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  #51  
Old 01-18-2013, 04:00 PM
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Sekah Sekah is offline
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Originally Posted by Lizmo View Post
Yes, this makes sense. These are all valid concerns for someone new to the breed. Here's my response:


To the first question concerning, "herd mode." This takes knowing the breed, meeting dogs. To the newb eye, Blaze comes off this same way. He walks with tail down, ears back, head low (but no sniffing) and in a way that looks "stalkerish." It's just the way he walks, he's always walked like this. Many, even dogs I've seen at agility (I don't know the breeding, but I'm assuming there is a good mix of lines at these events) walk similar to this, unless actively engaged with their handler. I think it's more a breed thing.

When he's infront of me walking, this is my view of him:


I have no problem with head low by any means. My Aussie is pretty low when she's not actively working. But there's a distinct difference when a dog is relaxed and when it's in a state of high arousal. Again, this poor dog walks around with the whites of its eyes showing, panting heavily, and hunched over like it's focusing on a herd of sheep. It seems like his herding instinct is very strong, and his ability to cope with the excitement of the outdoors is low. This is just a one-off example of course, and not a particularly good one, but it's something that I always think of when think of untapped arousal.
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  #52  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Sekah View Post
I have no problem with head low by any means. My Aussie is pretty low when she's not actively working. But there's a distinct difference when a dog is relaxed and when it's in a state of high arousal. Again, this poor dog walks around with the whites of its eyes showing, panting heavily, and hunched over like it's focusing on a herd of sheep. It seems like his herding instinct is very strong, and his ability to cope with the excitement of the outdoors is low. This is just a one-off example of course, and not a particularly good one, but it's something that I always think of when think of untapped arousal.
Honestly, I don't have a BC but I know dogs that do that. There is one BC I know that is like this every time I see him.

I think in his case, it's fear and poor structure. The dog is really oddly put together which appears to make him very crouchy all the time. He doesn't move so well either. Very roached topline too. And whites of the eyes/panting sounds like a fear/anxiety thing to me. Most BCs I meet are not like that.
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  #53  
Old 01-18-2013, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy View Post
Having grown up with collies, I'm so happy I didn't have the Internet then. Honestly, sometimes I think knowledge is power, sometimes I think it inhibits things.

All the collies I've known, and that's a fair few, have actually made amazing house dogs. Theyre not some alien breed that needs something a different breed needs.


I'm saying this as someone who recently bought a show line gun dog, and thinks, actually... Meh, could have gone working line.


It's all in your head.
^ this. Really, while they do have some quirky behaviours, so do most breeds. It's nothing over-the-top. I think a lot of border collie people get very snobby about their own breed, and make them seem like a huge chore when really, they don't have to be.

My active companion Border Collie lives in the middle of the city. I take him on errands. He hangs out at my store sometimes. He walks down bustling sidewalks and has been to a few major, loud city events. He takes pretty much all of it in stride. And he's working line.
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  #54  
Old 01-18-2013, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Oko View Post
As for wanting to herd things all the time/being aloof, I don't have a BC but I can say that when I went to a USBCHA sheepdog trial, the moment the open class dogs (the novice dogs were sometimes naughty) were told 'That'll Do', they were done with the sheep. They'd go over to the water tank and lie down, and watch the next dog make their outrun and work the sheep, while being inside the fenced area, and not even bat an eye.

There were also quite a few off-leash with their owners while waiting to run, and they just stuck by them and chilled, or snuggled for petting. A couple people had them on their laps. This was a fair as well as a trial, so it was quite busy and loud. Not at all what I would have expected. I'd say it's definitely in the right person raising the dog the right way.

As for the culture, I have to say the people off the internet seem much more chill about the entire thing. To be clear, as far as I can tell no one on that BC forum wants people not to have them as pets, just not bred as pets. I have received a warm welcome from both breeders I emailed, even though I don't want a stockdog, or to do any specific dog sports.
I love your whole post, but especially the bolded part. True, you'll run into a few people who are exactly like they are on the internet forums. But for the most part, people could really care less when actually working with you and your dog.


