Jump to content
BC Boards
WinstonD

How much attention do border collies need?

Recommended Posts

I'm been wanting to get a border collie and have been doing a lot of research lately. A huge topic that comes up is that they need a lot of exercise and attention. I am an active person and need to know how much time exactly is needed to take care of a border collie.

 

How many hours a day do you need to spend with your border collie? (Walking, running, playing, training)

 

How many hours a day can you leave your border collie unattended?

 

How many hours a day do border collies sleep? and do they sleep multiple times a day?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, individual dogs vary. As a general rule of thumb, I would say that a Border Collie needs as much attention per day as is required to fulfill his mental and physical needs - which will vary greatly from individual dog to individual dog.

 

Which is no help, I realize.

 

I have had several Border Collies and all of them were quite different - they ranged from those who were fairly close to couch potato to those who were go-go-go 24/7.

 

I think that as long as you attend to the basic needs of the dog - sufficient exercise for his size and energy and good handling to ensure the crate is not a jail - a Border Collie will adjust to most situations.

 

Having said all that, I feel somewhat duty-bound to tell you that a Border Collie is a herding animal with the instinct and, in most cases, drive, to work. They are very intelligent and very hard working, as a rule. So whatever you do, must seem like work to the dog - even if that work is to be your faithful companion. If you do not understand/cannot accommodate the distinction between keeping a dog busy and giving a dog a purpose whose rules he understands then you should probably find a different breed. The one thing I can say was true for all of them, even the couch potato who was a SaR dog when he wasn't ... you know ... being a couch potato ... they all were only truly happy when engaged in their work.

 

Other people have them as family pets and they work out fine.

 

So ... meh ... a lot of typing for a lot of wishy-washy reply, eh?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think there is a single answer to your question. For example there is a difference between exercise and mental stimulation. As far as physical running and such my dogs get an hour a day most days, but they can go for much much more than that if I wanted them to. However I've found that I have to always be challenging them mentally as in every day they need to DO something, or they drive me crazy!

 

As far as being left alone it depends on the age and the dog itself. My dogs at 6 months and a year can be left at home alone for 8 hours, but I have to exercise and give them attention when I get home not just rest like some people like to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have a puppy got her a 5 weeks and training her has been a Challenge (got her to young). she is now 5 months and her behavior is coming around maybe a little more predictable. She still is a puppy potty training has been tough because she sees hears and reacts to everything outside. Playing catch she herds the dogs away but no interest in recovering its her choice who she herds. But she does it beautifully. So I must say the time spent is every minute you can because the more you spend the more your infatuation with the bread will grow. Its buyer beware they will drive you crazy but as they grow and understand you and you them you will have a wonderful family member. We have a rescue nearby and its sad the number that end up there because they are so full of life. Some people have actually said this dog has brain damage totally insane. Not insane just smarter than the idiots that take them there. Nothing is sadder than a fat lazy BC they love life so if you get one make sure you can give that to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will also give you a wishy-washy response saying that it really depends on the dog. BUT I do think that a dog's activity needs are largely based on what you teach them when they're young. If you have a puppy and give them things to do 100% of the time, you can bet on the fact that your adult dog is going to have the same need of going nonstop. If you teach a youngster, on the other hand, that play ends and then it's time to go rest, and some days we'll be working in the barn all day and the next might be rainy and we have lots of inside no-fun times, you'll have a much more live-able dog. Some sorts of activities are non-negotiable, you WILL have to go on walks, hikes, or other physical activity. But even more importantly, you MUST MUST MUST keep the dog's incredibly brain satisfied. What do I mean by this? It certainly includes lots of training time and brain games and toys. But what I have found has worked best with keeping my young pup engaged is by making every daily activity a brain game. Little things like going through a series of down/stays, sits, stands, or anything I can think of before going through a door/jumping on the couch/getting any sort of meal/getting in the car/etc.

