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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.

post-12801-002712300 1321678829_thumb.jpg

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Small animals and dogs can work with close supervision. Every dog is different so you'd have to choose your dog carefully and then teach the dog to be calm and respectful towards the little ones. Even then, you may want to limit their interaction to only times when there are bars between them (cage or x-pen).


I have 20 chinchillas, an ornery cockatiel, and a cat. Bear (80 lb lab mix) has been around chinchillas since he was a puppy. Mostly he just ignores them. He does have one chinchilla that he is buds with. They sniff each other through the cage bars and Spud (the chin) will grab at Bear's fur. Because he's so big, I don't usually let Bear interact with them outside the cage. Even if he's laying down he still poses a risk because most of my chinchillas have no fear of him and will walk right up to him, all he's got to do is roll over onto them and they could be gone.


I got Meg the Border Collie when she was about 2 years old and she does fairly well with all the critters. By that I mean she doesn't try to eat them.


When she first arrived, I think Meg hoped the cat would play with her. Meg followed the cat all over the lower level of the house (not chasing...she walked calmly a few paces behind the cat) until finally the cat had enough and gave Meg a good whack on the nose. The cat is the boss and she makes sure the dogs know it.


Meg is not allowed in the same area as loose chinchillas and I had to put an x-pen block off the cage because she does want to move the chinchilla. I wouldn't call it herding or chasing...she walks up to them and tries to make them move, not in any specific direction and not with any intent to follow them...just sticks her nose close to them so they'll start moving so she can watch them move. If they move towards her, she backs away. Mostly she just wants to watch them and I trust her enough to have her in the room while I open cages to feed. She's not going to leap after them if someone decides to make a run for it. I do make her leave the room while I catch the escapee though.


Bob the cockatiel is usually in his cage when they dogs are in the room. He likes to dive bomb them. They have no desire to be near him and avoid his cage like the plague (he hisses and sometimes lunges at them when they do pass by). I didn't realize he was out one day and I let the dogs in. He left his perch and landed on Meg's head. Freaked her out and sent her running across the room (best possible response in my opinion...I don't want her taking an interest in him). Now she always checks his perch to see if he's there. On the occasion that he is, she prefers to leave the room or hide behind the sofa.

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You sound like you have done your homework and you're headed in the right direction :)


As far as bunnies go, I have no experience with that. However, I have experience with BC's and cats. I've only had one foster dog who insisted on keying in on the cat, which was definitely not allowed. Although there eventually came peace in the household, she was adopted to a family who didn't have a cat. I never completely trusted her.


I really think it depends on the dog. Both of my girls love all animals and are very respectful. Seek was raised with my cats from 6 months on. She wanted to chase them at first (in a very playful way), but soon learned that playing had to be calm and sought upon from both ends of the party. My cat Yum Yum loves to play with Seek and they get along great. Cedar was brought home at 10 weeks and raised with my cats. She was very submissive to them and always rolled over on her back when they were near. The cats knew they were alpha. I never once worried about Cedar and the cats. Even when she's at my mom's (6 cats) she does great and loves to give them sweet kisses. Of course, some find this obnoxious and give her a swipe.


BTW: Just curious, what huge park in Tacoma are you talking about? Sounds intriguing. I am in Washington, too. You could always come out to Fido's Farm in Olympia and talk to other knowledgeable BC owners. There's also a flyball team there. Sometimes folks out there have foster BC's as well. If you're interested in sheep herding, this is a great place to go. Chris is an excellent trainer. The staff is very approachable.

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I definitely understand your reasons for caution, and I feel the same way. Our bunnies' safety is our first priority. I wouldn't even be considering adding a dog to the family unless I had seen it work first hand. I'm also involved with some house rabbit forums so I've gotten a lot of great tips from them as well (most of them have dogs too). They've pretty much echoed what you just said, boundaries and supervision are an absolute must.