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Originally Posted by Sekah View Post

- The culture. The working BC enthusiasts I'm meeting (via the interwebs) are all pretty hardcore into herding culture, the preservation of the breed, and all pretty dismissive of sporter collie breeders & their dogs. My dog will likely never work sheep and may never even see one. Do I want to get a dog bred for work when it will never have the opportunity to do so?

- The dog's ability to cope. I'm getting mixed messages with the temperament of working BCs vs sport. I'm worried I'll end up getting a highly independent dog who has a hard time recovering from stressful events or coping with life in the city. I hear conflicting reports of the rate of dog reactivity/aggression in working vs. sport lines.

Does that make sense? I think it'll really boil down to the lines of the dog I get though as there's going to be good and bad breeders/lines on either side of the split.

Second concern. Like stated above, don't let that be a worry. Honestly and truly, please don't. If you keep digging, searching for the right person, you'll find your niche. After seeing the 'nasty' that each side can get into, and owning the breed myself, being scared away from the breed because of all the chatter that goes on really isn't worth it. The dogs are too good. You can stay away from the drama, excel with your dog, and have a blast without getting involved with the drama. And there are many people out there who stay out of the debates and such.

On the topic of having a breed bred for sheep but the dog never seeing them, my position is this, and it might not be 100% correct, but after owning the breed and seeing different dogs I feel I can form an opinion on the subject. The dog will not know what it's missing. I don't for a second believe Blaze wakes each morning hoping to see sheep. He's hoping to have a good time with me. If that involves sheep, he's pretty happy. But if that involves a long walk at the park with a ball or frisbee fun, he's pretty happy, too. In short, don't let this subject be a deciding factor, or even a factor at all.

Third concern. I can't speak for the reactivity of working vs. sporting, as I've not dealt with enough dogs to know, but I personally have not met many working bred reactive dogs. And here's why. People who are working their dogs (and agility people are probably the same way if I had to guess) don't care a bit about having their dog meet another dog. They sit by the owner while waiting for their turn to work. They don't let their dog run up to other dogs to meet, they control them, even if two people are talking and they both have dogs the dogs never touch/meet.

In my experience, most of the dogs can be in close quarters with other dogs and not mind a bit. Would they get along for playing purposes? I can't say one way or the other, because it's not something that is encouraged. But do keep in mind most of these dogs live with a high number of other dogs. Just something to keep in mind.

With regard to the coping abilities, these dogs are not independent. In other words, they are, but they aren't. They should be able to think for themselves and be level headed in situations, yet remember you are part of the process too. These dogs love to be around their people. Like I said above, I think training plays a big role here. If you find the dog is having a hard time recovering from situations, help teach them the appropriate way to respond. Or, if the dog offers an appropriate response to a situation, reward that. They remember. Life in the city doesn't have to be hard, and many adapt with ease. My Border Collie recently moved to an apartment near a university. He used to live in a quiet neighborhood with a huge backyard that he could use whenever he wanted. He's taken this change with relative ease. We go to a big park each day. We have lots of road noise now. Lots of speedy cars. New doggie neighbors. He's handled the situation with much ease. Yes, we've had a couple hiccups, but we work through them and he's that much better for taking the time to show him the right way to respond. I hope that makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sekah View Post
I have no problem with head low by any means. My Aussie is pretty low when she's not actively working. But there's a distinct difference when a dog is relaxed and when it's in a state of high arousal. Again, this poor dog walks around with the whites of its eyes showing, panting heavily, and hunched over like it's focusing on a herd of sheep. It seems like his herding instinct is very strong, and his ability to cope with the excitement of the outdoors is low. This is just a one-off example of course, and not a particularly good one, but it's something that I always think of when think of untapped arousal.
Oh, okay, I wasn't sure if maybe it was just his 'normal', much like Blaze's. But yeah, I agree, sounds like a dog who needs to be taught how to relax. I'd chalk this up to a training issue, really. And if you get a pup and instill a proper foundation (just as you've done with your Aussie) I don't see it being an issue for a future dog.
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