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Looking for our first BC


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#21 sandra s.

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Posted 24 September 2005 - 06:53 PM

Wow, Columbia, I wouldn't have thought it! Now I understand better why Kessie is often not very friendly to Labs. I thought they were just a bit silly, tripping over their own feet.
Goes to show how much I have to learn.

Here's my hyperactive girl:
Posted Image
Posted Image

Snorri, what do you mean by having to stand up and do something? Looks like you're standing already, because there's no room left for you on the sofa :rolleyes:

#22 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 03:10 AM

It was retriever MIXES I recommended. Plus, labs around here are not generally dangerous (unless stupid can be dangerous, which I'll admit it can be sometimes). I've placed many a lab mix in family homes with confidence. What makes labs tough to train also makes most of them bombproof around kids - high pain/pressure threshold. I recommend trainers who have a wide experience with different types of dogs and look at the individual dog and address its behavior before writing it off as an unfixable breed-related thing.

I have a friend who I saw turn a 90 pound bullheaded labradoodle that was totally off the walls, out of control, into a perfect gentleman. It took just a few minutes and good timing but it was quite humane and the owner learned the technique easily. Labradoodle was the star of the class (unfortunately) by the end of the six weeks.

Don't overlook those lab mixes in the shelter - take the dog for what it is, not what some study says one of the component breeds warns of. Once you start mixing and matching genetics WYSIWYG really applies.

You really gonna tell me this dog isn't adoptable because she's a lab mix?
http://tinyurl.com/dz3c8

Or him?
http://tinyurl.com/8q8tf

To me, this looks like the best of many worlds:
http://tinyurl.com/8wlh8

She looks ferocious.
http://tinyurl.com/ca2ak

I'm sorry for the sarcasm but there are a lot of people "listening in" - and I don't want them going to shelters and writing off all the many wonderful lab mixes (probably 50% of dogs around here) because they "heard" they were the worst possible family dogs.

Look at that face and tell me he's not trainable:
http://tinyurl.com/8r5we
Becca Shouse - Irena Farm, Semora, NC
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#23 Snorri the Priest

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 03:31 AM

Originally posted by sandra s.:
Snorri, what do you mean by having to stand up and do something? Looks like you're standing already, because there's no room left for you on the sofa :rolleyes:

Usually, I get left to lie on the floor (an uncomfortable reversal of roles)!

It is beginning to be the case that the dogs own the house and grudgingly let us live in it (after all, someone has to refill the water bowl and sort out the dinner!)

We'll let you in this time, we're hungry:
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Snorri
:D

#24 Columbia MO

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 03:46 AM

Rebecca,

Sorry I missed the "mix" in your retriever mix recommendation. I agree that in some mixes, the Lab personality would be toned down enough to make a decent pet.

There are also full Labs that make decent pets. I was simply saying that everybody seems to jump in all the time recommending Labs without realizing that dog trainers/behaviorists find them to be one of the least suitable breeds for families.

To me, recommending a Lab as a "laid back, easy going, family pet" is the same as recommending an Akita as the perfect pet for a family that runs a home daycare. Yes, there are Akitas that do not attack strange children on sight, but the breed certainly wouldn't be at the top of anyone's list for this scenario. In the same way, the "stereotypical" Lab that is laid back, perfectly mannered, sleeps all day in front of the fireplace, and simply requires a weekly walk around the block for exercise is a myth that--unfortunately--most of the American public still buys into.

Regarding the dogs whose photos you sent... how are you judging personality, temperament or trainability based on a photo? The descriptions themselves can give a lot of info if you read between the lines. I randomly opened the very last photo on the list. The dog's description is:

"Ritter is such a handsome dog. And he has the most expressive face. He will listen to you and tilt his head to the side as if he is trying to figure you out. Ritter was found as a stray on 9/12. He appears to be an Aussie Shepherd mix. He has gorgeous merle coloring. He looks to be about 2 to 3 years old. He seems very intelligent and extremely handsome."

Where do you see in this description anything about "loves people," "friendly and affectionate," "loves to work for people," or anything else that would make a good family pet. According to Sue Sternberg (and I agree), if they can't find a single nice thing to say about the temperament of a dog, watch out! Saying a dog "seems intelligent" and "is handsome" is common "rescue-speak" for a dog that is most likely cold, independent, dislikes people and may have other temperament issues, including aggression.

