Are Border Collies Easy to Train? Here are 10 Tips for Training the Smartest Dog Breed
July 3, 2023
Written by: Perfect Petzzz
Revered as the smartest dog breed in the world, perhaps you’re wondering, “Are border collies easy to train?” When it comes to intelligence and trainability, few breeds can match the remarkable capabilities of border collies.
With proper training, border collies can quickly learn basic commands and proceed with more advanced training. So, if you’re an aspiring dog owner, a border collie’s eager-to-please attitude and sharp intellect make them an ideal family dog and guard dog.
This blog post will explore the best practices for training a border collie and the possible challenges of teaching them.
Border Collie: A Highly Intelligent Breed
Border collies are extremely intelligent dog breeds with high energy levels. Because of their intelligence and enthusiasm, these dogs can herd sheep and livestock.
Their strong herding instinct manifests in their tendency to chase and follow behind their dog owners and family members. In addition to their herding abilities, border collies are favored for their friendly nature, making them great family dogs.
How to Train Your Border Collie Puppy
Proper training is necessary if you want your border collie puppy to be well-behaved. You can train border collies as you would train other dog breeds. If you’re living in a city and you have a herding dog like a border collie, here are some training tips to help you:
Start Teaching Them at a Young Age
Just like other dog breeds, it’s always best to start teaching your border collie puppy at a young age. Ideally, the training process can begin when your puppy is around 3 or 4 months old. Your border collie puppy is usually more receptive to learning at this age.
Start your border collie puppy’s training with basic commands like “sit,” “come,” and “stay.” Wait for your puppy to reach 7 to 8 months old before teaching them more advanced tricks. Puppyhood is also the best time to start house training, crate training, and potty training your border collie.
Keep Your Border Collie’s Attention
Border collies are highly energetic, which makes training them exciting. When training a border collie, you must know how to keep their attention. This can be challenging if you’re a newbie dog owner, but doing this is essential for raising a well-behaved border collie.
Select a peaceful and quiet training location to maximize your pet’s concentration. This helps minimize distractions, allowing your dog to remain engaged in your training session.
Develop a Routine
Border collies thrive on routine and can become frustrated when their daily rhythms are disrupted. Make your border collie’s training more effective by establishing one—practice training behaviors simultaneously each day or following a significant activity like a walk.
Create a consistent schedule for your training session. This will help your collie anticipate it and engage in your training more readily. Consistency builds trust and establishes a reliable framework for your border collie to follow.
Lastly, avoid introducing new tricks if your dog seems distracted by a change in your daily schedule.
Give Plenty of Exercises
Border collies have high energy levels, so they need enough exercise daily. You must provide them with lots of playtime and exercise opportunities to help expel their excess energy and keep them entertained.
Prevent your border collie from getting bored or resorting to aggressive behavior by ensuring they have an outlet for their energy. Engage them in regular physical activities like playing fetch, going for long walks, or participating in other types of training.
Have Short But Consistent Training Sessions
Short but consistent training is essential for smart dogs like border collies. Shorter sessions help maintain their focus, whereas longer sessions will make these dogs wander, resulting in less effective training. So aim for consistent, frequent training sessions lasting around ten to twenty minutes each.
Also, keep a record of the behaviors and commands you’re working on and note any improvements or challenges your collie faces. Documenting your dog’s progress will allow you to make adjustments in your next sessions. It’s also a great chance to celebrate your furry friend’s accomplishments (with some healthy treats!).
Beware of Overstimulation
Border collies are prone to overstimulation. Excessive touch or loud sounds can easily overwhelm them, leading to withdrawal or disruptive behavior. Interacting with your border collie entails maintaining a calm demeanor and avoiding being overly loud when talking.
But this doesn’t mean you’ll always talk to them gently, especially when training them. Training dogs require being firm when giving commands, without resorting to shouting or other intimidating methods.
