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Dogs from working stock - do they make good pets?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by alphadog, Jun 30, 2009.


  1. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

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    (following on from another thread)

    Do dogs acquired from working stock - particularly working sheepdogs and border collies - make good pets?

    Can an average or inexperienced owner provide enough physical and mental stimulation to keep these inherently intelligent breeds satisfied?

    What are your thoughts?
     
  2. bird

    bird PetForums VIP

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    I think as long as the owner is prepared to put some effort in, then yes working stock do make good pets. Seen and know plenty of em. One guy has a working stock cocker as his first ever dog and is doing great with him. But he is putting the effort in.
     
  3. Dundee

    Dundee Banned

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    I think it depends on what sort of pet they want.

    If they want a couch potato that they can go for a daily walk with, then no. On the other hand, if they are an active family that enjoys lots of outdoors type activities that the dog could join in with, or they enjoy alternative canine sports like agility, obedience, flyball etc, then yes - I can see no problem. I would also add the proviso that, while it depends on the breed, they probably don't make good first pets, but for someone with experience - no problem.
     
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  4. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    One of our dogs comes from working stock,he is our 8th dog we have had over the years,he has been the hardest to train in all aspects,he seems to get the hang of things,was really good at dog obedience in class but once outside off lead was a different matter,thought nothing of running off for about 3 hrs,so i retrained him outside with a 30ft lead,after a week he was great,but he always wants to be on the go ,nose to the ground,he nows does agility training,i think he looks on it as his work,he is so focused when doing it,he is only 2 yrs old,wow what a 2yrs its been i am sure i was not this grey when we got him :smilewinkgrin: I would not recommend a dog from working stock to a family home unless the person had really researched the breed,
     
  5. Don't think I would recommend a weimaraner to any new inexperiened owner! UNLESS they had masses of time to devote to it's training!
    DT
     
  6. cdcclub

    cdcclub PetForums Member

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    Totally agree with this.
     
  7. kenla210

    kenla210 PetForums Senior

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    I think it is fine providing you are prepared to put the effort in, and dependent on personal circumstances.

    e.g. there is no way I could cope with a collie, but seem to do alright with my working cocker...

    Research is obviously a must, although I confess I did not really know what I was taking on with a working cocker, when the book said they were more energetic than show types, it was difficult to really understand what this meant.

    I sure get it now, and actually it is fine for us, but I can understand how other families may get caught out, and reckon it is up to the breeder to really impress the difference on prospective new owners, to see if they are up to the task...
     
  8. Thorne

    Thorne PetForums VIP

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    Our two family dogs both came from working stock - a Welsh Collie and a Lab, the Lab is still with us - and both have made great pets IMO.

    Aysha (collie) was - predictably - a high energy and high intelligence dog so she atteneded training classes more to keep her mind occupied than for basic obedience. She also helped herd our ducks and chickens (we didn't train her to do it, the instincts just kicked in!) :)
    BUT she wasn't hugely happy around children in her older years. We never found it to be a problem but she wouldn't have been happy in a larger family with small kids.

    Talking working sheepdogs, I think that if a relatively inexperienced owner prepares themself for a possible challenge and takes training seriously then such dogs can - and do - make good pets.
    An "average" owner perhaps not. As previously mentioned in the thread they really do need extra mental and physical stimulation ;)

    Scooter is a little neurotic and was very high energy and overall high maintenance until he was around 3-4. He's now mellowed out a lot, possibly partly due to a change in food and unlike Aysha he adores kids. He was also easy to train in most obedience.
    His big problem is border-line excessive sniffing when out on walks. He's more like a Bloodhound in that respect and if he gets a whiff off something he wants then you'll be hard pushed to recall him back.
    He's also wary around men due to a bad experience when he was younger but is perfect once he realises that someone poses no threat to him or us.
     
  9. haeveymolly

    haeveymolly PetForums VIP

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    I have had 3 working bred springers have 2 at the moment and they have been fine, i find them easier to train, its inbred. You also have to remember that as far as springers are concerned is their natural instincts so to get a working springer and lead walk it around the streets would be wrong they need to be in their working environment, woods fields and off the lead (so very important to train off lead).

    All our have been k.c registered, have f.t.w and f.t.ch in their 3/4 generations so have chose the f.t.w andf.t.ch to be further back in the generation than immediate parents as the dogs are then a little calmer(or supposed to be:D:D).
     
  10. rona

    rona Guest

    I think it is hard enough for a first time owner to get their head around all the things they need to learn when getting their first puppy, without the added hassle of a dog with huge inbred traits.
    Collies are very hard dogs to understand and stimulate in a home environment, even for more experienced owners. The rules for other dogs don't necessarily work with a Collie
    Obviously there are going to be exceptions to the rule, but I would never recommend a Collie as a first dog, let alone a working bred Collie
     
  11. To add!
    Collies are very quick to learn! a downside can be that they pick up bad habits as quickly as they do good traits!
    DT
     
  12. alphadog

    alphadog PetForums VIP

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    It's a strange one isn't it. I suppose we never really know what goes on behind closed doors and how much work people put into their dogs, but I've noticed (as a Border Collie fanatic) that almost all of the BCs around here come from farm working stock, probably accidental litters, and all of them appear to be well adjusted collies.

