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Ditto.

 

Given the frequency with which Sue Sternberg has been mentioned on the boards of late, it's probably worth mentioning that she is a controversial figure. Aggressively marketed by herself and others, she nevertheless is considered extreme and unsound by many experienced dog people. Cautionary views about her and her temperament testing can be found here, here, and here.

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Ritter was found as a stray on 9/12.
They haven't had time to see his fulll personality. I wouldn't make ANY statements about whether a dog was kid-safe or anything else safe for two full weeks of continuous care and consistent training.

 

The best "Rescue speak" isn't going to say, "We don't know whether this dog is OK" because most people assume that means the dog is NOT OK, not that we just haven't made that judgement call yet. Again, I'm pointing out the difference in writing off a dog based on generalizations and giving a dog a chance.

 

What struck me about Ritter is he isn't terribly stressy about being confined (implies adapability, stable temperament), and although the description says nothing about it, if I saw him in a kennel looking at me like that, I'd feel like he was trying to connect in some way. It does say "He will listen to you . . as if he is trying to figure you out." This place only started offering speuter with their adoptions - I'm not surprised their descriptions are not well thought out.

 

As someone with six dogs, three cats, a yard full of ducks, livestock, not to mention two small children, I wouldn't drive from NC to DE to take a look a Ritter. But I'd recommend at this point (two weeks from his confinement will be Monday) that it would be worth a peek to someone in the area.

 

I only use the petfinder listings as a virtual "kennel pass" - imagine you were walking down the row looking at kennel cards on cages. Would you read the card and move on or would you ask to see the dog and interact with it?

 

It's a good note to make, however. My point is that someone with special needs, looking for a particular type of dog, MUST go physically eyeball the dog and be willing to sort through some before finding the right one.

 

Sadly, there are plenty out there that need homes. Go, interact with the dogs. If the dog makes you uncomfortable for whatever reason, you don't have to justify it somehow - just look for another. You can't save them all - save the one that's right for your family - but the only way to do that is through a hands on experience.

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The original poster did not mention how old his kids were. That can play a huge factor in what kind of dog you get. My pup is wonderful with kids of all ages but he is best with little ones (under 3) and slightly older ones (10 and above).

The 6 to 8 year olds are too unpredictable and for some reason he wants to herd them the most. It has been more work for me with that age group. Not with the dog as much as with the kids. If you know you can spend the time and energy go for it.

I would also lend my voice to rescue. BEing in Frederick you have a wide variety of areas that you could do face to face with the dogs fairly easily. You can look in Md, Va, C, West VA, Pa and even Del is not too far for a family trip.

Liz

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Originally posted by Eileen Stein:

 

Given the frequency with which Sue Sternberg has been mentioned on the boards of late, it's probably worth mentioning that she is a controversial figure. Aggressively marketed by herself and others, she nevertheless is considered extreme and unsound by many experienced dog people. Cautionary views about her and her temperament testing can be found here, here, and here. [/QB

 

 

Thank you Eileen for posting links to others views on Sue Sternberg. It saved me from having to go on another rant about her. I posted caution on Sue in another thread (http://bordercollie.heatherweb.com/cgi-bin...=7;t=000324;p=1) where she was being promoted to a sickening degree.

 

WWBC

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Mmm. I might point out that I wasn't referring to any formal temperament testing system when I suggested that many shelters "screen dogs for adoptability and keep families with small children in mind." I suppose I should keep more up to date but when I was involved with shelters this just meant screening out dogs that were obviously aggressive, maybe exposing the dog to a shelter mascot cat. Or bird, like they do this at the Coyote Point, CA shelter where I was first introduced to real rescue!

 

Eileen, I agree that this formal testing system sounds atrocious and I'm horrified that it's being followed on a widespread basis (I'll have to look into who's into around here). But I live in a part of NC that would love any excuse to euth 100% of intakes. It has been a long hard journey from that attitude, to accepting the help of rescues, to developing their own little adoption program. If we go back and tell those shelters that they cannot screen their own dogs, they will simply find an excuse to go to 100% euth again.

 

It's true that it's a crying shame that the typical shelter worker isn't qualified to tell the difference between stress that will never be reproduced outside the shelter environment, and real aggression. However, if that yields 20% bombproof dogs, well, it's a harsh fact that there are not people lined up out the doors for even those 20%. In communities around here, probably half of that final 20% will also lose their battle against time alone.

