Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Border Collie as a Pet

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Moobli, Nov 16, 2012.


  1. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    4,046
    For anyone even considering bringing a border collie into your home as a pet, please read this ...

    Border Collies are working dogs. They have been bred for many generations to fulfil a useful role for man - that of herding and protecting livestock.

    Over hundreds of years farmers, shepherds and other stockmen have kept dogs for that one purpose and have intentionally bred them to strengthen the instincts that they rely on to carry out this work.

    The look of the dog is not the first consideration, emphasis is placed on ability and intelligence - brains before beauty.

    It is these instincts that causes problems to people who wish to keep a Border Collie as a pet. The breed is ruled by its instincts and most Border Collies have a deep rooted need to be active and stimulated for most of the time. - they need to work.

    If this need is unfulfilled the dog can become frustrated, irritable, unpredictable in behaviour. Border Collies can become very confused when daily routines and lifestyle restricts freedom, exercise levels and mental stimulation. In short they can make very unhappy pets.

    Ultimately an unhappy dog will make a very unhappy owner.

    WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS ?

    Whilst the majority of Border Collies are eager to please, quick to learn, loyal and kind, some will still chase anything that moves, often nipping at their targets.

    Chasing is natural behaviour for a Border Collie - it only becomes a problem when the target is human - perhaps a child - a fast moving vehicle or another dog ( that may not take kindly to being rounded up and penned in a corner ).

    During training as a working sheepdog the inclination to 'grip' is controlled & surplus energy can be worked off - but without firm training to control this instinct, problems arise.

    Some Border Collies become possessive over toys, food or their owners. The breed has a natural inclination to bond closely with one person. This ability enables the dog to respond and work with its handler & other dogs - as a team.

    Without work and exercise to take the edge off the dog's intensity this bonding can result in over possessiveness. People or other dogs can be bitten in pre-emptive defence.

    Border Collies are not a naturally aggressive breed but they are very energetic, verging on hyperactive, and require a great deal of exercise and stimulation, especially when young, to work off excess energy.

    If the dog is not getting sufficient exercise and mental stimulation it will become unhappy and bored. If left alone in the house it will find something else to do to pass the time.

    All dogs naturally chew things and chewing can help pass time if there is nothing better to do.

    A young frustrated Border Collie can totally wreck a room in a few hours - an older dog may take more time but can be just as effective!

    WHAT DOES A BORDER COLLIE NEED FROM ITS OWNER?

    Most of all - plenty of exercise.

    A working Border Collie may cover 20 miles on an average day and many will effortlessly cover much more in a normal days work.

    and just as important - Mental Stimulation

    Border Collies also need some sort of reason or purpose to their lives - preferably something to do that requires training and discipline but allows the dog to think for itself and make its own decisions as part of its activities.

    Your Border Collie needs companionship - yours!

    A Border Collie will also require time, attention, training and guidance.

    They like to get things right and need to be shown what is correct behaviour and what is unacceptable.

    Without this training and guidance the dog will revert to its instincts to tell it how to behave. These instincts are misplaced in a pet home.

    It is a myth that the Border Collie is an easy breed of dog to train & control. The well trained & faithful dogs that are seen at sheepdog trials give the wrong impression of the breed.

    To achieve these standards of control requires a great deal of time and work from the dog and from the handler.

    The dog will always be willing to work at it - will you?

    As a Border Collie owner you will need to work as hard as your dog and give it some priority in your lifestyle -

    Any other relationship would be unfair to the dog.
     
  2. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    4,046
  3. Reverie

    Reverie PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2012
    Messages:
    1,837
    Likes Received:
    29
    A very informative post. It's just a shame that so many new dog owners will not bother to even look this far. :rolleyes:

    It's not just border collies either, my friend who I thought knew better told me that she would probably be getting a dog when she moves house (to add to her family of two cats) when I asked what type of dog she'd like she replied 'a husky, I've always liked them and I've seen some puppies advertised online'... Sigh. When I told her that they have a pretty high prey drive and are not recommended to be safe with cats she just changed the subject. :thumbdown:
     
  4. Megan345

    Megan345 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,520
    Likes Received:
    49
    Very true. We got Maisy from a lady with two young children who had realised that a Border Collie wasn't the sort of dog you could stick in the kitchen and forget about when you're busy.
     
  5. sligy

    sligy PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    701
    Likes Received:
    16
    We had a border collies when i was young, and i do love the breed but i would never want to own one again.
    My memories of our border collies when i was young were constantly chasing after them after they had jumped a 6 ft fence from a stand still.
    My granddad used to go out walking miles with the dog, 3 or 4 hours after he would have left the dog would turn up on its own. My granddad would have lost him because the dogs had seen a tractor or a car and chased it then got bored and come home. Granddad used to turn up looking flustered and worn out.
    Most of the time they were really clever and easy to train, they even used to fetch my granddads mail and slippers but when something caught their eye they were gone.
    They can run for miles and never tire, they are very clever and very pretty but they just have so much energy.
     
