Puppy Pre-Purchase Questions

This is a forum for bonding with your fellow Dogsters about the traits, quirks and idiosyncrasies of your favorite breed. Please remember that there are absolutely no animal sales or requests for studding or breeding allowed on our sites. All posts and interactions should be in the spirit of Dogster's Community Guidelines and should be fun, friendly and informational. Enjoy!

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Barked: Fri May 16, '08 9:53pm PST 
Hello One & ALL,
I am the new guy on the block and have sought this forum out so I can hopefully get quality answers. I am divorced and currently share my life with Merlin (Blue & Gold Macaw). We have been together since he was 5 months old and he just turned 4. Throughout my life, I have always had a dog, with the exception of the last 2 years. When I had to put Neo (Miniture Dachshund) down it was really tough, so I just have not had the will power to get another dog. Well, its time to move on, so I am looking into getting another dog. I was thinking about Dachshunds, but not ready for that yet. I have always wanted a Collie, but it just never happened. That is ready to change. I have met a very nice lady who breeds Collies in my area (Richmond, VA) and she has soe really great looking pups on the ground. She even has some that look like ole' Lassie.

OK, thats the background. I have been doing a lot of reading up on the breed, but books only go so far. When it comes to putting the peddle to the metal, speak to people in the know. So can some tell me about the puppy's characteristics and behavior? I heard some in another board say they are chewers and very destructive. Well, thats not a good thing. Another couple told me how hard it is to potty train them. Adding they are very slow in learning. Mind you others chimed in adding more horror stories. So this cannot be the whole or even a sliver of the picture. So can someone tell me what to expect. I understand one is not the whole and each is different, so just tell me the experiences you have had and I think that will suffice.

Thanks and I await the responses.... Gunny & Merlinsnoopy
Woodie [RB]

Golden Oldies
Barked: Sat May 17, '08 6:07am PST 
You're right there, Collies can be destructive; but like any other dog, it's a lack of occupation, not a will to destroy. Often, something as simple as a Kong (if you're not home) or a pat will way-lay this behavior. Many Collies are such big sucks that they can forget whatever they were after for a pat- though, I suppose, equally as many are driven and need a true job.

All puppies have horror stories; it's their job, I think. They leave you with a whole collection of things destroyed (I know Indigo gave me memories of three pairs of shoes- and the heels off a fourth- as well as a book, the entire bottom of my bed (he had made a fort he could crawl up inside) and the legs of my grandmother's coffee table). The most difficult time to try to amuse a Collie or other herding breed is while you're sleeping; it's easy to wake up and find them with something they shouldn't have. Older puppies are worst because they don't do "puppy drops" any more, where they lie down any old place and nap, and they aren't mature enough to stay interested in one thing to long. That' s when plain old getting them tired becomes a life-saver.

I share my home with an Australian Shepherd (if you don't know what they are, think Border Collie. xD) and a rough Collie and, though he's old and came in less than a week ago, I have to say the Collie (Woodie) is charming and unquestionably in charge of the animals. Bear in mind, though, that the Collies you will be choosing from have been bred as pet and show dogs for many generations. These types have proved to be highly trainable, gentle, loyal, and well suited as pets. Their gentleness and devotion also make them quite compatible with children. They are often more suitable as companions than as watch dogs, though the individual personalities of these dogs vary. That is a promise, if you trust your breeder and she is good.

However, I caution against working Collies in a home environment; to quote a favorite...
"Working collies are extremely energetic and agile dogs with great stamina, well able to run all day without tiring, even over very rough or steep ground. They are intelligent, and are instinctively highly motivated to work. These characteristics generally make working strains unsuitable as pets, as few owners are able to give them the mental and physical challenges they need and, if not well fulfilled, they may become unhappy and badly behaved".

dog I know that when I was younger, all I heard from my father were glamorous stories of his own rough Collie, Marley. Growing up, they were the dog I wanted most, and then, when I was told our house was too small, Shelties. Then, when told they were too timid, I fell in love with Australian Shepherds; now, having the chance to own my own Collie, I will never regret it. Given the opportunity, Collies (and any dog or puppy) can surprise you in new and wonderful ways.

