Shawn the Dog

There is a 2 year old Border Collie/Aussie boy named Shawn that I went to go see recently. I’ve deeply considered the BC or not to BC question, and I have several more months to make up my mind. This dog has a good home, so there’s no hurry. We’ve got day-visits planned to see what he thinks about our house and our routines, and there’s no pressure either way for us to take him.

First, some background:

Shawn was born and raised as an outdoor dog on a rescue farm. He’s well-mannered inside, and is crate trained. Not much formal training, but he’s very intuitive about what is being asked, and offers behaviors until he gets some sign that he’s done right. Initially clueless about taking treats: he had to watch the other dogs and has caught on quickly (no surprise there). Good with visiting kids. Extremely gentle mouth. Raised around all manner of poultry, rabbits, llamas, horses, sheep, goats, cats, and other dogs. He does not chase the free-roaming poultry or cats, is easygoing and submissive with the other dogs, is polite around the sheep pen, and ignores everything else. His full BC father works elsewhere, and his Aussie/BC mother works the sheep on the farm. He’s turned on to sheep but he knows he is not allowed in with the sheep and calmly watches from the sidelines as his mother works.

His mother is a wild whirlwind of crazy energy, but both he and his brother are quiet and friendly. His brother Duncan is outgoing and shameless in soliciting with his Frisbee. Shawn is more reserved and extremely patient, but I’ve seen some beautiful displays of people-joy from him.

I’ve gone to visit several times, but it’s hard to get a fix on his personality. He’s very unobtrusive and mild-mannered. The other dogs push him aside to get to people, so he seems to have resigned himself to the background. He has not had a lot of cuddle time, but he went from standoffish and thinking he’d done something wrong when I was grooming and petting him, to butting his head under my arm and snuggling close whenever I am on the ground. The busy lady who owns the farm wants him to go to a home where he gets more interaction: the farm dogs live good, doggy lives, but they all seem starved for human contact. All in all he seems like he would benefit to having his own family.

I’m a little worried about taking him out of his country setting. Will he adapt to the noisy neighborhood? Being the only dog? Will he become attached to me? Are we really a good home for him?
Lot’s of questions. He’s a beautiful dog, and I’ve never seen a dog with such poise and politeness with such little training.

Well, no hurry. None at all.

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3 responses to “Shawn the Dog

  1. Ah…herding dogs. I will never live life without one, but they are not for the faint of heart. Shawn sounds like he’s off to a good start — polite and not hyper and 2 years usually spells polite and not hyper for life. Sounds like he’s the low man in the hierarchy, which is also nice for a first dog. We did just fine with our three in the city (usually plus one insane BC foster) but I insist that the dogs play fetch. The herding breeds usually prefer regimented exercise to goofing around, which makes it pretty easy to burn off their energy. As long as you can commit to 90 minutes daily (most days) at the park, you should be OK.

  2. homespunheretic

    I had a small crisis of “oh, can I really do this? Should I really even be getting *any* dog?” but it turns out I was tired from anemia and getting sick to boot. A little more iron made me feel better and “steeled” my resolve. I think he’s a great dog, and I think he’ll be coming soon as soon as the fences are finished.

  3. That’s great! Sounds like he may be the perfect first border collie. They are such fantastic dogs that it will break your heart.

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