Opie – DOB August 12, 2014 – Male Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix
Opie came to HeRD from a family in Utah very skinny and heavy with attitude. This was not a good place or time in Opie’s life. He has come a long way from that situation. He has been fostered by HeRD since March 2018. He is currently living with 2 other dogs and 2 cats. Sally, our pyr/BC and he used to get into it when he first came here but they do well now. He and Jim, our BC, do well together primarily due to Jim’s absolute absence of aggression. They will chase the same ball, but defer to the one that got there first.
He loves Frisbee, chukker ball, and rope ball outside and enjoys ‘bumpy’ ball and ‘holey’ ball inside. He will do flying flips when tossed the ball inside – he is very athletic! He sometimes porpoises the ball to make it fly instead of catching it. The balls are his security blanket. If he gets upset he often gets a ball and ‘resets’ himself. He often goes to his corner by himself to decompress. He will set a ball on your chair just before you sit down. This way he gets you to get up to throw it off!
He loves going on hikes with his canine friends and people and does well when meeting other people and dogs on the trails. He has been on a number of pack walks with up to 10 other dogs and does fine – just keep moving. He does not chase horses, cows, or deer. He often accompanies Chris and the other dogs to the volunteer fire department and knows all of the guys, who play ball with him. He is not much of a barker unless there is a strange car/person, or if he wants inside. He will know that there is thunderstorm coming before the weatherman and will bark to come in, or try to escape the fenced area. If he does escape, he hasn’t run off, sticks around. It would be cruel to leave him outside in a thunderstorm. He doesn’t like gunshot or fireworks.
Opie is really smart. He will understand commands before you realize you have given one. I swear he understands conversation. He does not need a shock collar, a loud bang will get him back in no time! Ha ha! He has been through basic obedience and did very well. We feel that he has huge potential.
Opie has calmed down around his meal time. We feed our other dogs first, in a separate area, and then put Opie’s food down. If he does growl, make him back off-sit-wait, put food down, tell him ‘go eat’. His most favorite treats are lamb and cow lungs (send with you).
He has weird quirks. He doesn’t like to be told to ‘take it nicely’ for treats, for some reason that brings out anger in the guy. He may take a treat by grabbing it, but not always. He does not like to have treats from an open hand. Make a game of giving him treats by tossing them for him to catch, he seems to like that. And it keeps him away from your hands! He doesn’t like to be pointed at. He can go from being a petted dog to a growling dog in a second. Don’t pet him while he is lying down anywhere, generally does not like this, and frankly, he doesn’t even like to be looked at or acknowledged when he is lying down. He is allowed on our furniture, bed, anywhere he feels comfortable. You can sense his ‘dark’ moods even if he isn’t growling. He gets real still, his pupils get large. I will talk lightly, hey buddy! When he growls, just leave him alone. He has his dark moods usually in the evening inside of the house. He needs a dark place that you call ‘corner’ so when he does act up, tell him – ‘go to your corner’. Sometimes we distract him by asking him to get his bumpy ball and that diffuses the mood, sometimes.
When Opie is outside, you can brush him, usually. Clipping toenails is at his mood’s discretion. Sometimes good, sometimes not. We have not bathed him but he loves, loves, loves his puppy pools and water that he can flop in, usually after a good round of play. He is not a belly-rub dog, and does not like to be cuddled. You know you have his heart when he comes to you and kisses you on the lips. We have not been super strict with Opie when he jumps up to show excitement or affection because he’s not a cuddly dog, so when he does this he is showing his affection.
Best way to bond with Opie – take him places, play Frisbee and throw the ball. Treat him fairly, no head games with him. He’s been through a lot in his life. This last year has been his best year. Love him for who he is and work with his issues.