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Tommy Coyote

Why did you choose a border collie?

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I read a lot of these threads and its the same problem over and over again. Trying to deal with a dog with a not great temperment. Dog doesn't do well with other dogs at the dog park. Dog doesn't do well with strangers. Dog doesn't do well with kids. Dog gets freaked out in strange environments.

 

Border collies came from isolated environments. They had a purpose on those farms. They worked the sheep and they were guard dogs. And they were companions to shepherds who spent a whole lot of time all alone up in the hills. They are very good at all of those things.

 

If you are looking for a pet that you can take to social events, or to a dog park or to agility events - etc, etc, etc. Why on earth would you choose a border collie? Aren't there a million breeds out there that would fill those niches a whole lot better? If you like to jog five miles a day there must be 50 other breeds that could do that and be good in social situations at the same time.

 

I feel sorry for so many people that post here. They get a border collie and then try to force it into a role that the dog was never meant to fill. Its like trying to put a round stick in a square hole. Of course you are going to have trouble. And you and the dog are both going to be miserable.

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If you are looking for a pet that you can take to social events, or to a dog park or to agility events - etc, etc, etc. Why on earth would you choose a border collie? Aren't there a million breeds out there that would fill those niches a whole lot better? If you like to jog five miles a day there must be 50 other breeds that could do that and be good in social situations at the same time.

 

You're kidding about agility, right? Have you looked at the world teams, national championships, top players with"big" dogs? The vast majority of those dogs are Border Collies because they tend to be such fantastic athletes, hard workers, quick learners with tons of drive.

 

Despite the title of your thread, you seem to be making a statement rather than asking a question. I'll bite anyway. I got a Border Collie because at the time I did agility and obedience and I wanted a great sports dog. I was also drawn to what intelligent, fun dogs Border Collies are. I no longer do sports and instead ended up with a great ride along, hanging out with me, always ready for an adventure, can I help you in any way, dog. I love how Quinn seems to understand so much of what is being said to him and what a wonderful sense of humor he has. He is a big favorite with friends and people at the office where he loves to help the receptionist greet clients. Of my current three dogs, he is by far the most outgoing.

 

I do agree that if Quinn could pick a life, it would be to live on a farm where he could work sheep every day. But he seems happy and well-adjusted enough anyway.

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Way too generalized for a diverse breed; there are many factors that influence how well a Border Collie does in a given situation: breeding/temperament, socialization, training, owners, mental exercise, physical exercise, etc.

 

BTW I do not consider a well bred working Border Collie guard dog material.

 

Mark

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Doesn't question come down to where these dogs came from? Izzy is a mix and I have no idea where she came from because she's a rescue but she couldn't be more sweet and she has TONS of drive for a bc/mix. Tobey is my newest rescue and the poor guy came from a pet shop in NJ and then was tied to a tree for two years. He has zero issues except he likes to "talk" to you when he gets a bit excited.

 

Are people that are having trouble with their dogs not giving them enough attention? Did they not come from a good litter or a good breeder? That's what pops into my mind. I am no expert about these dogs as I'm learning a lot everyday about what my two can/will do in their new lives.

 

I got border collies because I like to train dogs and I work from home so in a typical 40 hour work week, I'm home for 30 of those at least. I give credit to those that have struggles with there Border Collies because they can be a tough breed and every dog deserves a home and the people that belong to this board loves this breed very much and I think they are trying to give them the best home possible, and not abusing them, or tying them outside, or leaving them in the basement. They are doing the responsible thing at least by trying to work through their dogs issues. Perhaps they won't be great around strangers, but I'm hoping they'll still give them the home they deserve.

 

Just my $.2.

 

Tim

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I read a lot of these threads and its the same problem over and over again. Trying to deal with a dog with a not great temperment. Dog doesn't do well with other dogs at the dog park. Dog doesn't do well with strangers. Dog doesn't do well with kids. Dog gets freaked out in strange environments.

 

I am a member of other non-breed specific dog boards, and these types of issues pop up REGULARLY on those boards - with other breeds (perhaps with far more regularity than here in fact). I don't think it's a border collie thing specifically - I think it's a dog owner thing, and a badly bred thing. I think it's also a product of our society thing.

