The Ruff Mutt Gang


New Member
Well, I figured if I'm going to stick around for a while I ought to properly introduce myself and my pack of dogs.

My name is Debbie and I live in the DFW area of TX. I have 10 dogs of my own, mostly border collies, all rescues. Here are a couple of photos of them. Here is an entertaining video of all 10 dogs plus a foster dog.

I train all of my dogs solely on my own. We compete in agility, dock diving and frisbee. We used to do flyball but found the politics too much to handle and left the sport just under a year ago. The dogs are also trained to pull and have sledding harnesses for pulling me around on a scooter. We go hiking almost every weekend on trails with creeks, or we go to the lake. They sleep in my bed at night. I also run a border collie rescue. I have rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed over 130 dogs in the past two years, solely on my own out of my own home.

I got my first dog, Rascal (~5yr old JRT/Pointer), on Valentine's Day of 2004 as a ~9wk old puppy. She came from the Mesquite animal shelter and came down with Parvo 4 days after I brought her home. She survived only to be told she had a heart murmur and she'd never be a sport dog (I wanted to do Flyball). I did it anyway with her and she did fine and has been fine ever since. She is the most athletic dog in my pack and also the smartest (sorry BCs). Rascal also plays frisbee and has lots of cool tricks. She also likes to brag that she is the only dog that never has to stay in a crate.

Through flyball I was introduced to border collies and the rest is history. I got my first BC, SoBe, as a 3yr old from the OKC animal shelter in Sept 2004. He was terrified of the world but is a completely different dog now. He has learned flyball and competes in dock diving and agility, and dabbles in some frisbee. SoBe just celebrated his 7th birthday. You can see his birthday video here.

The third dog, a 9mo old BC/ACD mix named Mojo, joined the pack in Jan 2005 from the Norman, OK animal shelter. Mojo was crazy from Day 1. He loves any toy and will tug your arm off. He came to be pretty easily recognized in the flyball lanes as his fastest times are in the low 3.7s range. We quit flyball almost a year ago though so he has resorted to catching frisbees and pestering the other dogs. Mojo is 4.5yrs now and leader of the pack (behind me of course). Around Christmas time Mojo was bitten by a brown recluse spider. Just ask if you want to see pictures of that!

Tally, a 3yr old BC joined the pack in April of 2005. She was just starting flyball in Feb of 2006 when a collision with little Rascal (just playing ball, no foul play) left her with a broken front leg. She had surgery to repair the leg and spent several weeks in a split and several more weeks in rehab. She has made a complete recovery and will always have a very expensive screw holding her right front leg together. She came back to flyball better than she left. Tally also likes to catch frisbees but is far too dignified to learn any tricks whatsoever. She will be 6 in the Spring.

Rumor, a really messed up BC/Sheltie mixed joined the pack at 4mos old from another rescue group in June of 2006. From Day 1 this pup was a mess. She had severe separation anxiety and peed and pooped in her crate daily. She made a mess out of it too. She would escape and expen and destroy my house. She bent metal crates and practically scratched holes in plastic ones. This went on until she was over a year old and now finally at 2.5yrs she is halfway normal. She is off of meds completely (was on Clomicalm for a long time) and can even stay out of her crate without redecorating most of the time now. But, her hips and knees are bad and she has no idea what is going on, ever. She lives in this paranoid state of happiness and anxiety. She is one in a million for sure. She was a mess right out of the birth canal but she sure is cute!

Dizzy was the 6th dog, a BC, and she joined us at 2.5yrs old in Oct of 2006. She was a private rehome because 'we had a baby.' Dizzy is my do-it-all dog. She picked up flyball in about 2 days, does some pretty impressive freestyle frisbee moves and is my current agility dog.

