Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

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We’ve been talking for a while about getting a dog. We had been leaning towards a golden retriever, but now we’re looking into maybe getting a border collie, due to their smaller size, and because they’re just darned cool. We know that, generally speaking, border collies tend to be very active. But we’re hoping to locate one that has a more laid back personality.

We figure that the pet that best matches us would be an indoor dog. But he (or she?) will be able to get daily exercise, because we’re sure that our oldest daughter would love to take him outside after school for walks or for chasing frisbees and such. Plus, Susan and I will want to take him for walks, because we could use the exercise ourselves.

We’ve been checking with local animal shelters and rescue groups (via PetFinder, PetsUnlimited, etc), but every time we find one that we think might be a good match, we find out that he’s already been adopted. And we’re also a little put-off by the paperwork and fees that these places are asking for. Some of the rescue groups have adoption fees that are higher than purchasing an AKC registered puppy from an independent breeder. And as Susan said the other day, we didn’t fill out that much paperwork when we brought our baby home from the hospital! When we were growing up, “pet adoption” meant that when a stray showed up in your yard, you fed it. There were no questionnaires, adoption fees, or home inspections — if he stuck around, he was yours.

So. If anyone has any leads on a border collie (can be a mixed breed) in the Atlanta area that needs a good home and matches what I’ve described above, get in touch! We’d prefer a dog that’s probably 2-5 years old, not a puppy. He will also need to be good with children. In fact, one of the reasons we want to get a dog is for our son, Jamie. He has had pet therapy before, and reacted very well to it. He loves animals, and the ones he’s met love him, too.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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19 Responses to Woof!

  1. Cecilia says:

    You might also want to consider a Sheltie or sheltie mix – my husband and I adopted a sheltie mix puppy last year. He’s an indoor dog, quite intelligent (herding breed, no agressive tendencies at all), pretty small (23 lbs) and doesn’t have too much of a problem shedding for about 50 weeks out of the year. I found him on petfinder, and reserved him by paying ahead of time so he wouldn’t be adopted before I could pick him up. You probably wouldn’t want to do that with an adult dog (Copper was only 8 weeks old) because of personality issues, though. Adopting him was a bit expensive with fees, but he already had a lot of his shots done, so it really wasn’t as expensive as it first appeared.


  2. craig says:

    At one time I had two border collies. They were both my sweethearts. They were very good with kids, but required a LOT of activity. They are bred to work, so you really have to ensure they have space and lots of exercise.

    I always choose a female as well. They aren’t running around trying to impregnate and piss on everything in sight, either. They generally tend to be better-tempered as well. Right now my boys and I have a black lab who is about the nicest dog I have ever owned. Totally devoted to the family, quiet as a mouse, and she keeps my toes warm at night. Very easy to care for and loves to go for rides in the truck. She’s a beauty!

    Whatever you get, it’s nice to know that it will be in a home full of love and attention.

  3. jpep says:

    Here’s a WordPress-powered site with tons of info on dogs…

    Should You Consider a Rescued Dog or Puppy?

  4. Alex says:

    I highly recommend an Australian Shepherd. As a breeder I talked to (that raised both) described them:

    A Border Collie wants to work all the time
    An Aussie will work hard, but likes to have relaxing family time too

    Either breed is very smart and easily trained – though the “always on the go” nature of the Border Collie means you need to keep them busy or they find trouble.

    If you have limited space, the miniature Aussie is a nice option – we love ours. 🙂

  5. Stacey says:

    Border collies are a LOT of work and would be great if you had a farm and they could be out running in fields and stuff. If it’s an indoor dog and in the burbs, I really wouldn’t suggest a border collie.

    I would suggest a shelter dog. Mutts usually seem to have the least amount of health problems – because they haven’t been inbred. However, if you looking for an indoor dog, I would suggest a Basset hound…not super active and extremely loving. Or perhaps a Corgi? They are short, long and lots of fun. Being herd dogs, they have the more loveable tendencies of the Border collies, but not the need for as much activity.

  6. Dougal says:

    Alex: a couple of the shelter dogs we’ve looked at online were border collie/australian shepard mixes. We’ll probably expand our search some to see if any aussies are available in our area.

