The annoying side effect of Border Collie intelligence can be troublesome. I’ve mentioned before about how our Border Collie, Ned, goes crazy when he sees light from a flashlight. This little quirk also extends to pretty much any spot of light he can see which, at times, can cause problems. For example if the wife and I are sitting around chatting over a glass of wine with the lights dimmed and a candle lit he will sometimes focus on the light from the candle on the ceiling and go a little nuts. The same applies to light reflections. We listen to a lot of music at home and have tons of CDs that we keep in those CD folders with the little plastic sleeves inside. What is amazing is Ned the Border Collies ability to associate an object or a noise with the possibility of a light reflection. I’ll explain…
I don’t really have a lot of need for our flashlight but I keep it right by the front door just in case. Weeks or months will go by but the second Ned sees me pick it up, not even turn it on, he gets very excited, begins to whine and look frantically around. He knows the flashlight makes that ball of light that drives him so crazy. The same goes for our CD folder. He can be upstairs and asleep but the second I open the CD case he comes bounding down the stairs. He hears the noise of the plastic sleeves coming apart! We keep a lamp close to our stereo and sometimes the light will reflect off the CD’s and onto the ceiling, which Ned finds irresistible. His ability to “connect the dots” between an object or a noise and the little spots of light they produce has been pretty impressive to see.
It took us a bit to figure this stuff out. It would seem that suddenly, and randomly, our little Border Collie would become wildly excited and agitated for no reason. While this behavior can be sort of amusing at times it also causes some annoying issues. For example we were having a few friends over for dinner one evening and one of the wives brought a desert ,a fantastic apple pie, covered in tin foil. As she walked past a lamp the light reflected off the tin foil and onto the wall and our well behaved dog bolted past the lady, almost knocking her over (we almost lost the pie!), and bounded up onto the couch barking like a demon possessed and scratching at the wall. Nice. Another time I woke up in the middle of the night to hear our Border Collie whining and scratching at the wall of our bedroom which had never happened before. The power had gone out at some point during the night and my alarm clock was blinking “12:00am.” Ned saw it flashing on the wall and was going a little crazy.
At this point we’ve yet to solve this little behavior. It happens at random times and under random conditions. To say the least we do not use the flashlight around him if possible! The redirection tricks we used to get him over his shadow obsession just do not seem to work for this one. If anyone out there has any ideas on a fix for this I’d love to hear it!