Saturday, 25 October 2014

By on October 25th, 2014 in dogs

08:58 – Border Collies really are nearly as fast as Greyhounds. Whenever I release Colin from his leash, he immediately runs home at top speed, grabs a stick from the front porch, and then lies in the front yard waiting for me to get there and play stick with him.

This morning, I paced off 200 meters, turned him loose, and started timing him. It took him 13 seconds to cover the 200 meters. That translates to 55 kph (~35 mph), versus a bit over 60 kph for racing Greyhounds. Not bad, particularly since Greyhounds are pure sprinters, while Border Collies are actually Marathoners. It’s not unusual for a working Border Collie to run/trot/sprint 50 miles or more per day. Even counting hall ball indoors, though, Colin is lucky to get a mile or two per day.

36 Comments and discussion on "Saturday, 25 October 2014"

  1. SteveF says:

    Can you get a treadmill for Colin? More to the point, if you did, would he use it? I’d suggest a hamster wheel, but it would probably have to be twenty feet across so as not to have too much curvature.

  2. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I’ve suggested both to Barbara, but she nixed them. I also suggested that we should relocate to a property at the top of a 5-mile hill. That way I could toss the ball for Colin once in the morning and he’d get a 10-mile run in. Again in the afternoon, and he’d have 20 miles for the day.

    Incidentally, I pointed out to Colin after his sprint this morning that he’d violated the 25 mph speed limit in our neighborhood. There are signs clearly posted, and I know he can read them. He flattened his ears in shame.

  3. SteveB says:

    He flattened his ears in shame.

    Are you sure it wasn’t teenage disdain for senseless adult rules as in “If I’m not allowed to drive faster than 65, why are they allowed to sell me a car that will do 120?”

    Almost every teenager I know understands the logic of the above statement, and Colin is still a teenager in dog years.

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:


  5. Miles_Teg says:

    “…I pointed out to Colin after his sprint this morning that he’d violated the 25 mph speed limit in our neighborhood. There are signs clearly posted, and I know he can read them. He flattened his ears in shame.”

    He’s an anarchist, isn’t he? Why would he care?

  6. SteveF says:

    Cats are anarchists. Not sure about dogs.

  7. Lynn McGuire says:

    I just got harassed by two large dogs (50 to 60 lbs) in my front yard. They came running up to me from the neighbors house and jumping at me. I was yelling at them to go home and swatting at them with the newspaper. My other neighbor came out and was yelling at them also so they ran home. I was in the process of calling the cops when the owner’s daughter drove up. I did not know that I needed a gun to get my newspaper.

  8. SteveF says:

    What? You don’t carry a gun every moment of the day? But… you’re an American. And a Texan!

    (I just listened to a podcast in which the speakers seemed to earnestly believe that every single American is a gun-toting madman and that we have a million deaths per day by gunshot.)

  9. SteveF says:

    Twenty or 25 years ago there was an armed robbery of, IIRC, a gas station. According to the breathless TV news reporter, the two suspects were heavily armed with 9mm and .357 pistols. I laughed along with my brother — at the time I carried a 9mm every waking hour except when in water, and slept with it under my pillow.

  10. Chuck W says:

    One thing I do not understand is dogs’ inability to learn their own territory and stick to its limits. We do have a golden mix in the neighborhood behind my house. It is about a 7 year-old female. They let her out in the yard without a leash (supposedly illegal in this town), but she never, ever steps off the property, regardless of what temptations are afoot.

    When I was a kid in this city, there were no rules about dogs at all. Dogs ran loose all over the place, just as if they were on a farm. They ran in packs, too — just like teenagers.

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I just got harassed by two large dogs (50 to 60 lbs) in my front yard

    That’s funny. I think of dogs that size as “small”. A large dog is one that’s my size or larger, of which there aren’t many. Large male OE mastiffs, perhaps. I think of Colin, who’s about 70 pounds, as smallish. I’d say that medium starts around 90 to 100 pounds and goes up to maybe 150. Say woman-size. Medium-large would be 150 to 200, and anything heavier than that is large.

    It sounds to me like the dogs you encountered just wanted to play.

