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BC puppy search- need advice on breeder selection


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Hi, I'm new here! I've been reading up on some of the boards, and I have one question I haven't been able to find an answer to, and maybe there isn't a definitive one.

 

I recently lost my 9 year old border collie rescue (got him at the age of 2) after an almost month long battle with pancreatitis. It sucks, and he left a rather large hole, and things just aren't the same with only my 12 1/2 yr old lab mix as the only dog in the house. So, I've been looking for a reputable BC breeder. I considered other breeds, and ultimately, I just loved so many qualities of the breed and they really are a good fit for us.

 

About us: I take my dog running (well did, my lab is too old), hiking, and we played a lot of frisbee. We go to the lake where the other homeowners on the lake front and us let our dogs run and mingle together and they got along well enough- my BC was a bit of a snob. He was known as the frisbee dog that wouldn't quit out there and everyone loved him. We spend a great deal of time at rodeos and softball/baseball games and tourneys in the summers. I tried to bring my BC several times, but he was very "reactive." He would lunge and snarl at horses, spooking them, and bark incessantly when other dogs were present at these softball/baseball games (or really most places). My 16 year old rodeos, so when we go, we are there for the weekend and sleep in the horse trailer. There are farm dogs everywhere. I now understand this can be part of the breed and I should have managed it much, much earlier.

 

I plan to prevent these behaviors by early, careful, and frequent socialization, which is why I want a puppy to bring home by early summer so I have ample opportunities. We will also be doing puppy classes and going forward, CGC for any new dog in my world.

The issue is that we don't live on a farm/acerage with these livestock and horses. My daughter barrel races, and the horses she uses are 30 minutes away at my sister's home. My sister's pit bull has attacked both of my dogs, so I will not take my pup there. I do plan to visit other friends with livestock and horses.

 

So, is it best to pick a BC from a breeder with proven working or farm dogs? That maybe has seen a cow or horse before I've ever brought it home? Or can I pick one from the breeder I like best that trains BC and uses them for agility, obedience, and what not? Is that dog going to potentially be more reactive in these situations? Thanks for taking my rookie question :)

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Welcome!

 

Try using the search function. There have been previous discussions about this topic.

 

Short answer? Have you considered a young adult or adult rescue dog? Pups are always, to some degree at least, a roll of the die. Older dogs that have been fostered and evaluated are generally more predictable and have received some training, socialization, and exposure to varopus people, places, and situations.

 

That said, in terms of purchasing a pup, the general recommendation here is to find a reputable breeder of real working dogs, not sport dogs, pet dogs, show dogs, or "working line" dogs.

 

I'd really lean towards a reputable rescue except for someone looking for a dog or pup specifically for or king livestock.

 

Best wishes! I'm sure others will give you good advice.

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Welcome!

 

Try using the search function. There have been previous discussions about this topic.

 

Short answer? Have you considered a young adult or adult rescue dog? Pups are always, to some degree at least, a roll of the die. Older dogs that have been fostered and evaluated are generally more predictable and have received some training, socialization, and exposure to varopus people, places, and situations.

 

That said, in terms of purchasing a pup, the general recommendation here is to find a reputable breeder of real working dogs, not sport dogs, pet dogs, show dogs, or "working line" dogs.

 

I'd really lean towards a reputable rescue except for someone looking for a dog or pup specifically for or king livestock.

 

Best wishes! I'm sure others will give you good advice.

I put in my application at a rescue as well, but they told me a lot of the dogs they get are failed farm dogs and that it's not likely that I'll find what I need through them. I've also been looking at other humane society websites throughout the area, but I typically don't find information that leads me to believe they would be good for my situation. The rescues tend to be the ones that look more into that sort of criteria. I almost got into my car to go after a dog 5 hrs away that had failed training for bed bug detection, but they had just found him a new home.

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I agree with the recommendation to look for a somewhat older rescue. At least then you'd be able to asses the dog. If it hasn't been around livestock you should be able to arrange for a trial period while you assess the dog for its suitability for your lifestyle and needs.

 

Also, ask specifically what they mean by "failed farm dog." One dog may fail because it chased the livestock, and of course that wouldn't be what you want. But dogs that fail on a farm often fail because they're not working out working livestock because of lack of interest or lack of power or whatever. That kind of failed farm dog might just be perfect for you.

