Border Collie on a leash with its owner wearing a treat pouch

Your guide to the first steps of Border Collie training

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Whether it’s your first time to own a puppy or you’ve been a paw parent for quite some time, training will always be every dog owner’s responsibility.

If you’re going to train a Border Collie, it can be more challenging than other canines.

Keep reading to learn about Border Collie training tips and tricks to help you have great companionship with your dog.

An overview of the Border Collie’s personality & temperament

Before we proceed on how to train Borders, it’s best if we discuss interesting facts about the breed. Knowing their background, traits, and characteristics will help us get a better perspective on how to teach them accordingly.

The Border Collie is a medium-sized canine that originated from the Anglo-Scottish border region. They were used as helping or working dogs for farmers to herd livestock like sheep and cattle and had no trouble living in tough conditions in farms and ranches.

Border Collie herding sheep
Through generations of training, Border Collies gradually became the perfect canine.

The saying “beauty can be deceiving” is very suitable for Borders. They continuously rank #1 as the smartest dog in the world, and are known for their intense crouch and stare. Not only are they work-driven and bright, but they’re also wonderful family pets.

Another thing to consider if you’re interested in Border Collies is they’re a hyperactive breed. They have a need to be always doing something and on the move.

Borders are witty dogs that require a lot of physical activity and mental stimulation.

If you have a small home or an apartment with no outdoor space, then this breed is not the ideal pooch for you. Once an untrained Border Collie gets bored and feels like it has no purpose, it will eventually become frustrated and irritated. Do you know what will happen next after that? Scratching floors, chewing furniture, biting, nipping, and even herding.

Although Border Collies are loyal, caring, and obedient, they are suitable for active owners.

Some of these dogs can’t help to herd and chase, not only humans and other dogs but absolutely anything that moves, like cars! Only because it’s in their nature to do so, and that’s where training comes from.

When should you start Border Collie training?

The answers to this question can be subjective since it will depend on what kind of training you’re going for.

If you’re aiming to fix current behavioral issues or you’re planning to teach your Border Collie basic house training, the earlier, the better.

Here’s Zana, a Border Collie puppy, being taught by a professional trainer.

Are you hoping to enroll your pup in an obedience school? You can do it by the time he’s 12-weeks-old. Ask their requirements first as they may only accept puppies who already had certain vaccinations. The cost for enrollment would be around $500 and up.

For those who want to teach their Border puppy new tricks or commands, you can start as early as 3 to 4 months.

When you want to move up to more advanced training, it’s best to wait until your dog’s more able to comprehend and more physically developed to do them. 6 to 8 months is considered a suitable age.

Key factors to consider when training your Border Collie

Dealing with a highly intelligent breed means they’re relatively easy to train. That can also mean they’re strong-willed.

Establish a firm leadership in your home from the moment your dog steps inside your house. Clarify that the alpha position is already taken by you. Canines need a sense of hierarchy since they are pack animals.

Next is routine. As a working breed, Borders love sticking to a schedule. Since they require constant stimulation, both physically and mentally, they’d be looking forward to doing a task every day. Even if it’s a different activity from time to time, as long as they know they’re doing a job regularly.

Border Collie jumping on a hurdle in an agility ring

Speaking of activities, you also have to think about their need for exercise. Border Collies have high energy levels that have to be dealt with daily.

Borders aren’t naturally aggressive, but if they get bored, which happens quickly, it can lead to irritability and over-possessiveness.

So if you’re getting a Border Collie, know that it’s a dog that demands their owners’ energy and time commitment.

They can be too enthusiastic that other people get two Borders. Instead of chasing kids, cars, a cat, or a squirrel, they can chase and play with each other.

Crate & House Training a Border Collie

Any dog, Border Collie or not, should learn house rules as soon as possible.

Even if they’re just a few weeks old, Borders easily pick up new information. With that said, it’s a good idea to start training your dog positive habits while he’s still young.

Crates are considered as a den or a home for Border Collies. It’s where they sleep, eat, and stay when they want some personal space. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cage, and it can even be a small room or confined area.

Crate training will help you keep an eye on your fur baby, then take him outside whenever he has to go potty.

Most of the time, dogs wouldn’t pee or poop in the same place they sleep. But it’s still crucial that you maintain a schedule when house training. That goes for potty and feeding time. They go hand in hand, and eventually, your Border Collie will eat and eliminate at a consistent frequency.

Don’t forget to give your puppy treats whenever he does his business outside or in the designated area.

This doesn’t mean your Border pup should stay inside the crate most of the time. Being locked in a cage has its adverse effects, which may sometimes lead to hyper or over-enthusiastic behavior.

Keep your pup or dog in the crate only when it’s time to sleep or when you’re not home.

Obedience Training for Border Collies

Doing this type of training will teach your Border Collie puppy or dog how to follow house rules, as well as how and when to behave.

Obedience training is a method that will help owners prevent behavioral problems and disobedience from developing. It’s one of those things that you have to start teaching your pup at the earliest age possible.

Training your Border Collie tricks and commands

This training technique is the part that will build your Border Collie’s confidence and will keep him from getting bored.

As always, start with the basics – sit, stay, come, heel, stop, let’s walk. If you’re confident that your dog already mastered these commands, then move on to more complicated ones such as fetch and rollover.

