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Bella B.

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I need to know what treats I should feed a BC, what food I should feed a BC, if two hours of rigorous work is enough for a BC or if more is needed, I need to know if a harness or collar is better, do most BCs love swimming?, do most of them not get carsick?, are they more motivated by food, praise, or play?, would one agility lesson a week and several agility practices a week be good for a BC?, I'm having a hard time finding breeders in the NY, NJ, CT area does anybody know of some breeders close to me? More questions to follow, when I think of them ^_^

I'm sorry I'm asking a lot of random questions, but I really need to get a LOT of information on BCs...

So thanks!! :)

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Maybe you should provide some background/context? Are you anticipating adopting an adult dog, vs acquiring a pup? That will certainly relate to the question of how much "rigorous work" is required (neither my pup, nor my adult dog, gets anywhere near that much).

 

Some of these questions (e.g., food) have been the topic of discussions ad nauseam on these Boards, so you'd probably be well served to use the "search" function. Otherwise you're just going to launch yet another discussion on the benefits of raw vs kibble.

 

I've had several Border collies that refused to swim. My current two love it.

 

I haven't had a Border collie that got carsick, but a littermate to my 6-month-old pup apparently suffered from it at first.

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I have one BC that can eat anything and do fine and one that has to have a high protein, high fat, low carb diet. Neither of mine need 2 hours or any other amount of exercise on a daily basis, but they are always game for whatever we do. I use collars, but many, many people use harnesses. one of mine loves to swim, the other hates water. One loves car trips, the other finds them scary.

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All over the place, is the answer to most of your questions. I've had one BC that seemed to be part trout, the others are sure I'm torturing them. Two have had sensitive tummies, the others could eat sawdust and not be bothered. Personalities ranged from relentlessly outgoing through timid and we had a very stand-offish one.

 

Activity level can vary widely, mental activity such as learning tricks, canine nosework are just as tiring and keep those busy brains occupied. Herding or stock work is always worth at least looking into.

 

Depends on the situation as to motivators. A majority seem to like food, but if you've got a stock working dog, they'll ignore any food to stay focused on stock. Some like toys. My relentlessly outgoing guy would turn away from food or a ball if there was a new friend to meet.

 

It's all down to the individual dog. They're fascinating, challenging and the best dogs in the world.

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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I need to know what treats I should feed a BC, what food I should feed a BC, if two hours of rigorous work is enough for a BC or if more is needed, I need to know if a harness or collar is better, do most BCs love swimming?, do most of them not get carsick?, are they more motivated by food, praise, or play?, would one agility lesson a week and several agility practices a week be good for a BC?, I'm having a hard time finding breeders in the NY, NJ, CT area does anybody know of some breeders close to me? More questions to follow, when I think of them ^_^

I'm sorry I'm asking a lot of random questions, but I really need to get a LOT of information on BCs...

So thanks!! :)

 

What treats? That depends on you & your dog.

What food? Again, dependent on you & your dog.

Rigorous work? Define 'rigorous' :)

Collar vs. harness? Up to you, I know a few people prefer their dogs to wear harnesses to avoid hurting their necks, but most people use collars.

Swimming? This is an individual dog thing. Some do, some don't.

Praise/treats/play? Again, an individual dog thing.

Agility? I think that would be good for any dog! :)

 

I don't know about any breeders, but if you give us a rough idea of what you're looking for, someone may be able to help.

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Like the other posters have told you it very much depends on the individual dog. Some dogs need a LOT of exercise, others are happy to be lazy bums. Depending on whether you work the dog, that will greatly determine what kind and how much food he\ she needs. Mine all eat about two cups of kibble a day of a good quality dog food. Mine all LOVE water and is often to be found in the garden pond that they are absolutely convinced my mother made just for them. The will also go and swim in the dam whenever given the opportunity. Car sick? Depends on what and how much they've been eating in the last hour or so. If they've just had a big meal of nice ripe raw meat and we go for a bakkie ride I can almost guarantee at least one is going to be sick, but if their last meal was last nights kibble, no problem.

