Need advice with choosing next dog.
Posted 28 October 2004 - 12:03 PM
I'm married now to a man who is completely unfamiliar with dogs. He's from London and has had little to no exposure with dogs. Because of this, I have decided against the larger, more dominant breeds like GSD's and Rotts. I've also decided against all other breeds because none can compare to a BC. A Lab is nice but not as nice. The same goes for every other breed I can think of, so another Border Collie it is.
I'm hoping you can help me decide whether to get a full bred, mix, pup or older rescue.
Any future dog will have plenty of room to run, an at-home owner (me), and no children to contend with. Any dog will be a major part of the family and be included in all activities. I'm well aware of the needs of Border Collies and can provide that for the life of the dog.
I'm strongly leaning towards getting a young pup as opposed to an older one. It's much easier to train than to retrain a dog. Also, a well bred pup from a reputable breeder is a plus. I'm willing to hear arguments for or against both.
I'm also leaning towards getting a female, mostly because that's where my experience lies, but again, I'm open minded about that and willing to hear your views.
My BC had some black Lab in her. She had standard BC markings but was larger and had somewhat of a Lab shaped head. She had plenty of energy but could also relax. She was exceptionally intelligent, well beyond knowing tricks, and needed something to work her mind, and I miss that.
I tell you this because she was not a pure BC, so I would like to know how off the mark she was from the typical pure BC. I'm guessing not much if at all, but want to be sure so that there are no surprises.
She was also a submissive dog by nature, more so than I would have cared for ideally. I'll look through your archives and see if this is a common trait, but would like to hear your thoughts on this too if you have any.
I may consider another BC mix. I don't know. Anyway, any and all comments, advice, suggestions, etc., are welcome!
Posted 28 October 2004 - 12:14 PM
I ended up visiting a couple of shelters, and found my heart dog, who is lying at my feet at this very instant. He'd been there for nearly 8 months (thank goodness for no-kill shelters), and he sort of picked me. He's a scary looking GSD mix, but is a big teddy bear underneath it all. He's the best companion I could have ever asked for.
My BC came to me about a year later as a rescue (she was barely weaned and dumped), and the setter/lab cross - another rescue that hubby fell for - a year later still.
I am still thankful and grateful for the shelter and rescue people, and will start there every time I need to add another family member. But no more puppies. Been there, done that.
I know there's a NC BC rescue - and there are surely other groups out there.
I would only add that if your husband isn't familiar with dogs, to go slowly and keep him involved.
Danielle, Nik the Boss, Sasha wiggle-butt, and the Sassy Lassie
Posted 28 October 2004 - 05:12 PM
Luckily for me, I had rescue BCs before I ever had a BC puppy. It's BECAUSE of the intense bond I developed with my rescues that I am hopelessly stuck on BCs as a breed. Those rescues taught me SO much about having a BC and I will be eternally grateful for their patience and generosity, and for all that they taught me about life with BCs. You've already had this opportunity with your prior BC, but your husband hasn't. A BC is "more dog" than a lot of other breds are; by the same token a BC puppy is more puppy to handle as well. For his first go-round, a BC puppy might be a lot too much. It would've been for me. It took me two rescues to feel equal to a BC puppy, and I'm not inexperienced with dogs (as you might have guessed from the screen name.)
Anyway, just my thoughts on the matter.
Besides, I have to go make some wine now.
Posted 28 October 2004 - 05:42 PM
They do a terrific job and I've had great experiences dealing with the people there. It looks like they've got some awesome dogs right now. http://www.bcrescuet...g/adoption.html
If nothing else, I'd encourage you to get in touch and talk about your old dog and your current expectations. They will easily be able to guide you in the best course to match you with the dog you are hoping for.
Cord, Ted, Gus, Sam - plus Maggie, Zhi, Lynn, Jetta, Lu, Min, and Tully
Posted 28 October 2004 - 06:42 PM
After having my hard headed, half rabbit,love bucket for the whoopin total of 6 months.... I informed my friend if and when the day comes that I want another dog I will go to a BC rescue and get an older BC....potty trained, walking on a lease correctly and listening to you instead of looking 2 miles down the road all seem real good right now. So I would recommend an older BC.... dh hadn't had dogs before and training /clean up were not and still are not his thing. He likes his dog to go fishing and lets her walk all over while on the lease. (( just realised I've been misspelling leash so time for me to go to bed 12:41 my time and I'll be lucky if kids let me sleep till 7am).
