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Who Do you think is the boss?

Heather MH
January 13th, 2004, 05:47 PM
First I should say this is my first message. I saw this web site and started looking around and first loved the fact that it is Canadian and then began to love all the information.

SO we have recently entered the wonderful world of Border Collies. After moving into our first home we soon realized that we needed a pet, both growing up with animals. We knew that we wantd a dog since I was not really a cat person. We considered different breeds, and I must add that I grew up with a Grey hound that still lives with my parents. I think she is the oldest living greyhound and I attribute it to the fact she has lived a very pampered life. Her name is Chloie and is 14 and still going strong. So my first thought was that I need another one my spouse on the other hand was not keen on the idea, I'm sure that people who own a greyhound know that everyone will stop you on the street to talk and take a look but greyhounds are definatly not everones cup of tea.

So I know most people will disagree with our choice but we came home with not one but two border collies. We were warned. Honestly I have not found it to be all that hard. They are now 4 and 1/2 months old and I know there are years of crazy activity to come but so far so good.

My question for you...
Chevy is the male and considerable bigger then the female Daisy. Last weekend at the vet Chevy weighed in at 34 pounds and Daisy at 21 pounds. Chevy quickly took on the role as the boss when we got them home, doing things like eating first and making Daisy wait, catching the ball nearly everytime and barking at Daisy when she got it. Having to be out the door first and into the car first. I understand that ther needs to be a dominate one and this behaviour is all realativly normal. Recently Daisy has gotten agressive in certain situations. Chevy still eats first and such. But if Daisy is on the couch and Chevy tries come and cuddle she growls and snaps at him. Also they sleep on the bed... I am saying this sheepishly becasue I know alot will disagree. I have been woken up 2 nights in a row beacuse Chevy gets up and off they bed and when he tries to come back Daisy growls and barks. My action to this kind of behaviour is to call Chevy to me and while petting Daisy i also pet Chevy in hopes she will see that I love them both. It does calm her down and all is well.... Until the next time. Do you think she is actually the dominate dog? Is this the kind of behaviour I am suppose to let them work out themselves or is my approch helping?

It was easier when Chevy was the boss it not only made sense but Chevy never approched his dominace in an aggressive way. He was firm but not mean(if that makes any sense). Whereas Daisy gets angry. Can anyone give me advice on my longwinded issue (I won't say problem!!!)

January 13th, 2004, 07:56 PM
One suggestion I have for you is to feed them separately in different rooms, this will ensure both dogs have privacy and get enough of there food and not too much. Cause if u dont someone is gonna suffer weight loss the other weight gain. They should have separate dishes.

Give them each a bed or flop mat on the floor of their own!!

January 14th, 2004, 02:29 AM
Two BCs :eek: you are a brave woman! (I grew up around BCs.)
Thought you might get a kick out of this:

You're probably planning this, but just in case, I would definitely neuter your male by 6 months old...if he's a drivey type BC you probably want to nip snotty "male" behaviour in the bud. They can be stinkers around other males! Few of the working dogs in Scotland are neutered, and they are notoriously horrible around other dogs. The sweetest pup can turn into a cocky, ill-mannered, lunging adolescent overnight when the testosterone hits. That'll happen between 6-10 months and for a while they've got something like 10 times the hormones an intact adult does. It can have a real big effect on behaviour. My very sweet Rotties turned into a raging moron at 10 months old (I neutered him about a year later) and if he hadn't had a real good start in obedience he could have been a real probleml!

OK, my .02. First, petting both dogs is a bad idea; it won't make them see you "love them both". And you not only want them to "love" you, primarily you want them to RESPECT you. That is where "love" for the owner, in dog terms, springs from. A natural order will emerge, and I betcha Daisy will be the boss bitch because females always are. That's generally the natural order. Males have to be nice to the females because they're hardwired to want to mate when the time comes. :) A 10lb bitch will boss around a 100lb dog, size has nothing to do with it. Upsetting that order will make things worse, so let it happen. As long as she doesn't actually draw blood or utterly terrorise him, let it happen. Yes, it can easily become a problem, not an issue.
I hate to say this, but you probably didn't get these dogs from the best source. No decent breeder will let two BC pups from the same litter go to anything but a real experienced home, so in case these pups have any inherent temperament issues, you for sure want them trained.

