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Socialisation, lockdown and a potential new pup, advice please

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If this is not in the right place please can admin remove or move, sorry I am new! Also 'hello'

Hello everyone :lol:

I am hoping you can help with advice please. I lost my bc boy last November to a short illness (IMHA) it was awful (broke my heart), he passed peacefully in my arms, he was 12. Before that we had a family bc that grew up with us as children, so I have been around 2 bc’s and owned one, both from pups. I believe both farm dogs. I did a lot of training with Olls my boy, classes and tricks over about 4 years of classes.

I have been looking at rescue on and off since my boy passed, and also in part felt not ready, I worry about bonding with a rescue, and taking him to work as well. I would like to take the new bc to work with me, I work on film sets away from home, and if I did rescue I would need to know that the new dog would not be a nip risk in a professional environment. 

I have stopped looking now, I did come close to a rescue boy, but he went the week before. Anyway so here I am. On the off chance I get in touch with an old friend, Mike, I met his parents bc’s years ago, I ask where his parents got their bc’s from, and he says “what are the chances, Mum’s dog Meg is having pups next week”. I am very tempted!

A few things I am thinking about, and would love your thoughts on please :)

- Socialisation during lockdown?
I would love to get the new pup really social, my old boy was a bit cranky with dogs at times, but partly we moved really rural and never saw many other dogs. I would like to get on top of this right away. Any advice here?? If the pups leave home at 8 weeks, that might be time for classes to open again? How are other pup owners coping? Is this s silly idea to do this now?!

- When looking at the parents what am I looking for?
My boy was quite chilled out, not sure if that was all his training, or we are a chilled out couple, or I trained him to chill, or his age, or I forgot the mental years!! I would love this again, is this genetics? Or something I can hopefully install in new pup. (don’t get me wrong he was a pain in the arse at other times haha, typical bc).

- Meg is a farm dog, and Mike says "she don’t really work", she does a trial class once a week and is more a pet, should I be worried about prey drive? both my other boys were farm dogs. Another lady in the village has ‘show collies’ and she said I would be better with one of them, but reading on here they are highly strung! Thoughts here please, thank you for reading all this! 

With my work not happening at the moment (the film industry is on hold for now because of covid), now is a good time for me to take on a doggo, I can take the rest of the year off to be with and train new dog, to then be ready to come back to work with me when the industry gets going again.

- What would you suggest working on? I plan to do create training, calm training, all the usually obedience, walk on lead. I am worried about the socialisation with humans and other dogs though. I wrote to my previous dog class trainer and he said this:

"Dear Ella, We are good thank you, hope you are. We had a bad start to the year with so much wet weather than with the close down it's been very strange.
I understand the rescue centres are expecting a lot of older puppies with behaviour and socialising problems after this to be taken in for re homing.
Also a lot of people are giving homes to dogs and cats during the lock down (to pass the time!!!) many of which are expected to be up for re-homing when people return to work!!
As you know Collies (and GSD's) are not the most sociable dogs with other dogs, most are ok with people once they know them.
You can take a puppy to puppy classes every day and they still grow up to be unsociable another never sees another dog or person for the first year or so and loves everyone! It's going with your gut feeling most of the time, see mum (and dad if you can) and get a feeling for the puppies. Rule of thumb is the best 'pet' puppy is the one that runs up to you is friendly say's hello and then happily runs off to play with the others, normally the puppy picks you!!!
Good luck, hope this was helpfully"

What I am worried about is taking on a pup now in lockdown, not being able to properly socialise him and then not being able to take him to work with me as he is mental. :blink:

I really appreciate anyone readying all of this and giving there advice, or thoughts on any of the above :)

A million thanks in advance. xx





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First, I will say that, as you know if you have read the "Read This first" on these message boards, no one here will advise you to get a border collie that was bred for show. It's not because they are more high strung, and I doubt they are. It's because border collies shouldn't be bred for show in the first place.  People here are very opposed to breeding border collies for confirmation. You might want to do a little research on this; there's info on this website. If you like this breed, support people who are breeding for herding qualities only, or else get a rescue dog.

