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Would I be a good Border Collie owner?


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Me and my family are looking on getting a dog in the near future, but we're having a hard time finding the right breed. Recently we started looking more at the border collie. I love their drive to work and their intelligens, but searching around the internet people seem to consider owning a border collie a full time job or like it's almost impossible if you're not living on a farm.

I would really like your help to sort out if the border collie is the right breed for me and my family.

We're living in an apartment in the rural, with the forest and open fields right outside the door. There's plenty to room outside for a dog to run around and play - but unfortunately there is no fenced in yard. There's also a lot of other animals where we're livng, such as cats, horses and cows.

The dog would be left alone for about 4-5 hours a day, sometimes less, sometimes more.

The qualities I'm looking for in a dog is a smart, loving companion with plenty of will to please. We'll be spending a lot of time doing agility and dogfrisbee, and I really want to teach him some advanced tricks. I'd also like to try advanced obedience and maybe tracking a few times every month. In the winter, I want to take him with me when I'm skiing.

 

A typical work-day would look something like this:

06.00 - 30 min walk

07.50 - 10 min of play before I leave for school

09.30 - 10 min walk/ play or tricks

12.30 - 15 min walk

15.30 - 10 min of play

17.00 - 1 hour of running/ agility/ obedience/ tracking ect.

21.00 - 5 min walk before going to sleep

 

What do you think? Could I own a border collie?

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Border collies are a bit different from the other breeds I've owned. They take being a dog owner to another level, because, being so smart and people oriented, they have exigent needs.

If you're thinking about getting a border collie, what I think you should consider is your degree of commitement to a dog. Are you one of those people that enjoy, really enjoy, doing stuff with your dog? Meaning going out at dawn in the cold and rain for a tracking class is sooo much more fun than staying in the cosy warmth of bed? Spending the evening teaching the dog tricks is by far a better programme than a movie with friends? Are long hikes in the forest your idea of a great afternoon?

I don't mean a bc owner shouldn't have a social life and hang out with friends, just that the dog should be included. That's, in my opinion, the thing with border collies: they very much need to be included. They don't really need crazy amounts of exercise or being entertained 24/7, or a farm or a big yard. They do need to be included in their owner's life, big time. Not only do they need to be with their person, they need to DO stuff with their person. That's what they live for.

 

So, if you are the kind of person that thinks doing meaningfull dog stuff with your dog, every day, for the next 15 years, is great, a border collie might be right for you (and yes, there can be many days when nothing much happens, no harm done. They're just not able to deal with that if it's the norm rather than the exception).

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I don't recommend a Border Collie to someone based on how much they will exercise it every day, or them having a farm that the dog can roam and get his own exercise. For point 1, it's because they need more mental exercise than physical, though physical is very important too. Number 2, is that I have yet to see a dog that will exercise itself when left outside and not get into trouble or start chasing/killing livestock-your's or the neighbor's.

Apartment living can be just fine for a Border Collie, provided you will give him the mental stimulation that he needs. Being alone for 4-5 hours a day is fine too, but I'd recommend an adult, not a puppy, though puppies can be left that long too, if properly managed.

As Teresa said, what is your level of commitment? It appears that you are young-so am I. At least for myself, I can get impulsive and be all into something for a few weeks, and then it wears off, so you should take that into consideration, especially if you will be the main caretaker of the dog, as it sounds. (I haven't been this way with dogs though.)

 

I hope you find my reply helpful, and good luck on your search for a dog, regardless what breed! IMO, Border Collies are the best, but they aren't for everyone. ;)

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What they said. The real question is do you want a family member or a pet? If the latter, look for another kind of dog.

 

And ditto on them not exercising themselves without you participating. They'll either just want to come back inside where you are or find something else to entertain themselves . . . and if the latter, the odds are that it won't be something you or someone else will appreciate.

 

My best wishes to you as well.

