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My bc, Ted, loves to herd the waves of Lake Michigan at our home in northern Michigan.  

Currently, there is no ice blocking his access to the water, but there is snow on the ground.  I have not let Ted go in the water since the weather got a lot colder.  Should I allow him to chase the waves as long as there isn't ice?  He doesn't get soaked, but he will get hit in the chest area with waves.  I don't want to take anything from him as he loves herding the waves, but I don't want him sick or harmed by allowing him to do it.  Looking for input.  The picture waa taken this summer so you can see how much he loves it.  Thanks!

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I am by no means an expert on dogs and hypothermia, but I think that water that close to freezing is too cold for a BC. Hopefully others will chime in, it just doesn't seem safe to me.

BTW, my first BC was part trout, part border collie. Samantha LOVED any kind of water at all, except the bath tub kind. Miss her still.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Thanks, as I haven't been taking him in as I am not sure.  He just loves it so much that I didn't want to take it away if others said they have their dog in that cold water with no issues.  

Like your Samantha, Ted loves any kind of water unless it is a bath.  I have been taking Ted for long walks and hit the tennis ball in lieu of the beach until spring.  Just thought I'd get some input as to what others think. 

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I would definitely take great care with a border collie and that kind of cold water. They are not built for it as, say, a Newfoundland is. They don't have the protective fat and heavy coat. Especially as the dog gets older, I would keep him away from water that is that cold. JMO

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1 hour ago, Brins123 said:

 Like your Samantha, Ted loves any kind of water unless it is a bath.  I have been taking Ted for long walks and hit the tennis ball in lieu of the beach until spring.  Just thought I'd get some input as to what others think. 

I've heard from other BC owners that it's not rare in this breed. It was quite entertaining to see her splashing around and pouncing in big puddles.

Any kind of training that engages his brain will help with the pent-up energy. We can have very rainy winters where I am in Northern CA, and I've become adept in Border Collie Appeasement Activities. Gibbs gets half his meals in a kong, and I hide the kong. Once he finds it, he has to take it back to the dog blanket to work on it. It takes a little while to train that in, but all my dogs got used to it and seem to enjoy it.

Trick training, (see Kikopup on YouTube, and if you want a jawdropper, look up Jumpy the Parkour Dog) is also good to tire a b. collie out mentally. Always a good thing.

Ruth & Gibbs

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"Not built for it",  seriously? If bordercollies were not built to endure cold weather and freezing cold water I would have little use for them. Roundup season is September/October here in Iceland. Getting  a bit wet playing on the beach in the winter, I wouln't worry about it...

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Thanks for all the suggestions to help keep Ted mentally stimulated over the winter.   My husband and I retired this past summer and so this is the first winter we will be home all day.   I think I will error on the side of caution and keep him out of the water in the lake.  Ted isn't a "working dog"  so he Is not fully climatized to the cold weather.  It will be that much more special next spring when he gets to hit the beach again.  Within a few weeks, he won't be able to get in it anyway.  Thanks again for all your help.  Stay safe out there in California.  I hope you aren't affected by the fires 

Jayne and Ted

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17 hours ago, Smalahundur said:

"Not built for it",  seriously? If bordercollies were not built to endure cold weather and freezing cold water I would have little use for them. Roundup season is September/October here in Iceland. Getting  a bit wet playing on the beach in the winter, I wouln't worry about it...

 

I wouldn't worry about them getting a bit *wet* in winter, particularly not a working dog who is acclimated to the temperatures and weather.  I would worry about them getting soaked to the chest in water on a lake that will freeze *completely solid* later in winter, in a state/area where negative windchills are common.  Particularly a *house dog* who is not conditioned at all to such weather and *only* goes out in it to play.

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The sweeping statement was made about the breed, as compared to other breeds. I expressed my disagreement about it. In my opinion the bordercollie is or at least should be a rugged working dog.

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Honestly I think it all comes down to his physical conditioning like it would for any dog.  If he normally runs and romps all year at the beach I would say have at it.  He would have to spend excessive time in the water to get soaked to the skin.  I expect my dogs to be smart enough and have some self-preservation instincts rather than needing me to dictate - go to water, stay out of water.  Do my working dogs jump in a water tank when it is cold out and I think to myself 'really, yikes', do they do it every day - no, do they play in the snow way longer than I would - Yep.  If they would get soaked to the skin out working on the fells day in and out they would not survive and be used.  Just pay attention to your dog, don't think you can give an absolute answer.

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2 hours ago, denice said:

I expect my dogs to be smart enough and have some self-preservation instincts rather than needing me to dictate - go to water, stay out of water.

Sadly, that's often not the case, which I learned when my first border collie was a young dog. He went swimming in a large, fast moving creek his first fall when he was an adolescent. He would. not. come out of the water; it was the beginning of an obsession with swimming that was hard to break. We had to pull him out of the water that time and he was so cold he shivered uncontrollably for quite some time, yet he still wanted to get back into the water. :rolleyes:

My take on things like this is twofold:

  1. I will allow my dogs to have fun like this within reason and keep close watch on them to be sure they're not doing anything to harm themselves. When they start taking too many risks then it's time for the humans to step in and stop them.
  2. Know your dog. If s/he's demonstrated a lack of self preservation in the past, then be even more watchful in preventing them from getting themselves into deep water (pun intended).

