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Environment, Home & Garden


A Border Collie is a countryside dog. It is not a town dog, though sadly too many are brought into homes situated on housing estates. The worst that can happen here is that a Border Collie with too strong a working instinct and too strong an eye is brought into this kind of arena and then after the initial 'walkies often' wears off, the dog is left to rampage its garden, and if it can get out of that then to terrorise the neighbourhood.

A Border Collie in the right environment is a good dog. A Border Collie in the wrong environment is a bad dog.

One has to remember that a Border Collie is bred for herding and that instinct is always apparent, though there are varying degrees of its strength from Collie to Collie. A bored Border Collie always seems to display aspects of a strong instinct even if it didn't display much of one before, and so anything that moves represents the need to put it in its place. To herd and corner it. That could be cyclists, vehicles, joggers, other animals, not necessarily sheep or cattle, and not least of all children.

One of the worst things I have ever seen is a Border Collie on the rampage in a housing estate, where lost and frightened and needing to put everyone and eveything in its place it has aggressively rounded up a group of children by biting savagely at their ankles and the back of their legs thus bringing blood to the surface. Naturally children scream and run and the Border Collie just continues to bite and herd where he wants that child to go. Finally, someone called the police and captured the dog, they fined the owner and destroyed the dog.

This was such a shame because some breeder bred that Border Collie, attended its birth, raised it and sold it to people that assured the breeder they would respect the needs of that dog and take it on long walks, and let it run free in the countryside under their supervision, that they would do agility or flyball with it or use it for trials and herding and they haven't.

The problem in the main of course is commercials that show on tv a lovely Border Collie in the house as a pretty dog, a glamour dog adoring its owners and being well behaved. This is wrong to portray a Border Collie this way, its akin to showing a tiger in a house mooching around, and loafing on the sofa and though the commercial is not advertising the Border Collie for sale, gullible people tend to think that the furnishings that are being advertised would look even better with a Border Collie in the house. It's amazing what goes into the mind subconsciously.

Some readers here may be saying 'oh come on that's a bit far fetched my Border Collie is nothing like a tiger' but if your Border Collie is nothing like a tiger then perhaps that's because you care for it properly, but believe me, I have entered homes where I have met an aggressive Border Collie that came at me like a ball of black and white fury and has launched itself at me just as if I have been pounced on by a wild animal and to me a tiger is a good representative.

Not caring for a Border Collie's needs is as dumb as the people that have started mixing instinct by crossing a Border Collie with a Poodle or a Spaniel and calling them Collie Oodles or Sprollies. Do people not see beyond designer dogs? Do they not recognised that two different instincts are being brought together in the one brain? All these people that cross breed Labradors with Poodles and get Labradoodles, or anything with Poodles they want shooting, or any mixed breed come to that matter, without first thinking hard enough about mixing the instinct. Let's think about a Poodle who was primarily bred as a carriage dog to trot behind a carriage with a Border Collie who is bred to trot behind sheep. What have you got now in your Collie Oodle? Oh, a curly coated Border Collie that just thinks it must herd cars. How can people be so utterly stupid! Did not God already create perfection with the Border Collie, (okay the wolf) and the derivitives that came from the wolf into specific breeds? Why mess with perfection? I think a lot of it has to do with breeders having more than one breed of dog on the premises and accidental matings taking place and the breeder then fools everyone into thinking that was the way they designed it to occur, and then they give them Oodle names to make it sound good and legal.

When people ask me if I have any other breed of dog but Border Collies I tell them no. Its not worth it. Dogs will be dogs, and to a dog any other breed of dog in season is a delight to have. Far rather know without a shadow of a doubt that there is no chance on my property of mixed breeds creating oodles of puppies that are having their instincts muddled.

It is hard enough in the first instance for a Border Collie to deal with its own instinct in the wrong environment.

The right environment would be a country home, with a large garden, countryside walks where they can dash through muddy puddles or run up and down hills and crags and if the Border Collie has not been purchased by a shepherd then if possible, if at all possible, that a local farmer can borrow the dog from time to time to work his sheep or cattle. Failing that then a country environment with a large garden and access to plenty of walks off lead in a safe area under supervision will suffice. And if it has to be a housing estate then please, please keep your promise. For your Border Collie's sake, keep up the walks, keep up the trips to the seaside, undertake dog training classes, seek agility lessons and flyball and then you will have a very happy Border Collie doing almost what it was bred for, but most of all in the environment it finds itself in, that it isnt a nuisence to neighbours or society and most importantly doesn't become branded a dangerous dog through no fault of its own.