The best dog to look for will have a description like:

"Sally is a sweet, good natured hound mix who loves adults and children and adores meeting new people."

THAT is the dog that will be the trainable, loving family pet that won't attack you when you go to clip her nails. Not the "handsome" dog with the personality where they can't think of anything nice to say.

Columbia, MO

#25 JMack

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 03:53 AM

Sandra,
That could be a picture of my Durga (I have GOT to get a camera!). Favorite posture (it means: Rub my belly!) She's also a tricolor.

#26 Eileen Stein

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 04:16 AM

<< hmmm, maybe the labs in your area are a bit different than those around here. The ones I know are are basically goofy "Duh, which way did he go george" type personalities. Not the brightest bulb in the bunch, but very easy going.>>

Ditto.

Given the frequency with which Sue Sternberg has been mentioned on the boards of late, it's probably worth mentioning that she is a controversial figure. Aggressively marketed by herself and others, she nevertheless is considered extreme and unsound by many experienced dog people. Cautionary views about her and her temperament testing can be found here, here, and here.

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#27 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 04:23 AM

Ritter was found as a stray on 9/12.

They haven't had time to see his fulll personality. I wouldn't make ANY statements about whether a dog was kid-safe or anything else safe for two full weeks of continuous care and consistent training.

The best "Rescue speak" isn't going to say, "We don't know whether this dog is OK" because most people assume that means the dog is NOT OK, not that we just haven't made that judgement call yet. Again, I'm pointing out the difference in writing off a dog based on generalizations and giving a dog a chance.

What struck me about Ritter is he isn't terribly stressy about being confined (implies adapability, stable temperament), and although the description says nothing about it, if I saw him in a kennel looking at me like that, I'd feel like he was trying to connect in some way. It does say "He will listen to you . . as if he is trying to figure you out." This place only started offering speuter with their adoptions - I'm not surprised their descriptions are not well thought out.

As someone with six dogs, three cats, a yard full of ducks, livestock, not to mention two small children, I wouldn't drive from NC to DE to take a look a Ritter. But I'd recommend at this point (two weeks from his confinement will be Monday) that it would be worth a peek to someone in the area.

I only use the petfinder listings as a virtual "kennel pass" - imagine you were walking down the row looking at kennel cards on cages. Would you read the card and move on or would you ask to see the dog and interact with it?

It's a good note to make, however. My point is that someone with special needs, looking for a particular type of dog, MUST go physically eyeball the dog and be willing to sort through some before finding the right one.

Sadly, there are plenty out there that need homes. Go, interact with the dogs. If the dog makes you uncomfortable for whatever reason, you don't have to justify it somehow - just look for another. You can't save them all - save the one that's right for your family - but the only way to do that is through a hands on experience.
Becca Shouse - Irena Farm, Semora, NC
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#28 Annette Carter & the Borderbratz

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 04:44 AM

Eileen,

Thank you! I didn't know...

#29 Dream Puppy

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 06:16 AM

The original poster did not mention how old his kids were. That can play a huge factor in what kind of dog you get. My pup is wonderful with kids of all ages but he is best with little ones (under 3) and slightly older ones (10 and above).
The 6 to 8 year olds are too unpredictable and for some reason he wants to herd them the most. It has been more work for me with that age group. Not with the dog as much as with the kids. If you know you can spend the time and energy go for it.
I would also lend my voice to rescue. BEing in Frederick you have a wide variety of areas that you could do face to face with the dogs fairly easily. You can look in Md, Va, C, West VA, Pa and even Del is not too far for a family trip.
Liz

#30 WWBC

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 09:49 AM

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Eileen Stein:

Given the frequency with which Sue Sternberg has been mentioned on the boards of late, it's probably worth mentioning that she is a controversial figure. Aggressively marketed by herself and others, she nevertheless is considered extreme and unsound by many experienced dog people. Cautionary views about her and her temperament testing can be found here, here, and here. [/QB


Thank you Eileen for posting links to others views on Sue Sternberg. It saved me from having to go on another rant about her. I posted caution on Sue in another thread (http://bordercollie....=7;t=000324;p=1) where she was being promoted to a sickening degree.

