Border collies were originally bred in the mountain border region between Scotland and England. They are used to aid in the herding of sheep and are efficient herding dogs due to their unlimited energy, high stamina and working drive. Since this dog breed is very intelligent, and can cause mischief when they remain untrained, Border Collie training is vital.
However, being one of the most intelligent dog breeds, they can easily be trained to behave properly, and Border Collie training has a large scope. Note that Collies respond greatly to praise and positive reinforcement and are eager to please their provider. It can be very rewarding being the owner of a Border Collie which has been properly trained and supervised.
The decision about whether to train the dog yourself or use a professional trainer often depends on your knowledge and training experience and the type of training that is required. For example a professional may be needed if your Collie is to be a working dog as opposed to just a domestic companion. However, the best dog training happens when one personally invests time in training their pet in conjunction with the professional trainer. Otherwise the dog can become attached to the trainer, not to the master. Dog training methods can often vary from dog to dog as one dog is always unique from another. A good professional trainer can help with advice on these differences.
There are two major training scopes when trying to train a Border Collie and these are obedience training and trick training. It is essential that thorough obedience training be completed first. Obedience training in a domestic situation would involve such things as house training and socialization. At the same time, problematic behaviors such as nipping of the heels of humans can be corrected here.
If the Border collie is to work on the farm, then sheepdog training might be advisable. There are those who offer quality sheepdog training without compromising the relationship between you and your dog.
There are important things to remember with all Border Collie training:
For dog commands to be effective, you need to be the “alpha dog.” (the boss) This way, the Boarder Collie will obey and follow you, as the master. Once you have established yourself as the “alpha,” it is much easier to keep your dog’s attention and this allows the dog to learn more effectively.
Next, is to be consistent with the dog’s training. For example, if you don’t want your collie to sit on the couch, then every time the dog does this or attempts to do this, always make sure to correct the behaviour immediately with a verbal command such as “NO!”. If you allow your dog to sit on the couch a few times, it will become confused with what you really want it to do. This will only cause hindrance in learning.
Lastly, positive reinforcement and praise work beautifully on Border Collies. Punishment never helps.
Once the obedience training has been fully implemented, trick training can then be taught. The same rules apply as with the obedience training although the context of the learned behavior will vary. The Border Collie can recognize more than 200 human words. Thus if the master decides to teach dog commands like sit, lie (down), stay, even kiss, this dog breed will have no problems understanding these and other commands.
Border Collies have so much expendable energy that if you forget to give them ample amounts of exercise, they will divert their energy into other very creative activities which might involve the entire house having an unplanned redecoration.
Owning a Border Collie is a big decision to make as this breed needs constant physical and mental stimulation as well as attention. Thus, weigh the pros and cons first. Remember, being intelligent dogs, training them would be a very stimulating task for both you and your dog.
On the other hand, if you are unwilling to spend time with your Border collie training, be warned. They need to move about and think, and need regular stimulation from a few minutes to several hours. Always be on your toes as they will always try to outsmart their owners.
However, once your dog has been properly trained, it will become an important part of your life and a lovely family companion. This makes Border Collie training, truly rewarding.
If you are prepared for the big responsibility and are enamoured by this breed then the Border Collie is for you!