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Had Enough Yet?

Hello. I am very interested in purchasing a Border Collie but a couple of things are holding me back. Maybe you can help. I love Frisbee and I like to bike and jog. So far so good, but what concerns me is that I work eight to ten hours a day, five days a week. I own my own home which is big on the inside but my yard is quite small so I could not keep it outside while I am at work. There are parks all over that I could bring my dog to, but I'm not quite sure what to do with him during the day. Is it bad to confine him to a room or a cage while I am gone? If I give him full reign of the house will they generally go nuts and tear things up? Also we have a miniature poodle - can they get along? If you don't think that a Border Collie is a good idea, do you have any suggestions on another type of dog that would be a good Frisbee dog? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many working families own Border Collies with little or no problem. Many working families also own Border Collies with lots of problems. It really depends on the commitment you put into the dog. They are fully capable of spending the day alone and yet when you get home (and generally before you leave in the morning too) you MUST do something with them. It doesn't matter if it's raining, snowing, or a hurricane is passing through your neighborhood - Border Collies need some form of exercise and an outlet each and every day. It doesn't matter how tired you are when you come home from work - you'll need to take the dog out and do something. If you don't, there are three possible consequences. 1) The dog will pester you and drive you crazy until you give in and take it outside to play 2) The dog will find its own outlet for its pent-up energy (generally this involves disassembly of some object) or 3) Your Border Collie will get fat (an unhealthy condition).

If you can make the commitment to spend time with your dog in some form of stimulating physical or mental activity, then I see no problem with having a full-time job and owning a Border Collie. It truly is, in this instance, the quality of time, not the quantity of time, that counts. A well-stimulated Border Collie can remain at home, dozing peacefully until its owner's return. But then, it's "outside we go"! They are not 24-hour-a-day dogs (though most of them would like to be) but they are 7-days-a-week dogs. Every day you need to find something to do with them - be it herding, Frisbee, agility, flyball, etc. - or soon it will be activities like house demolition, lawn excavation, and furniture remodeling.

A crate is always a good idea for a dog left at home all day - to keep them safe and out of trouble - but many dogs can be trusted alone in the house, with access to all parts of the house, with little or no problems. It all depends on a couple of things - how much exercise and activity the dog gets during the other times, how well the dog is trained, and the individual dog's personality. Some are better than others and the only way to know for sure is to try. However it is far easier to set tight restrictions on the dog at first and then loosen them up as time goes on (as the dog becomes even more trustworthy) than trying the opposite - giving them free reign and then imposing restrictions if things go wrong.

As far as Frisbee goes - Frisbee has no requirements for purebred dogs (in fact they encourage mutts - the winner of previous 3 World Finals was a mix from California). I'd worry more about a dog that was enthusiastic about disc play, not necessarily its breed if you're truly concerned about getting a good Frisbee dog. There are Border Collies that are very good at it - and there are others that stink.

Page last updated December 20, 2003. All material Copyright 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc. and Dr. Nicholas B. Carter
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