WWBC

#31 Rebecca, Irena Farm

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Posted 25 September 2005 - 02:45 PM

Mmm. I might point out that I wasn't referring to any formal temperament testing system when I suggested that many shelters "screen dogs for adoptability and keep families with small children in mind." I suppose I should keep more up to date but when I was involved with shelters this just meant screening out dogs that were obviously aggressive, maybe exposing the dog to a shelter mascot cat. Or bird, like they do this at the Coyote Point, CA shelter where I was first introduced to real rescue!

Eileen, I agree that this formal testing system sounds atrocious and I'm horrified that it's being followed on a widespread basis (I'll have to look into who's into around here). But I live in a part of NC that would love any excuse to euth 100% of intakes. It has been a long hard journey from that attitude, to accepting the help of rescues, to developing their own little adoption program. If we go back and tell those shelters that they cannot screen their own dogs, they will simply find an excuse to go to 100% euth again.

It's true that it's a crying shame that the typical shelter worker isn't qualified to tell the difference between stress that will never be reproduced outside the shelter environment, and real aggression. However, if that yields 20% bombproof dogs, well, it's a harsh fact that there are not people lined up out the doors for even those 20%. In communities around here, probably half of that final 20% will also lose their battle against time alone.

The simple fact that keeps me coming back to this is, adopting a rescue dog saves two lives - your new pet and the life of the dog that takes his place.
Becca Shouse - Irena Farm, Semora, NC
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#32 CleoDog

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 12:38 AM

I volunteer with MABCR, the group Rebecca suggested. If you wish, please apply! Read the website, it will give you a good understanding of how our process works. When filling out the application, please keep an open mind about the age of dog you'd consider and also whether or not you'd consider a mix. One gentleman adopted an eight year old female a couple of years ago. She adapted beautifully and is still his trail running partner!

As others have said, sometimes an older mix can be a dream. They're easy to house train, they're settled a little, and they're fully developed, so are ready to go with whatever your family has in mind (they can begin being conditioned to be your jogging partner, can start playing frisbee, or maybe agility for fun?). Puppies are tiny for so short a time...plus they chew, chew, chew, need frequent bathroom breaks, etc.

The screening process is thorough, and that allows us to determine which dog is best for you. We will not send you "more dog" than your family can manage. Plus there is support available for the lifetime of the dog if problems arise.

I believe that all of what I've said is probably true of most good rescue groups, so do some searching around, and follow your instincts.

Good luck! Michele

#33 Shelby Puppy

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 09:43 AM

My little girl is 6 in November. We have been looking around and we are think we will be able to care for a BC. I really want a BC. If we get one she will be a Frisbee dog. My wife and I have talked about other dogs and she wanted a dog that would lay down and be a lap dog. I told her what fun is that. We have to cats now that do that and they are no fun.

To me dogs should be great companions. To play and have fun with. I want a dog that I can give alot of love to and spend time with out side. I am not to over weight but I need to lose about 25 pounds and I think a BC would be great for me. I need to get outside more. I spend too much time inside doing work. I think a BC would be just what I need.

Thanks for all the insight and coments.

Mike

#34 Coloradogirl

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 10:33 AM

Please Please do your homework. My neighbor sold a pup to some people that live in town and their neighbor got a border collie so they just HAD to have one.
Well one year later and the neighbor got this pup back so spoiled rotten and agressive that she needs to be put down or go to someone that understands this breed.
Just do your homework and no matter what breed you decide to go with try to rescue.

#35 Carson Crazies

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 10:51 AM

My wife and I have talked about other dogs and she wanted a dog that would lay down and be a lap dog. I told her what fun is that. We have to cats now that do that and they are no fun.

Who will be the primary care taker for the dog? I can tell you this much... if she's going to be the primary care taker of the dog and her desire is for a quiet lap dog you may find yourselves with issues. If you plan to be the primary care taker (ie, feeding, taking the dog out, playing with it, teaching it obedience and frisbee, taking it to the vet, taking it to socialize with other dogs, etc) then I can see where you're coming from. If not, you guys may want to get really serious in exploring BOTH of your needs and limitations.

