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Pink Feathers

What I Learned About Border Collies

I have never had a dog like the border collie we have now. I didn’t know anything about the breed before Bandit burst into our lives except that they were herders. I’m not sure the additional information would have helped because a Border Collie has to be experienced to be believed.

I fell in love with Bandit the minute I saw him. Our neighbor is a dog trainer and she stopped me when I was running, and she was pulling out of the neighborhood. She told me a couple had purchased Bandit as an emotional support dog, but he had too much energy, so she was going to help rehome him. I asked my husband if we could take a look at him, so we meet Lynn as she pulled in with him. Four-month-old Bandit jumped out of the car straight into my arms, and my heart was lost. I should also mention that my husband and I had sworn we would never have another puppy.

During the first few weeks, I almost gave him back because he had so much energy and he was so smart. I wasn’t sure we were the best fit for him, but I am glad we kept him. Here is what I have learned about this breed.

They have to run off the crazy

Have you ever been hyper-excited about something? Imagine feeling like that every day for most of the day. My husband would let him out in the morning for five minutes and say, “He went to the bathroom.” I had to convince him that he also needed to run several loops around the yard, attack several sticks, and chase a few squirrels, then he was ready for breakfast.

They need mental stimulation.

Talk to them as if they are human. They will develop a vocabulary and understand a lot of what you say to them. When they are young introduce them to as many new things as possible. Our dog trainer said they can develop fear issues if you don’t do that. Mine was afraid of the garbage cans at first. Let him meet lots of different people as well as other dogs. You can teach them how to behave just as you would a toddler. Find interactive toys. Food puzzles and toys where they have to pull out objects are great. Mine will chase a Frisbee and tennis ball all day.

They are hypersensitive to emotions.

My dog knows when I’m sad or annoyed, or happy. When he does something wrong I redirect him firmly, but I never yell or hit. He can get the idea pretty fast.

They sometimes have selective hearing.

I knew I was in trouble when my dog trainer friend said, “Oh, he is stubborn.” Sometimes, I will be telling him to come, and he suddenly becomes deaf. I cannot tell you how many times I have said, “I know you hear me!”

You have to keep them in sight.

When Bandit was younger, if he saw something or someone who looked fun, he bolted. I have eventually gotten him to the point where I can bring him out without a leash and he will stay with me, but I keep an eye on him.

They are full of love.

Bandit loves to cuddle, and right before he goes into his crate at night he jumps on my couch and gives me a goodnight kiss. He loves playing with my grandson, and although he is streaking here and there, he has never knocked him over.

These dogs are incredible, but they can be a lot and you might need to take some time away from them now and then. Don’t feel guilty about that.

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