 

I'll be the first to say that I'm a border collie novice, Keeper is my first border collie and he's only 5.5 months old. But I can tell you from a newbie's perspective that it is NOT as bad as many websites, tv shows, and other sources of information say. I was fully prepared for hell on wheels (and at 5.5 months I am not even close to out of the woods yet) but what I have found is that my BC is my far the easiest pup I've ever dealt with. This is a breed of dog that WANTS to work with you, and if you utilize that desire you can have fantastic time raising a dog.

 

But to answer your more dog-specific questions:

 

Keeper gets approx. 1 hour of training per day (broken up), 1-2 hours of play, and about 1 hour or more of time spent feeding the horses, sitting outside the arena while we ride, and other various chores. But there are certainly days when he gets way more or way less than that, and I've done that intentionally so that he is flexible. And so far that has worked beautifully, he is very tolerant of the less exciting days.

 

At this point I can leave Keeper alone for as long as I need to, as we have a doggie door. He does have 3 other dogs to keep him entertained, though they definitely just sleep when left alone so he has learned that part of the routine.

 

Keeper can sleep a TON. I am not exactly what you would call an early riser, so from day one I got him used to sleeping in. Sure there are plenty of days when I have to be up and out the door by 6, but if I chose to sleep in until 10 he'll be right there cheering me on. Right now all 4 dogs are passed out on various parts of the couch and floor.

 

I think it's sometimes difficult for many BC people to answer those kinds of questions because A) all dogs are different, and B) having a border collie is a lifestyle, not an activity. They're different from many dogs who are either doing something with you or spending time alone. I can't speak for all BCs, but all that I have met have made themselves an integral part of their person's life. You develop routines of how to behave at the door, how you wake up and go outside, and lots of teeny things that are extremely engaging for both dog and owner. Having a BC has not restricted my life in any way, nor has it changed any of the things I do. What it has changed is HOW I do them. Going downstairs to get dressed has become: have Keeper sit/stay at the top of the stairs (learning not to barrel people over), come, sit while I open the baby gate, go through, send Keeper onto the bed to lay down until I'm done, sit at bottom of stairs, when called proceed up the stairs.

 

It's early on in my relationship with Keeper, but I can tell you that he has already changed my life for the better. Good luck with you decision!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't pretend to know from "firsthand" experience, but based off of the border collies I've been around and the dogs of people on these boards, I hope I have a pretty good idea. Here's the thing: A lot of dog owners' lifestyles are not really about their dogs. They have their life, and they also happen to have a dog. They walk it, feed it, and let it hang around them when they're home. Their dog is a great, fun, happy, loveable possession. On the other hand, some of dog owners have their dog as an integral part of their life. Their dog is their best friend. They do things together, train together, and there is a bond there. If it were not their, there life would be entirely different (vs a possession dog, which doesn't have a huge effect either way).

I too have seen a lot of "border collies need a shitton of attention and excersize" warnings, but you have to think about who they are directed at. A border collie absolutely cannot be the hang-around-family-dog-loveable-possession. You can't get by without adapting your lifestyle to theirs. In short, you need to be committed to having a dog. Think of it as having a puppy for your whole life. Not that border collies are puppies their whole life, but they still require that attention and training and time you would devote to a new puppy. Honestly, from what I've seen if you are the type of person who is committed to having a dog (and doesn't get lazy with it) then you will do just fine.

(In addition to all that, kingfisher is absolutely right in that a dog will come to expect what you give him. If you want a dog that isn't always going going going, then teach it to expect that it won't always be going going going.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

...

 

I do think that a dog's activity needs are largely based on what you teach them when they're young. If you have a puppy and give them things to do 100% of the time, you can bet on the fact that your adult dog is going to have the same need of going nonstop. If you teach a youngster, on the other hand, that play ends and then it's time to go rest, and some days we'll be working in the barn all day and the next might be rainy and we have lots of inside no-fun times, you'll have a much more live-able dog.