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I too would suggest working with a rescue group who can pair you up with the specific dog that fits your lifestyle. Do you know many border collies in real life? They're definitely not like other breeds in many ways and it is something most people cannot fully understand unless you know some personally. Your desired list of attributes can be found in pretty much any dog of any breed or mix.

 

Border collies in general can be much more sensitive than other dogs. They notice things in their environment that other dogs would not, can develop weird quirks or phobias and really make you think about how you approach training. If you want a companion dog to do activities with, any active breed/mix can fulfill that role for you. I would really suggest at the very least, talking to a rescue or people you know who own the breed and try to get their honest feedback on what the breed is like to live with.

 

If you are as young as you sound, then also consider what your parents want, who will be the actual caretaker day to day, who will pay for vet care, classes, food, etc. What will happen when you want to move away from home and the dog may not suit your new lifestyle (college dorm, pet friendly housing fees, job transfers/longer work hours, etc). It can be really hard at any age to consider where will be in 13-15 years (average life span of the breed) but even more difficult if you are young enough to still be living at home.

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Also, if you are looking for training in regards to agility, disc, etc, it gets pretty costly. If you're not willing to pay the costs for classes, or buying/building equipment, it might not be a good idea. We used to live in an apartment with my bc mix and our golden with no issues. However, I spend almost all my time with my dogs. if you AND your family decide on a border collie, your best bet is working with a rescue who can match a dog to your family and lifestyle.

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Hi there ~

You've already got some very good replies, so forgive me if I echo points already made.

My first thought is that yes, owning a border collie is almost a full-time job. It's not that they can't be left alone for periods of time - they can - it's that boredom is the breeding ground for a whole host of potential problems. It's not that they need to run or play all the time, it's that they need you. Have you had the chance to spend time with any border collies and see them first hand?

I would also caution that the lack of a fenced yard combined with the proximity of other animals, particularly livestock, could be problematical. Border collies are hard-wired to respond to motion, so chasing cats or barking at and chasing horses or cows is something you'd have to guard against from the very beginning. So that outside space would not mean free room to roam, it would mean lots of guarding against him getting in trouble.

Last, are you living with your parents? Or are you a parent in a family yourself? In any case, one of hardest thing about an intelligent dog like the border collie is that if he lives with a family, the entire family must be consistent in how he is managed, trained and handled. Inconsistent training or inconsistent house rules - or family members who just aren't diligent in looking out for the dog - can result in behavioral problems or bad habits. You can't have one person insisting he stays off the couch while someone else lets him jump on it and you can't risk anyone forgetting to close the door so that he runs outside.

So, these are some things to think about. Border collies just aren't for everyone and they do require a full commitment.

~ Gloria

 

 

 

Me and my family are looking on getting a dog in the near future, but we're having a hard time finding the right breed. Recently we started looking more at the border collie. I love their drive to work and their intelligens, but searching around the internet people seem to consider owning a border collie a full time job or like it's almost impossible if you're not living on a farm.

I would really like your help to sort out if the border collie is the right breed for me and my family.

We're living in an apartment in the rural, with the forest and open fields right outside the door. There's plenty to room outside for a dog to run around and play - but unfortunately there is no fenced in yard. There's also a lot of other animals where we're livng, such as cats, horses and cows.

The dog would be left alone for about 4-5 hours a day, sometimes less, sometimes more.

The qualities I'm looking for in a dog is a smart, loving companion with plenty of will to please. We'll be spending a lot of time doing agility and dogfrisbee, and I really want to teach him some advanced tricks. I'd also like to try advanced obedience and maybe tracking a few times every month. In the winter, I want to take him with me when I'm skiing.

 

A typical work-day would look something like this:

06.00 - 30 min walk

07.50 - 10 min of play before I leave for school

09.30 - 10 min walk/ play or tricks

12.30 - 15 min walk

15.30 - 10 min of play

17.00 - 1 hour of running/ agility/ obedience/ tracking ect.

21.00 - 5 min walk before going to sleep

 

What do you think? Could I own a border collie?

 

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