Good luck, whatever you choose,
Darcie, Woodie and Indigo

Barked: Sat May 17, '08 6:41pm PST 
Thank You very much for all of your input. I obviously need to do some more research before I step into the Collie Puppy World. I guess it is a fear of the unknown. During the course of my life I have had the pleasure of raising Dachshunds, Dobermans and Shepards. I know the breeds inside and out. Meaning, I know what to expect. Sure all puppies and dogs are individuals, but they all have a base foundation where they start. With the Collies I lack that foundation knowledge. That's why I came, for some info and guidance. maybe it would help if I say how I do things and than see if a collie is a match. Here goes; I Crate Train pups. I feel it is a life and personal effects charm. The sleep in bed with me at night, puppies and adult dogs. I do not let them on the furniture. I provide plenty of chew toys, like Kongs, Nyla bones, the rope with the huge knots on each end and the raw hide bones. I am home 24/7, A Retired / disabled (Token from Desert Storm) US Marine. If I go out, I plan on taking the puppy with me. In the event that wouldn't work, he/she would spend time in the crate. They get fed Eukanuba Puppy Lamb and Rice or Puppy Formula. They would go on 2 daily walks and would attend Puppy obedience training. The Puppy would be sharing the home with Merlin (Blue & Gold Macaw). How are Collies with other animals, specifically Birds, Large Birds/Parrots/MACAWS? The Collie puppy would be my companion and share many of my life experiences. I am getting the puppy to be with me, not locked away or tied up in the back yard, none of that, just be with me and share our lives with one another. I think you see where I am coming from and what I am seeking, if not ask and I will provide more info. The puppy litters I am looking at will be leaving Mom and going home at 8 weeks.

SO, you collie folk out there, is this a match, or should I be looking into the ones I already know about? Please provide as much info to support your info.

Thanks All ~~ Gunny & Merlin

Woodie [RB]

Golden Oldies
Barked: Sat May 17, '08 7:28pm PST 
I am so pleased that you are willing to get into a new breed, especially one with as many charms (and possible draw-backs) as the Rough Collie. I see nothing in anything you posted that suggests a bad fit for a Collie; many of the things you listed, I adhere to with my own dogs with only two exceptions; my dogs are allowed on all of the furniture (my house is a mess) and they roam free now that they are house-trained.

In all ways, you seem the perfect owner and this dedication to researching the breed is wonderful and exciting. So many people jump into breeds without taking the time to consider them, and with a high-activity, long-haired, intelligent and willful dog, that simply spells trouble. However, there is one thing I would caution against; letting the pup into your bed. I allow my dogs into my bed, and if you can stand the hair, you're fine; I really didn't have that much trouble with it until we got Woodie. Collies, particularly the English-style dogs with full coats (like Woodie, who was actually imported from the UK) shed profusely, almost as much as a Labrador or GSD, but their hair is much longer.

As I personally don't own a bird, I cannot help you there, but Woodie is an absolute doll with small dogs (that he has been introduced to without a lot of yapping/running at his face), large dogs and our cats; he even did well with the hamster (of course, it was in its cage). I see nothing in the breeding of the Collie that would suggest to expect anything besides a good-natured ignorance of a bird, if not straight-out friendliness. I think that almost any dog (with, perhaps, the exception of certain terriers) can be trained to co-exist peacefully with small animals.

We post far too much,
Darcie, Indigo and Woodie

Edited by author Sat May 17, '08 7:28pm PST

Merlin (Blue & Gold Macaw who

Barked: Sat May 17, '08 8:22pm PST 
Hey Darcie & Family,

After reading your post I reread mine and something looked odd, so I just want to clarify. My dogs have full run of the home as I see you do as well. The only time they went in the Crate was if I was out of the house and they were not with me. Other than that, where ever I was they were. I think you may have thought I crate way more than I do. So just wanted to clarify that.

Regarding the sleeping in bed, I have not had a long haired dog since I was a kid. My folks always had a German Shepard. But for some reason, I had Dobermans for like ever until I had to put my last one down. We were way too close. We did everything together, I would bring to the hospitals in the area for the kids and older folks and he would just jump up onto there bed and lay next to them and just loved the attention and affection. He was truly special and I am getting all emotional just talking about it. You would think something that happened 18 years ago, would be kinda out of the mind, but I get him in my head and its like were there. i had to put him down at 8 years old. I have never had a Dobbie since. It was my promise to him... So than I swtiched over to Dachshunds. They kinda look like Dobbies and even act like them in many ways. I put my last Dachs down in Jun of 2006. I have not had another dog since.