  12. OFD says:

    I’m wid Dr. Bob on sizes of dawgs; them weren’t large dawgs; our hunter golden is about 70 pounds, tops, and I consider him small. Saint Bernards and Irish Wolfhounds and Mastiffs are large. Had an Irish Wolfhound on his hind legs once with his front paws on my shoulders and his head up above mine. Big dumb friendly cuss.

    If them dawgs warn’t growling and barking at ya, Mr. Lynn, they prolly jes wanted to play with ya. And yeah, why warn’t you packin’ heat?

  13. Lynn McGuire says:

    Yup, they were barking and growling at me. No playing here. They live two houses away and apparently consider my front yard to be part of their domain. If my other neighbor had not come out and yelled at them also, I am very concerned that I would gotten bitten. I hit one with the newspaper and he ran off a ways. The other one was then jumping at me. Then the one I hit came back right as my neighbor started yelling. Then they both ran home.

    And, yes, I might should have been packing. But then I cannot leave my property or my vehicle. I probably need to get a CHL.

    Here is a dog size chart that I agree with:

    Large dogs are 56 to 100 lbs. Above 100 lbs are “giant dogs” and are fairly rare here in my neck of the woods.

  14. Lynn McGuire says:

    BTW, I am fairly nervous of any injury nowadays. I take blood thinners for my tachycardia and atrial fibrillation. I have been cautioned to be very careful of getting a wound with the potential of a bleed out. Small wounds take forever to clot now, I cannot imagine what a large wound would do.

  15. Lynn McGuire says:

    OK, I am trying to update my payment information for my AT&T uverse dsl account since my credit card was canceled in the Home Depot fiasco.

    These people are morons. I cannot believe how obtuse and laborious the screens are! What is wrong with AT&T?

  16. jim` says:

    ChuckW, or anyone else.

    Currently use a set of headphones to listen to music and YouTube on the computer.

    Found a small, nice pair of stereo speakers in garage the other day. 4 Ohm, but with proprietary connectors.

    I’d like to transplant a standard stereo connector onto them and use them instead of headphones.

    I know from experience you need to get then “in phase” for stereo to work w/out a hum, but how do I determine that?
    The wires are not marked positive or negative, so I have no way of knowing.

    Have multi-meter, will travel. Is there more resistance in one direction than another? That would work.
    So would trial and error, but my soldering skills aren’t that great and I’d like to do this just once.

    Suggestions welcome.


  17. OFD says:

    “What is wrong with AT&T?”

    AT&T has had a bad rep for a long time now; our son worked for a while with Verizon and the tales he told of them are legend for their crappy customer service and user interfaces. ComCast has the same rep here in New England. And I’m beginning to believe that Fairpoint ranks down there with them.

    Yeah, Mr. Lynn; get a CC permit if that is what is required in the great Lone Star State but meanwhile pack the heat and for the dawgs also pack a nice hot spray of some kind; they won’t like that and will probably stay the hell away afterward.

    We just had a shower roll in from the lake but it’s gone now; Mrs. OFD is planting daffodil and tulip bulbs and I’m boning up for my Monday interview, FWIW.

  18. Jim B says:

    Jim, computers need amplified speakers, so you will first need an amp. Polarity is a lesser worry.

  19. MrAtoz says:

    Why get a Border Collie when you can get a Chihuahua? 😉

  20. SteveB says:

    I was in the process of calling the cops when the owner’s daughter drove up.

    You should have gone ahead and called the cops. Get an official record started and let the owner explain the action of the dogs to the officers.

    You and your neighbors should call the cops every time it happens to any of you. When you eventually go to court because you killed the dogs, there is an official record of menacing behavior off the owner’s property. Should you be injured, there is the same record for your use to recover medical costs. Maybe even very large sums of punitive damages.

    Also, a police record might cause their homeowner’s insurance to rise dramatically–can’t tell your insurance agent “What dogs?” when the police records say “Them dogs.” Most insurance companies have a very substantive extra premium for dogs over 30 pounds.

    Not sure about Texas law, but here in Alabama you don’t need a permit to carry a weapon on your own property.

