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Darryl

Thinking about a BC...need advice!

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some rescues can be a bit intimidating. my moms boss tried to adopt a bc mix a little while ago, they live on a farm, they work on the farm, they have a tractur parts busness out their, they spend all their time outside etc.. the dogs are allowed in the office building and the garage but not in the house, and they were declined soly for the fact they the dogs dont come into the house itself. they sleep in the garage, and my moms boss is very rarly in the house anyway, they had a bunch of good refernces, etc.. but were declined soly for the fact that the dog would be outside most of the day :rolleyes: they ended up getting another dog, her name is cash, and she is an aussie/sheltie, that was found wanding along the highway. this is how they got their other dogs as well, Rufus was found dumped on the side of the highway with Rover, Rover unfortinatly was shot, he was rushed to the vet but it was to late :D they got buddy from someone who used to work out there, they were unable to keep him, he was the sweetist dog ever, and even Happy liked him, but he passed away with immunodeficiancy disorder, they did not have him long, but he turned then on the border collies(buddy was a BC/Collie) so they wanted to rescue one, but were declined. now they have their first female which is cash

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Then the questions help guide interviewers to discuss potential problem points. In my experience, I used this dialog to try to determine the difference between those who were serious and those that shied from the commitment.
I've read all the comments on what works for the people here who have BC's. Thinking the whole time that I must have the laziest BC's in the world. I do have sheep so most of them work sheep in some way or another but on some days no one works sheep. I leave town allot in the fall for business which leaves partner home to take care of sheep and dogs by himself. He works 10 hours a day, comes home, does main chores (feed all animals and kids) At this time he does not use any of my working dogs to do chores with him. He uses my first old retired girl who is not to keen on sheep but can be trusted to keep things together without causing to much of a ruckus with her untrained human.

On days I'm home we work sheep (maybe training maybe just chores) but never for hours and hours unless I'm out for the fun of herding (trials or fundays at friends) or helping others work on their farm. Then we work all day and all love it. During the rest of my home time I spend hours working at my desk while the bc's sleep at my side or all over the house. At trials we get maybe 7 minutes of sheep time and the rest is spent tied to a fence or trailer until I get a chance to run/walk the whole pack. Sometimes I take a dog over to sit at my side and watch the trial or work on keeping calm when they are not actually working sheep only watching.

 

Point I'm making is....

It's where your mind is at on owning a dog(s). If you want an active life partner then I think you are looking at a good breed. If you are a couch potato wanting a dog to sit and watch TV, a cat might be a better choice. My dogs and even the ones before BC's are part of my family. Right now they are my fill in for my grown children. I plan all my free time with them in mind. Not because I have to...but because I love them and love spending time with them. It's not how much time I spend with them or how much exercise I give them. It's spending quality time with them. Making them feel like they have a purpose in life. Weather it's just keeping me company or working....they need to be needed.

I just placed a rescue with an elderly couple. He is an active working dog but very high strung (hot)on sheep. Off sheep he is the best boy any elderly couple could ever want. if he never sees sheep again he will be happy with unconditional love. Plus it gives the elderly couple without a purpose a reason to get up and live life. They are the most grateful people I've ever placed a dog with. and the dog is the happiest I've ever seen him. They walk, they play, very limited on playing as they are both unable to run or walk on uneven surfaces. The dog is happy just to be needed and that is what he sees as his job right now.

Hopefully you can decipher what I mean in this post.

I'm still trying to figure out how some of you guys get to spend so much time with your dogs and still be able to make a living. That's my dream! :rolleyes:

Not making a living, but doing dogs all day.

Kristen

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I have a very loving husband who watches the kids after a hard day at work while I play! And the kids have gotten old enough to help out during the day, thank goodness. They still don't have an interest in the dogs but their love of the ducks and sheep gets me out there frequently to supervise their part in chores.

 

My three year old's job is to run the length of the field to the old barn to turn on the water, and carry buckets. My five year old enjoys gate keeping, pouring feed and filling the mineral feeders, carrying newborn lambs, and using his new reading skills as he fishes medicine bottles out of the box.

 

My goal is eventually to at least pay for my sheep raising hobby, which goal keeps my husband's interest piqued. We will be quite old before that happens, I fear, but you gotta have a goal!

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I generally think Border Collies make good pets for people who are obsessed with dogs, choose to spend most of their leisure time doing something that involves the dog (dog sports, herding, hiking with the dog, dogsledding, whatever), and are committed to doing something worthwhile with the dog every single day. In practice all of us miss days -- but I think that people who think "Oh, I could take the dog for a long walk two or three times a week" end up doing it less in practice. Ideally I'd be doing something active with my dogs at least two or three hours a day (it would be good for both them and me), but realistically sometimes I just can't. But, since I intend to do something with them every day, we do something more days than not. I hope this is making sense.

