Collies are awesome.
I say it often and it’s because it’s true. They are a magnificent breed of dog with both beauty and brains. They are masters at learning new skills, professionals in manipulating owners with adorable head tilts, pawing and puppy eyes. They can round up the kids as they stray on a walk and will give your life so much love that you feel like you’re living in a rainbow heaven.
They are also neurotic, obsessive, noise and sight sensitive and sometimes don’t know how to switch off their big brains. They are usually not for first time owners or the meek amongst us. They can be a handful with small children, joggers, cars, cyclists and cats due to their innate need to herd up moving objects at collie eye level. They can be nippy and reactive and downright insane.
With great intelligence and work ethic comes the likelyhood of problems. Lots of working breeds have this problem because up until recently, the dogs we have in our homes as pets were purely working dogs. They had a job to do and they were gentically wired to do it all the live long day.
Madness and Cuddles
I think I’ve been pretty lucky with my collies. They haven’t displayed many of the common issues, however they still have their quirks. Brae is 10 years old now and her main issue is her obsessive tendancies with the ball. I’ve wrote about this previously so I won’t go into it again (but you can read about it HERE) but what I didn’t know back when she was young was the fact that anything done repeatedly with a collie becomes an obsession. Obsession generally isn’t healthy and in Brae’s case it’s lead to arthritis and an inability to go to the toilet unless s
he’s told multiple times! However if you’re doing something like agility, flyball or competitive obedience, using their obessive tendancies to practice the moves can result in a champion. You just have to remember to balance it out with some healthy practices like getting them to switch off and relax.
Brae does get to play with her toys in a more controlled way now but she knows that in the house we chill. However now we have weekly visits from my partner Shaun and his collie Moxie, so now my girls think it’s play time whenever Mox comes in and picks up a toy (you can read all about why Shaun and Moxie are important HERE and HERE)
Taryn was an Irish rescue and spent the first 8 weeks of her life on a farm in a barn. She then travelled over to a rescue here and I fostered her. She came with a whole host of problems including resource guarding, anxiety, fear of traffic, fear of going outside, fear of travelling in a vehicle and reactivity to any tools being used. Not easy to deal with and if she had
been placed in the wrong home, she could easily have become a very different dog, and not in a good way. I have worked so hard to help her to become a more balanced dog and to help her with her problems. She’s almost 9 now and is generally a very lovely and happy dog. However she still dislikes travelling, she still will try and guard her food from other dogs and if I’m dancing around and waving my arms about, she will bark and become upset. Not perfect, but considering the dog she was, I think I’ve done ok and she’s such a cuddly dog. She gives the best snuggles.
Get out what you put in.
Like all dogs, the training you put in to collies will determine what you get back out. If you have a collie who wrecks your house, chases bikes and herds random strangers, then you will need to look at the way you have trained and how much you have done with your dog. It’s easy to go wrong but you can put it right. It takes work, ti
me, consistency and commitment, but it can be done. If you want some really simple ideas on how to start helping your collie, then check out my book. I wrote it as a very simple guide to help owners do more with their dogs and help build the bond. If you follow the things I’ve wrote about, you can ue your collie’s obsessive nature to your advantage and make it so that YOU are the focus of his obsession. It will help with things like recall, loose lead walking and settling down in the home. It’s available now on Amazon in paperback and kindle. If you get it and enjoy it, then please leav me a review on Amazon! Follow THIS LINK to go buy it and start building a better relationship with your dog!