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Does this sound like a good BC home?

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I am finally in a place in life where I am ready to bring home a dog of my own! For many, many years I have hoped to bring home a border collie.


I'll give a little background on myself: I have had dogs nearly all my life of many different shapes and sizes. My absolute favorite dog is one my family currently has, and he's a brilliant standard poodle. I am currently finishing up my last year in college and have a steady income and housing situation. I am close with my family, where I visit for 2-3 days per week and am able to spend summers at home. I compete with working cowhorses so my family's house sits on 7 acres with our 3 horses and a donkey. We do not have cattle, and don't necessarily need a dog for herding intentions. Given the horse situation, between March and October I spend every day outside for at least 3-4 hours doing barn chores, and at least every other weekend is spent at a horse show. These horse shows are incredibly dog friendly, and it's there where I've had most of my interactions with border collies. They have most definitely attracted me more than any other breed of dog.


When I'm not at home with the horses and such, I'm at school where I live in a pet friendly house. The yard isn't really much to talk about, but I am half a block from large enclosed campus fields. The campus itself is incredibly dog friendly, you'll often find dogs in the buildings themselves. I am an avid walker and easily have 3-4 hours daily to dedicate to outdoor activities as well as training exercises. I am a training geek, which is part of why I am attracted to border collies. I have adored the intelligence of my poodle, but am just ready for something different. In my heart of hearts I feel like a border collie would be a wonderful match for my lifestyle.


However! I have my second thoughts. I hear so many horror stories of border collies destroying homes, lives, etc. I feel like these incidents must occur with owners who aren't prepared, but I also wonder if maybe I'm not prepared. I understand the border collies are hell on four legs for a loooong time, and I feel like I have more than enough time to dedicate to the dog. But does it sound like my situation would be fairly conducive to a border collie? At first I thought that the essential lack of a yard would be a major disadvantage, but I thought more about it and have come to the conclusion that yards are just lazy ways to exercise a dog. I will absolutely not find myself in a situation where I bring home a dog, only to find 3 months later that both me and the dog are miserable. I also realize that many people here would like to see a dog placed in a working home. Am I out of line to hope that people would find it appropriate to own a border collie and NOT work cattle or sheep? I always figured that the dogs 'work' will be whatever career I choose, whether it be herding sheep or herding frisbees. I am also interested in being involved in dog sports, not for the activity itself but rather for the experience between dog and handler. I apologize for the novel and the scattered thoughts, it's just a very big decision! I've been making plans for over a year now, and feel like I would be making a good decision, but I'd love to hear others' thoughts!

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It sounds to me like you've really thought this through, and your lifestyle sounds great for a dog, and even a border collie. ;)


The horror stories are from people who think that because border collies are so smart that they don't have to train them, or are in some other way not prepared to handle their physical and/or mental needs. They're often the kinds of people who should have any dog at all, not just a border collie.


Many of us here don't have livestock, and not all of us even do dog sports. That's not what's necessary to give a border collie a good life. They need to interact with people, to be part of their lives. If they have that, most of them can live quite well even in less than ideal situations.


Best wishes in finding your new friend. I'm sure you'll have wonderful lives together.

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My border collies have by far been the easiest dogs to live with of several different breeds I've owned. A good border collie should have a good off switch - ready to go when you are but equally ready to chill out when you're home. That is provided they get adequate exercise and mental stimulation, which it sounds you are in a good situation to provide. Don't let anyone feed you that hokum about them needing to play ball six hours a day or whatever - they WILL if you encourage it but they don't need to. Some of the sport lines have lost that off switch - ask about the parents and what they're like to live with.

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You sound like a good home for a border collie.


All of your concerns have been addressed and discussed on these boards. I think you will feel more comfortable in your decision to get a BC if you spend time (many hours :) ) reading through past topics. You will find simple honesty and strong opinions about how to live with a border collie. Everyone has a slightly different take on how they interact with their dog so I am sure you will find advice that will resonate with you.


Have fun reading .... and reading .... and reading some more.

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I'd say you sound like a prime candidate for owning a border collie. It sounds like you engage is plenty of outdoor activity and, even more importantly, that you love dog training. It's clear you've given it a great deal of thought and done your research, which speaks volumes.


I'm just gonna have to throw out the "Border Collies need a big yard or to live on a farm" myth. I live in the burbs. I have a very, very small yard (think postage stamp) and it's not fenced. Is it ideal? No. Would a huge, fenced in yard make life easier? Of course. Do we make it work anyways? We sure do.


It does mean that we travel to parks, hiking trails and walking paths by car pretty much daily. We have a nice park within walking distance, which we go to many times a week, but I sorta' like the change of scenery and I think he does too.


It does mean I have to escort him outside for all potty breaks. It seemed like a hassle at first, but now it's just more time I get to spend with my dog and he seems to like my company. :rolleyes:


I wouldn't rule out a border collie because you don't live on acres and acres of land. Many of us find a way to make it work just fine.


The "job" thing is another story. That is not a myth. ;) I think the breed craves human partnership above all else. They want to be on your team, but the good news is that you can build that partnership in many, many different ways: training, obedience, agility, herding, fly-ball, treibball, tracking, musical freestyle, flying disc, retrieving, you name it. So long as the dog feels like (s)he is working *with* you, IMO, the "job" need is fulfilled.


Good luck as you continue your research and make your final decision!

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My first dog had only one single job....and that was to keep me company. I was around 21 or so, went to school, apprenticed at a large horse breeding and training operation and had not private life. Internet..what is that? It was just fine. I learned by doing. And being that I did get a smart one...it was easy. Easy to mold, she quickly got the routines...


So looking at your plans...I think you will be more than appropriate.


And I can only echo the feeling that it is not a Border Collie vs another breed issue when people get in trouble. But a human plus dog plus no training combination that creates the havoc.


I have had many different breeds since then. Fosters as well as I strayed myself. All herding breeds. All super high drive. They are the easiest dogs in the world to live with if you are willing to truly make them part of your life. Not just an ornament.


Job? Well...I hate that idea. Yes, mine stay busy. But still, their only job is to keep me company. Over the years they have helped weaning colts, ran steers, taken me to herding clinics, frisbee clinics, OB clinics, nosework classes (the newest idea I had), agility classes...but a regular job? Nope. They get to run, we play fetch, we train....but a job...I think the one job they love the best is making sure that I don't get away from them and in trouble alone if it can be helped at all.

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You sound like an above-average pet border collie home! :) Active lifestyle, dog-friendly environs, plenty of time for the dog, etc. Sounds great!

The horror stories, as others have said, come from people who somehow think that a smart dog will be an easy, mellow, obliging dog, and so they fail to teach the dog any rules or give him any structure. I just tell the idly-curious to imagine an energetic, highly focused Olympic athlete with an IQ of 450. ;) If you give your pup training and structure and lots of time with you - from the beginning - you should be just fine.

~ Gloria

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