    Stacey: We don’t mind a mutt at all. A lot of the dogs that we’re looking at are mixes.

    And when I was younger, my parents used to breed basset hounds (and bloodhounds, too). They’re still one of my favorite breeds. Yes, they’re pretty laid back, but they can be kind of “needy”. We used to have one that would get mad when we left him home alone. We’d come back to the house to find that he had dragged something off of the coffee table and chewed it up. It really torked me off when he chewed up a 1960’s copy of The Hobbit that I had found at my grandparent’s house. 😉

  7. Linda says:

    I had a border collie/spaniel mix who was a wonderful family companion – smart, protective, and sweet-natured. Perhaps because of her dual heritage, she was more placid than a purebred border collie.

  8. Can I tell you, you are @#$&ing crazy to get a border collie. I have had unfortunate extended stays around these dogs and they are frickin nuts. They need tons and tons of activity. Even with long hikes and contstant walks I’ve seen these dogs tear up shoes, funiture, clothes, yeards, you name it… They are a huge chore to train and very, very strong willed and independent. Goldens on the other hand are mello, loving, happto go along for the ride type dogs that seem to get along with everyone.

    Need to herd sheep – sure get a border collie.

    Want a loving, loyal companion go Golden.

    Just myho ymmv.

  9. Super Dave says:

    Well I have read all your blogs, but the things that stood out the most: Were 1. Primary owner, trainer is a little boy. 2. Want an easy to train dog with intellegence and good tempermant. 3. Likes the looks of Collie shape and coat. 4. Wants a dog that is Indoor/Outdoor 5. Didn’t mention it but needs a dog that will naturally protect the children from the BLOB Stalkers!. Only one answer here, but first lets weed out the Lab, everybody loves a lab, but they have been over bred, and the ones in the shelter are sctitzo. The Corgi is missing half its legs and not a collie shape, nor is the blood hound or the boxer. The Golden is nice, but then everybody knows that, including the BLOB STALKER AFTER YOUR KIDS.
    HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF A CHILD BEING KIDNAPED WITH IT’S PET GERMAN SHEPHERD? I SURE HAVEN’T! You need to get a well bred GSD puppy, let it bond with your children, and send the boy and puppy to obedience classes togather. At the age of two, it will have been a pure JOY for 24 months already.

  10. Melanie says:

    Being an aussie myself, I decided to answer your post regarding a dog that would suit you and your family. I also love border collies but I would never have one unless I had the time and energy to exercise such an active breed. I also know of border collies that have bitten children and have myself been attacked by a male border collie with a dominance problem. I would not recommend a border collie unless you can put the time and effort in and I don’t consider them to make great house dogs. Herding dogs in general are active, but as mentioned by a previous poster – shelties are small, have a beautiful coat and are usually very steady dogs from my experiance with them. Spaniels are perfect indoor dogs too – but if you are looking for a medium-sized dog then they would be too small. I would be looking for a cross-breed aussie or border collie if you still want the border collie look, but wouldn’t rule out a purebred if you are prepared for the time and training needed to have a well-behaved house dog. As for chewing – most dogs go beserk around 9 months of age chewing everything in sight as they are cutting teeth and if something else is supplied that should not be too much problem. Bored dogs will also pull washing off the line and generally go silly. Most important with any dog is establishing pack structure – with you at the top and dog at the bottom. I would also choose a female dog as they are calmer generally.
    How this helps 🙂

  11. Jim says:

    Please adopt a mutt from a shelter. 🙂 You’ll be happy. A dog will be happy.

    As to the costs – call your local vet and ask how much it costs for the first round of shots, spay/neuter costs, etc. All these are usually absorbed by shelters.

    Good luck!

