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How to Train a Border Collie (11 Vet-Approved Tips)

Melissa Gunter

By Melissa Gunter

border collie dog getting trained

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Getting a Border Collie is a dream come true for many dog owners. These dogs are not only beautiful but highly intelligent, playful, and great with families. However, like with any dog, training is a must. While Collies pick up on commands and training easily, that doesn’t mean the process isn’t difficult. As hyperactive working dogs, Border Collies have a lot of energy and need owners who can keep their pace during training sessions. If you’re ready to start training your Border Collie, these 11 vet-approved tips can sho

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The 11 Vet-Approved Tips to Train a Border Collie

1. Learn About the Breed

Before you jump into training any dog, you should take the time to research and learn about the breed. Border Collies are highly intelligent dogs that were bred for herding. They are highly energetic and need lots of daily activity. This type of information will help you prepare your training sessions as you’ll learn more about your dog’s attention span, their enjoyment of having a job, and even their exercise needs. The more you know about your Border Collie, the better of a connection the two of you will make.

border collie owner using laptop
Image Credit: eva_blanco, Shutterstock

2. Start Training at a Young Age

Border Collies are highly intelligent dogs, but that doesn’t mean you can wait around to train them. Similar to socializing your dog, their training should begin early. This includes basic commands, potty training, and crate training. Training is a great way to spend time with your pup, teach them how you expect them to behave, and help them expel energy throughout the day.

3. Use Treats and Positive Reinforcement

Most dog breeds do well with treat training. Border Collies are no different. When your pup is successful with commands, reward them with a treat and lots of praise. This will show your Border Collie they are doing a good job and making you happy. A job well done and a satisfied owner are two things Border Collies love to see.

border collie having treat
Image Credit; Annorak Nk, Shutterstock

4. Decide Where to Start

A training session with your Border Collie can’t consist of every command you want them to learn. Instead, start with something basic. If you’re working on crate or potty training, that is ideal for training sessions. If your pooch already knows where to potty and is crate trained, sit, stay, or heel are great basic commands for beginning your Border Collie’s training. While you both are learning, please keep it simple and have one training goal for each session.

5. Make a Training Schedule and Stick to It

Consistency is key when it comes to training a Border Collie. This breed is a natural working breed that excels when given something to do. If you stay consistent when it comes to training, they will feel as if they are working. Make sure you schedule training sessions for times throughout the day when both you and your dog can focus on what’s going on.

Girl training black and white border collie dog puppy
Image Credit: ILya Soldatkin, Shutterstock

6. Always Be Prepared

Jumping into a training session with your Border Collie can’t be done on a whim. You should be fully prepared for whatever task you’re taking on for that day. Have treats on hand and other necessities such as your dog’s leash and crate when focusing on crate training. This will help avoid distractions and keep your dog focused on the task of training.

7. Keep Sessions Short

Yes, Border Collies are very intelligent dogs but that doesn’t mean you can keep their attention for long periods. These dogs are adventurous, active, and made for work. This is why you should keep your training sessions short and to the point. Training for 5 to 10 minutes once or twice a day will ensure your Border Collie is getting the best out of the time. If you keep up with milestones and what you’ve covered, long sessions aren’t necessary.

border collie dog playing fetch with the male owner
Image Credit: elbud, Shutterstock

8. Socialization Is Key

Border Collies are working dogs. Unfortunately, this can mean the only things they concern themselves with are their humans and their jobs. Due to this, socialization is important for this breed. You also want your dog to understand how they should act around others. You’ll find it difficult to convince your Border Collie to follow basic commands in public if you haven’t socialized them beforehand. You should also plan on socializing your Collie often so they do well with people and other pets as they age.

9. Make Sure Your Dog Gets Enough Exercise

Instead of bringing a Border Collie that is full of energy and wanting to play to a training session, make sure they get plenty of exercise beforehand. Border Collies do best when they can receive the play, interaction, exercise, and work they need to be successful. If your Border Collie just woke up for the day, keeping their attention for training could be difficult. Instead, make sure your dog is prepared for training before you begin that day.

Black and White Border Collie Playing Catch
Image Credit: Magda Ehlers, Pexels

10. Be Gentle Yet Firm

If you’re new to Border Collies you may not realize they are a very sensitive dog breed. This means they will refuse to do as you want if they get spooked by a loud noise or if you speak harshly to them. Instead, when training, you should show your pooch that you’re the boss, but avoid yelling or screaming when something doesn’t work out the way you want. Instead, keep a stern, yet reasonable tone so your Border Collie respects you as their owner but isn’t fearful. This is the best way to form a lasting relationship.

11. Be Patient

One issue many Border Collies deal with are owners that don’t have the proper patience for training. With their need for activity, wrangling them in for training can be a bit difficult. Unfortunately, this is also why so many Border Collies find themselves in rescues and shelters. If you want to make one of these wonderful dogs a part of your family, plan on finding the space and time to allow them to get out their energy, and be patient during the training process. Yes, Border Collies pick up on things quickly, but it’s up to you to keep things on track and focused. With proper patience, you’ll see that a Border Collie can be one of the best-behaved dogs around when you follow these important tips during training.

puppy Border Collie gives paw
Image Credit: Ann Tyurina, Shutterstock

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If you have a Border Collie as a new member of the family or plan on adding one, training is a must. These dogs need guidance and authority to settle into being the perfect dogs they are. When you’re ready to start training your Border Collie, following these 11 tips can help make this task easier. The most important thing to always remember when training your dog is that you should never show anger or be aggressive with your dog. Doing this can easily break the trust, love, and bond between the two of you. If you plan ahead, prepare, and ensure you allow your Border Collie to get their energy out, your likelihood for success will be exponentially increased.

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Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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