 

A puppy from a perfect situation may work out, but it's definitely a crap shoot. I've see a few -- have one in my home now -- who seemed perfect at puppies and up to or even through adolescence with all the training and socialization you could want only to change drastically at anywhere for about 10 months to about 14-15 months old. I don't think that's the norm, but having had it happen to me with 2 dogs in a row has made me a little shy of getting another young pup again when there's something specific I want the dog for.

 

Wishing you all the best in your search.

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Yes, from what I understand, most "failed farm dogs" are those that did not work out for use on livestock, either due to lack of interest and/or instinct. And that could turn out to be the perfect dog for you.

 

It sounds to me like you are looking, have looked before, have done rescue (yay!), and are approaching this with a thoughtful outlook.

 

Its kind of funny but I have had one dog that would not be good around horses (but my ignorance at the time contributed to the development of bad habits instead of avoiding situations that resulted in bad habits forming); one that could go riding with me but was a bit too much interested in "working" my horse for that; one who was just too leery of horses to make a riding companion; and a few that have made excellent trail riding companions. But even my dogs that have been working dogs here on our cow/calf farm know when they are working and when they are not, and ignore cattle when they are not working, so it's not an issue to have them around livestock when they are "off duty".

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I have taken your suggestions to heart, and have opened up my search area. For what I could certainly handle a mixed breed. I've seen some mixed breed BC's (all 3 hrs away or more) that would be wonderful candidates. I saw my local shelter had a 4month BC dropped off that is ADORABLE but comes with the warning: non border collie people had her, she isn't house trained, hasn't gotten any commands down or walking on a leash, and isn't responsive or interacting with people in her area. I am going to go look at her myself to see how she interacts and if I think I could work with her. She is also reported to be "skiddish." Poor baby, I'm not sure there are many that are set up to give her a good place, and she's so stinkin cute

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Real cute! I'd wonder, with all that white, if she could be from a merle/merle breeding and have hearing and/or vision issues.

 

Only four months old? You could do a lot with her once you gained her trust...

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She went to another family already, hopefully it goes well. I also wondered about hearing issues. I was going to see her and possibly suggest the BC rescue for her rather than the humane society if I didn't think I'd be able to work with her. I applied to foster for now because I can't make any decisions. I'll just keep my heart open until the right guy/gal is out there.

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"Failed farm dog". I'd guess that some fraction of that is clueless owners. There's a HUGE difference between a dog that shows no interest in working stock (this CAN happen, even with the best-bred of dogs) - and one whose owners haven't instilled the proper manners, such that they've allowed to chase horses or other livestock, to the point where it's a danger. One has no interest in stock, the other has been allowed to fixate on such to the point where it's an incurable obsession. It's not "black or white" - there is a third category, dogs who are interested in working stock, but who for one reason or another don't possess sufficient talent or confidence, or who won't handle the pressure of trialing. Any of the above may be offered for rehoming. Which would you prefer? None of these behaviors might correlate with a desire to play "fetch", or a reactivity toward other dogs.

 

BC "breeders" (of the reputable variety) may have sheep but not necessarily horses or cattle.

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So this is specifically a border collie rescue with the dogs in experienced border collie foster homes. I gave them a pretty full synopsis of what I was looking for, and I guess what I got in return was not to get my hopes up. Most of the BC's listed currently have issues like deafness, blindness, fear/aggression, etc. I get the impression that those dogs just aren't great at working stock are not the type that make it to their rescue. That's why I extended my search to general shelters throughout a 250 mile radius.

 

I did just see a posting for a litter asking $200 for pups. Said pups sat in the pasture and played while mom rounded up some cattle. I haven't asked yet, but I'm fairly certain not a lot of time or energy was spent on planning these pups. I'm sure there was no health checking anything, but I suppose that could be said for shelter animals and rescues. Then I just circle back around to not knowing what to do! Perhaps my expectations are too high for what I can expect with what I'm able to provide for this breed.