Posted 28 October 2004 - 08:00 PM
Anyway, I'm like Sasha's Mom. I informed my husband that we will be getting another dog. I don't expect him to help raise or train the dog. My only hope is that in the process he becomes familiar with them. If I'm any judge of my husband's character, my husband will become a dog lover. He was unfamiliar with cats too, but within days had proclaimed himself Pooper Scooper Man and refers to the cats as his sons.
I can't debate things like puppy/older dog, male/female, purebred/mixed breed with my husband, so I hope you don't mind if I do that with you all.
Don't you think a puppy would be a better choice for his first time? All of the responsibility will lay with me, not him. I'm well aware of the "fun" of raising a puppy (accidents, chewing, barking, etc.), but they make up for it in so many ways. A puppy is small, cute, and not at all intimidating. A puppy can worm it's way into anyone's heart, whereas an older dog has lost most of its charm. Starting with a puppy would take him through all of the stages from the beginning. If a person has never had children of their own before, wouldn't it be better for them to start with a baby instead of a child?
Most rescue dogs are in a rescue shelter because they were not cared for properly. This doesn't necessarily mean they were abused, but their owners probably made quite a few mistakes while raising the dog and such a dog could put someone off if they are unfamiliar with them.
On the other hand, I personally would like a more substantial dog than a purebred Border Collie, similar to my old Mickey. She was a BC/Lab mix and larger than a purebred. (Honestly I would like a Rottweiler, but my husband isn't ready for that no matter what he says!) It would be next to impossible to find a young puppy mix that would fit the bill because you don't know what mixes will look like until they're bigger and older. It would be a crap shoot.
Writing all of this out helps too, you know? I think I'll contact a rescue shelter/center and mull things over with them also. I'm in no hurry.
Keep it coming!
Posted 28 October 2004 - 08:37 PM
I'm all for rescue. Because you're looking for a BC but not specifically a purebred working dog, etc, rescue is a great way to go, that's what I plan to do. I'm just going to keep my eye out for what shows up in the shelters when the time comes.
Good luck finding your dog.
PS - my brother's rapidly-growing pup is a lab/rottweiler cross and she is the SWEETEST dog you would ever meet - very submissive, not a mean bone in her body. My dad was adamantly against getting a rottweiler, even a mixed one, but he absolutely adores her now.
Posted 28 October 2004 - 08:40 PM
It's a short quiz/survey of questions that if answered as honestly as possible, can recommend breeds to you based on your needs and wants, lifestyle, space and time available, etc.
Have you considered a Boxer? They are more stocky than a Border Collie and resemble a lab somewhat, but are more laid back and mellow than either breed and are very sweet, loving dogs. They do like to play though, just don't need the hours of play most labs and BCs need. I have been fortunate to have two of these wonderful dogs in my life. While they were friend's and family member's dogs and not my own personally; I was around quite them a bit and they were always such a joy. They sound like a breed that might be suited to you based on your posts.
Posted 28 October 2004 - 09:29 PM
You make an excellent point that a mixed-breed pup is hard to predict in terms of adult temperament, appearance, size and activity. That's the bonus of older-puppy or adult rescues: these things are already known. You can choose a dog who has what you want in terms of these variables.
Apart from the fact that there are an unfortunate number of puppies (of various ages) in rescue, I have to SERIOUSLY disagree with the statement that "an older dog has lost most of its charm". I hope, for the sake of any dog that you own in the future, that you don't really mean this; surely it does not sound as if you believed this about your (older dog) Mickey. As a rebuttal I can also cite a GREAT many dogs who I know personally (as a vet, I see literally thousands each year) who have only grown MORE charming with each passing year. I would also include my own dogs, who not only became more precious to ME with every year of their lives, but who became more charming, more welcome, more sought-after and invited-over by other people outside my family, as they went along (I used to get this invitation all the time: "Would you like to come over for dinner? Bring Merrik." Or, if I stopped by a pal's house: "Are your dogs in your truck? Bring 'em in!") In truth, most of them did NOT want a rambunctious puppy rampaging through their houses, but as the dogs gained maturity and manners and began to act like adult dogs, they became welcome visitors. There were times when it seemed like the invitation was more for the dogs, and my job was primarily to drive the dogs there.