 

Honestly, from reading your original post, I didn't get the sense that a Border Collie was the breed for you. It doesn't mean you shouldn't get one, or that one wouldn't work, but a lot of breeds (and mixes) would fulfill the criteria you have for a dog. Border Collies are not like most pet dogs. They are very intense, they have quirks, and their personalities and stereotypical behaviors are distinctive and somewhat unique. If you have not spent a lot of time around Border Collies, do it before you commit to one -- they are not everyone's cup of tea. I know people who are very active in dog training and dog sports who would never choose to live with a Border Collie because they just don't like the personality. I tend to find that people either won't settle for anything but a Border Collie personality, or they would be better off with just about any other kind of dog.

 

I do think you should apply to rescue. If Border Collies are not the breed for you, this will become apparent through the adoption process (which is the point of all that screening -- that a good match is made and everyone comes out of it happy). If this is the breed for you, a good rescue will find a dog that fits your personality and lifestyle. I do have to say that I think leaving a dog unattended outdoors at any time, anywhere, except on secure private property (i.e., six-foot privacy fence) is a really bad idea, regardless of what breed of dog it is. It leaves the dog terribly vulnerable, and many become anxious and/or bored in this kind of situation, which normally leads to all sorts of problems.

 

Good luck.

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My goal is eventually to at least pay for my sheep raising hobby, which goal keeps my husband's interest piqued. We will be quite old before that happens, I fear, but you gotta have a goal!
Rebecca,

I don't have any other social life except dogs and sheep...maybe kids and husbands but they might argue that! So I always tell hubby that if he added up all the money we save with me not buying lady like things (read that jewerly or cloths, or nice house stuff) or going out to nice dinners....we are almost breaking even. Find a niche market and you'll at least be able to keep your sheep fresh.

 

Darryl,

I agree with Melanie about not tying a dog up without supervision. During the last trial I was at a young dog was tied up on the fence and not being checked on or in hearing distance. It got tangled up in the fence and if nice strangers hadn't come along it would have strangled or at the very least broke it's leg...as it was...it only bit it's tongue pretty bad and bit the nice man who freed it. But, if you safe guard a spot that is free of passerby?s and other dangers I think it's doable. just takes careful planning.

 

Good luck on your quest...rescue is a wonderful place to find your newest heart string. Saves a life and gives you a new one to boot!

Kristen

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I don't know why but so far I've been lucky selling my lambs. Unfortunately this year I only had a 75% total surviving lamb crop (sheep really do need more than the sporatic attention we were able to give them this year). I've sold sheep as pets, dog toys, to graze fish farms and chicken houses, and even one year my whole lamb flock went to a movie studio.

 

I keep my replacement ewe lambs one year before breeding them, as my training flock. It's worked very well and gives me an incentive to cull the older ewe flock severely.

 

I do want to get into something I can count on from season to season.

 

Sorry to hijack the thread, Darryl - I'll move if this chat goes further.

 

I will share a story with you. I had a female foster here that I could not find a home for. One reason was that she was not a purebred Border Collie. The other, more important, was that she was quite active and would jump a fence at the drop of a hat. Just for the heck of it, it seemed. Not only that, but she would then simply disappear for hours or, one scary episode, days.

 

It took six months but we finally found her the perfect home. It was a person who wanted to do agility but had no yard to speak of. When I talked to her, she intended to put up a privacy fence almost a year in the future, when she expected a retirement bonus. Not until then, though. Meanwhile, she had a detailed plan for pottying her dog on a leash or a tieout, practicing agility in the park, and going for long hikes in the park that was in her neighborhood. The fence jumping was therefore a non-issue for her. I actually preferred her as a home because she intended to have that dog under her eye every waking minute she was loose. By the time she did build that fence, the dog was so bonded to her that she never offered to jump out (except once to chase a squirrel but she didn't run off).

 

It's all about the relationship you plan to have with the dog. Red flags would go off for me too, as a rescuer OR as a breeder, over any plan to leave the dog loose outside in an unfenced area during the day. To bordercolliecrazy, I'd have a problem with adopting a dog to be a companion, to people who didn't intend to let the dog live with them. They'd have to show me that they had a safe place for the dog all day and plans to spend an awful lot of time with the dog. I just feel companion dogs should be allowed to be companions. Working and specially trained dogs are another thing - they need their down time.

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I don't know why but so far I've been lucky selling my lambs. Unfortunately this year I only had a 75% total surviving lamb crop (sheep really do need more than the sporatic attention we were able to give them this year). I've sold sheep as pets, dog toys, to graze fish farms and chicken houses, and even one year my whole lamb flock went to a movie studio.
Rebecca,

Same with me. I have customers waiting till lambs are big enough to be sold. I always get nervous about the time I need to sell and the phone starts ringing. Last year I sold half my flock (small flock of 17 now) to a guy just starting his flock. Then gave some to a friend who was building his flock, so I have very few sheep.

