Now middle-aged and chilled. (The dog, I mean…)
Is there any more to say about this little chap…our idiosyncratic, lovable, affectionate, entertaining, occasionally irritating Border terrier?
Wait, sorry, scrub that very last part of the description, because he is very forgivable.
This is by way of another update – of a sensitive wee dog who is now middle-aged and more sedate, almost set in his ways but much more chilled than his younger self.
(I mean, so chilled that I can sometimes – off-lead – walk him past one of those high-energy wild-eyed spaniels without him getting into a wild round-and-round barking chase. He just can’t be bothered these days. But I don’t risk it very often.)
What we have learned – and this is confirmed by endless stories and pictures on the most entertaining Border Terrier Facebook page (link below) – is that we are not alone.
What goes on in a Border Terrier’s head?
Border terriers are idiosyncratic. They are mysterious. They have habits sometimes not found in other dogs. For example, sometimes, on a walk, he may just decide he wants to sit down for a few minutes, to sniff the wind and think great BT thoughts. Apparently, that’s normal.
So is being quite irregular about mealtimes. Border terriers sometimes have other priorities.
For example, picture a typical evening in our house. The Border Terrier has been walked twice – one of them a goodly trek by the dunes with bouncing bunnies as stimulus (though the rabbits don’t see it this way).
Tea time for the doggie is over. Today he did not eat his breakfast till 6pm, then immediately looked for his evening meal.
That’s just what he does sometimes. (His gluten-free dry ‘chukkies’ always sprinkled and supplemented by the best of pork mince, which he loves.)
Right-oh, so we have here a well-walked, well-fed dog, who has also pooped twice (I knew you were wondering…Sometimes I think our daily routine depends mostly on the dog’s digestive processes.)
A normal dog at this time of the day would just curl up on his rug/bed/mat or whatever, you might think. But no: for, behold, he is a Border Terrier.
Your Border Terrier has important news?
It is a little known fact, except amongst Border owners, that these dogs come with the need to communicate some vital need, or some hugely important message, to their human carers.
They choose their time carefully: best time is in the evening, when household is relaxed after a hard day. The dog observes the humans.
His trigger can be the tv control, the act of my putting my slippers on, stretching out or otherwise becoming comfortable.
The time has come. Up and on to the footstool, down on his hunkers to eyeball the human. He whines softly, very gently, his head tilting from side to side in a way he knows humans find beguiling.
We go through the checklist…walks, nope…more food, can’t be…out to the garden…he was out minutes ago…play…hmm, we were rolling a ball inside and doing that tug-of-war thing not long ago…what could it be?
Just sometimes, an extra two minutes with his favourite toy settles him…Sometimes if one of us grabs him and plonks him beside us or on our lap then that also does the trick. (It seems most Border terrier are very tactile. Cuddly is the word I’m really looking for.)
Basically, it’s a Border terrier trait. They are fixated on their humans and just need their attention a lot. That – plus they just don’t like being bored. We, the humans, all have to relax about this. It’s just what Borders do…
Alternatively – and this is equally plausible – he’s just being an annoying wee so-and-so, and wants my seat.
Border Terriers and children
Our Border Terrier is older than the two grandchildren, whom he is always pleased to see. He observes them, with just a small amount of unease, as he really is a dog that likes things peaceful.
But essentially, he is totally trustworthy – and won’t so much as attempt to nibble the biscuit in the smaller one’s hand.
On the subject of peacefulness, he has turned out to be an uncharacteristically quiet chap. As for specifically barking, he barely gives a sotto voce wooflet when someone rings the doorbell. (Hopeless watchdog, to be honest.)
But thanks to the musical noise-making qualities of the kids (and me) he can easily be persuaded to sing…
Finally – and as a foot-note – an email flooded in recently with a relevant query…
Hi. I was reading your article about your dog, we are thinking of a border terrier but I was a little concerned about their fondness of eating chihuahuas.
We don’t have one , but we do have a Siamese cat, we also have a 35 kg boxer, I don’t think that would be a problem, but the cat may be, what do you think? Pam.
This was my answer:
Our Border’s issue with small dogs (now greatly diminished) is all down to the fact he was a rescue dog (long story) and that behaviour should have been trained out of him as a puppy/young dog.
I wouldn’t make too much of it. As a matter of fact, we moved house recently and Rupee (our dog) has become positively friendly with the two cats next door. Bottom line is, give him the time and attention and training as a wee dog and you should be fine.
Past misdemeanours with little dogs aside, we love our dog to bits and I’d have another Border any day.
It comes down to training your Border Terrier
All of which makes me think that in my previous post perhaps I did make too much of the sometimes intolerant attitude towards other small dogs. It all comes down to training. They will reward your time and effort.
Also, remember to keep your own energy and anxiety levels low when meeting other dogs with your pet. I swear Border terriers can detect your mind state through the lead or harness…