I think sleeping on the furniture is fine, but they have to earn it first. Like Luba says, keep them on the floor until they're both a bit older and have learned manners (at 18 weeks old, pups don't have manners, they're still learning those.)

BUT! Part of the key to harmonious doggie relationships withing the house is that you are the big boss bitch. If you don't have these pups in obedience classes, or at the very least have implemented some regular daily sessions (short, fun, seperate, informative) you better start now. BCs are incredibly smart working dogs, they MUST have jobs. Even if its just obeying and being polite. :) And exercise, start running them 20 miles a day, LOL. Your job is a loving dictator, that's how they'll learn to love you, not by being mollycoddled. I'm not saying be mean to them or never pet them! Love them up plenty, just couple it with a healthy dose of "I'm the mommy and that's why.) :D

So, do not pet Daisy for resource guarding you. It's bad behaviour and she's not being protective or loving, she's being rather disrespectful. I spent 12 1/2 years with a very bossy GSDx, and she could guard her bed, toys, and food, but no way was she allowed to "guard" me. Correct Daisy immediately and emphatically the minute she does this, and don't pet
either of them. Of course she calms down, you are rewarding her. And remember it's much more fair to the dog to give one or two very strong and clear corrections than numerous nagging ones. Those just teach your dogs to ignore you, and then they get blindsided when you get really pissed off. And that's not fair, it's like lying to them.

I hope you find this all helpful; not bragging but I know quite a bit about living and working with working type dogs. I'm sure there's a "Border Collies For Dummies" book. The Rottweiler one is awesome. The best $12.95 you'll spend, and you can order it from a local bookstore or get it from Amazon or something.

Can you post pictures of them? I just think BCs are the prettiest dogs and although I've just given my heart to Rottweilers, I love them. :)
Wow, that was a long post!

January 14th, 2004, 08:05 AM
Well first I would like to say,welcome to this site.:)
My sister has a 7 year old BC.They are great dogs.I have a suggestion.Talk to you vet about getting them fixed now.Vets do it as early as 8 weeks.They don't wait for the 6 month mark.And as Luba said,feed them seperately.Also,YOU have to teach them that their behaviour is unexceptable.YOU are the boss.The reason Daisy is getting back at Chevy is cause she's getting pissed at him.Anytime either one of them get so called aggressive,YOU must stop this right away.If Chevy starts to growl or bark at Daisy,give him a stern "NO"..You may need to do this a few times.And when he stops,praise him big time.And the same goes for Daisy.These 2 need to live in harmony.If not,you will have major problems.And that's not good.This goes for any breed.You are the boss and you must teach them.Also,keep them busy.BC's need to be kept active.That is in their blood.I have raise my 2 guys together since they were 3 months old.I made sure neither one of them dominated the other.And these are GSD's..Also,make sure you socialize them BIG time.With people,kids,other animals,noises ect.As fot them sleeping with you,yes,give them their own beds on the floor.With lots of toys.A kong is really good.Stuff it with treats.Our pet store here actually has this stuff you can put in it.It looks like just like a can of whipped cream.Once again,start the training and show them that YOU are boss.Correct them now before it's to late and the major problems start.Good luck.:)

Heather MH
January 14th, 2004, 09:26 AM
Thanks for the help.

I have read the Puppies for Dummies, but I will look and see if there is a BC for dummies. They have both completed the beginer obedience. Aside from play time everynight we work on different things, most nights for about a half hour but some nights there attention span isn't this long. And it does feel like we walk 10miles a night, it seems the more we walk them the more hyper they get. Oh well its Good for Chris and I as well. A couple nights ago we did poop them out but it was a long walk, just over 5 k.

I just want to check, I took a differnent aproch last night. When Daisy started her bitchyness :) I removed her from the couch and told her no. Ofcourse she didn't like that and imediatly tried to get back up. I proceed to put her back on the ground really not saying much just replacing her until she realized I think it only took three times. It only took maybe 2 or 3 minutes and she calmly layed at my feet on the floor. I then praised her. Is this a better way. I see what you are saying about petting them both, and will not do that again.

