Border as a Service Dog?

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Member Since
Barked: Sat Jul 25, '09 9:10pm PST 
I'm currently looking into getting a service dog and my partner has suggested a Border Collie. Now, I've never raised a border before, but he grew up with them and thinks we can find one that would be great.

While I trust his judgment about the breed, I do have some reservations when it comes to energy levels. This dog would have to be with me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have a very flexible schedule so I can take breaks at work and/or school every hour or so if needed to let the dog play, however I want to make sure this will be enough.

Now, *I* can't stay in one place for more than 15 minutes at a time so an active dog is a rather good match. I just don't know that I'm quite active enough for a dog that was bred to herd sheep all day.

For reference, the dog isn't needed for mobility issues. I have periods of fuzziness where I will have no recollection of where I was or what I was doing for anywhere from 5 minutes to several hours. Part of the dog's job would be to make sure I don't wander off and hurt myself during these times. I may also train to guide me home/somewhere else safe, but that's still up in the air.

When I'm not at school (or working, once I graduate) I like hiking, running, rowing, and most anything that gets me out of the house. However, I also have a few indoor activities (chorus, dance) that would require the dog to be relatively still for at least an hour or two at a time.

In terms of training, I have extensive experience with clicker training (APBT, shar-pei, cocker spaniel, and a whole lot of mixes) and am in contact with several specialist trainers for the areas that are beyond my knowledge. I have very little doubt about my abilities to train a dog, but I do want to make sure I'm not going to invest all that time and energy into a breed that isn't suitable to begin with.

I know myself. The second I get the dog I will refuse to ever let it go. However, I can't afford to be a two dog household right now so I need to stack the odds as much in my favour as possible.
Oliver PAWS

<3s tennis- balls, peanut- butter, & Fling
Barked: Sat Aug 8, '09 10:29am PST 
So one thing is Border Collies are great thinkers, but they are not service dogs.

If you had a Border for a blind person and the blind person needed to stop the Border would have him/her doing circles.

I do love the breed and they are very smart, they just have too much energy and are too protective in my thinking to be service dogs.

Christmas Eve- Baby
Barked: Sat Aug 8, '09 4:21pm PST 
Border Collies can make exceptional service dogs. It depends on the individual dog, temperament, breeding line, ability and match to disability (and finding the perfect match of all qualities). That said, if I was in the situation, I would not adopt nor sell a Border Collie pup or adult (purebred or mix) to someone hoping to train for such work, unless the person was in contact with and thoroughly affiliated with a service-dog type training program that has a 1st rate reputation and track record.

There are many service dog organizations that can match you with just the right dog, and also support you in the process. One such organization is www.pawswithacause.org.


Let's go! Let's- drive!- Yeah!!!!!!
Barked: Mon Aug 10, '09 9:33pm PST 
I thought I had a clue.... until Panda came to live with melaugh out loud

BC personalities are probably as varied as their shapes and sizes.

I can certainly see that there are some that would be exceptional as service dogs, but it probably depends on your specific needs.

I would not go with a puppy, but find a dog ( maybe a rescue) that is at least 6 months. You get a better idea about their personality, their weaknesses and their strengths.
For instance, I know that noises do not bother Panda. No fireworks, no thunderstorms.... she doesn't care about horses, people on bikes etc.....

This kind of information is important when you have to depend on your dog.

Also, will you be doing the training yourself? If so, look into fostering a BC. It will give you a chance to feel the breed.

One of my first thoughts about Panda was that she may have the ability to be a seizure-dog.....

So, I think BC's have lots of potential if they are trained right and matched up with the right person.

BOL!!! wave

Anja and Panda..blue dog

helloooo....! - i\'m TALKING to- you!!!!!
Barked: Thu Aug 13, '09 11:14am PST 
i was told by a pro BC handler that they need a 5km run morning and night to keep their energy levels under control. speaking from experience with my own dog, i totally believe it and trust me, when i get a car and can tie a beef leg to the bumper, we'll get right on that, lol.

but yes - he's a powerful high-energy dog but he's already acting sort of as a service dog. i have labile blood pressure (shoots up too high, then drops too low) and one thing i have to do is keep my frustration and anxiety down. when i start getting stressed, i can tell right away because he starts going mental and the only way i can bring him back under control is to force myself to calm down.

i am also hearing impaired so it's been fabulous - no need for a doorbell!