I thought for today we would have a little fun with a Q & A! So over the last couple of weeks I have been asking you guys on Instagram what questions you want me to answer! Lets jump straight in!
What made you pick a Border Collie?
The way their brain works. I just love watching them figure things out! Give them a goal, add an obstacle or two and watch them figure it out. I love how fast they figure out brain games, and how willing and wanting they are to learn all the time. I love teaching new tricks and sculpting new behaviours so, personally, I think I fit with a BC pretty darn well.
What is the best thing about Border Collie’s in your opinion?
Personality. I love how sensitive they are, well sensitive may not be the right term to use here. I mean the kind of sensitive that a woman looks for in a man – albeit rather hard to find. They are caring, loyal and they always know when something is wrong. But on the other side they know when it’s time to have fun – which to them is most of the time. The only time they know when to stop the fun is when they can tell that I’m emitting any kind of negative energy. If I’m upset, Luna will come cuddle me, and I mean she literally cuddles and this is not a behaviour that I taught her, with her reactive side and very rough past I thought this would me too close and invasive for her, but she does it on her own! But if I’m stressed or angry she will just come and sit quietly by me and give me puppy eyes which normally brings me out of it just enough to calm down. She always knows what I need and I will be eternally grateful for that. This is one of the reasons that I would love to train her as a therapy dog for myself but her reactive nature makes this rather impossible. Although sometimes we like to think of as many as six impossible things before breakfast…
If you were to own a different breed what would it be?
Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. I have a stupidly long list of dog breeds that I would like to own one day. But when I worked as a hydrotherapist some of my favourite clients were Tollers. I just fell in love with their personalities. They remind me a lot of Border Collie’s but everyone that I have met has been a fair bit calmer. One of the owners also owned a BC and she said the Toller’s were like a Collie with an “off switch”, and I feel like they would fit pretty well into our pack. The next which I just have to mention are Cocker Spaniels, I love their energy! I see it as a different kind of energy to a border collie, almost more positive (and perhaps a little bonkers at times – I think that’s what draws me to them). Others on the list are Australian Shepherd, Irish Wolfhound, Poodle, and Northern Inuit, all for very different reasons.
Who is the cuddliest dog?
For those of you who don’t know I also live with a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Ollie who is the family dog and a Chihuahua names Tiff who belongs to my sister. Tiff and Ollie are definitely the cuddliest dogs in the house, followed by Luna who mostly just knows when I need it, and finally Aurora who really isn’t that keen on affection unless she’s in the mood, she prefers to sleep, run and play!
What the hardest part about living with a reactive dog?
Walkies. Walking is definitely the hardest thing, mainly due to other dog owners. When Luna is walking she wears a bright yellow coat that says “give me space” on both sides of it, and she wears a bright blue muzzle. Now please, somebody enlighten me as to how these idiots still miss this and let their off lead dog charge at her anyway. How?! She’s a bloody beacon when we’re out walking!
Anger aside now, I always try to walk at quieter times of day and take her to places where I know we won’t meet any dogs but sometimes this just isn’t possible. I do everything in my power to make sure that all other dogs are protected from my reactive pup, but other people do not do the same for me. Please, if you don’t already, I beg of you. If you see another dog approaching on lead, or see that the owner calls their dog back to put them on lead, please do the same. Personally I see that as common courtesy when out walking. Put yourself in the dogs shoes for a moment, if a strange human came charging up to you and shoved their face straight in your face you would be likely to shove them away pretty aggressively. That or just curl up into a ball and panic. Either way it’s not a nice experience so please don’t let your dog make any other dog feel like this – unless of course said other dog is absolutely fine with this, but please check with the owner first!
If you could ask anything of other dog owners what would it be?
