You must complete an adoption application with WBCR before we will consider you for one of our Border Collies (under the “adoption” link). Then go to our PayPal link to pay the $15.00 application fee. One of our volunteers will check your references, and then another will come to your home to meet you & your family in person before the board will vote on your application. If you are approved, we will arrange a time for you to meet the dog(s) you are interested in. If you decide he/she is perfect for you and the board agrees, we will schedule a day for you to pick up your Border Collie, sign adoption paperwork, and pay the $350 minimum adoption donation. This whole process may take a month or more, as all WBCR members are volunteers and we’re committed to making a perfect match for our border collies. Thanks for your patience!
Please contact Amy/Fran for more information on Hannah (Adoption Pending!) – Approx. 1 Year Old Female (Rochelle, IL)
How is this gorgeous young girl still available for adoption?! Why hasn’t she been adopted yet? What’s wrong with her? These are questions I’ve answered at least once a week for the last 6 months. In short, I don’t know! Hannah is the absolute epitome of a Border Collie’s energy, intelligence, and charm. She is precisely why this breed is often relinquished: because BCs have more energy than most people know what to do with. But if you’re reading this, you’re looking for a Border Collie to add to your family, so you already understand the kind of mental and physical energy needs they have, and you’re excited about it!
To be fair, 90% of the time Hannah is at the top end of the energy chart. She’s crazy! But in the most endearing, keep-you-off-the-couch, and make-you-laugh-daily ways. If you want a dog to cuddle next to you as you watch TV, you’re not looking for a Border Collie anyway. Hannah will keep you moving as long as you can stand it. When you need to get other things done, she just needs a bone or a Kong to chew while she waits. She loves her crate; she’s fully potty trained; she’s very food motivated and learns tricks and commands within minutes. And those head tilts will make you swoon!
Hannah’s one and only sticky point is the minor resource guarding that’s developed living in a large pack. We’ve worked with her to where she is able to chew a bone with the other dogs walking around, but as soon as she’s done, it’s put away. She also sees me as a resource that she doesn’t always want to share at home. And although there’s never bloodshed, there are very loud altercations. Because of this, we believe Hannah (and her people) will be much happier if she is an only child or is in a family with only one other laid-back dog. Professional training will be very helpful, too – not just for this issue, but for mental exercise and bonding.
So yes, Hannah needs a high energy, BC experienced, small pack family who has enough time and energy to manage her exuberance. That family just hasn’t come along yet. Are you who she’s been waiting for? She’s amazing! I swear!
Hannah started a trial period with an approved adopter recently and, although he adored her and did everything he could to make her happy, he decided he realistically could not keep it up long-term. So Hannah has returned to her foster home and is still looking for her perfect fit.
During those 2 weeks, Hannah’s leash skills improved since she was walked multiple times a day. And Hannah was actually playing fetch! My theory is that, without other dogs around, she could relax enough to have fun with toys instead of guarding them. We’ve left several balls out since Hannah returned, and they haven’t been an issue. She hasn’t really played with them, but she’s not starting fights over them either. Today, I even let Hannah chew a bone with the other dogs in the room, and all was well for a solid 15 minutes. (https://youtu.be/LAj187f7fM0) When she eventually gave a low growl, the bone got put away and everyone took turns getting peanut butter treats to celebrate the progress.
Hannah didn’t skip a beat getting back into our routine here. She has been quite affectionate with Rhys – whom she plays and wrestles with more than any of our other dogs. For 3 days in a row so far, I’ve taken a picture of them snuggling together in the window seat. She can be so stinking adorable!
There’s a first time for everything! Today, Hannah jumped our fence to run out to the street. I honestly have no idea what motivated her to do it. In the several months she’s been here, she’s never even attempted to climb our 3’ wire fence, let alone sail over it, regardless of the presence of squirrels, cats, pedestrians, skateboarders, etc. For all the people who say, “My dog never does x, y, or z,” I always respond, “They never do until they do.” Today was a “do” day for Hannah. It only took me a couple seconds to open the gate and get around the bushes, but she sprinted to me as soon as she saw me, jumping and licking at my face like she hadn’t seen me in a week. I picked her up and carried her back into the fenced yard then watched her like a hawk for the rest of the night, preparing to intercept her before she did it a second time. But she never did. At least not today. I won’t be working outside where I have to be looking at the computer anymore. Once is enough to teach me how quick and unpredictable she is. Whew!
