Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Posted March 2, 2015
We found Dixon at the same shelter we found our first dog, Moose. Dixon had been up for adoption for a while compared to the other dog he was found with. That dog was related to him but was adopted in just a few days. Dixon had been waiting a few weeks. We loved his size, which is on the larger side of medium, and I had a border collie when I was a teen who he sort of reminded me of, so we took a chance on him and had him meet with our (then) only dog.
We were warned that they could clash if he was anywhere near assertive like Moose, but sure enough, he entered the room, sniffed, and walked away with a slightly cautious ease. We were reassured that he was only this way around dogs he liked, but generally he was disinterested or even a bit scared of other dogs. This has continued to be the case to this day.
Dixon is a friendly dog with a penchant for eating anything he finds, things meant to be eaten and others that aren't. This might be due to his past, as well, which with rescues you never know how long they went without food or care. He is obedient, and listens to your every cue. He loves to play. If we were to let him off of the leash in the middle of the sidewalk, he'd wait for you. He's that loyal, and that attached.
We were warned that collies a) have enough energy to make you go crazy, b) that they're vocal like no other dog and c) they are extremely affectionate and love to cuddle. All of these are true. Dixon often grumbles when he's been sitting around without play, or if he wants attention, or if the wind is blowing... you get the idea. It's usually subsided with a bit of attention and engaging play. He's not that hard to please. He could play for hours, which is great if he liked other dogs, but he's scared around them so he usually just stays in one spot in their company. Unless we're home. In that case, all bets are off and you'd better not care about your floors getting scratched because he knows how to glide on hardwood and he's not shy about it. He is also an affectionate mush. There's seldom a day that goes by when he isn't cuddled up on our pillows (while we're sleeping on them.) He's a very attached dog. He also loves to lay in your lap, disregarding the fact that maybe he's a bit too big for the space. He likes to lick your nose and nibble on it when he's in your lap to let you know it's time now not to be affectionate, but to play!
We wanted a dog that was also very affectionate to our other dog. One that could open him up. Shelter dogs have a tendency to be either very closed off and scared or angry except toward their owner/companion, and our first dog wasn't an exception. Dixon and Moose are now attached at the hip. They do everything together, and even though Moose is the assertive, dominant one, Dixon is fine with being his submissive friend who lets him get the toys when he wants them. It can be a bit of a problem when we want them to play together because the attempt usually ends soon after it starts, but we hope we get there some day.
We don't know how Dixon would be around smaller species of pets. He's great with beagles, but he doesn't seem to have been exposed to any other animals, and he barks and chases squirrels and pigeons, so we'd like to think only in the right environment could it work. Early exposure counts for a lot, in my experience, but that doesn't mean that he would be unable to tolerate cats or gerbils and the like with careful attention being paid.
If you want a friendly, lovable, attached, affectionate, vocal dog, collies are for you. They are full of energy but with the right direction, they can use it in healthy ways like play. Collies are great second dogs for people who have experience with larger breeds who know how to train them. They might even be a great first dog for the right person because they are so eager to make you happy and train quickly. We got our dog when he was already out his puppy stage, which meant that his energy level has tapered off a bit from his youth, which is right for us. If we had a yard, a puppy would have been no question either, but having a collie in a small city apartment is also no small feat. He sheds like crazy if he isn't groomed often, which is about 2x every year, if not more. Fortunately, he's taller so his long hair doesn't always get caught in puddles and mystery liquids or rain, so he isn't always covered in dirt. Brushing and dog cleaning wipes are a godsend for long-haired dogs such as rough Collies. He also loves to bark when we leave, which makes our neighbors not so happy until the barking subsides (hopefully) about 20 minutes later.
Dixon has been a big part of our everyday lives. He is protective to a point but he really just wants to be your friend and cuddle with you.