Thanks & yes, Barney was my 1st collie & 1st dog too. I grew up with cats but have always been obsessed with dogs, esp BCs. My granddad had one, a farm bred dog, called Bert. He was a bit odd - very obsessive, intense, hyper - I thought he was totally awesome! This is Bert aged 14yrs. He’s basically the reason why I have Barney.
I must admit, if Barney hadn’t literally turned up on our doorstep needing a home, he’s not what I’d have picked as a 1st dog/collie! I’d planned on being responsible: waiting until I’d graduated from uni, got a job etc before getting any type of dog & starting off owning as “easier” breed. I also hadn’t planned on getting any dog with a long list of known behavioural issues - including fear aggression towards strangers.
Growing up, I did do a lot of research on the breed & on dog training/ behaviour etc but apart from a few weeks working at a shelter & helping to train my step-mum’s Cavalier pup some basic obedience, I had little practical experience. Barney was a hyper adolescent, with no training, who was scared of just about everything & everyone new & he reacted to what scared him with typical BC speed & intensity. So yeah, on paper - keeping Barney was a bad idea.
However, he was just too sweet (& yes, gorgeous - the dog I’d dreamed of since I was 5!) for me to resist. It was really, really tough for a couple of yrs. There were times I felt like we’d never make much real progress & I worried I’d been selfish keeping Barney instead of finding someone more knowledgeable to take him.
We learned together though & watching improve & learn to trust has been incredible. He amazes me - every time I think “this is as far as we’ll get”, he surprises me by overcoming something else! Now we have often people commenting on how friendly & well behaved he is. I do a little happy dance inside when that happens :D I can’t imagine the last 6yrs without my little furry shadow beside me. Best stupid decision I ever made!
Beautiful story :)