About Border Collies
Understanding Border Collies
Remember What Border Collies Are Bred For…
To chase and herd. This instinct varies from collie to collie but we should always assume it is present. Do not allow the dog to chase people, children, cats, cars, bikes, trains, or livestock. Start with a new dog by NOT taking it out.
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As a new owner the dog will not see you as having the right to control it’s behaviour. Remember that the more exercise and excitement that you give a Border Collie, the higher its adrenaline levels will be. It can take weeks/months for these levels to come back to normal.
Puppies under 7/8 months should have very little walking on leads. Short sessions of up to 20 minutes only. (You wouldn’t take a toddler on a 10-mile hike would you?)
Adult collies need a fair amount of exercise off the lead, which needs to be filled with events which make it think. Build up time slowly, as obedience and muscle develop. A few minutes of recall, heelwork, hide & seek, fetch toy, with a period of free running.
Collies will anticipate your actions so during the walk call the dog, put on lead and then release, don’t wait until the walk has finished to produce the lead, he’ll know it’s home time and run off. Physically prevent the dog from chasing, by keeping it on a long line – a washing line, which you can reel in. Teach the dog to find things, hide a tit-bit and play “find it”. Great game for rainy days.
Keep your collie well socialised. If it shows fear of anything by barking, lunging, bolting, hiding, DO NOT touch the dog, walk on – assuming it’s on a lead, say nothing. Do not expose the dog to stress. If you speak to the dog or touch it, you are praising it for that behaviour. Teach the dog that being with you is better than anything else. You will need to be interesting. Tit-bits, games. Offer alternative behaviour to the unacceptable ones. DO NOT use check chains or half checks, force, punishment, shouting, or smacking.
Collies & Children…
Collies and small children together are a potential problem.
Toddlers are on the same eye level and stare. This is a challenge to any dog, particularly a collie. Children make high-pitched noises and sudden movements which can trigger collies. The dog must not be allowed to run up and down with children. It will get more and more excited and start jumping up and pulling at clothes or try to herd the children by nipping.
Keeping Them Busy…
A collie must be kept occupied or it will go self-employed. Indoor kennels are great to give the dog a safe den. Leave it something it can chew and remove the toy when the dog has something else to do. Their toys are your toys. Retain at the end of the game. Collies like to be part of the team and crave companionship of humans.
Don’t leave a collie alone all day. Three to four hours maximum for an adult, providing you give quality time later. Don’t let the dog follow you from room to room, it should spend some time in its bed alone when you are in. Chewing is common, boredom or separation anxiety Is often the cause. Shadow chasing is common in collies. Distract, remove source of light rays if possible and offer an alternative – stuff a kong, activity ball or buster cube.
Collies are problem-solving dogs, give them problems to deal with other than fetching the washing off the line. You can teach a collie tricks. Closing doors, taking the video out of the recorder – there’s no limit except your imagination and patience.