Welcome to my blog about Max the Border Collie

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Having trained dogs professionally for many years, I finally decided to set up a site to share some of my wonderful experiences with my Border Collie ‘Max’, a dog who is no longer living but will remain with me always.

Border Collie and SheepMax came to me as a problem dog, close to being put to sleep after spending several years being out of control, aggressive towards other dogs, and in some cases attacking dogs, cyclists, children, cats, ducks…. you get the picture!

Max just needed a life away from the hustle and bustle of city streets, as all Border Collies do in my opinion. I took him when I moved to a small farm, and he spent the rest of his life working for me about an hour a day, and the rest of time just laying around whatever the weather, enjoying the peace and tranquility of a farm life. For those who know me and knew my beloved Max, you can see pictures of him in print :) – He is featured in an image or two in this excellent Border Collie Book

I will be posting stories, pictures and maybe some videos if I can find some. Life with Max truly was a fantastic experience and I believe the feeling was mutual. I did lots of dog training with him and he learned to respond to my smallest suggestion or command, instantly and obediently every time.

To Max, the best dog in the world (and I have owned a few!)

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Still looking for my next rescue Border Collie

I am still on the hunt for my next dog. I must have been to meet around ten dogs in the past few weeks. I am not choosy, I just have to be a bit careful as I have a lot of other dogs and animals (60 chickens, 12 cats, 4 kids….etc!) and so the dog has to be fairly stable, and unfortunately many of the Border Collies I seem to come across in rescue shelters, are there for exactly the reasons that I need to avoid, i.e. killed a cat, nipped a child etcetera.

It’s so sad because some of them look at me with those forever eyes, and it breaks my heart not to take them, but I know from experience that your heart needs to be muted sometimes when looking at rescues, as it is the worst thing to do to a rescue dog, to give it a go when it is likely to go wrong,.

I will keep looking, but if anyone knows of a calm male Border Collie in or around the London area, please contact me. Thanks :)

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Dog Training or People Training?

Border Collie in SnowIt’s a question all dog trainers and behaviourists get asked, who do you train, the dog or the dog owner?

As someone who has met their fair share of dodgy dogs, and even dodgier people, I wanted to offer an answer to this as I was asked it again at the weekend.

Dogs are so easy to train. The basic elements of dog training never EVER change, no matter how many marketing firms and large corporate K9 brands try their best to re-brand dog training into some sort of holy grail that only they have the answer to. The clicker is a great example. Clicker training is just superb, there is no other word for it. But it is NOT the clicker which is so effective, it is the DOG and its response to the clicker where the true power lies. The only thing which makes clicker dog training so wonderfully effective is the trainer, or more specifically, the timing of the trainer.

Clicker training is simple, very simple. But it was overcomplicated to oblivion by companies and trainers who were trying to cash in on the band-wagon which clicker training became. Dog trainers were treating it like some kind of magic pill, until the next magic pill (X training) came along, and that soon shifted into the “out of fashion” pile.

Dog Obedience Old PhotoThe truth is, dog training never goes out of fashion, it never gets old, it never stops working, and it never ever changes. Circumstances change, people change, and yes dogs change, but the fundamental principles upon which all good dog training works will never change.

So when I take on a dog training project, yes the main variable is the human standing next to the dog. That’s the unpredictable part, the unreliable part in many cases too! So I do spend more time talking to the human, telling them what to do (again and again usually!) and only spend a few hours with the dog one on one.

border collie trained with cat

So, before you ask why your dog is doing something, or “being naughty”, stop and grab yourself a mirror, therein most probably lies the problem :)

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Found a Puppy, but not sure….

Well after days of trawling the newspapers and internet, I have finally found a puppy which sounds perfect. I wasn’t after a puppy specifically, and this one isn’t a new born puppy as it is around 5 months but it is in need of a new home.

It is a tri-colour male, my Max was a black and white and I have never had a tri-colour so this is a nice touch. I know from my Max that a Collie which has been attacked when young can have severe problems with nervous aggression towards other dogs when older.

Well this puppy has been attacked not once, not twice, but THREE times by local nasty dogs, and he is a nervous wreck. He will need a heck of a lot of work to ensure he doesn’t develop nervous aggression in future, and this will be all down to me.

Wish me luck! It isn’t concrete yet, as I haven’t met him yet, but everything I have heard about him so far is exactly what I am looking for, although perhaps a bit more of a challenge than I was looking for originally. Here goes nothing, time to go and meet this pup and see what we make of each other! :)

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Looking for a rescue Border Collie training project

I am looking for a replacement to my beloved Max. Please comment below or email me if you can suggest the best ethical Border Collie rescue organisations.
I am hoping to do some search and rescue as well as normal dog obedience training and I would rather save a dog from a kennel life than take on a new puppy. Looking for a hard Border Collie, black and white or tri-colour ideally.

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