By Christy Hess
My Life with Two Border Collies
***Disclaimer: The pictures below are not my border collies. The pictures are puppies that capture a border collie personality and are provided purely for puppy picture enjoyment. Breeds may vary.
I have two 9 year old border collie brothers (Brody and Cody) so I have come to think of myself as an expert on the breed (any way I love to share my experiences).
Year after year, border collies have been ranked in the top 5 smartest dog category.
Cody came to live with us and had our undivided attention for a full year. He knew 20+ toys by name and when asked to "Go get Duckie" he race upstairs, downstairs and outside searching for the toy that you requested. It was amazing. We used to put 10 toys in a the grass and sit and test his knowledge for hours, he loved the games.
A year later, Brody moved in and promptly destroyed all of the toys, so now Cody has to live with "get the ball".
If you think border collies are all alike think again. These two could not be more different. Brody will sell his soul for a ball, Frisbee or anything that he can chase, but he is not real bright. Sometimes he doesn't even know his name, but will always respond to the word "Frisbee" in fact, that probably would have been a better name for him. He will not come up to anyone in the house unless he has a toy in his mouth.
Cody on the other hand is brilliant. He has something called the border collie "eye" where he can look at the other dogs and make them "move" where ever he wants. This characteristic is common among border collies and allows them to herd sheep without nipping at their heels. He used to try to use the "eye" on me but has given up since I seem to be immuned.
Border collies can get bored easily. So if you have a puppy, make sure they have something to keep them occupied, or they will find something to do - which you probably won't like. Brody actually took couch cushions out the doggie door one by one then tore them to pieces. This isn't unusual for a puppy, until he got to the seat cushion that was three seats long. He must have worked ALL day to get that cushion out the door!
My border collies invent their own games. Brody invented soccer where he kicks a basketball around the yard. He taught the game to Cody and now they have rousing games where one is offense and one is defense. It is really fun to watch.
Cody really needs to work and use his mind. When he is bored he will put a ball under a chair or table, then work and work until he gets it out, then immediately puts it back under to start all over again.
Let me know if I missed anything, but the bottom line is keep your border collie engaged. They will learn anything with the right encouragement. A happy border collie makes for my most valued companions.