Pretty much I want the dog to learn that "good things happen when you ignore the rabbits". I won't be encouraging any contact between the two. As many cute youtube videos as there are showing rabbits and dogs "being best buds", I still cringe when I see them, just imagining what can happen in the blink of an eye. It's definitely important to have a healthy respect for the predator/prey relationship, and to never forget that that is what it is. A dog is a predator, and a rabbit is prey. End of story.


On the issue of supervision it certainly helps having my husband around. Two pairs of watchful eyes are better than one. And when I say the dog and rabbits will never be alone together I really mean it. As in no dogs and bunnies out together unless one of us is actively watching them. I actually laughed out loud when I was reading an article on BCs and it said "you better like being followed, even into the bathroom", because that's exactly what I'm looking for. A velcro dog that willingly follows me room to room, it would certainly make my job of supervising a whole lot easier!


We have no illusions about how dangerous the situation can be if not handled properly, so we'll be taking everything VERY slow. Luckily we have some great information at our disposal to help us along the way, and lead us in the right direction. We also agreed that at the first sign of trouble we'll call in a trainer. I forget where I heard it (I think it was the rabbit forum), but someone mentioned that the training principles utilized in introducing dog to baby were very helpful for them, so it's something I might have to look into.



Did everything else sound okay though? Do you think we would be a good candidate for a BC? We have a while till we're looking to adopt, but we want to make sure we'd be able to provide what they need.

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Hi there Sixx!

I was talking about Point Defiance Park. Have you been? It's not really too challenging of a hike, but it's still fun to poke around the woods a bit, and it has AMAZING views of the Sound. I definitely recommend it if you're in the area!


I've heard nothing but awesome things about Fido's Farm! I've toyed with the idea of going down there, but I didn't want to be the creepy lady just standing there without a dog, LOL. I kind of figured it would be like going to a playground and watching the kids play, but not having one of your own. I might have to drag Darcy and her dogs down there though, she still has never been, and she has a 9 month old Belgian Malinois that's been driving her crazy. Maybe herding would be a good outlet for all that teenage angst of hers! I've been wanting to get out there and meet some BCs and their owners, I'm just shy by nature, so it's a little awkward for me. There's also a border collie meetup group in Maple Valley that I've been eyeing as well.


And now that you bring up herding, I've been curious about some things pertaining to it. First off, some of the articles I've read have used the term "hobby herder" like it's a dirty word. I mean I don't want to get my dog out there, give her the time of her life, and then make her go back to "normal life". Does that sound weird? It seems like something that fun couldn't be a bad thing. I mean I like ice cream, but I don't need to eat it everyday to feel fulfilled in my life. Would similar logic apply to a border collie and herding? I'm very much a newbie when it comes to understanding the border collie brain, but I'm eager to learn!

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I think you guys sound like a lovely home, honestly.


Although you might want to talk to/convince your husband to actually visit some border collies. Visiting Fido's Farm might give you a a better insight like Sixx said. I think that's the biggest misconception about border collies because of poor breeding habits by show, sport, and BYB breeders; they've almost completely morphed the idea of the border collie into something neurotic and out of control. They're more...mentally active than physical, I'd say (although they're very, very physically active too; athletic!). They're always thinking, always mentally busy.


But that, too, probably varies from dog to dog.


Anyway, now that I've rambled on forever, good luck on your search! I hope you find the perfect new addition to your home. <3


And if you're looking to adopt: Pacific Northwest Border Collie Rescue is a great source! :D





for whatever reason, that's not turning into a clickable link, so here's the url: www.pnwbcrescue.org

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Hi Brady's Mom,


LOL, trust me I've been drooling over PNWBC's adoptables page for months now!


It's funny too, the hubby's had more in person experience with border collies than I have, yet he still believes if we adopted one it would automatically be a terror and rip our house to shreds. He grew up in a rural area, and his grandfather is a cattle rancher who had three BCs, all of which sound like they were lovely dogs. He said they were excellent at their work, but were content to just hang out in front of the fireplace when the work was done. So I have no idea where he got this idea of border collies that completely contradicts what his own personal experience had taught him. But when push comes to shove, I'm generally pretty good at winning him over (thus the rabbits). My action plan is pretty much to bombard him with credible information about the breed, and drag him to some BC events so he can fall in love with them too.


