Border Collies are a popular breed, ranking in the top 30 of the list by The American Kennel Club. They are praised for their intelligence, energy level, and willingness to play and learn. That makes them an ideal training companion. But how to train a Border Collie? Is it easy? Does high intelligence helps or not?
The Border Collie is a working breed part of the Kennel Club Pastoral Group. It is a sensitive, athletic, and intelligent herding dog breed that can help with search and rescue work, scent work, and many more.
With that in mind, let’s get to know the breed and talk about how you can do some Border Collie training.
Border Collie Personality Traits
Border Collies were developed to gather and control sheep in the area between Scotland and England. Their intense stare or some would say Border Collie gaze is legendary. That is their herding instinct kicking in and controlling the flock.
Border Collies are dogs with unlimited energy, stamina, and working drive. Those are all characteristics of a premium herding dog. Some other dogs in that group include Australian Shepherds and Australian Cattle Dog, Shetland Sheepdog, but the Border is the most intelligent among them.
The simple way to describe this dog breed is a dynamo. Alert, energetic, hardworking, and smart, he will always be ready for some job. This puppy loves to be busy. If your Border Collie puppy becomes bored because of a lack of work, he can show destructive behavior.
This canine is highly sensitive to every cue its dog owner gives. That ranges from a simple whistle to a hand signal and even to a raised eyebrow. This can make training even more challenging. Here are some personality traits of your next pet:
- Border Collies can become fearful or shy if they are not properly socialized
- Strong-minded and independent
- His high intelligence can also result in stubbornness if you are not on his level intellectually
- Can respond to the subtlest command and cue
- Workaholic breed that thrives on mental stimulation and physical stimulation
- They will herd anything that moves, including children and smaller animals
- Noisy play can stimulate their herding instinct and cause nipping and barking
- His curiosity and intelligence can make him roam around
Is Border Collie Easy To Train?
The reality is that Border Collies are all-around sweet puppies. They are soft in nature but driven by the chase. Generally speaking, a Border Collie is easy to train. They love to work and obedience training and agility training can go a long way.
Some reports suggest this dog can learn the highest number of commands. Chaser is a female Border Collie puppy holding the record for the largest vocabulary. She knows more than 1,000 words, the largest of any dog in the world. She knows the syntax and can understand nouns and verbs in tandem.
Challenges When Training A Border Collie
Now, while a Border Collie is easy to train, there are still some challenges. There are behaviors you need to work on and eliminate from your puppy’s DNA. Remember, this intelligent breed can try to outsmart you if you do not raise your game. Here are some challenges.
Herding And Chasing
Border Collies were bred to herd, and they have retained their herding nature. This puppy has one of the strongest herding instincts in the canine world. This can result in an impulse chase.
You can never eliminate bad behavior, but you can teach your puppy to listen to you, stay by your side, and respect you.
If your Border Collie learns to stay by your side to get fun, you can feel a bit safer. The trick is to make sure your dog sees you as a source of fun, work, and play. They will then stay glued to your side.
Border Collies are energetic dogs. If you cannot handle them off-leash, training them to walk on a leash is crucial . Yet, in most cases, dog owners let their Collie off-leash. This intelligent breed can work for you 24×7. Give them a job and they will be with you.
If you try to walk them on a leash, it might be a bigger challenge. They are energetic dogs who want to explore, run, and roam.
Border Collies are reserved with strangers. They are not overly enthusiastic when it comes to other dogs as well. Socialization is a big challenge with a Border Collie. You have to walk a thin line between having your dog stay by your side and playing with you, and being friendly to people around.
You do not want to make your puppy protective of you and have him bark whenever people approach. Socialize your young puppy with different people and other animals.
Border Collies are noisy and constant barkers. That is their herding nature. They can be easily stimulated by loud noises and the environment. Even playtime stimulates their barking.
These dogs are not afraid to state their opinion. They are vocal and can bark for a number of things. It is your job as a dog owner to find out why they bark and try to reduce the frequency and noisiness of barking.
How To Train A Border Successfully?
Now let’s talk about what techniques and methods you can use to train a Border Collie. As mentioned before, this highly intelligent breed can learn a lot. It is just a matter of finding what stimulates him. Training will take time, but with some consistency and routine, you can get to the finish line.
Establish Yourself As A Leader
Border Collies are pack animals, yet independent in nature. This is a challenge, and your goal is to establish yourself as a leader and source of stimulation early on. This puppy is one of the most intelligent if not the most intelligent in the canine world.
There are many ways to establish yourself as a leader without punishment.
Start Early On
Border Collies are can learn basic commands early on. You should start training and stimulation from the day you get them home. Lay the groundwork for a lifelong relationship and work on improving your bond.
Focus on getting your puppy attached to you and focusing on you in the early days. Once your puppy learns that commands, fun, play, and stimulation come from you, they will love to work.
Play With Your Pet
This is the most important part of Border Collie training. These dogs love to play and work. So, make sure that play comes from you.
You can play any interactive game like fetch, ball chasing, and tug. But do not stick to one game. Border Collies can get bored if you do the same thing over and over again. Their high intelligence requires constant stimulation.
With fun and entertaining play, you can become the center of your dog’s universe. And that will eliminate any other bad behavior.
Train In Short Bursts
We will talk later on about the exercise and training needs of your Border Collie dog. But that doesn’t mean you should do one long training session and be over it.
That will not do it here. The trick here is to split the training and exercise sessions into several short bursts. These dogs have high energy and stamina, but short attention spans. This applies even more when they are young.
Do not expect an hour-long training drill. Focus on a few commands at a time.
Give Your Pet A Job To Do
We said before this is a working dog. So, for them, having an important thing to do is priority number one. Find some tasks and jobs for your intelligent dog to perform regularly.
When they accomplish tasks and feel needed, these puppies stay mentally stimulated and sharp. Now, for people who do not live on a farm, that might be a challenge. But simple things like carrying a ball on walks give your puppy some job.
And if you have even a small yard, you can create an agility course. Some agility training never hurts.
Work On Recall
When you have a Border Collie, two key parts of obedience training are recall and focusing on you. The first one is the most important thing. Your pet can run away to chase things. This is a time when a reliable recall will help.
These dogs can turn around in a second and run like crazy. A good recall will help you and your puppy. The second most important thing is focusing on you, and we touched on making yourself the source of fun and entertainment.
Exercise And Training Needs
Now let’s talk about the exercise and training needs of your Border Collie. As a high-energy dog, this puppy needs anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes of exercise per day.
If you do not provide enough mental stimulation and physical exercise, your puppy can easily get bored. And that can result in destructive behavior.
So keep that in the back of your mind.
Tips and Tricks
Let’s finish off with some tricks on how to train a Border Collie successfully. These dogs are not similar to other dogs. They are highly intelligent and energetic. Here are some tips that will help your obedience training.
- Use positive reinforcement, but with toys and food. These dogs are toy-driven and food-driven
- Train in short and consistent sessions
- Ensure your pet is not bored. The moment you notice your dog is bored, give them another job to do
- Start training early on and work with your puppy
- Expose your pet to various people and situations