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Hi, I just got a puppy a few days ago. He's 12 weeks old. My daughters (6 and 8) just fell in love with him when we saw him. I gave up on purchasing a family pet because it seemed like no dog "worked for me" but we went to the pet store for bird food and a lady had him in the cart and I fell in love! I must admit I really didnt want a dog, but the kids did. She invited us to her house and showed us the puppy's parents and how they flew in the air while catching a frisbee. She showed us how the puppy would sit and shake "hands" etc. When she told me he was potty trained, I was sold.


NOW I'm going to web sites and everything I read says Border Collies are working dogs and NOT pets and not good with children etc. Now I'm starting to get nervous. I never wanted a "lazy/sleepy" dog but can a family of 4 handle a Collie as a family pet? Are we being unfair to the dog? Can we give enough? Will he snap and hurt our children?

Are there any stories on how Border Collies make wonderful fun pets? Again I'm really nervous now.

Thanks for any insight, advice, or stories of your own you may have.



P.S. I would love to take him on long walks, but he freaks when he's on the leash. He wont even stand up, let alone walk. any ideas? For now we play in the yard

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This is why people need to research breeds *before* getting a dog. but since you have him I know you can find a ton of info from everyone here.


BCs are wonderful dogs, but they are ALOT more work than a traditional breed. They require both mental and physical stimulation and they love to have a job to do; if they get all these things and good training they can be *awesome* dogs, if they don't well...


My girl is a rescue, so I didn't have her as a pup, but I did get her at 11mo. She was quite the ball of energy at that age and still is at 7yo - she thinks nothing of 5 mile hikes or running while I rollerblade. She thinks it's her job to make sure the counters are clean of food :rolleyes: and that I remeber to take out the trash or she will. She serves as a therapy dog at a kids camp and at nursing homes and loves being a social butterfly with my friends.


When I have the time and $ she competes and trains in dog agility and takes herding lessons.


She's mine because 3 other homes couldn't handle her energy and brains, but once she found me (and I found the joy of dog training) she's become the best dog a girl could hope for. She's priceless now.


As for the leash work, that will come in time; why not let him drag a leash around the house for a while when you can supervise to get him used to the weight on his collar? Are you crate training? If not, start! Crates can be both your and your dog's best friend.


Do a search on this board for more suggestions on leash work and general puppy stuff - there's a wealth of info on pretty much any topic!

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You have picked a great breed of dog! Whether or not you keep it as a family pet will have to be up to you. I have six bc, and 4 kids. They keep me very busy. My kids are ages 11-18 though.

When you can go back to the pet store, look for "Popular Dogs Series" magazine. They have them on lots of different dog breeds. It will say "Border Collies" at the top. There is lots of info in this magazine. It answered a lot of questions I had with Sadie, my first bc.

As for the leash, ONLY when you can watch him closely, let him drag the leash with him. He will get use to it quicker. After you've done that a few times, then try to pick it up, but let him lead you first. When he's okay with that, then begin leading him. (It works on big animals too - we show cattle).

By the way, what did you name your puppy??

Good luck - Lisa

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You have come to the right place for info and help and others will be along to advise. Thank you for doing some research, your fears are the reason that so many Border Collies end up in rescue. All dogs are different but being that he is young and being raised with your kids I would think he would be fine with them. Training and socialization are key. Border Collies do make wonderful companions for those people that enjoying doing things and being with their dogs as much as possible.


If you are concerned that he will be brushed aside once the newness and puppyhood fade then you are justified in your concerns because border collies need to be with their people, not designated to the backyard to be forgotten. They will find their own entertainment if left to their own devises and that is where the issues come up.


If you are an active family and plan to included the pup as much as you can then you should be fine.


Training, training, training are key. Work his mind by teaching him obedience and tricks. Take him with you everywhere you can to socialize him with people and other dogs. Your daughters will love having him perform for friends, they are uncannily smart and learn with lightening speed.


The most important thing is that he become part of your family and has a job to do, be it ball, frisbee, obedience, tricks or helping bring in the groceries. Work his mind, make him apart of the family and you couldn't ask for a better companion.


Hint on walking on leash, try offer a tidbit of a treat in front of his nose and walk forward holding it just out of his reach. Praise like crazy and have a party when he takes each step forward. Pup class is also highly recommended. And Big Ditto on crate training!!!

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I dont want to upset anyone I know I made a quick decision with getting him, but everything I saw just said they like to keep busy, and thats fine with me. I want a playful, energetic dog. I dont plan on getting rid of him. We love him. I just need some encouragement since articles would scare anyone but a farmer with sheep.


