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Owners of collies; tell me about your family.

(34 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Fri 06-Mar-15 12:07:12

We are looking for a rescue young dog/puppy and I keep coming back to collies.
I'd really love one, the dog-interested children in the family would like one, we've got/had collie crosses in the past but I'm wary of a full collie.
I'm worried they are too intelligent/ active for me/my family.
So if you have one, can you tell me how much exercise/training they get a day, how many kids you have and what life is like with a collie in the house!

EasyToEatTiger Fri 06-Mar-15 15:45:20

I never thought I'd have a collie. Not in a blue fit. Then one day 15 years ago we were at Battersea Dogs Home, and lo and behold we came home with one.The following year we got another one, then a few years later another and another and another. We now live in a 4 collie household. We lost one just over a year ago. The house is pretty chaotic but it is full of doggy love and hair and mud. The dogs don't like the (d)cs fighting at all. The dogs are great fun to be around, great fun to train and to walk and to play with.

FiveHoursSleep Fri 06-Mar-15 15:49:08

Tiger, how many kids do you have? How old are they?
How much exercise do you give your dogs and do you do agility with them?

Buttholelane Fri 06-Mar-15 16:19:20

I have a working line, farm bred border collie, she was showing strong herding potential from just 9 weeks old.

She is 2 and I have a 6 year old ds and an 11 month old dd - she is so friendly and gentle with all children.
She loves absolutely everybody and is an absolute sweetheart.

She lives with a cat, they love each other and play together, groom each other etc, however, being a collie she has a relatively high prey drive and therefore, play sessions are kept short otherwise she can get overexcited and start nipping and we don't want any accidents.

She loves other dogs but after some very traumatic experiences she is now nervous of other dogs although still wants to socialise.
She approaches them crouched down stalking and I have to remind her not to incase the other dog objects. She greets this way out of nerves I believe - it's worse with bigger dogs and she always used to approach other dogs fine prior to her attacks.

She is very clever and learns new commands usually in 10 minutes or less.

Exercise varies hugely - some days I take her out all day, some days just for a quick 10 minute stroll and some days not at all.
She hates rain and wind and doesn't like to walk in inclement weather although she loves snow.

I don't do lots of mental stimulation, sometimes I feed her with a long or puzzle toy, sometimes I play brain games with her but not that frequently.

I basically treat her like your average pet dog - I believe it's detrimental to the breed to overstimulate them with masses of exercise and training everyday.

I think it's very important early on to teach them to be calm and settled in the house and also not to herd people as it can be a very dangerous behaviour to engage in.

She doesn't bark but is very vocal with lots of (friendly) growls and grumbles and noises.

Very obedient and eager to please.

She is completely non destructive, even as a puppy she got a pair of my shoes (because husband wasn't paying attention) and that's it.

Her negative points -

She is high drive, initially I wanted to do sheepdog trials with her but one thing and another and it never materialised. She had to be taught early on not to herd people, when she was a little older but very much still a puppy and knew not to nip, eye or crouch at people she took instead to head butting us right in the back of the knee to try and herd us into the kitchen....

She is okay with the odd car or the odd cyclist but absolutely cannot be walked near very busy roads of groups of cyclists as the more cars or bikes she sees the more determined she is to dash in front of them and stop them moving.

She is clever and sneaky and needs to know you mean business.
She is not as obedient for my husband as she is me because my husband does not enforce commands whereas I most definitely do I.e if she doesn't sit the first time I force her down into a sit.

If she knows a behaviour is not allowed and your not there or she thinks not paying attention she often will do it.
For instance, she knows I don't allow the stealing of toys, she has been known to look at me when I'm busy on the iPad for instance then snatch a toy right from under the cat.
She has also lip curled and stared down a dog wanting it's toy when I was engrossed in conversation with its owner, when I turned and saw she stopped immediately.
Manipulative dogs.

EasyToEatTiger Fri 06-Mar-15 16:28:53

We have 2 dcs, now 8 and 10. We had 2 dogs before the dcs and got a 3rd when they were 3 and 5. We used to do agility for fun with the eldest, we did a bit with the second, but he had far bigger issues to work through. They all go out together as the eldest, now 17'ish prefers to be out in company, but it does mean our walks aren't as long as I would like, so sometimes I take the middle 2 out for a couple of hours. Most of the time they are off-lead and we do bits and bobs of training. The dogs are generally pretty calm and so far we haven't had a 'bonkers collie', but hey, we've just got a puppy!

Queenofknickers Fri 06-Mar-15 16:33:49

I have a collie cross (rescued as a tiny pup and now 1 yr old). She is a total sweetheart without a bad bone in her body. She lives well with our 3 cats and 2 DS! However she needs at least an hours fast exercise (over forest etc) every day and without it becomes a bit stir-crazy. She will eat any food she can get her chops on and will chew shoes, hairbrushes etc. I have noticed she doesn't chew so much if she's had lots of exercise though. I don't leave her alone ever for more than a couple of hours occasionally as she really doesn't like it. She will bark at a stranger at the door but rarely at anything else. We love her to bits smile

Buttholelane Fri 06-Mar-15 16:38:38

To add to my previous post..

