A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper

A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper
Ever wonder what its like to share your world with a bunch of crazy critters? Tune in to find out!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Emma the Border Collie

Okay - so she is technically a mix of border collie and black lab - but I think she has more collie in her.  I did some looking and found some interesting information on the breed.  Thought I would see how that info stacks up against our girl:

Thankfully - she got part of the laid back lab trait and is not super high strung.  But - that said....

One of the most intelligent of all breeds, the Border Collie is also one of the most challenging to live with.
Her superior intellect, combined with his intensity and obsessive zeal for working, are her most impressive features
This sharp-eyed, quick-thinking, fanatical workaholic has been bred for endless miles of sprinting and stop-and-go action.
If it isn't possible for him to work livestock, you must substitute several LONG (45 minute) walks per day, plus off-leash romps in a safe area, fetching balls or frisbee, and weekly or twice-a-week advanced obedience classes or agility classes - not nearly as good as I should be about walking her - maybe 2 - 3 times a week with playtime 1 - 2 times a week.
Without physical and mental stimulation, Border Collies become hyperactive and will drive you up the wall with obsessive and destructive behaviors as they seek creative outlets for their physical and mental energy (like scratching on the carpet)
High intelligence does mean they learn very quickly - but that includes learning how to do anything they set their minds to. They are master escape artists who can virtually pick the lock on your gate - have I ever told you the story of the electric fence - zzzaaaaapppppp - freedom.  She could have cared less.
Trying to train a Border Collie, in fact, can be frustrating, because they are constantly thinking, analyzing, and reacting to every tiny movement you make. They can be a bit high-strung and oversensitive to sound and touch. - Emma is excessively sensitive to sound!

If you want a dog who...
  • Is medium-sized and natural-looking
  • Has a handsome, easy-groom coat
  • Is very athletic and thrives on TONS of exercise and training
  • Is exceptionally intelligent and versatile -- when well-trained, can learn and do almost anything
  • Will play fetch for hours and hours
A Border Collie may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...
  • An intense athlete who can drive you up the wall with obsessive and destructive behaviors if you don't provide lots of exercise and creative outlets for his energy
  • Compulsive chasing and nipping at things that move: children, joggers, other animals, bikes, cars - whew - we don't have this issue
  • "Separation anxiety" (destructiveness and barking) when left alone too much - OMG -- YES!!!!
  • Shyness when not socialized enough
  • Shedding - just ask my Dyson
A Border Collie may not be right for you.

We have our challenges with the Divine Miss Em - but all in all we are so lucky because she is a pretty all around great dog.  We wouldn't trade her in for a new model - that's for sure.....

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