Personally I do not keep my dogs in my home. Its not that I do not have room to do so, far from it, but I do believe that dogs and cats should live outside of the human home. This is personal choice. I am not saying you should copy me or that I am right or wrong. I was brought up where my mum had asthma and so we could not have animals in the house and did not have a dog. We had cats and guinea pigs, and a pony in the garden, but we never had a dog.

However, from what others tell me and from what I have gleaned you should think 'mischievous Border Collie' when you bring one into your home.

Some people bought a puppy from me and when I went to visit I found they were keeping it in a baby's playpen in the kitchen when they went out to shop. I told them that would not be sturdy enough to prevent the puppy sliding the playpen across the kitchen to chew the corner off of the work counter. They laughed at me until the day they came in and found that the playpen was on the other side of the kitchen with the puppy still in it and the corner of their kitchen counter chewed off. They did not know how it had done it and rang to ask me how I thought it had happened. 'Easy' I said 'he has run and jumped at the side of the pen and shoved it forward. He has done it often enough to slide it right across the kitchen until he met with something interesting to chew on.' So they moved the playpen back across the kitchen left the room and watched from another room, and sure enough when bored that is exactly what the puppy did, just as I'd said and they had to have a new counter fitted.

Border Collie's should never be underestimated.

Some people put child safety gates between rooms, but I have had people write and tell me that their puppy has learned to unhitch or slide it open, or climb over it, or wiggle through the bars of it. I have used a child's safety gate to keep my Border Collie out of the house and one hot summer when the door was open it had an embarrasing consequence. People had to hop over the gate to get into the house and when a neighbouring computer repair man called my first words to him were 'hello, I'm Wendy you must be Dave. Can you get your leg over?' For years he would say to people 'you'll never guess what Wendy's very first words to me were when we met.' I can laugh about it now I'm older but for years it was acutely embarrassing.

Many Border Collies like water and they love nothing better than to paddle in their water bowls or flip them up into the air. Tiled floors are not too much of a problem with this but carpeted areas or laminate would soon be ruined, if you are in bed or out when this happens - well you know yourself that the water will seep beneath the carpet or laminate and become a problem. Border Collies also love to shred their beds. I have given my Collies lovely duvets no longer needed in the house thinking they would be cosy and warm out in the barns, only to find in the morning feathers and bits of duvet everywhere, torn to smithereens. No wonder they were quiet all night, they must have had such a fantastic time. Amusing really, picturing them having a whale of a time tearing the huge duvet to shreds between them, feathers flying and they looked quite fetching when I let them out with feathers stuck to their fur, up their nose, in the corners of their mouths. Aw the little angels!

Really though basic safety in the home applies to your puppy just as it would a small child. No overhanging handles on cookers, no hot water in baths, no bottles of toxic substances left where they can be got at, and on top of that no shoes, coats, cushions, slippers, towels, clothing, anything worth anything left laying where your puppy will look at it and think mm that looks appitising, wonder what it tastes like, and even when it tastes horrible, it needs punishing for tasting horrible, and so it needs tearing to shreds. Dogs in the home? Not for me. Each to his own. But just be aware of everything around the home and everything your puppy may find interesting, and especially if its of value to you or of danger to the puppy, then please put it out of its sight and not just out if its reach.

Recently someone wrote to me about the clever puppy they got from me saying that it couldn't climb onto the sofa as it was too small so it walked across the room, pulled a cushion down from a chair, tugged the cushion back to the sofa stood on the cushion and climbed onto the sofa. If they had not seen it with their own eyes they would never have believed it. Border Collies are thinking dogs. Never underestimate their intelligence.


I commend the people that secure their garden before they contemplate looking for a puppy. This subject therefore is to remind people that have had an older Border Collie and have forgotten that puppies are adventurous and mischievous and for first time owners of any breed of dog.

Any gap no matter how insignificant can be worked at and a puppy will find it and it will become a challenge. It may do it secretly, but it will do it with utmost diligence until the gap is large enough to squeeze through. To puppies no matter the size of their environment, the grass is always greener on the other side. Gaps however, though a problem and pose risks, are the least of your worries.

Gaps can be blocked, slug poison and weed killer can be quite another thing and if your puppy eats even the smallest amount of any garden or household poison or detergent do not delay - take the puppy/dog to a vet immediately!

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