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Where are you located? Perhaps someone here could could make some more specific suggestions based on your general location. There are breeders who dont advertise and rescues (especially private individuals) who dont list every dog with pet finder etc

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Where are you located? Perhaps someone here could could make some more specific suggestions based on your general location. There are breeders who dont advertise and rescues (especially private individuals) who dont list every dog with pet finder etc

This might help us help you.

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These people are legit, and they're in South Dakota. I don't know whether they sell puppies to non-working homes (I suspect not). And I don't know whether they do any health testing. But they might be able to give you a lead on a young dog (either one of theirs or one they know through the trialing community) that is seeking a pet home.

 

I think a rehomed "trial dog washout" would be a great bet for you. Such dogs are typically raised by dog-savvy people, and are good with other dogs. Nothing wrong with them except they don't have the temperament/confidence/innate skills to be a top trial dog.

 

If they don't know of one themselves, they ought to be able to suggest additional names for you to contact.

 

http://springbordercollies.com/

 

(ETA: their website also links to several other legit breeders of working Border collies, either in S. Dakota or in states not TOO far away. Again, I don't know whether they all sell to non-working homes, or do health testing, but it's not uncommon for these people to know of young adult dogs that are seeking pet homes. If you have additional constraints, such as "must be good with cats", it's worth asking...).

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I've got a 'failed' trial dog. He is an AWESOME pet. Had Gibbs for 7 years now, and he's great.

 

In addition, he came with a lot of basic stuff already 'installed'. He knew 'come', 'sit', knew how to stay calmly in a crate in the house, and a bunch of other stuff. He was 2 when we got him.

 

I did have to do some de-sensitization to suburban stuff, but he took to it quickly, and pretty soon would look at me for a 'good boy' and treat when he came across something that he'd never seen before.

 

Good luck with your search!

 

Ruth & Gibbs

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JMO---the person wanting $200 for a puppy is very likely to be a backyard breeder, and someone you want to stay away from.

 

As others have said a puppy is really a complete unknown. There's no guarantee that you'd not still have to do a huge amount of work to prevent the dog from going haywire upon seeing livestock. Or something else.

 

A young dog who has lived with a foster is much more of a known quantity.

 

Rescues don't usually have always and only dogs with problems, so I would encourage you to keep looking at the rescue regularly. The good ones get snatched up pretty fast.

 

You can also check places like Craig's List, because you might find someone who got a cute puppy and now can't handle the energy level.

 

Having been a border collie foster home I know that almost any problem can be solved in a dog with patience and the right approach. Many of those dogs turn out to be well worth the effort.

I think it is a great idea for you to foster for a border collie rescue. Maybe you will fall in love with a dog and there you have it. :)

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Thanks for all the advice guys! The border collie rescue is 4 hours away unfortunately. I put in to foster for a local group that was formed a couple years ago to transport rez dogs. The group was formed because a pack of rez dogs killed a child, so authorities were rounding up all of the stray dogs in horse trailers to "dispose of them." These groups came in and transported them away to rescues because the tribe doesn't have the resources to handle the animals. They've now began to adopt out some on their own. We'll see what happens. In the mean time, I have a litter due mid March I'm on a waiting list for from a working home, and an application in on a rescue pup (4hrs away) that looks like he'd be a good fit at 3 yrs old. He's half aussie, but I'll try not to hold it against him :)

 

Also, I have a hard time trusting anything on Craigslist: "house-trained obedient 2 month old puppy needs new home" type of things are on there all the time lol.. but there are facebook groups and a website that I watch.

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FWIW, rescues often have foster homes scattered throughout a region. So even though theyre headquartered that far away, they could have involved people much closer to you.

 

I adopted my Kenzi from a group that was in my state but she was fostered 4 hrs away. Her foster mom met me halfway so I could meet her. When I decided that I wanted to adopt her 10 days later, she had been moved to a foster home a half hour away from me.

 

I hope you find the perfect dog for you! Keep us posted :)

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Looks like you are making good progress searching and reaching out.

 

We had a Border Collie X Aussie who was one of the best dogs ever. Worked stock, fabulous companion, and an all-around great dog.

 

What I appreciate is that you are willing to discuss what you want, listen to and respond to suggestions, and make careful, thoughtful decisions about this. I think you will find a pup or dog who will be very lucky to be yours!

 

Best wishes!

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