Secondly, if you desire a dog that will make a good frisbee dog and have an off switch, I second what the others here have said... RESCUE. The beauty of rescue (aside from saving dogs' lives) is that the rescuers can get a feel for what you're looking for and what you all have to offer a dog and help you to match with the right dog. I second what was said about a BC Mix (or other type of mix). My BC Mix will track down anything you throw her beautifully. Unfortunately she does NOT have a very efficient off switch, but we manage that too. I would that my first Border Collie had been a rescue... to have broken me in slowly. :rolleyes:
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#36 Columbia MO

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 11:06 AM

Hi there,

Thanks for providing additional info on what you're looking for!

You mentioned having a 6 yr. old daughter. If she is a nice dog-loving kid that is very quiet and never runs in the house OR yard, a BC might fit right in. However, you might want to think about her friends that will eventually come to the house. This can be a rambunctious age, with kids racing around the house chasing each other, running to the kitchen for a glass of water, etc. Most (but not all) BCs would be VERY overstimulated by this kind of activity.

My normally laid back, high-in-trial-winning obedience BC loves kids but I have to manage him every second in this environment, giving about 1 treat per second for not chasing. Being a Border Collie, he wants to get ahead of the kids, cut them off at the pass. He will try to turn them around by using eye contact, but when that doesn't work, his next move would be to snap, and eventually bite. Not all BCs do this, but enough do that this might be a red flag.

The other thing you mentioned is that your wife wants a lap dog and that you are typically at the computer but want an excuse for more exercise.

If you get a typical BC, you might be in for a LOT more exercise than you had in mind. Most BCs do not just lay quietly around the house waiting for that 30 min. frisbee session. My current BC puppy brings toys to me NON-STOP every second I'm home, shoves them against my legs, bounces them once per second on the floor to get my attention, flings them at me, etc. If I won't play, he will grab the noisiest thing he can find--like a metal food dish--and chase it around the house for hours, slamming it against walls and making a horrible din. NOBODY could work through this racket! This kind of high energy dog will drive your peace-loving wife CRAZY!!!

Not to mention... if you normally spend a lot of time in front of the computer but want to lose 25 pounds.... what happens after the weight comes off? That Border Collie is gonna build up a huge exercise tolerance, and you will still be expected to go for 10 mile daily hikes for the next ten or so YEARS! The BC exercise schedule doesn't fit into most peoples' lifestyle very well.

I did not get a BC until I bought a house on 10 acres. Besides racing around the 3 fenced acres fetching balls/frisbees several times a day, my two Border Collies get a daily MINIMUM of at least one formal 1-hour training session (tracking, herding, agility, obedience), plus at-home practice in their other sports, plus a trip to downtown/pet stores/the trail for "cultural enrichment" plus a long leash walk. Most days, the older BC also herds my ducks for 30 min. When we come inside, the 3 yr. old dog sleeps. The 5 mos. old begins his obsessive-compulsive toy fetching/dropping/chasing.

There are definitely BCs that do not require this much exercise, but if you are set on having a great frisbee dog, the drive required to play frisbee may have a whole related suite of behavioral traits that would not suit your wife one bit!

Columbia, MO

#37 JMack

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 12:10 PM

Mike,
I just want to add my voice to those suggesting rescue. & here's an anecdote that I hope will demonstrate how much better rescue is for adopting the particular sort of dog suitable to you, your family, the way you live.

When I adopted my BC a few months ago, I had originally called the rescue svc about another dog, Suzy, but she'd already been adopted out. The svc mentioned another dog, but told me she was very shy. I saw her picture, thought she looked pretty & sweet. My sister (who lived closer) went to visit her and liked her--but also mentioned the extreme shyness.

When I got her foster home, half a day's drive from where I live, it turned out the original dog, Suzy, had been brought back. That dog had never met a stranger. She seemed the perfect BC in many ways--friendly, lively (but not crazed), healthy. But there was little trembly Durga (then called Kate), leaning on me. When Suzy came up to me, Durga put a paw on my arm, so she had me.