I got Merlin in May 2004, went to the breeders 3-5 times a week to help hand feed and he came home at 5 months. He just turned 4 years old and he is something else. Imagine a 2-3 year old child that stays in that age and character for like ever and you will get a really good sense of what a Macaw is all about. Merlin was raised around my Dachshund and was with him for 2 years, so I don;t think there will be a problem on his end and getting a Collie puppy from what you are saying dosen't appear to be an issue either. Thats why I want a puppy, rather than an older dog. I will use Merlin as the author to this posting so you can see his pitcure and yes it is a HE, he was DNA sexed as a baby.

WOW, side tracked BIG time, started talking about the bed sleeping and just went~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~.. Anyway, back on track, I have not even thought about the hair issue until you mentioned it. All my short hair dogs got up under the blankets and would just plop down next to me and that would be that until the next morning. I may have to have the Collie sleep on top of the blankets, but definately on the bed. Maybe under while a puppy.

The breeder that I am speaking with seems to be a really graet person and loves Collies. She provides a Health Guarantee which includes the eyes and hips in addition to everything else all rolled up into the guarantee. But I heard about the eys and hips and wanted to make sure that was covered and it is.

I really do appreciate your time and assistance, I am trying to kearn all I can before I lay out the $$$, to make sure it is a fit and so far it seems like he is what I am looking for. The boy I went to see last week turns 8 weeks old next week. He looks just like Lassie and that is what I wanted and nice Sable Male, I think Lassis is a Sable, if not, please correct me. Anyway, time to cut this oof before I have to start using chapter markers..

Joey & Merlin
Aries- Tek-E-Nink- MURPHY's Law-

Have kids will- play!
Barked: Fri Jul 25, '08 9:22am PST 
I hope you don't mind me just jumping in, I'm certainly not an expert am always learning new things myself, but I think you are so smart to be researching the breed you are thinking about adding to your family. If more people did this there would be less dogs in shelters and rescues that just didn't fit into their families lifestyle.
We did the same thing and I learned collies are the couch potatoes of the herding breeds. At least compared to shelties and borders. Of couse, there are always exceptions.
There is a great downloadable brochure about collies at the Collie Club of America's website called "Meet the Collie".
Here's a link to the CCA site: http://www.collieclubofamerica.org/
It describes personality traits like the jaw choming and singing that seems to be a collie thing as well as grooming requirements, etc.
The breeder you choose is also very important. My friend breeds for health and temperament first then confirmation. As a result, although neither one of my collies is show quality, they are both just wonderful with everyone we have ever met!
But if you are interested in possibly showing your dog someday then you want a different type of pup. I would never feel funny about asking a breeder for some name and phone numbers of people who have a dog from them and then calling those folks. You might even ask them if you could come and meet their dogs too.
And don't discount the collie rescues! Especially now, there are sooooo many great wonderful family dogs losing their homes and families due to foreclosures, relocation, and even their owners passing away. So many of them are already fully trained and would settle into your household very easily & quickly! Hey, even the 10 year old double dilute-deaf-half blind-puppy mill rescue sheltie we adopted a few years back adjusted to our home so fast that I'd do it again in a heartbeat!

My own thoughts is any dog will grow up to be only as good as the owners trained it to be. Collies are very smart and I think they are easily trained. House breaking took 2 weeks total with our collie pup with only one accident total in the house but we really keep our dogs on a schedule. We did not give him a chance to make a mistake but carried him outside (while he was still small enough to carry!) so he didn't have an accident on the way out. We used the kennel right from the start as part of the housebreaking. We never used any puppy pads or newspaper and never gave him a place in the house where he would think it was acceptable to do his business inside. As a result, each one of our dogs now will do their business outside on our command but that also means we go outside with them everytime and in all weather no matter what. And even after housebreaking was in the bag, he did not have free run of the house until he was almost a year old. He wanted to chew a lot at first, those baby teeth need to chew, but each time he went for something that was not acceptable to chew on we took it away and gave him an approved chew toy or a raw hide (always and only with supervision!) You can get some great puppy training tips from your vet. We also went to a puppy class right at our vets office after hours so my now 3 yr old cannot wait to go to the vets for whatever reason-it's a fun place for him. Socializing is very important as well as exposing them to different sounds, smells, and objects within that first 6 months. It really does make a difference!
If you don't train them, they will train you. It might be cute for your tiny puppy to jump up but if my 75 lb collie jumps on someone it could really cause damage. And it's cute when your puppy wants to be on your lap all the time but you might now appreciate a huge lap dog!
What ever you do, keep reading about them and talking to collie people or what ever breed you decide on.
Good luck and thanks for letting me butt-in!dog

Amazing Collie- Girl Her Royal- Highness
Barked: Tue Aug 26, '08 11:56pm PST 
Hi! Here's what I know about our collie Cirrus. She is like no other, and she's like "your royal highness" with a happy-go-lucky attitude.