Buddy, who became rather famous, in a small way, on these boards and locally, I met when he was about two. The owner had been forced to move unexpectedly due to a breakup with a girlfriend and the new landlord only allowed Buddy on the condition that the owner was looking for a new home for him. Buddy came in for vaccines (and itchiness), the owner told me he was looking for a new home, and on the strength of 15 minutes' acquaintace, *I* was willing to take him. This was NOT Buddy's best 15 minutes; he was in general terrified of the vet's office, and at the time (since the ex-girlfriend had been taking care of Buddy), he was thin and infested with lice. Even scared and anxious and skinny and ratty and louse-infested, he was SO charming that I wanted him right off the bat. His charm only grew as he got older. There was just something about that dog. His finest moments actually came as he was fighting for his life, at the age of nine, against the cancer that ultimately took him. His shine grew brighter with every year of his life.
At any rate, I don't think the only dogs in rescue are ones who were "not properly cared-for", though no doubt some are. If there were a BC rescue up here, Buddy might've gone there. Despite the ex-girlfriend's lapses, Buddy WAS otherwise well-cared for, both before the breakup and after the owner regained custody (he actually ended up keeping Buds for another 18 months before the landlord forced him to place the dog, which is how I got him.) Ditto my second BC rescue, Pepper (similar circumstances), and my third, Ali (older owners who developed health problems and could not manage his youth and activity levels.) None of them were unloved OR unwanted, they were just in the wrong circumstances at the wrong time, all of them due to unfortunate and unexepcted reverses in the lives of the original owners (how many people can predict that in a year they'll be going blind, or need surgery, or break up with their S.O., or have degenerative bone disease, etc etc etc?)
As far as starting out with a baby as opposed to an older child - this isn't a child. As much as we adore our dogs and as much as they occupy a position in our lives similar to children, they aren't children. It does them a disservice not to recognise this. For me the analogy doesn't really hold, although I could certainly add that there are a great many people who could benefit from spending a LOT more time with children (of all ages) before they have any of their own. In fact, most of us DO have at least some exposure to 'older' children (as in our siblings, +/- other relatives and friends, not to mention schoolmates) before we have children of our own. It's hard to avoid pretty close exposure to children; it's much easier to have no experience with infants and puppies, at least in my experience. I didn't grow up in London, though, so perhaps things are different there.
Anyway, I realize you may just be debating the pros and cons at this point, and it's smart to be doing that NOW, before you get a puppy or other dog, than later, after you've already done so. Other people may have other opinions on this; this is just mine.
Besides, I have to go make some wine now.
Posted 28 October 2004 - 09:33 PM
I just took the quiz, similar to another quiz I took the other day, and really, a BC is my best bet. Were it not for my husband, I would get a more challenging breed, but I certainly won't sacrifice on intelligence in any case. As everyone here knows, no breed of dog can beat a Border Collie when it comes to intelligence. I've looked into other breeds and eliminated them one by one, including the Boxer.
"This breed requires a dominant owner... may drool... may have excessive flatulence... trouble cooling off in very hot weather..."
My husband is not prepared to deal with any type of dominance issue and absolutely would not tolerate flatulence! He has a fit every time I toot. You'd think he'd get over it after while. Plus, we live in Houston and it's quite hot here. A boxer is one of the dogs I had considered though!
If you or anyone else can think of a specific breed, throw it my way and if I haven't already, I'll look into it. Thanks for the link, it was really quite handy!
Posted 28 October 2004 - 10:46 PM
It's tempting! It's not the energy level that I'm worried about. It's the dominance factor. My husband, bless his heart, I love him, I really do, but can you guess who wears the pants in our house? I would hate to come home one day and find that our 100 lb Rott had established himself as Alpha male over my husband. Go read my posts on the Rottweiler forum and you'll see how everyone agreed that at this time, a Rott would be a bad idea. They need owners who know how to keep them in their place, and my husband just isn't up to that.
With any dog, I want intelligence. That's number one. Obviously a BC excels there. I want a best friend that goes where I go, does what I do. I want a dog that can interact with me. Plus, she can dig the holes for me when I plant bulbs in the fall.
I was looking through my boxes of pictures today and noticed that for every roll of film developed, there's at least one picture with my dog Mickey somewhere in the shot (until she died anyway). We were joined at the hip. Everyone thought she was amazing. When I was single and in my early 20's, there was this attractive guy I knew. He came by in his Jeep one day and asked me if it was all right if he took my dog out! Ugh! Didn't even ask me if I wanted to go! He wanted to go out to the lake for some quiet time and wanted some non-human company. I think he was in a break-up or something. Anyway, when he got back he told me how they played, blah blah blah, and how he was so nervous because if something happened to my dog, I'd kill him. He made her wear a seatbelt in the car! Really funny! Yeah, my dog was charming!
