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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
As many of you know I have an elderly BC cross who I had trained as my helper. She's 12 next March and I've been looking for a dog that will be trained up to take over from her.

I'm (supposedly) looking for a smaller breed as now in wheelchair full time my main reasons for downsizing were:

* worried about been able to give exercise a young BC would need in winter in particular after been snowed in the last few years 1-2 weeks.

*if dog got injured paw and I was only in powerchair I couldn't pick him/her to carry them home/to village vet. (in case I can no longer manage mobility scooter in the future where they could get a ride on the platform)

However I find myself constantly drawn to the BC's that need rescuing and sometimes small ones if they look like a mini border collie.

I realise finding a small breed that looks like a mini border collie would take alot longer and wonder.. if I'm so attracted to that look and breed if I could manage ?

Should I discount them on the basis I might not be able to get them out for 1-2 weeks once a year due to deep snow or in case of an emergency that might never happen? ..considering also once I reached stage I was in same powerchair all day I'm also likely to have had to employ a PA and could make it part of their job description for them to walk him/her if I was ill (flu) or unable to get out due to been snowed in, or find a dog walker just for those 2 weeks?

Inca was challenging and luckily I was fully mobile when I first rescued her, so I'd either need to start with a young puppy before it had chance to develop behaviour issues from someone else's mistreatment OR rescue one a bit older what may already have some basic training and good calmer temperament.

or should I stick with looking for a smaller dog that would fit on my knee if needed in future? ..and maybe lower exercise needs for when others need to walk him/her for me?..or so I wouldn't have to worry if I was snowed in cos it could get exercise from garden or chasing a ball down the hall! (just till I could get out again)
 

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I know nothing about helper dogs, so forgive me if I'm being ignorant. I constantly marvel at how well trained helper dogs are. None of the dogs I've owner would have been able to help me do anything except finish my dinner.

You said you had your last dog trained to be your helper dog? I presume that was by someone else from the way you've worded it. If that was an organisation, couldn't you approach them for advice?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I said 'I had trained her'. My dad was alive then and he helped me with the soundwork (I'm also hearing impaired) she initially alerted me to phone, doorbell and smoke alarm. A friend does have an Hearing Dog so had lent me the manual and showed me what exercises she had to do with hers so had bit of extra help in initial stages.

I taught her stuff like laundry etc once I needed wheelchair as my dad had passed away by then, and she was nearly 4yrs old by then.

I live on my own now and am mostly housebound, other than been able to get around village and local parks on my scooter. I was hoping it would be easier in sense he/she would have another dog to learn from so would see Inca getting high value treat for telling me phone was ringing and copy in order to get a treat.

I also have loads of 'mental activity' toys for them around the house as Inca always needed to be busy too so he/she would have loads of Interactive puzzles, a garden agility course, paddling pool, ball pit and GoDogGo ball launcher.

Obviously he/she will also be training daily learning the commands/tasks for about the first year (unless I took one from 8 weeks old then I'd start 'assistance tasks' after it reached one and start with basic first) so I'm fairly sure I can keep them mentally stimulated and get out twice a day for most days of the year. (45 mins- 1 hr run in mornings , 30-45 mins afternoon or vice versa depending on weather). Would this be enough for a young collie 2-5yrs old?
 

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It would probably be best to ask a rescue centre that deals solely with Border Collies.

Wiccaweys and The Border Collie Spot are two that spring to mind but there are others.

The two I have mentioned above would certainly be the best people to advise you and possibly find you a suitable young rescue to meet your requirements.

Not all collies are maniacs that need hours of mental stimulation and exercise, particularly some of the failed sheepdogs.

Just a thought.
 
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A friend who is quadriplegic has collies as assistance dogs, he trains them himself for the help he needs, as one matures he trains a younger one up and it works well for him, if the weather was really bad he plays games with them indoors, hide and seek and did extra work and trainingm anything to keep them busy and active till they could all go out.

He did drive though so was able to take them to the park and let them out for a mooch in bad weather just not really bad.

I do think it's doable for you to still use collies personally.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Yes, I love the BC intelligence and temperament. Inca's so smart! She saved my life once using that intelligence of hers! where circumstances were not exactly the same as in training. My kitchen was filling with smoke while I was asleep and alarm had FAILED to go off, she had been trained to do the DANGER sign when smoke alarm went off, but woke me up and dropped to floor barking (not allowed to lead me to the sound as with doorbell and phone, in case was ever a real fire) and looking towards kitchen. I went to investigate to find kitchen full of smoke as some oven gloves had dropped onto an electric ring I had accidently left on after dinner!


