Border Collie Training – Dealing With The Smartest Dog Breed
Want to learn more about Border Collie training? The breed was developed in the Anglo-Scottish border region. They were primarily used for herding livestock. The Border Collie was specifically bred for obedience and intelligence to function as a herding and working dog.
They are very intelligent, extremely energetic as well as athletic and acrobatic. Even though they are now considered as just normal household pets, they are still used to herd livestock in various regions across the world.
The Border Collie is a medium-sized dog with a thick coat that sheds often. This means that buying a Border Collie will mean you need to invest in grooming it often.
The Right Age to Begin with Border Collie Training
It’s best to start with Border Collie training earlier rather than later. The first steps of training will entail the usual house training regime. Read this article for some specific guidelines to house train a Border Collie puppy.
Next you can start with the basic commands of sit and stay. For more difficult tricks, wait until your puppy is at least four to five months old. Leave the advanced tricks until they are between seven to eight months old.
How to Start With Border Collie Training
Because Border Collies are so intelligent, training is relatively easy. But high intelligence also means that your Border Collie will need lots of stimulation to keep it busy. It’s important to be aware of your dog’s energy level and to adjust your interaction with it accordingly.
To understand Border Collies you need to take into consideration their heritage. Because they were bred as helping or ‘working dogs’ it is important to invest time in Border Collie training to help your dog live up to its full potential.
If you do not provide enough stimulation for your Border collie, the dog might start suffering from obsessive behavior. This is a common problem that often pops up in this specific breed. Imagine losing your job and being stuck at home all day with nothing to do. That feeling of frustration is basically the equivalent of what your Border Collie will experience without proper training and constructive interaction.
Because of their high intelligence level, Border Collies can be very strong-willed. When starting with Border Collie training you will have to establish firm leadership over your dog from the beginning. Because dogs are pack animals, they need a sense of hierarchy. If you want your Border Collie to obey you, you’ve got to let them know you are the alpha male/female of the “pack” (aka your home).
You need to keep their hyperactivity in mind when you consider buying a Border Collie. If you don’t lead a very active life, this breed might not be ideal for you. To ensure that your Border Collie does not become frustrated, you will have to commit to lots of playtime with it and taking your dog for long daily walks is also advisable.
What will happen if you don’t stimulate your Border Collie? You will have to deal with various behavioral problems such as biting, nipping and continuous barking. They are a highly adjustable breed, but if you live in an apartment without an outdoor area, this breed might not be ideal for you.
Key Factors of Successful Border Collie Training
Being a working dog, Border Collies love routine. If you don’t stick to a regular routine, your dog will become very frustrated and start acting out with bad behavior. Remember, you’re dealing with a highly intelligent dog, nothing gets past them, they understand much more than you might think. Basically they require constant mental stimulation.
When your Border Collie does not get adequate exercise, it will become irritable and over-possessive. This is when the dog starts acting out by nipping people as well as other dogs. They are not naturally aggressive, but when not treated well the dog will become very difficult to manage.
They are very loyal and obedient if you stick to the Border Collie training guidelines. But you need to be aware that having a Border Collie is a big time and energy commitment. They integrate well with other dogs and it might be best to rather get two Border Collies so that they can entertain each other.
Even though they are relatively easy to train, their over-enthusiastic behavior can make it a challenge. Border Collies have an inherent herding instinct that you need to channel into the right behavior, otherwise your dog can become a big nuisance, chasing cars and kids running around.
Three Golden Rules of Border Collie Training
The trick with dog training of any kind, is to understand what makes your dog tick. Especially a working dog breed such as the Border Collie needs a sense of purpose to their lives.
#1 Keep Your Dog’s Attention
You need to keep your dog’s full attention on the training task at hand. An untrained Border Collie’s attention will be all over the place and their mood swings really quickly. To an extent you need to read your dog’s mood, only train when the dog’s energy levels are high. This is why creating a routine is so important, this way your dog will anticipate the training every day. And if you make it a fun activity your dog will look forward to it.
Tip: pick a quiet spot without any distraction for your daily training routine
#2 Be Consistent
Your dog will be able to learn quicker if you are consistent in the training process. Rather focus a little bit longer on a specific command or trick to make sure your dog has completely grasped it. Start with simple and clear instructions. For instance, pick a name for a specific command and stick to it.
Especially when it comes to Border Collie training and house rules, you need to remain consistent. Keep in mind you’re dealing with the most intelligent dog breed. Your dog will become confused if one day it can jump on the couch without being reprimanded and the next day you scold it for doing the same thing.
#3 Lots of Affirmation and Encouragement
Border Collies like learning things, so you don’t have to force them. This is one of the big benefits of dealing with an intelligent dog breed. If you include lots of praise in your Border Collie training routine, your dog will be like putty in your hand. Positive reinforcement is your best method of training for Border Collies.
The best type of reprimanding for Border Collies, is not giving them attention. All you need to do is say “bad dog” and ignore them for an hour or so after the unwanted behavior and they will quickly stop breaking the rules. Read this article for some do’s and don’ts of positive reinforcement, discussed by the Dog Whisperer.
Tips for Kick-starting Your Border Collie Training
Start With Research
Read up as much as possible about the dog breed. The more you understand how your dog’s head works, the easier it will be to use effective Border Collie Training techniques.
Socialize Your Dog
Your dog needs to learn how to properly interact with both humans and dogs. This is one of the most important aspects of Border Collie Training, you want to a raise a dog that is pleasant to have around. If you do not invest enough time into the training from the beginning, it will only become more and more difficult to manage your dog.
Lots of Exercises and Physical Activity
Sufficient mental and physical stimulation is crucial if you want your Border Collie to lead a happy life. And a happy dog means a happy owner. It’s great if you have a big yard where your dog can run around and play. It’s an even bigger bonus if your Border Collie has a doggy friend to interact with. But it’s important to take your Border Collie outside its home confines. A daily walk is preferable, but if your schedule does not allow this, try for at least one outing a week.
Keep the Border Collie Training Simple
Yes, your dog is very intelligent. But you need to remember that just like a baby that needs to build up skills, your puppy has a lot to learn before it can successfully obey you. Don’t make the commands complicated. Try “fetch” instead of “Go Fetch” or just “sit” instead of “sit down” to avoid confusion.
Stick With the Same Trainer
A Border Collie is used to having one master. This comes from their heritage of being working dogs. So decide who in the family will be in charge of the training sessions. Your Border Collie Training will be much more effective this way and your dog will learn much faster.
Dogs are very sensitive to the moods of their owners. If you show frustration with your dog, it will become flustered and the training will be much trickier. Do not scream at your dog, a gentle voice will yield much better results. You can’t make your dog submit to you. You have to win the trust of the dog and then it will willingly obey you.
Keep the Herding Instincts in Mind
This is a big part of the Border Collie nature. You can train your dog to control the urge to herd, but it will always remain a part of its nature. So you will have to learn how to deal with it effectively. Read this article to learn more about taming the herding instinct of Border Collies.
Border Collie Training Videos
Conclusion – Border Collie Training
Border Collies make lovely companions and family pets. By learning more about this intelligent dog breed, you can create a very cooperative extra house member. But you need to be aware of the commitment it will take to successfully deal with this particular breed.
What strange obsessions does your Border Collie have? Any odd herding stories?