 

The simple fact that keeps me coming back to this is, adopting a rescue dog saves two lives - your new pet and the life of the dog that takes his place.

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I volunteer with MABCR, the group Rebecca suggested. If you wish, please apply! Read the website, it will give you a good understanding of how our process works. When filling out the application, please keep an open mind about the age of dog you'd consider and also whether or not you'd consider a mix. One gentleman adopted an eight year old female a couple of years ago. She adapted beautifully and is still his trail running partner!

 

As others have said, sometimes an older mix can be a dream. They're easy to house train, they're settled a little, and they're fully developed, so are ready to go with whatever your family has in mind (they can begin being conditioned to be your jogging partner, can start playing frisbee, or maybe agility for fun?). Puppies are tiny for so short a time...plus they chew, chew, chew, need frequent bathroom breaks, etc.

 

The screening process is thorough, and that allows us to determine which dog is best for you. We will not send you "more dog" than your family can manage. Plus there is support available for the lifetime of the dog if problems arise.

 

I believe that all of what I've said is probably true of most good rescue groups, so do some searching around, and follow your instincts.

 

Good luck! Michele

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My little girl is 6 in November. We have been looking around and we are think we will be able to care for a BC. I really want a BC. If we get one she will be a Frisbee dog. My wife and I have talked about other dogs and she wanted a dog that would lay down and be a lap dog. I told her what fun is that. We have to cats now that do that and they are no fun.

 

To me dogs should be great companions. To play and have fun with. I want a dog that I can give alot of love to and spend time with out side. I am not to over weight but I need to lose about 25 pounds and I think a BC would be great for me. I need to get outside more. I spend too much time inside doing work. I think a BC would be just what I need.

 

Thanks for all the insight and coments.

 

Mike

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Please Please do your homework. My neighbor sold a pup to some people that live in town and their neighbor got a border collie so they just HAD to have one.

Well one year later and the neighbor got this pup back so spoiled rotten and agressive that she needs to be put down or go to someone that understands this breed.

Just do your homework and no matter what breed you decide to go with try to rescue.

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My wife and I have talked about other dogs and she wanted a dog that would lay down and be a lap dog. I told her what fun is that. We have to cats now that do that and they are no fun.
Who will be the primary care taker for the dog? I can tell you this much... if she's going to be the primary care taker of the dog and her desire is for a quiet lap dog you may find yourselves with issues. If you plan to be the primary care taker (ie, feeding, taking the dog out, playing with it, teaching it obedience and frisbee, taking it to the vet, taking it to socialize with other dogs, etc) then I can see where you're coming from. If not, you guys may want to get really serious in exploring BOTH of your needs and limitations.

 

Secondly, if you desire a dog that will make a good frisbee dog and have an off switch, I second what the others here have said... RESCUE. The beauty of rescue (aside from saving dogs' lives) is that the rescuers can get a feel for what you're looking for and what you all have to offer a dog and help you to match with the right dog. I second what was said about a BC Mix (or other type of mix). My BC Mix will track down anything you throw her beautifully. Unfortunately she does NOT have a very efficient off switch, but we manage that too. I would that my first Border Collie had been a rescue... to have broken me in slowly. :rolleyes:

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Hi there,

 

Thanks for providing additional info on what you're looking for!

 

You mentioned having a 6 yr. old daughter. If she is a nice dog-loving kid that is very quiet and never runs in the house OR yard, a BC might fit right in. However, you might want to think about her friends that will eventually come to the house. This can be a rambunctious age, with kids racing around the house chasing each other, running to the kitchen for a glass of water, etc. Most (but not all) BCs would be VERY overstimulated by this kind of activity.

 

My normally laid back, high-in-trial-winning obedience BC loves kids but I have to manage him every second in this environment, giving about 1 treat per second for not chasing. Being a Border Collie, he wants to get ahead of the kids, cut them off at the pass. He will try to turn them around by using eye contact, but when that doesn't work, his next move would be to snap, and eventually bite. Not all BCs do this, but enough do that this might be a red flag.

 

The other thing you mentioned is that your wife wants a lap dog and that you are typically at the computer but want an excuse for more exercise.

