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border collies

Murph's Mom
November 23rd, 2003, 08:11 AM
Does anyone own a border collie or had experience with them? Anybody know of a board dedicated to them or a great site?

November 23rd, 2003, 11:10 AM
Posted up on your other thread but will here too. I do have a Border Collie and one book that is a good general understanding book of the way these dogs understand things is "The Versatile Border Collie" by Janet E. Larson. You're having trouble with your pup if I'm not mistaken from your other post?

November 23rd, 2003, 11:24 AM
Here's my BC's petsite photo..this photo was taken in her younger days..

Murph's Mom
November 23rd, 2003, 12:21 PM
She is gorgeous!!! 13 - I bet she is still a ton of fun!

Not necessarily problems just confusion. We researched heavily before we decided on a border collie on our choice of puppy. He is becoming aggressive after playing or even seeing briefly our neighbours border collie pup. In training class he will not socialize with the other pups but will focus only on Toby (my neighbours pup).

He plays with other dogs and pups outside of class and this agressiveness does not appear. Any ideas?

He is 12 1/2 weeks old and recently neutered. I have attached his picture. I hope it works. :)

Lucky Rescue
November 23rd, 2003, 12:50 PM
I have the answer for your border collie woes! These two just came into our rescue. Want them?:D

Your pup is very cute!

November 23rd, 2003, 01:06 PM
HA HA HA HA LR u'r hill'air'e'us



Borders thrive in agility classes but this one may just be too young. Maybe just give sweetie lots of toys to play with!


Lucky Rescue
November 23rd, 2003, 02:01 PM
Murph's Mom, I'm sure your research told you that border collies can be intensely driven and focused, with off-the-scale energy levels, and can be dog-aggressive.

I hope you have a very active lifestyle and want to get into activities for dogs. This is a breed that must have a job - whether herding sheep or doing agility or flyball. If you don't give them a job, they will find one on their own,(digging, barking, chewing, nipping) and it's guaranteed you won't like it!;)

So are you interested in Maybelle and Maybelline down below?


November 23rd, 2003, 02:48 PM
Ha! I'd love those sheep. I wanted to get goats, but where we live we have to own 10 acres to keep livestock & we have 5. My mother has sheep (and BCs to keep them in line) and goats.

I responded to your other thread, now I see how old he is...what Lucky said is right on! A BC would just wear me's good you got him neutered young. They really can be quite aggressive with other dogs as they get older, a couple of my mom's were real stinkers. Luckily she lives way out in the middle of nowhere - working dogs are never neutered in Scotland.

I bet there are some active Yahoogroups for BC fanciers. You should do a search there.

November 23rd, 2003, 03:21 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Murph's Mom
He plays with other dogs and pups outside of class and this agressiveness does not appear. Any ideas?

Thanks for the compliment on Katie and you're right she is still going pretty strong although she has arthritis now so she is slower now..a bit. IMHO if Murph is not displaying this aggression with other dogs then there may be something about the relationship between him and the other dog that is part of the problem apart from the fact that as mentioneed already BC's can get somewhat snippy around other dogs at times. All this assuming he is well exercised before class and has his energy released physically. The seperate classes will help too I'm sure.Perhaps he is creating pack rules with the other pup which he considers as a part of his own since he has spent time with him on his territory. At any rate, if he were my dog I'd probably try a few training sessions together at home with my neighbour and other dog where they are both expected to carry out basic commands before playing together. I might drop the whole play time on home territory anyway until the rules were straightened out. Anyway, all my personal ideas feel free to ignore it.. it's hard to guess when you can't see the dog itself so a guess it remains. You've a handsome "Border Brain" as we say :)

Murph's Mom
November 23rd, 2003, 05:05 PM
LR - I would love to have Maybelle and Maybelline however here there are by laws I have to stay within but thanks for the thought!! (it was hysterical, I'm still laughing).

I thought at first we would do flyball but my husband has decided he would rather do agility. The training school where I have Murph offer a preschool agility class so once he has completed basic puppy preschool we will enroll him in that. I'm lucky that I have two young children who need "herding" themselves every once and a while. They are also good for lots of play time. Murph has many toys for his chewing and active brain, most of them are something he has to work at.