 

And if I were looking for an agility dog it would most certainly be a well bred (working) border collie. I do agree that to force a dog that doesn't want to be a social butterfly to do so is not a good thing - regardless of the breed of dog.

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I don't think it's a border collie thing specifically - I think it's a dog owner thing, and a badly bred thing.

 

Absolutely. My BC is great in social situations, loves going to the dog park and playing with everyone, loves kids and thinks strangers are friends he hasn't met yet. I can't see ever getting another dog that isn't a BC. I hope to get a second one next spring. I just camped out all weekend at a flyball tourny, hung out with a half dozen BCs, all nice wonderful dogs.

As for other breeds, no thanks. I'll stick to BCs for sport dogs, the love they have of learning new things and the patience they have while we mess up their otherwise good runs makes them wonderful dogs. :rolleyes:

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Well, I'm weird because I was essentially talked into a border collie by DH, who had known many from the shelter and found them to be the type of dog he was sure I wanted. I was scared of the energy level, to be honest, not knowing how I would handle that as I'm a lazy person.

 

Now, I completely understand where DH was coming from and feel so blessed he knew what was right for me. It's not Odin's energy, or even his athleticism that makes him the right dog for me, though I love those things more than I thought I would. It's his intelligence, ambition, strong desire for my knowledge, approval, and company, biddability, and intensity that I love so much. I used to be a teacher and have missed having students sometimes now that I am in a different career, but not since I got him. He is always wanting "straight A's", and is as gratifying a student as I ever had in the classroom. As he matures I'm starting to see that I'll be his student too.

 

I've seen aspects of this in different dogs I had growing up or have known, but never so much, and so concentrated all in one dog. Judging from the stories and anectdotes I've read here for the past year, he is a pretty typical BC.

 

I have to say I just disagree with the premise of your argument about temperamental problems. Odin can go anywhere I do, and he wants to. He is bombproof to basically any new public circumstance and I think it's because he WAS raised in the city. And comes to work at an office where a bit of the price of his admission is that he must always be friendly, and never reactive, even around dolts who mean well but don't know about dogs. This has not made him fearful of people or other dogs, it has made him a social butterfly. He met many strangers this weekend during our 4th BBQ, and exactly as I would expect he was charming, well-mannered, playful, and social. He brought toys to people in turn so no one would be left out and came to everyone for snuggles. He played well with 2 strange dogs he met, both intact males with some issues of their own (neither were BCs and fit the description you wrote WAY better than Odin does). He accepted their issues and read their postures well. All the while, very little overt attention paid to me, but I'm here to tell you that if I looked at him, 1 out of 2 times he was giving me a quick "checking in/checking on mom" look.

 

I'd be willing to think bad breeding practices leading to an increase in real psychological disorders, and/or lack of proper socialization as puppies is more to blame than an idea that because of how these dogs were made, across the board they can't be made to adapt to a different way of life. There was a looong thread on this from a year ago that resurfaced recently - I am having a hard time finding it but it was started by Journey and called "Why?" I believe - as in why are there so many "problem" BCs discussed here.

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Way too generalized for a diverse breed; there are many factors that influence how well a Border Collie does in a given situation: breeding/temperament, socialization, training, owners, mental exercise, physical exercise, etc.

 

BTW I do not consider a well bred working Border Collie guard dog material.

 

Mark

I didn't mean guard dog - I meant watch dog.

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Honestly. I think I just hate to see these dogs used for everything under the sun. They just seem so out of place to me.

 

And I like to watch agility. I thinks its exciting and fun. But it just always seems so wrong to me that these dogs that can work and control hundreds of sheep are running thru tunnels and slicing thru weave polls.

 

I want to see them flashing by on the outrun. Going where their instinct tells them to go, balancing back to their handler, tangling with the stubborn sheep. Resting under the trees. Lots of dirt and grit.

 

It's just my own person al feelings on the subject. I love that they are sheep or cow dogs, doing what they have been bred to do for hundreds of years. Doing what no other dog on this planet can do as well.

