Border Collies are intelligent, versatile, very trainable dogs. You may have noticed them in movies, on television and in magazine advertisements. The Border Collie has become a popular breed but is still not for everyone. More and more Border Collies are in need of rescue each year, and there are more dogs available for placement than there are knowledgeable, loving homes to place them in.
Many Border Collies have difficulty adjusting to life as a pet. They need attention and activity, in short: a JOB. They are not cuddly, couch-potato dogs. They don’t want to be coddled. Keeping up with Border Collies’ intense mental and physical stamina is exhausting, even exasperating, to an owner or family who wants a laid-back family pet.
Because sheepdogs are bred to work as a team with a shepherd, they are human oriented. They do not do well in a household where they are left alone for long hours of the day. In these situations they often get into trouble, inventing their own “job”: They chew furniture, tear off wallpaper, dig holes in gardens, chase cars and bicycles, chase and nip children. Tied up for long periods without human contact, or left in a yard where they can see but not participate in human activity, they may bark incessantly or exhibit other unacceptable behaviors. Those that are very sensitive may not take to strangers or correction well, or may be very shy.
The Border Collie is a herding dog, which means they have an overwhelming urge to gather a flock. That flock could be sheep, children, cats, squirrels, or anything that moves, including cars. This instinct to nip, nudge, and bark, along with his energy, cannot be trained out of them. Rather, it must be directed. They must have a task, whether it’s actually herding sheep or competing in dog sports. A brisk walk or a game of fetch every day isn’t enough activity for a Border Collie.
Border Collies with strong herding instincts not given a proper outlet may exhibit what some might consider bizarre behavior: circling, staring at objects for long periods of time, trembling when excited, appearing to stalk small animals, other dogs, and small children, and so forth.
On the plus side, Border Collies are intelligent dogs, often great “characters” who will entertain their owners from morning to night. They are very trainable and can be taught to do a great many things. They thrive if they get sufficient physical and mental exercise. Their sensitive nature can make them loyal and loving. In an active and involved home, Border Collies can make excellent companions, and are the true “interactive” pet – requiring their humans to be a part of their games and indeed their daily life.
Please be sure you know what you are getting into before you buy or adopt a Border Collie. If after you read about the breed, you decide that a Border Collie is the right dog for you, please consider rescuing a Border Collie in need of a good home. More information about the breed and its history can also be found here.