 

 

That may be some of the best advice anyone will ever get about a BC (or any puppy). Best thing I can think to do with a puppy is to teach them to be good with their own company from time to time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a wonderful city pup who has attention 14 hours a day including several hours of exercise a day, but has been reactive towards people and new dogs...she is unbelievably sweet at times but needs plenty of training. Be prepared for plenty of training in addition to the "exercise" you planned on. Mine was a shelter pup and perhaps a breeder puppy will do better. Amazing dogs but be prepared for months of work and attention...but most likely worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.... I do think that a dog's activity needs are largely based on what you teach them when they're young. If you have a puppy and give them things to do 100% of the time, you can bet on the fact that your adult dog is going to have the same need of going nonstop. If you teach a youngster, on the other hand, that play ends and then it's time to go rest, and some days we'll be working in the barn all day and the next might be rainy and we have lots of inside no-fun times, you'll have a much more live-able dog.

 

 

This. :) There are a lot of misconceptions that a border collie must be kept busy and go-go-go all the time, but if you raise a pup that way, he'll be full throttle all his life. Raise your pup the way you want him to go.

 

But as for your question "how much time exactly is needed to take care of a border collie," .... there is no answer. Every dog is unique and every dog is different. You'll have to take stock of your puppy and learn who he is and what he requires.

 

My boy, Nick, is pretty chill most of the time and is happy just hanging with me when we're not working sheep or doing something else. But his younger sister is polar opposite. If she doesn't have something to do for a protracted time, by Day 3 she's bouncing off walls - and bouncing off me! :P They're the same breeding, raised in the same household, had same puppyhoods, but they have different minds with different quirks and behaviors.

 

As for your questions, hours per day with your dog will depend on you and your dog. Just remember that these are not "yes-we-have-a-dog" dogs. He has to be an integral part of your life.

How many hours you can leave him unattended will depend on the dog, his age, where you leave him, (house, crate, yard, kennel, etc) and how you've raised him.

How many hours they sleep is pretty much like any active dog. They sleep all night, they're great at naps, they nap a LOT in hot weather or after a good day's work. So, again, raise him the way you mean him to go. Instill good habits from an early age.

 

Sorry we're not able to give you anything more concrete, but these dogs are such individuals that it's impossible to give definitive answers! :)

Cheers ~

 

Gloria

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I will weigh in as a first time border collie owner with a 9 month old beauty of a dog on my hands. The amount of attention she might need was a huge concern for me. Mainly I wanted to avoid the dog who goes nuts because she is either left alone or bored. Thus, I have defaulted toward giving her a LOT of attention. From 8 weeks until about 5 months of age, it was mainly just corralling her around and teaching her the do's and don'ts. When she was old enough to recognize play and "work" I started introducing tasks and activities (mainly mental with gradually increasing physicality to be mindful of her growing body)

 

I won't lie, work and relationships suffered as a result. I was (and AM) committed to her well being, so I devoted a lot of time. Until about 5 mo. I didn't leave her in the crate more than two hours at a time. Even still I don't leave her alone more than 5 hours at a time. Luckily I'm self employed so I can accommodate that.

 

Around 6 mo. she became positively enamored with the ball. I loved it too because it occupied her and more importantly wore her out so she's rest at night. But soon I started to see she was basically obsessed with the ball, so I had to start waning her off it a bit and doing other tasks like training, leash walks, etc.

 

As it is now, I consider her a full time job from the moment I wake up until she gets in the crate at night. It gets MUCH easier after about 6 mo. Then around 8 mo. they start challenging you again with all their teenage development. I found with my pup I had (and still have) to be even more vigilant of her upbringing now that she's a teen because she is so prone to develop bad behaviors or habits.

 

I think she's going to be very worth it in the long run. I'm still very much in the midst of her development and it's definitely tiring. In the end, I LOVE this pup and always look forward to opening her crate up in the morning.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

These answers are all great. A term we latched onto was 'off-switch'. Teach the dog an off switch and you'll be a lot happier! For us having more than one cuts down on the craziness because they play with each other better and when not home they hang together.