I go so clucky when I see a border collie puppy..lol! (that could be the menopause though! :eek: ) but I'd love a little boy this time around that was proper Border Collie (pedigree) and to have him from a young age so he grows up understanding my needs.

I know of someone similar (deaf with physical disability) who is going through training with a second dual dog (Canine Partners & Hearing Dogs) as his other had major behavioural issues only after 2 yrs with him. but the training is so intense for 6-9 months and them been passed from puppy parents to training centres and foster parents then expected to bond with a total stranger at 2-3years old...and the guy has no speech ..the dog was taught sign when going through deaf training centre 3 months ago but with people who could speak and hear.

Inca has grown up with me from 4 months. I do have some speech and can manage 1-2 word sentences fairly clearly and she knows sign too (from the beginning)...I feel it's much less pressure for them and of course she hasn't had to work in public been a pet.

She did used to enjoy visits to Pets at Home though when I lived near enough to scooter there and taking things off shelf and putting them in basket I put on my footplate. ..she was a monkey though and once tried to sneak a pink elephant (soft toy) in... I said 'put it back!' ..you got loads at home!..and make her put it back on shelf.. we turned round and staff at counter were helpless with laughter!! :D

Is the guy who trains his own Collies on here? I'd love to email him about this?
 

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It could also be worth considering other similar breeds - English Shepherd or Welsh Sheepdog. Both tend to be calmer than BC's, are at least as intelligent and they are less inclined to picking up phobias and neurotic behaviours. My Welsh Sheepdog was a dream to train, and when she was only getting one walk every other day when I had my knee op, it wasn't a problem. I just played some games with her in the house. With you, an assistance dog would get plenty of mental stimulation just from the jobs it was asked to do. That's more tiring in a day than many collie type dogs get from running around.

As for the injured-paw scenario, many vet practices have a van they collect animals with for disabled customers.
 

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As regards dog going on the mobility scooters, not quite the same but the farmers round here all have BC and all have mini quadbikes to get out to the sheep, the amount of time you see the dogs stuck on the farmers lap, clinging on for dear life, having a whale of a time ... where there's a will, there's a way, and it's amazing what BC's can pick up ... the bad stuff too ... still trying to teach mine to get the logs in from outside into the basket, but no, they think they're better under the table being chewed on ...
It's not always about physical exercise, if they're being stimulated mentally then that's equally tiring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't seen a English Shepherd before! Is it smaller than BC? I've heard of Welsh and Australian.

Th injured paw scenario was a worry after one time I'd taken powerchair into small park as scooter won't fit through swing gate. Inca had stepped on something awkward but she has a bit of arthritis so it was making her limp and cos she's too big for me to carry home (and vets is further) I just had to walk her back very slowly limping... That's when I wondered if I maybe better with smaller breed that could be picked up easier. .. however my heart seems to be with the collie breed!

Inca will ride on footplate and I am planning to get a bike trailer adapted to fit on back so she can still come longer treks with us to the local lakes as she gets older. As she is quite tall (23" at shoulder) I reckon if she fits, a BC would for squeezing on the footplate with their head on my knee just to whizz across a busy junction/mini roundabout that we have to cross to get to lake. They would trot alongside on the safe pavements and Inca would then ride in the bike trailer.

I also felt really guilty in 2010 for first time (since been in wheelchair full time) I was completely snowed in for 2 weeks solid and Inca didn't understand why we couldn't go out. But we had 8" snow here and the estate road was like sheet ice, even neighbours cars were struggling with wheels spinning up the road!
 

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I don't think many of us went out to the full capacity during that weather, round here in the mountains were I live most paths were inaccessible for weeks nad I couldn't get the car out for a week as the snowplough buried it, so it was only shorter walks all round - I wouldn't feel guilty about it at all ... that was exceptional weather (I hope)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
smaller than Inca height wise I was meaning I wasn't gonna go as big as another large breed (23" at shoulder and above).

Any bigger and it won't fit on my scooter footplate for a ride when needed.. lol! Inca only just fits!

I'll do bit more research on those and the Welsh ones.

Thanks
 
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