passim border collies

Everything a dog should be.

Frequently asked questions.

Do Border collies make good companions?

Yes, in most cases, so long as you have the time to devote to training, exercising, playing, and generally spending quality time with them.  A border collie will be quite happy to help around the house, following the boss around, accompanying you on trips out, helping in the garden, though not always digging in quite the spot you may have had in mind, so long as they have your company for most of the time, and you are able to provide adequate entertainment in a safe environment for periods when they must be left, they can make wonderful companions. 

Are they good with children ?

More to the point are your children good with dogs? Most border collies get on well with children, providing that the children understand that they are not just animated toys, that they need some place of their own, where they can go and rest or chew a bone, if not in the mood for play, and that they need to be treated with respect, they get hot, tired, and fed up at times the same as we do, and the children should be taught that if the dog wants to be left alone, then it should be left alone and not plagued. My own children, now both in their 30's grew up with an assortment of borders, and they were never growled at, nipped or herded by any of my dogs. It is all about mutual respect.

Are they easy to train?

Border collies are very smart. If you do not train them they will soon train you. If you have not owned or trained a dog before, I would suggest that you spend some time with your pup at a local training club. There are also plenty of good books on training, get them from the library and read them before you get your pup. Always be consistent, think from the beginning exactly what you consider to be acceptable behaviour, or non-acceptable behaviour and stick to it.

  Don't allow a pup to do anything you would not like it to do as an adult. It is funny to see a pup hanging on to your foot as you walk or dragging at the hem of your skirt, it is not so funny if it is still doing it as an adult, and learned behaviour is often hard to change. The simple answer is not to let the behaviour start in the first place. It is not reasonable to allow the dog to do something as a pup, and then expect it to change its behaviour as an adult, If pup starts to do something you don't approve of, do not smack it or shout, it will not understand and will only become confused, and possibly even stop trusting you, just say gently and firmly, no, and offer some alternative, such as a toy that is acceptable. Chasing lights or shadows is also amusing to watch in a puppy, but can be pretty irritating in an adult, and soon becomes compulsive behaviour if encouraged

Do they need much grooming?

In a perfect world, a dog would be groomed on a daily basis but a good brush and combing once a week is normally plenty, with maybe a bit more attention when moulting to get rid of the dead coat . If you do not bother to groom at all you will find knots develop behind the ears, and the feathering on the back legs will become clogged and matted. It is better to spend 20 minutes once a week than a couple of hours every few months. If grooming is carried out from an early age, even before the proper adult coat develops, they become used to it and will lie on a bench or table and often fall asleep while you work on them. If you do not feel able to cope with the grooming yourself, consider booking the dog into a grooming parlour every couple of months for a bath and groom. 

Are they good with other animals?

If they are brought up with other animals, there is usually no problem, my pups are introduced to my cats at an early age, the cat soon shows the pup that they do not take kindly to being grabbed and chased and the pups grow up to respect the cats. You must remember though that they are herding dogs, bred for generations to herd other animals, and the herding instinct can kick in at any time. If you are walking where there is livestock, it is important to make sure your dog will come back to you the minute you call it, EVERY time, without hesitation. A lesson that should be taught very early on in the training program . A farmer has the right to shoot any dog that he suspects may be worrying his stock, and while you think Fido is only playing, the farmer will probably see things very differently. 

Do they have to work stock?

No, but it is basic instinct to want to. This can be channeled into other forms of activity. Where I live we have free roaming sheep, my pups are taught to ignore the sheep, if we are out and they start to show interest in the sheep I distract them with a toy and a game, giving praise for their attention. Unless you are in a position to work your dogs on sheep on a regular basis, I feel it is unfair to even get them started, and can cause frustration that can lead to all sorts of problems. It is better not to start at all unless you are in a position to do the job properly. There are plenty of other activities their energy can be channeled into, like Agility, obedience, Fly ball, working trials, etc.   

Current/future litters.