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Border collies and children


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In the discussion about the aussidoodles, it was mentioned (by the breeder i believe) that border collies are not good with kids. I hear this a lot. Now, i have a toddler, a 3 year old border collie and a 14 year old border collie cross. My sample size is very small. My dogs love my son - from a distance. They clearly consider him part of the family. Orbit loves to give him kisses (although only from behind). They are also both terrified of him in certain situations. He can be a crazy kid. When he is running full steam ahead, yelling like a banshee(sp?) i am terrified too. He is still aslo learning to be consistenly gentle and touch animals appropriately. They are always supervised and i would never expect my dogs to take abuse from a child.

 

So, my question is, are border collies naturally more weary of children than most breeds period? Does it matter if they were raised with kids? Are we saying that they are not good with kids because they tend to be scared of kids or because they can be nippy? And i know that there are dogs that will let kids absolutely maul them and just lie there but that doesn't seem normal to me either,

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In the discussion about the aussidoodles, it was mentioned (by the breeder i believe) that border collies are not good with kids. I hear this a lot. Now, i have a toddler, a 3 year old border collie and a 14 year old border collie cross. My sample size is very small. My dogs love my son - from a distance. They clearly consider him part of the family. Orbit loves to give him kisses (although only from behind). They are also both terrified of him in certain situations. He can be a crazy kid. When he is running full steam ahead, yelling like a banshee(sp?) i am terrified too. He is still aslo learning to be consistenly gentle and touch animals appropriately. They are always supervised and i would never expect my dogs to take abuse from a child.

 

So, my question is, are border collies naturally more weary of children than most breeds period? Does it matter if they were raised with kids? Are we saying that they are not good with kids because they tend to be scared of kids or because they can be nippy? And i know that there are dogs that will let kids absolutely maul them and just lie there but that doesn't seem normal to me either,

 

I think most herdy types can be a challenge with young children. Most any dog who was bred to respond quickly to situations and be very vigilant about their surroundings can have a hard time with kids because kids move funny, they are unpredictable and that can drive a herding breed a little bonkers. They also have a certain personaility trait that I can only think to describe as "not suffering fools gladly." They are more sensitive to stimulous including things that may be frightening.

 

That said, I know many Border Collies who are very good with young children and vice versa.

 

I believe absolutely that dogs who are around children a lot from the beginning, and who have good experiences with them are far more likely to be tolerant of their kids. I also think dogs will sometimes be more tolerant of "their" kids as opposed to kids they don't know.

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It's all about socialization, IMO. If you get a puppy and have it around kids from a very young age, then I see no reason why there should be a problem.

However, if they weren't raised properly, the herding instinct may overtake them. My Border Collie was a rescue, we adopted her when she was about a year and a half. She cannot be around children.

We have a very simple rule here for my brother - If you're going to be running around or moving fast in the house, put the dog outside first. If you're going to be running around or moving fast outside, then make sure the dog is in the house. It's a simple rule, and when he follows it she has absolutely no problem with my brother. However, he's been known to be lightly nipped two or three times before on the ankle, from not listening to the rule. He learned his lesson - the rule is there for a reason. Either way, my younger brother isn't around much any more, so it's not a problem.

In some cases, Border Collies and children can be managed. It's a matter of training not only the dog, but the child, too. But in other cases, like mine, the dogs simply can't be around kids. My brother is the only one who can be around my dog, as she adores him, but other children simply don't know how to act around a herding breed. It's sad when I'm with my dog at the park and a kid asks if they can pet her, and I have to say no. But it's just how it works.

 

 

I also don't agree the Border Collies view children as sheep. They are very intelligent dogs, and I believe they are VERY able to tell the difference between a small human and a sheep. Herdable, in the dogs eyes? Yes...but do they see them as sheep? I highly doubt it.

 

As with ANY breed, though, it all varies between each individual dog.

 

That's just my opinion - I'm no expert.

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My own have always been and are in love with kids. After all, who better to talk into pitching sticks, balls and frisbees endlessly? Who better to bail off into the nasty brown and muddy pond with?