Second, what about getting a rescue dog who is not a puppy? In many ways it's your best bet. If you get a dog who is at least 6 months old you will have a good idea of the dog's temperament and since you have specific ideas for this dog like taking him to work, this is a lot safer than getting a puppy. Puppies, even from the best sources, are unknown in terms of their drive, their shyness, and many other things.  Plus, as you have noted, it will be harder to socialize a puppy during this time of pandemic and social distancing. I personally do not think things will be all opened up again in 8 weeks, and if they are it will be a mistake because another wave of deaths will follow if that process is rushed before there are treatments and vaccines.  This doesn't mean you shouldn't get one of your friend's puppies if you want one. but you are right that socialization would be much harder to accomplish.


"chill out" is not really genetic, although I wouldn't get a puppy from a dog or bitch that was manic or seemed to be neurotic, just on principle. For one thing, parents like that have not been properly handled and may not be well bred either. I am not sure why you are concerned about prey drive. In well bred BCs  that drive has been channeled into stock work for many generations and so the dogs don't have a high prey drive for things like rabbits. Now, I have known BC mixes who had high prey drive, but most of the border collies I have known did not.

Starting out, I work on crate training, loose leash walking, basic cues like sit, down, stand, stay, wait, off, leave it, and so on, and of course training in an excellent recall from the start is imperative.  the more you train, the better your dog will learn the next thing, and the more bonded you and the dog will be. 

Your dog won't be "mental" just because you got him and trained him during lockdown. Your dog, even starting out in lockdown, won't be neurotic or hyper or unfriendly if you train him well.   I agree that socialization will be a challenge.  While you cannot socialize him in the usual ways, you can still take him out and expose him to different surfaces, different sounds, places, and so on, always making sure the sessions are very short, and he feels safe the whole time. Maybe you have family members or friends who might help you. You can socialize your dog with them, and still stay 6 ft away from them yourself. I like the "circle recall" in which a few people (or even just 2 or 3) stand apart from each other and call the dog, treating him each time he comes. 

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Hello D'Elle,

Thank you so much for your detailed reply. Yes it was on these boards I did see about 'show collies' and it was a lady in our village that recommended me getting one, which I did think was odd as I have no intension of showing one or getting one. I think as she shows and that was her advice, but like you say I am not keen. I also read on here a lot of good dogs come from stock breeders, as in, collies bread for work, which I liked as well. My two boys were 'farm' dogs from puppy and both had lovely temperaments. One grew up with us as children and the other I trained for four years various things in classes, till we moved away.

I do really love the idea of rescuing, and have been looking for about 5 months, I have been in touch with rescues as well, just nothing has come up that is suitable for me, or I missed out, then covid happened. I think Megs pups are just something that has happened at this time (obviously they were bread) but the timing is right for me at this point, hence why I am interested. I know the family and trust them. 

Thank you for your advice on the socialisation, I will be thinking about this a lot, but good to get your point on it as well.

After speaking with Sue (meg's Mum) she said meg is a lovely calm dog and just is a fit in dog with what ever you are doing, and she said the father was ever-so calm, hence both not neurotic, which I like. They are both sheep dogs, Meg less so, and the father works sheep. I liked this as you said before about collie not for show. (I had actually never heard of show collies till I read posts on here, and still am confused to why people would breed them different to what they are designed for ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I guess 'for show' purposes) 

I guess was I asking about prey drive as I have a young niece and was worried about nipping, any advice? 

But also good to know we probably trained our boy to be chill through us. 

Thank you for your advice on the training as well, I am back in touch with my old class trainer and will grab some bits from him as well, like what they would be doing in class if it was running. Yes I like the idea of the basics you suggested - thank you for those. I can remember my boy doing them 10 years ago now, so I could look up some videos on Youtube s well - thanks for the suggestions. 

Thank you so much for your advice on the different surfaces as well, I didn't really think of that, is there a place on here that goes through basic stuff to train? Something I could read through and follow? It has been over 10 years since I did this and could be a little rusty. Yes I love the idea of the circle and with family as well, great idea - thank you.

