Hey Pawrents, Furries & Potential Pet lovers!

In our new section – we interview different pet owners who live with different breeds, to shine some light on being a pet owner. This is where we really dig deep into find out each pet owner’s unique journey with their pets.

Todays’ interview is with Hazel & Shawn, Border Collie owners! While searching for a Border Collie ambassador for our Ang Pao, we met Lycan and Lexi!

Do you know that Border Collies are one of the smartest dog breeds in the world? They do well in agility courses and competitions due to this reason! It is also a known fact that they are very energetic!

We also held a photoshoot and found them to be too cute!! They are absolutely adorable! Hazel showed us the many poses and tricks they can do! The best part was Lexi really wanted to do a “hand stand” on her front paws on the backdrop! This was super funny and at the same time worrisome for us as the backdrop did not have a back support and that could tear a hole in it!

Here are some takes!

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

What were your initial thoughts on getting your dogs? What went through your mind in terms of choosing the breed, character and the gender.

Truth be told, Border Collies were originally not top of my list but Shawn has always been intrigued by how smart they were. We had been looking at getting a dog of our own for quite some time and we happened to chance upon an ad about a 10-month-old Border Collie for adoption and that’s how Lycan came into our lives. We

got about training him and from then on we have been obsessed with how smart they are. As for Lexie, I wanted a little girly girl but other than the colors she wears, she’s NOT even a wee bit girly.

Lycan

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

Lexi

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

So what was that one thing that pushed you to say “Yep I’m getting this one”?

For Lycan, we saw it as fate, because we’ve been looking and happened to find him. Since he was up for adoption, why not give him a forever home? As for Lexie, she was very fearful when we first met her but she liked Lycan and Lycan loved her so we decided to bring her home.

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

What challenges did you have to face when you got them? Any trouble they caused at home, or things they broke?

At 10 months of age, Lycan came with zero obedience, not potty trained and at maximum levels of destruction. He also had major separation anxiety issues and would wreck the place when left alone. We’re talking about biting holes in the wall, opening cupboards and destroying the contents inside. These were some of the issues that we had to overcome when he first came to us.

For Lexie, she came to us at about four months of age and was very fearful. Training was hard because she would “shut down” and not want to continue with the activity. She was highly afraid of people and other dogs and would run and cower behind me. Looking at her now, you would not have expected that from her right?

Looking a little unglam but truly portrays his playfulness here!

How can you resist this smile!

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

Since they took so long to learn and it does sound like it was really tough on you guys, considering how much of a messy home you go home to… Did it ever cross you mind to call it quits? Even the slightest thought of saying “This is too much”.

Nope, it has never crossed our mind. Lycan was a handful but we promised him that we will be his last home so we never gave up on him. We never once blamed him for how he turned out when we first adopted him as he was never guided as a puppy.

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

How much time did you spend on training them to be so disciplined? And did it take a lot of time?

We started with their training within the first week of getting them. It took a few days for them to settle down and to earn their trust before we went on with simple stuff like sit, down etc. We’ve also done obedience and agility training. Training is part of their daily routine which takes about 30 – 45 mins each day to train them. It doesn’t have to be only tricks, even simple stuff like knowing their personal boundaries and manners is also part of their learning process. To us, every new trick is an accomplishment. The learning never ends for them.

 

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

Any advice to those who would want to train their dogs the same way you did with yours?

Do research on Positive Training or look at hiring a Positive trainer. Do not trust everything you see on the television or social media.

For a more detailed and insightful knowledge of their training, check out their website at:  https://theurbancollies.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child/

Lexie and Lycan. Who took longer to learn?

It really depends on what they are learning. Lexie learns tricks much faster as compared to Lycan but Lycan is what we call “street smart” and is constantly surprising us with stuff he does. One example would be when we were at a dog hash, everyone was climbing/jumping over a giant fallen tree. Lycan looked around and found a way around the fallen tree instead of following everyone.

Was there any jealousy between them initially when they met?

They still push each other away for attention but I won’t say there’s much jealousy. Lycan is a real gentleman and is always giving in to Lexie.

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

On an average, how much did you spend on them monthly? Say including grooming, food, training lessons and accessories?

Currently around $150-$200 a month on their food. They go for grooming twice a year and it is usually about $180 for both. We do not really get them accessories because they are so fluffy and everything tends to just disappear in their fur. As for training, we do not spend any more because we train them on our own.

Do you socialize them with other dogs? Are they Friendly with cats?

We tend to avoid letting them meet dogs we don’t know. Lexie has had quite a few bad experiences with certain dogs back when she was a fearful puppy so now she is slightly reactive towards certain breeds. They are fine with dogs in general but we do not know how other dogs are and we do not want bad experiences to ruin the way they feel about other dogs. They do go to daycare/boarding with The Snuggery though so they still get to meet other dogs occasionally. We have three cats of our own so yes, they’re good with cats! They respect each other.

Are they your pets, or are they your family?

We see them as part of our family; as our kids than our pets. My mom is constantly joking about how we rather clean their poop and pee rather than have kids. A lot of people think of pets as just another animal but if you dedicate time and effort to train and understand them, it is an absolutely fulfilling experience.

 

Photos: Bark a Tree, Owners: Hazel & Shawn, Pets: Lycan & Lexi

If there are, what are the things/activities that you want to plan with your pets?

Bringing them overseas is definitely at the top of our list. We want them to experience snow and have the chance to do what they were born to do; herd sheep! Another thing I have been wanting to do is bring them camping. Shawn is slightly against it though, not because he thinks they can’t handle it but he knows I will end up complaining about how hot it is at night.

Editor’s Note

This has been a great insight into the lives of both owners, finding out the troubles they faced, and how they overcame the difficulties and enjoyed the rewarding experiences with their pets!

If you realize, there are not many photos of Lycan and Lexi together in the same shot. This is because during the shoot, Lexi had a small booboo on her leg and started scratching which bled out a little. Not to worry! It was not dangerous but she had left her paw print on Lycan’s fur! For the welfare and the fur-fare, we stopped the shoot earlier.

As you can see, Lexi loves the camera!

We believe with every pet owner, there is always a story to tell, issues they faced, a road of obstacles and happy achievements. It is only by going through the tough times, that you become wiser, and succeed on your goals.

Much like Hazel, it was far from easy, and Lycan most definitely did make them work for his love and trust. During the shoot, we can see how much love both Lycan and Lexi have their owners through their eyes, and the trust they have their owners.

Undoubtedly, this is a beautiful achievement for all of them.

Stay tuned for our next instalment!

Signing off

Cheers!

Luna.Melodee