Collar or harness? I start my pups on a harness, easier on their necks and more difficult to escape from. Also won't do damage the neck if I have to stop them suddenly in an emergency. But I do transition to collars after a few months, I find it easier. My dogs permanently wear collars, so I can just grab a leash, hook up and go.

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Okay, thanks. I guess a lot is based on the individual. I would be a getting a puppy from a breeder. I live in a big apartment (two bedroom, two bathroom, living room, kitchen dining room, maids room), so unfortunately my Border Collie wouldn't have a yard to play in... And I I read a lot that when they get bored they chew on EVERYTHING so i would want to make sure that doesn't happen.

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... if two hours of rigorous work is enough for a BC or if more is needed...... :)

Most people think Border Collies only need physical activity; when in reality Border Collies need mental exercise just as much as they need physical exercise. It's the lack of mental exercise that make them bored; with just the physical workouts one ends up with a physically fit and mentally bored dog.

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Dear Ms. Bella,

 

I see from your profile you live in New York City which is a difficult environment for Border Collies. Not impossible but unusually difficult. Border Collies don't have an off switch and require more commitment from their owners than many other breeds. They reward this commitment, true - but the commitment comes first and that's harder in NYC than where I live.

 

Many years ago I advised New Yorker Carol Benjamin against getting a Border Collie. She and her husband Steve ignored me and are now on their third - but that first year was iffy and Carol is a nationally known dog trainer. I'd suggest you take a look at Carol's blog http://clbenjamin.wordpress.com/.

 

Donald McCaig

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Border Collies don't have an off switch

 

If I only had a pound for every BC owner who has told me that they don't know their dog is there in the house ...... Our otherwise crazy dog is lying quietly behind me atm because I'm being boring.

 

What about the working dogs who spend the majority of time mooching around the yard or just snoozing?

 

There have been many threads on here where people have disagreed with the idea that BCs don't have an off switch. I though that accusation was usually levelled at sport dogs (although probably not true of them either).

 

Or maybe you make a distinction between being on Stand By and being Off to the extent that a bomb could go off and they wouldn't move?

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Dear Ms. Bella,

 

I see from your profile you live in New York City which is a difficult environment for Border Collies. Not impossible but unusually difficult. Border Collies don't have an off switch and require more commitment from their owners than many other breeds. They reward this commitment, true - but the commitment comes first and that's harder in NYC than where I live.

 

Many years ago I advised New Yorker Carol Benjamin against getting a Border Collie. She and her husband Steve ignored me and are now on their third - but that first year was iffy and Carol is a nationally known dog trainer. I'd suggest you take a look at Carol's blog http://clbenjamin.wordpress.com/.

 

Donald McCaig

 

 

I know that it is a hard breed to keep mentally and physically active especially in NYC... But i would be able to give her and my other dog as much attention as possible throughout the day except for three hours a day Mon-Fri. I'm currently looking at the blog that you attached in your reply and it seems to have some good information. :)

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You have some good answers already, but I suggest doing more homework and spend many hours reading through past topics. I think all your questions have already been covered multiple times.

 

IF the mental and physical needs of a BC have been fairly well satisfied, BCs DO have an off-switch - but it is another behavior that should be trained. It often does not happen naturally.

 

Again, a lot of the stories you will hear from people are dependent on the individual dog AND also the training abilities of the owner.

 

Jovi

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Bella, I can't answer your question about breeders, but for most of the the rest of them the answer is "just like any other dog."

 

BCs don't require any special food different from other breeds of dog, no different requirement for collars or harnesses, etc. As others have said, most of the rest depends on your dog. But that, too, is consistent with other breeds.

 

All dogs need physical exercise, mental stimulation and interaction. What the primary difference in living with a border collie is, imo, that their need for mental stimulation and interaction with their people is much higher than many, if not most, breeds. It's when people don't provide enough of these things that they get into trouble.

 

As for an off switch . . . yes and no.

