I hear those words all the time. Yes I own collies but that’s not the reason I hear it at least once a week!
On Saturday this week, Thea and I took our hounds to Thornley woods. It was pissing it down, which is my favourite weather to visit popular woodland spots! It keeps most folk indoors and I get to enjoy a quieter walk in what is usually a busy spot.
Thea loved spotting all the sculptures and the dogs enjoyed going somewhere a bit different. There was still some people out and about – the hard core walkers I cal them – but not too many. Now whenever I see someone coming my way, I always ask Thea and the dogs to come into the side to let people past. I feel it’s only polite when I’m out with multiple dogs and a mad child. Thea likes to get the treats out and we get the dogs to focus on us as people pass.
We did this as a young couple came towards us with a little girl a bit younger than Thea and a dog. As they passed they said thank you and the lady turned to the guy and said “look at how well trained those dogs are!” To which her gentleman friend replied “Collies, innit?”
I almost did a little LOL as he walked away because that man thinking collies are some sort of magic being who come to you well trained and ready to go is exactly the reason so many collies are in rescue or end up put to sleep at 6 months old.
Are collies clever, eager to learn and work and probably the best breed of dog in the world?? BIG FAT YES! Are they gorgeous bundles of fluff as puppies who look into your soul and say “take me home!” Also Yes. Do they come already trained and perfectly obedient? Do they HELL!!! They come like every other puppy. They need training from day one, they need you to be consistent, engaging and above all to PUT THE WORK IN AND BE MORE INTERESTING!
Is it magic when people see my dogs listening to me and being well behaved? No, it’s me putting the work in from day one. Has it been easy? Not all the time, but I did gain a better understanding of the breed as the years went by and I learned to work with their innate behaviours…. the traits that all collies have bred into them over hundreds of generations.
Once people understand and research a breed before getting a puppy, the better they will be at training that puppy. Getting a collie to lie down is an easy one to teach because as dogs bred to work sheep, they naturally keep low to the ground. if I’m being honest, once I taught Brae the ‘down’ cue, she pretty much taught herself ‘down’ at a distance. I only had minimal input in that one!
However it all starts with you and collies are a breed easily ruined by people not understanding their needs. They buy them because they are cute and they see them working sheep and doing agility at Crufts, not realising that that level of training takes literally 1000s of hours and training never stops. It should be part of everyday life with your dog, what ever breed you have.
So why do my dogs come to me and keep watching me when we pass people? Because I’ve trained them and I’m damn interesting!!!
Keep training folks and as long as you are more interesting to your dog, the training will come easier!
Thanks for reading,