Challenge – can I walk 8 Border Collies on my own?
Not only that – can I walk them on my own, off lead, for an hour? It is certainly a challenge; especially on a Bank Holiday Monday! I decided that it would be easier to do this in the woods than round the lake or up the river. Less cyclists and runners (but possible horses!) and wider paths. No roads nearby, so much safer I thought.
This weekend I have had 3 visiting dogs (plus one visiting cat) making 10 animals (not counting the snake) in our house. Poor Chris! I have had Bea, Luna’s daughter from her second litter here for just under a week. Then the boys arrived – Blake and Charlie.
Blake is Luna’s brother (same dad, not bred by me). Charlie is a very special boy. He is Aura’s son, from her only litter. He went to one family, who couldn’t cope with his exuberance in a busy household with young children. Fortunately for him and me, Charlie was rescued by my friend, so now lives happily with her and her family. He gets on well with Blake, is learning to do agility and has a lovely life.
How do you get 8 collies in a car?
Simple – one in the front, two in the back and five in the boot, of course! They managed really well – it was only for five minutes.
The challenge of walking a pack
Whether you are walking 3 dogs or 8 the issues are the same. You need to cope with different dogs having different interests and pace. So you keep counting and keep checking you have everyone. Where’s Charlie? He’s found a muntjac of course! I waited patiently for a few minutes. Back he came, what a good boy.
When you are walking a number of dogs it is important to have plenty of treats. You need to call them individually and reward them. They also need to be able to interact well with each other. I work on this by putting them into a line and doing individual, named recall training work.
Fortunately, this pack are really easy; partly because they are Border Collies and partly because they are related to one another.
One thing I have noticed over the years is that Border Collies in a family will tend to line up in age order, with the oldest closest to you and the youngest furthest away. Of course it doesn’t always hold true, but it is an interesting dynamic.
The other thing that is interesting about walking Border Collie is just how snobby they are around other dogs. They rarely choose to interact with other dogs, unless they are also BCs! I always think it is intellectual snobbery on their part – they think that other dogs are not worth trying to talk to. I do find that the boys are more sociable than the girls, which is why I recommend getting a boy if you only have one dog (can’t remember only having one dog :p)
Anyway, we had a ball up in the woods and now they are all dozing around my feet while I write. Bliss!
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