I will keep you updated to what I decide, I am still open to rescue and still looking, and still open to one of Megs pups  - will see, thanks again for your detailed reply as well. I am sure I will be back on here through out pups life, glad to have found a place :) 





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Nipping is not really about prey drive. It's something that almost all  puppies do, just as babies grab things and put them in their mouths. It's a training issue. You handle it the same way you would handle inappropriate chewing, or any other behavior that comes naturally to the puppy but is not permissible in the home. Distraction, gentle correction (I love to use  "uh-oh!" because it's almost impossible to say it in an angry tone of voice, and it's important to avoid anger with a dog as it doesn't help). And if the pup continues the behavior you don't want, a short time-out in the crate, isolated from everyone else. Short=5 minutes at most. Then he gets another chance. Behavior resumes=crate again.  Again, the crate must not be used as punishment, and your attitude, body language, tone of voice and handling of the dog is of primary importance. Treat it as if it were just a law of nature like gravity. If you fall off something=you will hit the ground. If you nip=time in crate. Not bad or good, just how things are. I have found this works the best for dog training for many reasons.

I am unaware of any place on this website that outlines training. But there are many on the internet that do. Just be sure to choose one that uses positive reinforcement and not crime and punishment. Suzanne Clothier is my favorite dog trainer and advice person of all time; others have other favorites. There are great books, too. Check out Karen Pryor for clicker training.

As for rescuing, be patient if you decide to go that route. The right dog will come if you hang in there and wait for him. If you adopt in a hurry it may not turn out well. 

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D'Elle has given great advice. I will just add a couple of my thoughts:

If you get a puppy, check out online training options. I have seen a couple of options that specifically address the topic - "puppy training during social isolation period" (or similar title). I am guessing that the instructor has modified their training regime to offer creative suggestions for our current situation. I am sorry, but I can not remember who is offering an online class like this, but perhaps a Google search will help.

Finding a rescue dog is definitely my suggestion, considering the fact that you want a dog that is not reactive, preferable friendly with everyone. With an adult, or even a teenager, you would have a pretty good idea of mature personality. Puppies are a black box. BUT, as your past trainer pointed out, people are adopting dogs and cats at an unprecedented rate now. In this country (USA), I have read of several animal shelters that have been cleared out because all the animals were adopted. While I think that is great, what happens when the adopters go back to work (8 hours a day away from the house plus other extracurricular activities)? I agree that many of those dogs will show up again in the pound when lives get too busy. I volunteer for a foster-based BC rescue, and we have definitely had an increase in adoption applications and have tried to be careful to screen out people who seem to be looking for a companion right now, but haven't thought about what happens to the dog when they return to work away from home.

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Hello D'Elle and gcv-border :) (nice to meet you)

I am on board with the rescue thing, that was my first intension of course, I have been looking 6 months now and just disheartened, I started on the verified rescue sites (RSPCA, Dogs Trust, I am in the UK), but as I work away from home and the dog would be coming with me to work a lot of the rescues would not take me as an adopter, also a lot of the dogs could not be homed with young children or other pets or had to be the only dog, in all those cases I could not help either, as I have a 5yo niece and people bring their dogs and children into my work also.

I then started looking on Facebook at rescue sites, which do great work, but are really understaffed, a lot of them never reply to my questions, and I am finding it hard to make touch with anyone, also not finding a suitable dog on their either, I have seen one in 6 months of looking, but he still could not be housed with young children :( I even started looking at Romanian Dog Rescue, but realised that was silly without meeting the dog and it was not in the UK :( 

I then just decided to give up looking as I just had not the heart anymore, after 6 months of looking, it was on the off chance I text an old friend to see if his parents knew anyone and he said his Mum's dog had just had pups. I am all for rescuing and even helped set up a BC rescue in the UK (I did the logo, website and tech support) it just does not seem to be happening for me :( 

I agree with the positive reinforcement in training, that is all I did with my boy as well, so I would continue this as well. I never knew about the time out in the crate, that is something I will look in to as well. I used 'ooh-ouch' when we did nipping would that work as well do you think? I will look up Suzanne Clothier as well, either way pup/rescue - thank you for that. YES clicker, this was literally the only think that would work to get my lad to bring a ball back, so I will be clicker if I feel they need it, but had great results when I did this last. Good to have a name though as well - thank you. xx

"The right dog will come if you hang in there and wait for him" this makes me so sad as I have been looking and looking and I am so ready :(:(  thank you for all your help again :)

"Finding a rescue dog is definitely my suggestion" mine too, but please see above, I have been trying, I am just sad by it now :(  I am not sure a verified rescue will let me take a dog away to work, and I am not changing my job anytime soon :(  I also am not leaving the dog with family or at home. Part of having a dog is that he will come away to work with me. 

