Looking at a Border Collie

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Lisa in WA, Oct 13, 2006.

  1. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    We are going tomorrow to look at some Border Collies that are almost a year old. The man who is selling them teaches people and dogs to herd. Well, the people don't do the herding but you know what I mean. :p Is it good to buy a dog that isn't a young pup? It would be nice to be herding more quickly but will a year old collie still bond with us? I didn't know we had someone around here that did this...It will be interesting to at least meet him.
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    I've always had pups but I can see an adult bonding well. They require a lot of attention and if they get it they will feel as part of the pack/family. I like my BC she's great as a pet and lots of fun as a working sheep dog. Truth be told shes a luxury the sheep farm shouldn't afford, but as I said she's a pet first. If she was strictly a farm dog I'd think she'd be more trouble on the off times than she'd be worth. Hope to hear more about this gentleman's dogs and his teaching methods.
     

  3. GrannyCarol

    GrannyCarol Well-Known Member Supporter

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    My experience with dogs over the years would say - yes, an adult will bond just great! As long as the dog has a good basic temperament and has been bonded to the people that have it now, it will transfer that bond to new people. Generally I'd prefer not to get a dog that is between about 4 months and a year old - there are some odd phases during that period and the adult temperament isn't as settled. It's harder to tell what you are getting and harder to shape than a younger pup. Once they are a year or so old, you ought to be able to tell if they are well rounded individuals.

    When I've had to place older dogs, I've always given them a couple of weeks to be sure the dog fit in before the deal was final. A great dog may not match up well with a good owner, it just happens that way sometimes.

    If you go, you like the man, you like the dog offered and he will let you try it out, I'd sure go for it! :) If you want to change the dog's name, it will learn a new one in a few days and a couple of handfuls of treats, btw.

    ~ Carol
     
  4. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    IMO, Honestly getting an older dog is the best way to aquire a dog that will herd. Not every herding breed of dog will herd, so all of those people out there that insist on getting a puppy to bring up with their family to bond first and then learn to herd may not get what they want. (Then what happens to the dog?)

    To me, gaining the dogs respect, then trust then obediance, and last it's friendship is important. For instance, take out the fact that you want the dog to herd. As a pet, the most important thing is that you gain the dogs respect. In order to do that, someone in your family MUST establish the alpha position in your "families pack" -chances are that has already been established in a human way/understanding. (What I mean is if the husband/father/male is the "head of the household" yelling at the kids when in trouble, then don't expect susie homemaker who normally doesn't raise her voice except to say "wait until your father gets home" to try to assume the alpha role where the dog is concerned. [please- I don't want to hear from all of the susie-homemakers out there ticked-off at my responce, I'm just trying to show an example of establishing the alpha in a dog pack.]

    Ok, now let's say you want the dog to be a herding dog, the same basic rule applies. If you don't have the dogs respect, established thru the alpha role, then chances are it will not turn out the way you'd like it to. Example, let's say you guys do like the way the dog works/obeys this guy, but after the settle-in period at your home, the dog just doesn't perform the way it did for him. It could be that you lack the same level of respect the orginal owner had.

    Trust is gained in the same manor as trust with your child, developed over a period of time. Starting out with the dogs training, you might have a long line/check line on the dog, to make sure it responds to you when you tell it to heel/resturn to you. [typical herding term for that is: "That will do"] not "come here" because typical herding command for circle clockwise is "Come Bye" so in dog language you're first telling to dog to come to you, then expecting it to go out and circle the livestock -very confusing for the dog. Extending that trust, you would eventually take the long line off the dog, and find ways that the dog can learn to trust you. [You takinging the line off the dog is you trusting the dog, what also needs to be established is the dog trusting you. That may be estabilished by allowing the dog to work or make decissions beyond your view? ex. sending the dog down the valley or around the barn out of sight to gather the flock, letting the dog make some mental decissions may estabilish trust on his part.]

    ...well, I'm out of time now, I have to go to work for the the day, but I bet you all get the idea. For those tired of reading my rambling..... I'm gone

    Slev
     
  5. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Be careful if you have Livestock guard dogs and then get a BC. Sheep learn to trust my Anatolians so much that they frustrate BC to the point of distraction - they will not be herded. Some BC handle the frustration well, others just get more and more agressive with the sheep, sometimes doing damage to the sheep in their efforts to get them to move. I have seen shredded ears and bite marks. If I had one that ever drew blood on one of my sheep I would be forced to shoot it (have in the past). Sheep are worth more to me than BC's.

    BC's in my opinion are a full time job - to smart for most people and they NEED a full time job to be happy.
     
