drive as a con, it's just part of breed and it needs to be channeled appropriately.

 

I think an important thing would be that they're working dog first and foremost and working dogs need a job or an outlet for their brains and ability or issues pop up. Not that they can't make great active pets, but working dogs in general are a whole different type of dog than the public is used to.

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I would say that the common, although not universal, tendency for Border Collies to hyperfocus on some type of movement is important for someone new to the breed to be aware of. While it can be an asset in some regards, it is something, I think, that a new pet or sport Border Collie owner should know to recognize and have some idea of how to cope with it if it should become any kind of issue. I can honestly say that when it cropped up in my first Border Collie, I had no idea what was going on, nor any idea how to handle it. Knowing how to recognize it, and having techniques at my disposal to diffuse it or use it (depending on what is appropriate), have been invaluable to me.

 

Of course, I think Border Collies are the best kind of dog in the entire world and I think they are perfect in almost every way - even with their unique attributes and quirks. But they definitely aren't for everyone.

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Having shared our lives with a Border Collie for six, too short years, I am totally and unabashedly in love with the breed. Quirky sometimes, yes, but I never found that to be a negative. One look into those piercing brown eyes, I could see him thinking, working things out in his amazing brain. He never tired of learning, and mastered a new command the day before he died--of a brain tumor.

 

He knew the names of all his toys and all the rooms in the house. He understood upstairs and downstairs, left paw and right paw and so much more. We taught him to put his toys away in his toy basket. He loved games of any kind, not just Frisbee and ball but hide and seek with DH and I, looking for the treats hidden around the house when I left him home for a few hours. As soon as I closed the door, I could hear him barreling down the stairs, eager to sniff out his prize. He never missed one.

 

He watched me with those hauntingly beautiful eyes, anticipating my every move. Always eager to please, he was sensitive and intuitive. He seemed to know when I was having a bad day, and would either just lie quietly at my feet or do something goofy to make me laugh in spite of myself. If I cried, he was right there, trying to fix it. Odd as this may sound, I tried not to cry in front of him, knowing how it upset him. :rolleyes:

 

We had a home visit recently from a rescue group, hoping to adopt another Border Collie. The woman asked, "And what did you do with Scooter when you went on vacation?" DH and I just looked at each other and he finally answered, "We haven't been on a vacation since we got him. If we couldn't take him with us, we didn't go." Echoing what others have said, once you have a Border Collie, you willingly forgo the weekend trips out of town, the two week vacations, get togethers that might last longer than six hours. Some people used to ask us why we got a dog--"they just keep you tied down." They most assuredly never owned a Border Collie.

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"Odd as this may sound, I tried not to cry in front of him, knowing how it upset him."

 

This does not sound odd to me. I do the same for the same reason. The day I had to put one of my dogs down I tried my best not to bawl and sob in front of him because I wanted him to go without worrying about me. To this day I sometimes want to cry about missing him but I won't because I know he didn't like it.

 

I love the quirkiness, the intelligence and willingness of my border collie to work with me and be my partner. I love seeing him enjoy life and his silly ways, the way he likes me to laugh at him (which he makes me do every day). I love looking into his soulful brown eyes. After owning other breeds, I don't think I've ever be without a border collie. I'm hooked.

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So I decided that for this class presentation coming up I was going to inform my class about Border Collies. Where better than the source of people who actually live with them, love them, and are driven crazy by them? I want to inform them about both the pros and cons of this wonderful breed and was wondering if anyone would volunteer their own stories about their dogs. I want the good and the bad especially in the realms of their wonderful and dreadful intelligence and energy/endurance. I want to show them how most traits that seem like fantastic ideas can be very difficult to deal with if they are not nurtured and cared for properly. So anyone care to share the good times and the rough times so I can have quotes from actual Border Collie owners?

 

 

The most important thing to impart is the love and respect for the breed. Those who carry the flag for "their" breed feel as strongly as we do, I'm sure and a well rounded presentation will offer respect for those efforts while (of course!) demonstrating that the Border Collie's astounding versatility doesn't necessarily make it the best house pet.

 

I know that I am guilty of anthropomorphizing my dogs but in my defense I present a recent book review - "The Moral Lives of Animals" -- Beyond the need for exercise, mental stimulation, and companionship, a Border Collie is a moral creature of a somewhat higher order than the average canine-- their level of intelligence demands that they be treated with the utmost fairness. They keep us humans honest.

 

Liz

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