 

If you get a typical BC, you might be in for a LOT more exercise than you had in mind. Most BCs do not just lay quietly around the house waiting for that 30 min. frisbee session. My current BC puppy brings toys to me NON-STOP every second I'm home, shoves them against my legs, bounces them once per second on the floor to get my attention, flings them at me, etc. If I won't play, he will grab the noisiest thing he can find--like a metal food dish--and chase it around the house for hours, slamming it against walls and making a horrible din. NOBODY could work through this racket! This kind of high energy dog will drive your peace-loving wife CRAZY!!!

 

Not to mention... if you normally spend a lot of time in front of the computer but want to lose 25 pounds.... what happens after the weight comes off? That Border Collie is gonna build up a huge exercise tolerance, and you will still be expected to go for 10 mile daily hikes for the next ten or so YEARS! The BC exercise schedule doesn't fit into most peoples' lifestyle very well.

 

I did not get a BC until I bought a house on 10 acres. Besides racing around the 3 fenced acres fetching balls/frisbees several times a day, my two Border Collies get a daily MINIMUM of at least one formal 1-hour training session (tracking, herding, agility, obedience), plus at-home practice in their other sports, plus a trip to downtown/pet stores/the trail for "cultural enrichment" plus a long leash walk. Most days, the older BC also herds my ducks for 30 min. When we come inside, the 3 yr. old dog sleeps. The 5 mos. old begins his obsessive-compulsive toy fetching/dropping/chasing.

 

There are definitely BCs that do not require this much exercise, but if you are set on having a great frisbee dog, the drive required to play frisbee may have a whole related suite of behavioral traits that would not suit your wife one bit!

 

Columbia, MO

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Mike,

I just want to add my voice to those suggesting rescue. & here's an anecdote that I hope will demonstrate how much better rescue is for adopting the particular sort of dog suitable to you, your family, the way you live.

 

When I adopted my BC a few months ago, I had originally called the rescue svc about another dog, Suzy, but she'd already been adopted out. The svc mentioned another dog, but told me she was very shy. I saw her picture, thought she looked pretty & sweet. My sister (who lived closer) went to visit her and liked her--but also mentioned the extreme shyness.

 

When I got her foster home, half a day's drive from where I live, it turned out the original dog, Suzy, had been brought back. That dog had never met a stranger. She seemed the perfect BC in many ways--friendly, lively (but not crazed), healthy. But there was little trembly Durga (then called Kate), leaning on me. When Suzy came up to me, Durga put a paw on my arm, so she had me.

 

I guess I"m trying to say that when dogs are in foster care for a while (both these dogs about a month, I think), the foster parents can tell you lots about them, and what to expect down the road. Suzy probably would've been a better dog for me, but Durga (presently hiding in the bedroom upstairs because someone came to the door) chose me.

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Keg is a Lab/BC mix (and is the second mix I've had - Sarge, rest his soul, was a lab/kelpie cross)....

Keg's appearance and personality/nature are pretty much lab....although he does have some "herding" traits.....but his retrieving traits are way more dominant.

 

It is true about the rough/body slamming kind of play, desire to jump up and lick...but this can, with patience, be overcome.

 

It's fortunate that Jack, our BC, is the older/dominant dog....and while he enjoys a bit of roughhousing with Keg...he puts a stop to it in no uncertain terms when he's had enough.

 

The other plus in their play is that Jack is WAY more agile than Keg. He often sidesteps Keg....or simply stops dead when Keg is "lining him up" - and watches Keg go sailing past...then continues on his way (laughing his butt off!) :rolleyes:

 

A couple of things to note about labs (and mixes) is that they generally have very "soft mouths" around people. This won't stop them from chewing on anything they can lay their teeth on, but it's less likely that you (or other folks) will be (aggressively) bitten.

There will obviously be some exceptions...but, as mentioned, labs have a high tolerance level - for pain and annoyance - so it takes a lot of provocation to get them to that point where they actually consider biting a person.

 

The second thing is that they are bower birds/attention seekers. They will "borrow" items and take them to a particular spot/area. They won't necessarily destroy them...but you kinda need to keep everything locked down/hidden....or you may find the TV remote, your keys, shoes and undergarments, kitchen utensils etc. out in the kennel/yard.

 

The "intelligence" of labs is a hotly debated topic - given their bumbling ways - but I can assure you that they are trainable. There's no shortage of them working as guide, therapy, SAR and detection dogs.

 

One thing to remember about labs is that they are "working" dogs. They were bred as gun dogs...and to retrieve game.

 

Like all working dogs, they need jobs to do. With Sarge (and Keg - who's still a pup...and in the training phase), I harnessed their instinct to retrieve into jobs such as collecting the mail, carrying grocery bags, the peg basket etc.

