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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all, first post here as I'm a perspective dog buyer. I'm 23 and live with my girlfriend in a 3 story duplex-type thing that has a small (10 feet-ish by 15 feet-ish?) 'back yard' space (its open and not closed off) and we live about 2 minutes walk from a gigantic park (not dog park, just regular).

I've always wanted a Border Collie and I'm not the type of person who just jumps into something. Lately I've really been feeling that I'd like to finally get a dog, and my girlfriend is in the same boat. I've been doing a lot of reading regarding the training/raising of puppies, including Dunbar's books on BEFORE/AFTER your puppy.

My question/concern is regarding whether or not our lives can accommodate a Border Collie enough to meet their needs as a breed. When he's a pup I would have our kitchen baby-gated as the 'dog' area along with a crate for when we aren't around. The dog would be getting 2-3 walks per day (one early morning, one afternoon/evening) along with multiple 5 minute training sessions throughout the day, and of course play sessions :) I also really like dog frisbee so I'd probably lean in that direction for play/training in the future.

My girlfriend works from early morning to afternoon (leaves 6ish, home by 1-3 PM) and I normally work day/evening shifts so I'm home in the evening. As of now I'm unemployed, which further pushes the idea of getting a dog now as I could spend the first few weeks home all day working on training and all that good stuff. When we're home we pretty much just hang out, watch movies and that sort of thing.

So I ask the experts out there, would a Border Collie be doable for our situation? Is 2-3 walks/day enough? Would the time alone (night time, then early morning walk, then alone until afternoonish) be OK for this type of dog? I plan to buy some dog puzzle toys as well as leave lots of Kongs and stuff around to keep the dog occupied, but is this time frame too long? I love the Border Collies so I'm pretty set on one, but if our lifestyle isn't going to work well for the dog of course I would have to start breed shopping.

Could we do it?

EDIT: Forgot to mention that we do have 2 cats right now. Both are adults and typical relaxed cats, I don't expect any problems from them, not sure if that matters.
 

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I don't see any reason you couldn't make it work, based on that information. The mental work will be at least as important as the physical. Things like putting meals in kongs/puzzle toys and making sure the dog has to "work" for everything (performing a trained behavior to go through doors, to be leashed, etc.) will be a lifesaver to add that little extra mental work in a day on top of training/exercise.

As a puppy s/he won't be able to do a lot of physical exercise so the mental side becomes even more important. As an adult walking along won't be enough, but a good session of fetch each day (look into Chuck-Its lol) will go a long way, and you could always pick up biking or agility or something like that if you feel s/he would benefit and you would both enjoy it (the BCs at my obedience club looove anything that required problem solving and working with their person...agility is often their favorite activity in the world). The important thing is variation :)

Dunbar outlines some great info on socialization that you probably already know...I just wanted to urge you to pursue those exercises.

Have you decided whether you will look at a breeder or a rescue? They should be able to help match you with a BC that is more likely to fit your lifestyle...for instance you don't necessarily want the puppy in the litter who's perfect for working stocking all day every day.

If you are interested in more reading material, Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash is a great book by a renowned animal behaviorist who, as a bonus...owns Border Collies. I highly recommend it :)

Good luck with your search, and kudos for researching before getting your dog :)
 

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I think it looks do-able IF you are careful in your selection of the individual dog. But I thik you might be served better by looking at some similar but not quite so high demand breeds (English SHepherds come to mind, and some lines of Australian Shepherd), particularly for a first-time dog. Frisbee (and agility) are a lot of fun, but one thing I am noticing with a lot of the border collies in my classes- especilaly those owned by first time dog owners- is that if those are the primary outlets for the dogs' energy, the owners are not so great about teaching self control until it really becomes problematic. And self control/impulse control is REALLY important when you're living with and competing with a BC.
 