 

The main point is they are a lifestyle dog. I think most will agree once you understand the bond you can have with these dogs they become an addiction. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, and for me, I don't want a dog to take up *that* much of my time. My dogs are full time dogs, yes. But they also have hours of the day to just be themselves, hang out, play with their toys, chew a bone, etc. I don't want to create a dog who is welded to my hip or can't stand to be alone. Granted, every dog's temperament is different, but I think it's important for my dogs to learn how to spend time without me.

Perhaps I'm misreading a bit, here! :) But to the OP I'll just say that, while preventing a puppy becoming bored and destructive alone, also beware of perhaps creating a setup for separation anxiety. All things in moderation. :D

~ Gloria


.

As it is now, I consider her a full time job from the moment I wake up until she gets in the crate at night. It gets MUCH easier after about 6 mo. Then around 8 mo. they start challenging you again with all their teenage development. I found with my pup I had (and still have) to be even more vigilant of her upbringing now that she's a teen because she is so prone to develop bad behaviors or habits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See, and for me, I don't want a dog to take up *that* much of my time. My dogs are full time dogs, yes. But they also have hours of the day to just be themselves, hang out, play with their toys, chew a bone, etc. I don't want to create a dog who is welded to my hip or can't stand to be alone. Granted, every dog's temperament is different, but I think it's important for my dogs to learn how to spend time without me.

 

 

 

Yeeep. My girl's only 11 weeks old and obviously requires near constant supervision to learn what she needs to learn, be potty trained, not destroye my house, but even now - She's NOT entertained by me all the time.

 

We have dedicated playtime together, instigated by me. We have several short training sessions a day. Nagging me or other family members for entertainment, harrassing the other dogs or cats, are absolutely not rewarded with play or anything else. She has MANDATORY naptime. She pretty much has the option of amusing herself quietly and appropriately in the same room as me or being put in her crate with something safe to chew.

 

Don't get me wrong, I do a lot with her, but. I am not an activities director for dogs or on-demand entertainment dispenser.

 

And while she's my first BC, she's NOT my first dog. I made the 'on tap all the time' mistake with previous dogs. I'm not making that mistake again. They all get exercise, training, play with me and with each other, as well as doggie sports and classes. But how to be bored and not fall apart and how to entertain themselves APPROPRIATELY are things I consider basic, necessary lifeskills for any dog.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of my friends speak very highly of Canine nosework. Reading more, It seems it tires them mentally very quickly as a huge portion of canine brain deals with smell. It is easy and quick to do and apparently knocks them out for long.

 

Anybody else knows more about this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can only compare my BC pup to the other dogs I have owned (two Miniature Schnauzers and two German Shepherds) and my little BC is more work than my other dogs but she is also so rewarding. She craves my love and attention and she is so willing to please me (although, sometimes I have to trick her into pleasing me). I think any puppy will be a lot of work for the first year. Housebreaking, getting past the chewing stage, etc. is challenging and I think the reason a lot of dogs end up in shelters is because people don't want to work past the difficult stage. My husband has always said, "With a puppy the first year is hell and after that you have yourself a nice dog".

 

During the day we have a routine. My puppy plays, eats, and naps on a schedule. I have to adjust my schedule to meet her needs but it is worth the work. When I open the door to her crate after nap time I sit on the floor and say, "Hi, little girl. Are you ready to wake up?". She always looks at me with this very sleepy expression and she stretches and walks over to me for a pet and a belly rub. She is a lot of work but she is worth it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Benny is exercised first thing in the morning and a couple of times at night when we are home. On the weekend, a few more ball plays--that is his thing, ball plays. He seems fine with a morning and evening exercise time, but I enjoy, when I have time, to be outside with him a little more. When he's not playing, he doesn't require "attention"--what he really likes is just to be with me or, preferably, both of us, in the same room or the car. We don't take him everywhere--its too hot to take him in the car in the summer everywhere and too cold in the winter. But we take him from time to time if we are out just for a drive.