You can watch Star, a 10-week-old Border Collie puppy doing training and learning some tricks:

Break it down for your dog to make it simple and clear. For example, if you’re teaching your dog the command “stay,” keep him in a sitting position and not let him stand, not unless you told him to. Continue doing this longer every training session.

All tricks and commands will take time and effort before your Border Collie puppy learns them. Everything has to start somewhere, and laying the foundation for being obedient once your dog steps inside your house is a great start.

Steps on how to train a Border Collie

Here are more ideas and tips to think about so that your Border Collie will thrive during training.

They may be useful in speeding up the learning process for your pet, but more importantly, it will help you know how to deal with your Border dog.

1. Do your research about your dog’s breed

You’d mold your Border Collie to be a better pet and companion if you understand their heritage, everything about their temperament, as well as their medical history.

If you know how your fur baby’s mind works, you can use these training techniques more effectively. One good example is your Border Collie’s growl. You can find out which one is playful and which one to watch out for by letting react on different toys.

Pay attention to your dog’s actions, not just by looking at them, but also by listening.

2. Keeping your Border Collie’s attention

red and white Border Collie playing fetch with its owner , returning the ball

When a Border Collie has so much energy, its mood may change quickly, and its attention can divert from one thing to another.

Be prepared to grab your dog’s focus that it will come to an extent where you need to read his mood. Routine will be a big help here as he’d learn to anticipate that he’s about to do a task at a particular time every day.

Aside from training your Border Collie at times where he’s highly energetic, you better make sure that he’s going to do a fun activity. Give your active pup something to look forward to.

Do what you can to get his full attention. Pick a quiet spot where your dog won’t be distracted, like your backyard.

3. Be firm and consistent when training your Border Collie

Consistency is vital to avoid your dog from being confused and for him to completely grasp what you want him to do.

That includes simple house rules. Don’t complicate things for your pet when yesterday you didn’t mind when he got up on the couch and cuddled with you, and today you decided to scold him for doing the same thing.

Borders are responsive canines that they may refuse to follow their owners’ commands if treated harshly.

With their sensitivity, establish that you have control in a kind yet firm manner. Being gentle will bring the best out of your Border’s personality, and he’ll trust you more.

4. Give your Border Collie lots of encouragement and affirmation

One of the benefits of having training an intelligent dog is that you don’t have to force them to learn new things. Border Collies enjoy being challenged. They’re eager to please and get even more motivated when what they did right is acknowledged.

Positive reinforcement is vital in dealing with any dog breed. There are do’s and don’ts when rewarding and punishing your pet during training like never scream or use punishment when your Border didn’t do your command or misbehaved.

Since Border Collies thrive on attention, reprimand your dog by ignoring him for an hour or so. This will quickly teach your pooch that he broke a rule and that it’s unwanted behavior.

5. Socialize your Border Collie

Socialization is always a must. It plays a big part for your dog to know how to behave when surrounded by other people and dogs. The more you socialize your Border pup, the more enthusiastic and less aggressive.

If you keep your pet confined in your home, he’d have trouble on how to react when they hear a different noise, see a visitor or another pet. After all, who wouldn’t want to raise a pet who’s pleasant to have around?

Some Borders who are well-socialized greatly perform as service dogs.

6. Prepare different activities for training

Border Collie walking at the side of its ownerAs an owner of a Border Collie, make a way to go beyond the usual walks and jogs with your dog.

Although the doggy park and your backyard is a good way for him to play with his paw friends or on his own, there are other things you can do to make training more fun. Just remember that this should be done on a daily basis.

Simple ones like playing hide and seek, dancing, or play dead are a step up from basic tricks. If you’re into taking a walk every day, teach your BC to stay on your side while walking. That will help to have better walks on the road, as well as not to yank or pull on the leash.

There are games like catch the frisbee, racing with you while you’re mountain biking, or even do something more adventurous such as agility training. Watch Neo, the Border Collie parkour dog, performing extreme tricks.

Fun fact, did you know how fast a Border Collie can run? They can do a top speed of 20 to 30 mph.

7. Stick to one Border Collie trainer

If you’ve decided to hire a professional handler or trainer, or if you’re bringing your Border Collie to a training school, be patient and stick to it.

Your Border will notice that he’s being trained by different trainers as each mentor have their unique training techniques and strategies.

And due to their working background, they’re used to having one master. So aside from the trainer, decide who in your family will be in charge of the sessions to keep teaching the dog.

8. Deal with your Border’s herding instincts

It’s in every Border Collie’s nature to herd. It’s a trait of theirs that you or any trainer can’t completely remove. Don’t expect your dog to be free of this herding instinct.

The most you can do is learn to deal with it or control it effectively.

The verdict about Border Collie training

Border Collie being called by its owner

Border Collies are hardworking companions and lovely family pets.

Getting to know more about a very bright breed and being aware of how much commitment is required when having this particular dog may help you create your dream additional family member.

Although it’s easier to train a Border Collie puppy compared to an adult or older one, there’s nothing you can’t achieve with patience and dedication.

We hope these tips and ideas will help you with training your very own Border Collie.

Did you encounter obstacles while training your Border Collie? Share your stories with other Border parents and us by typing it all in the comment box below.

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