I know the potential these dogs have and I want to be the best I can be so that they are first obediant and loyal as well as loving as I know they are. It is sure difficult when they are puppies and so cute!!!!LOL:D

I will also mention that yes they are going to be fixed very soon. Chevy is started getting a little rowdy in that department!!!;)

I will send pictures.

Thanks again - I love the advice.

January 14th, 2004, 09:44 AM
Seems you're off to a great start with them! :) I like what you did with, I can't imagine the work with two smart puppies. Yikes.
Maybe if I didn't have to work...then I could stay at home all day with the doggies...I've just taken three weeks off and I'm getting spoiled!

Heather MH
January 14th, 2004, 01:15 PM
I'm glad to hear you think we are doing things alright. I hope that will work with Daisy. my biggest problem with her (well honestly me with her) is that she is so much like a baby, and she is so cute. It kills me to be hard on her but I understand its for the best.

It is challenging to have both of them, but the benifits far out way the trouble.:) I don't think I've watched even one of my favorite shows begining to end since they came home. But thats just fine with me.

I hope you enjoy you time off.

January 14th, 2004, 02:03 PM
I don't think there is a "Border Collie for Dummies" because frankly, no Dummy should own a border collie!

You've gotten some good advice here; I'm going to expand on it though.

Female border collies are NOTORIOUS for ranking up and being super-bitches :) In all likelihood, your female will most likely end up being dominant to your male dog. My female is the youngest, but she is definitely the "boss" of my two males.

Having said that, I also agree that YOU must be the figurehead above all social order amongst the dogs. Regardless of what they work out amongst themselves, you should always have the final say and the easiest way to do that is to remember this and make it your mantra: "Once Is A Habit For A Border Collie." Any behaviour you see that you do not want to encourage, nip in the bud *immediately*

With a dog like your female, who is making decisions about when and how your male can and cannot approach you, furniture etc. your best bet is to be a benign leader and disallow that behaviour. This is what has traditionally worked for me: If I am sitting on the sofa and one of my dogs is sitting near me getting pats, and another dog approaches and the first growls or shows teeth, I do one of two things: I either get up without a word at the first sign of display and walk away, thereby communicating to the offender that her bad behaviour has caused me to leave the scene; or I take the offending dog - without a word or eye contact, walk her to a remote part of the house, tie her to a doorknob and leave her there for ten minutes. No scolding, just a final and firm reminder that her behaviour gets her exiled from what she wants (ie, me).

Also, since your female is showing "dominant" tendancies, I would start her on a regime of working for attention NOW. That means she has to perform for me for everything she wants. If she approaches for attention, I want a rapid sit first. If she asks for pets, I first want her to lie down. Everything she wants she has to work for, and noting is free.

Furthermore, I would also - as someone suggested - stop the sleeping on the bed and climbing on the furniture things. Those are priviledges, not rights, and right now your female thinks it's her right. You're going to have some trouble on your hands if you don't change her perception. So in the future, no one should get on furniture or on the bed without being invited. The dogs should sleep in kennels or on beds of their own at night. Remember that the problems you are seeing now will not go away on their own, they will only progress. You are aware enough to see potential problems in your puppy now, so you should also be aware enough to do something about it before it becomes a bigger problem.

Finally, and I cannot stress this enough, make sure you make time for both dogs seperately each and every day for training. Even if it's just a few minutes, give them the opportunity to bond with you and work with you as individuals every day. This is where border collies excel, in their partner-relationships. Make sure you can get them out there working on their own with just you, so that they have the opportunity to develop strong personalities of their own as working partners.

Good luck


Heather MH
January 14th, 2004, 03:41 PM
I am very grateful for everyones advice. But as I browse this site I understand that you are the BC expert so I am especially grateful.

I will definatly try the walking away tonight when Daisy is misbehaving. I know there is no need to stress that BC are smart but I sometimes think Daisy is to smart. She will learn because she is a baby like I mentioned before she likes to be at my side doing what I am doing so to be left out I think she will do whatever it takes to rejoin. I like the idea of making them work for attention. I suppose they already do this but I didn't realize until you said that. If they want a pat both will sit and shake a paw (they know I can't resist it:D ). Gees, there is just so much more waiting for me isn't there? I can never say I am bored though can I?