 

Certainly every BC can and should be taught to have an off switch so they're not pestering you when you need to be doing something else. There's no question that BCs can be obsessive about many things, like their balls. I once had a young BC, who like many, was ball obsessed. A friend had kept her for a weekend for me and when I went to pick her up, the friend said she was exhausted, that she'd had to throw the ball for her constantly the whole time she was there. I asked her if she'd ever just said "no". She hadn't, of course. <_< So I showed her how it was done. As soon as Wren brought the ball over and threw it at my feet (which was immediately LOL), I said, "No. Wren, not now. Go lie down." And she ignored the ball and walked away to lie down to take a nap. That's an off switch that can -- and should be -- be taught.

 

But there's no off switch that will make a border collie into a perpetual couch potato like some other breeds are. If you want that kind of dog (not saying you do), you get that kind of dog, not a border collie. They will need more of your attention than most dogs. They will need jobs, things to make them feel useful and that they're working in partnership with their people.

 

Agility is a great outlet for many of them; it's both physical and addresses their need for working in partnership with their humans. But my one purebred BC has a totally different kind of job. He's a therapy dog. It's a very low key job, not requiring much physical activity at all, in fact quite the opposite. He visits nursing homes, universities, shut ins and is a reading therapy dog for children at schools and libraries. This is as taxing for him as a rousing game of fetch. :)

 

So, pick a good quality dog food and whatever kind of collar or harness tickles your fancy. Give your dog the opportunity to try swimming if you can and introduce her or him to car rides gradually (most dogs love car rides once they're accustomed to it and it means they get to go somewhere fun). Find out what motivates your dog as a training reward (it may be one or all of the things you mention). But most of all, be prepared to make a border collie a part of your life, a partner and friend. Then you 'll be giving your border collie what it needs most of all.

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No need to repeat what others have said about the questions asked, but just had to add I love the comment about having a border collie likened to a trout! LOL....

Dew says she's a trout!

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No need to repeat what others have said about the questions asked, but just had to add I love the comment about having a border collie likened to a trout! LOL....

Dew says she's a trout!

Kristen, my departed Samantha never met a body of water she didn't want to plunge into. She played in puddles, the Pacific Ocean, the Russian River, and several creeks in the county. Always came out of the water with a huge grin on her face.

 

Tell Dew for me to enjoy it!

 

Ruth and Agent Gibbs

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I need to know what treats I should feed a BC, what food I should feed a BC, if two hours of rigorous work is enough for a BC or if more is needed, I need to know if a harness or collar is better, do most BCs love swimming?, do most of them not get carsick?, are they more motivated by food, praise, or play?, would one agility lesson a week and several agility practices a week be good for a BC?, I'm having a hard time finding breeders in the NY, NJ, CT area does anybody know of some breeders close to me? More questions to follow, when I think of them ^_^

I'm sorry I'm asking a lot of random questions, but I really need to get a LOT of information on BCs...

So thanks!! :)

 

 

I think I'll echo what others have already said: most of this depends entirely on the individual dog.

 

Re: Food. They're not physiologically different from other dogs, so use good judgement in what you feed him/her.

 

Re: rigorous exercise - what is your idea of rigorous exercise? A puppy has to mature physically (bones grow, joints close, physical coordination stabilize) before he can withstand a lot of "rigorous" exercise of any sort. The most important thing with a BC is to engage his mind, as well as his body. That is where they do differ from other breeds.

 

Re: harness vs collar - that's entirely up to you. If you fear your dog slipping a collar in city traffic, then go with a harness. Just make sure you train him/her to walk politely on leash and not use the harness as excuse to pull.

 

Re: swimming - depends on the dog. Some love water, some can barely stand to get their toes wet.

 

Re: car sickness - depends on the dog. They're no different from any other dog in that respect. If taught about automobiles young and gently, any dog will probably do better than if abruptly stuck in the car and hauled on long rides.

 

Re: food vs praise - depends on the dog. Some go nuts for treats, some aren't food motivated at all and are happy with just a kind word.