Tank, BC, joined the gang in Feb of 2007 at just 5 weeks old. He was part of a litter I rescued from the Balch Springs animal shelter. There were 3 left when I got there and they had nasty skin infections and were just in bad shape. A few days later one of the pups got very sick and ended up dying. Distemper was the diagnosis. Tank and his brother Tex survived and seem to have no ill-effects but there were many sleepless nights involved in pulling those two through. Tank is a frisbee-a-holic and he also has a love affair with any ball he can find. Tank is my #1 scooter-pulling dog. He was born to pull and he just loves doing it! He is 1.5yrs old now. Since it's obvious my pack is accident prone I will add that
Tank was bitten by a water moccasin a couple of months ago.

Stella, my first red BC, joined the gang in Aug 07 at 9wks old. She was listed as free on Craigslist due to being the runt of the litter. WTF?! Anyway, she is a cool little dog that came to me with a load of problems. Shortly after I got her she came down with kennel cough which progressed to pneumonia. She was sick for 3 mos and had to take some pretty nasty meds to finally get her well. Shortly after she began having seizures. Funky seizures. Not grand mals but definitelty seizures. She was alert and competent but could not move her limbs, her eyes would dart back and forth and she'd fall over. But she WANTED to go play. She never loses her bladder or bowels and it takes her about 24 hours to regain total use of her legs and body. It's so strange. She was on Phenobarb for a few mos but I hated how it made her so ataxic so I took her off of it. She's only had one incicent since then
which was 3 months ago. Ever since her seizures her back legs are weird. They are very wide and bow-legged and she walks funny. She gets around fine, can run, keep up, etc, but she just walks funny. She has also been plagued with urinary tract infections. Anyway, she's in beginner's agility but is having issues with the dogwalk due to her funky back legs so may not continue much longer. Poor kid. She LURVES toys, especially frisbees but rarely catches them due to incoordination. Stella is about 14mos old now.

Secret, my heart dog, joined us in March of this year. She was the first of my true foster failures as I actually put her up for adoption before deciding she'd found her home. She is a cute little red-tri mini aussie (I think). She is friendly as all get-out and squeals with delight at the sight of any people. She smiles! She's just beside herself if people don't pet her. She doesn't care for toys but will work for food all day long. She is training in agility. She is 9mos old and the keeper of my heart. Crazy little dog.

Fury, a BC pup, joined us in May of this year at 8wks old, an owner surrender after she'd been adopted from a shelter. It was WAY too soon for another puppy but sometimes our hearts make irrational decisions and Fury was too good to pass up so she stayed with us. From the description the woman that surrendered her gave me, I believe Fury survived Parvo before she came to me (she'd had her 4wks--can you believe she was just 4wks old in the shelter w/her whole litter). She also survived sarcoptic mange at 8wks old followed by a violent case of coccidia. All before she was only 2mos old. But this pup has a strong will and is healthy and happy now at 7mos old. She is a little fireball! She lives for the frisbee and is also in her second pre-agility class. I have high hopes for this little pupper!

I guess that's about it (finally)!!

Jean Cote

Staff member
Hi ruffmuttz!

A BIG welcome to the Dog Trick Academy! Wow, your dogs are so gorgeous, I’m jealous now! I’ve watched your videos and they all seem so friendly and playful. Did I read right, all 11 dogs sleep in your bed? That must be something to see! :dogsmile:

Thanks for having such a big place in your heart for border collies. I can’t even imagine how it would be to foster and take care of 130 dogs. I have my hands full with just my 2 dogs, lol.

I have a question for you though, you mentioned that you are the leader of the pack; is there anything in particular that you emphasize on to make sure they understand?

Thanks again for probably the best introduction on the Academy.

Have a nice day!