And thanks for the kind words! Almost everyone I've told about my yearning for a border collie responds with "but you live in an apartment". Pretty discouraging when you hear it repetitively, but I know keeping a BC happy is not about the size of your yard but your level of commitment.

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A border collie would be a great dog to partner with for doing the variety of activities you've mentioned. :)


I just want to say that it's ok to have down time in that schedule. You don't want to build a pup up to expect that he/she needs to be entertained at all times. If you want to do doggie daycare that's fine, but it's also ok for your dog to be alone for four hours a day (mine just sleep) while you're at work. Since you plan on being pretty active with them when you get home, it won't be a problem.


Good luck with your search!

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My dogs all asked if they can come live with you! ;)

You sound perfectly suited for a Border Collie.

Find some to visit, make sure they are calm dogs so your DH can figure out not all dogs or BC's are hyper. It's all in how you raise or train them.


I live with 4 at the moment. Lately with the time change they don't even get up with me. They prefer to wait till daylight unless I open the outside door!


Really, do your homework on the particular dog that you want to bring home and make sure it's bunny friendly. Then you should be good to go!


Happy dog hunting!

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I live in a town with 2 border collies, we do have a yard and we drive for all walks. From your description you will give a border collie a great home. I will second the statement that the more exercise you give one the more they need and expect. Some days my guys get a couple of long off leash walks, and the young one runs with me, but on a rainy day they will sleep and hangout, other days our work schedule just prevents a good walk and they are ok with no exercise. That said they better get out the next day :D

I joke my youngster does not have the border collie off switch, rather he has an on switch, rattle the car keys, show him an agility obstacle and he is off to the races, the rest of the time he is a very mellow guy.

Truthfully my two are more mellow house pets than many Labradors and bedroom slipper type dogs I know, which I think has more to do with training and expectations than breeding.

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I just want to say that it's ok to have down time in that schedule. You don't want to build a pup up to expect that he/she needs to be entertained at all times. If you want to do doggie daycare that's fine, but it's also ok for your dog to be alone for four hours a day (mine just sleep) while you're at work. Since you plan on being pretty active with them when you get home, it won't be a problem.


^^ This!


A dog needs down time too! It teaches them that sometimes you just need to chill.


I kinda think with the rest of your proposed schedule that day care is too much. I mean, if you have a dog that you're constantly doing something with you'll create a dog that constantly needs to do something. But if you start out with the idea that sometimes you just need to chill in a crate for a few hours then they'll quickly learn that and be able to settle for a few hours when needed.


First off, some of the articles I've read have used the term "hobby herder" like it's a dirty word. I mean I don't want to get my dog out there, give her the time of her life, and then make her go back to "normal life".


IMO, it depends on your approach. If you're really interested in learning how to handle stock with your dog, then by all means try it. But do so with a respect for the stock you'll be working with and not just as a flavor of the week doggie activity (does that make sense?). AS far as your dog goes, it would be perfectly fine doing it once (or once a week) and then going back to normal life. They live in the moment and don't pine for the things they don't currently have.

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I have a golden, a JRT and my BC girl. Of the three dogs, the BC is definately the most laid-back in the house. She likes to position herself where she can see her people. She is ready in a spit second for action if there is any indication that someone is going outside. (keys, putting on shoes, coats) While she's in, she just lays around on her bed. She's very sweet and super-calm inside.

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I agree with all that Mara said. In fact, I think the most important thing you can do for a border collie is not interact with it all the time. We live with six of them and every one knows when it's time to be rowdy and also when it's time to chill (and that most of the time is the latter). Border Collies (and probably all dogs) want to be with you; like to do stuff with you and want to know what's going to happen next. Border Collies' biddability means that they turn themselves inside out to try and figure out what you want--if you understand that you can want them to settle down, you should be just fine.