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Just a note, border collies will wrap you around their little paws before you know it. They have energy to burn and need a job to do. Dog frisbee sounds like a lot of fun! I have a friend who has 5 border collies or should I say, I have a friend who is owned by 5 border collies - they are wonderful dogs but very difficult to stay ahead of them!

Just make sure you find a reputable breeder who does health testing and who will show you the parents of your puppy. Also, a good breeder will not breed their dams constantly - some breeders only have a ltter per year so be prepared to wait. but it will be worth the wait!

And get your arm trained to throw that frisbee at least a thousand times a day!!! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Shaina said:
Have you decided whether you will look at a breeder or a rescue? They should be able to help match you with a BC that is more likely to fit your lifestyle...for instance you don't necessarily want the puppy in the litter who's perfect for working stocking all day every day.

If you are interested in more reading material, Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash is a great book by a renowned animal behaviorist who, as a bonus...owns Border Collies. I highly recommend it :)

Good luck with your search, and kudos for researching before getting your dog
Thanks for the info. I thought we would be OK, but a friend whose parents have owned BC's was under the impression that I 'wouldn't be able to keep up'. I also just wanted to double check in case I was wrong :)

I can't find many true hardcore breeders around here (London, Ontario) and I think there's only one that is registered nearby (within a few hours drive) that I was able to find that does 1 litter a year. I was probably just going to go with one I found through Kijiji or something similar. I would ensure the one I purchased was raised around people, properly socialized and all that before purchasing.

Dog training is actually something I've been reading a lot about and am pretty into so I think the dog will have plenty of mental stimulation to go along with some frisbee and old fashioned running around.

Dogstar said:
I think it looks do-able IF you are careful in your selection of the individual dog. But I thik you might be served better by looking at some similar but not quite so high demand breeds (English SHepherds come to mind, and some lines of Australian Shepherd), particularly for a first-time dog. Frisbee (and agility) are a lot of fun, but one thing I am noticing with a lot of the border collies in my classes- especilaly those owned by first time dog owners- is that if those are the primary outlets for the dogs' energy, the owners are not so great about teaching self control until it really becomes problematic. And self control/impulse control is REALLY important when you're living with and competing with a BC.
Yeah the only reason I'm set on a BC is that it's the type of dog I've always found an affinity for. I'm sure a lot of other breeds is probably more well suited to my lifestyle, but I just love BCs. I plan on being Spartan as far as my education towards dog raising/training goes and hopefully I'll know enough to prevent any sort of major behavioral issues. I think I would try to keep the frisbee thing as a special kind of play (i.e discs only out when doing frisbee) and keep the traditional tennis ball for regular play on walks, etc.

Also thanks for the info on picking the right one out of the litter. I never thought of that and that's some good advice :)

flipgirl said:
Just a note, border collies will wrap you around their little paws before you know it. They have energy to burn and need a job to do. Dog frisbee sounds like a lot of fun! I have a friend who has 5 border collies or should I say, I have a friend who is owned by 5 border collies - they are wonderful dogs but very difficult to stay ahead of them!

Just make sure you find a reputable breeder who does health testing and who will show you the parents of your puppy. Also, a good breeder will not breed their dams constantly - some breeders only have a ltter per year so be prepared to wait. but it will be worth the wait!

And get your arm trained to throw that frisbee at least a thousand times a day!!!
Another benefit for me of getting a dog is definitely physical. I can be pretty lazy and am not quite in shape as it is. I'm not overweight or anything, but I could use some exercise :)

I always hear about how knowing about the parents and how finding a top breeder is very important, but in my searches I've only found one around here and I'm not sure if I'd be able to get one from them. Is it really that important to find a AAA breeder? As long as I can see the parents and if the dog isn't from a mill is that enough?
 

