Appearing in movies, television programmes, and commercials, the face of the border collie has been everywhere. The breed’s well-deserved popularity accounts not only for its good-looking appearance but most importantly for its trainability, intelligence, and remarkable herding instincts. In fact, several breeders do not necessarily follow the organisation standard as they prioritise more of its working ability.
Capacities or qualities of a border collie
As one of the oldest herding breeds, the border collie is unsurprisingly one of the best breeds that are easy to train.
- Calmness. They are generally calm creatures, especially when provided with a good amount of exercise.
- Remarkable intelligence. They are not only up for basic commands but the border collies can also easily carry out more complex ones.
- Obedience. They are unlikely to disobey their respected owners.
- Shepherding instincts. Years and years of living as a sheepdog, this breed has retained its natural guard dog instinct.
- Trainability. They have the streak of persistence, which gives them the will to learn and obey commands and tricks. Trainers do not have much of problem when it comes to their attention span.
What age should I start training my border collie?
Knowing that the border collie is recognised as one of the most intelligent dog breeds, bringing home a border collie puppy should be a rewarding experience. However, this would also lead you to a lot of questions about the breed as a pet owner. Is it hard to train a border collie? How will I introduce and execute border collie training commands?
Start training the moment you bring your pooch at home. However, this also depends on the specific type of training you want to introduce. If you are aiming for more complex ones, wait until your pup reaches the age of about five to six months.
Here is a rundown how to train a border collie puppy:
At the age of three to six months:
Start puppy socialisation as early as possible. Give him the opportunity to explore the environment with other people, dogs, and animals. With that, you can also gradually introduced basic commands such as how to sit, get up, walk, and others. You may try this without his leash provided you do this in a closed area where he cannot run away.
At the age of six to nine months:
Assuming that he already perceives you as the pack leader from the previous training, this time should be easier. He now understands that he has to obey you. Work on playing ‘fetch.’ He can now understand the concept of having to bring back something, such as rolling objects and others.
At the age of one year or more:
Continue your daily routine and make sure that regular training reinforcement is carried out so your pup does not forget what he has learnt.
Things to keep in mind when training this highly trainable dog breed
- The border collie is always ready for action. Whilst this may be taken as an advantage, it may put you in a hard place too. There are chances when they become distracted by things in the environment. It is important to choose a training place that is ideally quiet and without distractions.
- At times, they think they are way smarter than you. It is not impossible for collies to think independently on their own, especially when they are herding the livestock. When they are reared with proper training, they desire nothing but to please their owners. They retain knowledge from the previous training, where they base their decisions on the current problem with the livestock even when you are at a distance. Mary Burch, a border collie expert, shared that the silent communication between the shepherd and the border collie is phenomenal. ‘With simple, quiet instructions, whistles or hand gestures, shepherds cue their dogs from quite a long distance to perform jobs that border collies have been performing for hundreds of years,’ she added.On the other hand, their high intelligence and independent thinking can sometimes pose a threat during training. To stay in control, owners should properly assert themselves as strong leaders in the pack. Learn to earn his trust for him to rely on your guidance.
- Manage the breed’s strong herding instinct. Even if they are not raised herding livestock, their instincts remain strong even for domesticated border collies. They are likely to herd what they find interesting, which includes children and cars. It is important to establish your position in the ‘pack’ from the beginning and help them to understand that herding can only happen when it is commanded by you.Keep a close eye on his body posture. A border collie is about to herd when he lowers his head, front legs, and tail. As soon as he executes this stance, this pooch is about to get in action.
- They live for competition. Aside from their remarkable gift of talents, border collies like the spotlight. They tend to do their best in every activity to impress. They have remarkable agility and speed, which make them naturally stand out in competitive canine sports such as agility, flyball, and disc.
- Be consistent. It is very important to be consistent with every command introduced to your pooch during the training process. This helps him retain what he learned from the previous sessions. Owning one of the most intelligent dog breeds could be a very rewarding journey. Just remember that its ownership entails time, energy, patience, and commitment.