Appalachian mountain border collie rescue
CHOOSING DOGS FOR RESCUE & PLACEMENT
- All dogs coming though rescue must be evaluated by a person knowledgeable
in Border Collies before it can be made available for adoption. Evaluation
is vital, not only in the eventual task of finding the right home for a dog,
but also to be sure the proper foster care situation (for both dog and
foster home) is available.
- Any dog that has any history of "biting", "nipping",
"snapping", etc. must be very carefully evaluated by an
experienced rescuer with a background in dog training and behavior. It may
be just a young dog that has received no training and discipline in its
former environment and has begun to take advantage of this. Or it may just
be a bored dog who is expressing herding instinct (heel nipping, etc.).
These dogs usually can be easily rehabilitated and have just been waiting
for some direction and guidance in their lives.
- Only an experienced trainer can determine whether a dog has a serious
aggression or fear aggression (fear expressed by biting) problem. We err on
the side of safety. A dog in an animal shelter or in its owner's home who
exhibits aggression when being evaluated should NOT be accepted into rescue.
If a dog seems all right and we take it in, only to find truly aggressive
tendencies and behaviors as training and behavior modification progresses
(or doesn't), we may have to make the decision to have the dog euthanized.
Dogs who may not ever be completely trustworthy or safe should NOT be
- Dogs that are very dog or animal aggressive must also be seriously
screened before placement. Any dog that has a strong propensity to cause
serious damage or death to another animal is a legal and moral liability. Be
very cautious when taking a dog with a history of "chasing" or
"killing" cats, other pets, or livestock. Some dogs said to have
"chased" actually were killing and some dogs said to be
"killers" were wrongly accused. It is really best for such a dog
to be evaluated while on a long line and introduced to other animals so that
the evaluator can see for themselves what the dog is doing.
- Owners who relinquish dogs rarely describe the dog accurately. Some feel
guilty about giving the dog up, so they want to convince you (or themselves)
that they are justified because "he's a bad dog", so problems are
exaggerated. Others minimize problems or don't say anything bad about the
dog because they feel guilty and are afraid the dog won't get a chance for a
good home if they tell the rescuer or shelter the dog has had problems.
- Dogs with temperament problems other than aggression towards humans or
other animals must also be evaluated to see if they can make the adjustment
to a new home. Dogs that have never lived in a house or have had little
human contact can have a very difficult time becoming a family pet. These
dogs often must be kept by the rescuer or live in a foster home for a while
to see if they can make the change.
- Older dogs need to be evaluated to see if they can handle placement in a
new home. Some dogs have been bonded so strongly with their owners that
placement later in life is very difficult for them. Some are happy anywhere
as long as they get love and good care. Be aware, however, that dogs over
the age of 5 are often very difficult to place and take a long time to be
placed. Most potential adopters are looking for younger dogs.
- Abused and neglected dogs are the saddest to work with. Many just ended up
in homes that should never have had an animal of any kind. These dogs often
need very special homes. Usually quiet homes with no children or any loud
noises and a very peaceful lifestyle can work for them. Many come around
once they are loved and cared for. Each must be evaluated on his own merits.
- Dogs with serious physical problems, including a serious case of heartworm
disease, or a communicable virus such as parvo or distemper which could
endanger your own dogs and other rescue dogs in your care, might also have
to be euthanized. Dogs with such problems should not be taken out of animal
shelters unless the rescuer is fully prepared to absorb the costs of nursing
the dog back to health themselves. This is a judgment call for each case.
Sometimes extra donation money can be raised to help a particular dog.
Sometimes homes can be found that will take a dog with medical problems. It
is most important that these homes understand the work and the money that it
will take to maintain these dogs. Follow up must be done and good contact
kept between rescue and the new home.
WHO TO ADOPT TO
- All prospective homes must be screened carefully. If screening potential
homes and fully evaluating each rescue dog is done thoroughly, we can make
better decisions on what dog will do well in which home, and whether that
home is suitable for a Border Collie at all.
