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Can a BC thrive in NYC?

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I live in a very urban neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY called Gowanus. I live in an apartment that allows dogs and have been wanting one for some time. I owned a rescued BC for several years before she passed away, and she was my adventure and cuddle buddy and running partner. Ness would not have thrived in NYC - she didn't like being touched very much and startled easily by strange sounds. I loved teaching her tons of tricks, and we did agility as well as dabbled in herding. (I dabbled, she was very serious about it)


I'm a distance runner and love urban hiking. I have enough time for a dog now and can afford to do agility here. I've considered getting a dog that is more traditionally adapted to an urban environment but I hate small dogs and you can't trust a Greyhound off leash.


Would it be cruel to keep a BC in NYC? If not, is it better to get an adult (hard to do, most rescues like Glen Highland will not place in the city) or a pup that can get used to the sounds and bustle?

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Yes, I agree that an older rescue - who can be evaluated for sound or motion reactivity - would be a much, much better option than a puppy, who is a black box. I can not stress enough that even a pup who comes from well-adjusted, non-reactive, 'calm' parent may end up being sound reactive (although the probability is less for a pup from such a breeding). I just wouldn't go there for your situation.


Not all rescues have the same rules. For example, some will not ever adopt to a home without a fence, whereas others will (depending on how responsible the future owners appear to be and the personality of the dog, i.e. they want a good match rather than sticking to a stringent set of rules). Check out other rescues - maybe some out of your area.


Cruel? If you make the BC part of your life and keep it mentally and physically challenged, I think you should be fine. But nothing is 100%.


If you want to run with your dog, get an older dog unless you want to wait a year (or more) for the dog to mature enough that his growth plates are closed - necessary unless you want your dog to probably suffer from joint issues in his adult years.

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...most rescues like Glen Highland will not place in the city...


New England Border Rollie Rescue (NEBCR - http://nebcr.org/), which covers NY, doesn't have blanket policies like that but rather considers each application and potential home on a case by case basis. The will consider urban homes and have adopted into NYC and other urban areas on occasion.


That said, each dog is considered individually as well and the fact is that there can be any number of reasons why a foster home may believe a dog won't do well in an urban environment. So you might have top practice patience as there could be a lengthy wait until a suitable dog becomes available.


I'd encourage you to apply and if the application's approved, which allows you to inquire about available dogs, they'll keep the app on file so you're ready to go with the rest of the process.


Best wishes.

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Great! A question I can answer.


I actually live in Brooklyn as well. Bushwick, to be precise. If you're familiar with the area, you know it's the epitome of urban: cute trendy hipster bars, lots and lots of shopping places, tons of subways and traffic, and way too many people. If you live where I'm thinking you do, then you should be fairly close to the Ikea in Redhook.


Anyway, my dog Caleb came from a breeder in Texas. He is a very sensitive soul, and on the first day I got him home, he was terrified of all the loud trucks. But he's a wonderful dog who adapted very well to the city. We live close by a park, and I exercise him a few times every day, either by pure walking, frisbee and fetch, playing with other dogs, and mental stimulation through urban agility and obedience/trick training. So to answer your question: a BC can absolutely thrive in NYC as long as you give it the proper care and attention, and to include it in your life, and not forget about it. Which I don't think you will do. As a dog walker, I can't tell you how many people think their dog is totally fine with a single 30m walk a day and nothing else. It's pretty sad, but that's not the dog's fault at all.


A couple of my friends in the neighborhood also have BCs of their own. Some are rescue dogs, while others are from small farms in upstate NY. I'd say they are all very acclimated to the city with little to no trouble. I do think that some of them aren't as calm as they should be, but that's more to do with their owners and not with them I think.


I have, however, met a single black/white BC named Strudel. She was very fearful of everybody and everything. I don't remember her specifics as it was in quick passing, but she stood out to me as a very skittish, scared dog with no confidence.


On the other hand, we have a ton of Aussies in the neighborhood, and each and every one of them is... not very bright. I think because they all come from breeders, either backyard or AKC. One of them even has owners who would much rather use a laser pointer to exercise her than throw a ball, but that's for another story. Between the two breeds, however, I would say that most BC I meet here are very happy, while the Aussies are the one who are a little less stable.


If you're planning on rescue or even a breeder, I think you should tell the person/breeder you talk to the environment your new dog will be in, and they can match you with a potential dog that would suit your lifestyle well, as opposed to picking an older rescue or youngling.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Have lived in Philadelphia proper for most of the past 8 years, and raised two BCs from herding breeders there. One, who spent the first six months of her life on a farm we temporarily lived on, is sound sensitive outside; she's also sensitive to rural noises like gunshots. But only very loud noises, and not to the point of being non-functional. The other (who I brought to the city at 7 weeks and 1 day) is unphased by trolleys, people, barking dogs, construction work, throngs of passersby, etc. The breeder selected that dog from the litter knowing she would go to live in the city, and she made a very good choice temperamentally. Both dogs have lived in one bedroom apartments, or houseshares with other dogs, most of their lives; rarely have they had a yard. It was tough, no lie, to teach them solidly enough to allow them off-lead in city parks; one still needs to be managed and asked for focus when passing other dogs, the other (the one who was exposed to the city younger) learned long ago to pass people and dogs without paying any attention. Both understand what a road is, and that it should not be crossed without a release, even off-lead. There are several other BCs, rescues and herding bred, in our neighborhood. One has had serious sound issues; the other five or six are brilliant dogs, often walked off lead, very calm and well-behaved. I doubt that it was easy for their owners to attain that...it wasn't for me. But it definitely can work, as long as you have enough time and effort to dedicate to the dog.

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Having rehabilitated and worked with BC's, the biggest issues I have seen is wrong placement for them but I have also seen a BC that lived in an apartment that has work great. It's the commitment someone has that makes it work. Not knowing much about your lifestyle, it could be a challenge but it will be the best decision or the worst.


A rescue we placed several months ago was a 2 year old blind BC. Sylvester was great and was placed with a family that took him everywhere, even camping. It is a great fit.


There is a Blind Dog Rescue located in Seymour, CT. It's worth a look...



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I agree completely with those who say that it is the commitment to the dog that makes all the difference. Sometimes it takes extra work and creativity to find space for the dog to run and play in a city, and extra work to get the dog out of the city for recreation.


I adopted Jester when I lived in one room with no yard in LA. He was crated while I was at work at my full time job. But when I was not at work my life revolved around him, and getting him his exercise, attention, play, and adventure was my top priority. Of course, all of those things involved adventure, play, and exercise for me as well so it was pretty easy for me and he would have been my first priority in life if we had lived on a hundred acre farm. But the point is that you can give a dog a good life no matter where you live if you are willing to make the effort.


I do home checks for AZ Border Collie Rescue and sometimes I will not approve a home in an apartment, sometimes I will. It doesn't depend on the size of the living space. Recently I approved a young woman who lived in two very tiny rooms. I could tell from visiting with her that she would be as utterly dedicated to the dog as I was. If having the dog and having a good life with the dog is what you want most in the world it will work.

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I don't live in the city proper, but a city-ish neighborhood. My old BC was very frightened of thunder and fireworks and guns... but despite being very reactive, he did eventually get used to the constant sounds of trains, cars, and people passing by.


Even though I have a yard, he wouldn't stay outside without me, so all his good exercise happened when I took him to wooded parks where he could run. Later, he got enough exercise walking on leash with me through my neighborhood. I may as well NOT have had a yard for that dog, because he didn't utilize it, and he was fine with what stimulation and exercise he got.

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