Sarge waited for the mailman to come...and would go out and collect the mail on his own. He'd also grab the peg basket and sit by the clothes line while you were taking the washing out of the machine.

 

Harnessing the instinct of the breed is what many of the good folks here do - either by working them for what they were bred to do - herd - or to channel that instinct/energy into "work" such as agility, flyball, frisbee etc.

 

Obviously, there are - in every breed - the couch potatoes and the potato farmers...but if your chosen buddy is reflective of their breed...and BC is in there...it'll probably be a pretty driven, high energy, attention seeking bundle of joy....oh, and if you have an ego problem...a BC isn't the dog for you...as it WILL be smarter than you :D

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I'm smiling at the wonderful pics. Glad to see Pahsa's not the only one who takes over the couch. Not to mention the bed.

We had a lab mix. Friendly good dog. Loved to jump on people and as much as I loved her she definintly had the which way did he go George personality.

We have a 9 yr old and 6 yr old. Had nipping problems as a puppy but she outgrew it and hasn't had any problems since. The neighbor kids come over and they all play tag and hide and seek. I've read a lot about bc's not mixing well with kids but wonder if it's not over exagerated. Or since we've had her since a pup she's just used to them?

Krista

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>

 

Why don't you train him not to do that? Why not teach him a "That's enough," or equivalent command? And wouldn't it be better to train your dog not to chase kids than to stand there "giving about 1 treat per second for not chasing"?

 

I agree that most people would not be happy with the lifestyle you describe in this post, but then again, I don't think most people would let their dog(s) set the agenda to this extent.

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"There are definitely BCs that do not require this much exercise, but if you are set on having a great frisbee dog, the drive required to play frisbee may have a whole related suite of behavioral traits that would not suit your wife one bit!"

 

Well, let's clarify. Is Mike looking for a dog to play Frisbee with in the back yard, or a competition superstar? If he is looking for a buddy to play with and one that will get him outside, it need not be a monster like you described. That's why an adult rescue is the perfect option.

 

I think that some of this crazy behavior that's being described is probably due to bored dogs with a total lack of anything meaningful to do. But on the other hand, some of it is because of the owners. I've heard people talking, and it's almost like having a "my dog is crazier than your dog because he does a, b, and c" conversation equals bragging rights?! Color me confused...Give them what they need and then teach them to settle!

 

Michele

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Well, I have had a few dogs in rescue that would have needed a TON of a work to settle. Those dogs do exist. I had one I owned who never could get enough work here, even with the sheep. She'd pace and worry - and she was a fear biter so that's eventually what got her a new home where she COULD get enough to do.

 

The trick, as a newcomer to the breed, is to go somewhere where you WILL be allowed to "meet and greet." Preferably if you go with a Border collie, you'll go through a counseling and evaluation service to ensure that your family and the dog will be an ideal match.

 

If you are presently sedentary and haven't made the lifestyle switch yet, make sure you have a postive plan what you will be doing with the dog. The average adult male human needs about 30 min to an hour, three times a week, of aerobic exercise to raise his metabolism and lose weight. The average suburban Border collie needs a couple hours of daily training and structured activities to fill both his physical and mental needs.

 

Not to mention if you get a dog that's fairly typical, you always have to have "Plan B" open - the possibility that you might have to get involved in formal training to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Are you prepared to go that extra mile if you find your dog is showing signs of boredom in spite of your best efforts? I've counseled so many well-meaning people who just didn't know what they were getting into initially, and they end up giving away their dogs to rescue.

 

And yes, there's such a wide range of personalities in Border collies that you can't generalize from two couch potatoes you might hear someone owns. I think in all my years of rescue I placed 5% couch potatoes (some of those were old or with health problems), 25% fine with walks around the block and the occaisional weekend hike, 50% with much higher physical and mental needs ranging from daily long runs right up to formal sport competition training, and 20% that essentially needed a full-time training or working environment.

 

Honestly, if those numbers are changing I'd be really afraid for the Border collie breed as a whole - those figures are well in line with its profile as a working dog. Not disc dog or running around the block dog, mind you - a dog bred to run one quarter to half a mile to fetch sheep and then run at least twice that again to perform twice daily chores, plus competitions on the weekend.

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Originally posted by Rebecca, Brook Cove Farm:

Well, I have had a few dogs in rescue that would have needed a TON of a work to settle. Those dogs do exist.

