shadow chaser

Posted by anniem
Nov 26, 2009
I need some help. Five months ago, we adopted a border collie from a BC rescue. Sparky was in rough shape. He was very thin, timid, and not an affection seeker. In five months, so much of that has changed and we dearly love him! He is really a part of our family. He still has some anxiety about some things (ie rain), but those improve over time. We cannot make headway, however, with his shadow obsession! He's clearly not happy when he's doing it: his tail is tucked, his ears are back, and he drools buckets. We try to call him off, but sometimes that's all we're doing. He'll usually come when called, but he goes right back to the wall. How can we help him stop?
Posted by crazycrayonmom
Nov 26, 2009
Border collies are great dogs, congrats on your adoption. I've had 2 of them and I can tell you it is my firm belief that border collies need to be worked to be happy. It's up to you to decide what that work is but the more tired your dog is the happier he'll be. I did agility training with my last guy. He loved it. There is also fly ball and just plain exhausting him with long walks/runs/bikes. We bought a device for our bicycle called a Springer. It attaches to the bike so you can run with the dog without risking that the dog will run in front of you or get out of position. It's very safe, with a break-away clip in case something really bad happens. That was one of my favorite ways to tire out both my border collies. Keep him tired and feeling useful and a lot of those anxieties disappear, they just don't have an interest in them anymore. Good luck. I can't wait to hear what others say about this!
Posted by anniem
Nov 28, 2009
Aren't BCs wonderful? We had a BC before (which is why we wanted another), but our beloved Angus died in July at the ripe old age of 16! We do exercise Sparky a lot, but part of the challenge is he is just now learning what toys and balls are. When he came to us, he had no idea what they were. We would throw the ball (Angus was a fetching machine!), and he would just look at us with no idea what he was supposed to be doing. The first time he chased a ball, I cried! The first time he got a toy himself to play with, I cried again. My 6 year old daughter said that Sparky is finally starting to act like a BC! While the obedience training we went to was FABULOUS for our bonding, and he loved it, would he be a good candidate for agility training, do you think? I ask because he is still learning what it means to play (work for a BC). I know there is a kennel club near us that does agility training.
Posted by kjd
Nov 28, 2009
I don't have a BC (and would never get one as I don't have the energy to keep one happy), but I assure you, your BC will LOVE agility. If he is into chasing balls, you might also try flyball. BCs are amazing dogs. With a BC, I think the only limits would be yours; BCs have such a tremendous work ethic. Go for it. You won't regret it.
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Nov 29, 2009
Hi anniem and crazycrayonmom!

Aren't BCs wonderful companions? I can't think of any other breeds if I ever add more to our family...

They are more reserved to strangers but they are so loyal and would love to be mentally close to you (they always seek for what you are thinking of and doing next)! That's why agility is just a perfect activity for them!

I do some agility with two of my BCs but I am the one who is dragging them behind... I can not keep up with all the commands/hand signals I need to give them and can not remember the course

It will be wonderful if you can provide Sparky some tasks that keep him busy with. BCs are task oriented and need to be challenged not only physically but also mentally. That's why agility would be perfect! You can also do a lot of games and tricks with Sparky. Since he has no idea what toys and balls are, it might take longer but I reassure you he will ge there. When Noah, one of my BCs, came to us, he could not catch a treat that we tossed at him. He would let the treat hit his nose and dropped on the floor and looked at it looking puzzled! Now he is the best fetcher!

One of my foster BCs was rescued from a seizure of 26 dogs living in feces. I am attaching the link (I don't know if it will work or not). He was so skinny and fearful to people, with alot of wounds by being attacked by other dogs. However, he opened his heart to me first, then to my family, to my close friends....It took a long time but he gradually became used to our living environments. His physical wounds healed in a couple of months but his trauma would take much longer. However, I found a very nice couple who understood his situation and adopted him. He now lives happily with them.

[url=]26 dogs seized from rural Columbia County home | Oregon Local News -[/url]

About shadow chasing or tail chasing, as well as self-chewing, I think it is a result of his boreness or his self-comforting behavior. The best way to correct it is to divert his attention to something else. As he gets busier, he will less chase shadows.

I am sure Sparky will grow to be a wonderful and confident dog with your patience and TLC! Congratulations to your new addition!!