IME, Border Collies are not especially needy in terms of physical exercise; what they do need and what makes them rather different from most other breeds is something to occupy their busy little brains (like brady's mom said above). I also think their busy brains can lead them to get really overstimulated. Only one of ours would do well at a doggie day care. In my experience, they don't always understand other dogs' play strategies and can get overwhelmed by them (that's true of 5 of our six--and all those we had as pups were exposed to lots of other dogs as puppies, but as they became adults, they tolerated galumpfy play from other dogs much less).


Ours are alone 6-8 hours a day and sleep or look out the window or do whatever (since we're not here, not sure, but I suspect they sleep). We also have four cats in the house and all six are fine with the cats--they play with them when the cats are interested and otherwise leave them be. Not sure what ours would do with rabbits on first encounter, but I am sure they could be trained to leave them alone. A Border Collie's biddability works in your favor as long as you're consistent in letting them know what is allowed and what isn't.


You don't mention where you plan to get a border collie, but a rescue could be well suited to your situation and the organization could help find one that is o.k. with small animals and maybe on the more mellow side. Otherwise, if you're thinking of a puppy, look for a well bred one (if you look at some of the pinned topics, you'll see a variety of things that could be red flags).


As you've no doubt gathered from reading here for a while, Border Collies are (or should be) bred to work stock. That doesn't mean they have to work stock or if they do that it has to be with a particular frequency. There's nothing wrong with being a hobby herder (which I think you're using to mean someone who occasionally takes the dog to sheep) if you understand the various limitations--the main one being that your and your dog's progress will be pretty slow. While they have the instinct, the instinct has to be shaped (and you have to learn to handle). Learning stockwork is the absolute hardest intellectual pursuit I've ever attempted--it doesn't come naturally to me and 80% of the time I feel like (and look like) a total doofus. But, the good news is it used to be 90% of the time....


Like Mara said, if it's just another fun thing to do with the dog, you might find that other activities would be a more efficient use of your time and $$. At the end of the day, stock work is about the stock, not the dog and not the handler and not the fun you can have. That said, in the 20% of the time when I don't feel like a doofus, I'm pretty sure it's the closest thing to to grace I've ever experienced.


Border Collies can bring you to a slippery slope, so just be prepared.

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sounds like your would do great with a BC lol my dogs live a similer life, I work in a doggy daycare with an acre of fenced grass, my dogs come to work with me every day (9 hours 5 days week) plus I walk them before work and on my break, often taking them to the dog park to play a bit before work. they are pretty much always with me.


I am not worried about Rabbit/dog thing, I have 2 BCs(and a retriever and terrier) and 2 house rabbits, a 5lbs mix and a 2lbs dwarf Hotot, they are not caged, they run the house with the dogs. and honestly the rabbits can hold their own, I am far more concerned about them hurting my dogs then the other way around, my BC Happy has actually gotten badly injured because my 2lbs rabbit attacks and chases her so fast that she get thrown into things!

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You do sound like a wonderful owner! I might want to come live with you. . .


The responses about 'down time' are right on. Please take them seriously. It's very easy to create a needy dog if a human is doing something with them All The Time.


A couple things in addition:


1)Train your dog to go outside to eliminate first thing in the morning, then to come back in and chill for at least a little while before any other activity. Believe me, when you wake up with the flu or a migraine or you simply have an incredibly tight schedule that one day, you'll like this idea. I'm generally up for about an hour or so before we head out for a romp.


2)Train your dog to be alone. Right now it sounds reasonable, that the dog will have some kind of companionship all the time. However, there will be a day when there's some kind of situation that demands that you and hubby are both gone for a while. If your dog is used to it, it's no problem. Having a dog who can't tolerate alone time is a royal PITA. You don't want to do that to yourselves or your dog.


I don't know if anyone has mentioned, but PICTURES are necessary!



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It sounds like you're headed to rescue, which is great! It's the best way to find a dog that might already have been exposed to small animals, or have the temperament to be.