"With an adult, or even a teenager, you would have a pretty good idea of mature personality. Puppies are a black box."
I like what you are saying here, I will give it more thought - thank you.

Yes I agree they will probably show up at the rescue sites again, but for reasons above (working away, small children, other pets, only dog) I am not a candidate to rescue by the rescues rules that is. :(  It also makes me mad people would dump a dog at a shelter because they are too busy, my dog was my life :(  Well done you for screening people, I love that :) thank you for looking out for these dogs. xx






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It does seem that you have been looking, and looking hard, for a rescue dog.  It is probably unlikely in the current situation that you will find one now, as they are getting snapped up like hotcakes.  If you are going down the route of a puppy, knowing the sire/dam of the litter, knowing previous dogs from the same pairing etc will give you some idea of the likely type of puppy the pairing will produce.  This will only be the likely result, as the others have said, a puppy can turn out very different than it presents when you first meet.  However, a lot comes down to training, socialisation, consistency and that initial choice.  Talk over what you are looking for in your puppy with the breeders, as they will know the puppies best, and should be able to guide you to the best options in the litter.

As for training, what you have mentioned sounds good to me, and I am not sure what further resources are available in the UK.  Making sure you expose the puppy to a range of sounds, particularly, even if you cannot get out, is very important. 

Good luck, and whichever route you go, we love photos (hint, hint!)


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Hello Lawgirl, nice to meet you :)

Yes six months of looking pre lockdown, not sure if I am looking wrong, or not looking in the right place etc, I saw a couple on Gumtree here (Uk) but same story, can not live with small children etc, I sadly can not take a dog when it says that as it will be around my niece. I am still up for waiting to see if one comes along, just Meg had puppies and the timing seems right. Of course I will be doing all the checks I can, as you mentioned above, thank you for that as well. I have spoken to the Sue, Meg's human mother, and I will now ask her for details of the father as well, this is what I know so far:

Meg is doing sheep dog trail class once a week
She is a 'fit in type of a dog' whatever you are doing she is happy to help
The father is working (I believe) 
The father was very calm
Meg is a calm dog
No health issues

This is the first time they have breed the this pair (Meg and Sid) I like what you are saying about finding information on the fathers side, I can do that if I get in touch I guess I could find out what type of pups he had before, would that work do you think?

Thank you for the sounds thing as well, I like that idea and will look into that as well.

Re: Pictures, where do you post them on here? Is there a page for pictures? 

Thanks again for writing :)

ps: I would like to do something with him, just not sure yet, see what he likes I guess, I will do classes anyway and probably be at them a few years as my last boy really got on well there. But maybe new dog might like casual agility (I won't compete him) or I like the idea os SARS (search and rescue) or PAT therapy dog, I guess see what he is good at and likes doing! Of course if his preference is the sofa that is fine also :lol:



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Nice to meet you too!

There is a People's Border Collie Gallery page in these Boards, where people post pictures of their dogs.  You can start a new thread with pictures of your dog.  Some people keep it going, others just post once or twice - whichever, we love photos, especially puppy pics, and it can be a good place to look back on who your dog grows.

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D'elle and  gcv-border rescues in the UK can be very challenging when it comes to people with jobs, it has really surprised me how to be blunt how ridiculous they are about it compared to the US. There are usually plenty of border collies in rescue but getting one can be absurdly challenging.

I do think calm is a personality trait, that can be a product of breeding, a friend has 2 sports bred border collies and they are bonkers, the younger one who has been with my friend since puppyhood is a little less but we are talking a small degree, they are so bad,  my husband has made me promise I will never get a sports bred border collie, they are frequent house guests and make my 2 look like a different breed. We teach calm from puppy hood, how to relax etc, but my older dog also wants to do he is just always on, I can take him anywhere, we travel a lot together but he is not chilled, my youngster who the breeder spent an hour and half on the phone with me for our first conversation making sure I could cope with a working bred high drive dog, what I have is a laid back couch potato who comes to life for agility but in life is more relaxed than the average lab.

