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When does a Border Collie mature?

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I haven't been contributing for a while now because I haven't had any pressing questions to ask. I also know this is a little bit selfish when there are many others asking for advice.


Anyway, the one question that I was always asking in one way or another was When Do Border Collies Mature? Well I finally got my answer.


When Juno turned two and was still highly distractable I wondered how it could be that some Border Collies seemed to be perfectly behaved and self controlled at six months while Juno, despite a lot of training and effort, was still struggling. Mostly I wondered what else could I do to get her to the point where she could walk off leash with me without me worrying about her jumping on a stranger, chasing another dog, or just running off and not responding to recalls immediately. Juno has just turned three now and she is that dog. The biggest change seemed to occur when she turned two and a half. Although she has always been a wonderful dog, at two and a half the changes were profound. I am happy to say that she is still full of character and runs in the woods with a sheer sense of joy, but now she is calm enough that I don't have to worry about her reacting to every little thing.


Earlier this year Juno and I met a one and a half year old male Border Collie who was literally bouncing off the walls. Compared to this Border Collie, Juno was a superstar when she was that age. When I was speaking to the owner I was surprised to learn that this was their second Border Collie. I was even more surprised to learn that the reason they had got a second Border Collie was that their first one had been easy to live with and calm from the day they got him. With virtually no training, by the time he was six months he could be left alone, could walk off leash and could be trusted in almost all situations.


So my answer to the broader question, When Does A Border Collie Mature? has to be It Varies! And this is an important answer because first time owners like myself need to know that some Border Collies seem to be born mature while others take two or three years, maybe even longer.

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Honestly, I think there's more to maturity than most people believe and that even those 'born mature' appearing dogs do a lot of maturing as they age - and this also applies to other breeds of dogs.

Molly was always a very serious, very focused pup. Even at 8 weeks old she learned fast and had work ethic. What she didn't have was experience and emotional resilience. Some of that was outright pathological fear issues, some of it was not. Being able to sit/stay for 5 minutes, have a reliable recall and heel did not give her that. Having physical coordination and a long attention span didn't give it to her. Having great *trained* impulse control didn't give it to her. Wanting to work with me didn't do it. Being able to be left uncrated and home alone or hike off leash from 6 months old didn't give her emotional resilience and experience in the world, either. Experience happened all the while, appropriate decisions based on experience and emotional resilience showed up at about 18 months and a year later she's almost unrecognizable as the same dog.


Though in all honesty as long as the dog is still gaining experience and learning from it, they're still maturing. Even my 10 year old dogs are not the same today as they were when they were 5, much less 2. It's a journey. There is no end point where they're 'done'. There *is* a point when they've progressed far enough that the human is reasonably satisfied/not pulling their hair out, but what that means, like how quickly dogs develop, is down to individual.

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The correct answer is "NEVAH" :lol:


I would say that they fully mature at 4. Regardless of how easy or difficult the "meantime" is. One of my BCs was perfect from the day she was born. Full recall with distractions at 5 months, useful one the farm at 10 months, trial competitor at 2 yo. The other BC was very difficult and still has some problems, the third was my first border collie, she settled at about 2-3 yo, but never was very problematic. I think they all matured at four, although the ages at which it began to be easy to deal with them varied a great deal.

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It depends a lot on the dog, I would say.


Bandit was more mature at 6 months old than Speedy was at 6 years. It was just different brain development in different dogs.


Speedy was 5 when we adopted Dean, who was 10 months old. It wasn't too long before we started referring to Dean as Speedy's "big brother!", and not just because of Dean's size!!


Different dogs . . .

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My Jester came to me at age two, and while he was seriously energetic and active, and very intense, he was fully mature. I never saw any puppy behavior from him at all. I think in his case he sort of had to grow up because prior to his coming into rescue, no one ever really paid any attention to him, and he did not even know what a toy was. I had to teach him to play and he took to it, but was still a very grown-up dog.

I have had foster dogs who were still puppies at three, and bouncing around as if they had pogo sticks for legs.

So, yeah, it varies. :)

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