Thanks again - I am sure many more questions will follow.:) ;)

January 14th, 2004, 04:29 PM
I know it's hard to be "hard" on the babies, but look at this expression:

And tell me that's not a puppy who is thinking up ways to dominate the world!

This little man sneaks up behind you and grabs your pants, when you tell him to let go, he bites harder and tries to move you from place to place! He's devilishy adorable!

And don't let this face fool you:

She may look cute, but she's Queen Bee in our house! It's hard to stay one step ahead of her, but a gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do!


Heather MH
January 14th, 2004, 04:41 PM
OMG - are they cute. How old is the baby now? She is so fuzzy. In my opinion your male is the a picture perfect BC. I will post pictures of Daisy and Chevy soon.

Are they your only pups?

Those faces cheered me up. Thanks. Now I can't wait to get home and play with mine even more.

Heather MH
January 14th, 2004, 04:48 PM
Ok my Dad a.k.a Grampa just sent some pics. There not all that good but they will do,I will get better ones.

Ok I am dumb how do I attach a picture?:confused:

January 14th, 2004, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by Heather MH
OMG - are they cute. How old is the baby now? She is so fuzzy. In my opinion your male is the a picture perfect BC. I will post pictures of Daisy and Chevy soon.

Are they your only pups?

Piper, the female, is now 14 months old, and a demon on sheep:

And OMG, we have 24 border collies and mixes in rescue right now. Here are some of Trim's (the floofy male) siblings:





And lots more puppies and adults available as well. You can see them on our website (


Heather MH
January 14th, 2004, 05:04 PM
I want them all.....

It brings tears to my eyes thinking of all the animmals out there that need homes. Thank god for people like you. I wish I could do it. It must be hard as well as awsome to see them leave. I must say Smudge is very cute. I'm going to look around your web site some more.

January 14th, 2004, 05:12 PM
WOW what lovely cutie pies ahh the pictures are just priceless!

Heather MH
January 14th, 2004, 05:16 PM
RDM- I was reading the bio about your dogs. You guys are big into agility!!!:) When do you suggest we start learning these types of things. If I understand correctly they can not compete until just over a year old?

Lucky Rescue
January 14th, 2004, 06:14 PM
Wow. I don't know a whole lot about BC's, but that Piper looks like a firecracker!:)

Those puppies are cute beyond words. Are they mixed? The blue one looks like an ACD....??

January 14th, 2004, 06:53 PM
Originally posted by Heather MH
RDM- I was reading the bio about your dogs. You guys are big into agility!!!:) When do you suggest we start learning these types of things. If I understand correctly they can not compete until just over a year old?

In the AAC a dog cannot compete until she is 18 months old. I personally wait until they are 2, because I just don't like doing that kind of high impact activity with growing young dogs. But we do start training at about a year or younger.

My best advice for finding an agility teacher is find one that actively competes successfully with her own dogs. Even if you never plan to compete, train as though you do, because your goal is to be as good as it as you can. This way it's a meaningful exercise for you and your dog. Always make it fun - agility is a sport, and that's about as important as it gets.

We aren't really "big" into agility - I'd say we're big into our dogs :) I do agility with two of my three dogs, and herding with two of my three dogs and flyball with two of my three dogs (and no combination of two is the same!) I try to keep thier lives varied and mentally and physically challenging. Truth be told I like herding the best but I am the worst at it. I don't really like flyball at all but the dogs do. And agility is just plain fun.

Luckyrescue - we dont know if the pups are purebred or not, Mum appears mainly purebred, some of the pups appear mainly purebred, some look like they could be mixed ... they certainly act like border collies, and that's conformation enough for us!

And yes, Piper is the Devil Incarnate. Fortunately, I like her just the way she is :)


January 15th, 2004, 07:28 AM
RDM, those pups are adorable, and Piper is just gorgeous!!

And your training advice is great...I'm more used to Rottweilers, who have a different mindset, so it's wonderful to have someone here who's really savvy about the particular breed. :)

January 15th, 2004, 12:45 PM
Thanks Carina. Border collies are rather unique dogs, and I don't pretend to be an expert or an authority, but I have handled dozens of them over the years, so I've learned a little :)

Piper is a pretty girl, but she doesn't hold a candle to my Red Dog. Here he is:

And here he is with his little 'sister' Piper:

His favourite thing to do:

RD and his brother Tweed:

And all three of them together:


Heather MH
January 15th, 2004, 01:06 PM
They are beautiful. Are they biological brothers and sister?