    Barring a gun, a spray bottle of ammonia based window cleaner usually works better than pepper spray as dog repellent. That has the added advantage that you can claim you were just housecleaning when you stepped out to get the paper should your neighbor claim you purposely went “gunning” for his sweet little overly affectionate puppies and purposely provoked them.

  21. Chuck W says:

    It has been a long time since I had to determine polarity on speakers as almost every device on the planet now marks polarity somewhere on its case. But in the old days, the way you did it, was to get a D cell battery, connect it to the wires, and watch the speaker cone to see which way it moves. Get both of them moving the same direction, mark the wires the same, and then hook them up accordingly.

    There are people who can determine if speakers are out of phase by just listening to them both connected to the same source and putting their head between them, but I am not one of those.

    When you have crossover networks inside, it actually is important to get positive and negative wired correctly, but they started marking things before I had to fool with stuff like that.

  22. Lynn McGuire says:

    Yeah, I probably should have continued the call through on the cops. We have constables out here since we are outside the city. We also have the county sheriff.

    My neighbor between us and the dogs is very upset also. The dogs have chased her into the house a couple of times. The dogs have gotten out three times since we moved here about a year and a half ago. They are just too aggressive for my taste.

    The problem is that the owners are not mentally there apparently. They are in their late 70s or 80s. The son? son-in-law ? and his wife took away their car some time ago. I met the old man once and said hi while walking past. He got very confused as to who I was. Not good.

    You can carry a pistol in The Great State of Texas on your property and in your vehicle without a CHL. You can carry a long gun anywhere in Texas that you want but you might get harassed by the cops. I grew up with a deer rifle or a shotgun in the back window of every pickup that I saw.

  23. OFD says:

    Be advised, Mr. Lynn, and others here, that the cops in various places have acquired a rep for shooting dawgs as their default setting upon arrival at whatever scene. Just as they have that default setting on tase/arrest for us when we exhibit in their alleged perception any kind of threat to their safety. For guys my size and Dr. Bob’s and several others here, they probably won’t even bother talking to us, just break out the taser and the 12-gauge immediately.

  24. SteveB says:

    Be advised, Mr. Lynn, and others here, that the cops in various places have acquired a rep for shooting dawgs as their default setting upon arrival at whatever scene.


    That means the owner of the dogs terrorizing the neighborhood gets to sue the police or sheriff’s department for killing their little angels instead of suing some hapless neighbor who gets attacked by those angels just for walking out of his front door.

  25. jim` says:

    Jim B, nice catch. I bet you’re right.

    I’d still like to know how to check polarity without realtime testing.

    ChuckW, yes, I am one of those guys who can hear the difference. Immediately and instantaneously. In fact, if your ground wires aren’t grounded, I’ll grouse and bitch and finally tell you to turn the damn thing off because I can’t stand the hum.

  26. Lynn McGuire says:

    “Hillary: ‘Don’t Let Anybody Tell You’ That ‘Businesses Create Jobs'”

    Oh, Hillary!

  27. Don Armstrong says:

    On the subject of Collie speed, let’s remember that the current Border Collie conformation was set quite recently (a little over 111 years ago) with an infusion of Borzoi blood. The original Rough Collie was a strong solid animal, able to run all day, wrestle flocks of animals which were each double their size, out-think situations where the total intelligence and attitude of the entire flock plus the shepherd were no greater than the dog’s total intelligence and stubbornness, and work unsupervised in terrible conditions. The borzoi added wolf-hound size and agility, gaze-hound conformation and speed, was compatible in coat and colouration, and fortunately its intelligence contribution was outweighed by that of the original collie.

  28. Lynn McGuire says:

    That means the owner of the dogs terrorizing the neighborhood gets to sue the police or sheriff’s department for killing their little angels instead of suing some hapless neighbor who gets attacked by those angels just for walking out of his front door.

    Well, I met the owner of the dogs today when I was walking past his house to our communal mailbox. I introduced myself and asked if he was the dog’s owner. He replied yes and that he owned the house also, having lived here a year longer than us. The old man is his dad who occasionally stays with him.

    I informed him of his dogs being loose and he said that the wife had told him and that he showed her how to fix the fence. He then tried to show me how to fix the fence should they get loose again. I had no interest in such as I have no interest in fixing a fence while his dogs are biting me.