 

Otherwise, he sleeps most of the time, or at least lays nearby and rests. And surely, he is plotting something during those quiet times...he is a border collie after all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am an active person who plays hockey 4 times a week and I love to hike in the woods out my backyard. I had no doubt that I could provide the exercise and stimulation for a border collie when I decided to get one. I knew they were a lot of work but I was prepared for it. I had visions of a dog that was completely obedient (see all the utube videos).and that we would be out in the woods leash free and carefree. Now at 10 months I am still nowhere near my vision. The funny thing is that even though the reality is nothing like my vision, I have really enjoyed the journey so far. The whole process has been wonderful. Watching Juno learn and grow has being magical. Things are really coming together and I look forward to being with Juno. every day. If you decide to get a border collie I would recommend a couple of things that really helped me.

1. Crate train her from the start. This will give you a break, especially in the early days.

2. Give her breakfast in her bowl but give her other meals by hand as part of her training that way she gets some training every day.

3. Go to puppy school

4. Get the book Control Unleashed: Puppy Program

5. Use this forum, it is invaluable.

 

Hope this helps

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Doggers,

 

In Britain, many working sheepdogs/trial dogs are shut up 24/7 except for work/training and twice daily twenty minute exercise periods EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 

My 3 are house dogs. I'm an early riser and every morning let them out for ten minutes to empty. Back in the house w/no attention until daylight when they go out again with me while I do chores 20/40 minutes depending on weather. After chores I train one, sometimes two dogs for 10 minutes each. Back in the house for their breakfast and they follow me into my workroom for bits of my breakfast biscuit. They snooze until ten or so when I take them out for five/ten minutes. If I need to drive to the Post Office they come too. Out again, briefly at noon after which we all nap for half an hour. Twenty minute dog walk every afternoon. They eat and lie around until 7 or so when I let them out for five minutes to empty before bed.

 

We'll do intensive sheepwork and work Dog School for a couple hours every week. Once or twice a month we compete in sheepdog trials. For them that's hours and hours crated in the car and at the trial, motel rooms and pee walks at the motel, a little stretching out at the trial grounds plus two7-10 minute extreme mental and physical exertions on the trial field.

 

When I was younger I walked them half an hour every morning and an hour in the evening and that was better for my dogs.

 

Still, they'll put up with a lot, so long as their world makes dog sense.

 

Donald McCaig

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lots of good answers, dogs need the "off switch" training for sure, and they do need exercise.

 

But the best answer was from Chene who pointed out they need to be a part of your bubble.

 

My Border Collie has a chronic soft tissue injury so his exercise is limited. I also work full time and teach dog training classes 2-3 nights per week. I have a spouse who I like to spend time with, and 2 other dogs who do different activities and I take them out to do those.

 

So in reality, my Border Collie gets 1 sheep herding lesson a week, 3 or so partly off lead 30 minute walks, 3 10 minute exercise sessions for his leg, and an occasional game of frisbee or Jolly Ball. He is home alone several hours a day.

 

But when I am home, he is with me. Maybe he is hanging out with me while I do chores, or laying nearby when I relax, or following my husband when he does yard work, but he is a part of us, in my bubble, conversing with me, laying on my feet, maybe sleeping on the couch touching me with his feet. He is always where my hand can call him over for a pet, where I can make eye contact, close by.

 

I don't put him in the yard, or in the kitchen and ignore him when I am home. He is a part of our social group of 2 humans and 3 dogs and we are always connected a little bit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sharatk, nosework has many things to recommend it. I like it because it works with what might be a dog's greatest innate gift - scenting. I also like that it requires very little equipment - a few small containers that have holes punched in the lid so that scent can get out, the scent itself - in traditional nosework that is either sweet birch, clove or anise, and some cotton swabs. And treats for the dog. That is it. What that means is that you can take a nosework kit with you anywhere and work your dog. If you're traveling by car and take your dog, you always have something that the dog loves to do with you.

 

If you google canine nosework instructor, you should come up with a list of classes near you. You might be able to observe a class or two. I'm sure there are books available, too. There are competitions as well that are held around the country.

