I mentioned our dog, Piper, a Border Collie who joined our family in 2009. Piper was born deaf. Piper is a ball of electrical energy that needs unplugging daily. As he is almost 13 years old now, he may not be as fast as he was in earlier years, but he is ten times smarter.
You will often hear folks comment different things about different breeds, but the most common comment you will hear about Border Collies is: THEY NEED A JOB!
Jobs for Border Collies are not going to be appearing in your local daily newspaper want ads, or in online headhunter forums.
If we translate and think of "jobs" as simply "something to do," it becomes much easier to structure a day for a Border Collie.
Something to do might look like this:
1. Fetch the ball (stick, frisbee, leash, my shoes, a soda from the frig, insert whatever here)
2. Find someone (the other person in the house, the cat, another dog, etc.)
3. Find something (a hidden favorite toy, shoe, treat, etc.)
4. Work on trick training (or any type of training that allows the Border Collie to use his/her brain)
5. Provide a doggy puzzle (hide treats under areas of the puzzle that the dog has to find)
The above are just a few examples beyond the norm of going to the park and going for a walk.
Because our Piper is deaf, we were unsure, at first, exactly what kind of employment we could offer. When he joined us he was always a bit over-interested in the cats (at the time we had five), so we kept him on a leash we could grab if his cat exuberance became over-the-top. He soon learned the leash meant "calm down," (I think he figured it out in 3 days), and pretty soon we didn't even have to pick up the leash, just walk toward him, and he would go lie down somewhere.
After two weeks (just to be certain of all things calm), he was off leash and provided us immediately with the answer to "what job can we give you?"
Piper became the official CAT MANAGER and CAT HERDER extraordinaire. Below is a little gallery of Piper and just a few kitty interactions.
Border Collies excel in agility, fly ball, and working with any farm animals that need herding. I find them to be a lovely breed.
Piper's intelligence has superseded his deafness. He knows what we are going to do before we even know what we are going to do, because he reads our body language and routine so well.
He is the BEST cat manager on the planet. Our cats all love and trust him, and often seek him out for company. Our cat Matty likes to lay in Piper's big tail. Piper is a fair and good supervisor with our cats, and quite honestly, we are never going to be able to refill his position.
CLICK INTO THE CIRCLE
I am part of a weekly blogging group of professional pet photographers located all over the planet. To see what others have blogged about in this week's topic, start here with Carol Mudra of Apawture Studios in Milan, Italy as she shares how her high-energy dogs left the woods behind for a much more comfortable job: modeling!
Then find the link at the end of each blog to click on to the next photographer.
Enjoy your weekend!