  6. dorrit

    dorrit PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2011
    Messages:
    4,835
    Likes Received:
    2,596
    True true true..

    We got Oscar from a rescue . He had been put up for adoption after being seized by police and animal welfare . His owners, an older couple had bought him not knowing what was needed and how busy BC's are ...They thought they could starve and beat the hyper out of him..

    Broken ribs, air gun wounds, various bruises and scars later dehydrated and weighing only half his normal body weight he spent 3 weeks in the rescues vet clinic before he came home with us.

    When I looked for a friend for him I was offered serveral BC's that people had bought thinking it would be fun to do flyball not realising that these dogs dont have an off switch the results were frustrated dogs herding children and other family pets into corners destroying the home and ending up crated 90% of the time.

    While I do blame bad ownership, I also blame bad breeders.. Breeding and selling a dog without proper background checks and information to new owners is just irresponsible.
     
  7. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    4,046
    I will say here what I have said in the other pet/working dog thread

    Thinking a bit more about this, I do wonder whether the serious working border collies that are being bred today are becoming even harder to handle for the average pet home. Speaking from a working point of view, there has never been a greater need for a good dog on the hill. The modern shepherd has, on average, at least four times as many sheep as his predecessors and will have to put his dogs out greater distances, as the neighbouring shepherd is not there any more to turn his sheep in.

    The problem lies on both sides. Unsuitable owners like the look of a border collie and go ahead with not enough insight into what makes the breed how it is, and too many farmers will sell to anyone with the cash, no questions asked
     
  8. simplysardonic

    simplysardonic Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2009
    Messages:
    27,590
    Likes Received:
    12,713
    I grew up with working collies & always said I'd never want to own a BC, but since we got Rogue (rescue mongrel who is showing a lot of collie traits) & I've started agility with her, I'm rethinking whether a BC (among several other breeds) may be a good future dog to do more serious agility with
     
  9. sophieanne93

    sophieanne93 PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    2
    I agree with you in terms of huskies with prey drives but if they are bought up with them then they aren't always an issue. My malamute is lovely with my cats and demon my husky, is growing up learning to ignore them :)
     
  10. BoredomBusters

    BoredomBusters PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    4,436
    Likes Received:
    358
    Good post, I won't take on BCs for dog walking anymore if they're in a pet home and they don't do any dog sports with them. Of course these kinds of homes rarely need a dog walker!

    I'm wondering if the working dogs are getting into more pet homes because (I'm led to believe) working dog owners would cull anything over 5 puppies, and maybe this is no longer happening and the pups are being sold to pet owners?
     
  11. dandogman

    dandogman PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2011
    Messages:
    5,514
    Likes Received:
    80
    tbh I would have thought more why it is happening is because farming in this country is going down the pan a bit, so the farmers have to look for other ways to boost their incomes, if they can make £300 on each puppy then that is £1500 if they had a litter of 5.
    ETA: I can't say I blame them, I would do the same tbh.
     
    #11 dandogman, Nov 17, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  12. speug

    speug PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    Messages:
    1,952
    Likes Received:
    529
    I think it also depends on what you view as a "pet home". I would class Angus as a pet first and foremost, but one who is my companion and comes with me on long walks up hills and mountains, who gives me a good excuse to go for birdwatching trips along the coast while he plays on the beach. When he was approaching 1 I thought he might be the kind of dog who would enjoy agility so signed us up for a beginners course, we now train at least once a week at the club and practice bits at home between times, we also do a little bit of formal obedience although I'm not so interested in that.

    My last collie wasn't able to go to anything like agility as he was very nervous in a lot of situations, but his focus in life was on playing with his toys - he had a large collection, knew every one by name, liked to show you them on request - if you asked to see one by name he'd go off and fetch it, and he spent a large proportion of the time he wasn't out and about on walks herding his toys to safe places the cat couldn't steal them, which kept him fully occupied (in his mind anyway) and happy.

    I got a border collie because I wanted a dog who would thrive on exercise, would also enjoy learning things and playing games that mean using his brain and I went for a farm collie from working lines because as long as their exercise and mental needs are met, they can find it easier to settle than some of the show lines - I also prefer the look of working collies, some of the show lines are a bit too "solid" for my liking.