1. She's extremely intelligent, easy to train.
2. She is easily disciplined/corrected and very tuned in to body language and energy.
3. She likes to chase sheep and ducks, even though she will always be too gentle and eat sheep poop (she's still at level 1).
4. She is attracted to people and dogs.
5. She is a terror with passing trucks and buses.
6. She lets people and dogs pass by the house, but growls when she senses a cat.
7. She unties my shoelaces.
8. She pulls off my socks.
9. She smiles when she's done.
10. She has a 9:00 or 10:00 pm hyper moment (depending on daylight or standard time).
11. She barks 30 minutes before we get to the herding facility.
12. She loves going to the vet to visit everybody.
13. She burps.
14. She moans when she's sleeping (like "moooo").
15. She can sleep through the 4th of July and the Blue Angels.

I don't know what "typical" is for a collie, but there are always exceptions to the rule. While Cirrus does not have an intense prey drive to herd sheep or ducks well, we've seen another collie herd exhuberently and with great skill. And once you get a collie, everyone will say "Hi, Lassie"!dogsnoopydog

Barked: Wed Oct 15, '08 12:44pm PST 
Did you get a pup yet?

I have a lab now, but years ago when I had a collie...

She was never distructive (she was a working farm dog, though, so she had lots of physical and mental exercise). She nipped some, but never chewed on anything, not even toys or bones... she had some but wasn't interested.

She would chase animals that ran from her and leave along those that didn't run... cats, geese, ducks, pet rabbits, various wild animals occasionally. She never chased the cows or the ponies (I also paid a lot more attention to introducing her to them... and taught her to herd the cows to my direction - more or less, I didn't have much clue what I was doing and the cows were very used to her, so she mostly kept me company while I herded the cows).

She nipped at kids hands and knees at first, but learned not to through a combination of yelps and body language from the kids (stop running when she nips, face her and frown, redirect her attention, which way the kids faced) and lots of praise for running along without nipping). She was not mouthy unless herding.

We never did completely stop her from chasing vehicles/wheels. If we really go after her, she would stop for a while, but was never dependable about it.

She loved to spend time with people, active or just sitting around. She liked almost everyone, but was more dignified than a lab... she would smile (literally), wave her tail and concent to be admired and maybe petted a bit. She did not fall all over anyone. She liked to be talked to more than other kinds of interaction (esp if I left time for her to talk in return which she did with a sort of up and down sound in her throat and with tail and ears and expression).

She was very sensitive to being laughed at (hated that), but loved to laugh with people. And she was very good at telling which was which. She was very attuned to how people felt, and sympathetic. She was smart enough... she learned how to live and interact peacably with a wide range of animals/people/activites very quickly. I didn't do well with teaching her tricks but I think that is because I didn't know what I was doing... or she could tell whether it was really important to me maybe.

She was confident and not at all aggressive toward anything... she chased some things (like cats that ran) but if she caught them or they stopped to hiss or spit at her, she lost interest and walked away.

Collies have a lot of genetic eye problems, any breeder worth their salt will check for them. Also watch out for hip dysplasia (should have been cleared on that).

Collies need inno... something or other instead of the regular drug (I forget if it is heartworm or flea). And they are sensitive to certain aenestetics.

Amazing Collie- Girl Her Royal- Highness
Barked: Wed Oct 15, '08 7:32pm PST 
Hi, Chamois! I'm curious to know what "inno" is. Can you tell me more about that?dog

Barked: Fri Oct 17, '08 5:50am PST 
I'm sorry. I mixed it all up... what drugs and for what purposes.... it has been a lot of years since my collie, so I didn't know first hand anymore. I knew collies react badly to some drugs, and meant to go look them up to be specific before I posted, then got suddenly called away from the computer.

At this point, I'll just say if you have a collie or want a collie, look up the drug reaction info.
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