12 Imperative Border Collie Training Steps and Commands for Pet Owners
Bringing home a puppy is a wonderful experience, but that also brings lot of questions to answer and important things to consider for the pet owner. How to train Border collie puppies, commands for easy to learn training and different problems you are going to face during this wonderful journey are few things that you must emphasize on.
If this is your first puppy you just brought home or perhaps you’re impressed with those cute YouTube videos and finally decided to teach your older Border collie dog few amazing new tricks, then this is the right place to be to get your hands on some of the best border collie training tricks and tips we have to share with all the proud owners of this wonderful breed.
Before we discuss about training them, let’s talk about their breed, characteristics, behavior and other interesting facts.
It’s a fact that this breed is known as ‘helping’ or ‘working dogs’ and the reason behind this perception among people is because they have been bred to work with farmers to assist them in tedious roles such as herding cattle, sheep and several other livestock. Humans used to train them to make their daily work easier and because of years of training by their past generations, over a period of time they have gradually become a perfect dog breed that is ideal to live in tough conditions like farms, however that trait does not take away anything from them, because they are equally wonderful family pets as well.
Amidst all the cute and beautiful looking dog breeds we have these days, you may think that Border Collie isn’t a breed with much to look at, but the phrase “Beauty can be deceptive” goes perfectly with them. This is one of those smart and intelligent breeds of dogs that have brains over beauty. I don’t know about others but I find them very cute, adorable and love the way how innocent they look and that lovely smooth coat, oh! Just love it.
Besides their incredible intelligence, they are blessed with quick learning skills and if you want your Border Collie to be obedient for rest of his/her life you must train them at a very young age, because at that time they learn fast and remember that their entire life. As a Border Collie pet owner you must understand that it’s a hyperactive breed, therefore they always have a need to do something and you cannot keep them quiet for long without engaging them in some sort of physical activity. That is why it is better to keep their mind continually stimulated.
Given the fact that this breed is very active, they need a lot of physical exercise, otherwise get ready for nipping, biting, continuous barking, and other behavioral problems. Therefore if you live in an apartment or a small house where you don’t have lots of open outdoor space for your dog to play you may have trouble keeping up with your Border Collie.
Having a dog at home doing nothing and sitting all day long is an invitation to serious trouble, because if a dog does not have a purpose, or not able to engage his mind in some activity, he will become irritable and frustrated. It specially applies on Border Collies, because without any purpose they will make things difficult for you as they will start nipping, biting, scratching floor or may be start tearing your clothes. Speaking of personal experience, my baby collie (Dina) used to love tearing my socks whenever she wanted to go out to play in the park.
Border Collies hates it when their daily routine is changed and on top of that if you try to restrict their daily lifestyle or activities they do throughout the day, they will become confused and then here comes the trouble. You are mistaken if you think they won’t notice any changes in their daily routine, because as an intelligent breed they understand things faster and that is why they need constant mental stimulation.
Border Collies are known to bond well and gel along with their owner that makes them a perfect family pet breed. They may become over-possessive and irritable when they don’t get to play in open space or not given adequate amount of exercise to stimulate their mind, and that is when they start nipping people and other dogs. However, that doesn’t land them in the category of naturally aggressive dog breeds, but if you take them for granted and don’t look after well, you’re up for a ride. For owners, having a Border Collie at home can be extremely exhausting at times, specifically for those who also have kids. But if you can manage them well, you’ll be blessed with unconditional love they have for you always. They are caring, loyal and can be obedient; all you need is to train them well.
Every Border Collie dog would need proper obedience training and guidance which is not easy because of their over-enthusiastic behavior and because of that it takes time to train them well. Even though they learn things fast, but they need to be taught what is right and wrong behavior, and without training that is not possible for the owner. For instance, if you have a Border Collie with bad behavior problem and no obedience training, you live him/her in a room alone for few hours, you will end up with a wrecked room.
Herding or Chasing – Have you seen those street dogs chasing other dogs, kids, cars and other vehicles? That is also one characteristic that Border Collie have in them, but it is their natural instincts which we can overcome with training. If not properly trained, it may become a serious problem for a border collie which could lead him/her to animal shelters. Therefore obedience training is very important for them otherwise they revert to their natural instincts to chase anything that goes pass them.
