Newsletter & Journal 1.9


Carole Presberg longtime Border Collie lover and advocate founded NEBCR nearly 25 years ago now. After many years of tireless work she passed the reins onto the next in line. Last year she came out of retirement to breathe new life into this newsletter as editor. Now that it’s off the ground again she has once again gone back to her retirement role.

Thank you Carole for getting the ball rolling again touching on so many Border Collie issues and stories. You can read more about Caroles history with Border Collies here.

Co-Presidents: Bea Hamm & Sarah Hepburn
Treasurer: Mo Clark
Secretary: Emily Wu
Board of Directors: Monique Fisher, Elise Gouge, Marie Hinds
Website: Rebeca Kerr & Monique Fisher
Editors: Bea Hamm & Rebeca Kerr

Please send your content and pictures to us at: [email protected]

Deadline for next issue: Oct 9th, 2023


Chet would love you to consider adding him to your family.

You’ll find his full bio here.

Meet Board Member of NEBCR Elise Gouge

I am a Professional Member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and Certified Canine Behavior Consultant (CCBC) through the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers and a certified judge for the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen, Temperament, Tricks and Farm Dog tests. I am also certified in low-stress, fear-free training and handling through Fear Free Pets.

Through the International Association for Animal Behavior Consultants I am a Certified Dog and Cat Behavior Consultant (CABC). Formerly, I was the Vice President on their Board of Directors. I was licensed as a Dogs & Storks presenter and am always looking to expand my knowledge through continuing education.

I have volunteered for over fifteen years with various organizations. In 2016, I joined the Board of Directors for New England Border Collie Rescue. Also, I serve as a consultant for a national pet supplier (PetEdge) and our local shelter, Dakin Humane.

Initially, I began my professional career in social services working with children and their families. Then, in 2004, armed with years of clinical expertise, I began working with pets and their people full time. I studied dog behavior with some of the best trainers in the world and participated in every training seminar I could find.

Formerly, I managed training and behavior programs in shelters and doggy day-cares, collaborated with zoos on training plans for exotic animals, trained animals ranging from primates to horses to domestic pets, created a trainer-in-training program and implemented it with over a hundred inspired students that have gone on to be veterinarians, animal behaviorists and more. I have presented at national conferences and universities on animal behavior, which is still something I enjoy doing locally. From 2007-2009 I managed the Houston SPCA Behavior Department and was Interim Director of Operations after Hurricane Ike. You can check out my media appearances on Animal Cops: Houston to see me back in the day working down in Texas, wrangling stallions and training chimps!

My Bachelors Degree is in Psychology and I have a Masters Degree in Community Health Education. I continually attend seminars around the country and have completed graduate level university coursework in Applied Animal Behavior.

I have extensive experience in the temperament evaluation of animals and how to train others in learning the same skills. Additionally, I am insured, bonded, and endorsed by local veterinarians and shelters.

I live and work on an 18 acre farm that includes a 4500 square foot indoor training facility, dock diving pool, and a small kennel. I currently share my home with my three border collies and two cats.

NEBCR Reunion 2023 Recap

“The reunion was such a blast! I loved seeing the foster and adopted pups in person. As always it was great visiting with everyone! Sugarbush is such a beautiful location that couldn’t be more ideal.” Paige Keller

“We had an amazing time and loved meeting everyone. Already looking forward to seeing everyone next time.” Rebeca Kerr

Just a few quotes to give you a feel for the amazing weekend experience at NEBCRs Reunion. I can assure you no one went home unhappy. One of the sweet rewards of volunteering for NEBCR or adopting from NEBCR.

We were fortunate to have perfect weather with a drop in the humidity and temps for the day. It made taking part in the demos that much more enjoyable. The addition of Speedway was a huge hit with people popping in and out of the course all day. I love watching a team discover a new sport/activity they can both enjoy and grow their relationship.

So much food at the potluck lunch, it’s safe to say no one went home hungry either. We have some very talented and generous cooks among us too. The raffle, always amazing with 50+ items this year being drawn late afternoon brings the event to a close.