In other news, Hannah went lure coursing again last weekend. She learned the game so well that we had to start her in different locations every time so she’d stop cutting through the middle of the field to catch up with the lure. Smart little girl to take shortcuts! Hannah’s a prime example of the independent thinking Border Collies are capable of. Her people will have to stay on their toes and always be a step ahead of her – well, at least try to be.
I recently realized there are a lot of pictures on this page of Hannah sleeping. Obviously it happens or I wouldn’t be able to photograph it, but it doesn’t last long. I feel it’s worth repeating that Hannah is not – in any way, shape, or form – a calm or lazy dog. This video is definitely more “Hannah-esque” and was taken after she ran full tilt for about an hour at the dog park: https://youtu.be/WTMARWJx1ac If you are looking for a super fun dog who keeps you moving, she is the girl for you!
Hannah is making great progress on her resource guarding with her foster siblings. She has figured things out with all our dogs except one, and they were playing (wrestling, chasing, pouncing) perfectly appropriately all morning long today. I think Hannah continues to have conflicts with him because he’s just as high-strung as she is, and she feeds off his energy. When he’s ramped up, she goes off the deep end. We are still only allowing chew toys out when she’s isolated from the other dogs, but that’s a good practice with almost all dogs.
I don’t necessarily feel that Hannah has to be adopted as an “only child,” but it will be important to find the right combination for her. A sibling that also wants to be in charge or who’s just as electric as she is won’t be a good fit, but a happy-go-lucky sibling who likes to wrestle could be great with Hannah. Here’s an early morning playtime video to remind you how hard she plays: https://youtu.be/4EWaJ8fgGIs And if the dogs don’t want to play with her, she gently (but not gracefully) wrestles with me: https://youtu.be/1SYDrGxrdl0 and https://youtu.be/-NFVyHfkXa4
Hannah got to try Lure Coursing this past weekend at Leash on Life in Oswego, IL. She was initially interested in the lure but got distracted before it made its first turn, and she wandered off to explore other areas of the field. Pam was great, altering the lure’s direction and speed to re-engage Hannah. By the time Hannah was running back towards us, she was barking at the lure while she chased it – clearly interested in catching it. She cooled down a bit, got a drink of water, let a couple of her foster siblings have a turn, then she ran again. This time, Hannah stayed focused on the lure the entire run and came back with a huge smile on her face. Once she figured out the rules of this game, she was all in! The best part for me though was that she came directly to me after “catching” the lure; she didn’t run around the field playing keep away 🙂 The worst part was her leash skills before entering the field. She was so excited and overstimulated that she completely forgot how to walk without pulling. After her two runs, she was relaxed enough to remember some her manners though.
Hannah also had a bit of a breakthrough with her resource guarding this weekend. She was sitting with me on the couch while I got some work done on the computer, and one of my dogs decided he wanted to join us. I braced myself for the tension and The Talk, lightly taking hold of Hannah’s collar. But Rhys laid down and Hannah sweetly laid her head on his back and fell back to sleep. I sat there, petting both of them with tears in my eyes, wishing my camera was accessible for proof that it happened. As wonderful as that moment was, Hannah had a scuffle this morning with a different dog. She was trying to jump onto my lap and, as I was telling her no, Quin decided he should also jump onto my lap. Hannah was already tense because I wasn’t letting her do what she wanted to, and she took exception to Quin (“If anyone’s going to be on her lap, it’s going to be me!!”). I held Hannah away from Quin, explained NO one was getting on my lap, and the tension passed. The two of them are playing together as I type this 10 minutes later.
That was the only scuffle we’ve had in a week so Hannah is certainly making progress in this area. I adore this little dog, but she’s certainly not one that will fit in with just any ol’ family since she is extremely active as well as pushy. If you have the time & patience to train her, and you don’t care to throw a ball or frisbee but love dog sports or otherwise staying active with your dog, she might be the perfect fit!
We’re experiencing far fewer conflicts than we were a week or two ago. To be clear, Hannah lets my husband & I take anything and everything from her without pause. She is only protective of things with the other dogs. We continue to play at the dog park without any issues because Hannah doesn’t see things there as “hers.” We are only giving Hannah chew toys when she’s separated from our dogs now – which has drastically cut down on the scuffles – but she also sees us as a resource that she’d like to keep for herself. Having her on-leash in the house gave us the opportunity to learn her warning signs better. Staring intensely at our dogs doesn’t always lead to a scuffle. Most of the time, that ends in a play pounce and good-natured wrestling. Her tail position is key to watch, and there’s a certain look in her eyes that’s hard to explain. When we see those things, we just back both dogs an arm’s length away from each other, have a quiet chat with Hannah (“It’s fine. I can pet any dog I want to. It’s good to share. You don’t get to decide who I pet.”) until we see her physically relax, then we go back to business as usual.
