Zac - Border Collie Cross
A story of a dog's rehabilitation from aggression to fun family pet

Zac pouncing on ball
Zac ready to attack lawn mower
Zac killing his toy
Zac in sand dunes
Zac stalking a dog

Zac's talents

Zac loves to play! He is a very active dog and a quick learner. Here is how he channels his energies ...

Speciality games - playing broom

Afraid of all sorts of other noisy or fast moving things, Zac is not afraid of vacuum cleaners, water hoses, lawn mowers or brooms. Indeed these are his favourite games. He loves to leap at the broom, rushing in and out as I sweep the leaves, yapping and squealing. He bites at the vacuum hose with gay abandon. He tries to catch the water from the hosepipe, leaping back as soon as he gets wet, but never deterred from another go [See Zac's video on his Dogster page]. He loves to pounce on the lawn mower, and any other garden machinery. We have to be very vigilant to ensure he doesn't get hurt!

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Zac's favourite toys are rope toys of all kinds. Offered a toy to tug, he grabs it, and then growls madly. He only stops growling when told to "Drop" - which he does with alacrity because that means the toy will be thrown for him. Then the best bit. Zac pounces on his toy, and shakes it to death, growling even louder than before. So hard does he shake it that he actually looks blurred. Other times he swings round on the spot in a terrifically fast movement, swirling the toy, or bashing it as he turns. It is a very good thing he has never caught a squirrel!

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Stalk that dog

When Zac sees another dog, he drops like a stone to the ground. Then, when the other dog isn't looking, he carefully stalks it. He keeps his profile narrow by placing each foot carefully in front of each other, so that the footprints he leaves are in a single straight line - very impressive. He keeps his head and back low. Stalking stops if the dog comes to see him - and tail wagging ensues. If the dog does not approach, Zac drops back down on the ground and stays there until the dog has passed or I call him.

He also stalks rabbits in ultra slow motion. He took 30 minutes to move 10 feet on one occasion - and then an unruly dog chased his prey away!

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The grin

A few dogs will try and mimic the human grin, normally fairly submissive dogs, or dogs who try and please. Zac does it. He greets me with his upper leap raised. It is subtly different from a snarl. It used to be fleeting - but now he often holds the grin for a minute or so. It is very, very sweet.

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When we come home, Zac likes to jump on the settee to greet us. Then he buries his head under the back of the settee, and pushes his body and feet into the air. Squirm, squirm. It looks uncomfortable, but he seems happy.

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We took Zac to agility classes. He is very good at it - sadly his owner is not! I always did come last at sports events - sigh. Somehow, though, we got a few clear rounds in beginners. Unfortunately, Zac broke his ankle a year ago, when he ran for one of his toys. His ankle is mended, but unstable where he also broke a ligament. On our vet's advice we can no longer take him to full agility, though we still do some with him, over very low jumps. His specialty in agility - barking!

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Kennel Club Gold Award

We took Zac to obedience classes - though really we took him to help with his fears of dogs and people. The classes helped this socialisation a lot - and on the way we collected the Kennel Club Gold Award for obedience. We still go to his obedience classes, because Zac loves meeting all the people and dogs!!

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