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Hi all-

I'm Christine and I rescued my dog, Gabe around a month ago. The rescue called him an Australian Shepherd mix, but after seeing him in person and bringing him home, I'm pretty sure he's a Border Collie. I know it's hard to tell by appearance, but he certainly doesn't look like an Aussie. He was a little nervous when we first brought him home, and is still sometimes shy with new people, but getting a little more comfortable every day. He loves his toys and runs to put one in his mouth whenever he gets too excited. He's around 2 years old, and as far as we know, was adopted through this rescue at 8 weeks old to a family that had 6 kids. The kids were having a hard time keeping the gate closed, he kept escaping, so they returned him. I'm not sure if I believe that's the whole story, but I can't imagine he did too well in a house with 6 kids.


Our last dog was much lazier and not at all toy-driven, so it's been really fun playing with Gabe and seeing his personality come out. I'm looking forward to doing some agility and obedience with him, and seeing what else is out there to get involved in as well. I'd greatly appreciate any tips/tricks for living with a BC in suburban/urban areas (we're near some nice hiking trails we go on daily, but still within Philadelphia city limits), and just getting to know some people who are as crazy about their dogs as I am.


Christine and Gabe




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Welcome! Gabe is a handsome fellow and reminds me a lot of my first border collie (border collie x aussie) Indy. Many people who are unfamiliar with the colors border collies come in will automatically call any merle dog an aussie mix. He could be purebred or a mix, there's really no way to know. I always called mine a mix because although he was built like a border collie, he certainly had the aussie bounce and bark.



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Welcome to the Boards!


Gabe sure looks like a border collie from the pictures, though as Julie says he could be border collie x Aussie. Behavior will tell you as much as, if not more than, appearance.


Mental stimulation is just as important as physical activity, maybe even more so, especially for dogs living in urban environments. Border collies were bred to work, so make sure Gabe has jobs. Dog sport, therapy work and trick training (not necessarily exclusive) can all be great jobs for a border collie.


Equally important is making sue he has an off switch. Teaching impulse control and mat work will be great for helping him learn to relax.


Whatever he is, enjoy him!

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Welcome to the Boards. And kudos to you for adopting a rescue dog. I agree that a border collie (or Aussie) could have a very hard time in a family of 6 kids. Not surprised to hear that he didn't work out.


He sounds like a fun dog. I used to live in Philly a looonnngg time ago so don't know any specific organizations or trainers, but I do know that Philly and NJ are just filled almost every weekend with dog events (specifically agility). One of the favorite agility venues is the old racetrack in Cherry Hill - just a quick hop across the river for you. (I am blocking on the name - Dreampark?)


Good Luck.

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Indy's beautiful! Gabe's definitely going to be doing a lot of trick training- it's one of my favorite activities and I can't wait to see what he learns! He probably won't be a therapy dog, he's a little skittish with new people, but does okay in the necessary social situations (people coming over, etc). We'll probably start doing some agility training soon, but I'll probably take an obedience class or two with him to get him used to those training situations. He came to us knowing a number of things, which has been pretty fun. All in all, super excited to get to know him, and join the ranks of border collie owners! Thanks for the warm welcome, everyone.

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I went to vet school at Penn and got my first border collie Ella while I was a first-year student. We lived in a big apartment complex in West Philly for part of the time (her entire puppyhood) and then split time between Paoli at a sheep farm and then Chester County when I was at New Bolton Center. It's doable to have a border collie in the city. I wouldn't do it again, necessarily, but on the other hand, I'm working PT in a city now and my farm-raised dogs are doing OK when we go there.


Exercise was a big part of our daily routine. I'm talking walking at least 5 miles around West Philly at a good clip, which was a great way to get her in a sort of mental groove of relaxing fun. We sometimes played ball on the campus pre-dawn when no one was around, or played in the vet fraternity's backyard. These times were more designed to burn off extra energy. Learned lots of tricks and used treat-dispensing toys in the apartment, and learned to relax when nothing else was going on.


We played flyball and agility at Y2K9s, a big training facility in Willow Grove. Check them out online at Y2K9s.net, you can find all sorts of training classes as well as dog sports.


Ella and I did fine while we were in the city, but really, it was so much easier to have the next 6 dogs on a farm :)


Oh, I have a Gabe, too. He's one of my Open sheepdogs :)

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@emilyfalk exercise is definitely a big part of our routine. We're doing around 5 miles/day (although a little less this week because it's so hot in Philly right now). I'm excited to get him to Y2K9s- I had done some agility for fun with a friend and my labradoodle there when they were on Mermaid Lane. They've moved now, but still in Willow Grove, just a little farther. My friend just bought a farm in NJ, so luckily we can go run there too! And this morning he dug out a frisbee from the shelves near the door that I didn't even know was there, so I guess we'll have to find somewhere to play.

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