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New Member - Future Border Collie Person

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Hi! I'm a new member, but I've been reading this forum for a long time and have found it extremely helpful.

       I don't have a Border Collie yet, but I'm planning on getting a puppy this year. The breeding hasn't taken place yet, and in the meantime I'm preparing as much as I can. This will be my first Border Collie. I currently have 2 dogs.  Jessie is a 6 year old German Shepherd mix, and Geri is a 3 year old Catahoula mix. They are both rescues. I also had a Sheltie who passed away at the age of 15.5 last year.  The BC pup will be the second puppy I've raised, because I got my Sheltie and Geri as adults.

    I live and work on my family's 50 acre farm. We have a small herd (~20) of dairy cows, 30 sheep, laying hens, horses, turkeys, and guinea fowl. We also have some orchards. My dogs live active lives on the farm, and I love to take them hiking. I also love agility, and I hope to do agility with my future BC. I've been interested in getting a herding dog for many years. I'm hoping that future BC will be able to help me out with the livestock. I have never trained a herding dog before, so I've been learning as much as I can. Jessie, helps some on the farm. She can find missing baby animals, chase off wild pigs, alert me when something is wrong, and will now and then head off a run away cow, or help drive the cows into the corral (mainly using her voice). These are all behaviors that she started on her own, and I encouraged. I know her 'herding' style isn't anything like a Border Collie's:)

   I've been reading everything I can get my hands on about Border Collies, websites and books. I'm also meeting as many Border Collies as I can. If anyone has recommendations for Border Collie books, let me know! I'm interested in any kind of book - breed history, farm dog training, etc.. I've seen the Border Wars recommended on here quite a few times, and I'll see if the library has it.

   I have some questions about raising a BC pup on a farm, but should I post that in the training for livestock work section?

   I have a bad case of puppy fever, but I know that good things are worth waiting for.

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The book is The Dog Wars, by Donald McCaig. Highly recommended.


I also hope that you are well informed about how to choose a border collie, and why it is important not to support any breeder who is breeding border collies for anything other than their working ability. 

This is a great resource, as you have already no doubt found. Welcome!

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If you can get hold of a copy of Virgil Holland's Herding Dogs  book, that will give you a pretty good outline of how to go about teaching your dog to help you with livestock.  But, nothing beats having an experienced trainer work with you.  If you tell us your general location, someone on here might be able to point you in the direction of a good trainer.  Or, hopefully the breeder of your pup works his/her dogs (see The Dog Wars, above)?  If so, maybe you can get some help from him/her.   Even if you aren't interested in competing in trials, believe me, having an experienced set of eyes watching what you are doing with your dog and offering coaching is invaluable.    Also, if you can go to a sheep dog trial, that will be a real eye-opener for you regarding what border collies are capable of, and also would be a good place for you to see if you can locate a trainer in your area.

Your questions about raising a dog on a farm would be appropriate for the training for livestock section of this board, but sadly, that section doesn't get much traffic, so you might be better off just continuing this thread.

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Welcome to the Boards.

Yes, The Dog Wars is an excellent and highly recommended book for anyone interested in border collies and especially their history in the US. And while not new, H. Glyn's Jones' A Way of Life is excellent and offers a lot of good information about training, beginning with selecting a dog/pup and early introductions to livestock. You really can't go wrong with this one. https://www.amazon.com/Way-Life-Sheepdog-Training-Trialling/dp/1903366275

Books are great, but if there's any way at all you can get to some sheepdog trials or training clinics, even before you get your dog, it would be a huge help. Training clinics especially will give you the opportunity to actually see what's going on and to observe different dogs with different styles and degrees of training and are IMO invaluable. And if there's any way you can line up some lessons with an experienced handler whose style you like, it's really so much easier than trying to go it alone.


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Thank you everyone for your advice and book recommendations! I'll order those books and look forward to reading them. I read Nop's Trials by Donald McCaig quite a few years ago, and I was saddened to read on these boards that he passed away recently.

D'Elle, yes this is a great resource!  I understand the importance of choosing a working Border Collie breeder. There is so much info on this site about Border Collies, its like a library!

Having a trainer rather than trying to figure everything out myself would be very helpful. If you have any trainer recommendations that would be great, but I live in Hawaii so I know that's a long shot. I'll ask the breeder if she knows any trainers  (the breeder lives on a different island than I do, but I bet she can recommend someone, or at least help me when she comes to my island). I don't know many people who use working dogs.  About 10 years ago I briefly spoke with a guy who had Border Collies here, and at the time he was at either a herding trial or clinic on the mainland. I haven't heard from him since, but I'll see if I still have his contact info.

I don't travel much, but I've been thinking of going to the mainland US in the next couple of years, and when I do, I'll try to schedule my trip so I can attend a trial or clinic. I would love to watch a trial!

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