- All homes should have a securely fenced yard. Exceptions would be
apartment and condo dwellers, or such rural settings that would be safe for
the dog IF the owners are committed to providing appropriate supervision
while the dog is outdoors. Letting the dog run loose is totally
unacceptable, of course! Many Border Collies are not appropriate for
apartment/condo or town house situations, so selection of the right dog for
such an environment is very important. It can be politely explained that
Border Collies may not be the best breed choice for them, however, if they
would be dedicated, loving dog owners, they shouldn't be ruled out only
because they live in a townhouse or apartment. Judgment calls are important
in each case. We are most concerned with finding responsible owners with
commitment to a dog for life. Where they live can be a consideration when we
are choosing a possible dog for them. Dogs happy with leash walks and an
owner's lifestyle that includes activities in a park or rural field can work
out very nicely for a lower energy BC. Fenced yards must be suitably secure
and high enough and should not allow a dog to view the street where traffic,
passing joggers, children and bicyclists may entice an active Border Collie
to jump, dig, climb, bark or run along the fence "herding."
Applicants without a fence but with proper supervision may actually be
better owners than those with a fence who allow a dog to be loose in a
fenced yard and run along the fence "chasing" cars or passersby.
Electronic "invisible" fence systems are NOT preferred but may be
okay with certain dogs and an owner experienced in training a dog to the
fence system. Owners who plan to leave a dog outside within a fenced yard or
in an invisible fence system when no one is home need to be counseled to
make another choice. If they are unwilling to accept suggestions for making
a change, they should be turned down. The best fenced yard in the world can
be a problem situation for some dogs who do not get adequate stimulation,
supervision and attention. A fenced yard does not replace loving, attentive
owners or being part of the owner’s family life. The bottom line is, a
potentially good home should not be summarily rejected because there is not
a fenced yard. It is more important to evaluate how the fencing will be used
in the management of the dog.
- Families with children might have the impression that all Border Collies
are good with children. We know this is not so. It is very important to
evaluate the parents' value system regarding supervision of their children
when playing with a dog and how much "help" they expect the
children to be in taking care of a dog. We do not adopt Border Collies to
homes that think a dog should be a babysitter for children, or where the dog
is supposed to "teach the kids responsibility".
- We prefer homes who have owned dogs before, especially other Border
Collies. We want to know what happened to previous dogs. Having had 2 or 3
previous dogs who got "run over" would indicate a problem
situation. We like most to hear that people had their previous dog(s) for 14
or 15 years and that the dog died of old age or illness associated with old
- The adoption applicant(s) must be very up on what is required in the way
of regular grooming, vet care, feeding, exercise and mental stimulation.
They must be willing to attend at least one basic obedience course with the
new dog. What food will they plan to feed? Bargain brands and table scraps
are definitely out of the question.
- We don't prefer situations where the dog will be left outdoors at night.
This tends to cause barking and can cause problems. We do NOT approve of any
dog being chained at ANY time. Even a dog who will live outdoors much of the
time must be considered a member of the family and the adoption applicant(s)
must demonstrate how they intend to include the dog in their daily life.
Even working farm dogs should be treated as valued companions when not
working. Some rescue dogs who have only lived outdoors do better in a
similar situation and may not be able to adapt well to becoming a suburban
house dog. However, the new home should be willing to include the dog in
daily life, going for rides, accompanying owners on errands or around the
farm, having a snug doghouse or porch to sleep in, being allowed in the
house if the dog wants to come in for a while, perhaps willingness on the
new owner’s part to allow the dog to get used to living in the house and
begin living indoors and sleeping indoors if the dog becomes comfortable
with the idea. Determine what will be the best situation for the dog you are
thinking of placing.
- Will there be someone home during the day? Some dogs will not be used to
being left alone and could become noisy and destructive. Puppies during the
housebreaking phase also need frequent trips outside. Crates should be used
for times when owners are not at home and the dog is left inside. Initially,
a new owner should be willing to use a crate or have an appropriate safe,
dog-proofed place to confine the new dog until everyone is adjusted to the
- Always check to see what other animals are in the family. Some Border
Collies get along with cats, cage birds, chickens, pet rodents, reptiles,
other farm animals, etc., but many would NOT be appropriate for a home with
certain other animals.
- By the adoption process, the dog and his new owner become Border Collie
rescue's "ambassadors to the public." People will ask them about
their dog and his behavior. We want them to be proud of their new dog and to
and how important it is that they make a positive picture. But it is our
responsibility to take a lot of care in rescuing and appropriately placing
Border Collies. We must be as sure as we can that we choose appropriate
adopters and appropriate dogs for adoption since it is our own reputation as
rescuers and the public perception of the Border Collie at stake.