About Border Collies

Learn about Border Collies

Border Collie: History - where did they originate?

Shepherds in the border areas between England and Scotland began breeding Border Collies about 300 years ago to help them manage their sheep in this rough terrain. The dogs needed to have great intelligence, stamina and trainability because shepherds kept very large herds and the dogs were often required to manage animals out of sight of their masters without being told what to do. These dogs developed an astonishing herding instinct and the ability to reason. These are some of the genetic traits that still make today's Border Collie the leading sheep herding dog around the world.

Discover how we use working Border Collies to get rid of unwanted geese:

Working Border Collie Chase Program


Border Collie: Personality or Temperament

These are highly intelligent dogs, often classified as one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs. They are athletic, eager to please, energetic with great stamina and they love to learn new things. Work is intrinsic to the Border Collie, it is not a task or job but it is what they have been bred to do. You may see Border Collie puppies exhibit the desire to work anywhere from eight weeks of age to a year old. The herding pose for a Border Collie is head and front legs low to the ground, with an intense gaze, called "the eye" with their tails down and the lower part turned up.

Just like other dogs, Border Collies have individual personalities, some are more sensitive or timid and don't respond well to too much discipline. They may need a lot of encouragement and more time to adjust to changes.

A dog with a more assertive personality may require more control, testing the limits you've set or resisting what you are asking. But once you've gained this dog's trust, he will be completely reliable and one you can always count on. Some personalities will watch and learn on their own and surprise you with their new accomplishment, they will be eager to do everything you ask him. Others might show frustration or pout by just quitting whatever you've asked him to do and lying down. Even these personalities come around with patience and rewards for good behavior.


Training Border Collies

Border collies have a great desire to learn and please!

Border Collies are quick, eager learners with a desire to please! They are highly intelligent, energetic and require plenty of exercise and stimulating activity. Sufficient exercise and mental stimulation is the key to a successful relationship with this dog

Three key tips for working with Border Collies:

Training Border ColliesGet your dog’s attention. You will have more success with this and maintaining their attention by choosing a working area that is free from distractions and relatively quiet. As your dog learns and begins to trust you, working in an area with distractions will not be as important as it is initially.

Be consistent and persistent! This will take some planning and intentionality on your part. Be consistent in the words you use for your commands like “sit” vs “sit down”. Choose one phrase or word to use and don’t vary it. Border Collies are extremely intelligent and can learn very complicated commands, so they will definitely notice inconsistency and be confused by it. If you are training your Border Collie not to jump up on you, be ready to reinforce this behavior each time it happens. If you allow the dog to jump up one "day" but not another, it will cause confusion.

Give Positive Reinforcement. Using treats or praise to reward the desired behavior will motivate your dog to do that desired behavior again. Encouragement, not punishment is the best stimulus for teaching and training Border Collies. This plays into their natural desire to please you rewarding them in the process.

When you begin training your Border Collie, start with some simple commands before tackling more complicated ones. This will build your dog’s confidence and yours!


Crate training your Border Collie:

Some people think that confining a dog to a crate is cruel or uncaring and it is if done improperly. But, if you properly crate train your dog, it will be a place of safety and rest for him. In the wild, dogs create dens for sleep, refugee and to have their puppies. Even though your dog is domesticated it still has need of a “den” and a crate can provide that. Most Border Collies love their crate!

Crate Size

Border collie in its crate.The crate size is very important, it needs to be large enough for the dog to stand and turn around in but too small to walk around in. If the crate is big enough to walk around in, your dog will likely use it as a toilet also. Create a comfortable environment in the crate with a blanket and some of the dog’s favorite toys. This will encourage them to stay in the crate.

Crate Location

Initially, you may want to move the location of the crate around while your dog is learning how to use it. During the day, keep the crate near you or where people are and in the evening, bring it into your bedroom.

Once the dog has become accustomed to using the crate, you can find a location that provides quiet and keep it there. Feeding your dog near their "crate" will also emphasis that the crate is a good place.

Crate Training

When you begin to get your dog or puppy used to their crate, put some treats in it and leave the door open so they can come and go. When they go into the crate, reinforce the behavior by praising them and giving them lots of attention. Gradually, start to close the door for very short periods of time (just a few minutes), rewarding or praising them for that time in the crate. As they get used to it, you can lengthen out the time with the door closed. Border Collies need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation so keeping them crated for more than several hours at a time during the day is not recommended. It is best to give them time out of their crates every 2-3 hours for exercise and some kind of engaging activity.

Benefits of Crating

  • Creates a safe, protected place to rest and relax
  • Dogs will have less anxiety and not bark constantly when you leave them alone
  • Helps in house breaking
  • Helps prevent destructive behavior like counter surfing, chewing up flooring & furniture

House Training your Border Collie

Your puppy can help you learn when it needs to bathroom by giving you a signal that it needs to go! Look for activities like sniffing the floor/carpet and turning in circles or even leaving the room it is in. Until your puppy is trained, you will need to be watchful and patient.

Your puppy will not have established preferences on where to toilet so you should choose an area to use consistently. Choose a phrase that you want to use throughout the dog’s life as the command for it to toilet. Be sure it is a phrase you are comfortable using and will remember, “potty” and “hurry up” are two common terms. But any one you choose will work as long as you are consistent.

Border Collie Puppies NappingWhen you think your puppy needs to bathroom, put it on a leash and take it to the designated spot and say the command you’ve chosen, “potty”. If your puppy relieves itself within five minutes, encourage the puppy by saying, “good potty”, using “good” before the phrase you have chosen. Then give the puppy a treat or praise and do some fun activity with it for a few minutes before taking it back into the house. This will teach your puppy to look forward to enjoyment after having bathroomed. If the puppy does not relieve itself within five minutes, take it back in and put it in its crate. (Crate training makes house training much easier on the puppy and you!) After 20 to 30 minutes, take the puppy back outside to the area and try again. Repeating this until the puppy has successfully relieved itself.

Your training may not go perfectly with no accidents. If or when your puppy has an accident, do not rub its nose in it or hit or yell at the puppy. These things will only confuse and frighten the puppy. If you catch the puppy in the act, then it is appropriate to say, “no” sternly and take it out to the bathroom area. Border Collies are highly intelligent and eager to learn and please so they usually house train well.

Crate training can be a great asset in house training because the mother dog will have taught her puppies not to bathroom where they live. So, they will do all they can to avoid toileting in their crate.