I'm on a roll so I'll continue. Memory lane and all that.
My dog was very much a part of my life. If my dog was not welcome, I wouldn't go, but that was rarely the case. I'm a country girl and prefer to be out in the woods or mountains or at a lake or whatever. Mickey was always with me. "Let's go buh bye" and off we went. My next dog has to be like that.
I lived in Michigan when her time came. My close friend Gary from Illinois (and his son Adam) picked us up and we drove down to Georgia (in the mountains) where I had lived for a few years. Poor Mickey had the runs and horrible gas the first leg of the journey. She was always so embarrassed when she had gas. We covered the back seat with an old blanket and cut out the stained parts and dealt with it. Adam, my friends son, sat in the back with her and notified us of when to pull over. "EW, dad! It stinks back here!"
We all stayed at another close friend's house when we got there. Her name is Kim and her son's name is CJ. We were all very close and everyone loved Mickey almost as much as me. We spent a couple of days together reminiscing and saying goodbye to her in the mountains. Then we took her to her old vet and had her put down. All of us bawled like babies. Even the vet cried.
On the way to the vet Kim stopped at the gas station and got Mickey a chocolate Moon Pie and some other junk food. I never allowed her to eat anything but her dog food, but I guess it didn't matter any more. Years before she had tried to sneak her chocolate chip cookies and I had a fit. She was always trying to sneak her french fries and things like that but I wouldn't allow it. Mickey wouldn't eat anything unless it was in her bowl. I remember another instance years ago with another friend named Cassandra. There was some kind of get together and she called to me from the other room and said, "Come here and tell your dog it's ok to eat this ham." Mickey wouldn't take handouts. Good dog!
Ahh, it's late and I'm probably boring everyone with my stories, but it's nice to remember these things. I miss my dog.
Like I said earlier though, I'm open to a rescue dog. I'll get in touch with them and see what they have to say. I'll weigh the pros and cons and come to a conclusion. I have to say that you are wrong about the charming thing. Few dogs are "irresistable" (especially to someone who doesn't know anything about them) but almost all puppies are. That's what I meant. Of course, we could always get a rescue, and if my husband turns out to be a dog lover we could always get a puppy further down the road. Now there's an idea.
Oh, the child analogy. What do I know? I never had children.
Posted 29 October 2004 - 01:49 AM
Does your husband "know" any other dogs? How does he feel/react to them? Maybe you could take him to see some pups and older dogs - just go look at a shelter or something and get an idea of how he reacts to pups vs older dogs. Pups can be lots of work, but you seem to know what you're doing there. If he's intimidated by an older dog, than I'd go with a pup, otherwise, go with what appeals to you - as long as he's willing to deal with what comes with a puppy - accidents, chewing, etc. He may not be raising it, but he's in the same house (I have an anti-animal hubby - didn't used to be that way, another story not worth telling).
As for breeds, I agree - I'd stay away from the more dominant breeds, but I've had male BC's that want to be dominant, too. Have you thought of a collie (not BC, Lassie type)? We have a 6 month old that is a delight. She's a little shy, but is just wonderful - and has been much easier to raise than any of my BC's. They are mouthier, though - something that takes getting used to.
Hope you find the dream dog of both you and your hubby's dreams. Good luck.
Posted 29 October 2004 - 03:49 AM
I would recommend against getting the same breed twice. If one had a particularly beloved dog of a specific breed, there is a natural tendency to expect the same characteristics in another of the same breed. But (forgive the insult to dogs) in a way, dogs are like people; no two are identical. Oscar Wilde once quipped, "Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes"; believe me, I have "experience" in this.
You indicated that you would like a dog that has the spirit and intelligence of your Border Collie. If you lean toward purebred dogs, you might consider an Australian Shepherd. Norwegian Elkhounds are also great companion dogs, and also have excellent intelligence; a properly trained and loved Belgian Shepherd or German Shepherd (I prefer Belgians, personally) is a great choice as well. Newfoundlands are fantastic dogs, but they are a bit large...LOL. There is, of course, a risk with any purebreed; virtually all have some form of potential hereditary defect. No matter what breed you choose, select a reputable breeder who tests the breeder dogs annually for the specific defects common to that breed.