New Member
They don't typically all sleep in my bed at once but they get up, they get down, etc, all night. They're all free to sleep on the bed if they want to. Here's a pic of 10 of them on the bed:



New Member
Oh, and in response to your question about how I remain leader of such a large pack. We've all heard the "don't let your dogs go in/out of doors ahead of you" and "feed yourself before you feed your dogs" and "don't let them sleep on the bed" and "roll them over if they are acting dominant." I don't think any of these things are necessary to be a good pack leader but you must somehow keep order and that usually means being strong yet fair. What I DO stress is that I am the keeper of all of the desired resources. Wanna go outside? Great, when I say so you can. Wanna play ball? Sure, when I say so. Wanna eat? Okay, when I say you can eat. Dogs' worlds basically revolve around "what do I want now and how do I get it" so if you teach them from Day 1 that all good things in life come via ME, they learn to respect you so much quicker than if you practice all of the dreaded "alpha" behaviors some trainers recommend. Exercise is also a huge factor in how well-behaved dogs are, especially border collies. I guess my system is something like this:

All resources are mine. You can have them if you do something for me. If you don't want to do something for me, that's fine. You just don't get what it is you want (be it food, toy, outside, whatever). There's no punishment for not doing something other than withholding of the resource (or reward). New dogs spend a lot of time in their crate and 'earn' time out as they learn the rules of the house through MY eyes: "What's mine is mine. What's yours is mine, too."

In regard to doors: Typically I let the dogs out back and then head out back with them after they are all out. The dogs may go out the door ahead of me, but not until I say they can go. If the door is open and they have not been released, they aren't allowed to go. If they try, I stop them (via physically getting in their way, or if they get past me I just get them by the collar and take them back inside) and make them wait again until I release them.

In regard to food: They always eat their meals before I do because I find it much more relaxing to eat myself if the dogs are full and not starving and drooling while staring at me eating. But they do not just get their bowls handed to them. This is how they eat. They wait while I fill bowls and they wait to eat until released. With a new dog or puppy, they almost always break their stays at first but I just lead them back to their spot and ask them to lie back down. Within about 3 meals they realize they get to their food a whole lot faster if I am not interrupted with putting them back in their spot.

In regard to the bed: They are allowed up on it as long as they get off when I tell them to. Simple enough.


Honored Member
Staff member
Hi Debbie!
I realize we got off to a rough start, and again I do apologize. :)

Anywho, always nice to meet a fellow BC lover. I've known and trained many BCs and BC mixes over the last several years, but never came close to owning one until 3 years ago, which is when I acquired my BC/ACD from the 6666 Ranch in Guthrie, Texas. Zeke has been a handful to say the least but we are progressing steadily. Then came Mudflap, my rescued BC from a shelter here. She had been neglected and as far as we know, lived 3 years from puppyhood at a junkyard with her sister. (Yes, the cliche junkyard dog story.) Surprisingly enough she had no behavioral problems with the exception of severe food aggression, which we tackled within the first month, and some simple nipping when she felt crowded by other dogs. I've had her a year now and she has mastered 40 commands and counting. She's fantastic to train and a wonderful buddy. She's very unique and I am happy to have taken her in. I am contemplating fostering for the shelter I got her from but just don't have the time right now.
Welcome to the site, and I do admire the work that you do. Mojo sounds a lot like my Zeke. I bet your houseful is a lot of fun.


Experienced Member
I think I learned a lot from you now! :)
You really know what you are doing!
You really can handle 11 dogs, and that is just so great! I'd go crazy, I couldn't handle them... :)


New Member
I enjoyed reading about your pack. I also like that you rescue the dogs rather than buying them from a breeder (i have nothing towards breeders). I volunteer at a dog shelter in san diego. And it is sad that there are some great dogs there. Keep up the great work and have fun.


New Member
LOL! I just happened back this evening when I was super bored and trying to think of all the old forums I used to visit. HERE I AM! HERE I AM!!


New Member
Okay so I already told you I'm jealous but now I'm REALLY jealous now that I have met the entire pack!! So awesome and great that they are all rescues!! How wonderful!! Me and my pups (BC's) are coming to live with you... okay? :)
When I grow up I wanna be like you Debbie!!! Lovely beautiful gorgeous pack!! Love them all!!! I can't even choose a favorite!! LOL :)