  12. Dougal says:

    We’ve got an appointment to meet a dog weekend after next. He’s a border collie mix (I don’t know what the mix part is), and his foster mom says that he’s got a very laid-back, loving personality. She considered training him for agility competitions because he’s so smart, but he’s more interested in snuggling than training. That sounds like the kind of dog we were hoping for 🙂

  13. Erwin Kodiat says:

    Why don’t you consider Doberman Pinscher? My father owns Von Liphier Dobermann Kennel. All I know from him, if you have dobe puppies then it will grow into a very passionate dogs, that is just different from the common opinion about dobes. I think it is related to the influence from Hollywood that always describe dobes as fierce dog. It happens to sharks because of Jaws movie, and now it almost extincts. 🙁

  14. V says:

    Hmm.. Border Collie in an apartment? Umm.. Insane is the word that runs through my head.

    Border collies need to run and be active. If you don’t have a backyard for them to run in for hours while you’re away, they will probably go insane. Our old border collie would get bored easily and would destroy things. She even schredded a soda can so finely that you couldn’t tell what was the rim or tab or can.

    As for the biting issues brought up.. They WILL try to herd anyone running. They WILL nip if they are not trained to have something in their mouths. (Nipping hurts and can leave bruises and in an excited dog situation nipping can break the skin).

    They also can jump. So if you do have a backyard, you’d better have a very high fence. We had a 7 ft chain link fence and our dog could clear it. I wouldn’t recommend tying them up. They have a tendancy to run full boar and hang themselves or snap their neck trying to ‘herd’ something they see in the distance. I’ve seen border collies tied up, run so hard to catch something way out of the reach of their chain that they flip over and land on their backs. The dogs would do that repeatedly until let go or until they hurt themselves.

    Border Collies are very easy to train. Which means they’re also very easy to train wrong. They are extremely smart.

    Personally I love Bordie Collies. I helped train one growing up, and my current dog is half border collie half lab.

    If you do get a border collie or border collie mix, buy some tennis balls and don’t move until the dog has the ball in its mouth (this will help establish that the dog must have something in its mouth before ‘herding’ you). They’re great at fetch, and other tricks.. just make sure to be consistant. Like kids, the dogs will test your boundaries.

    When the dog is excited is when it will ‘forget’ and nip most. So just make sure to make the dog stop and pick up its toy, before continuing.

    Our old border collie, I had trained to pick out each toy by its specific name (people who visted swore she ‘spoke english’). I also trained her so I could use non-verbal motions to get her to do anything I wanted.

    Bordie collies can be great with kids. They’re usually of a very stable temperment, especially the females. They are a submissive type dog unless their owner is threatened. Our dog would let kids torture it without biting. The only problem is the running. If your kid runs, and the dog isn’t trained properly the kid will get nipped. Also its best to teach the kid to stop running if the dog doesn’t have a toy in its mouth, that way the dog won’t nip. They only nip moving targets.

    Ok.. I’ve rambled enough now.

  15. Dougal says:

    Who said anything about an apartment? We’ve got a house. With a huge back yard.

    Anyhow, we adopted a dog yesterday! He’s a border collie mix (looks like maybe some setter?) with a very sweet disposition. He’s a little over a year old (about 15 months), and his foster family had already trained him some. I’ll post more about him when I have more time.

  16. MARCIA says:

    I know that you already have a dog and a house, but, I just wanted to point out that we have a 1 yr old border collie we rescued from the humane society. We live in a small condo and she does fine. Minimum exercise for her is 30 min of frisbee twice a day…..we don’t find that too hard. She is great with small children… niece is 1 and 1/2 years and she pretty much puts her hand in our dogs mouth and she just sits. We are really careful around older children because she has been known to nip at runners. We just put her on leash to be safe. She is a great dog….and we are getting some extra training to deal with the nipping at runners so I can feel a little more comfortable taking her out for walks and runs. We also take her mountain biking and she is awesome off leash. If she is chasing us, it wouldn’t matter if a deer or anything ran across. She wants to follow us. It is great!

  17. I think I'm a little late to the party here. I found your blog searching for Australian Shepards. I'm a little biased because I think Australian Shepards are the best dogs in the world. That would have been my recommendation given that you would have had the time to spend with it and make sure it could stay active. Anyway, I hope you are enjoying your collie!!

  18. shane says:

    it is still  better  to  train a house dog, specially if you have children and seek a professional about which is the right dog for your family.

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