Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Adopting a Working or Service Dog
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How to Adopt a Working/Service dog from Border Collie Rescue

Do you need a dog for professional working purposes?

This section is for all working roles other than herding.
If you are seeking a dog for Stock work - click here for more information.

Scent discrimination roles.
SARDA - Dogs for Drugs, Firearms or Body (Cadaver) search work - Police work - Prison Service - Passive and Active.

As part of the assessment process we carry out on dogs coming into our care, Border Collie Rescue looks for suitable dogs for a variety of working roles that may be useful to service personnel requiring dogs with good scent discrimination or other abilities.
Ball play orientation, energy levels, stamina and enthusiasm for active search work are assessed.
Character and temperament are also taken into consideration when offering dogs for particular roles
There is no 'pot luck' involved in offering dogs for such work. Dogs offered have shown us they possess an inclination and ability for scent orientated work or show other skills for other working purposes and have displayed a positive response to reward based training methods.

Stock testing of dogs offered for SARDA is carried out as part of our basic initial assessments and dogs with an inclination to herd or chase stock are eliminated before reaching this assessment stage.
Dogs offered to SARDA members are assessed for air scenting abilities as well as ground work.
Border Collie Rescue can also offer advice and support to SARDA members who may have reservations about their dogs ability to pass the stock test, including one to one assessments with our own sheep at the centre.

Any dog taken for such work is made available on our normal 4 week trial period for external assessments.
By arrangement this trial period can be extended to fit in with set training courses. Potential handlers are invited to meet and initially assess dogs before taking them on. We are also happy to advise on any dogs likely compatibility with a particular hander and training regime.

If any dog we offer fails to make the grade, Border Collie Rescue will take the dog back into our care if the new home no longer wishes to keep it. In fact we would insist on it coming back to us rather than being passed on to a third party.

Other working roles.

Service Dogs
Border Collie Rescue is happy to consider any applications from people requiring a dog for a working role, particularly where the intended work is of assistance to people under the general heading of Service Dogs.
This includes such work as Assistance Dogs, Therapy Dogs and PAT dogs.

There are a number of charities and private businesses training and selling dogs as Support or Assistance dogs for disabled people.
The law states that such dogs share the same privileges as Guide Dogs in that they are able to enter public buildings with their owners and that it is unlawful to prevent access or to ask them to leave but does not apply to PAT dogs or Therapy Dogs.
Charities training and allocating dogs to people as Support or Assistance Dogs are generally providing dogs for people with physical disabilities and the dog is trained to perform tasks their owners could not do for themselves.

The category of Therapy Dog is a little less clear as this could apply to physically or psychologically affected individuals to whom the dog is providing therapeutic help for security and support rather than physical aid.
The law makes provision for Assistance dogs to be trained at home by private individuals although the group of charities providing such dogs want the law changed so only dogs trained by members of their group can share the privileges of Guide Dogs.

Until the law is changed, Border Collie Rescue welcomes applications from private individuals for dogs to perform the role of Assistance or Therapy dogs but would need to have confirmation of the applicants ability to train the dog to behave responsibly in a public place and would also need evidence of a medical reason why the applicant needs such a dog.

Border Collie Rescue always prefers to place a dog with an individual handler, however under certain circumstances will consider placing a dog in the hands of a training establishment for handler allocation once training is completed.
Further information regarding these exceptions to our normal re-homing criteria can be accessed from the next page in this section relating to Working and Service Dogs.
These exceptions would not apply to a private individual taking on a dog for a Service Dog role.

For more information about our criteria and the adoption process go to the next page in this section using the link below.

Criteria for adopting a working dog for Work from Border Collie Rescue

If you are seeking a dog for Interactive skills such as agility, flyball, etc. - click here

If you would like to offer a particular type of home to a rescued Border Collie, (other than a Working or Service home) click on the appropriate link in the sliding menu on the left to find out more.

Other relevant information
We do not sell dogs - we offer dogs for adoption, to remain in their new homes permanently, but with the assurance that if anything goes wrong we will want to take the dog back and look after its interests.
In an uncertain world this can be a reassuring safely net for people who care about their dogs.


Dogs offered are fully vaccinated, wormed, parasite treated, microchipped and when appropriate neutered or spayed.
Under no circumstances would we allow dogs to be bred from or used for breeding purposes. Annual booster vaccinations must be maintained by the new owner to protect the dog from infectious disease.

Adoption is a formal agreement between us and an applicant that they will give a home to a dog and look after it properly for the rest of its life, however we are aware that life sometimes throws up problems and part of the arrangement is that we will always take a dog back, at any time, if the new home is unable to keep it - for any reason.

The full terms and conditions of our adoption agreement can be read here - opens in a new window


If you are interested in adopting a Border Collie from us, please phone 0845 604 4941 during office hours.
(2 pm to 5 pm weekdays)
Please do not write to us or email us about adoption - we want to speak to you before we start the process.

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