We still run together although for me it is a
struggle. One of his favourite outdoor games is racing me in the woods.
has learned alternative paths and he goes one way and I go the other. Usually I
find him sitting waiting where the paths join. As old joints (mine) slowed me
down more he was beating me easily, so one day I made him sit while I got a 30
metre start. That did it! Now it was a real game and the next day without
prompting by me he sat down at the same place and waited until I said "go". He
The very next time, without a word from me, HE increased
the start to about 40 metres and still thrashed me. Within a week the cheeky
dog had stretched my start to 60 metres and still just won. A year later and
still this endless game goes on, no matter whether I am jogging or walking with
my wife. He suddenly stops walking and stands motionless while I get
sufficiently far ahead. If he thinks he has overdone it I see him creeping
along until it is right. Sometimes the race is a bit close and he races past
the junction of the paths with a cheeky sideways glance like a winning 100
metre Olympic sprinter.
His intelligence is such that he now thinks of other
situations where he can take an alternative route to me. He looks at me as if
to say "What about a race?" I just say "OK!" and he suddenly takes off at high
speed through the trees and bracken expecting me to sprint along the other
route. Then he appears ahead of me looking smug. He loves it.
Telfer's country jogs are possibly his favourite
pastime, and each one becomes a constant game of dropping behind me to
investigate an interesting smell and then racing past to his proper position,
with the occasional distraction to chase a rabbit or squirrel. The main problem
is his lovely long flowing coat, as his legs and undersides get so wet and
dirty from the muddy paths.
On his 4th
Like most dogs he loves chasing and finding things.
Although we always run in an endless variety of 3 to 4 mile circles he seems to
know when we are on the return part, and begins to grab sticks or fir cones and
taunts me to catch him.
Meanwhile his home companion, Zippy, is now an
old cat of 16 (2003) but still capable of setting up a "chase me" game with his
big pal. Being half Siamese he has the Siamese howl which upsets Telfer no end.
Telfer seems to be able to anticipate it and tries to get close to one of us
Zippy at 16
The kitchen door has a cat flap which Zippy
dashes through during their games. Telfer can just get his muzzle through the
cat flap and enjoys peeping through as it gives his long nose access to the
scents of the outside world. It also comes in handy as his "doorbell" when he
wants to come in from the garden.
Like many pets Telfer soon learned to
put as much distance as possible between himself and the scene of any
"incidents" which either of the pair were involved in. However sometimes it
does not work!
A loud sound of breaking plastic and wood from the
kitchen turned out not to be burglars but Telfer chasing Zippy, who dashed
through the cat flap. This time Telfer went too far!
He carried the evidence with
"Please take it off"
As you can imagine Telfer is now very obedient. Most of
the time we don't need to command him, we just talk to him using the vital
words which he knows.
It takes some time on our part to devote attention
to him but the response is worth it. He learns words so fast that I talk to him
on his walks at the time he does things and within days he knows ( or
rather associates) what I say. I can say "Go and wash your feet" and he will
instantly go in to the nearest stream or pool and paddle around.
narrow lane I can say "Car" and he instantly gets off the road and sits down,
or if we are jogging he slows down and comes into a "heel" position trotting
Coming to a junction of footpaths on the edge of the woods
the words "We'll go across the fields today" causes him to turn onto a path
which leads across an open field.
So his remarkable knowledge increases
month after month. At home when we say " I think it's bedtime" he instantly
gets up from his sleep on the floor and walks to the outside door to be let out
for his last "call of nature" of the day.
a Border Collie has convinced me that it would be cruel to own one if you do
not have time to devote to it. In no way should anyone who goes out to
work consider a Border Collie as a pet.
These dogs are really
working dogs and that means they crave activity, particularly mental activity.
If your circumstances do not permit such attention then for the sake of the
dog, do not buy a Border Collie.... Really.
The same principle applies to
most dogs but more so with a Border Collie. Choose another breed.
We only decided on a Border Collie because I am retired
but still very active and can find the time for regular walks of over 3 miles
on most days. Of course on occasions he does have to be left on his own, but
for only a couple of hours or so. If necessity demands more then we arrange for
someone to have him, which is an essential consideration when deciding to have
a dog. The same problem occurs at holiday times. We are lucky in having a very
competent "dog boarder" friend nearby.
Chris loves having him and
Telfer loves visiting Chris (but hates it when we leave him). When we
visit her by car he now gets excited at the sound of the car's indicator at a
vital junction ( 3 turnings before we are there!!).
As you will guess
Telfer lives in the house not outside in a kennel. He is a "pet".
favourite toy in home is a tennis ball, particularly catching one. A popular
game is "Throw". Telfer takes his ball to the top of the stairs and "throws" it
down....bump...bump...bump.. we hear. He is hoping someone will respond and
throw the ball back up to him so he can repeat the exercise.