Patricia McConnell has several books WBCR highly recommends that are great resources on many topics, and her website has fantastic information about dog-dog resource guarding – causes, management techniques, re-training – that will be very helpful for Hannah’s forever family. https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/theotherendoftheleash/resource-guarding-dog-to-dog
Hannah has learned a couple new tricks like “Sit pretty“ and “Roll over,” and, if all goes as planned, she’ll get to try Lure Coursing this weekend! Exciting stuff! She really is a great dog who needs structure, consistency, and lots and lots of activity.
This past week has brought new challenges in living with Hannah. She got comfortable enough at our house that she started challenging our dogs in noisy, teeth-baring conflicts. It’s not always over a toy or food (although sometimes it is, so nothing is laying around our house anymore) and she goes after both our males and females so it’s not gender-motivated We haven’t figured out what triggers her, but there has been absolutely no blood shed even though there has been plenty of opportunity for it. During one “fight,” I reached down to grab Hannah and clearly felt her teeth on my hand, but there wasn’t even a scratch, let alone a puncture wound. There was only a slight indentation – like after I rest my hand on my ring or belt buckle – which disappeared within a minute. I guess the good news is that Hannah has great bite inhibition. She’s just a brat about how she’s attempting to dominate the other dogs in the home. I’ve always said they call them bitches for a reason. We’re keeping Hannah on a 6′ leash inside the house in order to manage the situation at all times, and we’ve gotten stricter with our “Nothing in life is free” philosophy – making her work for everything – and things are improving. There’s never been hard feelings between Hannah and the other dogs after a scuffle. They almost immediately go back to playing and wrestling and napping together like it never happened. (Note the photo of her and Fiona “holding hands.” It’s even more amazing when you realize that Fiona is our dog who has personal space issues.)
On the upside, basic training is going well. We’ve realized it’s much easier to keep her from jumping if she lays down to be pet instead of sitting. She loves belly rubs almost as much as she loves to be groomed. Hannah has learned several new commands and is eager to learn more! We took a quick video so she could show off a bit: https://youtu.be/-P_KWkydge8
When she’s not working so hard, she loves to be scratched and pet. She recently started doing this weird, upside-down, butt scratch thing that makes me giggle every time. She has done a full somersault during it, but, regrettably, I didn’t get that on video. https://youtu.be/luTkLlAR5BY
The sun is coming up later in the mornings now even though the dogs still wake up at the same time, so I had to use a flashlight to clean up the yard yesterday. Hannah was intensely stimulated by it. She came running from the other side of the yard and jumped on me several times, snapping at the hand holding the flashlight (like she was trying to take a toy from my hand – not trying to bite me). I had to turn off the flashlight and wait for the sun to come up in order to clean the yard. We have no way of knowing if her previous owners used laser pointers with her or if this is just a natural reaction, but Hannah’s family will need to be conscious about this and not encourage the behavior. If you’re not already aware, chasing lights can be very detrimental to their mental well-being. There are several articles out there on the subject, but here’s a good place to start: https://paws4udogs.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/the-dangers-of-playing-with-laser-lights/
I’ve been taking Hannah on lots of walks, building up her mileage over the past few weeks. She started just going around the block, and she now walks 2.5 miles at a time. For the first couple blocks, she’s always a bit crazy, zig-zagging and stopping to sniff everything and anything, but after consistent reminders for that block or so, she settles into a nice pace and happily walks with a loose leash most of the time. Can’t blame the kid that curiosity sometimes gets the better of her 🙂 Every half mile or so, I tell her “All done” and let her sniff to her heart’s content just to give her a break. She’s a joy to take for walks. I’d venture to guess she could become a fantastic running partner once her joints are mature enough to handle it.
For now, Hannah is on restricted exercise though since she’s recovering from spay surgery. The first evening was a bit rough because she insisted on licking her incision while I tried to finish up things for work. I grabbed the only cone I could find which was gigantic on her and she could’ve shrugged it off at any time, but instead she sat so pathetically that I felt guilty – even though I still laughed at her. Once the sedation wore off, it’s been tough to keep Hannah from wrestling and playing with my dogs because she loves it so much. (A few examples from before surgery: https://youtu.be/fgHcWJn9gCQ and https://youtu.be/G90PVo-0yvg) Nonetheless, we’re having to work her mind more than her body this week so we’re focusing on learning commands. Since she wasn’t even consistent with “sit” when she arrived, we have plenty to work on. She’s starting with the basics (sit, wait, down, leave it) as well as a few simple tricks like shake and spin. She’s an eager student, but gets overzealous about the treats so we’re supplementing her training with some impulse control games.