Another good place to meet more Border Collies and handlers is at trials. Even if you never get into stock work (ha! Good luck with that around here. There's a huge stock dog community here), the people at trials are a tremendous resource, and many are involved in rescue and other activities. You can check out the WA Association of Stockdog Handlers website for a list of upcoming trials. Most of the winter trials are training trials, fairly informal, and often wet and muddy, but most trial hosts are happy to have interested folks come out to watch. Just send them an email or give a phone call to make sure. I'm running one dog in Open and one in Pro-Nov this winter, and tons of folks from these boards will be there as well.

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Thanks everyone for responding! :D



I'm so glad to hear that it's too much and not too little! Pretty much everything I wrote is the maximum amount of attention/exercise/and mental stimulation that we can realistically offer, I just wanted to make sure it would be enough. I know owners underestimating the commitment involved is a big reason they end up in shelters in the first place, so I wanted to make sure I was avoiding that pitfall.


I definitely hear what you're saying about downtime too. Pretty much all the time spent at home besides a couple hours of training sessions and play (broken up throughout the day) will be downtime. My husband's main concern is that the dog wouldn't be able to handle it, and I'll admit I was a little concerned as well. Thank you for putting my mind at ease!


@Pippin's Person: Yes, we will definitely be going the rescue route! I love puppies (who doesn't?!), but I know my limitations, and I know I'm not ready for one. Volunteering at my local shelter has been a crash course in the evils of backyard breeders and puppy mills, so under no circumstances would I purchase a puppy from them. 'Pedigree Dogs Exposed' was a big wake up call for a lot of people about the perils of breeding for conformation, and the results of it speak for themselves. Pugs with chronic skin and breathing problems, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels with brains too big for their skulls, the nightmarish list goes on...


Herding is something I definitely would love to do someday, but I have a lot to learn before I'd feel comfortable getting out there with my dog. You make an excellent point about how you approach it being the deciding factor if it's a good thing or not. My rabbits have taught me a lot about how scary the world can be when you're a prey animal, so I can sympathize with how the sheep must feel. Someday in the distant future, after lots of research and observation, I might give it a go, but we'll see. Watching a BC and handler work in tandem is definitely in my top five of the most beautiful things in the world.




Good catch on the alone time issue as well guys! It didn't even occur to me, but you're right. I was thinking the daycare route, pretty much just to compensate for the dog being crated during part of the bunnies' run time. And since I live in a four-plex it would make my landlord feel a lot better knowing the dog wouldn't be barking all the time while I'm gone at work. Obviously that would depend on the individual dog, and how familiar they were with crate training and being alone.



I think once we're actually looking at possible adoptees and talking with rescues, we'll be able to find a good balance. That's another reason I'm so determined to go through a rescue (versus a shelter), a foster home can tell us how much exercise they're accustomed to getting and in what ways, how many hours they're used to being crated/left alone, if they have a low/high prey drive, etc. etc.

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Just to make you feel better, I have 10 border collies living in the house, most working bred, a couple rescues. I work from home in publishing, so there are many hours of the day when I'm busy and they must entertain themselves. Aside from the 3.5-month old puppy, they mostly just lounge around. They are lucky that can let them out anytime they want, but let's just say that there are plenty of days when we don't do anything organized (play, sport, etc.) at all. These are not dull couch-potato dogs, but mostly working dogs who can put in a full day's work when needed. And yet, they are perfectly happy chilling; what they want most is to be with their human. As long as you give your dog a reasonable amount of exercise, mental stimulation and time with you, s/he should be just fine. (Of course this is assuming that the dog isn't from a breeding that has selected for over-the-top drive to the exclusion of self control and sensibility.)



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I agree. You sound like you will be a good BC owner. You have presented a well-reasoned approach to owning a BC.


