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Initially I was thinking mostly about adult dogs for my border collie that I am hoping to get early next year. However, I've talked with quite a few BC people that have told me to reconsider getting a pup as they felt that it would be easier to teach the BC boundaries with the little dogs while the dog was smaller. Thoughts?

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If you want an adult, you could find one who has experience living with smaller dogs, or small animals or another sort.

 

If you are considering rescue, this is one thing that I would discuss with the rescues that you are considering working with. They should be able to let you know if this tends to be an issue or not, and they should help you find some dogs to consider who would be OK with it.

 

On the other hand, with a puppy, you never know what you are going to get. Yes, you can set boundaries while the dog is young, and the dog will be use to living with the smaller dogs, but issues can crop up later unexpectedly.

 

I'm not trying to say do one or the other. Just that there is a potential for issues either way and that if you do want an adult, you can certainly find one who would be fine living with small dogs.

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That's what I'd be planning was to hopefully find a dog that has lived with smaller dogs before. I thought that might be the best bet to find a dog that would be alright around the papillons (supervised of course)

 

On the other hand, most my dogs I've gotten from breeders. I've never really gotten a dog from a rescue so it's somewhat new territory. I have worked in shelters before so I know there are great dogs out there. But I've never been in a position to bring one home so never really had to think about if a dog would fit in with my crew or not. I am somewhat more comfortable with a dog that I know the lineage on and can meet the parents of, etc. I do know any dog is a crapshoot to some extent and any time you have multiples there's always a risk of them not getting along.

 

I just want to make sure I take everything into account and do what I can to make it the best possible fit.

 

Those of you with small dogs, how did you go about it?

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Again, I'm the opposite; I had the border collies before adding the chihuahua. However, I do work with East TN Border Collie rescue and we do use my chihuahua to see how the dogs in foster care react to a little dog. We let them meet on leash and as long as they are appropriate we allow them to interact off leash under supervision. Lilo (the chihuahua) is well aware of her size and isn't stupid so she isn't going to instigate trouble but she loves to play with border collies so as long as they are good she'll play and we can see how they do. If they are good then we say that the foster has been around small dogs and was good with the little one that was also appropriate (you'd be surprised at how many people let their little dogs act like piranhas and then blame the larger dog when it finally tells the little one to knock it off).

 

So I guess what I'm saying is to contact the rescue, they might be able to give you the info about little dogs, like we do.

 

Good luck in your hunt!!!!

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I don't have small dogs, but I do have cats and other small critters. I have brought adults and puppies in. All are equally capable of learning not to bother the small animals. I don't think it's easier to train a pup vs. an adult when it comes to this sort of thing--firm rules and consistency work for either one. The only difference I would think would be that a young adult who is already learning manners in other situations might catch on a bit more quickly. (I think people who recommends pups as easier to train have the mistaken notion that a pup is a blank slate--no bad habits to undo, etc., and in a sense they're right--a pup is a blank slate. The other edge of that sword is that a pup is an unknown personality, because they change as they age, so what you see in a puppy may not be what you get in the adult dog. FWIW, I've raised five border collie puppies and have brought five adult border collies into my home and I successfully trained them all to leave small critters alone.)

 

And as Kristine points out, you should be able to find dogs in rescue who are being fostered with small dogs (or other small critters) so that their behavior around such animals is already known.

 

My personal opinion is that if you want a dog you can do sports, etc., with, you should look at the young adults because personality, drive, etc., will already be obvious. A pup is really a crap shoot in that department.

 

Honestly, I think it's rare that one wouldn't be able to easily teach any dog not to bother a smaller dog (i.e., dogs with such prey drive that they can't be trusted with small animals ever). I have a good friend who does rescue and has fosters in all the time--adults and puppies. She has small dogs, cats, chickens, sheep, goats, and horses and I don't think she has had trouble teaching any of her fosters to leave the smaller (and large) critters alone.

 

I know Laura posted to your other thread, and she'll probably comment here as well, but I think the biggest problem she has with her dogs is that sometimes they simply don't pay attention to where the small dog is and so sometimes run him over in their excitement to do something (i.e., no maliciousness involved). I've observed the same with my dogs and the free range chickens. If you're in the house when the dogs go on a tear, you might think they were chasing chickens, when in fact they are just running through them without paying any attention at all to the fact that the chickens are in their way. The result: running, squawking chickens, but no one hurt and no dog actually intent on hurting something. Just not paying attention to the small critters at all and so plowing over them....)

