“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Do Border Collies Make Good Pets?

I was with a group today, and was asked a variation of a question I get many times. "Are Border Collies good house dogs?" NO!

They are athletic and attractive dogs, but don't be fooled by the good looks and agility. It comes with a price. Time. Yours. These dogs stay active for most of, on average, a fourteen year life span."Do they make good pets?" Yes - if you walk them four times a day. I mean it! They are work. They look for work. They need work - physical and mental. They are genetically, naturally, historically working animals - whether you want them to be or not. We hosted four 4-H lambs three summers ago, and as soon as Jock got in the corral with them, he had them grouped against the wall, without us giving any commands. We don't know any herding commands!For lack of goats or sheep to herd after the morning chores, Jock "herds" the tractors, quads, wheel barrows, lawnmowers, whatever moves. He runs everywhere he goes. He watches everything for movement, and can't wait for us to start up a motor.Tired is not a condition you often see a Border Collie in, which is why they can easily become a pest or unhappy. By the time he was almost two years old, we had become Jock's third owner. He needed intense attention and probably got those four walks a day - minimum. Winter or summer. Some Border Collies are known to herd people when they are bored. They become intimidating and nippy. We were able to avoid that with lots of walks and play.If you want to learn more about the work going into saving Border Collies and other dogs, visit The Dog Liberator blog. There they talk about the habits and personalities of these dogs, and the work they take to train and make each of them part of a home.Our Jock is a happy dog because he gets to run, chase and herd. Can't you see the smile? But remember, it comes with a price. Hard work.


Lois Evensen said...

Great post. It's good to tell potential dog owners what it's all about for each breed. That cute pup in the pet store will grow up with a personality that is breed-specific. We have friends with Border Collies at our dog club. They are great dogs and wonderful agility athletes. We have Labrador Retrievers who are also high energy and need lots of attention, but not quite as much as Border Collies.

Extra pets to Jock!


dotsie said...

I read a book a few years ago about a Border Collie called A Good Dog: The Story of Orson, Who Changed My Life It was written by Jon Katz.
It was a story --true-about the way this Border Collie, through the sheer energy he required to thrive, changed the life course of his owner, for the better. However, there still was I sad ending.
Our childhood dog was part Border Collie and my dad, visiting recently, commented on his life. He said he wished that we had been able to live where Thunder could run and work, because being a domesticated "pet" was not the best life for him. Still, he was sweet to all, except the garbage collectors, whom he wanted to herd right out of the neighborhood.

Kittie Howard said...

Great post. And great advice. Animal Planet had a program that show-cased various dogs and what they demanded. I remember Border Collies as being up there, along with the Rhodesian Ridgeback, with those that needed lots of space.

We have people in our condo who have young German Sheps that are cooped up inside most of the day. I feel really, really sorry for the dogs.

Deere Driver said...

Neither of us had dogs since we were kids, but we have had several cats, and we couldn't even force them to be indoor cats. We also had great yards for them to roam nearby, and trained them to be in at night (it is possible). We also trained them to sit, roll over, etc. I guess we really wanted dogs, but knew our limitations at the time.

To keep a Shepard in a condo without lots of regular walks is asking for trouble. I hope they get their dogs busy and tired before they are a problem. Another breed that looks for work.

We live by the motto, "A tired dog is a good dog".