Solo, Link and Ultra are three Border Collies athletes.
Otherwise known as the Hat Trick Dogs, this trio excel at agility, tricks and dock diving.
Based in Richmond, you can follow their competitions, training sessions and daily activities on Instagram.
This clever trio have over 5,000 followers on Instagram who keep tab on their successes.
We spoke to their mom Ashley to learn more about the Border Collie breed, their participations in competitions and their success on social media.
You can follow Link, Solo and Ultra on Instagram here (@barkrunjump).
1) How did you first hear about Border Collies?
It’s embarrassing to admit but I watched the movie Babe as a little kid and became obsessed with them from there!
2) Can you explain how you ended up with Solo, Link and Ultra?
Solo was my first Border Collie from a breeder, Link was bred by a friend and was rehomed to me as an adult and Ultra was a co-own with a friend turned full ownership.
3) Can you give an insight into their personalities?
All three are happy personalities and friendly with people, dogs and other pets. I’m very lucky! Solo and Ultra are busy dogs that love/need to work. Link is happiest when he’s cuddled up to me!
4) What are some of the responsibilities that come with being a Border Collie owner?
The breed is extremely intelligent and energetic. They need both mental and physical stimulation in order to be happy! Owners need to be prepared to provide this in order to keep their Border Collies well behaved.
5) Are Border Collies easy to train?
Extremely. They are one of the most intelligent breeds out there! But that intelligence can also make them a challenge for some as they can sometimes outsmart their people!
6) How much time do you dedicate to training each week?
I’m a dog trainer by trade and sport competitor so they get short sessions almost daily.
7) What is agility? Are certain breeds such as Border Collies suited to it?
Agility is a fast paced sport where dog and handler teams navigate an obstacle course together. There is a judge who judges criteria and creates the course and teams work to be the fastest and most accurate.
8) Can Border Collies make good family pets?
If you are willing to provide them with the mental and physical stimulation they need they can make wonderful pets! Some can be too busy for certain families and others can be too herdy for children but overall they’re a wonderful breed for the right family.
9) How often do Solo, Link and Ultra compete? What prizes have they won?
We compete mostly in agility and dock diving with some other sports mixed in and compete several times a month. Our weekends stay busy! We do take time off as well to rest.
10) Does having well trained dogs help when creating social media content?
I think so! A dog that will pose and hold it will make snapping photos a breeze.
11) How much time do you dedicate to your Instagram content?
Between my toddler, my dog training business and my own dogs I don’t have much time to spare but I try to hop on a few times a day to either post or interact with other great accounts.
12) What advice would you offer to other dog owners who want to start an Instagram page?
Remember to have fun! Some people stress too much over follower counts and likes and forget to just enjoy it and have fun with their dogs.
13) What are some of the stereotypes that you’d like to debunk about Border Collies?
They’re not all hyperactive, neurotic and crazy herding maniacs!
14) What advice would you go back and give to yourself when you first got your Border Collies knowing what you know now?
Start training classes as soon as you can!
Border Collie Pros and Cons
Border Collie Pros
• Extremely intelligent and athletic, they’re bred to think and work for long periods of time
• Versatile, with a wide range of colors and coat types as well as an incredible mind and body there isn’t much this breed can’t do
• Love their people, they build strong bonds with their handlers
Border Collie Cons
• Busy, these dogs generally need to work and exercise to stay out of trouble
• Intelligence, because they’re so smart they’re prone to having some quirks and anxieties
• Popularity, they’ve become popular for dog sports and on social media and therefore a lot of people get them without being properly prepared to handle one