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Saturday, December 07 2013

I share this tale not to frighten you, dear reader, but to serve as a Public Service Announcement.

Am in the shower believing that I'm the only one in the house because Husband and Son are at work. I am enjoying the well-earned ecstasy of hot water cascading down my spine after a bone-chilling morning doing barn chores when . . .

. . . . cue music from "PSYCHO."

                     . . .

                         . . . the shower curtain is ripped open!

                                                                 . . . from the bottom.

It isn't Norman Bates, but it is a psycho.

A red and white furry face appears. Trace the Troll Dog has his green Kong dumbell. He smiles at me and drops his toy in the shower. It rolls to my feet and rudely bumps my toes. He stares at me like Obi Wan Kenobi.

I wait for the adrenaline still coursing through my body to settle while he grins impatiently, then I reach down and toss the damned thing out of the tub.

. . . aaaannnnd a monster is born.

I don't even have enough time to reach for a bar of soap before he reappears in another cold blast of air. He tosses the cold green toy at me and disappears behind the curtain. It rolls to my feet again. I know what I've done.

The cold hard reality is bumping against my toe. And just in case I was uncertain, the shower curtain is ripped back again and his laughing psychotic little eyes order me as deliberately as a Jedi Master to a Star Wars Storm Trooper.

"Throw it," he whispers.

And helpless, with the cloudy mind of the feeble, I bend over, and toss the toy out of the tub.



I take a sidenote to point out that the subject being trained here is not the dog. Life with a clever dog involves lots of patience and persistence on both sides. Be keenly aware that if you live with a Border Collie, they will spend as much time shaping your behavior as you spend shaping theirs. It is a fact of life. Don't fight The Force.

And here is the really sick part.

I stand in the shower, well aware that I've created a monster, or more precisely, I have just been trained by a monster and have cemented this behavior firmly into his repertoire of annoying yet charming job skills. After all, who doesn't want to play fetch while taking a hot shower?

Even as I toss the toy again I consider how I will explain this to the other members of my household. The toy reappears at my feet. I let it lie there as I shave my legs and consider the implications of my error. Obi Wan Kenobi runs out of patience and climbs into the tub himself to retrieve the toy. He then flings it up in the air and out the tub. I listen as he plays fetch with himself outside the shower curtain before it is ripped back again, and the toy once again rolls to my feet.

The little red leprechaun stares at me with laughing eyes. I know what he's doing. He's counting. How many times must he roll the toy to my toes before I toss it?  At what angle must it hit my big toe before he is rewarded? He is playing with the variables in his head. I continue shaving my legs. He wriggles into the tub, grabs it again, and flings it out. There is more bumping around as he sets himself up for his next try. He is a Tiger Woods on tour. He studies the slope of the tub and the position of my feet as I shave the other leg, and slowly, ever so slowly, he opens his mouth and takes the shot. It bumps my foot and I toss the toy out of the tub.


He is now both a mathematician and a pool shark, counting tries and converting perceived angles in his head. I waste hot water and play fetch with him while I wash my hair. And even as I create, shape, mold, and fire the monster in the kiln of a hot shower, I am charmed. What a delightful little creature! What a terrifying little psycho!

What a mess we made on the bathroom floor!

So the lesson here is this:

If you don't want to be the trainee as often as you are the trainer, don't get a Border Collie, but if you are charmed by a leprechaun-pool-shark-mathematician-clown-into-world-domination, run, don't walk, to your nearest Border Collie rescue organization.

