"Is tu gra mo croi."
Jayden's Rowena, or Rowena (meaning: "White Mane") is the name of the beautiful black and white freckled Border Collie that I have raised and trained to become my service dog. She has given me something that many care providers have never been able to give me... an increase in my level of functioning that has enabled me to become a more active member of my community. This is a journal of the triumphs and trials of our wonderful partnership.
Border Collie Buddies is a kind of play group for Border Collies. I have noticed that Border Collies have their own way of playing with one another. Other breeds don't always catch onto this style. However, get 2 or more Border Collies together and you will see each dog doing the same thing with the other. For a person who owns a Border Collie, it is fun to watch a dog who has never played with a Border Collie before play with another. Finally, one might find out that his/her Border Collie is indeed "normal" for his/her breed. So far all the Border Collies Rowena has met that are social with her play the same herding and tag games together. They also never run off or run too far ahead of their "herd". They tend to run wide circles around their people when they are playing. They can be mouthy with each other as well. For the not-so-well socialized Border Collie, (let us call it a HE to make things simple for me) he may become annoyed by the often insistent advances of the other dog. Thus, it is not unusual or abnormal for him (or any other breed of dog) to snap, even appear to grab the neck of and bring the other dog down. This usually occurs with a growl and ends with the take down. It is quick and should not escalate very far beyond that. This is the way dogs assert themselves. This is the way he tells the other more social dog "Hey, bug off kid! You're obnoxious!" This is also a way dogs let other dogs know who is boss, who is the alpha dog in the group. I know Rowena is slow on reading body language from other dogs and she often gets the "alpha take-down" from the less tolerant dogs. Sometimes she gets it more than once! It is when this growl-take down goes further in to an all out brawl or that a dog continues to go after the other even when the other has backed off that human interaction is needed. Some dogs get overwhelmed by situations and groups of dogs. Learn your dog. Learn his body language, his tolerance, and try to gradually introduce him to other dogs. I have seen less social Border Collies atleast exist in the same setting with other more social ones who are actively interacting... While staying away and not harassing the less social one. Border Collies need to be socialized as young as possible. They need to interact with people and other dogs whenever possible so that they learn the proper social skills. Border Collie Buddies is a group I am trying to build up... a list of other Border Collies in the area that can go on play dates with fellow group members and their humans. The Border Collies are beautiful to watch play, and the humans enjoy trading Border Collie quirks and experiences (unique to the breed) with one another... an assurance of sorts that their dog is not bonkers. A romp around a local field or the City Forest is perfect, and if the person has a trained dog (not aggressive, good recall, etc.) then off leash is an option. I like to walk in these places with my dog and this has been how I have met all of Rowena's playmates. (Photograph is Rowena playing with Cinco at the forest this past winter.) If this group is of interest to you and your Border Collie, please e-mail me. Please note: I cannot respond if you do not leave your email address.