We named him Gemini

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I would like to tell you that a BC is like a normal dog, but they are not. We have 2 BC's now one is 4 years old and one is 4 months old. I wouldn't trade

these guys for anything else, but you need to be prepared for what's to come. Our 4 year old is the most loving and well behaved dog anyone could ever ask for, but this takes alot of commitment from us.

You really need to spend alot of time with these guys not only physical and mental stimulation they need someone there for them. You will never regret

a border collie if you have the time and patience

and alot of understanding of their ways. But I'm not sure what kind of time you have to give you

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First - don't freak. Some bcs are fine as family pets as long as you can keep them mentally and physically active. People on this board are great but they don't really sugarcoat what they say so don't let anyone offend you. They are only looking out for the breed. I won't lie but buying a pup like you did is supporting a backyard breeder which is why folks are not real happy but they will help you.


Leash walking - by some thin rope and while you are with the pup, let the pup drag the rope around the house. Then work on picking up the rope,etc... you can also do this with the leash. You can also lure the pup with some nice smelly treats or do both.


Sign up for a puppy kindergarten class. It will help with socializing and help you with training.


Some bcs are very laid back and some need more activity than others. They can be good with kids as long as they are trained. They also like to be with their people. Have your kids help with training, feeding, etc... and teach the kids how to interact with the dog and this will help lesson the chances of being nipped...

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We got our bc to be a companion. He is just over a year old and has worked out wonderfully for us. You can be successful - like Kim said one key is training. My brother has 4 kids, and the youngest was 7 when they got their first bc. They made training a priority, their kids had to learn how to behave with the dog too - not just training the dog how to behave with kids. (make any sense?). I wouldn't trade Bo for anything - he has become a part of our family. He is my 'shadow', always following me around the house/yard when I am home. He is also a fetching machine!!!!


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Congrats on your new pup! When Polly was around children while she was a puppy, I would discourage the children from running and overstimulating her, instead I showed them how to throw a ball and do other things with her. More structured activities. It seemed to teach her how to interact with kids well. I was concerned that she would chase after them and nip heels and bite clothes. She is now 7 months and this seemed to really help, just recently we were with some small children and other than seeming to be a little concerned when then went in all directions--my herd is getting away!! , she was calm and waited for them to settle and play with her. When she would bite and nip, we would yell ow! and remove ourselves from her, so she learned pretty quickly that she loses playmates if she is rude. The "puppy zooms" when she would get out of control and start running around like a maniac earned her a timeout in her crate for a few minutes. We keep the crate in our family/living area, so she is always with us. Try to get the family on the same page in regard to commands and such to keep confusion at a minimum. This can be difficult, it is just me and my husband and we still argue over when we use "wait" and "stay." My husband and I tag team her play and training sessions, this keeps her stimulated and happy and used to learning from more than one person. One easy game that helps a small pup use their brain is the discrimination game. Bring out a couple of toys, teach him what each one is by putting them in front of you and naming them. Then ask him to choose "rope" or "ball" or whatever. When he chooses the right one, treat him or throw the toy as a reward. I have done this with Polly since she was tiny, and she knows the difference between dozens of toys now. I have learned pretty much all I know from this board--these people are awesome! I think you have a wonderful addition to your family! Charlene

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The truth is, this will most likely not be a good pet for your family. Border collies are flat out not good first dogs. They do much better with experienced dog owners because any rookie mistakes you make with border collies are generally magnified significantly in this smart yet sensitive breed. Case in point: puppies do not automatically know how to walk on a leash. They need to be taught in ways that do not frighten them. Some breeds may quickly get over any trauma they experience by a novice dog owner trying to train them on a leash. Border collies are not among those breeds. Some people own 1 and 2 year old border collies who still quiver every time a leash comes out.


For every success story--an owner who that his or her first dog was a border collie and he/she is a great dog, there are ten horror stories of undertrained, undersocialized and totally schizoid bc's from owners who tried to learn on the job. Experienced dog owners have a tough enough time learning the intricacies of bc's. Most beginners quickly get in over their heads.


Sorry, this may not be the answer you want to hear. But it is the truth.

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The big question you need to ask yourself is what do you want out of a dog? Now, granted, you didn't even want a dog to begin with so not a great beginning, but now that you have him, what are your expectations. Knowing more about you and your family will be helpful in giving any advice about whether or not it's a good match. As it is, it's impossible to say because any dog of any breed could be a bad match.