 

I took my now departed Shoshone to her first class when she was 13 or so and she loved it and did really well. She took her last class just a couple weeks before we put her to sleep. Gibbs went to his first class just a few weeks after we got him. He was almost 3 years old, and had lived on a ranch all his life. Coming to us was his first exposure to suburbia, and he was pretty nervous about the noise and hub-bub. Nosework helped him learn to work with me, and calmed him considerably.

 

Ruth and SuperGibbs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some of my friends speak very highly of Canine nosework. Reading more, It seems it tires them mentally very quickly as a huge portion of canine brain deals with smell. It is easy and quick to do and apparently knocks them out for long.

 

Anybody else knows more about this?

 

I do nosework with my dogs. I enjoy it very much and it is a nice and easy way to give the dogs something to do. I like it because it's less thought and work for me when I'm tired. You just grab some hides and hide them.

 

I will say my dogs don't really tire out with nosework but they do love it and it can give the busier one something to do to take a bit of the edge off. She has health issues and can't do as much physical exercise as she likes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Glad that this is being discussed. Before yesterday I was confident that from what I read, from this forum and other resources, I should be able to satisfy BC's needs for physical and mental simulation. Yesterday I had a long phone call with a breeder who sells "Australian BC". She was AKC registered and sells "show" BC. I googled and found a dog which looked more like a golden retriever. Anyways that is not important. Her point was I should get of them as they are much mellow and better family pets. She said a working dog is "Neurotic" and will seldom feel a need for human companionship (I do want my dog to come n cuddle in her rest time).

Anyways this chat did give me a lot to think about. Let me explain a bit about my current situation. I work with a technological firm. It keeps me away full time 9-5, though there is no travel involved. I can still manage to come back at lunch for an hour or so. I have a fairly active lifestyle. I box, swim and workout 5 days a week. Weekends there are roadtrips (Once in say 50 days) which otherwise should be completely free. I have made several changes in my life after deciding to get a puppy. I have given up on my boxing training, returned my Playstation. I want to spend time training with dog. Working out with her and training her. At present I live in an urban setup. Apartment but lots of open area around. In 2 years tentatively I will buy a house with a yard.

 

This is what I can offer to the dog.

 

1> 30 mins walk in the morning and 10 mins play. Gets her food when she complies to basic commands.
2> drop by at lunch for say 45 mins, feed her and play with her a bit (frisbee/fetch/tug). Or I can use the smell training. Hide her food and let her find.
3> Come home by 5-6. Take her to dog park/run/some more frisbee, fetch and some training. Won't physically strain her until she is like 6-8 month old. A good 2 hours atleast. Here I want a dog which can run around with me without getting tired(I need my workout with the dog's). I see my friend's lab puppy collapse in 10 mins of fetch.
4> At night she can watch TV with me :). Maybe some more tricks I can teach her with dinner.
5> At late night (11-12), I often take an hour walk(Like 2 miles), so she can tag along there.

6> Weekends she can come hiking, swimming at bay (when weather permits), herding (We can rent sheep and trainer), agility course, puppy classes. If I am on a roadtrip, she comes along.

 

I concern is at day when I am not around. I can of course buy her smart toys to keep her engaged. If she still is bored and strained, I can arrange for her to stay at doggy day care when she can run around with other dogs.

 

Do you guys think I should not get a puppy till I get a yard? Or With this routine I should not get a BC puppy at all? Last thing I would want is puppy to have an unfulfilled life.

 

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think what you stated is more than enough for a BC. They do need a lot to do, but they should also be thaught how to relax and do nothing when nothing is happening. If you give her a fair amount of physical exercise and daily mental workout (obedience training, self control games, nosework, tricks, etc), and most of all, if you make her part of your life, she will be happy.

 

Most breeders will of course say their dogs are the best for you. The ones who don't just say that are probably the best breeders, they are not interested in just selling pups quickly but in making sure pup and owner are a good match.

 

I just arrived to the BC world. For years I thought my next dog would be a BC and tried to learn as much as I could about the breed, but to tell you the truth it was in these boards that i learned the most, after I got my dog. My pup's parents are working dogs, although i didn't see them work (and don't know enough about it to be sure they where good workers had I seen them). But bottom line is, from my very limited experience, working dogs ARE very eager to work with you, to do stuff with you, that's the whole point for them. AND my dog is very happy to cuddle, loves it almost as much as doing stuff with me. It makes sense, as a working BC is selected for it's natural tendency to work closely with a human.

