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How to live with a collie

by Barbara Sykes
Reviewed by Norman Hetherington

The versatile and intelligent Border Collie can be an excellent working dog, a rescue dog, family pet and a loyal friend. Want to know more?

Description: The Border Collie is an extremely versatile breed, faithful enough to be a loyal friend, honest enough to be a hard worker and intelligent enough to be an asset in rescue and other services. This comprehensive, illustrated book gives essential advice on how to become the pack leader by understanding and interpreting the body language of man's best friend.

Contents include:-

  • Choosing your Border Collie
  • Taking home your puppy
  • Commonsense dog training
  • Nutrition
  • Creating a partnership
  • Training
  • Adolescent and older dogs

 Best Features: A very enjoyable book packed full of information and observations. Easy to read and understand will appeal to everyone who wants to 'understand.'

Worst Features: I don't presently own a copy, yet!

Presentation: A well-presented book with excellent photographs.

Value for Money: I don't know of any other source where one could obtain so much valuable information for such a low outlay. This book will get you really thinking and make you hungry for further knowledge. Will definitely be adding it to my library.

Comments: The author Barbara Sykes must have spent a great deal of time learning 'Dog' as she so aptly puts it, a subject very close to home for me, and very reassuring to read that many of my own observation and views are covered within the pages.

I like the way Barbara allows the dog time to think and reason for itself rather than make all the decisions for it. The Collie is a thinking dog and if we do not allow it to do so it will lose the ability to think for itself and become totally handler reliant. It is no good just training the dog to obey, we also need to train the dog to use its brain. There is a very good section on play and development games we can initiate whilst out walking our dogs.

Barbara's thoughts on the use of treats will have many people re-thinking their training methods, and starting to realise where some of their problems are rooted. Does your dog work for you, or will it only work for food? I firmly support the use of indoor kennels for young or insecure dogs giving them their own safe retreat, a part of the house that is theirs.

The book covers every aspect from getting a new puppy through to caring for the older dog. With well written and information packed sections on common sense training, fun training, feeding, developing the partnership, kids and Collies, there is something here for every one.

Although written with the Border Collie strongly to the fore I'm sure most dog owners, whatever their breed, would extract a lot of information and insight into furthering their understanding of their dogs in general.

Barbara writes in an easy to read and easy to understand way, but there is too much to digest in one reading. This book can and will be read many times.

Price: 14.99

Overall rating: The book was really good. I've already read it twice. It covers so many areas and in such depth that it will be a regular reference to any dog owners (especially Border Collie owners) who want to know and understand their dog a lot better. A must buy. Purely personal 9/10.

To receive a signed copy of this book
Mainline Border Collie Centre
Dept. AN
Golcar Farm, Spring Lane, Bingley, West Yorkshire BD16 3AU.
More info

Also available from all good bookshops or from the publisher:-
Crowood Press
he Stable Block, Crowood Lane, Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire SN8 2HR
Tel: 01672-520320

The Author...
Barbara Sykes
has been associated with Border Collies all her life, Her own dogs are all working dogs and most of her line is related to Meg, with whom she gained bother National and International trialling status. She has always had an empathy with the breed and is passionate about maintaining the strong working instinct.

From her farm on the edge of the Yorkshire Moors, she owns and runs Mainline Border Collie Centre where she devotes her time not only to training sheepdogs and handlers but also in helping the companion owner to have a better understanding of their dog. She believes that although the Border Collie is not always employed in shepherding, owners can gain a close understanding of the breed if they learn more about the dog's working instincts.

Barbara produces a bi-monthly magazine Freedom of Spirit and has written one previous book with Thomas Longton for Crowood Press called Training the Sheep Dog .

The Reviewer...
Norman Hetherington
is the Founder, current Chairman, and chief instructor of Barrow in Furness DTC, the club he started in 1991. He also teaches general pet obedience to club members and the public, structs agility and is involved with rescuing and re-homing Border Collies.

Norman took early retirement, describing himself as a 'Gentleman of Leisure.' He shares his home with seven Border Collies and his wife Chris.

Valgray Border Collie Rescue (est 1978) has many collies of all ages, needing working environments. For further details, contact Val Philips on 07977-502717

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