 

Just being romantic, I guess. And who am I to talk anyway. My dogs stay at home with me.

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He met many strangers this weekend during our 4th BBQ, and exactly as I would expect he was charming, well-mannered, playful, and social. He brought toys to people in turn so no one would be left out and came to everyone for snuggles.

 

:rolleyes: Sounds like Quinn. They can be such fun dogs, can't they?

 

I used to think Quinn bringing his toys to everyone was sweetly wanting no one left out. I now think it is another way of him making sure all eyes are on the Border Collie. Maybe he isn't being controlling, but I still tell him to stick to the people who actually signed up to play with His Lordship. :D

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I guess the key is "they can be made to adapt."

 

Is that really the best thing for the dogs? My own personal opinion is that it is not. The more they are used for other things the further away breeding gets from the importance of keeping the working ability as good as it can possibly be. That working ability is the heart and soul of these dogs.

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TC,

I think it's one of those things that's not going to change. The Pandora's Box that is the border collie has been opened, and there's no way anyone is going to push the breed back into the box and keep it solely for working. People in sports of all types want to win. Border collies enable them to win. So border collies are in sports to stay. Border collies are smart. People see well trained border collies and want one for themselves, forgetting the "well trained" part is a huge piece of the puzzle. The breeding of border collies has already strayed in many hands far from the original purpose--just witness the recent threads about top sports breeders, etc. The good news is that there are still breeders out there breeding for what counts: working ability. As long as people who want border collies for other things would support the good working breeders, then the breed will survive as your romanticized version of the dog. And even if people insist on going to sports breeders, and BYBs, etc., there will still be a core of folks breeding and using these dogs for what they were meant to do, so all is not lost.

 

J.

P.S. Karen's "Why" thread can be found in the Politics and Culture section. It's a good read, even if long and sometimes acrimonious.

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I feel sorry for so many people that post here. They get a border collie and then try to force it into a role that the dog was never meant to fill. Its like trying to put a round stick in a square hole. Of course you are going to have trouble. And you and the dog are both going to be miserable.

 

I too feel sorry for most of the people on the board because of the problems with their BC. I think there are many factors that play a part into the problems that can play into it, and I am sorry to say this, Sometines, not all the time, when you get a rescue, you get problems because someone else has screwed the dog up and sometimes it is a rescue dog because of the problems.

 

Not everyone should have a dog. If you can't spent time, and I mean good time with it, IMO don't have it. Not pointing any fingers or placing blame, but there are people who will cage their dog for 18 to 20 hours a day and they think if they play with them for 2 hours they will not have behavior problems. I have seem 2 BC in a kennel cab, or living in an apartment in the back room on this board and some think it is OK. and they wonder why their dog had problems. I think the dog has to be a dog first and act like a dog, not what the owners want it to be.

 

It is sad to see the problems with dog parks, walking, leads, biting, fear and all the problems that are seen here. I by no means am the expert, but I have never had any of the behavior problems I have seen here, but then I have the room and time to devote to the dogs. If I had a wish, I wish people would think about what they are getting into. I heard a trainer say that most of the problems with dogs come from the top end of the lead. IMO Ken

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The same thing could be said about any breed that has been bred for centuries to perform a specific task and has subsequently become a popular family pet. Do you pity huskies that don't go sledding across the Alaskan tundras? Do you look down on red setter owners who don't use their dogs to set and point gamebirds? Do you feel contempt for pit bull owners who do not use their dogs for badger and bull-baiting?

 

You're denying the versatility of the animals. In fact, it's a kind of breed-specific essentialism. I'm sure many border collies who don't herd but are involved in any of innumerable activities that have been developed solely for the dog's enjoyment are just as happy as working dogs.

 

In fact—and here's a revolutionary notion—perhaps some of them are even happier!

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I guess the key is "they can be made to adapt."

 

Is that really the best thing for the dogs? My own personal opinion is that it is not. The more they are used for other things the further away breeding gets from the importance of keeping the working ability as good as it can possibly be. That working ability is the heart and soul of these dogs.

