For the last few weeks we’ve been looking after some lovely border collies!
I’ve been enjoying observing the difference between these border collies and my two kelpies.
I’ve loved kelpies since McLeod’s Daughters aired on TV in 2001 (actually, if I’m honest, McLeod’s Daughters has a lot to answer for). I’ve loved the kelpies style of work, their eagerness to please, their loyalty, their intelligence and, of course, they’re absolutely gorgeous (every single one of them)!
Pepsi and Noisy are both fairly chilled out kelpies. They don’t work. Not because they don’t have the working instinct but because I don’t have a nice big property with sheep and cows (much to my own disgust). P actually spent her first one and a half years on a dairy farm on King Island. However her previous owners didn’t fully understand the mind of a working dog and chose to use physical abuse to train her (P’s full story will need another blog, so I won’t go into great detail here). Despite her rough start P understands the basic commands for working, I just needed to retrain her so that she didn’t expect a belting with each command. She does have a tendency to think she knows better than me though, occasionally going in the opposite direction that I have asked her to go (and only once or twice has she proven me wrong). P also has the tendency to prefer to round up anything on wheels rather than legs and loves barking and carrying on (sometimes I think I called the wrong dog Noisy).
Noisy, however, hasn’t had a lot of exposure to working, other than trying to work Pepsi every day. She’s attempted to work the odd chook (which aren’t all that easy for a pup just starting out), she’s tried to round up Indian Runner ducks (which are much easier and perfect for starting dogs on), has had a few attempts on sheep and has pushed some cows up once. N just doesn’t quite have the confidence yet and I don’t have the resources or the knowledge to bring her confidence up (which is something I aim to work on).
When it comes to playing with balls or sticks though, P and N are completely focused on the object being thrown. P attempts to round the object up, casting right around it and rarely actually getting it because N has done a beeline straight for it and, more often than not, has caught it in the air. If P does get it, she will parade around with it in her mouth, attempting to bark and yap, until I ask her to bring it to me. Then she will drop it, wherever she happens to be at the time, and will proceed to bark at me as if to tell me to come get it myself. I can always rely on N to bring it back though.
The three border collies we’ve had the pleasure of looking after are completely different. They all seem completely focused on the other dogs rather than the object that is being thrown. And they can’t relax!
P and N know when it’s play time and when it’s relax time. If I’m inside they are on the verandah, on their beds, sleeping. But these border collies can’t sit still. They’re not happy outside, they’re not happy inside. They always have to be doing something. Like a kid with ADHD.
Maybe I just have it easy with my dogs. Either way, I am definitely a kelpie lover and am very grateful that P and N are so easygoing.
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