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Are Border Collies Good With Children?

For many years now, Border Collies have worked alongside humans and served relentlessly. But, more than a herding dog, he has been a war dog, a sled dog, a therapy and assistance dog, a competitive sports dog, a search and rescue dog, a hunting dog, and of course, a dog for companionship. Whatever task the Collie has been asked to do, he has done, he has never wavered, never faltered, never quit and we have come to love the Border Collie because of this.

However, there has been reports of hazards and injuries sustained by these loving dogs, to children. The safety of children alongside this dog has been a great source of concern for Vet’s worldwide. The herding instinct is strong within this dog, and because of this, it is not unusual for the breed to have tried to herd young children if left alone with them. This is especially the case for households who have not trained their dog properly, or know very little about them.

Theses dogs have an instinct, due to the way they have been bred for centuries, and this very often means that if a small child were to run around the garden, the Collie may mistake it for a wandering sheep and try to retrieve the poor child. This will appear quite traumatizing for the child, especially if they are not used to being around dogs, let alone this breed. Also, when a sheep is being unresponsive, it is usual for the Border Collie to “nip” at the ankles of the livestock to make it follow the orders that have been given. If you have inadvertently trained your dog to treat children as livestock, this can be potentially a great risk to any children that it may come in to contact with.

There are ways in which you can modify the behavior of your Border Collie, but unfortunately the herding instinct will always be there. One way in which you can prevent any nasty accidents involving Border Collies and kids is to teach the children that they shouldn’t run away from this breed. Standing dead in their tracks will avoid confrontation between the two and the dog is less likely to try and nip. The dog will no longer perceive the child as escaping livestock, and will resume to their normal mode  - the caring, loving dog. However, when kids are hanging around in large groups, it is often not suitable for you to train each and every one of them how to deal with your dog, so it might be wise not to let your dog roam around the streets unattended.

The answer to the question - Are Border Collies good with kids, is a tough one. Obviously you cannot change hundreds of years of breeding but there are ways in which you can train both your children and the dog to handle certain situations differently. I would advise you though, if you are not willing to be patient with your dog and show him guidelines - right and wrong, then you will find that this breed of dog is probably not the most suitable for you!

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