She (and I understand it's a common collie trait) can be a touch jealous. Sometimes if the cat is on my lap she will walk over and bodge the cat off with her nose although does it very rarely now as it always gets an angry response from me and a treat for the cat angry.

On off lead walks, if a dog comes to me for fussing she will also immediately bounce over and demand to be petted at the same time.

Remember that collies are prone to dysplasia so a pup is only to be walked 5 mins per month of age, no bouncing on and off sofas or up and stairs.
Agility training can begin at 1 year but 'proper' agility not until a year and a half.

Make sure a pup is eye tested if possible also.

Buttholelane Fri 06-Mar-15 16:43:37

Also, don't bother exercising to try and tire out, at least with my dog she doesn't get tired. Ever.

You can literally take her out for an hours run and she will pant for abit at the end but if your willing once she's got her breath back she will be happy to do it all over again!

I cannot recall a single incidence where my dog has been exercised heavily then been tired, she will certainly crash out on the sofa but that's because she is trained to be calm and chilled in the house, not because she's tired.

FiveHoursSleep Fri 06-Mar-15 17:27:00

That's all very helpful. We are looking at a rescue pup/dog from Wiccaweys so will have to take our chances with hips/eyes etc.

EasyToEatTiger Fri 06-Mar-15 17:51:58

One of ours is from Wiccs. They are very good and very kind. They have masses of youngsters at the moment so I'm sure you'll come home with the right one for you! A lot of rescue collies have come from complicated backgrounds and may need behaviour modification. Perhaps we just re-home the ones that need it!

FiveHoursSleep Fri 06-Mar-15 18:15:12

We have a home check tomorrow, just in case something come in to them that would suit us.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Sat 07-Mar-15 15:25:36

We have a 10 month old collie adopted from Many Tears, we think she's working lines rather than show line because of her build. She is clever, very, very clever and tireless. She is sociable and loves the company of other dogs and people and loves nothing more than being outside. She picks up commands in the blink of an eye, loves anything that tests her brain (she has figured out how to undo the door on her crate rendering it useless because as soon as she's in it she can let herself out again). She's been out for a good walk and play with a Lab who is her age today and is currently dozing by my side but if I were to say the W word she'd be raring for more.

She is a very sensitive dog meaning that she can be quite nervous at times and can be touch aversive meaning we've had to do lots of work on her around this issue.

She doesn't herd people but does try to herd cars/motorbikes/tractors/anything on wheels if we are not careful, she has quickly learned the 'stop' and 'leave it' commands but I wouldn't want to own a collie if they had to do a lot of on-lead, roadside walking. We are lucky that we have lots of access to big open spaces where she can play without needing to be on the lead for very long. She is much better at close walking off lead than she is on.

She is loyal beyond belief and seems to have tied herself to myself and my son, she does love my husband and daughter but the boy and I are number one in her life. Owning her is like having a shadow, wherever I am she will be found by my side. Having said that she will take a command from anyone at all, I was out walking with a friend and a young girl today and every time she was asked to sit or wait or whatever she did it no matter who asked her.

Strawberryflip Sat 07-Mar-15 20:33:54

I have a Wiccs collie too! He really is absolutely gorgeous. A lovely, kind,loyal friend to us all - but an absolute Mummy's boy. He will often climb up on my knee because he has been scared by a random noise and needs a little reassurance.
Like many others he is not happy around traffic, it's far too messy for him! It took me about 6 months of daily practice to get him to walk near a road. He still doesn't like it but that's his only real flaw.
All the dcs and their friends love him and although he tries to herd the cats they put up with it. He's never tired but he's also not a pain on days when long walks can't happen.
I really wouldn't be without him now, he really is my best friend.

QuietTiger Mon 09-Mar-15 09:42:00

Another Wiccs dog here too. (Well, 3 actually, but only one is a collie grin), along with 3 more working collies on top of the Wiccs dogs.

Was going to jump in and give a pile of collie advice, but see that you have it covered by going to Wiccaweys. They will find you the ideal collie for your family. What I will say, is:

Be COMPLETELY honest with Wiccaweys about what you want. If you want the perfect family dog, who is already trained and brings you tea on a tray, say so. If the dog you meet, is not really the dog for you, say so. If you can cope with a "more challenging" dog, be honest about what you are happy dealing with, or not.

If, once the new family member is home, you have issues, ring Sarah and Paul, because they will always give back up and advice.

You'd be surprised at why dogs come into rescue, or back to Wiccaweys. In the last 12 months alone, I have picked up 4 fantastic family dogs for them, and they have a number in at moment.