The characteristics of a good border collie are also what can make him a great family companion in the right home.


Will the people you purchased him from take him back if you feel you're in over your head?



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i have x working dogs who are now basicly "family pets". your dog will be fine with the kids.they are not however your "normal"dog. they require much more stimulation like walks,chasing balls.yes jumping for frisbees,dont be shocked if your new dog trys to "herd" your kids.you must be prepared to devote an enormous amount of time to him.i think if you involved your kids that would be a bonus for him and them too.you have the worlds smartest and best breed of dog just waiting for YOU AND YOUR FAMILY to mold him into your perfect dog.just always tell yourself.train,train and more training.dont worry you'll sleep when the kids are older.lol


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Thank you for caring enough to come here. I will tell you this:


Even if your puppy turns out to be Ricochet Rabbit himself, if you make the committment to learn as much as humanly possible about the needs of this dog, and consider it another child in the family giving it as much attention as your other children, you will be fine.


I agree that a BC is not the ideal first dog, but you don't chose the characteristics of your first child either, and most of us grow up ok. The difference is recognizing that you have your hands full and simply making the committment.


There's lots of help here and elsewhere. Find a local BC shelter and do a little volunteering with the kids to immerse yourself in people who know and love the breed if you can.

Get a large resizable crate, and lots of treats and toys.

Learn Nothing in Life Is for Free dog training, look it up on the web. If you can afford it, take you, your children and your puppy to training classes.


Do not allow your puppy freedom until they are house trained......do not allow them 'off leash' until you have 100% recall. There now you have the benefit of MY MISTAKES.


The very best of love and luck to all of you.

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True, a Border Collie is not a typical dog. But often, Border Collie owners are not your typical dog owners either. I think a person is either cut-out (or simply commited enough) to own a BC or they're not. The question is, which are you? You have to be willing to think of your BC as another child, because, let's face it, he will probably be as smart as the average 3 year old! If you interact with him as much as you would interact with your child (perhaps in a different way though!) then you should be fine.


Our BC was my first dog (unless you count the shitzu (sp) we had when I was under 10 years old). I don't count him because I really didn't help train him. Heck, no one trained him!


I also have a 2-year old little girl (my BC is now 4) and Riley (BC) is fine with her. He's food protective (with kids and other animals), but we are constantly monitoring that and working on it. Other than that, I don't worry about them. He has never herded her or nipped her. He gets plenty of mind stimulation and ball chasing.

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Welcome to the wonderful world of border collies! BC's don't have to live on a farm with sheep to be well-adjusted family dogs. They do, however, require exercise, mental and physical stimulation, discipline and lots of time with their owners. The breed is used to working with a shepherd or a farmer so as a whole they are not used to being left by themselves for long periods. Yes, you can leave them at home during the day while you work but you (or your family) should be prepared to spend substantial time interacting with Gemini every day. Playing with him for an hour or so and then relegating him to the backyard will create a problem dog.


It's also really important that your children learn how to play with him appropriately so that problems with nipping are not inadvertently created - bc's don't nip to hurt, they nip to keep their "flock" in the right place and bc's are known to nip kids when they try to leave the backyard because the dog is trying to keep the kid where the dog thinks the child belongs.


You have gotten some good tips already for preparing to live with Gemini and the board lways has someone who can address any specific problem you are having.


Give Gemini some time and yourself (and your family) the opportunity to get to know him and hopefully you will find he is the perfect dog for you. Good luck to all of you.

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I'll tell you this much:


Once you've HAD a BC, you're ruined for most other dogs, or at least I am. Went to my sister's for Labor Day; she's got two beautiful Goldens (I know some of you have Goldens too! And I love ALL dogs). I wouldn't trade my intelligent, beautiful girls for both of hers and 10 more.


They do require a lot of work, and it's tough to remember that they are both (a) dogs and (:rolleyes: very, very crafty and intelligent dogs. You'll find yourself talking to them as if they were people. Remember, though--if you were left alone all day loose in the house, you'd turn on the TV, snooze on the sofa, go to the bathroom, surf the internet (play with your toys), graze in the kitchen (including noshing in the refrigerator just to see what is in there), maybe try to build something or tear something down in your garage or maybe just re-arrange the furniture.


You can expect your BC to do likewise.


One thing nobody seems to have mentioned: I just love the look they get on their faces when I'm trying to teach them some new trick. Ears up, eyes sparkling, "Now, what craziness does he want us to do this time?" It's priceless. It's even more fun when they get it on the first go.