I guess I"m trying to say that when dogs are in foster care for a while (both these dogs about a month, I think), the foster parents can tell you lots about them, and what to expect down the road. Suzy probably would've been a better dog for me, but Durga (presently hiding in the bedroom upstairs because someone came to the door) chose me.

#38 JacknKegsDad

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 12:40 PM

Keg is a Lab/BC mix (and is the second mix I've had - Sarge, rest his soul, was a lab/kelpie cross)....
Keg's appearance and personality/nature are pretty much lab....although he does have some "herding" traits.....but his retrieving traits are way more dominant.

It is true about the rough/body slamming kind of play, desire to jump up and lick...but this can, with patience, be overcome.

It's fortunate that Jack, our BC, is the older/dominant dog....and while he enjoys a bit of roughhousing with Keg...he puts a stop to it in no uncertain terms when he's had enough.

The other plus in their play is that Jack is WAY more agile than Keg. He often sidesteps Keg....or simply stops dead when Keg is "lining him up" - and watches Keg go sailing past...then continues on his way (laughing his butt off!) :rolleyes:

A couple of things to note about labs (and mixes) is that they generally have very "soft mouths" around people. This won't stop them from chewing on anything they can lay their teeth on, but it's less likely that you (or other folks) will be (aggressively) bitten.
There will obviously be some exceptions...but, as mentioned, labs have a high tolerance level - for pain and annoyance - so it takes a lot of provocation to get them to that point where they actually consider biting a person.

The second thing is that they are bower birds/attention seekers. They will "borrow" items and take them to a particular spot/area. They won't necessarily destroy them...but you kinda need to keep everything locked down/hidden....or you may find the TV remote, your keys, shoes and undergarments, kitchen utensils etc. out in the kennel/yard.

The "intelligence" of labs is a hotly debated topic - given their bumbling ways - but I can assure you that they are trainable. There's no shortage of them working as guide, therapy, SAR and detection dogs.

One thing to remember about labs is that they are "working" dogs. They were bred as gun dogs...and to retrieve game.

Like all working dogs, they need jobs to do. With Sarge (and Keg - who's still a pup...and in the training phase), I harnessed their instinct to retrieve into jobs such as collecting the mail, carrying grocery bags, the peg basket etc.
Sarge waited for the mailman to come...and would go out and collect the mail on his own. He'd also grab the peg basket and sit by the clothes line while you were taking the washing out of the machine.

Harnessing the instinct of the breed is what many of the good folks here do - either by working them for what they were bred to do - herd - or to channel that instinct/energy into "work" such as agility, flyball, frisbee etc.

Obviously, there are - in every breed - the couch potatoes and the potato farmers...but if your chosen buddy is reflective of their breed...and BC is in there...it'll probably be a pretty driven, high energy, attention seeking bundle of joy....oh, and if you have an ego problem...a BC isn't the dog for you...as it WILL be smarter than you :D

#39 krista

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 04:49 PM

I'm smiling at the wonderful pics. Glad to see Pahsa's not the only one who takes over the couch. Not to mention the bed.
We had a lab mix. Friendly good dog. Loved to jump on people and as much as I loved her she definintly had the which way did he go George personality.
We have a 9 yr old and 6 yr old. Had nipping problems as a puppy but she outgrew it and hasn't had any problems since. The neighbor kids come over and they all play tag and hide and seek. I've read a lot about bc's not mixing well with kids but wonder if it's not over exagerated. Or since we've had her since a pup she's just used to them?
Krista

#40 Eileen Stein

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Posted 26 September 2005 - 06:31 PM

<< My current BC puppy brings toys to me NON-STOP every second I'm home, shoves them against my legs, bounces them once per second on the floor to get my attention, flings them at me, etc. If I won't play, he will grab the noisiest thing he can find--like a metal food dish--and chase it around the house for hours, slamming it against walls and making a horrible din. NOBODY could work through this racket! >>

Why don't you train him not to do that? Why not teach him a "That's enough," or equivalent command? And wouldn't it be better to train your dog not to chase kids than to stand there "giving about 1 treat per second for not chasing"?

I agree that most people would not be happy with the lifestyle you describe in this post, but then again, I don't think most people would let their dog(s) set the agenda to this extent.

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