 

So do you plan to never own a Border Collie again since you don't work your dog? Weren't you just saying you wanted a pal for Tommy to play with?

 

Kenbo, there are lots of ways to live successfully with dogs, including Border Collies. Some of the most well-adjusted, happy dogs I've met lived in cities their whole lives. There are a number of people on these boards who live in urban settings very nicely with their Border Collies. Scads of dogs are extremely content and well cared for and dearly loved even though their owners work outside the home and lead busy lives.

 

I think "good" owners make a commitment to their dogs to give them a good life (whether that life meets another person's standards or not). They lead dog-centric lives that take into account the dog's needs and continue to learn and grow as a trainer with each dog. They understand that owning dogs involves a certain amount of sacrifice, but they spend the money and time and they arrange their schedules as needed because living without dogs would feel empty and less joyous.

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So do you plan to never own a Border Collie again since you don't work your dog? Weren't you just saying you wanted a pal for Tommy to play with?

 

Kenbo, there are lots of ways to live successfully with dogs, including Border Collies. Some of the most well-adjusted, happy dogs I've met lived in cities their whole lives. There are a number of people on these boards who live in urban settings very nicely with their Border Collies. Scads of dogs are extremely content and well cared for and dearly loved even though their owners work outside the home and lead busy lives.

 

I think "good" owners make a commitment to their dogs to give them a good life (whether that life meets another person's standards or not). They lead dog-centric lives that take into account the dog's needs and continue to learn and grow as a trainer with each dog. They understand that owning dogs involves a certain amount of sacrifice, but they spend the money and time and they arrange their schedules as needed because living without dogs would feel empty and less joyous.

 

You are 100 percent right. Very well put. Ken

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Why a border collie? I have never seen a dog work sheep other than on TV - (although I hope to this summer). Why? look at petfinder- search by breed - see how many border collie's need a forever home. I have the time, energy, patience and determination for my rescue to be a happy, well rounded dog. He is exercised hours a day. Yes - I run with him. You should see how happy he is when run time come. He has been with us a little over a year- came scared, skittish and not trusting. Now he thinks people are great, each day exciting and the bed in the big bedroom is his to go to bed at 8:30 promptly. You are correct that in a perfect world BC would only be on sheep. I am patting myself on the back - I felt that a lab could be adopted by anyone - BC need to be adopted by someone special. Now my goof ball boy and I are going to run the mountains of New Mexico. Poor, poor BC :rolleyes:

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I adopted a border collie because I had met a few when I lived in England & liked them (these were house dogs). When I returned to the states & was ready to adopt a dog, I heard that border collies ended up in rescues, shelters, etc., in very high numbers. So 'rescuing' one seemed an appropriate (& responsible) thing to do.

 

 

You are strangely nostalgic, Tommy Coyote, for a past that likely didn't really exist the way you've imagined it. As others have mentioned, environments & the animals who are part of those environments (human and non-human) change according to the circumstances. My dog's problems seem to come largely not from her breed, but from her past. Because some idiot on a farm-- who also thought a border collie would be a good 'watch dog' -- bought her from a breeder & then chained her up when she began to herd the goats.

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I too have looked at my dog and wondered how she would fare if given the chance to work with sheep.

That cannot happen and having seen her have a brief exposure to cows maybe it would not be the best of ideas!

Then if I had not , gladly ,given her a home, she would be confined to a shop all day long , yes , loved by the owner who rescued her but not much excercise. The owner showed his regard for this dog by giving her to me as I have a big area for excercise.

I love my dog and feel I am giving her a better life than she previously had. Not perfect I agree but we all have to compromise ,animal or human.

Must go for a walk with my girl now!

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The same thing could be said about any breed that has been bred for centuries to perform a specific task and has subsequently become a popular family pet. Do you pity huskies that don't go sledding across the Alaskan tundras? Do you look down on red setter owners who don't use their dogs to set and point gamebirds? Do you feel contempt for pit bull owners who do not use their dogs for badger and bull-baiting?

 

You're denying the versatility of the animals. In fact, it's a kind of breed-specific essentialism. I'm sure many border collies who don't herd but are involved in any of innumerable activities that have been developed solely for the dog's enjoyment are just as happy as working dogs.