 

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My first bc once ran her feet raw, literally. Chasing a ball on hard packed earth ~ I had no idea what was happening until a friend said, "She's got blood on her legs!". She didn't limp on the way to the car, but once we got home, she could barely walk.

I believe that the self-preservation is secondary to the drive to do whateveritis that they're involved in, in at least a good percentage of border collies.

Ruth & Gibbs

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^^ Yeah, my first border collie, the same one who almost froze himself swimming, also did this on a tennis court where some guys were playing Frisbee. Between wearing his paws raw and the muscle spasms that ensued he couldn't walk for several days.

That dog taught me a lot about having to look out for my dogs and prevent their self destructive tendencies. :rolleyes:

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Our first border collie enjoyed fetch in Lake MI (IN Dunes SP) in May till he was shivering badly; we had to take him away from the lake because his drive was stronger than his self preservation.

I would not be surprised if you have to take it upon yourself to monitor your dog’s wellbeing and stop with enough time to get back inside before your dog gets too cold.

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Thanks for all the great advice.  I decided that my best course of action is to just take him for long walks during the day.  Ted gets so obsessed with the waves that I don't think he would get out of the water on his own even if he was freezing to death.  I will have to pull him away from the lake if the surf is too rough because he will get more daring as time goes by.  I don't want him getting caught in the undertow.  He seems to enjoy the walks so come next spring he can have all the beach time he wants!  

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Sounds like a good plan, Brins. Your boy will enjoy the walks/trick training/whatever else you decide to do with him. A LOT of border collies seem to have an innate need to be doing something as part of a team. He'll be fine, he'll be safe, and the lake will be there in the spring.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Living in Australia, we don't really have to worry about freezing water so much at the beach, but one of my boys loves to chase the waves and bite at them so that he tends to swallow too much sea water and invariably ends up vomiting it all up in the car on the way home.  Now we have to watch his behaviour carefully and put him on the lead when he has been chasing for too long, or else go to the beach only when there is little to no surf. 

I agree some BCs have little self preservation when they are really enjoying themselves.  OTOH, the first time I went snorkelling on a tropical reef, I completely lost track of time because I was so caught up in what I was seeing and got the worst case of sunburn in my life, which semi-ruined the first half of my holidays (and gastro ruined the second half) so I must accept the trait is not unique to BCs.  I can't even claim to have been young and dumb because I was nearly 30...

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8 hours ago, denice said:

I expect my dogs to be smart enough and have some self-preservation instincts rather than needing me to dictate - go to water, stay out of water. 

I think that is expecting a lot of a dog.

I would never assume that the dog knows what is best for him or her, especially a border collie. I have had dogs who would have run themselves to death if someone kept throwing the ball. I have had dogs who ran into walls and did other things that were damaging to them  because their focus was on something else.  I had a dog who would have followed a frisbee out a high-rise window if that were where someone had thrown it.

They have no thought to self-care when they are focused, or when they are having the time of their life. That is our job.

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I am glad the Great Lakes are fresh water so Ted doesn't ingest all that salt water from snapping at the waves to much.  However, if he goes for to long, he will vomit up even the fresh water.  If he does that, we are done for the day, despite him wanting to keep going.  I suspect he would want me to break through the ice if he thought it meant he could chase waves.  I walk him through town to see the sights and such rather than on the beach.  No sense in having him keep tugging to go in the water.  

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Water intoxication, aka hyponatremia, even of fresh water, can be fatal:

Any dog can develop hyponatremia, however, the condition is most commonly seen in dogs who will stay in the lake, pond or pool all day if you let them; pets that lap or bite at the water continuously while playing in it; and dogs that swallow water unintentionally as they dive for a ball or other toy. (https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2013/10/28/water-intoxification.aspx)

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Thanks for the information.  I read up on water intoxication in the past so I definitely watch him and do not let him snap at the waves for to long at a time.  Occasionally, he gulps to much water if the waves are coming in a certain way and he throws up some water.  He is definitely done then for the day.  Typically, I let him play hard in the water for 15-20 minutes, then he gets the leash back on and we walk the beach without anymore water.  

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Well if people are throwing balls and frisbees then it is the person at fault.  I am talking about a dog going for a walk on a beach knowing if it wants to go into the water.  I am not talking about the dog choosing to play with someone.  When working my dogs go to water or not on their own.  Yes I expect them to be self aware.  If it is 100 degrees I am smart enough to not be working them.  I don't have to monitor their drinking,  They drink when they want a drink.  I dont have to tell them to eat, they eat when hungry.  It is when people get involved that problems tend to increase.  We have to use common sense if we expect our dogs to use theirs.  I understand some working dogs are a bit compulsive but it is due to us encouraging that behavior more times than not.

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9 hours ago, Brins123 said:

Occasionally, he gulps to much water if the waves are coming in a certain way and he throws up some water.

I'd be concerned that if he's ingesting enough water that he throws it up that he's putting himself at risk.

This is where it's up to you to make sure he's safe if he doesn't have the sense to do it himself. I'd put a stop to it before he gets to that point. Don't let him snap at the water. It's a bad and potentially dangerous habit.

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1 hour ago, denice said:

Yes I expect them to be self aware.

Only some dogs aren't, especially when it comes to water, which is the main topic of this thread. And if the dogs aren't self aware, then it's our jobs to be aware for them.

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