Always Use Positive Reinforcement
Training a brilliant dog like the border collie comes with an advantage: You don’t have to force them to learn new skills. Like other dog breeds, border collies thrive on motivation and respond exceptionally well to positive reinforcement.
When training your intelligent furry friend, don’t forget to reward them for their achievements and good behavior. It could be as simple as giving them a nice pat on the back, compliments, or nutritious dog treats.
Rewarding your pets also helps create a positive association between good behavior and pleasant memories. This motivates your pet to repeat those behaviors.
Socialize Your Border Collie
During the early stages of your border collie’s puppyhood, giving them ample social exposure to different people and situations is vital. Introducing them to other people and environments at a young age helps build their confidence and adaptability.
Allowing border collies to socialize makes it easier for them to follow your commands, even in crowded places. This socialization process also lays the foundation for a well-behaved and socially adept border collie. It reduces the likelihood of developing aggressive behaviors later in life.
Give Them Agility Training
Border collies are well-known for their exceptional abilities in agility courses, as they thrive on physical and mental challenges in these activities. Obedience training plays a vital role in enhancing their overall performance.
Agility courses are designed with various obstacles that test a dog’s fitness, athleticism, and courage. From hurdles to tunnels, weave poles to seesaws, these challenges encourage your border Collie to showcase their skills and agility.
Consider Hiring a Professional Trainer
If your border collie displays behavioral issues, seek a professional dog trainer or consider enrolling your pup in an obedience training program. Professional dog trainers have sufficient knowledge and experience to address your dog’s behavioral problems and provide tailored guidance. Additionally, they can give advanced training to your border collie to develop their abilities.
5 Reasons Your Border Collie is Difficult to Train
Training a border collie is easier than other dog breeds, but this doesn’t mean you won’t encounter any challenges. Just like other dogs, training border collies also require patience and dedication.
If you find your border collie challenging to train, here are some reasons that explain why:
Your Activities are Too Dull
Border collies tend to become disinterested and lose focus if they find their training activities boring or repetitive. Avoid repeating the same commands; introduce a wide range of different ones occasionally. This approach prevents boredom and helps maintain your border collie’s interest and enthusiasm throughout their learning process.
Inconsistent Timespan of Training Sessions
Training a border collie can be challenging if the timespan of the training sessions is inconsistent. Dogs, especially intelligent breeds like border collies, thrive on consistency and structure.
If training your border collie is getting complicated, it could be attributed to the duration of their training sessions. Note that collies may become unresponsive to your commands if the sessions are too short or long.
In addition to training, providing your adult border collie with a minimum of 90 minutes of daily activity is crucial for maintaining their overall health and well-being.
You Depend Too Much on Treat Training
When training a border collie, praises are crucial to reinforce positive behaviors. But while treats can be awesome rewards to encourage immediate obedience, note that border collies are not inherently food motivated.
This particular trait can be a significant challenge in their training process, as they wouldn’t care whether or not they get the treats. Instead of relying heavily on treat-based rewards, giving verbal praise or gentle taps on their back is more effective in acknowledging and appreciating their good behaviors.
Emphasizing positive reinforcement through praise will encourage your border collie to respond positively to your training efforts.
You Don’t Give Enough Physical and Mental Stimulation
Perhaps you aren’t providing your border collie with enough mental stimulation. Because these dogs are very intelligent, it’s essential to keep them mentally active aside from daily physical activities. Ensuring a well-rounded routine is crucial for these intelligent breeds.
A great way to achieve this is by engaging in a game of fetch with your border collie. This activity offers an opportunity for them to get the exercise they need. It provides mental stimulation as they retrieve the ball, calculate trajectories, and anticipate the next throw.
Changing Trainers Frequently
Consistency is key when training a border collie, and frequently changing dog trainers can significantly impact their learning process. When there is a constant change in trainers, it can create confusion and disrupt the continuity of their training.
Each trainer may have different methods, cues, and expectations, leading to mixed signals for the collie. This inconsistency can delay their progress and make it challenging to understand and react correctly.
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