Tips For First-Timers – Thinking for bringing home a Border Collie Puppy? Before anything else, you must know and have the understanding of training required to own this lovely breed of dogs. As an owner you have to give them adequate amount of daily physical and mental stimulation, and if you won’t be able to manage that, it is not a suitable breed for you to take care of. However, if these are not the issues for you and if you can provide the essentials for owning a border collie, rewards will be sweeter than honey. If you are active on dogs forums communities you will always see owners posting their dogs’ photos and sharing their experiences that tells how happy they are with them, because a properly trained Border Collie can be a wonderful life companion.
Right Age To Train A Border Collie?
We often receive emails from our readers that at what age one should train a border collie? Answering this question can be subjective because it depends on what particular type of training we are aiming for. For instance if you have a 12-16+ months old Border Collie dog and you want to train him basic things like home rules, obedience and other behavioral problems then it is always better to start training your dog at a young age so that he will remember that forever. So, the earlier you start the better it is.
On the other hand if you are training your puppy new tricks that you saw your neighbor’s dog doing, then you should wait until he/she is at least 4-5 months old. Even though they are quick learners, you must wait until they are 7-8 months old if you are trying to teach them difficult tricks to make them a well behaved family pet, because that is the right age for them to understand your training commands.
Border Collie Obedience Training
Those who have Border Collies, keeping their houses in order and mess free is a big challenge and that is why training your collie to obey your house rules is important. Under obedience training you teach your dog how he/she should socially behave. For instance you can train them to sit down and stop barking on your commands when you have guests at home. Being friendly with your guests, kids and socializing with them comes under this category.
Helping your dog to fix and overcome disobedience and other behavioral problems is the main purpose why we emphasize on starting with obedience training at a young age.
Trick Training Your Dog
As a trainer you start with assigning yourself a role of the “Alpha Dog” which means you are the leader of the group, and then you can teach them with different types of trainings. Taking it to the next stage after obedience training is important, and trick training is the perfect way to go about it. It will not only help your dog to build his/her confidence, but it also keeps your dog mentally active which is necessary to prevent him from boredom. Besides, it also gives you an opportunity to show your friends and other dog owners that how obedient and well trained your dog is.
If you are a first-timer and interested in training your collie exciting new tricks, then you must start with few simple tricks that your dog can easily understand and learn. For example, “sit”, “stop barking”, “come” “Let’s Go For Walk” are few tricks that are perfect to start with.
If you manage to successfully teach him these tricks then you and your dog will have confidence to move on to more difficult and complicated tricks such as “Roll-Over”, “Go Fetch”, and “Play Dead”.
Important Things To Consider if You’re Training a Border Collie
Given below are few extremely important and valuable tips for obedience and trick training. They will not only help you speed up the process, but will also help you achieve results faster if you apply them properly.
Dog’s Attention – It’s not easy to have full attention of a Border Collie all the time, because their mood swings fast and because of that their attention jump on to different things they have around them. Therefore, the trainer must have his dog’s full attention; otherwise it will take forever to make him learn any trick. It is impossible to successfully train your dog without getting his attention, because it is almost like a classroom of students who are not paying attention to what their teacher is saying and then expecting them to learn it.
To overcome this problem, you have to pick a place where your dog won’t be distracted. I prefer training my BC (Border Collie) at our backyard space which is suitable for me to train with all her attention on tricks I’m teaching her.
Consistency Is The Key – This important rule of thumb to achieve success at everything we do also applies to training our pets. You should always be consistent during the training process because it helps your dog to remember what he/she learned previously. Being consistent means you have to make tricks and commands simple and as clear as possible. If you change the names of commands, it will confuse them. For example if you taught him sit down trick with “sit down” code name and then next time you train him and you mistakenly changed it to only “sit”, that will confuse him.
Here is another example, if you are teaching him to get off your sofa, bed or other furniture, then you have to be consistent with it and cannot allow yourself to be complacent. If you allow him certain days to get on your bed and then some days you fire him off the bed. This will not help your dog at all, in fact it will confuse him between should he do it or not.
Adulation and Encouragement – Positive reinforcement is an important part of the learning process for your dog. The best learning environment for Border collies is through adulation and acknowledgment that they have done something good. However, some trainers use punishment to hard train their dogs, but this is not the right approach, because it can affect your dog’s confidence.