 

In fact—and here's a revolutionary notion—perhaps some of them are even happier!

 

If you are responding to my post, I don't pity or look down on any owner or any animal that will devote the time and space that the dog requires, but we both know that every owner is not always responsible. And yes, perhaps they are happier. Ken

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TC,

I think it's one of those things that's not going to change. The Pandora's Box that is the border collie has been opened, and there's no way anyone is going to push the breed back into the box and keep it solely for working. People in sports of all types want to win. Border collies enable them to win. So border collies are in sports to stay. Border collies are smart. People see well trained border collies and want one for themselves, forgetting the "well trained" part is a huge piece of the puzzle. The breeding of border collies has already strayed in many hands far from the original purpose--just witness the recent threads about top sports breeders, etc. The good news is that there are still breeders out there breeding for what counts: working ability. As long as people who want border collies for other things would support the good working breeders, then the breed will survive as your romanticized version of the dog. And even if people insist on going to sports breeders, and BYBs, etc., there will still be a core of folks breeding and using these dogs for what they were meant to do, so all is not lost.

 

J.

P.S. Karen's "Why" thread can be found in the Politics and Culture section. It's a good read, even if long and sometimes acrimonious.

You know what got me off on this - again was something that Jack Knox said when I was down there in December. And it made me very sad. He said that working is the heart and soul of these dogs. And when you take it away you take away their heart.

 

It probably wouldn't bother me as much if there were just a few people doing agility and stuff. But once it becomes a huge sport then more and more dogs are bred for agility ability - and less and less attention is paid to what makes a good working dog.

so is the answer to split the breed again. Working dogs/ agility dogs/ obedience dogs/ show dogs. Just call the working dogs working sheepdogs and maybe everything else goes under BC or borders or whatever?

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I guess the key is "they can be made to adapt."

 

 

No they can't. You can't "make" them do anything. This somewhat reminds me of the discussion on Herders-L going on right now, someone said genetics has nothing to do with it it's training, BS. You can redirect their work ethics to fit most anything you want them to do, you cannot make them do it though. Just as there are pups in litters that won't work, you can't put there what is missing to begin with. So what should these pups do then be pts? I don't really understand what your "statement" is in this thread or what you are asking. Do you mean to say that the breed as a whole should not be doing anything other than stock work? If that's the case we'd loose the breed pretty quickly. They should not be bred for anything other than their working ability but that's a different bucket of worms.

 

Here's the thread Julie was referring to Why?

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It sounds now like people are arguing that the dogs are really happier when they are in pet homes. So it probably would be better for them not to work at all.

 

Interesting point of view.

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I personally think that most border collies that want to work would find a fulfilling life working every day. I am also doing my best to put my money where my mouth is for my own dogs.

 

But on the other hand if folks aren't BREEDING for things other than working then I'm not willing to give them a hard time for what *they do with their own dogs*. There needs to be homes other than just working homes out there. Sure, in an ideal world wouldn't all working dogs go to working homes? If they're not - are they meeting their full potential? I don't know - if they haven't been worked to a high level then we don't know if they are or not. Are they happy? Quiet possibly so. One of my dogs is working bred and she's happier on the couch. I'm not going to force her to work.

 

If the dogs are not being bred for these other things and owners and dogs are happy... I'm not going to say much about it. If a person is DOING something with their dogs it makes me happy.

 

(edited to add bunches 'cuz I gots an itchy trigger finger)

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It probably wouldn't bother me as much if there were just a few people doing agility and stuff.

 

 

Huh? That's would be like me saying it wouldn't bother me if there were only a couple of "pet homes" that do absolutely nothing with their border collies. But wait, that would be a home like yours wouldn't it? Didn't you say not to long ago you wanted Tommy to have a friend so you were thinking about another pup? Then before that you had trouble with the recall with Tommy? Then Pam Wolf runs to your defense and says how you've been a Border Collie owner for more than 30 years. I just can't understand the above comment/statement - you are a pet home by all definitions and you're casting stones at sport homes that actually "do" something with their dogs? I'm lost.

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