I regularly go to see Border Collies who are so very unfulfilled in what they have been bred for – herding and stalking – that they substitute sheep with shadows, lights, joggers, traffic, children or anything that moves.
These two are both much-loved rescue dogs.[divider type=”white”]
Obsessing over shadows
Two-year-old Fudge on the left spends much of her time facing the wall obsessing over shadows. Gemma (3) will be ready to fixate on anything that may be thrown for her, but most particularly the TV.
I suppose that watching TV is better than nothing – and they do have special ‘Dog TV’ in the States – but it seems a rather unhealthy alternative to the real thing and proper mental and physical stimulation.
Gemma is also fearful of many things, particularly people walking towards her. She has snapped or bitten several times when a hand has come towards her head.
As the days are now so short, both dogs only have a short morning session off lead in a dark field before school, and that is that for the day. They are left alone for nine hours most days while the family are out. Fudge chews things which I feel is simply about boredom.[divider type=”white”]
High intelligence and trainability
It’s not by chance that many dog trainers have Border Collies for their high intelligence and trainability. They can include them in their work thus keeping them occupied most of the day. The poor ‘pet’ Border Collies with little to do must be going out of their minds and this often results in obsessive behaviours like shadow-chasing. Everyone in this household is so busy that all the dog-care is left to a fourteen-year-old son.
These two clever dogs could benefit from clicker work and more chase and nose games along with much more exercise and constructive time spent on them in general – not just a lot of cuddling. The family will be looking to find a dog walker to break up their long days.