This is also an important part of obedience training, because you should always applaud good behavior of your dog by praising him. Positive reinforcement is the perfect approach to make your Border Collie feel that he/she is doing something good or right which also motivates him to do it again.
These are three important aspects of training a Border Collie, if you manage to use them well, you will definitely improve your dog’s behavior and his ability to learn things fast.
If you want to learn how you can teach your dog to become a well-behaved, smart, healthy, happy and obedient, you’d definitely need this Border Collie Training guide for owners.
12 Steps to Kick Start Your Training Procedure
1. Research & Information – First step is to research about the facts of this breed so that you understand your dog better and learn how you can train him according to your dog’s age and background including behavior problems and health history. For example if you have a puppy, it is probably the best time to start training him compared to training an old dog because that will take more time. Having said that, it is not like older dogs will not respond to training, but it takes more time because they can be a bit stubborn. However, if you are consistent with your methods, they will certainly respond to tricks you are teaching them.
2. Make Him Socialize More – Socializing your BC is a must and you cannot be complacent about it, otherwise you will find it very difficult to handle your dog when he’ll interact with people and other dogs. No matter if you have a puppy or an old dog, it is important for him to learn how he should behave with people and other dogs around. The more you socialize him, the better because it will make him less aggressive and enthusiastic.
3. Potty Training – Most important thing you need to understand is that when you potty train your BC it will take at least a week or more for him to understand what’s he supposed to do when you say “Go Potty”. Make sure you use an easy to remember phrase, and don’t use something randomly that you may forget. After few weeks of consistently reminding your dog this phrase, he will start picking it up and understand what does that mean.
4. Crate Training – Crate training is all about using your BC’s natural instincts as a den animal. For a dog his den is the place to be, he thinks it as his home where he can sleep, eat and hide from danger. House-training is the most vital benefit of crate training your dog. Crate is used to teach a dog his limitations and boundaries and to learn house rules like not to scratch floor and chew furniture.
For puppies crate can be used when you’re not home. However, using crate should be limited because it may have an adverse reaction that could lead to over-enthusiastic and hyper behavior. Border Collies like to interact with people and be with their owners all the time, and crating them for long period of time can have an impact on their behavior.
5. Physical Activity and Exercises – As we have mentioned it earlier, adequate amount of both mental and physical exercise for BCs should be the utmost priority of every owner. Get him out for walk in the park or at your outdoor space and play with him as much as you can to keep him healthy and happy.
6. Simple Training Commands – When training your collie with basic ticks like go fetch, sit, stay and heel, you should use clean code names and firm language, and when he accomplish the command always praise him, so that he knows he has done it right. Make sure you use one word command names to make it easier for your dog to remember. For instance, use “fetch” instead of “Go Fetch” or say “sit” instead of saying “sit down” because it may confuse them to understand your commands.
Have a look at this video to learn how you can use easy to learn commands:
7. Avoid Switching Trainers – If you have hired a trainer or using a dog training school, make sure you have patience with him. Switching to different trainers will not help your dog to learn things faster; in fact he may find it difficult to understand commands because different trainer will use different tactics and strategies.
8. Moving On To Next Level – Once you are done with basic training make sure you don’t stop and teach your dog challenging tricks and activities such as agility training, playing acting games like dead dog and hide and seek. You can also work on their herding techniques once they master the basics.
9. Daily Walk – Border Collies love running and walking with their owners, which is healthy for both of them. Take your BC for long walks and teach him to walk at your side. It specially helps dogs to understand how they should walk on roads. It is important because it help them understand that they should not yank or pull their owner while walking.
10. Mental & Physical Stimulation – They get bored very fast, because they are bred to work for long hours, and when they have nothing to do at home, their bad behavior problems start popping up from everywhere. It is definitely not a breed meant for a small home.
11. Patience – Always have patience with them because if you get frustrated, it will only get difficult for both you and him. So, if you have been training him for so long and still he’s not picking up your commands, avoid yelling or screaming at him, it will not help your cause. Training a BC with firm and gentle voice works wonderfully well.
12. Herding Instincts – You can train a Border Collie to control his/her herding instinct but you cannot completely overcome it, therefore never expect him to be herding instincts free, because it’s a part of their nature.
I hope we helped you with your research on Border Collie Training. We’d like to invite you to join our forum where you can share your dog’s photos, stories and experience of having this lovely breed as a companion and you can also interact with other community members.