    I think people should stop and think if their lifestyle is right for any breed of dog before they get it, but even more so for a working breed - they CAN make good pets - but they WILL need the right home that can meet their needs and give them the job they require. You also need to be prepared for any and all typical collie traits - some like to herd more than others, some are very sound sensitive, some not, some like their world to be totally organised and fear anything different - some find change exciting. My current and last dogs were polar opposites in many ways, but both very definitely collies as opposed to any other breed.
     
  13. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    4,046
    What are you reasons for not taking on BCs for dog walking any more? Did you encounter too many with behavioural issues?

    I have never heard of working folk culling anything over 5 pups tbh, but that is of course not to say that this hasn't happened in some circumstances.

    The problem, as I see it, is multi-faceted. Border collies have become more and more popular as pets in the recent past (and probably not helped by the One Man & His Dog programmes). Hence supply has met and exceeded (many times over) demand. Both sides are to blame. The GP have decided to make the border collie a pet dog, and farmers are only too happy to sell to those with the cash. Farm bred collies (even those registered with the ISDS) are sold for anywhere between £50 to £200. A show/sport bred collie may well be sold for in excess of £500. Hence the appeal to certain people. Let's face it, pedigree working bred border collie pups are cheap compared to the vast majority of other pedigree breeds.

    Thankfully border collies excel at any number of dog sports and disciplines, so there is an outlet for their working nature for those who wish to take part, and give their collie something to do.

    Just as an aside, I have nothing against flyball/agility, but it does appear to me to be a world away from what the BC was originally bred. However, if it gives the working collie a "job" to do and teamwork with his owner then it can't be all bad :D
     
  14. BoredomBusters

    BoredomBusters PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2011
    Messages:
    4,436
    Likes Received:
    358
    Yes I've had three - which isn't a large sample of course, but the first one (6months) wouldn't leave another dog alone and bit me on the second day so he went home. A friend who is a behaviourist mentioned that dog, she'd been called in after the second dog walker wouldnt take him out with other dogs anymore. The other one I puppy sat until she was just over 6 months and couldn't control her any longer - chasing and barking at joggers and cyclists,, and broke 2 harnesses trying to keep her on lead. The day she ran at least half a mile away after breaking a harness and made someone fall off his bike I passed her to another dog walker who walked her in farmers fields where people didn't go. Within 2 months the family had rehomed her. The other one was just boarding, but was a resource guarded and I was fed up with being growled at, so nothing really to do with being a BC possibly...

    I've just learned when my instincts tell me something, I should listen. I don't take on dogs who live on my estate either - another 3 dog sample that didn't go well...
     
  15. CaliDog

    CaliDog Greedy Mummy Bear!

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2012
    Messages:
    4,115
    Likes Received:
    544
    Great post!! :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

    I always wanted a BC so then started to do my research as i didn't know much about them when i found out how much psychical and mental exercise they needed i was put off a little bit for my first dog, but went for it as i knew i could meet the needs of a BC.

    I was expecting a very hyper on the go all the time kind of dog but if exercised enough both mentally and psychically i think they make great pets!

    Cali goes on a local field every day and chases and brings back her Frisbee for a good 30-40 mins and has kongs and we do bits of training, and she is a calm non destructive poochie.

    If anyone thinking about getting a BC or any dog for that matter research is a must!
     
  16. genna ann

    genna ann PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have 2, both researched carefully and bred for pets,

    both my collies are luscious and very loving and i'm very lucky.

    They dont work as such but did dog training to KC gold good citizenship and i do agility,

    I dont do show type stuff cos i want them as pets.

    i also have some collie crosses, one of which is very driven, I think of her like a dog with OCD, she doesnt like peasants , joggers or cyclists not to be in neat groups.

    I am very aware of this and control her urges as best i can - its in her, its hard to change ot when she was already 4 when she came to me.

    You just have to be aware :)
     
  17. Moobli

    Moobli PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,979
    Likes Received:
    4,046
    You have a border collie snob? :laugh::laugh::laugh: Sorry I couldn't resist!
     
  18. alyssa_liss

    alyssa_liss PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    May 4, 2009
    Messages:
    1,837
    Likes Received:
    13
    this is why my max is one of a kind , hes a working border collie off a farm as a puppy. he is so chilled and lazy in the house its untrue.

    i wouldnt reccomend BCs though and tell people hes a 'broken' border collie
     
  19. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Messages:
    17,923
    Likes Received:
    11,512
    Two of a kind! Kite's also off a farm, bred from working parents. She's a Welsh Sheepdog rather than a border Collie, supposed to be a bit calmer. She's never been hyper, never been destructive after teething (when she went for fleece blankets), very chilled around the house. Since my leg injury, I haven't been able to walk her as much as I'd like to, but we do agility, obedience, tricks and stuff. She's no problem, and I'd get another Welshie from a farm like a shot - and from farms is about the only source for them.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice