Border Collie Dog Training: MUST KNOW FACTS

Aaron Rice Expert Dog Trainer
Written: December 6, 2022

Ranking at number 18 for the most popular dog breeds in 2022, The Border Collie stands tall and proud. These precious dogs were bred for herding and descended from sheepdogs which were found in the British Isles. Collies are known for their intelligence, athleticism, and their herding abilities. Collies are also known for breaking all kinds of world records. The record for the “Fastest Car Window Opened by a Dog” was set by a Border Collie named Striker who was able to roll down the window in 11.34 seconds. Chaser, another Border Collie, is believed to be the smartest canine in the entire world. According to tests, Chaser knows the different noun names of more than 100 objects. Chaser also has a vocabulary of 1,022 words. There is nothing a Collie cannot do.

Border Collie Dog Training: (Step By Step)

They can have two types of coats

Collies can have either rough or smooth coats. The rough fur Collies have a longer coat than the smooth ones whose coats are fairly short over their entire bodies. The traditional look for a Collie is black and white, rough coated, and medium length fur! Border Collies also have a double-layered coat. The outer layer is course while the under layer is soft. Collies are just beautiful inside and out. The main reason for Collies having double layered coats is to keep them warm. These weather-resistant double coats need weekly brushing to keep coat oils well distributed and to prevent matting in the rough variety.

They require a lot of exercise

Border Collies are insanely active dogs and require an immense amount of physical activity. When Collies feel neglected of walks or exercise, they will suffer from serious behavioral problems such as destructiveness, hyperactivity, anxiety, and excessive vocalization. In a perfect world, they should be walked four times a day with added in socialization and games. While they need physical activity, still make sure to keep their brains stimulated as well.

They are the smartest dog breed

Collies can understand up to hundreds of words, which is incredible for a dog. They can also learn and comprehend various difficult commands and instructions that you give them. Due to their brain compacity, they are very quick learners, and they push through until the end. If you are teaching your Collie a new trick, they will not stop until they have fully learned it.

They were bred for herding

“Collie” is the Scottish word for sheepdog, and the Border Collie’s Scottish heritage gave them that part in their name. As for the “Border,” the breed was first introduced at the border of Scotland and England. They were bred from the original sheepdogs to help the shepherds tend to their flocks. Their skills include following simple whistles and hand gestures, along with having an intimidating stare. Border Collies can move swiftly in a catlike manor due to a space between the top of their shoulder blades. This helps the Collie almost slither and keeps them close to the ground. This technique that they use is extremely helpful when it comes to herding animals. It helps the Collie have perfect precision.

Everybody loves them

From Queen Victoria to Bon Jovi, everybody loves a Border Collie. Queen Victoria loved dogs and when she learned about the herding abilities and brain power of the Border Collies, she was also thoroughly impressed by them. And, hence, she became an active Border Collie enthusiast, and she started breeding these precious Collies. Queen Victoria is not the only famous owner of this breed. Border Collies are currently, and have been owned by: James Dean, James Franco, Ethan Hawke, Jon Bon Jovi, and Tiger Woods. Border Collies are so loveable that some of the biggest names love and own them. It proves that everyone loves a Collie!

They make great actors

Border Collies have been featured in all kinds of entertainment, from movies like “Animal Farm” and “Snow Dogs” to TV shows like “Mad About You.” Do you remember the 1995 movie named “Babe?” While “Babe” features a pig herding sheep, it also features Border Collies as actors and as herders. Again, Border Collies are amazing dogs, and they can achieve just about anything.

They are short and fall into middle class weight

A male Border Collie weighs about 31-44 pounds while a female Collie weighs 26-42 pounds. The average height for a Collie is about 18-22 inches. Collies are actually about five pounds lighter than a French Bulldog!

They live for quite a long time

Did you know that the average Border Collie lives between 10-17 years? If you feed them properly and give them the right amount of exercise, they can live to be about 15 years, which is at the longer end of the scale.

They need quite a bit of exercise

Border Collies need around two hours of exercise a day. The best way to ensure your Collie gets what they need is to split it up into two sessions. Play with them for an hour in the morning and then another hour in the afternoon. Collies also require a more intense kind of exercise. Take them on long nature walks or hikes, runs, or play a long and advanced game of frisbee.

They shed a lot

Collies shed an insane amount during the entire year. They tend to shed more during the fall and spring equinoxes. During this time, you will notice your Collie’s coat getting thinner. This is called molting and it happens to a variety of dogs. Do not worry because over the next four months, their coats will replenish.

They are affordable

Purebred Border Collies normally cost around $600-$1,200. This amount will vary depending from where you want to get your precious dog. If you adopt a Border Collie, the cost is significantly cheaper, ranging anywhere from $50-150. While this is the set price, you cannot forget about starter kits for these puppies. It is an extra $500-$600 for the initial set up and supplies for a new dog. When comparing a Collie to a French Bulldog, they are extremely affordable dogs!

Training tips and advice

The best time to start training your Border Collie is as soon as you get one! Most people do not get a new puppy before eight weeks old because they still need their momma’s. However, this works out well because a puppy’s brain is not properly formed before eight weeks. Since their brain is not fully formed, they do not have the ability to learn new tricks or commands properly. Remember that a Collie’s attention span is rather short! When you decide to start training them, you have to do it in sections.

Eight-ten weeks

The first thing you should start doing when you initially get your puppy is train your Collie to socialize, take food properly, and go to the bathroom in the correct way. Socialization is the most important thing when it comes to your Collie. Border Collies need to be socialized as soon as possible and you need to introduce them to a range of different people, dogs, and other animals. Rewarding your Collie if they follow you is also incredibly important. If your Collie understands that following you is a good thing, it makes teaching them commands like “come” or “heel” much easier. Nobody likes a dog that snatches food and if you continue to let your Border Collie do this, they might accidentally bite you or a loved one. Make sure they never snatch food from your plate or your hand. If they try to take it, say no and do not give in to their cute pleading faces.

10-12 weeks

This is pretty much the same as the 8-10 weeks! Just introduce some new tricks. This is the time where you should start to introduce the game of fetch. Encourage your Collie to chase after toys, pick them up, and bring them back to you. Continue to encourage them to heal as well. By now your Collie should be used to walking by your side and coming to you when they are called.

Three-four months

At three and four months, your Collie is much more developed. This is the best time for new pet parents because this is the age where they will start sleeping through the night all on their own. This also means less bathroom accidents inside! This is also the time to start introducing them to walking with a leash. Take them for walks around your house every so often so they can get used to the leash around their collar. Again, socialization is extremely important. Your Collie should have received all their immunization shots around 14 and 16 weeks! This means you should be introducing your puppy to even more friends and family. You can start taking them around town and in the car for even more adventures. Start introducing them to new positions. Start using words like “sit!” or “Lay down!” They are not old enough to start training fully, but this is the time to start using simple commands.

Four-six months

Around this time your Collie should no longer be biting. They might still want to nip and nibble, but biting should be under control and not allowed. They should also be potty trained. Since they are still young there is still a possibility of bathroom incidents, but they should be well trained overall. Continue with everything you have been doing to train your Collie.

After six months

All the basics should be drilled into your puppy’s brain at this age! They should be able to carry out simple commands such as “sit”, “come”, and “down.” Your Border Collie should be socialized, toilet trained, and they should not be biting. At six months your Collie is quite strong and powerful. They will be full of energy and sometimes drive you crazy, but they will love you forever. Since they will be riled up, it might seem hard to continue to train them. Just remember to take things slow, train them in sections, and never stop loving your pup.

Puppy school

If you are struggling to train your puppy, there are options for you. Puppy school can be extremely helpful for both you and your Border Collie if you are in extra need of help. In puppy training classes, the instructor will walk you through different training techniques and can answer any questions you may have. They will pinpoint the problems you are having, and they will walk you through ways to solve them. The biggest benefit of taking your baby Collie to puppy school is that it forces you to train your puppy. Believe it or not, many people will buy a new puppy and will never have the motivation or desire to train them. Puppy school is a great way to motivate yourself into taking care of your new Collie and supplying them with the care that they need. Another benefit to puppy school is that there are many other puppy’s there. This is a great place to help your Collie socialize with new people and other dogs. If you are a first time dog owner, you are more likely to get more out of puppy school. If you already have a dog, it would be better for your new dog to socialize with your old dog instead of going to school.

Things to remember when training

1. Consistency is key

2. Guidance is key

3. If something does not work, stop and try something else

4. Introduce them to the new environment slowly

5. Having success in one environment does not mean that your Collie will automatically act the same in a different environment

6. Do not presume instead plan ahead

Each dog is different when it comes to temperament, attitude, and trainability. While each dog might react differently to training tactics, at the end of the day consistency is key. If you train your dog with the same techniques each day Border Collies are so smart that you and your Collie will be successful together.