    He then informed me that the dogs would never bite anyone and I told him about swatting one of the dogs with my newspaper in my front yard when it was lunging at me. At that point he turned around and walked back in his house. I do not think that we will be exchanging Christmas cards this year.

  29. Lynn McGuire says:

    “Meet the Secret Service Dogs Who Took Down White House Fence Jumper”,,20866135,00.html

    Hurricane and Jordan. I note that the fence jumper was charged with two counts of felony assault, excellent!

  30. OFD says:

    “I do not think that we will be exchanging Christmas cards this year.”

    Dang, son, you is just an old ornery cuss, ain’t ye? Torturing puppies with rolled up nooz-papers and not cooperatin’ wid a good-hahted nay-buh…

    Wireless slow as molasses in January here today; this sucks.

    And I see last night that Big Blue is hiring IT drones again at their fabled Essex Junction facility; OFD will be firing off resumes accordingly as the net allows…

  31. jim` says:

    Doh! Just found polarity markings on the speaker output connectors. Thanks for the tips. Another friend suggested a strobe light, which I though was kind of cool. Don’t have one handy, however.

  32. OFD says:

    Get ahold of a time machine and go back to an early psychedelic rock show in SF, Boston or London and you will see all the strobe lights you ever care to see again.

  33. Chuck W says:

    Yeah, I think I was maimed by those.

  34. SteveF says:

    Not exactly on the topic of strobe lights, but sorta related and sorta amusing: some years ago I worked on development of industrial control electronics. There’d be racks of these paperback-sized puppies all lined up. Each would have one LED to show power was on the module status, and maybe other LEDs, depending on the type of module.

    The first pass at the module firmware had the modules all come up as soon as rack power was turned on, and the power/status LEDs would blink slowly for a minute or two as each module’s program code was loaded. Because power came on for all at the same time, you could have dozens of LEDs blinking in synch.

    No no no, says Undewriters Laboratory or OSHA or someone. Epileptic seizures are a workplace no-no.

    It was an easy enough fix: put in a random delay of up to a second before starting each module’s slow blink. The rack would twinkle rather than pulse.

  35. brad says:

    Yup, they’re fast. My wife has a Kelpie, which is the Australian variety of a Border Collie. At dog school, the first time he was allowed free play with a greyhound, the greyhound was visibly shocked that it had to actually give full gas. Even then, it couldn’t catch the Kelpie – the slight difference in speed was made up by being lower to the ground, and hence more maneuverable. Greyhounds don’t turn very well…

    Dogs can learn their territories, but it’s not easy. I had a nearly-blind neighbor who wanted his dogs to provide security – meaning, they had to have the run of his property, and had to be trusted not to leave it. He had a low stone wall, maybe 18″ high around the yard. Local joggers would run past on the sidewalk – these two huge creatures would charge up to the wall and…do nothing. Non-local joggers crossed to the other side of the street and cringed 🙂 However, he worked really hard on their obedience – dogs roam by nature, and it’s not easy teaching a fixed and absolute limit on their territory.

    I don’t quite get the comments about the “conformation” of border collies. Maybe this is an American thing. In Scotland, there are two types of border collies. The working breed defines a border collie to be a dog that looks, acts and works like a border collie. Which is just a practical definition by the people who actually work with the dogs.\

    There is also a show breed, but afaik it is derived from the working breed, and has some of the ragged edges bred off. Maybe American breeders have derived their own breed from the Scottish line? Lord knows they’ve done strange things to other breeds…

  36. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Oh, yeah. I was about to say that Border Collies can out-turn a racing motorcycle, but the truth is that they can out-turn anything moving at that speed, machine or animal. I remember the time that Duncan ran down a squirrel and when it broke left turned inside the squirrel’s turn. Same deal with rabbits.

    As far as “show” Border Collies, it’s an abomination. There were howls of protests from BC breeders when the AKC “recognized” the breed. As far as working dog people are concerned, a Border Collie is a dog that was born of two BC parents. It doesn’t matter what it looks like, at all. What matters is how it works. There are at least two US BC registries that don’t care about appearance or other show characteristics.

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