About Academy

Although this is my first time writing a blog, I must confess that I have been dreaming about doing this for many years. I do believe that this is a place where I can share my wisdom, a place where I can give advice, a place where I can share secrets. I hope you enjoy it.



  1. I’m hoping you can give some advise on our border collie puppy! He’s nipping at the pant legs of people that come into the house..one person in particular sets him off. We’re wondering if it’s too early to start him in herding classes, he’s just 6 months old.


    • Dear Lori,
      Thank you for your letter. (Isn’t that what people say first?) I am delighted to let you know that your little fellow is showing signs of good breeding. We border collies are supposed to nip at feet. It lets people — or animals — know that we are in charge of where they are allowed to walk.

      I do share your concern, however, that your guests might not appreciate being nipped. I hope your little guy hasn’t actually bitten anyone’s pant leg. Please remind him that our job is to do pretend nipping, not real biting.

      Anyhow, it sounds like he is a good puppy who just needs a different job when people come over. Find something for him to do instead of nipping at feet. Maybe he can go find a favourite toy and sit with it at a designated area until he is invited to say hello to your guests. The thing here is to be consistent with this request. Every time someone visits, have him go through the same motions. Pretty soon, when the doorbell rings (or if you’re in a condo like I am, when the phone rings twice) he will automatically tend to his new duty.

      Herding classes sound like fun! Do you have any in your area? I have not had the opportunity myself to attend any, but I have been told that my father Sterling was a champion herder in his day. I know of some herding programs where the dogs herd geese rather than sheep — so much more practical if you live in the city.

      Here are some things to watch for to see if a city border collie puppy might be eager to herd:
      When you are walking on the sidewalk and someone is approaching, does he like to cut them off by walking in front of them?
      When you walk into an elevator together, does he circle the perimeter before sitting down?
      If you are playing fetch in the park, rather than running back to you in a straight line, does he make a wide arc?

      Anyhow, good luck with the nipping thing. What is the name of your little guy? Let me know if you’d like me to speak to him directly one day. I’d love to help if I can.

      Best wishes,


  2. Hi Academy,

    I’m an old friend of your owner and wanted to let you know I had a border collie too that lived to 14 and was very very smart. He learned how to peel and eat a banana at the age of 12. The vet told us to feed him broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bananas to give him a healthier longer life. I hope you have a good long life like he did. Tell your owner you need more love lol.


    • Dear Bob,
      Bananas, really? Can’t say I’ve ever tried one. I do like carrots (both hard ones and the warm, mushy ones). The other things sound just too fancy. For my birthday, though, my daddy made us a batch of pupcakes. They were delicious. I have a picture someplace here, so I’ll have to figure out how to attach it — that is, if Glacier hasn’t eaten it yet. She’s so disrespectful of my things. Glacier had to have her pupcakes cut up into small pieces because she would shove the whole thing in her mouth at once. As if I would try to take it from her! As if.

      I’m glad your dog had such a nice, long life, Bobby. I’m waaaaay younger than that, though. I’m just 11. I should like to try the banana trick, though. Especially if it means I get to eat something.

      Daddy thinks it funny that you said I need more love. I had my head tilted and my eyes looking upwards when I told him that.

      Thanks for writing! Let me know if you need any advice on anything… except for driving. I’m not really that good yet. I await your reply.

      Your friend,


  3. Your daddy isn’t that good a driver so don’t learn from him lol. That mean Glacier, she’s such a piggy. The banana thing is an easy trick. Get daddy to break the top and say “pull” with the one piece. You pull down, then daddy turns the banana and lets another piece hang and say “pull” and so on till you can get a bite. It’s a good trick that I know you can teach daddy to do. He can be smart at times.


  4. Dear Academy:

    I am part border collie also (my dad) and my mom shih tzu which makes me very smart but I think I’m a lap dog.. Anyway, we used to live in Canada and I loved it. We now live in the Midwest of the USA and it’s very hot in the summer. I am now 11 years old and I just don’t feel like eating in the morning. My mom’s concerned because I don’t eat until about 5 or 6 in the evening. I think that’s okay as long as I’m healthy, don’t you?


    • Could this be Lilly? Dear Lilly? How lovely to hear from you! I hope you are enjoying life as a Merican. What’s it like in the Midwest? It sounds big. Do you ever get lost there?

      So darling, why aren’t you eating first thing in the morning? Too much to do? Too much to see? My half-sister Glacier doesn’t eat sometimes until after midnight. And we’re talking breakfast!! If there is something to do, she’d rather do it than eat. But she’s young. At least she still is trying to pull off that she’s young. What do you think? Is 4-and-a-half considered young these days? I’m 11. It’s the new 7, you know.

      Tell your mom that you prefer to dine a little later now that you are mature. Or are you trying to hold out for the good stuff? You know, if you don’t eat your breakfast right away, maybe you’ll get it fancied up with leftover roast or gravy or even rice. I’ve tried that in the past. It works sometimes. Don’t let it become a habit, though. They do catch on.

      Thanks for writing, Lilly. Do keep in touch.

      Your friend,


  5. Yes, it is Lily. You are a very smart dog!! Mom is getting use to me only eating once a day. I do eat lots when I eat but I’m on a special diet because I was very ill with pancreatitis this year. I think it cost lots of money to get me well so I don’t get all the special treats I use to get. I know there are several of my Mom’s family that think I am very spoiled. I think I am treated just right even without the treats. Hope you and Glasier and your days are all doing well. Did I tell you Mom was thinking about getting another “younger” dog. I’m trying to convince her that is not a good idea because I’m concerned a “younger” dog will get in my way. How did you handle it when Glasier came to live at your house?

    Hugs from Lily Dog


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