I like having more as it creates more choices when working. I love working my young lambs. Right about the time their getting dog broke the new ones are born! When I first started my ol' girl wouldn't work the lambs. Now they don't know any other way.

SO....your sheep are movie stars??? How cool. I have some babies who went to school for show and tell. My 12 year old (who needs to take lessons from your children on doing chores) brought the lambs to school that he helped birth. He is so good with livestock, I'm hoping he will be one of those kids who grow into a great shepherd as he doesn't know any different. He doesn?t use a dog much. We call him Red dog (he's a red head) He can move sheep better than hubby. Last year I did some poor planning and most of my lambs were born while I was out of town. Hubby did a great job and only lost 1. He learned loads, but this year he's smiling as the ewes are due in Jan. when I'm home and it's freezing!

 

Darryl,

as you can see, there are lots of different ways that these dogs fit in to others lives. Main thing that sets these dogs apart is what Melanie said about being obsessed with dogs. My partner says it's like I've got a boyfriend that he can't compete with. He only has 2 legs.

I know he loves my dogs as much as I do because I find dogs wanting to sleep in bed with us when I return home from business trips. When I'm home with hubby dogs are only allowed in bed with me when hubby's not here. He smiles and says..."who me?" Then winks at the dogs!

 

Do you have a gf? Make sure she won't be jealous of your new love. I think these dogs can shake up a relationship fairly easy, who needs another person to have an affair with. I have 4 (at the moment)little fur friends looking to take my partners place! At this house the dog house is a good place to be :rolleyes: In fact I just found myself patting my kid's head saying good boy to him because he finished his homework. Used to make the kids mad...now they just think it's the norm. Which reminds me of one of my first funny stories about family and dogs. I got a note home from my son's kindergarten teacher (he's in 7th grade now) she couldn't figure out why my son barked in class. Did I mention he's a red head? :D

Hope all this chat has made it easier for you to figure out if a BC would be a good choice for you. You never know where or when the next BC addict will be born. BTW...I didn't own a farm or livestock before the BC's. They are a life changing experience!

Kristen

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Originally posted by bcnewe2:

I've read all the comments on what works for the people here who have BC's. Thinking the whole time that I must have the laziest BC's in the world.

Kristen,

I had the same reaction when I read those comments. And yet my dogs can be as active as any dog and are quite successful working and trial dogs (and I don't have my own sheep--yet), so they certainly wouldn't be classified as couch potatoes. That's why I made the comment about the humans "making" the dogs more active than might be necessary; that is, yes, these dogs take commitment, but that same commitment means training them to meet your expectations instead of falling into the "these dogs are supposed to be very active, therefore I will spend hours and hours everyday catering to that activity" trap. Yes, many of us run our lives around our dogs, but that doesn't mean that the dogs have to control our lives (a fine distinction, perhaps)....

 

That said, I will say that I too have found the border collies to be a life-changing experience, and in a good way.

 

J.

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I think the main point is just that. You have to go into this breed understanding that if you want to make a working bred dog an urban companion, you may have to radically restructure your life - and it's best if your life already has a place for a dog like a Border Collie.

 

That's the basic quality I always looked for in my adoptive home prospects: an acceptance of the breed for what it is, not a desire to turn it into something it's not (I'd like a Border Collie, but we don't have time to exercise it and we can't have it in the house. Umm, I'm sorry, but we're all out of stuffed Border Collies). We worked to match expectations to dog's needs, but there was always the caveat that dogs change and living with a Border Collie can be a journey.

 

I remember one dog a friend adopted out - a serious couch potato, pet bred but from some decent working lines. When the dog was about seven years old, I think, they took their other dog to sheep. Turned out the couch potato had more talent and WOKE UP on sheep. The dog was so obviously happy that they took up serious training and trialing. They were an older couple and had never had an idea that they'd ever be involved in that way, though they'd had Border Collies always.

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Julie

I wonder if it's the same thing I hear about with all the parents rushing off to do soccer, dancing, baseball, karate,and playdates ect. with their children. The kids don't know how to do down time. My kid does dogs, farm, or other friends. Hubby and kid love to kayak but I haven't figured out a way to have a dog in the kayak with me. My son loves being as lazy as I'll let him be. but is up for anything I'm ready to do.

My dogs are as active as I am. I'm an active person when not out of town or sitting down working. Doesn't matter what I do...even going to the grocery store is a doggy fieldtrip (unless weather makes it dangerous) The dogs line up at the door to see who's lottery is chosen that day. I often wonder if the herding ones think I'm off herding all the time and the other 1 thinks we're off at the ice-cream store? I always smell like sheep so that's not a give away.

