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    Sheep Dogs Aren’t Sheepish

    | Prince William County, VA, USA | Pets & Animals

    (A client comes into my program with a very energetic Border Collie puppy.)

    Client: “My puppy is out of control. We live on a farm and needed a dog for our livestock. This is not what I wanted.”

    Me: “Okay, what is your puppy doing?”

    Client: “Chasing my goats and chickens all over the place!”

    Me: “Well this is a Border Collie, and they do herd. If the drive is not properly honed in to a herd, then a Border Collie will just chase.”

    Client: “But, I do not want my dog to chase my animals at all.”

    Me: “Then do not put your dog in with the animals.”

    Client: “But, I need her to protect my animals.”

    Me: “This is not what this breed was developed to do. This is an active, working breed that will chase.”

    Client: “But, I need her to lie quietly and just watch the animals.”

    Me: “It’s not in her breeding. What research did you do into Border Collies before you got one? Every piece of literature on dogs out there will tell you these are active dogs that will chase.”

    Client: “Well, I asked some guy at the local feed store what a good dog for working livestock was. He suggested a few breeds. I saw Babe, so I got a Border Collie.”

    Me: “Did you tell the feed store guy the type of job you wanted a dog to do?”

    Client: “Work livestock.”

    Me: “Work it how? Herding or guarding?”

    (The client just gives me a blank stare.)

    Me: “You have no idea the difference between herding and guarding?”

    Client: “I thought they were the same.”

    Me: “No. Have you had any farm experience?”

    Client: “No, we’re from the city. We thought it would be fun to move to this county and buy a small farm. But, now we have coyotes killing our animals.”

    Me: “So, you have no idea what you are doing at all?”

    Client: “No. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV huh?”

    Me: “No…”

    (Luckily, they did learn more about Border Collies. They got into a suitable sport after doing basic work with me, and I guided them to people who could help them get a proper livestock guarding dog.)