Border collies - would love to hear your experiences.

(74 Posts)
Beachcomber Thu 03-Apr-14 09:18:14

Hi dog owners.

We have friends with a gorgeous tricolour border collie bitch who they plan on having pups - they have offered us one as they know we have been thinking about getting a dog for ages (they want the homes sorted before they go ahead with a litter). I would love to hear about your experiences of collies before we commit.

I had a collie/lab X when I lived at home (she was my responsibility to walk and feed) - she was lovely, sweet, clever, a bit nervy and needed lots of exercise and stuff to keep her brain busy. She was extremely loyal, easy to train and soft as butter. So I guess she was a real cross of the two breeds.

DH grew up with GSD and Beauceron so used to quite tricky dogs.

We live in the country and have plenty of open spaces around us, have a largeish garden and I work from home. We feel confident that we could give a border collie a good home with plenty of exercise (we walk and cycle) and understand that they need lots of mental exercise and if possible some sort of 'job'. We have two DC (10 and 8).

Would love to hear your experiences of this lovely breed and any advice on things that we haven't thought of/might not expect. Thank you!

Sorcha1966 Fri 18-Apr-14 20:06:15

I have a 16 week old pedigree border collie bitch. I have never had a proper dog before and have 3 kids 15, 11 and 9.

She is bred (carefully) for temperament and is soft and kind. She needs stimulation and gets bored easily but she is very easy to train. You do need to be consistent, but she picks up commands quickly and is very keen to please.

Owllady Thu 17-Apr-14 22:23:16

Aww bless her, she sounds really really lovely, you all do smile

Beachcomber Thu 17-Apr-14 22:16:33

Hey Owllady, I think we will bath her at the weekend, we'll try to be quick and just get it over and done with, I bet she will feel better for it.

DH brushed her out in the garden for ages this afternoon, they had a real bonding session with him gently grooming her. He had to cut out quite a few matted bits of fur and found two ticks which we removed with one of those tick turner fork things - they came out quickly and entire and we put some antiseptic on where they had been.

She has been eating a bit better - I really think it is down to anxiety rather than her waiting for a release word. I gave her dinner outside and she ate it much more comfortably, she is more relaxed outside than in the house.

She is sleeping now, another big day for her in her wee life. It's going to take a while to build her confidence up. We'll get there though, we're not in a hurry, just want her to be happy.

Lighthousekeeping Thu 17-Apr-14 14:25:10

Of course the use the lead near roads but generally he stays by the side of the pram without one and know immediately when he gets to the park he's free to run as much as he wants.

Lighthousekeeping Thu 17-Apr-14 14:23:12

My sister has one and they wouldn't be without him. He's fabulous with children especially the toddler. He's never needs a leash he's totally clever and independant. Loves physical activity and keeps the whole family fit. They really would choose any other breed.

ender Thu 17-Apr-14 14:17:24

Not really relevant but just saw this border collie with grudge against cars bbc link. Owner said dog had been run over in the past, not surprised if its allowed off lead by the roads.

Owllady Thu 17-Apr-14 11:16:25

Oh bless her smile she will learn to trust your dh. It's so sad so many rescue dogs have obviously been mistreated by men. Do you think she was taught to wait for food? I wonder if she is waiting for a release word? Though it could just be fear and insecurity, but you are dealing with that fine anyway smile

I would give her a bath. I felt the same as you when we had this one, she stank awful! But on day 2 I couldn't stand it so bathed her any way, quickly. She was fine grin

Beachcomber Thu 17-Apr-14 10:20:30

That's exactly the word for her Owllady, a poppet.

She is ace. Sleeps in her bed, toilets outside, lovely with the kids, very affectionate and gradually relaxing a bit. We had to leave her for 2 hours yesterday and she didn't chew anything and was asleep in her bed when we arrived back (I can see her bed from the kitchen window).

Her main 'issue' that we have discovered so far is that she is afraid to eat sad. I have to give her permission to eat by telling her that it is for her and encouraging her. She was eating so little so I gave her some turkey and then a raw pork bone with plenty meat on it - she obviously so wanted to eat but kept looking up to me for reassurance that she was allowed to do it. She was OK once she got going though and crunched the bone up. She did eat by herself when we left her yesterday, it seems if we are there though that she really needs to be sure that we are letting her eat. Poor wee lamb. She is a little nervous of DH too and at first hid behind me when he was about - she is getting much better with him already however, he takes her out in the morning for an early wee and gives her a treat.