Now you have to get your husband on board. My husband did not want to get the "crazy BC" either. So 10+ years ago, when we went to the local pounds to look for an adoptable dog, we agreed on a sheltie mix (?). 4 years ago I finally got my BC. He had not agreed, but he did not disagree either. If you had to ask him today, he would say the the BC is much easier to live with (as long as he gets some attention/training/walking every day - which is my job) than our other dog. My BC is also better at being included in our lives away from the house (i.e. hiking, travelling, going to public places) than the rescue dog. To be fair, the rescue dog had some issues when we adopted her at 3.5 years old that I have never been able to totally overcome, only improve. So even though we would like to include her more often, she is often left at home. Now that she is 14, I think she prefers to stay home anyways.


Down time: As many others have said, your dog should be able to handle down time - either in your home or in a crate. The 4 hours at home should be an easy, routine part of the day. Use your $$ budgeted for daycare for some other dog-related expense. :) I recently did a home visit for the BC rescue group I am involved with, and the lovely couple who were going to adopt very proudly told me that once their previous dogs had grown out of puppyhood that they had given away their crates since they were so good in the house. I thought that was wonderful, but explained to them that feeling comfortable in a crate was a really good skill for a dog, regardless of age. My dog does not need a crate routinely, but I still have one out because on occasion I still use it - if only to remind him that it is OK to be in a crate.


Daycare: Depending on your BC, he may not enjoy daycare - or the other dogs may not enjoy him. I have often heard, from both sides of the fence (owners and daycare workers), that often BCs do not work well in a pack of daycare dogs.


Kennelling: Not sure if this was mentioned, but I would make sure your dog is comfortable being kennelled. If you get a rescue dog, he may already be comfortable with kennelling, but if you get a puppy, don't make him too attached to you. With my pup, I kennelled him a few times (one night, 2 nights at a kennel, then 3 nights with a friend) before he was 8-9 months old just to give him the experience of being away from me. Both my mother and brother owned dogs that could not be kennelled. They would pine away and not eat. It really can put a crimp on travel plans.


Flyball: OK, I am not a flyball person, so you can take this advice with a grain of salt -- from what I have heard from several rehab vets, be cautious not to overdo flyball. The vets say that a higher proportion of the canine injuries they treat are attributable to flyball than to any other sport. Flyball puts a tremendous amount of stress on the shoulder area.


My 2 cents. Good Luck - and please post pics when you do get your BC.



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Halfway through your first post, I had to stop and go back to the top to see where you're from because if you lived in Texas or Oklahoma (or nearby states), the rescue I foster for would love to have you apply for one of our bc's! Like others on this Board, there are multiple bc's in my house (since I foster, the numbers vary!) and a couple of cats. BC's definitely can peacefully co-exist w/small animals but it has to be the right dog. I've had to return a couple of fosters because they were determined to get to the cats but on whole, the bulk of the bc's I've fostered have either had no interest in the cats or made friends w/them! Good luck in your search - there are a lot of rescues near your area and I'm sure you'll find the perfect bc for your family!

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Thanks to you guys, my husband is actually coming around already! I told him that I finally got the courage to post on the forum and summarized the responses for him, and he seemed a little more open to the idea of a BC. He loves watching BC herding videos on youtube just as much as I do, so I think he likes the breed, but is just intimidated by the hype.


Yes, on the daycare issue I've definitely heard that from other people as well. Daycare isn't for every dog, and the same goes for dog parks. A lot of dogs I know are just too overwhelmed by the experience to remember their manners, much less enjoy it. And I've also heard that BCs can be a bit too intense for other dogs, and that many of them don't appreciate being herded. It sounds like the daycare option is out then, for the most part. I figure whatever rescue we go through will have a pretty good idea if their foster would enjoy it or not, so I'll just take my cues from them when the time comes.


And I totally agree with the crate being a lifelong helpful tool. As long as the crate training is done properly, it should be a cozy "den" that they can always retreat to when they feel like it. There are definitely a lot of situations where your dog being crate trained comes in handy.