The UK lockdown is not so strict that if you get the pup you won't be able to expose them to everything, remember socialization is not just about meeting other pups, its been comfortable with cars driving by, another dog walking on the opposite side of the street, not eating the hoover or attacking the hose pipe. For training there are loads of excellent online classes, Fenzi Dog in particular comes to mind but there are a ton of others. This could be  great time to get a pup and enjoy raising one as you have the time. 

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4 hours ago, alligande said:

...rescues in the UK can be very challenging when it comes to people with jobs...

Rescues in the US are a mixed bag. Some are incredibly challenging and ridiculous and often give rejected adopters absolutely no feedback whatsoever on the reasons for the denial, others are no more selective about the people they adopt dogs out to, while still others are both careful with placements and willing to work with people within reason. Though I have no personal experience with rescues in the UK (I have some second hand accounts) I suspect it's equally misleading to paint them all with such a broad stroke.

4 hours ago, alligande said:

...calm is a personality trait...

I agree. I also believe that even dogs who may not be calm by nature can be taught to have self control and what behavior is and is not acceptable in different circumstances. Of course it'll be easier to help calm-by-nature dogs to behave less rambunctiously, and on the other hand with dogs whose innate temperaments are more active or busy it's even more important to provide enough physical and mental stimulation and consistent training and expectations to succeed in reining in their exuberance. So depending on a person's tolerance it's still very important to put due diligence into choosing a dog or breeder whose dogs are more likely to complement your own temperament.

Not meaning to be argumentative. Just sayin' . . . . ;)


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Hello LawgirlOkay good to know about the photo area, thank you. I sure will post some piccys there either way, would be nice to look back on for sure. I might even post my boy that passed :( as a momento. I also like the idea of looking back. I will have a peek through what is there now. x 

alligandelovely to meet you also :) yes this is what we have found with most rescues, the big ones and the small ones, soon as you say 'I work' and even 'I take the dog away with me to work' they are not sure on you and the answer is a no. Even being a founding member of a BC rescue here, I have found it hard to find a bc that can fit with my above requirements (small children, other animals etc). So here I am. Is it easier in the US perhaps?

Yep for sure staying away from these show or sports collies! I am pretty sure the lady in our village has one, I think she shows as well (and wins), nice for her, but when I see her, the dog is all over. I could not take that to work with me sadly. I do plan to teach calm from puppyhood, I did not know this was a thing, but think we taught our old boy anyway just from being chilled generally, and we would often practice 'still' and he just got so used to it, soon migrated to the (his) sofa!!!.

10 hours ago, alligande said:

the breeder spent an hour and half on the phone with me for our first conversation making sure I could cope with a working bred high drive dog, what I have is a laid back couch potato who comes to life for agility but in life is more relaxed than the average lab.

^^ made me laugh! 


10 hours ago, alligande said:

The UK lockdown is not so strict that if you get the pup you won't be able to expose them to everything

We are lucky we live really rural, so walking about the village we would only see dog walkers and I could do gentle exposes in small bursts. We trained our old boy to love the hoover, so we had a brush attachment we could run over him with. He hated the hose! Can't win them all. I will look up your suggestions, I want to read as much as I can now, before mayhem arrives in some form.

10 hours ago, alligande said:

This could be  great time to get a pup and enjoy raising one as you have the time. 

Thank you - I hope so as well :) 

Hello GentleLake :) how are you? Nice to meet you.

Mixed bag I guess, but yep still hard if you work, and I plan to take him away with me on jobs as well. Even being part of a bc rescue I am finding it hard to get a fit :( Interesting about the US though. 

5 hours ago, GentleLake said:

calm is a personality trait

Both parents are calm (dad is super calm), but also working, so is 50:50 I guess to what they inherit, 

5 hours ago, GentleLake said:

more active or busy it's even more important to provide enough physical and mental stimulation and consistent training

I plan to go back to my dog class every week soon as I can, for obendance, socialisation and agility (when older enough). But I remember doing a lot of stuff with my old boy at home in puppy hood. When he is a bit older and I can see if he likes agility (not for competition) or PAT of SARS (search and rescue), see if he likes any of them and progress with that with him. Hopefully that will keep his mind busy. And coming to work with me daily as well. 

5 hours ago, GentleLake said:

Not meaning to be argumentative. Just sayin' . . . . ;)


Agree. :) 

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