 

Re: agility - depends on the dog. If he takes to the sport and loves his training, do as much as seems right. But every dog takes training pressure differently, so you'd have to be sure you have a wise trainer who can advise you on how fast to progress with your dog's training.

 

Sorry I'm no help in locating breeders - I'm on the other side of the country. :)

 

Best regards,

 

Gloria

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Certainly every BC can and should be taught to have an off switch so they're not pestering you when you need to be doing something else. There's no question that BCs can be obsessive about many things, like their balls. I once had a young BC, who like many, was ball obsessed. A friend had kept her for a weekend for me and when I went to pick her up, the friend said she was exhausted, that she'd had to throw the ball for her constantly the whole time she was there. I asked her if she'd ever just said "no". She hadn't, of course. <_<

 

One of the most important pieces of advice we can give is not to give in to a demanding dog's pester power. BCs were first in the queue when that skill was handed out.

 

Life should be on your terms, not the dog's and once the dog has that clear an off switch should come into play.

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Re: agility - depends on the dog. If he takes to the sport and loves his training, do as much as seems right. But every dog takes training pressure differently, so you'd have to be sure you have a wise trainer who can advise you on how fast to progress with your dog's training.

 

 

 

 

All great advice from Gloria.

 

Keep in mind, though, that agility isn't the only thing you can do with your dog. If agility doesn't turn either you or the dog on (or if there should be health issues later on down the road. Canine athletes are as prone to life changing injuries as well as their human counterparts), there are other dog sports and activities both of you may enjoy.

 

Flyball, obedience, disk, dock diving, rally, nosework, therapy work and more . . . You may even want to try more than one. ;)

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OMG pester power is the best thing I've heard here in a while :) Odin as an off switch for sure, but only if he knows he's in a room where all will be able to withstand his pester powers, which are formidable indeed. It makes a lot of people think he is way more annoying than he really is, because I am just firm about very little fetch inside and mostly want to do things besides fetch with him outside, "last one" (our version of that'll do, and it means whatever just happened WAS the last one) means something coming from me. My parents are coming at the end of this week and I'm always a bit sad when they do, Odin loves them so much and they like him too but my dad will just play fetch with him forever and then mention on day 3 how my brother's dog may be less smart but is also "easier to live with". Well, this time maybe I will try to explain to not give in to the pester power :D

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"last one" (our version of that'll do, and it means whatever just happened WAS the last one) means something coming from me.

 

I use "last one", too, but a little differently than you do. When I say it, it means that the throw I'm about to toss is the last one.

 

When Bodhi hears that, he runs just as avidly for that last ball, but he doesn't run back as quickly and toss it at my feet for another throw.

 

I like giving him a warning that this is the last one so he's not so disappointed as when the play stops abruptly. To my way of thinking, it's a more respectful (to him) way to end the play session. :)

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I use "last one", too, but a little differently than you do. When I say it, it means that the throw I'm about to toss is the last one.

 

When Bodhi hears that, he runs just as avidly for that last ball, but he doesn't run back as quickly and toss it at my feet for another throw.

 

I like giving him a warning that this is the last one so he's not so disappointed as when the play stops abruptly. To my way of thinking, it's a more respectful (to him) way to end the play session. :)

 

I'd never really thought about it but I use "last one" too, and in the same way as you but followed by something like "OK that's it" as I pocket the ball.

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I'd never really thought about it but I use "last one" too, and in the same way as you but followed by something like "OK that's it" as I pocket the ball.

 

Yeah . . . . when the last ball comes back, I say "All done." So, like yours, it's a 2 part deal. One cue to warn that it's the last one, and another to confirm it.

 

As I said, I think it's less abrupt for the dog this way. He knows what to expect.

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Now that I know what Border Collie super powers are called...

 

I also give the dogs warning that play is about to stop. I say "One more and that's it." then "That's it." And if they are trying to use their pester powers on me, I say "I'm not playing with you." Mine both have excellent off switches, though it did take longer with Micah.

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