No words can do justice to the experience but I hope these photos will bring you a little closer to capturing the feel for the day.

A special heartfelt thank you to Craig and Kathy Chittenden for hosting the event and so much more. Also to all those who had a hand (there were many hands) in bringing all of the aspects together to make it possible. Another year behind us, another year to look forward to.

“Wow, what a phenomenal day!”
– Leslie Powers

NEBCR at the Maine Highland Games

Each year NEBCR is invited back to the Maine Highland Games to provide an agility demo along with a few tricks to entertain the crowd. It’s a popular event for the volunteers who relish the time spent with our friends and pups doing what we love at the beautiful Thomas Point Beach, Brunswick, Maine.

Through the years this has grown into a PR opportunity, educational and much needed fundraiser event for us. We are fortunate to have many of our personal dogs (some adopted through NEBCR) available for the day. The agility demo takes place in an unfenced area lined with spectators as we run the course. Only one dog out of the 7 that attended “almost” thought visiting might be more fun than running the course. I say almost because he veered off course and clearly had the thought cross his mind but alas turned back and finished the course, good boy.

I find it quite amazing our dogs get through the day without a hitch. The agility course is sandwiched between the herding demo (sheep and ducks), a pen containing several steers and the childrens’ playground. If this isn’t enough for distractions add bagpipes, marching bands passing our booth, the cheering/clapping of the crowd and at noon a cannon is shot off! This is a testament to the level of training and socializing our volunteers are able to master.

If you want to attend for yourself mark your calendar (always the 3rd Saturday in August) to join us and watch these talented pups work their magic.

Trainer’s Corner:

by Elise Gouge, CPDT, CABC Certified Behavior
Consultant & Trainer

We’ve all heard advice over the years on how to handle a dog who doesn’t want you to take something from him. Some people grew up believing you never bother a dog when they are eating food or bones. Others were taught that you should put your hand in their food bowl, take bones away to show them you can and/or never back down if a dog tries to show “dominance” by guarding.

The truth is that guarding is a normal. We all guard things. For you it might be the best piece of chocolate or the safe box filled with money. How intensely you guard depends on many variables. Who is the person trying to take your item? What’s your day been like? What has life taught you about people who want to take your things? When your dog guards something from you, he is communicating with you and it’s important to listen. Listening instead of reacting can make all the difference.

While there are different types of guarding, let’s keep our attention on resource guarding for now. This includes food, stolen or coveted items, bones or chews, certain space like the couch or bed, or toys. It’s a resource that the dog feels threatened and defensive about when approached by people. The dog believes they possess the item and do not feel safe letting go of it.

What does this look like? Early signs are running away with it, going to a safe location like under a table, or inability to settle with it. Leveling up from there you see posturing over it, dropping the head down and starting to stare in a hard way at whoever is approaching, trying to gulp food, stiff posture, panting or other stress signals. The next level will be showing teeth, growling, lunging, and air snapping. Most dogs don’t want to bite and they are offering all of these communications to avoid biting but if no one listens, the next step might be a bite.

Most people who live with a dog that guards know what it looks like, at least in the later stages. It’s important to learn early signs of guarding so you can be proactive with your approach before things get intense. Working with a behaviorist is always recommended but here are some basic rules about how to handle guarding.

First, if it’s something easy, you can simply remove it from the dog’s environment. Many people just don’t give high value chews like marrow bones and so it’s not an issue. Others may give it, but make sure the dog is crated or in a safe space where they can finish the chew and no one will interfere. Next, if the dog has something and you need to take it, offer a trade. Keep energy soft and non-threatening. Offer the dog something even better than what they have. You aren’t tricking them but you are negotiating. Sometimes, acting like something else is super exciting can distract a guarding dog (especially true for dogs that love to steal items for attention). Go rummage in the fridge and exclaim how exciting and fun it is. Dogs are nosy and often will come over to see what you’re so excited about. When they do, praise and redirect them to a new activity.