 

She, and other working dogs I've seen, is very "me" oriented, learns fast, is always ready for action but has a nice calm balanced core temperament. She did show some OCD tendencies when younger, but quick action to distract and offer other things to do, coupled with us getting to know each other and developing a strong bond, curbed that pretty easily.

 

I've seen a few agility dogs. I liked them, as I like dogs generally, but they did seem more "fragile and futile", if that makes sense. And more frantic, in a way. Tess is nor frantic at all. I would never have a BC not bred for herding. Other BC's might be perfectly nice dogs that would give me much joy, but it makes no sense to me to want a BC because of what they are and then get a dog that is not being bred for those exact characteristics that make them what I like. My dog doesn't herd (it's not easy in Portugal to even get herding lessons) but what makes them good workers is also what makes them excell at almost every other thing a dog owner might want to do with his dog.

 

Of course, if one wants a dog just to be there, then a working BC is a bad idea. In that situation, a turtle would be the best option, but there are some dogs who could adapt without much harm. Not a working BC.

 

Before I got my pup I was also afraid I wouldn't be able to fulfill her. Turns out it's absolutely not true, at least for us. She was a very energetic pup, different from all others I've had, more "alive" and "there". That, for me, was a good thing, although there where times when I thought "what have I done!". She just turned 1 yo and she's mellowed a lot, meaning she is perfectly able to just sleep the day away if nothing interesting is happenning, but she is instantly on the go if I say we are going to do stuff. She's absolutely not for an inexperienced owner that wants a dog just to be there, but for me that truly love to do things daily with my dog she is perfect.

 

FWIW, my advice is to go for a pup from working parents, but also, get to know the parents. Watch them interacting with people and other animals. Watch them react to the world. Watch them work. When you connect instinctively with the parents, they are a good choice. It's of course not an absolute, but pups do tend to not stray far from parents qualities. I chose Tess mainly because I loved her parents. Her mom was one of the very few dogs in my life that, after 5 minutes of meeting her, I was thinking "I could take you home with me. Right now".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For those that think you need a house with a yard or a farm to own a bc... you don't. You really don't even need a house. I lived in a car with TWO bc's(now just one) for a while, and they were perfectly happy, well exercised dogs. At the moment I'm in a house again but will be living out of a car in a few weeks again, by choice, and my dog will still be fine. But I was/am committed to putting the time and effort in to making sure that they got/get the exercise and mental stimulation they need. He's crated during the day while I'm at work(7-8hrs), whether I'm living in the car or at home... Though I think this season I will be able to trust him without a crate in the car.

 

There was one point where I was working 10 hour shifts but I would take him to the park before work, on my lunch, and then after.

 

Some days we spent all day hiking and playing and being outside in the woods and some days we didn't do much of anything besides hanging out in a coffee shop or at a friends house etc. He's ok with that and he's a working bred dog, his parents work cattle on a ranch. He doesn't have to go on a ten mile run every day or play hours of fetch... can/will he? Yes. Does he HAVE to? No.

 

My life doesn't revolve around my dog, but I do include him in everything that I can.

 

Some days are action packed and exciting and others are boring and dull. This is how it has been since puppyhood so he's ok with it.

 

I wasn't working when I first got him so I was around 24/7 for the first few weeks I had him but I made excuses to leave him crated by himself so that he got used to being alone. And he adjusted totally fine when I did start working.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There of lots of people on this forum, much more experienced with BC than I, that will tell you that what the breeder said about working dogs being neurotic is total BS. I own my first BC, now 6 months, and she's easy going, loves to have fun, and is into our relationship just as much as I am. And she is working bred, from working sheepdog parents. Yes, she's active and needs to exercise her body and brain. But, no one would describe her as neurotic or as having attachment issues.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...