 

J.

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I'll also throw in my experience with adding in the chihuahua. Two of my dogs are highly prey driven. They will catch and kill anything they can, cats, squirrels, rabbits, etc. They will stop when told but if I'm not right there they will grab it. When I added Lilo I never saw one instance of them seeing her as anything other than a dog, even though she was smaller than the cats they chase. They have always treated her like a fellow border collie. I just thought it was interesting...

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It depends on the dog. I have never had a Border Collie that met small dogs for the first time as an adult try to hurt or kill them. In fact, one of them found toy dogs to be a real novelty and would stand there while they attacked him, wagging his tail. If he could speak I think he would have said something like, "Oh look at the funny little beasts. They actually think they are scary!" I used him to build the confidence of and desensitize many a small dog with a Napoleon Complex.

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Thanks for all that! It is very helpful. Right now I am pretty much open to either an adult (from a rescue or a breeder) or a puppy from a breeder. I'm not so keen on a rescue puppy since with a breeder you can at least meet parents and siblings, etc. Right now I want to keep my options open and will probably be looking at both breeders and rescues when the time comes.

 

My two are pretty good about letting people know if they're about to be stepped on. Summer especially is very vocal if she thinks she's about to be run over.

 

I'll be honest that I've almost always gotten dogs from breeders. So it may partially be a comfort zone thing. I do like raising puppies too but I've gotten adults and pups from breeders and been happy with both thus far. I will say especially with one adult I really wish I had had her from the et-go. I wonder if some of her issues weren't due to handling prior to us getting her at 2 years old. I do like that with Mia I know the way I raised her and she's honestly turned out to be the best fit for me of any dog. (my other dog I got at the age of 4) Part of that could just be really being more picky about her temperament matching what I wanted too of course.

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honestly I think you are more likley to have the opposite problem. at the kennel I work at we have a large dog area and a small dog area, and 99% of the BCs play with the small dogs, .25% play only with the large and .75% can play on either side. virtually all of the rescue BCs I have seen are BETTER with tiny dogs then dogs their own size or larger.

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Like Julie says, my biggest thing is that the bigger dogs get to going and just plain old flat out don't notice the Small Dog. He's not physically able to get out of the way quickly, so most of the time he sort of leans like a tree in a flood. He is somewhat challenged by the fact that he's deaf as a post and doesn't see well anymore. When he was younger (ie 11) he got out of the way. Now he insists on standing in the path that they're getting ready to barrel down, so now I've gotten to where I specifically get him out of the way when I do things like let dogs out of crates (because they make a beeline for the back door and head out through the doggie door).

 

The border collies I know all recognize Zippy as a dog. I think part of the dynamic in my household is that there are four bigger dogs, all of which are a unified pack. When they get to going they just aren't watching what they're doing carefully. So it really comes down to management on my part. I supsect with only one border collie this won't be as much of an issue for you - but certainly it's something to keep in mind.

 

I would think it would be very manageable whether you get a puppy or an adult.

 

By the way, Zippy has always played with my puppies (in his own little way). Even now he occasionally gets all fired up and still plays with Linc.

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Thanks! Just really leaning towards an adult for now because of work schedule. (I work full time) I think in that regard a 3-4 year old would be best. There is a boy at the BC rescue here I want so badly. It's too bad I'm not exactly ready for one just yet.

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In my experience, Brady loves small dogs. He loves the fact that they're not bigger than him and are sometimes more willing to play than dogs his own size. For the most part, the small dogs at the dog park love him, too. It's only at home that we have a real problem and the small dogs hate him (which I chalk up to poor socializing on the small dogs part and Brady's extreme playfulness).

 

It all depends on the dogs, really. If you have a crotchety old man of a chihuahua like we do, they probably won't get along too well (although dogs can be the most ironic, surprising animals sometimes). I think your best bet is to just be as careful as you can be when introducing the new faces, sharing equal time, and making things as...smooth as possible.

 

Good luck to you! :D

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