 

I take them to demo's, adoption day's at parks, frisbee things (well only one plays fetch)meet and greet type dog things. Then there are the days when you just have to laze around. Not the norm but my dogs seem to love that just as much as their activities.

 

Just a thought....all these dogs obsessed with fetch. Not a bad thing...keeps them busy, but I don't have time to play fetch so no one knows what they?re missing here.

If I do have time for some catch with the 1 who does play...the rest are herding her as she chases her item of choice. The others would never play that way out of our pack, but it's a game I allow here at home. They don't know what to do if you toss something other than a sheep at them.

They play amongst themselves and alone with squeaky toys or other toys. They chew on tennis balls and even toss them up for themselves to catch, I'm sure I could teach them to play fetch, except maybe one who would be sure I'm trying to hit her with the ball. but why make another job for them (or is that me)?

 

Again...I'm not knocking fetch or frisbee to anyone who likes it. Just pointing out we make our dogs into what they are. To bad I didn't know that before I raised my children :rolleyes: I would have had a better handle on them!

To each their own enjoyment. I guess we're all saying the same thing. If you want a dog to do life with then a BC is a good thing. If you want a dog for an addition to your collection of other cool stuff, then this is not a good breed.

Happy herding, fetch, agility, SAR, ect. to all,

maybe I mean Happy Life to you and your BC's!

Kristen

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I think the thing is that what most Border Collie people think of as "not that much" activity is usually two or three times as much as the average pet owner wants to devote to a dog.

 

My dogs are good house dogs, they are not hyper or destructive and they are healthy and in good shape. Our usual schedule involves two good periods of outside exercise and training per day -- ideally an hour in the morning and an hour in the late afternoon or evening. For us this is crucial because we live in a very small apartment, but I also think it's beneficial because of what it's done for our relationship. There are days we don't get out there for this long and don't get to go to see sheep or do agility or whatever because life is that way and the dogs survive. But we always get back into the routine because I don't look at it as a chore -- it's something I like to do. If I thought of it as a chore it would be a lot easier to let things slide in a not good way.

 

If my dogs saw sheep more than once a week (and lately, more like once a month as I try to finish my dissertation) this sort of schedule would probably not be necessary. Working sheep for fifteen minutes is the mental equivalent of at least two hours of anything else. Part of the reason I spend so much time doing dog things is that pretty much anything other than stock work requires a lot more effort to exercise that brain -- and fit bodies are a nice side benefit. One thing I can say is that my dogs are in good condition when they do get to see sheep!

 

The fact that Darryl does not sound enthusiasic about doing Dog Things All The Time! Yay! is one of the reasons I think he might be better off with another, less demanding breed of dog. I could be wrong, but I envision a number of different kinds of dogs enjoying the lifestyle he outlines and don't see anything about it that screams "Border Collie" to me.

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I too have a BC with variable energy lol. She has adapted well to two 1/2 mile walks a day plus rollerblading and playing in the house from being out in a huge yard with squirrels to chase and another dog to play with.

 

When home alone while I'm in class she is entertained by a treat ball and a Kong or Greenie. My roommate is home some of the day, but doesn't walk or exercise Maggie.

 

Thursdays are agility night and weekends are for hiking, visits to dog friendly stores, and sometimes agility trials.

 

Maggie is a rescue and is now 5 yo...she's settled down a little from when I adopted her at 11 mo but she can still be a a ball of energy when she wants.

 

I also second the idea that BC owners have different definitions of what is acceptable when it comes to time spent w/ the dog.

 

I got into an 'interesting' discussion with a guy in one of my classes that shows Havanese (small, longhaired dogs for those who don't know) in conformation - he doesn't understand why we should breed for ability rather than 'looks' and how anyone can have a BC as a 'non working' pet. He is of the mindset that to exist as a breed BCs should be bred to be normal pets. One of the things he said was 'who wants a dog that needs to have something to do 24/7' and I replied '*I* do!' lol.

 

He thinks the time I spend w/ my girl is excessive and my amount isn't even close to some people here! Goes to show how different people can see things I guess.

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Hi Darryl,

 

My husband and I accidentally adopted a BC mix from our local Humane Society. Silly me, I didn't know enough about them to know that they come in short hair too. Oops.

 

He is a wonderful dog but what everyone said about entertainment/exercise is absolutely true. I get up at 4:30 AM and walk him for a half hour. Then go to work. My husband then plays with him for another hour until our baby wakes up. Then, he goes to work. We have a dog walker come by in the afternoon and take him on another walk. When I come home, I take him on a walk, do 10 minutes of obedience then it's toss stuff time.

 

On the plus side, I have lost tons of weight and so has my other dog and my husband. :rolleyes:

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