My old man was very powerful and patience was not his strong suit. Yet even he picked my clients kids for special fun. And as long as they let the stick go in a reasonable amount of time....and in a way he taught many a kid that teasing dogs was not a nice thing in a way that never seemed to scare or anger the kids. After all, wasn't like me or the parents had not told them that play was perfect and teasing not so nice. :)

 

Plus I would like to add that I also share my home with a GSD that does not like strangers. Very protective and very into being pro active. Yet even she has never considered a child any kind of threat or found them to deserve any kind of aggression. As the founder of the breed described.

 

I would like to argue that true farm dogs where also a part of family life and as such should be perfectly fine with their family large or small. So maybe the "belief" that Border Collies are iffy with kids is less a reflection of the original breed but the very different surroundings and breeding selections these dogs are exposed to today. As well as the surroundings and raising practices that don't always expose today's children to a "normal" way of living with others (including animals and humans) which does teach respect, space and that there is a time for play and rough housing and then there are others when it is not all about them. And yes, I know, kids will be kids and should be protected while they learn. I do like kids too. Or most of them anyway. Not so sure of most parents though. ;)

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We had Border collies when I was a girl. My brother (ten years younger than me) was a toddler when we first got them. They idolized him (and vice versa). I will add, however, that an Aussiedoodle we'd had previously (long before they were popular; this was the result of a "whoops" litter between an Aussie we knew and a neighbor's Standard poodle) was MISERABLE with small kids. Seeing my immediately younger brother wrestling with other kids drove him immediately over his threshold and he bit everyone in sight - hard. We did find him a new home with an elderly couple, and he was the hit of their community when he chased away a burglar. So all ended well there.

 

My current 2-year-old Border collie adores kids; he lights right up when he sees them. He knows he'll get lots of attention, they'll throw sticks, and he'll get a chance to show off his tricks. And, although my own kids aren't little, my younger son (15) is the only one from whom Duncan will request belly rubs.

 

That being said, if you get a Border collie puppy and have small children and don't train the dog or the kids, it's a near-certain recipe for disaster. (Just ask any rescue organization; I'm sure it's one of the top reasons for owner surrender, that is, if the owners are being honest and not claiming "allergies").

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I think that while a lot depends on socialization and upbringing, there is always an element that is genetic or inherent or just plain there to begin with. I have had a couple of dogs that absolutely love children of all sorts and ages, and sometimes babies more than anything in the world - and a couple that have always been suspicious of "little ones" and their accompanying noise, erratic movements, high-pitched voices, and so on.

 

I have worked hard to train my dogs to act appropriately and be comfortable around children - their personalities are still obvious no matter what, and I use management as well as training to make things work when the house is full of grandchildren or we see children on outings.

 

I do believe that, for many people, a Border Collie is not a very good choice for a household with children or visiting children - without proper socialization or recognition of what a dog that just plain is leery of children needs, you have a potentially nippy situation on your hands. And many people are not experienced or equipped with the skills to deal with some of the mannerisms that are unique to dogs like these.

 

And many families do just fine.

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....... And i know that there are dogs that will let kids absolutely maul them and just lie there but that doesn't seem normal to me either,

 

Yes, this has always bothered me because there are parents out there who believe that their child should be allowed to do whatever with the family dog(s) and the dog should tolerate it - hence, their dog is good with kids. The parent needs to take responsiblity for teaching their children appropriate behavior as the young child does not innately know.

 

Even if I had kids and one of those tolerant dog breeds (GR, Lab, etc.), I wouldn't let the kids maul the dog. It is just not appropriate.

 

I adopted a rescue BC that ended up in rescue because (same old story) - parents saw cute BC puppy in pet store; did not take the time to properly train dog or child; 3 year old boy was allowed to maul BC puppy because that is what little boys do; finally 6 month old BC puppy snapped (did touch touch skin) at child when child pulled on his lips while he was eating. The mother was not interested in educating child about how to properly treat a dog since she saw nothing wrong with what her child did. Sigh.

 

Jovi

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I have found border collie mixes to be much more tolerant of young children. Both Sara and Meg were not aggressive around children but were very uncomfortable if children between 1-8 were allowed in their personal space. Katie and each of the foster mixes I've had/have have loved and played with children of all ages.

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