Looking for our first BC
Posted 26 September 2005 - 11:51 PM
Well, let's clarify. Is Mike looking for a dog to play Frisbee with in the back yard, or a competition superstar? If he is looking for a buddy to play with and one that will get him outside, it need not be a monster like you described. That's why an adult rescue is the perfect option.
I think that some of this crazy behavior that's being described is probably due to bored dogs with a total lack of anything meaningful to do. But on the other hand, some of it is because of the owners. I've heard people talking, and it's almost like having a "my dog is crazier than your dog because he does a, b, and c" conversation equals bragging rights?! Color me confused...Give them what they need and then teach them to settle!
Posted 27 September 2005 - 12:26 AM
The trick, as a newcomer to the breed, is to go somewhere where you WILL be allowed to "meet and greet." Preferably if you go with a Border collie, you'll go through a counseling and evaluation service to ensure that your family and the dog will be an ideal match.
If you are presently sedentary and haven't made the lifestyle switch yet, make sure you have a postive plan what you will be doing with the dog. The average adult male human needs about 30 min to an hour, three times a week, of aerobic exercise to raise his metabolism and lose weight. The average suburban Border collie needs a couple hours of daily training and structured activities to fill both his physical and mental needs.
Not to mention if you get a dog that's fairly typical, you always have to have "Plan B" open - the possibility that you might have to get involved in formal training to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Are you prepared to go that extra mile if you find your dog is showing signs of boredom in spite of your best efforts? I've counseled so many well-meaning people who just didn't know what they were getting into initially, and they end up giving away their dogs to rescue.
And yes, there's such a wide range of personalities in Border collies that you can't generalize from two couch potatoes you might hear someone owns. I think in all my years of rescue I placed 5% couch potatoes (some of those were old or with health problems), 25% fine with walks around the block and the occaisional weekend hike, 50% with much higher physical and mental needs ranging from daily long runs right up to formal sport competition training, and 20% that essentially needed a full-time training or working environment.
Honestly, if those numbers are changing I'd be really afraid for the Border collie breed as a whole - those figures are well in line with its profile as a working dog. Not disc dog or running around the block dog, mind you - a dog bred to run one quarter to half a mile to fetch sheep and then run at least twice that again to perform twice daily chores, plus competitions on the weekend.
Cord, Ted, Gus, Sam - plus Maggie, Zhi, Lynn, Jetta, Lu, Min, and Tully
Posted 27 September 2005 - 10:36 AM
I absolutely agree that the highest end 20% do exist, and that they're not right for a family like Mike's. Sometimes, though, it seems like I hear lots and lots of silliness about dogs being "over the top" when really what the poor dog needs is for momma to take her finger off the ON switch.
Originally posted by Rebecca, Brook Cove Farm:
Well, I have had a few dogs in rescue that would have needed a TON of a work to settle. Those dogs do exist.
I think in all my years of rescue I placed 5% couch potatoes (some of those were old or with health problems), 25% fine with walks around the block and the occaisional weekend hike, 50% with much higher physical and mental needs ranging from daily long runs right up to formal sport competition training, and 20% that essentially needed a full-time training or working environment.
So, Mike, check out rescues. They will know their dogs. Be honest with yourself about what you'll likely offer a dog DAILY, and then relay that to the rescue group. If you plan to hike 10 miles on the weekends, but will be lucky to get the dog out for five frisbee throws during the week, don't be afraid to say so. Your answers to their questions will shape their opinion about what dog will do best in your house, and the more honest you are, the happier you will all be in the end.
Best of luck.
Posted 27 September 2005 - 08:00 PM
My Bear was a darned good disc dog in his day, and while he was crazy during practice, play days, and competition, you have to *wake him up* to get him to go outside. It's beyond an off switch, it's like a rolling blackout.
Originally posted by Carson Crazies:
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 drive, as it has been described, needed to be a good disc (flyball, agility) dog does not mean that the dog has to be a raving lunatic all the time. Even Wick has an off switch (more of a dimmer, really) which means that I can have dinner parties, poker nights, take conference calls from home, etc. and the dogs will lie in the corner, sleeping. Unless they hear food.
Oh, and both were rescues that I adopted as young adults.
Rex and Bar
Bear, Wick and Lou - forever in my heart
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Posted 29 September 2005 - 02:51 PM
LOL! thanks for saying that, it actually made me feel MUCH better ... Gonzo is called a 'snob' and 'aggressive' and 'pushy' by many of our nieghbors ~ all that own Goldens and Labs, of course. He's awesome and will instantly play-bow with other herding dogs and basically any dog with a shred of manners. About 80-90% of the dogs in my large nieghborhood are Goldens or Labs, most of them walked off-leash on the roads and allowed to race up to Gonzo (on lead) and jump on top of him and bowl him over, and when my dog politely growls to tell them to buzz off, I'M the one with the rude dog
Originally posted by Columbia MO:
The only thing they have in common other than being popular yellow bird dogs is the fact that both breeds tend to have horrible manners with other dogs and can basically only play with other Labs or Goldens. (That's another story).
sorry for my rant, but I LOVED your comment! I agree 100% about Labs, I know about 3 really well-behaved, well-adjusted, HEALTHY Labs (most of the others are either ridiculously hyper and aloof, or overweight and aloof) ~ and they're owners are total dog people who spend all of their time and resources, basically, on their dog. They're all well-bred healthy, under 120-lb Labs, who are Hunting bred too... you're SO right about well-bred Labradors being few and far between, because of their enormous popularity. My little sister's Dad (she lives with him and her step-Mom) allowed her to get a poorly-bred black Lab from a BYB ~ he now weighs more than her (120 lbs) and he's literally nuts! He could not be around kids under 10, ever, he'd probably seriously injure them just by jumping all over them. He's very sweet and good-natured, but he refuses to listen to almost any command given, he's very stubborn and aloof and hyper, and he can only be controlled with a Halti, and just barely controlled at that.
yeah... soo.. I second the notion that Labs wouldn't be a great choice (ESPECIALLY a Lab puppy!) for the OP, who seems considered about active dogs. I don't know if I'd suggest any type of BC ~ because Border Collies ARE a huge project. They don't mind if you miss one day of exercise, but even calm BC's need several sessions of vigorous exercise and training every week. I feel that the OP MIGHT have been attracted to BC's for the *fun* of playing frisbee or ball with them once in a while ~ but, at least my Border Collie, is not happy with a little session of ball-chasing every once in a while. He needs to learn new things, get out, be challenged and have his people exercise and work with him. I would personally recommend the OP go to a reputable rescue that screens the temperaments of their dogs heavily ~ and they adopt a relatively calm, undemanding adult dog who's game for ball-chasing or frisbee-catching if the opportunity arises. There are definitely some Border Collies that fit this description, but you really can't determine the activity levels the dog will grow up to have if you purchase a puppy.
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