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i have 4 Borders right now...3 are w/ me 24/7 the other belongs to my husband and is w/ him 24/7 (mine go w/ me to work, my husband stays home).....from the time we get up/home in the mornings to the time we go to bed (usually around 5ish, as i work graveyard shift) we are pretty much busy....we spend anywhere from 1-3 hrs at the dog club yard playing ball (breaks taken as needed) or working agility/rally, we do goosing during the "on" season (about 5 mo out of the yr), training classes as much as possible....when we're at home there is a lot of having them "do" things, they play together a lot, and they relax.....2-3 walks a day would never be enuff for them but mine are also conditioned for what we do....

for you, that would probably be enuff for the physical, as long as you throw in a good hr of frisbee/ball time (doesn't have to be in one session and can be done in the house, as well, if you have room).....never under-estimate the intelligence and never figure there is nothing they can't learn (outside of needing hands or verbal skills to do it w/)...w/ the right training they will try anything....my old girl, Lacey, knew the spelling of 67 toys/objects and learned new ones inside a minute; she and Tir (along w/ my GD) played ring-a-ring-of-roses; and i could have her retrieve anything, whether she knew what it was or not, just by directions....

they are also very their people oriented and want to be w/ you as much as possible, doing what you're doing.....they are very clannish and you will need to socialize the pup w/ many different breeds right from the start or you will have problems.....give an inch and they will take a mile, so be firm but fair and never harsh....when they have had enuff (training can be ruff cuz they tend to learn real quick and want to move on) they "shut down" and it can be a challenge to get them back on track....treat them unfairly and they can have major attitude for days (and unfairly for them, as a friend just found out, can be as simple as going on vacation w/out them:eek:).....

but, just be warned....they will grab your heart (if they're the right breed for you) and you'll soon find yourself w/ 2, 3, 4, ......(my 5th one will be here next yr:D)....and, as mentioned, make sure the breeder is good, tests for eyes and hips/elbows, and screens the line for epilepsy....and breeds non aggressive parents ONLY.....

Is it really that important to find a AAA breeder? As long as I can see the parents and if the dog isn't from a mill is that enough?
AAA, not really....but, the HD %, aggression and epilepsy is quite a problem in the BC so be extremely careful in those areas, especially....get as good as you can find and ask many ? ....if something doesn't feel/sound right, go elsewhere...
 

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Sounds like you could do well with a Border Collie, or even a Sheltie to throw another breed out there. I currently have 2 BC's and a Sheltie, and love them to death. My yard is just a little bigger than yours, but not by much, and have the park just a couple blocks away, which has the Riverfront Trail that's 13 miles for the complete loop. I think you could do well with a BC, as long as you are able to keep up with their energy level.

Second, frisbee is a blast. My Nell loves it, as well as Chloe. Sonny on the other hand would rather chase after the girls as they are going after the frisbee, lol. But I think he'll catch on someday, lol.

Other things you might want to check out is Agility, Rally, and Flyball. Nell is doing great in Agility 1, she absolutely loves the tunnels and the A-Frame. And finally got used to the Shoot, and hopefully is getting over the fear of the Teeter. Other than that, she's having a blast with the class.

One last thing I want to mention about BC's though, and you may need to think about this. I can't remember where I saw it in one of the threads on here, but one of the members hit it on the head with this. BC's are an ADDICTION, you can't just stop with ONE, lol. BC's are my breed of choice.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that we do have 2 cats right now. Both are adults and typical relaxed cats, I don't expect any problems from them, not sure if that matters.
BC's can be cat chasers, just another thing to watch for when selecting the dog. Both Nell and Sonny, as well as Chloe, are great with cats, and don't chase them. So be prepared for some training in that department, but if you are getting a puppy, it makes it easier when they get to grow up with cats. But if you find one that's a year old or older, they may or may not be good with cats. All depends on the individual dog.
 

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oh, yeah, forgot the cat thing, too....if the pup is raised w/ the cats there shouldn't be a "chasing" problem...but, be prepared for some pretty stressed cats when the pup gets older and starts herding them....they tend to like things where they (or you) want them.....and if they are taught not to herd them, they can be just as intense/stressful for the cat by just staring at them:D:rolleyes:...
 
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