The Benefits of a Sound Puppy Policy

You should only buy a puppy if you’re sure you have enough time, space and energy

Black and white Jack Russell terrier cross puppies
As yet, un-named sisters. The two Black and white Jack Russell cross Border Collie puppies – doubtless plotting a coup from a safe distance

Yesterday’s To Do List consisted of Andy staying at home to work on the next tutorial, while I drove to Herefordshire to collect a dog. Andy was out of the house at 5.30 again yesterday morning, and would probably be feeling pretty lazy by mid-morning, so I thought it seemed the most resource-efficient way to arrange things. And so it would have been.

Little white-faced puppy, part jack russell and part Border collie
Madge, mostly Border collie, part Jack Russell (and no prizes for guessing which part)

However, Andy decided that he’d come with me to collect the dog, and take the opportunity (if it arose) to give Carew a run on an unfamiliar field and with different sheep.

While Andy was getting Carew from the car I was taken to see some puppies. We weren’t looking for any puppies, we have Meg’s nestful to keep us occupied, not to mention Preston and Warwick, but it’s always nice to see someone else’s litters (partly because you can walk away when they start getting noisy, messy or violent).

They were lovely puppies. Of course, we weren’t looking for any puppies, but we let them out into the yard anyway. It’s good for puppies to meet new people and we weren’t in any hurry. The three bitches are the last of six, born to a pure ISDS collie but the result of an accidental mating with an equally accidental Jack Russell/Border cross – it must run in the family. The puppies look like miniature collies, with the exception of a white-faced one that I rather took to, mainly because she looks as though she’s inherited her JR grandmother’s head and someone stuck the ears on afterwards.

JR cross Border collie puppy looking sweet
The barking pup’s the most ambitious climber – likes to shout from the rooftops, maybe

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but we weren’t looking for any puppies.

Then Andy turned up with Carew and a camera. (Meaning, of course, that Andy had the camera. Even Carew isn’t clever enough to work a camera – whatever Andy believes. If she ever looks as though she might, you can be sure there’ll be a blog about it.) Of course, he immediately agreed with me that we don’t need any puppies, but they were very pretty and as their breeder thinks they might make great agility dogs (smaller than a Border collie, but with collie brains and athleticism coupled with JR tenacity) we suggested that we could take a few photos to help them find homes.

You know what it’s like, trying to take photographs of puppies. It sounds so simple, but a puppy will always work against you if it sees you holding a camera. The whole procedure was taking far too long, so I wandered away to look at the other dogs. After all, we weren’t looking for puppies; we have more than enough young dogs to train (and house).

Collie x jack russell terrier with a white face and black ears
Clearly the Jack Russell part of Madge has slipped to the front

The smallest of the puppies had begun to kick up a fuss as soon as we’d appeared and 10 minutes later was showing no sign of turning down the volume. This same puppy had discovered that, if Andy put his camera-holding hand down to take a photo, it was able (with some kicking and biting) to use this as a ladder and climb up onto Andy’s camera/shoulder/head, at some speed. The more times it was plucked off, the more determined it was to regain its former vantage point, exhibiting its “hybrid vigour” with every fibre of its little being.

It’s lucky, that if we have any sort of policy at all (aside from honesty I suppose, which is said to be the best) we don’t buy cross-bred dogs or puppies. Even when you’re not looking for puppies, it’s TOO EASY to be tempted if you don’t have a strict policy to adhere to.

In the meantime, white-faced-pup-with-the-stuck-on-ears (I decided she should be called Madge) made a bid for freedom, and dashed across the yard, and the quiet one (they’re always the worst) was scaling a wire mesh fence with no good intentions. I stepped in to help tidy things up, and my heart sank: “Wouldn’t they make a lovely project?” I overheard Andy say. “For someone else perhaps,” I chipped in: “We have nowhere to put them. I mean, we physically have NOWHERE to put them.”

Black and white border collie x jack russell terrier puppy
The quiet puppy – surely it’s hiding some dark secret

Looking back, I can’t believe I thought I could have any influence. I doubt if I really did, but allowing Andy to make the decision puts me in the clear. You see, even when we’re NOT looking for puppies (or dogs, for that matter) Andy has a problem with spatial relationships. He can’t look at a dog and see how it will – or, more likely, won’t – fit a) into the car, and b) into the yard. You know those people you see outside DIY stores, struggling to make a 3 metre piece of plaster coving fit into their Peugeot 206 with a GSD and a baby seat? That’s Andy when we’re looking at dogs. You see now why I can’t let him go to auctions?

So, our three new additions (yes, three – though at one point I thought we might just get away with two, it looked as if Madge would be left behind and I wasn’t allowing that) have been squeezed into the yard. A little judicious dog juggling (try reading that out loud) was all that was needed. OK, some dogs previously benefitting from bachelor-pad accommodation have had to welcome a sharer, but I’m sure it’ll all work out in the end. Watch this space, as they say, though I hesitate to use the word “space” in case Andy thinks he can fit a dog into it.

I’m not sure what Andy’s “puppy project” really is; I assume it’ll involve finding out if a Border collie/Jack Russell cross can work sheep, but it’s the second time this week that he’s implied I should try agility…




Watch Pearl Glen, Mel and lots of the dogs you saw in our first DVD Border Collie Sheepdogs – Off Duty! PLUS MANY MORE! The DVD is available from our DVD Store – and we automatically ship the correct format for your country. More info.


3 responses to “The Benefits of a Sound Puppy Policy”

  1. Hey there, you just made me sure of what terrie cross my collie cross is. We were wondering since we got him, previous owners only knew it was a collie x terrier, but no idea what terrier. Now, I saw your collie x JR, I am sure so is our Zack… Good luck with training, Zack is 1 year old next month and a great challenge in a medium body!

  2. Deb Dobson avatar
    Deb Dobson

    Great blog Gill. Maybe I can come and see them when I’m over your way next month?

    1. It’s always nice to see you and your lot Deb! Just let us know when you’re passing through.

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