  6. mpillow

    mpillow Well-Known Member Supporter

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    YES! Border Collies will not just change one light bulb when asked...they'll change them all and be ripping up the old carpet w/o being asked :shrug:

    Mine has been busying herself catching the leaves as they drop out of the sky and stealing things from the neighbors :nono:

    She also keeps close tabs on our new GSP puppy....sometimes too close...pinning her down and flipping her when pup goes too far. That being said she also lets puppy bite her tail, jump on her and get in her kennel when outside....Our border collie also likes to chase our cat (in play) but when pup attempted to chase Kitty the BC showed us that she knew it was wrong and quickly cut pup off and scolded pup :shrug: Apparently only BC is allowed to play w/ Kitty....LOL When no one is looking Kitty and Border Collie lay in the driveway together or on top of my car together :help:

    As a puppy I thought we might get rid of BC (she was hyper) but once she hit a year old she was much calmer and biddable.
     
  7. wendle

    wendle Well-Known Member

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    Good luck on your border collie. He or she will adjust fine especially if you are using him for livestock work. Spend as much time as possible with the dog take him everywhere you can. I am always amazed at how intelligent and useful these dogs are. It's good that you are buying from a person who uses and trains border collies, not just a pet breeder so you can get help and advice on the dog when you need it.
     
  8. carly

    carly on winged flight...

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    I have a solid yes answer to your question. I have had several BCs and if you give them the attention and work them that they deserve and need they will stick to you like glue. One of the most loving and loyal breeds there is.

    I train BCs for sheep herding. They are generally smarter than you are-- lol-- so don't be afraid to ask them for more than you normally would when training a dog. They will answer the call.

    Just one word:

    Go and LOOK. Don't be so excited that you take the first one or whatever, that you see. Evaluate the dog,play with him and ask him to naswer commands for you without the owner in sight. Test his mouth temperment by giving and then gently taking away a toy or chewie. Pet him all over, find any touchy spots and ask the owner why. Then tell the owner you will take him upon a vet check.....returnable if not healthy. You do not want bad hips or eyes....yadda.

    If you do it right you can have a wonderful companion. If you do it "wrong" you will have a nightmare---like the BC I am training now for some city people who had no clue. A very mean dog, cannot get near it, barks and is contantly defensive.
    He is coming along, much better, but I would never (yet) leave him alone or with people without the owner or in a contained environment.

    Good luck!!!
     
  9. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Lisa, did you go look? What do you think?
     
  10. Lisa in WA

    Lisa in WA Formerly LisainN.Idaho Supporter

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    We went and looked at the dogs and the people were very nice and very knowlegeable. They worked sheep with their adult dogs and it was really amazing to watch in person. They have three dogs available: Duck, a tricolor smooth coat who seems very friendly but veers away just as you tr to touch him; Fen, a 9 month old black and white long coat male, who is quite friendly but hasn't worked with sheep yet. He was extremely interestrd in the cows in the next field and watched them intently. Dot is a 12 month old female who has "the eye" and has worked sheep twice in the past couple of weeks. She is really into the sheep, but nips them a little and my concern about Dot is that she is very timid with us. Of course, it was a circus with sheep and dogs running around.
    I think my daughter and I will go back this week and spend some quieter time trying to get to know them and see if Dot warms up. The last thing I want is to get a dog and have to send it back. We are looking for a herding dog, but also a companion.
     
  11. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Glad you got to see them work and are going back for a second visit with Dot! I'll be anxious to hear how it goes.


    I went to a friend's today as she had her trainer come down from Canada to work sheep. There's a group of four that usually drive up, but today the trainer came down, much to my delight. It was so much fun watching the dogs. The trainer had three dogs that she brought down and they were quite well trained (one may be for sale soon...$5000 Canadian!) The other dogs were in training, which made things difficult as the sheep weren't accustomed to being worked and the facility wasn't built for training. Still, it was fun for me (and I got some good pics that I'll share just as soon as I can get them up.)

    Interestingly, when I was speaking with the trainer she told me that what I wanted was a BC (there'd been a nice litter of aussies there that I'd been snuggling with) as they're better and driving my sheep from my place to the neighbors. She told me there was a nice dog in a rescue up in Canada that was originally from WA. Yeah, I said, is it Slick, aka Lewis? She said it was, and I told her the rescue refused to answer my emails. So she told me to do some name dropping and see if that opened the door. Turns out she trained the rescue person's dogs, so maybe I'll be able to actually see this dog after all! (I do believe I whined about it on the pet forum, lol!)