She enjoys a good walk but actually seems relatively unfit at the moment (I guess after nearly a month of being in a kennel in the rescue and probably not getting walked a great deal). I took her out for an hour this morning and she is sleeping now.

She is wonderful smile (although rather smelly, looking forward to freshening her up a bit with a bath once I feel she is confident enough with me. Going to brush her this afternoon so that might help a bit).

Owllady Wed 16-Apr-14 16:22:38

She sounds a poppet smile

Beachcomber Wed 16-Apr-14 12:51:42

NCISaddict, thank you! She is lovely. She is quite a bit more relaxed today and less nervous of everything. Lots more tail wagging!

Good luck with your boy being neutered I hope he's OK.

NCISaddict Wed 16-Apr-14 08:20:59

She's lovely, my Border Collie is off to the vets today for neutering sad so he will be feeling a little sorry for himself no doubt.

Beachcomber Wed 16-Apr-14 08:07:23

Mini update!

She slept in her bed fine again last night, went out for a wee early with DH and has just done her first poo!! (never thought I would be excited to post that but with her being pretty anxious I feel a poo is a good sign grin )

She is a bit less shy and submissive this morning and there is more tail wagging and she even had a wee maddie moment in the garden. I think she likes us smile

Thanks for all saying she looks nice.

About to take her for a walk, it is lovely and sunny here but windy. Have a lovely day all with your dogs.

EasyToEatTiger Tue 15-Apr-14 10:37:02

Yay!!!

basildonbond Tue 15-Apr-14 08:52:59

What a lovely outcome - we had a collie x and 'proper' collie growing up and they were fab dogs (if slightly manic as pups/younger dogs)

Your dog has such a lovely face - definitely need more pics smile

CQ Tue 15-Apr-14 08:31:37

Awwww what a lovely outcome!! Such a beautiful dog - I'm sure fate had a hand in her finding you.

Looking forward to regular updates once she settles in.

Congratulations!!!

Beachcomber Tue 15-Apr-14 08:29:49

Thanks Owllady.

I promise to witter on constantly about our gorgeous girl update.

Beachcomber Tue 15-Apr-14 08:28:14

She has stopped staring and gone to her bed and has actually properly gone to sleep (with cute gentle snoring). Poor thing must be exhausted after all she has been through in the last few weeks. Looking forward to rebuilding her confidence so that she can be a happy relaxed dog.

Right. I must now go and do some work. I promise not to keep up a running commentary of our every move grin

Owllady Tue 15-Apr-14 08:24:56

This has made me very happy grin
I would like lots of pictures and updates pls beachcomber over the coming months grin

Beachcomber Tue 15-Apr-14 08:16:06

She's here!!

We picked her up yesterday, she is currently lying on the kitchen floor staring at me. grin

She has been fab. She didn't want to get into the car at the rescue so DH lifted her in. Was fine in the car, just a bit drooly but not sick or afraid. Last night we just took her for a 10 minute walk and a few runs round the garden. She slept in her bed in the kitchen with no barking, chewing, etc and DH took her out in the garden for a wee early this morning.

The DC and I took her for a 20 min walk before school so that I could leave her alone whilst I did the school run. It's only a 10 minute walk and she will be able to do it with us but I didn't want her to have a crowd of school kids descend upon her this morning! Also wanted her to stay in the house alone and see that It Is OK as she is a bit anxious and follows me around. The rescue advised that from the first day we leave her for short periods, gradually increasing.

We are trying to 'ignore' her as much as we can so that we give her a bit of space to relax and explore in. (This is hard for the DC but they understand that we mustn't constantly give her attention as it is stressful for her and we don't want her getting into the habit of constant attention...)

So far so good. She is really lovely. Of course she is on her best behavior just now as her world has just been turned upside down - we'll see what the following days and weeks bring...