January 15th, 2004, 03:10 PM
Oh no, none of them are related at all. RD is now almost 7 years old, and was given to me by a breeder who couldn't sell him. Tweed is going to be 4 soon and I adopted him through BCR WA. Piper is 14 months and I adopted her from one of the local SPCA shelters.

I prefer to leave 2 years or so between dogs. Just my preference.


February 21st, 2004, 06:18 PM
Hi - even though it was a long time ago (when I was a child), we had a Border Collie on our farm. He was great as long as he had work to do, but was a very aggressive dog - chasing cars when not bringing the cows.

He also was a biter and I remember two times when he bit people who were with us.

These dogs have to be kept very active and very focused. They need "to do their job". After we moved off the farm, Shep got very unfocused and even attacked a family member. He had to be put down.

I don't want to deter you from getting this breed, but want you to know that they need "work to do" and they need it every day.

February 22nd, 2004, 01:46 AM
this sounds JUST LIKE my Chocolate & Honey situation.

Chocolate, the neutered 3 yr 70lbs male pointer, has been CLOSE with me since he was 10 wks old.

Honey, spayed 1yr 43lbs (?) female pointer, joined the clan (lol) 3 months earlier.

@ first, Chocolate was all over the place with an attitude of "I'm ruler of this" as he jumped from one piece of furniture to toy and so forth. He especially enjoyed (still does!) playing with her and showing what he's got to offer.

for a brief time, he got tired of this visitor's "extended stay." And started to overcome this excitement. that's when Honey closed in on the release of power and took it for herself.

She began towering him like you wouldn't believe. I have to sit back, for the most part, and let this shift of power settle down. THEY decide who gets it. I'm not around for part of the day. they must solve their conflicts without blood... u know what I mean.

I've been told countless times --> the female will dominate the male. and so it has.


DO NOT pet her when she displays unwanted behaviour, you are only causing yourself more headache. If Chocolate barks at Honey to release his toy, I tell give the "quiet" commend to Chocolate and physically remove the toy from Honey's mouth with an "out" and give it to Chocolate. Honey CAN have power but she CANNOT abuse it.

If Honey goes up on the armrest or paws at me, I give the "get OFF" command and take her down. She will attempt to disregard me but with persistance, she stops and is GRRRRRRRRREATLY rewarded. :D :D

day after day, I notice she's understanding the rules of the house more and more.

Til just recently, I've given her time to settle into the household routines but following Chocolate's behavioural examples. now it's time for authority to be noticed.

I believe I'm doing the right thing!! after all, we are seeing progress.

monitor the behaviours EXTENSIVELY. communicate techniques of reinforcing commands & rewarding appropriate behaviours with the people living in the home & all visitors to the home.

if you give treats, alternate btw who should get it first... YOU can try and be equal to them both and they will learn to respect that you see no power boundaries...

If they're not sharing their toys, alternate btw them. it helps to ensure they may not become aggressive and highly protective.

you can even reward that power-tripping fiend (lol) with cuddles when she does NOT expect it. she'll note that she's special nuff just on her own, without trying to cause a racket for attention. she's settle in, but it's gonna take time.

I'm still attempting, but I DO see looooooots of improvements!

come on, moving into a new home, with a new family, a CONSTANT dog companion, and getting acustomed to a Human language... that's STRESSFUL!!

she'll learn, you'll teach her. :)

I hope I helped out :p

ROTFLMAO @ the pic RDM posted!!

they MELT my heart.... it's sooooooooo hard to say no, but you MUST to ensure there's progress!!

... looking @ more, I gotta say: THAT'S IT, we're getting another dog! ;)

STUNNING pictures, RDM, thanks for sharing!!!

February 22nd, 2004, 08:28 AM
Thank's RDM for those beautiful pictures and the wonderful work you do with these dogs!
The puppies are incredibly cute and mischievous looking,brought tears to my eyes:)
You are very lucky to be able to do what you are doing!