Collies, sheepdogs and all their cousins have become one of the most popular breeds today. I am a lifetime member of their fan club, mostly because I love their behaviours, love to see them in the classic working stance, doing what they love to do.
Collies are sheepdogs, but not all sheepdogs are collies. Sheepdogs have been bred to gather sheep, assist with general movement and every day tasks. They get to be scolded by fresh-mums concerned for their lambs, rammed by horny rams and regularly spattered in the delights of the sheep poo-urine combo as they faithfully follow the flock.
What is common, and what is at the heart of a sheepdog, is the pleasure in working as our partners. They are the ultimate “other half”. They bring a no-questions-asked attitude when work is suggested, rolling up their sleeves and putting all their heart into the jobs. This is why they have transferred their partnering skills to all sports that are sheep-less.
Urban life and sports activities can often clash with their heritage putting their souls into conflict. Too often the classic training protocols are about supressing annoying behaviours without realising that a sheepdog can no more stop being a sheepdog than you can stop being a human and become a hamster.
We need to allow for them to Be Sheep Dog, at the right time, in the right activity and with regular opportunities. To live with a collie is to empathise with their needs.
If you find yourself confused by collies, please listen to their call. I’ve shared my life 19 sheepdogs all of whom had individual collie needs, sheepdog skills of varying natures and no two were the same.
Learn how to bring a good quality of life in your companion, enjoy games designed specifically for collies and understand their quirks……