Back to my sister's at Labor Day: she was trying to leash her dogs, and they were jumping around and acting crazy. I told my girls, "Sit! Stay!" and they sat and stayed like angels (I owe them big for that little performance) while I attached their leashes, then calmly walked out the front door with me.


You'll do fine, and don't let the naysayers (there are some on here who ONLY want the BC to be a working sheep dog) get you down.

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Originally posted by Malvie:

don't let the naysayers (there are some on here who ONLY want the BC to be a working sheep dog) get you down.

There are MANY on here who "only" want the BC to bred to be a working sheep dog, as that is what they were always meant to be.


There is NO ONE here who says someone can only have a BC if it is an actively working sheep dog.


Get your snipes right :rolleyes:


I hope this works out for the OP. Sadly, for someone who didn't even want a dog and fell for some frisbee tricks and a paw shake, I'm a little worried that it won't. But keep reading Michele ... hopefully you will learn something about the breed you didn't choose and it will benefit you and the dog!



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Where in FL are you? If I can be of help at any time let me know. I won't pretend to know everything, as I am very much a rookie, but I may be able to offer you advice or suggestions to things that have worked for me. Feel free to post here or private message me.


Good Luck



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I also rescued my 10 month old Mick, and fell in love with him instantly. We had him as a foster for two weeks, then had to decide. I also searched websites and saw where they were more working dogs and I had my doubts. This panel helped me a lot and the articles helped. But most of all, Mick helped me understand. The rescue group loaned a crate, but we bought a tall baby gate, and now he has the run of the whole kitchen, where his bed, food and water stay.

He loves when I come home from work cause we go outside and play and he does other stuff first, haha, and he also knows when I change clothes and grab the car keys, it is time to ride. He loves to ride. I had a problem for a while with the leash, but a guy at Petco told me to grab his collar with a NO, make him sit, Mick was so active that day, and this guy worked with Mick and I for about ten minutes, on his being wild and pulling away. No treats, just eye to eye contact and a stern NO, or with me, Settle. I have to say it still works. I no longer have a problem with him walking with me, also keep the leash close, make him walk beside you, not leading the way or pulling. I have found they ARE very smart dogs, and love attention.

Where I live, the animal shelter has a large play area strictly for dogs, we go about three times a week, sometimes we are all alone, and he loves a tennis ball, a frisbee, but I had a couple of kids sand buckets which he loves to grab the bucket, run with it, toss it, he enjoys that more than the ball. Once he bit holes in it, I fill it up with water and it leaks in several spots, he chases the water until it drains out, then I start throwing it, he retreives. It just takes an effort on your part to love him, show him affection, and play with him. Also, at the play yard, he can interact with other dogs. I enjoy that part, cause he always keep looking back for me, making sure I am still there. I love my Mick, cause he loves me.

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I adopted a black& white dog 12 yrs ago. He was on his 4th home in 11 mos. I had lost my little dog after 17 yrs :rolleyes: . So as he didn't have good prospects in the shelter with his history home he came. :D

On the 1st afternoon in my lunch room at work he chewed a leg almost off an antique chair.Came in the front door jumped on my diningroom table set for Thanksgiving hubby said he's not staying :D On his first roadtrip he chewed off the seatbelts and got out in Olive Gardens parking lot took 45 min to catch.

He was stolen at age 6 on Martin Luther King day from his yard and brought back tranquilized on Fri. I thank them every day for bringing him back close enough to home to be found. Our oil man carried him home in freezing rain too slick to drive our driveway (200ft)and 3 neighbors brought him presents.

He was a kleptmaniac anything not tied down was his.Ours the neighbors didn't matter.

He used to stand on the foot stool bark and hit me with his paw to sit down so he could sit on my lap. Friend said he can't boss you like that never told her 12 yrs later we still do it.

He loved every child and always had neighborhood dog friends. Raised 7 grandbabies put up with everything...

He went to puppy school when I first got him lasted 3 days he wouldn't pay attention didn't even charge me. Next to puppy class distracted all the labs etc we were encouraged to do private classes.

He's infamous in the small neighborhood for all his escapades. Good thing its a 3 street town and all good dog people.

I now foster have 3 young Border rescues and he still doesn't walk well on a leash and hubby needs to get him in from the yard he plays keep away with me. :eek:

So its all whats your tolerence level for a pup..and expectations just love and companionship they are the breed .

We worked the Humane Society fundraiser today they loved everyone all 4 :D


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