Be more sympathetic. This is something that I, myself, also need to learn. The points mentioned in the previous question would also be said but this would be close to follow. Before we continue can we just note that it was humans who caused Luna to be like this in the first place, if a human had done to another human what was done to her, they would still be in jail by this point and many more people around would be much more sympathetic of her behaviour. Sympathy is something that we as humans seem to lack a lot. Rather than using your opinions to ram down someone’s throat, stop for a minute and think about how they feel about the situation. In this case you need to put yourself in both the owner and the dogs shoes. I have to remind myself that not everyone knows what it’s like to own a reactive dog. Although shouting at them for being stupid and letting their out of control dog charge up to mine, setting her training back a lot, feels pretty good at the time. Instead I need to stop and educate said owner, hopefully they will listen, but we all know that sometimes it can be like playing chess with a pigeon. And to those of you who shout at me for having an aggressive dog, how about you stop yourself and think about why she’s aggressive, or even better, ask me! But you better have the tea an biscuits ready… And tissues depending on how sensitive you are.
What are the dogs most ridiculous nicknames?
I don’t even want to explain myself…
How much should a Border Collie Weigh?
I HATE this question! All dogs are different! Even a single breed can come in many different shapes and sizes! Take my two for example, Luna weighs 12.7 kg and Aurora weighs 16.5 kg! Look at the bloody difference! And I promise you they are both of a good weight, Luna is just a lot daintier than Aurora, and shorted in height and length. I will not give you a set answer to this question, instead I suggest you read up on body condition scores. This is what your vet should also be doing, my vet has a body condition chart up in every room for both cats and dogs. In short you should be able to feel your dogs ribs with a slight covering of fat (and I mean slight), you should see the shape of a waist from above and the abdomen should be slightly tucked when viewed from the side. Of course every breeds body scoring will be slightly different (e.g. Sight Hounds bones will be slightly more visible and abdomen more tucked etc.). If you want more information on body scoring speak to your vet, and here’s a basic body condition scoring chart.
What advice would you give to a new dog owner?
Be grilled. If you aren’t grilled, go somewhere else. Whether you’re thinking of buying a puppy or re-homing a dog you should expected to be interrogated to the highest order. This will help prevent you from getting a dog that is not suitable for you. And if one place tells you that you are not right for that breed of dog, or temperament or whatever, don’t just go off and get one from somewhere that will let you have one. They obviously don’t give a crap and either are in it for the money or just want the dog/puppies gone, that of=r they may well be too shy, but this is no excuse. If you’re a breeder or re-homer and are reading this, please don’t be shy, it comes across all wrong. If you’re too shy to say it out loud then make a paper questionnaire! Prevent your puppies and dogs from going to the wrong home then ending up in a rescue centre after a couple of months with no home to call theirs forever. I’m not one for preaching about KC papers at people, personally I don’t really give a crap about them if you don’t want to show, so long as parents have had the correct health tests – but please make sure they have proof of health tests.
What bed would you suggest for a dog with orthopedic issues?
Memory foam. Not the super squishy memory foam crumb that you get in a lot of the cheaper beds, but the nice firm memory foam. The kind that costs quite a lot. I’m sorry to say it but if you really want a bed that’s going to help you’re going to have to splash out. But the positive to buying a more expensive bed is that – providing you don’t own a chewer, shredder or downright destroyer – it will last you a really long time! However mine have always been more inclined to destroy a bed stuffed with fluff than one with a solid filling (thankfully they haven’t destroyed beds in years. In regards to a bed suggestion, you want to go for a nice firm memory foam, something that holds its shape well to support them, and that also makes it easier to get up – ever tried to stand up on something really soft and wobbly? Not easy! You also want something they can stretch out on if they want to, so a small round bed with sides isn’t ideal.
Now I don’t have one of these myself yet – I’m saving for Luna! Poor little tyke has Hip Dysplasia – but I had a good look over Tuff Mutt’s ‘Muttress’ at Crufts this year, and I think they’re perfect! Before I carry on my ramble about them I want to make a point of saying that this little review is most certainly not sponsored by them in any way. It comes in many different sizes and thicknesses – we’re wanting a nice big and thick one! And although fashion isn’t a worry for us, they do look rather stylish and can be made with many different cover options. Even better, you can also have a waterproof cover! Here’s the link for the waterproof bed and here’s the link for the luxury dog bed.
So that’s all for today’s Q & A! Please share your thoughts on my – rather opinionated – answers! If you have any questions you would like to see me answer in future Q & A’s just let me know.
None of the companies mentioned above have sponsored this post in any way. They are products I have bought and tried or inspected off my own back.