    On the other hand, the other local BCs are rescue dogs and I worry that they have been handed in/dumped because they are simply too much for the unsuspecting owner. BCs have a habit of becoming neurotic without the right stimulus
     
  13. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    As a rule of thumb, then no they don't make good pets, unless you are prepared to put in the work with them. Lets face it, most of the population in the UK are lazy with regards to dog ownership. You only need to look at the rescue centres...... This does not apply to the people on here as quite clearly, the people who ask for advice and who spend their time talking about their dogs, do their best.

    It's the same with the siberian husky's. A very demanding breed due to their energy levels, but do people bother to find out ...... No they look cute, so I'll have one!

    I have 3 dogs and I would not get a BC, a husky or any breed that requires that much work, as I am honest enough to know that I do not have the time.
     
  14. JSR

    JSR PetForums VIP

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    Personally I think not, I've had so many dogs coming for training from working stock I've lost count!! Working dogs have generations of dogs behind then telling them to behave a certain way and suddenly they are expected to behave another. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, and of course you make what you can with your dog but I do think generally working dogs should be doing a job for their sake as much as the owners. It doesn't necessarily have to be the job there are 'designed' for but if I had a working breed of dog it would certainly be getting the mental stimulation it requires. My JRT came from working stock, he was useless which is why he ended up in rescue but I recognise his need to hunt and I allow him to express this urge. Without doing so I have no doubt he'd be distructive and unhappy, but because he's 'worked' twice a day while on his walk his natural instinct is being utilised and he's quiet in the home.

    Living in rural Wales the number of collies dumped at the rescues is absolutely shocking and you can guarantee the majority have been bought by well meaning people from farms. They've thought there were 'saving' the dog from a cruel life of the working collie when in actual fact they are subjecting the dog to a life of frustration and depression.

    Myself and many other trainers I know wouldn't take on a collie..and NEVER a working one. There are not novice owners dogs, but ideal for active homes with agility, flyball etc aspirations. I remember Lynn Davies from Dog Borstal saying 'I'll never have a collie...I don't want a dog with better brains than me!' and I agree with that 100%
     
    #14 JSR, Jul 1, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2009
  15. lauren001

    lauren001 PetForums VIP

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    I think this cute puppy thing is the undoing of many dogs.
    The average person works or has children and really doesn't have the time to spend nurturing a normal dog without trying to keep a working dog happy.
    They see collie pups cheaply on farms and do not think of the needs of the dog or see those wonderful looking husky pups with their baby blue eyes and have no idea of the prey drive of the adults, or are swayed by the rarity value of some new breed that should be herding goats in the mountains or hunting for deer in the depths of forests.

    Thankfully many dogs end up fairly well adjusted with very little supervision and training apart from the basics so many just get away with it. The dogs that don't comply with the "no training" regime, often because the have been bred to have another agenda, end up in rescue or are put down.
    I feel like many on here that the motivation to go and get a dog in the first place is poorly thought out in most cases.
     
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  16. Dundee

    Dundee Banned

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    I completely agree and that goes for whether they are working bred or not.

    Good breeders tend to weed out unsuitable homes and won't sell them a puppy, however, pet bred, byb breeders and puppy farms either don't have the knowledge to do so or don't care - they just want to sell the pups and this is how unsuitable dogs end up in unsuitable homes.
     
  17. JSR

    JSR PetForums VIP

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    Amen to that!! It never ceases to amaze me the people I see with puppies that you just know 3 months down the line the dog will be dumped!! We had a £1300 Mastiff left at the rescue last year, it was 5 months old!!! The person had bought it 'cos it was soooo cute' and after only 3 weeks realised it was 'getting big'. I wish the breeder had been responsible and I wish the buyer hadn't been so bloody stupid, and I wish I had £1300 to throw away!!!!!!! That said the fella that adopted him was over the moon and I still get updates from him and his beloved dog.
     
  18. PembrokeMadhouse

    PembrokeMadhouse PetForums VIP

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    My first dog is a collie - people told me don't get collies they are too intelligent and too hyper - so what do I do I get Meg - well, personally she is anything but hyper and the intelligence thing is still in debate!!! She is lovely, I got her at 3 1/2, so she had the recall, but not much else! As long as she is with me, she is happy! She spends most of her day snoring her head off, oh, and all the night too! She is lovely in every way - but I would say I've been lucky - our foster pup is a nightmare!
    !!!
     
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