Never hit, grab, or force the issue with guarding if you can help it. You risk hurting the dog and getting hurt. Most items aren’t a safety issue so let the dog have it. If it is something poisonous or dangerous, try to trade and if that doesn’t work, take it with the least amount of conflict possible. This is a last resort.

If you want to help your dog guard less, there are many protocols out there. The book, Mine, by Jean Donaldson is a step by step guide on decreasing guarding behaviors. There are many books, podcasts and videos available today and, of course, working with a credentialed and certified trainer or behaviorist is important so you are safe and have the best outcome possible with your canine companion.

The Importance of Weight Control

by Dr Sarah Hepburn

Today, I want to highlight the importance of weight control in Border Collies. These intelligent and agile dogs are known for their agility and herding abilities, but maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for their long-term health and happiness.

Health Risks of Overweight Border Collies:
  • Carrying excess weight can pose serious health risks to Border Collies, just as it does for any other breed. One of the primary concerns is the strain it places on their joints and bones, leading to conditions such as arthritis and hip dysplasia.
  • Overweight Border Collies may also suffer from respiratory issues, heart problems, and a decreased immune function, making them more susceptible to various illnesses.
  • Furthermore, obesity increases the risk of developing diabetes and can lead to a reduced lifespan.

By maintaining a healthy weight, we can significantly reduce the chances of these health issues and ensure our Border Collie companions live their lives to the fullest.

Description of Healthy Weight and Ideal Body Condition Score:To determine if a Border Collie is at a healthy weight, veterinarians use a Body Condition Score (BCS) system. On a scale of 1 to 9, with 1 being emaciated and 9 being obese, a healthy Border Collie should fall into the range of 4 to 5. At this ideal BCS, their ribs should be easily felt but not prominently visible, and there should be a noticeable waist behind the ribcage when viewed from above.

Ways to Help Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Balanced Diet:

Providing a balanced diet tailored to your Border Collie’s needs is crucial. Choose high-quality dog food with the right balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Avoid excessive treats and table scraps, as these can quickly add unnecessary calories.

Portion Control:

Measuring your dog’s food and feeding consistent portions will help prevent overeating.

Regular Exercise: Border Collies are highly active dogs that require ample physical and mental stimulation. Engage in regular playtime, interactive games, and daily walks to help them burn calories and maintain a healthy weight.

Monitor Treats:

Opt for low-calorie options or break larger treats into smaller pieces.

Regular Vet Check-ups:

Regular visits to the veterinarian are essential for monitoring your Border Collie’s weight and overall health. Your vet can detect any weight fluctuations early on and provide tailored advice to keep your furry friend healthy. Maintaining a healthy weight in Border Collies is essential for their overall well-being and longevity.

By being mindful of their diet, exercise routine, and body condition, we can help our beloved companions lead active and joyful lives. Remember, a healthier weight means a happier, healthier and more fulfilled four-legged companion!

The Rewards of Fostering

By Donna Ciarlante

Providing a foster home for a dog in need has many rewards but my personal favorite is receiving an update from an adopter or seeing a post on the NEBCR adopter’s page.

Recently, I had the opportunity to experience something even better! I met previous foster dog, Chance and his adopter, Kate, for a hike on a Sunday afternoon. Chance was a dog pulled from a shelter by NEBCR. He had been turned into the shelter after his previous owner had a terrible accident and could no longer care for him. Like many border collies, Chance was having a very difficult time adjusting to shelter life. While I fell in love with his energy and quirkiness instantly, I knew he was going to need a very special and understanding adopter.

Kate and her family have done an amazing job with this fun boy. They have given Chance the patience, kindness and time to allow him to grow and thrive in their care.
Today, he is a beloved member of their family, a constant partner to Kate, and an aspiring agility dog.

Chance’s story is common among NEBCR alums because foster homes are well supported throughout the fostering process as well as valued for their thoughts on a dog’s readiness for adoption and the ultimate environment a dog will thrive in.

We thoroughly enjoyed fostering Chance and it was difficult let him go. Seeing him and his adopter so happy is incredibly heartwarming. We’re so glad we took that chance on him :-).

Please enjoy these photos of Chance and Kate, and their obvious lovely relationship!