Sunday, August 23, 2009
Border Collies are working dogs with indefatigueable herding instincts.They need a farm and a purposeful job~ sheep herding for instance.They definately become your new migraine if you live in a residential area with only school buses and children to herd.They can be high strung,especially if they see a potential project worth herding outside your living room window.Did you have a dime size hole in your window screen? Your border collie knows he can fit through that! That skinny space between the air conditioner and the window frame? No problem! Are chickens walking by unchaperoned? Is the glass window shut?~~~Crash!!!! Ooops! My border collie will be instantly crouching and cornering them,blocking every attempt to change direction and flee,completely unconcerned of the shattered mess he left behind.I've learned a new trait that chickens have that I never knew before~ they can PLAY DEAD! Did you know that? After too many frustrating attempts to escape Buddy's blockades they simply roll over, feet straight up in the air with eyes closed.Multiple times I was sure I saw a dead rooster laying in the driveway."Nuts!"~and off I'd go with an empty feedsack to toss the dead carcass in.Usually their necks were defeathered or very gummed up and matted with dog saliva from Buddy pinning them down to hold them still."Look at that!", I'd say."Who did this? You ??" And Buddy would crouch and slink away to a hiding spot."I see you, you BAD DOG!!", I'd yell.The rooster still lay there, still as death, eyes closed & feet outstretched or upward.That's when I'd notice the bird open one eye to peek to see if it was 'All Clear'.Just as I'd reach my hand to grab the feet, that crazy rooster would burst forth with a cackling scream and take off like a crazed lunatic for the barn scaring the life out of me.
The speed on these dogs is sensational.My dog is a little longer in the legs than the average for this breed and he runs like the wind.I've never seen a dog run so fast then change direction with the speed of lightening.He has broken countless chains and cables.The last was guaranteed for a 250 lb dog. Fat chance!One rainy day I let Buddy run free so he could do his business.Everything was penned up.Nothing to herd and distract him.He immediately returned when I called him,running like a locamotive.When he reached the house he didn't slow down soon enough and he skidded on the wet pavement and crashed full speed into my knee! It was like the Mafia smashing my knee with a baseball bat!
Did I forget to describe their energy level? What an education I got.This is what makes them the great sheep herders they are~endurance! Two years ago, in February, Buddy decided the ducks needed herding in the pond.Need I tell you how cold it was? The edges were beginning to freeze except where the springs are located.Ducks are no fools and knew they could swim just a tad faster than a border collie.They stayed just a few inches ahead of him,reached the opposite shoreline then turned and swam the opposite direction. This went on over & over and Buddy followed them.He completely ignored my demands to "Get out of that water right now!!~~~ Buddy, COME !!, etc. Then my worst fear~ he started slowing down and I was afraid hypothermia and exhaustion were setting in.The ducks continued to swim back and forth drawing him to the center of the pond.I took off my shoes and stood in the snow on the shoreline, ready to jump in and rescue him when he came my direction again."I Don't Believe This!!" , I bellowed.Then the ducks exited the pond and I was able to grab his collar as he slowly climbed on shore.I snapped the leash on as he shook himself, showering me with pond water.I expected a worn out exhausted dog but quickly learned about shoulder dislocations as he burst forth with new found energy dragging me with me to catch ducks.I wondered about him as a duck hunting comrade but the more I thought about it I realized I would spend more time in a capsized boat or watching him drag the Duckblind with him as he swam,mindless of any other concern except 'the catch'.
He's terrified of gunfire. Are all border collies that way? It has worked to my advantage that he is.One night I left him out to run and go to the bathroom.Suddenly I realized a large pack of coyotes were on the move nearby .Buddy took off to greet them! Holy smoke~ bad choice! Either they would pile up on him and kill him or other farmers would mistake him for a coyote.His body movements are similar, the way he trots, slinks and crouches.I ran in the house , grabbed my shotgun and left off 2 blasts in the yard.Buddy turned on a dime and raced back for the house and hid in the closet.The coyotes took off the opposite direction.It was 3:00 AM ~but so what?The next thing I knew I heard gunfire from several surrounding farms as the 'yotes ran through their farms.