The DC adore her and I think she is finding us to be not too bad so far smile

Thanks again for telling me about your lovely collies. Ours is definitely a mongrel but collie enough for me (she herded us a wee bit on our walk - she definitely likes us all grouped together smile )

ally1toby Tue 15-Apr-14 00:05:40

Very intetesting breed. Got my first one two years ago from dogs trust at 8 weeks. He is a delight. We have done many training classes. Puppy nursery to start where about 20 or so pups between 8 weeks and about 16 weeks meet twice a week in a controlled environment and wizz around together for half an hour. I have an eight month old lab as well and she recently met up with another pup she had not seen for about four months and they definately remembered each other. Brilliant for socialising. Back to my collie Dooghal he does grad class kennel club working towards his silver award and is in a flyball team. He has done doggy conditioning classes with a physio slant to improve his muscle tone and conformation to lessen risk of injury and long term damage. He absolutely loves his flyball team mates dogs and humans. We all learn to handle all the dogs in the team so they get used to any one of us helping or catching them. Doighal also loves swimming in our local pond, diving in enthusiastically and swimming at top speed. He loves long bike rides also on our local disused railway foot and cycle and horse track. He is an energetic dog. Probably the most Ihave ever owned but so much fun to own and love too.

Beachcomber Thu 10-Apr-14 08:26:59

Gosh EasyToEatTiger I bet 3 BCs keep you busy.

I went back to the rescue yesterday with the DC to walk what will hopefully soon be our dog. I think she may have recognized us as she was much less shy. She is good as gold (apart from a bit of lead pulling but only for the first few minutes). We had her off the lead in an enclosed space for about half an hour and she was just lovely with the DC. She seems to understand at least the basic cues of 'come' and 'sit'.

DC2 tried 'lie' with her which is 'coucher' in French and she reached out a paw and put in on DC2's chest (DC was sitting on the ground). We wonder if someone has taught her to do that with the cue 'toucher' because she did it again when DC1 tried smile was the sweetest thing ever.

When we took her back to her kennel we had the lampshade back on her (poor thing has actually pulled one of her stitches out so now has a more rigid one on) and she kept turning round to check that we were with her as she couldn't see/hear us properly with the lampshade.

We have been shopping for bed/lead/a couple of toys/etc and I have some old blankets looked out for her bed. So looking forward to her coming home, I just hope her stitches heal well as she has made a bit of a mess of herself on one side by pulling at them. Rescue won't let her go until their vet is happy though.

Thanks again to you all for your lovely collie stories.

EasyToEatTiger Tue 08-Apr-14 20:40:27

We have 3 bcs. Fab fab fab!!! Lovely dogs. Willing to work, willing to play, never complain... A huge responsibility yes, but absolutely worth it. I don't work any of our dogs which is silly because they are all very able and willing. They are also fabulous companions and a joy to be around.

Beachcomber Tue 08-Apr-14 20:28:13

I think so too Owllady - I'm so glad things have worked out like this as it feels right to rescue a dog. smile

Also to be honest I really don't mind at all not doing the puppy thing, I know rescue dogs have their own issues and we have no way of knowing what lies ahead WRT how she will be once she gets home but I think she is a good choice for us. Puppies are so much work in the beginning (cute as they are) so I'm quite happy to be having an adult dog. I just so hope that she is going to be happy with us and that we are right for her.

DC have gone to bed brainstroming names for her.

Owllady Tue 08-Apr-14 19:46:54

Oh how exciting! I think fate has had a hand to play smile

Beachcomber Tue 08-Apr-14 19:45:00

We have reserved her!

She was absolutely fine with the DC - behaved the same with them as she did with me, a bit shy but happy to be stroked and played a bit of ball with us. Rescue man perfectly happy with how she was and so was I. She was gentle and obviously neither afraid of children nor aggressive with them nor overly excited by them. Phew!!

The DC loved her and think she is beautiful.

We have put down a deposit on her and need to wait until her stitches come out and then we can bring her home. We are going to try and visit her a few times between then and now so that she has a chance to get to know us a bit.

Going shopping for collar, lead, bed, etc tomorrow.

Thank you all so much for your posts and friendliness on this thread - I will no doubt be starting others about food, etc...

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