I learned that the more upset I get with her (I have no poker face when telling a dog to stop jumping at my face for the fiftieth time that day), the more jumpy and obnoxious she got in an attempt to appease me. Turning and/or walking away from her definitely works best. She is learning to sit to be petted, but she hasn’t figured out that she has to stay sitting to keep being petted. In contrast, she is so calm and still for grooming. I brushed and combed her before she went for surgery, and I videoed my husband clipping her nails. Although it’s a bit dark, you can see that even when she’d rather be done, she sweetly resolves herself to being a good girl. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MW0efvvGh7Q
Before surgery, we visited the dog park to run and run and run. Hannah tried to keep up with our Fiona who loves to sprint around the perimeter of the park. Fiona is incredibly fast so Hannah gets creative to intercept her. https://youtu.be/LMzL-0QiI2c
We also practice basic commands at the park, and Hannah is pretty consistent https://youtu.be/HTwIUCqwa1c Impressive for a young dog who’s had a pretty inconsistent life so far. With practice and stability, she’s going to develop into an amazing dog!
My experiment with noisy toys failed. She just wanted to chew on and destroy them. My own dogs, however, thought they won the lottery to have toys in the house that squeak, crinkle, and rattle so Hannah chased them while they played with the toys. She’s a smart girl who’s easily bored though so we’re having to get creative with ways to keep her occupied. She is pretty food-motivated, and she quickly figures out puzzles. Admittedly, I gave her our easiest one to start with, but it only took her 45 seconds to get her first treat out of it. The next puzzle I gave her was a bit harder, but she took even less time figuring it out.
She loves the dog park, too. One day this past week there were actually a few other dogs there (a standard Poodle, a Shepherd mix, and a big who-knows-what mix), and Hannah had a blast running around with them. At one point, she was running UNDER the Shepherd, nipping at its front legs. It was so weird, but they both seemed to be having fun so we didn’t intervene. My own dogs have left a couple small marks on Hannah (one on her nose, one on her cheek) as they’ve tried tempering her rude puppy exuberance. She’s persistent, I’ll give her that. Last night, we had our first kerfuffle with lots of noise and teeth-baring between Hannah and our dog who has personal space issues. This morning however, they were happily wrestling and play bowing so the tension doesn’t last.
Hannah went on a little field trip to a local pet-friendly store this weekend, and was fantastic. She greeted everyone who glanced at her. Although I had to step on the leash to keep her from jumping at first, she did finally stay seated at their feet. Yesterday on our walk, she met strangers at 3 different times and, with each introduction, she jumped up less and less. She’s a pushy little thing who will try to get away with the rudest of behaviors if you show any hesitation, but she is starting to respond to the consistency of rules. Every once in a while though she tests the waters again just to make sure the rule hasn’t changed. For example, the first couple days she was here, she was told under no uncertain terms that she is not allowed to jump up on our bed. She hasn’t done it again … until yesterday when she tried it 3 different times. Today, she hasn’t. Hannah will need absolute consistency from everyone in the household or she will run it. She is in no way a soft dog who recoils when corrected. She comes right back with full ambition. I’ll say it again: Hannah needs a strong leader!
I gave her the last dose of her ear medicine yesterday and had my phone nearby to document what a great dog she is when she’s not challenging the rules or running amok. I apologize for the angle & lighting, but you can still see how much she loves & trusts people. https://youtu.be/43Dg5XqOB3U She is an amazing dog with a ton of potential who will be worth all the effort her family puts into her!
By her 5th day here, Hannah embraced her crate. She voluntarily laid down in her crate to rest (for the count of 3; she is a puppy after all) and she put herself to bed that night. When she doesn’t go in on her own, we don’t have to ask her twice. She also runs right to HER crate when we have to leave. The first few days, she was a bit confused and would go into another dog’s crate – even if there was already another dog in it. You can see her in action here: https://youtu.be/T4cTDDrywXE We’re still working on waiting to exit the crate instead of bolting as soon as the door opens, but we’re making progress! Same with the door to the outside. Hannah wants to go in and out every time it’s open.