I am surprised though that in all my research I never came across the dog aggression info so thanks to both LR and marrielle for that heads up.

Marielle - thanks so much for the guesses atleast it's something to think about.

December 5th, 2003, 11:40 PM
Hey there, I realize this reply is a bit late but I thought I'd post it just the same. I own a bc and have many friends who have some as well. They are well known for being dog agressive especially the females. They don't seem to have the time it takes to be social all they want to do is work work work...
As for dealing with it, well don't let the bc win, keep bringing it to dog parks and register in puppy classes and agility etc...
The less it will see other dogs the more agressive it will get.
Also, try to let it meet other dogs on it's own terms, that is don't force the issue. Off leash is best because then it has the option of leaving if it wants to. Also, my bc can only be around other dogs if she has a job to do, like fetching a ball, then she has a focus and other dogs are just an unpleasant nuisance that she has to work around, no ball means she has to think and worry about these dogs and that's when she gets nasty.
Most bc's have been bred for centuries to have low bite reflexes, or else the sheep would be wounded all the time, which is good for us, that is why they tend to nip and not bite.
I tend to let my bc tell off other dogs just because she is 7 now and has never "bitten" a dog, but she will snap and warn them off, if the other dog doesn't understand I'll leave the area (just to be safe, she has never bitten but there is always that 1st time that I don't want to occur!)
So, there is tons of info out there on the net about bc's and the best ones are often on the bc rescue sites, because they have to deal with the real situations of dogs being dumped because of their heritage which is quite sad.

Hope this answers some questions,
if you have any specific ones please let me know.

Murph's Mom
December 6th, 2003, 02:49 PM
Thanks so much for replying!! Besides my neighbour I know only one other person who owns a pure BC and I don't know them very well. I have been dying to talk to someone.

How old is your BC? My next question is this - if Murphy does not have his recall command down (He will still ignore me if something else, like another dog, is more interesting) is it okay to keep him on a length of rope instead of off leash? I have avoided the dog park here because it is not fenced all the way around. We also have a new friend through puppy class and have talked about getting together with the puppies, are there some guidelines I should remember when we do this? I have searched many web sites but most of them talk about BCs as dogs not puppies.

You said if I had any questions just let you know, I hope this isn't too much!! ;)

January 3rd, 2004, 09:16 PM
I realize this is late, but if you want good advice from experienced owners, visit this discussion board BC Boards (

As for your pup focusing on just one other dog - don't let your puppy do that. It's a bad habit for a puppy to develop, and you need to get her focusing on (and working for) you.

Murph's Mom
January 3rd, 2004, 10:08 PM
I can not thank you enough for letting me know about that board! I have been searching for what seems like forever and just have never come across one specific to BC's.

When I didn't here back from woof99 I just continued to do some research. Most of it said just what you have - more doggies the better! I now make sure that Murphy spends more time with a number of puppies and dogs and have cut down on the time he spends with our neighbour's dog.

He just graduated from puupy class and started Obedience 1 today. After that it's on to agility! I have also found that because he is smart boredom sets in very quickly so we altered the way we were doing some things (how many toys were out at a time, which route we will take when walking him) and things are going great.

I do have one question - any way I can get him from nipping at my childrens pant legs and arms? We have tried the "leave it" and "off" commands and neither seem to be working. Any suggestions? :rolleyes:

Lucky Rescue
January 3rd, 2004, 10:55 PM
You're lucky to get info from RDM about BCs. She knows everything about them.:)

January 3rd, 2004, 10:57 PM
Oh ***** I thought I read that wrong LR

I thought you put she knows 'nothing' about them


I'm nuts

Murph's Mom
January 3rd, 2004, 11:23 PM
:D Luba, You crack me up!!!:D

Good to know LR!! Thanks, you never can tell. Here's hoping I hear more from her!

