Border Collie- head on the floor

Training a Border Collie – It’s no walk in the park

By Martina Miradoli

Training a Border Collie can be challenging. In this post, guess writer Martina gives advice and some tell-tell signs for when a Collie’s traits turn problematic.

Border Collies are highly-skilled dogs that were bred for years to be of use of farmers, to collect and control large flocks. They do this in difficult terrains and weather conditions. As a result of selective breeding, they have some very strong traits that can be either your joy or your nightmare when having them as pets.

They are great dogs for sport: agility, obedience, disc dog competitions, scent work, and fly-ball, but all this means they need an active life.

Martina’s Jock with Wufwuf toy

What to consider before training a Border Collie

I have read that Border Collies are an easy breed to train, but as someone who does, I can say for sure – this isn’t the case! However, an experienced handler will be able to use a Border Collie’s strong skillset to their favour. Border Collies are highly intelligent and can predict situations, even when the outcome for you is not a good one.

So, what does all this mean when picking a Border Collie as a family pet? The first thing is that you need to be prepared to learn how quickly their brain works, and that they are able to read their environment. They also highly responsive to movement, as well as being also very
sensitive to noises and busy situations.

A Border Collie needs lots of physical and mental stimulation, yet throwing a ball all day long won’t do them or you much good. If anything, it will simply make them fitter and reinforce their tendency to chase things that move fast, without any control or cooperation with you.

Knowing how to train a Border Collie from the the beginning, in order to avoid mistakes, is very important. This will aim to limit future behaviour problems or breed traits that can become a NIGHTMARE in the wrong environment!

Jock with plush toy

Examples of Border Collie traits becoming a problem

Typical Border Collie traits that can become problems and ones that I see every day in my job are:

  • Wanting to herd cars, joggers and cyclists
  • Not coming back when called – as freedom is much more fun (their need to exercise is very strong).
  • Barking out of excitability or boredom
  • “Sharking” and staring at other dogs like they were sheep, which annoys them!
  • Using kids and cats as their personal herd
With more toys

Is a Border Collie the right breed for you?

This really depends on the dog you take home, and the individual differences out there can be massive! My suggestion is to look for help as soon as any of the behaviours listed before become bad habits and more difficult to change. The more they practise them the stronger those behaviours become!

It’s best to act quick, before yours become self employed and decide on a thousand ways to make your life difficult.

Martina Miradoli
That’ll Do Academy

You can get more info from Martina (and her training academy) through her website (click here)

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