She seems to be losing respect for my oldest dog – not in an aggressive way; in a pushy way. Hannah is determined Isabel should play with her even if Isabel is growling and snapping, telling her no. Hannah has knocked Isabel down a couple times this week with her demanding play style. She isn’t making much progress with jumping up on people either. Yesterday she split my lip open, jumping up into my face as I was buckling the backpack onto my dog to go for a run, and earlier this week she hit my mom’s chin so hard that my mom literally checked to make sure a tooth wasn’t knocked loose.
Hannah tagged along to our outdoor agility class last weekend and was so naughty, she had to sit next to the teacher. She jumped out of the x-pen when I walked away to run one of my dogs, and she later bolted after another dog who was running the course. She’s definitely triggered by motion! After 30 minutes of barking, twisting, turning, and pulling, the instructor decided Hannah was far too over-stimulated in that environment so I put her in a crate in the building until class was over. The good news is that, not only did Hannah jump into the car on her own for the first time after class, but she also slept for a few hours that afternoon!
Let’s go back to the pro side of Hannah. She has been very good for her ear drops and for cleaning out her ears. She was also very good for brushing and “not bad” for her nail trim. She was very wiggly, but nothing terrible. She doesn’t pull much on-leash, but I spend a lot of energy trying to stop her from zig-zagging and circling She’s quite a Border Collie in the way she moves.
On day 7 here, she finally played ball! She brought it back to us repeatedly for about 10 minutes then that was it. She hasn’t done it before or since. We throw it, and she just looks at us like, “Yeah? What else ya got?” She seems to prefer chew toys at this stage. She chews EVERYthing! She just casually chews whatever is next to her from the side of her mouth – cabinet door handles, couch cushions, chairs, table legs, baseboards… I feel like I’m redirecting her 90% of the day. The only thing she likes better than chewing is noise. She loves taking the metal food dishes and throwing them down the stairs or tossing smaller bones across our hardwood floors. I refuse to buy squeaky toys for my dogs, but I caved and bought one today for Hannah to see if I can engage her with a noisy toy that’s actually a toy.
Hannah is a gorgeous, approximately 7-months-old female. She was found in April but no one claimed her, and Hannah’s Border Collie energy was too much for the good Samaritan who found her so she sought out breed-specific rescue for Hannah to find a family who will help her reach her full potential.
Hannah LOVES other dogs. Introducing Hannah to her foster siblings (3 males and 3 females, ranging from 2-16 years old) was incredibly easy. Usually it takes several days of slow introductions, but Hannah only took a couple of hours. In fact, she barked incessantly in her crate until we moved her near my dogs’ crates. Typically we crate foster dogs separately to try limiting their bonding, but Hannah was miserable all by herself and we decided it wasn’t necessary to stress her out like that so, when we’re not at home or when we’re sleeping, she’s crated near her foster siblings. She has fantastic doggy social skills, reading cues and respecting others while still engaging them in play. She love, love, loves people, too, but doesn’t have as many social skills in that regard. She jumps up when she’s excited and doesn’t seem to have any idea what “off,” “no,” or “stop” means. In the 3 days she’s been here, she’s bruised my nose and cut my lip in her excitement. She’s not aggressive in the slightest; she’s the polar opposite of aggressive. We’re working on learning better ways to greet people. Today, after her vet visit to get up-to-date on vaccines and tests, she came to my office with me. I expected to bring her home within an hour or two after meeting a few people. She greeted people VERY nicely – to the point that I was asked if she was tired or just generally calm. (Ha! A young Border Collie? Calm!?!) Hannah then quietly played or napped under my desk for 5 hours. No accidents. No fidgeting. Just a sleepy girl who let me get a lot of work done.
We are working on potty training, too. She’s had one “real” accident (pooping in my dining room) but that was only her second day here, and she had really loose stool so I don’t hold it against her. Her only other accident was peeing on the front porch which I don’t even know I can count because technically we were outside. We go outside often and have potty parties every time she goes so she’s catching on quickly. The only other issue we’ve really noticed so far is chewing. Hannah has almost all of her adult teeth already so the chewing is more boredom and habit-based, but she’ll casually walk up to a piece of furniture and chew on it from the side. There are tons of chew toys laying around the house so we’ve been handing her one of those every time her teeth touch something they shouldn’t. Once she settles into our routine and we start giving her work to do, I’m certain these bad habits will be a thing of the past. Besides, she’s so stinkin’ cute that you can’t help but instantly forgive her!