And if you do, buy lots of Kong toys and bath towels.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  28 Comments  |  Email
I was laughing so hard at the beginning and when you got to the part of him getting in the tub to fetch it himself, I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard at that mental picture!!!!Thank you so much for that story!
Posted by Janie on 12/07/2013 - 01:31 PM
LOL very funny wondered when the wet floor would feature.........
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust) on 12/07/2013 - 03:26 PM
Next time (and a zillion times after that), either shut the bathroom door, or leave Trace outside. Just saying'. You have a lot more patience than I do, or our Border collies aren't as clever as yours.
Posted by Peg H. in Wisconsin on 12/07/2013 - 07:14 PM
"Be keenly aware that if you live with a Border Collie, they will spend as much time shaping your behavior as you spend shaping theirs." This is so true!!. I have a ball crazy BC that throws the ball at me too....only it is everyday at precisely at 6:15 AM. One day I managed to sleep in until 6:25 but I think it was only because he couldn't find his ball.
Posted by Janet on 12/07/2013 - 09:35 PM
One of your best ever and actually could be a cautionary tale for those considering this breed (or similar). With three great pyrenees, I will never has THIS problem. :)
Posted by Linda Nightsky Farm on 12/08/2013 - 10:57 AM
So true!
Posted by pam on 12/08/2013 - 12:08 PM
HAHAHA! My female LOVES playing in the shower. As in if she manages to break into the bathroom, she hangs over the tub and "attacks" the water...eventually, it never fails that she climbs in and then there's me and a soaked border collie in the shower. I really kind of thought I was the only one! On the upshot, it's always a good time to give her an impromptu bath ..... and she loves bathes because she adores water :)
Posted by AlbertaGirl on 12/09/2013 - 10:09 AM
Just what I needed with 4 inches of snow and ice on the ground. A good laugh with my morning coffee after going out in the cold to feed the horses. I love Trace! He is worth a million laughs.
Posted by Pam on 12/09/2013 - 10:29 AM
Lol. This is my life, thank you for putting it into a story... My Clover has trained me well and continues on findng just what I will and will not do. Love it. Love BCs!!!
Posted by Owned by Clover on 12/10/2013 - 07:20 PM
I have the same problem, except my girl doesn't rip the shower curtain open, she just pokes her little head in....with a toy in her mouth.
Posted by Meg Ramsay on 12/11/2013 - 04:55 AM
For the response by Liz, my border collies know how to open and close doors to get to their momma who has obviously lost her mind to be sitting in a hot tub of water relaxing!
Posted by Kathy on 12/11/2013 - 08:08 AM
OMG hilarious! Your description is perfect. We live with this every day. He was dumped at a shelter and we were lucky enough to have found him. They are not for the faint of heart but for those that get.... it what a fun ride. We associate ours with a mischievous, loving elf and have called him Link (from Zelda). He makes us laugh everyday.
Posted by pam hanley on 12/11/2013 - 08:38 AM
OMG they are so funny. I have a border collie aussie. His frisbee is rubber so it bends and he just WAITS for snow so he can use that frisbee as a shovel..bends it in 1/2 and scoops away. He will come WHEN he is finished now.
Posted by Tammy Walters on 12/11/2013 - 08:42 AM
Awesome story! It reminded me that I need to play fetch with my border more before she eats one of my doxies playing.
Posted by Beth Edwards on 12/11/2013 - 11:12 AM
It's nice to see how many other people are living with these demented little dogs! It's certainly challenging, but YES! It's worth it.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 12/11/2013 - 11:14 AM
that is what crates are for.. if you want a BC buy one from a good breeder.. they can be hard to live with
Posted by doug on 12/11/2013 - 11:56 AM
What a clever doggie LOL, My BC/ACD mix trained me too LOL. He loves his ball. One day he put his feet in my lap as I sat at my desk, snuggled up to me as he often does, he is such a love. Then he slyly looks over his shoulder to where a ball is setting on the floor. I spy the ball, get up and then pitch it to him a few times, then I sat back down. Again he comes to love on me. Oh such a sweet boy, you love your mama. Again, he looks over his shoulder at a ball, again I get up at play catch with him. The I realized what I was doing...or rather what he was doing LOL. I think you can imagine the rest. LOL
Posted by Terry Dyck on 12/11/2013 - 02:41 PM
Sounds so much like what my black & white boy If I hid the tennis ball, he would find something of similar shape for me to throw for him. He could taco a frisbee with the best of them. Gosh, I wish I could throw the ball for him just one more time. He passed Christmas Day 2012. He was a rescue and the best dog I ever knew.
Posted by dmr on 12/11/2013 - 05:26 PM
I understand. It's never an easy thing to lose a good dog, but the really great ones linger in your heart forever. When I lost my greatest dog, my Soul Dog, I would have given back every title, every award, and every ribbon he ever received to have him meet me at the back fence one last time.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 12/11/2013 - 05:35 PM
Brilliant writing! Best laugh I've had all day.
Posted by Jason on 12/11/2013 - 05:49 PM
I'm very excited to hear all these wonderful stories... I have 4 BCs and they all make me crazy everyday but at the same time can't ever imagine my life without them... One ball chaser, one rock mover (BIG rocks), one runner and one mamas boy!!!
Posted by Sherry on 12/11/2013 - 06:40 PM
Love this - laughing so hard remembering when Kai got my heart racing as she licked my leg while I was washing my hair in the shower, she had such a puzzled look after I quite screaming that I had to laugh - yep, new shower game just created! In our house with 5 mischievous BCs you never know what new game they will be inventing for their amusement!!
Posted by helene on 12/11/2013 - 07:18 PM
Posted by Emma on 12/12/2013 - 02:44 PM
May I suggest... dog out! followed by closing and latching the bathroom door. In fact, when the dog does something that annoys you, "No!" is often useful. Now, I admit that my last dog was "only" a sheltie, not a border collie. But if Lee and I had been less stubborn, it's for damn certain the dog would have run the house. He trained every other human who came into his orbit.
Posted by Barry Gold on 12/14/2013 - 09:23 AM
Absolutely so true. I have a rescued Welsh Collie that sounds like your dogs twin. There is not a moment sitting down to relax, etc. without a tennis ball at your feet. Outside, inside doesn't matter. We are not allowed to sleep either, the tennis ball rules the world. If Mom gets too tired or cranky, Mr. Tennis Ball goes in "time out". This usually follows thru with a stuffed animal which flies not quite as well. Herding dogs are wonderful as long as you can keep up with them. Such a joy and amazing entertainment!
Posted by Heidi on 12/14/2013 - 05:04 PM
I have had two border collie's and waiting for another, hopefully soon! Love them
Posted by gloria on 12/15/2013 - 01:20 PM
I Laughed so hard about the shower story. I have a border collie stray that I'm not sure what to do with. I'm an energetic 62 year old woman but not sure I have what it takes anymore to do right by this dog. She is so freakin smart it intimidates me. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks again for the great story!
Posted by Rhonda on 12/30/2013 - 10:51 AM
Rhonda, you are only limited by your imagination! Play training is fun for both of you. I just bought a book on "Chaser," a female Border Collie with a very extensive vocabulary. She was featured on the PBS show "Nova." Looks like a book with neat training ideas. A tired puppy is a good puppy!
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 12/30/2013 - 08:09 PM

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