FiveHoursSleep Tue 10-Mar-15 16:44:32

Wiccaweys don't have anything suitable for us just yet, so it's a waiting game for a collies apparently.
In the meantime, I am going to go and look at a couple of dogs of unknown parentage tomorrow ( not collie).
One is a 7 month old bitch and one is a 14 week old puppy. Am taking our dog with me to see what he thinks.
If we get no joy there, we'll go have a look at our local dog's trust as they have indicated they might accept a dog savvy 7 year old child as suitable for one of the dogs they have recommended for 8yrs +

EasyToEatTiger Tue 10-Mar-15 20:06:56

One of our dogs has fallen in play with the new pup. He's normally very aloof around other dogs and is a dog snob. But he has been charmed into playing! Our eldest is really too old to play and the other boy probably had it beaten out of him so is a bit confused. A really nice thing about Wiccs is that they do remember their dogs and really treat them as individual. It's also good to know that there is someone on the end of the phone who will know what and who you are talking about.

321Go Tue 10-Mar-15 23:09:57

We have another Wiccaweys collie here too!! My DS (10) declared this morning that it's like DDog has always been here - he couldn't imagine being without him.
We've had him for 3 months now, 6 months old and not at all house trained when he arrived, but came from a neglected but not abused background.
I also was concerned about too intelligent/ active for us. We are active (very) but also have to work. Dog gets 1 hr walk a day without fail + garden play time. Most days another 1 hr walk too. Lots of play/training with the kids and then flakes out on the sofa whenever there is a lull in the chaos here.
My youngest is 5 and Wiccaweys were happy with that - we spent several hours playing with various dogs there and they could see she was a dog-savvy child.
Good luck!

FiveHoursSleep Wed 11-Mar-15 21:45:53

Went to see a couple of dogs today. One sweet little who-knows-what medium sized puppy that DDog had no interest in and one whirling dervish of a 7 month old ( GSD?lurcher X) that he played with quite happily.
We won't take the little puppy but I really liked the bigger one. We'll see.

Muststopworrying Sat 14-Mar-15 20:03:10

We have a collie who we had from the collie trust at Rugeley when she was 18 months old and she has been a loyal member of the family now for 4 years. She is definately my hubbies shadow and I nickname her his other woman, but that is mainly down to the fact that my hubbie is as soft as putty with her. He though will take her out for long walks and ball games at the park and fields and then when she gets back will look at me as though to say are you going to play ball outside. As a pet we could not have asked for a more loyal loving dog. We have a daughter who has special needs as she is protective over her. She obviously barks at cats who live over the road and the stone ones next door to my parents which make us laugh, especially when she huffs as though to say I know they aren't real after. She snores like her dad and has to have the last word like a moody teenager and you can guarantee that just when you sit down for a programme on the TV she will find her noisy toy but we wouldn't be without her.

Owllady Sun 15-Mar-15 13:05:26

We have a wiccaweys collie too. She's an absolute delight.
Very clever but she's just a joy. They are proper companion dogs imo, so if that's what you want I'd go for it.

Mine has done agility but the we are having a break. We still do obedience. She gets walked 1-2 hours a day.

As I said, this is my third and generally they are healthy dogs smile

Owllady Sun 15-Mar-15 13:13:07

Sorry I forgot to put about us. I have three children, two teenagers and a younger school aged one
I'm in my mid 30s and am a full time carer for my eldest child who has a severe disability. Husband works full time
I'd say our family dynamic is very complex but collies don't seem to care about this grin

My collie has a crate she can retreat to (away from the main living rooms) if she wants to get away, which sometimes she does! Usually because my youngest is being shouty

Mrsjayy Mon 16-Mar-15 20:05:24

Ours is a collie. He is a rescue my dds were over 15 when we got hm he. Is a bit of a nut tbh loads of collie traits. But he was quite damaged he is lovely though and come on great he is a nervy dog and chases cars he is hard work but we all love him

Mrsjayy Mon 16-Mar-15 20:10:44

Good luck in getting the right dog I am in all day with mine he follows me around

ToffeePenny Mon 16-Mar-15 20:25:21

I grew up with collies and collie-crosses. They do need mental stimulation as well as exercise or they can get a bit mischievous or depressive. If you're game I'd recommend joining a flyball team or doing some agility classes to keep them happy.

Exercise-wise we always did 30 mins walk in the morning and then an hour beach or field run in the evening on weekdays (which seemed to suit them well) with big walks left to the weekend.

You can tire them out but you'll need a whole day and the use of an inexhaustible horse!

Mrsjayy Mon 16-Mar-15 20:34:17

Mine goes into the washing basket and steals towels or socks and brings them to you when he Is a bit bored. I have caught him with his head in the dryer he was on a sock missiongrin

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