Is a Collie right for me?

Adopting a dog is a wonderful thing to do, but it’s also a serious commitment and requires a great deal of thought and consideration, just like any other big life decisions. 

We know you’ll have lots of questions about making a rescue dog part of your family, so below we have included some of our frequently asked questions. We recommend reading this section to find helpful information and even point out some considerations you may not have thought of.

We get it; a sweet, small puppy just seems like the best choice for sweet, small children. Of course, puppies and small children can live very happily together, but it takes time, patience, and understanding, and there are a few factors to be seriously considered.

 

First and foremost, puppies have sharp teeth which they use readily to play, nibble, and generally explore their new world. They also have sharp nails that scratch when they jump up, and on a small child, those front feet and teeth land just about face height.

 

Puppies are also likely to leave “presents” that toddlers always seem to find before parents do, posing a serious health risk to children.

 

Let’s not forget that a puppy is a baby too, and may well cry in the night. This can cause children to wake up and lead to a sleepless night very easily, especially when we consider puppies’ penchant for hunting out the teddies children simply must have to fall asleep.

 

In our experience, families with small children tend to have a more positive experience with calmer, 4+ year old dogs who have been fully assessed with children.

All puppies are cute, playful, and love everyone. But when a dog hits sexual maturity, some breed characteristics and/or behavioral problems can start to surface.

 

With a Collie, sometimes the working instinct doesn’t show itself until they hit 6 months or older. One day you may suddenly find that you have a young adolescent working dog who rounds the children up and nips them to make them move. When we consider that most border collies continue to have the energy and mischief of a puppy until they’re around 4 years old, it’s possible to live with a dog for a long time before these sudden and surprising changes show themselves.

 

A puppy’s Pedigree certificate is not a guarantee of the kind of dog they will turn out to be, and even when we have a puppy here at Wiccaweys, we can only guess what kind of adult they’ll make. When we list an older dog, however,  we can rather confidently discuss what kind of dog you’ll have forever.

 

Often, dogs going missing from gardens has nothing to do with training or how obedient a dog is.  Collies are inherently inquisitive, and they need clear boundaries. Their instincts may tell them to ‘patrol the perimeter’, and without fences they will keep going until they find a boundary they can’t pass. If they hear something exciting going on elsewhere, then they may try to see if they can be involved somehow by leaving the garden in search of fun.

 

We assess all gardens on an individual basis and do not have a strict minimum fence height. However, we do insist on secure gardens for for the safety of your new dog. Rescue dogs are typically either strays (with a history of wandering) or owner-surrenders (who may look for their ex-owner first chance they get). Simply put, no matter how well you train your dog, it is simply not worth the risk.

Just like we humans, dogs are all individuals with their own stories, personalities, and quirks, which makes it impossible to make gender-based absolutes.

 

That said, once you start to spend time around Collies you are likely to notice just how many hyperactive, dominant females there are out there. You’ll also notice lots of mellow, laid-back males- as well as the reverse, of course.

 

It all depends on the individual dog, but adopting a female dog is certainly not a sure ticket to a passive, submissive Collie. Instead, the key is working with us to find the dog which will suit your personality, lifestyle, and home.

A running joke for rescuers is that anyone considering a rescue dog needs to get used to the idea of a 70-pound shadow following them everywhere! That’s because rescue dogs have a tendency to bond very strongly to their new owners once they know they’re safe and loved (and they catch on pretty quickly, trust us).

Look at it from the dog’s perspective. Perhaps she’s spent the last year being left in the garden and ignored, or home alone with no company and no toys, just to be hit or shouted at when she chews out of boredom. No-one wants to take her for a walk, or play with her. Finally, they take her for a car-ride—either dumping her somewhere where she can have a “fighting chance.”, or if she is lucky they will hand her into a rescue centre. Despite everything, she sits there waiting for their return.

 

If she comes to Wiccaweys; she joins the Collie family. She has free access to toys and exercise, plus lots of attention and fuss. We get to know her personality so we can match her to the right home. One day, you come to meet her and get to know her.

 

You take her home and give her a bed and bowl of her own, plus a crate where she feels safe. You speak quietly and kindly, and if she makes a mistake you don’t seem to mind. You feed her regularly and give her toys and treats. You give her little jobs to do, you take her to training classes – you have fun together. When she goes out in the car, she always comes back!

 

Your rescue dog’s biggest fear is losing you, and she’s not going to let you out of her sight for one minute.

 

That said, there are some dogs who just never learned to connect with people, but that becomes apparent very quickly and those dogs always have a place of safety with Wiccaweys, or are placed only with very experienced and understanding Collie homes.

Lots of people seem to think this, and unfortunately this is one of the most common reasons dogs find themselves in rescue. Working Collies and those competing in agility and obedience are very impressive to watch, but that takes years of commitment and hard work.

Collies certainly are very clever, meaning they may house-train and learn basic obedience easily, but then they need more to learn- and if you don’t teach them, they’ll teach themselves. Some Collies learn to open doors, steal laundry, and climb trees, along with lots of other less-than-ideal tricks.

Just like children, clever Collies need to be learning every day in order to stay happy and stimulated. If you’re up for the challenge and dedicated to your dog, this can open up a whole new world of activities for you and your dog to enjoy together.

Unless their age or a medical condition prevents it, all dogs leaving Wiccaweys are spayed or neutered, and it would be irresponsible of us to do otherwise.

 

It’s easy to humanise animals and assume they want what we want- maybe a family, or the chance to have one in the future. But they are not humans, and in reality your dog will be healthier and more comfortable once they have been spayed or neutered, and will be a much more pleasant companion.

 

Neutered male dogs mark less territory, and are generally less aggressive. Spayed female dogs avoid inconvenient seasons and unwanted pregnancy, and both males and females are less likely to get certain illnesses.

 

Sadly, rescue centres across the UK are pushed to the limit with the number of unwanted dogs needing their help. Many are the result of irresponsible breeding, and many are not lucky enough to find somewhere like Wiccaweys. Instead they are euthanised- along with thousands more unwanted dogs who face death each year in the UK

 

That is why all dogs from responsible rescues will be neutered and spayed where possible.

Of course, we are always available to talk through any other questions you may have so if you still have questions beyond these FAQs, feel free to get in touch.