As has been stated, a mix may be unpredictable, particularly if the parentage is in question. I have a Border Collie/Belgian Shepherd mix; she is relatively big (65 pounds), but the gentlest, most loving dog one can imagine. Various shelters do specialize in placing dogs that are coming from a known environment (as did mine in this case; the owner was dying from cancer, and used the shelter as an intermediary to find a home for his beloved dog), as do many rescue operations; so some of the uncertainty can be reduced by working through these organizations.
When all is said and done, everyone has a different opinion; and no advice in the world can replace the gut feel of knowing you have found the right dog when you meet it. When we got Annie (our purebred Border Collie), we went by the advice we received from our vet of 25 years. Her advice: if you can afford it, purchase a purebreed from a reputable breeder, ensure the breeder genetically tests the breeder dogs annually for the common defects of the breed, pay the extra for a puppy from a "proven" pairing (i.e., a pair of dogs that have had prior litters where the disposition of the dogs is relatively predictable), and meet the puppy personally several weeks before you bring it home. If money is an issue, then by all means consider a resuce dog, provided that the intermediary organization can vouch for the enironment from which the dog came; in most cases, people who work through such organizations are not giving up their dogs willingly, but rather due to unfortunate circumstances, and are just as interested in finding the dog a good home as you are in giving it one.
In any case, the best of luck to you. In the end, whatever choice you make will be the right one, as long as there is a dog in your life.
Posted 29 October 2004 - 05:24 AM
Posted 29 October 2004 - 05:58 AM
but dixie charmed the kennel workers with her sense of humor and sweetness. it's a city kennel that is lacking funds, so dogs are put to sleep after a week. a volunteer worker got her out of there and in with a senior dog rescue group.
she came home with me this past may. she has cushing's which is pretty scary and not easy to treat. but she is so worth the time and cost! i've had dogs and cats my whole life. no pure breds, but some lovely mixes and mutts. i think dixie is pure BC.
she is such a joy! older dogs come to you already trained. they don't pee in the house or eat your shoes. and if they are from a good rescue group, they will be able to tell you detailed info about the animal (if they are good with kids, if they bark, etc...)
and while you may not have an older dog as long as you would a puppy, the time you get with them is so worthwhile. because they really seem to appreciate the 2nd chance at life.
dixie now plays with toys, sleeps in my bed, and charms the socks off everyone who meets her. she enjoys every moment of life. she smiles so big. and she was recently on thre news in a pink party dress and tiara to promote the adoption of old dogs.
i know i won't have her for 15 years, but i love her every day.
Posted 29 October 2004 - 08:23 AM
I agree with another post that suggested a lassie-type collie. We have a BC and a Collie (my third Collie, first BC). Collies are very smart but lower-energy than many BCs. If you're worried about fur, there are smooth (short-haired) collies that are identical except for fur length.
We got our girls as pups--and Tenaya, our BC, was unique among the many puppies I've raised of other breeds. She was just GOING all the time! she has mellowed out now (nearly 2 years old), with an off-switch as needed, but I was amazed how different she was from other breeds as a young pup.
One thing to think about--even though you will be the primary caretaker of the dog, everyone in the household takes on a role in the pack order, in the dog's mind. Your husband will interact with the dog, no matter what, and even with you there as an experienced BC owner, it will be *his* first time. A BC puppy for someone who has never spent time with dogs and especially puppies can be pretty overwhelming. Puppyhood (behavior) lasts for a couple of years with most dogs, remember. And the first 6 months or more of housebreaking, training, chewing can seem to last a long time if you've never experienced it before (thinking of your husband--"is this what owning a dog is all about?") for any breed.
Deanna in OR
Posted 29 October 2004 - 09:12 AM
Regarding another collie dog as opposed to a BC though... If the energy level is not an issue, then why would another type of collie be a better choice for me? I'm not seeing anything that would sway me there.
And to Wolverine, of course I would like a replica of my Mickey dog. Who wouldn't? But that won't ever happen and that's one major reason why I haven't gotten another dog these last 4 1/2 years. I don't want another BC because it will be another Mickey. I want a BC because I thoroughly appreciate their intelligence. There is no other dog who enjoys mind games like a BC. You can come up with thousands of ways to mentally challenge your dog (which should be another thread if it's not already!) and the dog will never cease to amaze you. A Rott or GSD really can't compare in that area. None can.
I would really like to thank all of you for your comments and suggestions. I think you prove that BC owners are smarter than your average dog owners. Birds of a feather flock together they say!
(I have been looking through old threads and haven't seen one about clever ways to challenge your dog. Do you know of one? If not, one should be started.)
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