Sunday, December 23, 2007

Border Collies (or Puppies as Gifts)

I was having lunch with my friend Beth the other day. She's a biologist and very savvy dog trainer who is working with a few puppies on an in-home basis. She has a friend who lost an elderly dog and wanted a pup to replace it. The woman apparently was not an extreme "dog person", although she liked dogs well enough. So Beth found some adult dogs in the pound that were gentle natured and desperately in need of homes.

But the friend went to a breeder and bought two puppies instead.

"Littermates?" I practically gagged on my sandwich.


We both looked at each other and started laughing.

The friend had already broken at least one of the cardinal rules about the average person getting a puppy. Three of them are as follows:

1) Do not obtain more than one puppy at a time.

2) Do not acquire puppies, or give them, as Christmas gifts.

3) Do not acquire a border collie.

To us the reasons are obvious, but I'll go over them briefly.

1) One puppy alone is enough of a handful. But when two littermates go together, they will tend to bond to each other, cleaving only unto themselves, and forget you! You are in for Dog Training Hell.

2) Bringing a puppy home in the midst of Christmas chaos is the worst thing you can do to it. There is no chance for establishing a schedule, no time for real bonding, and no full attention that takes for early good house training habits. On top of all this, there are unlimited "goodies" like tinsel and plastic and chocolate to chew up and destroy, and vomit up or create large vet bills. Besides this, no reputable breeder would recommend bringing a puppy home for Christmas. If you have already reserved your pup, consider asking the breeder to keep it until the hubbub dies down.

3) Border collies should go only to homes that will offer the high-energy dog a consistent job like agility, herding or flyball.

A puppy is not a toy; it's a family member that will be around hopefully into its teens. Please be responsible enough to think about this when you're being charmed by those happy eyes and wagging tails.

Besides, it will pee in your house.

1 comment:

Eirene said...

Well, at least she didn't buy the 2 puppies from a puppymill-supplied pet shop :(