Karynne Posted November 19, 2011 Report Share Posted November 19, 2011 Hi there, My name's Karynne, and I'm a longtime lurker, first time poster. My husband and I have been doing pre-adoption breed research for about a year now. I've fallen head over heels in love with border collies, and desperately want one. Meanwhile, when he hears "border collie" he instantly imagines a hyper, neurotic dog that can never settle down, and has to run twenty miles a day just to maintain composure, or they'll eat our entire house out of frustration. I think getting an informed opinion about how BC's and our lifestyle would mesh would help him come to terms with me getting one. I'm confident we could make it work, but alas I've never owned a border collie, so I can't really speak from experience. The last thing I want to do is get a dog and not be able to keep it happy, so I'd really love your honest feedback. So here goes. I'll try and give you a rundown of our life and what we can offer a BC... Training: I LOVE dog training. That's a big reason why I fell in love with BCs in the first place. Their drive and intelligence is perfect for the extensive training I want to do throughout my dog's life. Advanced obedience classes, trick training, teaching them to help out around the house (put away their toys, open the door, find my keys, etc.), pretty much I want to teach them as much as they are willing to learn. I run a dog walking company, and becoming a trainer is my ultimate goal, so having a smart, enthusiastic test subject that can keep up is a must for me. Exercise: We live in an apartment with a small unfenced yard, so most, if not all, exercise will be taking place off-site. I'd start things off with a 30 minute brisk morning walk to take care of "business" and play a quick game of fetch at the park, then onto 15 minutes of training practice in the kitchen while I chug my coffee. During the week, while I'm away for four hours a day walking other people's dogs, our dog would be at doggy daycare. We've even scoped out which one we want to use. It's a full acre of fenced green, with other dogs to play with (there are even other BCs!). And since they give you the option of doing half-days we can actually afford it. After daycare, it would be back home again to whip up some dinner and straighten up the apartment, then onto a longer more challenging training session (about 40 minutes, with breaks as necessary), followed by some fun indoor activities (scent games, puzzle toys, etc.). Another walk to the park before bed, then time to settle down for the night. Oh, and I almost forgot...FLYBALL! I'm super excited to get started in the sport, and there's a training facility 10 minutes from our house where the local team teaches classes. So we'd probably be there three nights a week, for the class as well as free practice sessions. Exercise on the weekends will probably consist of a dog park trip, play dates at friend's houses (two of our good friends have big fenced yards and various herding breeds, one of which is a BC mix), and a couple hours of hiking at the 750 acre nature park located in our city (gotta love Tacoma for that one!). Companionship: If you haven't noticed already, our dog would spend hardly any time alone. There will probably be a few hours a week where we want to do something without the dog tagging along (grocery shopping, date night, I was trying to think of more but there really isn't anything else). During these times the dog would be crated with a stuffed Kong and some soft classical music to ease the sting of being alone. Between daycare and play dates with friend's dogs they would have plenty of canine friends to spend time with. Our main concern: We have two house rabbits. Esco is twenty pounds and bulletproof, Bettie is three pounds and a runner. We've read everything we can get our hands on about dog/rabbit households and have talked at length with friends who have successfully managed one. It will certainly be a challenge (to say the least), but with time and diligent training I know it can be done. Our dog will NEVER be unsupervised with the rabbits. We have already started acclimating the bunnies to dog smell, and we're about to start introducing them to Duffy (our friend's Aussie/Retriever mix) who is very well-mannered and has lots of bunny experience. Duffy's mom runs the rabbit adoption program at the Humane Society where I volunteer, so Duffy has met a lot of rabbits in her day and knows how to behave around them. We're hoping that after lots of positive interactions with Duffy (and lots of rabbit treats) the bunnies can begin to tolerate having a dog around. Obviously, for all of this to work it is imperative that the dog not chase the rabbits. So there will be lots of boundaries laid down in the first few months after adopting the dog, and all of the dog/bunny interactions will take place after the majority of the day's exercise is completed. At first the dog will be crated (in the same room with us and with a stuffed Kong, or other toy) while the bunnies get their runtime, if the dog starts to ignore the bunnies then we'll graduate to the umbilical cord method (leash tied to my belt). All the while building and practicing a very strong "leave it" command, and LOTS of treats/praise whenever they get it right. In any given week Esco sheds the equivalent of a Bettie sized furball, so we'll use that as a decoy to start with and work up to furry toys that move. The bunnies are out about 6 hours a night (three of which are after I go to bed, and the dog will be with me) but only about 10 minutes of that is actually spent running. The vast majority of the time they're sleeping in some dark hidey place they've found (under the bed, under the couch), so I'm hoping the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing will come into play here, but I'm not holding my breath. Obviously, we'll be approaching the adoption process with all of this in mind so we can weed out the dogs that clearly wouldn't work. Adult, from a foster-based rescue (where they've had to time to get to know the dog), biddable/eager to please, good off switch, and cat experience, are some of the things we'll be looking for. We're fortunate to have some awesome BC rescues nearby so I'm confident that with some patience and their help we can find the right BC for us. So what do you guys think? Would we be able to keep a border collie happy and keep it from eating our house? We lack acreage, but I think we more than make up for it in time and devotion. And here's a picture of Esco and Bettie...This was last Christmas, they were checking out their new beds we got them. Both were promptly peed in. Lesson learned, don't get beds that are reminiscent of a super soft and expensive litterbox. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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