And it looks like we'll be acclimating the bunnies to a dog's presence a little sooner than we thought! My husband's band is playing a show out of town tonight and his bassist needed someone to watch his three month old puppy for the night, so I volunteered. Meatloaf (the puppy) has a pretty strong "leave it" command for a three month old, and already has experience living with three cats, so the foundation for success is already there. I'm going to be using the umbilical cord method during his stay with me, just to be sure everyone is safe. I just want the bunnies to get used to having a dog in the background, and I think the fact that he's smaller than Esco will help. Here goes nothing! He's pretty easy to tucker out (uncommonly so for a puppy), so I'll give him a good romp around the yard, play some games, and then hopefully he'll be ready for a nap by the time he gets to my place. Wish me luck!

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I'm typing this with three border collies, an Australian shepherd and a corgi-mix laying around the house. ;) Down-time is valuable and so is solid crate-training. My two younger BCs both sleep in their crates even though they have long since graduated to having their crate doors open. Nick is 3-/12 and Gael is a little over 2, but they still view their crates as dens and safe havens.


So, properly managed and supervised, a BC is a good housemate! I will "ditto" the observation that alone time is also valuable. He needs to know that, for example, if you have guests coming for Thanksgiving dinner and you put him in his crate, it's not the end of life as he knows it. It's just time-out in his "den" with a good chewie toy or something.


That's another thing: you can teach a pup to lounge around and relax at home by giving him good things to chew. I've found it definitely encourages the indoor "off" switch. :)


Best of luck with your fur-kid to come!


~ Gloria

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Meg goes to day camp and sometimes the dog park. She's not exactly the social butterfly. At the dog park, she really enjoys being off leash, greeting other dogs, and smelling, well everything. However, she has yet to engage any other dog in play and will hide behind me if another dog is too pushy in trying to get her to play. We usually go in the morning when there's only a few dogs.


At day camp Meg only plays with a few other dogs that she's decided to befriend (mostly other herding breed dogs that she sees there all the time). She mainly just watches the other dogs play. She runs in and out, and follows the other dogs around (from a good distance) and will sniff each new comer. She'll join in a game of fetch with Dan (owner), but won't go for the ball if another dog is also heading for it. It may not seem like much to someone watching her, but it is enough mental and physical stimulation to tire her out and she does enjoy it. The first time she went back after a summer of not going to day camp, she was very excited as we pulled in the parking lot and as soon as she entered the dog area she found her collie friend whom she hadn't seen in months and started wrestling (something she rarely does).


In the summertime, we can find plenty of other things to do to keep busy, but in the wintertime when the ground is snow covered and daylight hours are limited, day camp helps keep us both sane. My petsitter also takes her to day camp a few times a week when I'm out of town.


Its not a necessity and not all dogs are cut out for it, but I wouldn't rule out day camp completely. Just wait and see if you think the new pup will benefit and if you can find a facility you really like.

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Just wait and see if you think the new pup will benefit and if you can find a facility you really like.


Yeah, I think that's really good advice. Whatever foster home/rescue I adopt from will probably have a pretty good idea if the dog would like it or not, so I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. If they would enjoy it, maybe I can do a compromise and do daycare a few times a week instead of everyday. That way the dog actually experiences being alone on a regular basis, and learns it's not such a bad thing.


Halfway through your first post, I had to stop and go back to the top to see where you're from because if you lived in Texas or Oklahoma (or nearby states), the rescue I foster for would love to have you apply for one of our bc's!


I wish I did, I'm sure you've got some cuties!


So, properly managed and supervised, a BC is a good housemate!


That's what I've been trying to get my husband to understand! I'm definitely going to have him read all this, if for nothing else just to have an "I told you so!" moment! ;)


And now for a bunny/puppy progress update...They did great! I'm so proud of my bunnies! There were no face to face meetings, just watching each other from a distance but the bunnies pretty much just went about their daily business. I had a baby gate up between the bedroom and living room. The rabbits were in the bedroom, and Meatloaf was in the living room with me. Meatloaf definitely liked watching the bunnies, but I was careful to keep his excitement level in check, and take breaks as needed. All in all it was a success!

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