 

I think in all my years of rescue I placed 5% couch potatoes (some of those were old or with health problems), 25% fine with walks around the block and the occaisional weekend hike, 50% with much higher physical and mental needs ranging from daily long runs right up to formal sport competition training, and 20% that essentially needed a full-time training or working environment.

I absolutely agree that the highest end 20% do exist, and that they're not right for a family like Mike's. Sometimes, though, it seems like I hear lots and lots of silliness about dogs being "over the top" when really what the poor dog needs is for momma to take her finger off the ON switch.

 

So, Mike, check out rescues. They will know their dogs. Be honest with yourself about what you'll likely offer a dog DAILY, and then relay that to the rescue group. If you plan to hike 10 miles on the weekends, but will be lucky to get the dog out for five frisbee throws during the week, don't be afraid to say so. Your answers to their questions will shape their opinion about what dog will do best in your house, and the more honest you are, the happier you will all be in the end.

 

Best of luck.

Michele

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Originally posted by Carson Crazies:

Secondly, if you desire a dog that will make a good frisbee dog and have an off switch, I second what the others here have said... RESCUE.

My Bear was a darned good disc dog in his day, and while he was crazy during practice, play days, and competition, you have to *wake him up* to get him to go outside. It's beyond an off switch, it's like a rolling blackout. :rolleyes:

 

The drive, as it has been described, needed to be a good disc (flyball, agility) dog does not mean that the dog has to be a raving lunatic all the time. Even Wick has an off switch (more of a dimmer, really) which means that I can have dinner parties, poker nights, take conference calls from home, etc. and the dogs will lie in the corner, sleeping. Unless they hear food.

 

Oh, and both were rescues that I adopted as young adults.

 

dd_2003.jpg

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Originally posted by Columbia MO:

The only thing they have in common other than being popular yellow bird dogs is the fact that both breeds tend to have horrible manners with other dogs and can basically only play with other Labs or Goldens. (That's another story).

LOL! thanks for saying that, it actually made me feel MUCH better :D ... Gonzo is called a 'snob' and 'aggressive' and 'pushy' by many of our nieghbors ~ all that own Goldens and Labs, of course. He's awesome and will instantly play-bow with other herding dogs and basically any dog with a shred of manners. About 80-90% of the dogs in my large nieghborhood are Goldens or Labs, most of them walked off-leash on the roads and allowed to race up to Gonzo (on lead) and jump on top of him and bowl him over, and when my dog politely growls to tell them to buzz off, I'M the one with the rude dog :rolleyes:

 

sorry for my rant, but I LOVED your comment! I agree 100% about Labs, I know about 3 really well-behaved, well-adjusted, HEALTHY Labs (most of the others are either ridiculously hyper and aloof, or overweight and aloof) ~ and they're owners are total dog people who spend all of their time and resources, basically, on their dog. They're all well-bred healthy, under 120-lb Labs, who are Hunting bred too... you're SO right about well-bred Labradors being few and far between, because of their enormous popularity. My little sister's Dad (she lives with him and her step-Mom) allowed her to get a poorly-bred black Lab from a BYB ~ he now weighs more than her (120 lbs) and he's literally nuts! He could not be around kids under 10, ever, he'd probably seriously injure them just by jumping all over them. He's very sweet and good-natured, but he refuses to listen to almost any command given, he's very stubborn and aloof and hyper, and he can only be controlled with a Halti, and just barely controlled at that.

 

yeah... soo.. I second the notion that Labs wouldn't be a great choice (ESPECIALLY a Lab puppy!) for the OP, who seems considered about active dogs. I don't know if I'd suggest any type of BC ~ because Border Collies ARE a huge project. They don't mind if you miss one day of exercise, but even calm BC's need several sessions of vigorous exercise and training every week. I feel that the OP MIGHT have been attracted to BC's for the *fun* of playing frisbee or ball with them once in a while ~ but, at least my Border Collie, is not happy with a little session of ball-chasing every once in a while. He needs to learn new things, get out, be challenged and have his people exercise and work with him. I would personally recommend the OP go to a reputable rescue that screens the temperaments of their dogs heavily ~ and they adopt a relatively calm, undemanding adult dog who's game for ball-chasing or frisbee-catching if the opportunity arises. There are definitely some Border Collies that fit this description, but you really can't determine the activity levels the dog will grow up to have if you purchase a puppy.

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