January 4th, 2004, 12:04 AM
Murph's Mom,your back..I've missed you.:D

Well my sister has a border collie Abagail.Abby for short.And yes,you really need to socialize them with other dogs/puppies.It is very important for him.And they really need to keep busy.Abby used to nip especially your ankles.It's what they do when they heard.Guess it's in their blood.It's like she was hearding us.As for the off leash,as long as he is doing this,I would just keep him on a long leash for now.Untill his nipping stops.All you need is for him to do that to a dog and the dog attacks him.This way you can stop it before it's to late.What do you do or say when he starts to nip?Have you tried saying "no bite" when he does?Try that.And when he stops praise him like crazy.Keep doing that.He has to learn that he is not allowed to do that.Say it in a stern voice.As for the kids pans or arms.It takes time for them to learn a command.You can't just say it without showing them what you mean.If that made sense.LOL.

Murph's Mom
January 4th, 2004, 12:19 AM
Hey mona b, thanks! It's been a busy one for a while.

The nipping at our heels - that I'm used to. He responds to "off" when he's trying to herd us.

But this niping at the kids pants and arms is new - just this past week. I'm staying consistent with the "off" command when he does this and yet he will not respond. If even responds for a second we praise him lots to let him know and yet it continues. Lately we've taken to putting him on leash when this happens to control him better and keep the kids safe.


January 4th, 2004, 08:38 PM
Originally posted by LuckyRescue
You're lucky to get info from RDM about BCs. She knows everything about them.:)

Hey thanks, that's a nice compliment, but I sure don't know everything :) If I did, Piper wouldn't be cutting in short on her outruns.

There are lots of ways to get a dog to stop biting your kids pantlegs, but it really depends on what kind of handler you are in general. For example, I'm fairly cut and dry with my dogs, so nipping gets a face grab and a stern "That'll Do" and it has stopped all my puppies.

BUT kids don't have that kind of control over pups, and they shouldn't be manhandling dogs anyway. What I have found generally works for kids is for them to immediately STOP moving the second the dog goes for the pants and completely ignore the dog no matter how he tries to get their attention. And this is something you want to set up over and over again in controlled situations. You might like to add a correction as well - for example you could maybe have him on a long light line and get the kids to run. As soon as he starts going for the pants, tell the kids to stop dead and totally ignore him, and you give him a leash correction and say "HEY" in a stern voice. As soon as he changes his focus from the pants to you, ask for a command he knows (like "sit") and then praise.

The thing is, grabbing pants is not a herding dog trait, it's a high-drive dog trait. The dog is not herding your kids, he's just being a puppy. I emphasize this because it's important to NOT let the dog get away with behaviours that you don't like because people tell you the dog is "herding." The dog isn't herding, he's chasing and nipping at your kids.

The other thing you can do is simply train the dog to lie down everytime the kids start running around him. This works really well for chornic car chasers - teach them a behaviour alternate to the one they want to engage in, that directly contradicts the undesired behaviour, because the dog cannot engage in both at the same time. If he has to lie down everytime the kids start running, he can't also chase them and bite them.

If the dog starts nipping at your kids when in general play, handle it the same way you would with a small puppy. Teach your kids to say OUCH really sharply, get up and walk away from the dog. No dog likes having attention withdrawn for them, so he will start changing his behaviour to find one that allows him to keep playing with the kids.

Finally, and this is just an unsolicited observation, remember this and make it your mantra: "once is a habit for a border collie." That means if you let him get away with ignoring a command, he's going to keep pushing the limits to see how many times he can get away with it in the future. It is so incredibly important with these dogs to set the groundwork early, which means never ever give him a command you cannot enforce, even when you are training him in early stages. I'm not suggesting you be harsh with him, but rather don't ask him to "sit" when you have your hands in the sink doing dishes, unless you are willing to take your hands out of the water, walk over to him and guide him into a sit if he ignores the command. These dogs are incredibly responsive, but they will one-up you at every turn if you let them. Stay on top of him, expect a lot and you'll get a lot.

Good luck


Murph's Mom
January 4th, 2004, 10:12 PM
Thank goodness for you RDM! I have seen pictures of Piper on the BC board and boy, talk about gorgeous!

We have been sayingall along that nipping at the children was NOT a BC thing but a puppy thing and people were telling us we were wrong.

I will stick with it and definitely give the lay down command while the children are running. Any suggestions on how to get him to stay there in the beginning?