Are you thinking of getting a Border Collie but want the lowdown before you commit? Maybe you’re researching to try and find out everything about the breed. Here’s everything you need to know before getting a Border Collie.
12 Things You Need To Know Before Getting A Border Collie
- Border Collies Will Chase Everything
- Border Collies Have Lots Of Energy
- Border Collies Demand A Lot Of Attention
- Border Collies Can Develop Behavior Problems
- Border Collies Are Micro-Managers
- Border Collies Will Outsmart You
- Border Collies Need To Be Socialized Well
- Border Collies Need Lots Of Training
- Border Collies Need A Job To Do
- Border Collies Need To Exercise Their Brain Too
- Border Collies Can Find It Hard To Switch Off
- Border Collies Go All In
Read on to find out more about Border Collies, what you can expect as an owner, and what to avoid doing!
Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years.
12 Things To Know Before Getting a Border Collie
This is what you need to know before getting a Border Collie:
1. Border Collies Will Chase Everything
Border Collies are naturally gifted livestock herders – it’s one of their main traits! After all, they’ve been bred for this exact reason for hundreds of years.
Without an outlet for this natural behavior, your Border Collie is likely to try and chase everything else around your home.
For example, vehicles, bicycles, joggers, other animals, children, lawnmowers, vacuum cleaners – basically anything that moves!
2. Border Collies Have Lots Of Energy
Border Collies aren’t well suited to sedate lifestyles, they’re definitely not couch potatoes!
They love to be on the go all the time and need a lot of exercise to keep on top of their energy levels.
You’ll need to be out in all weathers for at least 1-2 hours a day to stop them from getting bored or frustrated.
A quick walk around the block or avoiding walks in the rain won’t be an option if you’ve got a Border Collie in your life.
They won’t be satisfied being shut in the house all day on their own, they need to get out and explore.
If you can provide them with this, you’ll have a friend for life!
3. Border Collies Demand A Lot Of Attention
Because they’re such a loyal and committed breed, your Border Collie will want to spend a lot of time with you.
They look to you for everything they need and will constantly hassle you to play with them and fuss them if you allow it!
They’re very determined too, so they’ll keep dropping the ball at your feet until you throw it.
Then, once you do, there’ll be no stopping them. They’ll just keep coming back for more!
4. Border Collies Can Develop Behavior Problems
Border Collies have a desperate need to occupy their mind and body, and without this, you can run into problems.
If they’re not getting enough exercise or start feeling frustrated and bored, they can quickly develop behavioral problems.
For example, they may start barking, chewing, howling, digging, chasing shadows, obsessive behaviors, jumping up, mouthing or being hyperactive – to name a few!
Keeping your Border Collie busy and training them well helps keep potential behavior issues at bay.
5. Border Collies Are Micro-Managers
Border Collies have been bred to think quickly for themselves to manage a situation.
They don’t like chaotic environments and will try to control things as much as possible.
When they’re herding, they’re often out of view of their shepherd, so have a natural instinct to make decisions independently.
So, if your Border Collie isn’t getting enough exercise and mental stimulation or is feeling stressed, they can concentrate more on micro-managing a situation to feel more in control.
For example, they’ll stare at or nip things to get them to move where they want them to, which hails from their strong herding traits.
Border Collies thrive on routine! They like to know what’s happening next and in what order things need to happen.
This helps them feel in control, and without this, they can feel anxious and the need to micro-manage the people or things around them!
6. Border Collies Will Outsmart You
Border Collies are the most intelligent breed of dog in the world, and they’ll use this to try and outsmart you constantly!
There’s no limit to their intelligence and you really can teach them to do anything!
Many can open doors in your home with ease, so you need to ensure they’re secure. Some have even been known to open refrigerator doors and kitchen cabinets to get to the food inside!
Because Border Collies are masters at reading your body language, they can also predict what you’re about to do next.
They’re always one step ahead of you! So if you think you can sneak out of the room without them noticing, think again!
7. Border Collies Need To Be Socialized Well
Border Collies can be a sensitive breed, so can easily become fearful of the outside world without plenty of socialization.
To get them to feel comfortable around people, children, other dogs and cats, you need to introduce them to these things as early as possible.
Careful and consistent socialization training from a young age can help set your Border Collie up for a stress-free life.
That way, they’ll be able to take everything in their stride!
8. Border Collies Need Lots Of Training
Just because Border Collies are the most intelligent dog breed doesn’t mean they don’t need training.
In reality, you may need to keep on top of their training even more than you would for other dog breeds, to make sure they don’t pick up bad habits.
Border Collies aren’t born knowing how you want them to behave. It’s your job to teach them!
Your Border Collie will make up their own rules and entertainment without careful guidance and consistent training!
Because they’re so smart, they’ll pick up the undesirable behaviors just as fast as the good ones if you let them!
9. Border Collies Need A Job To Do
Because Border Collies have high intelligence levels and a hardworking nature, they need a job to do to keep them occupied.
Whether hiking in the great outdoors or competing in dog sports, they need to stay busy.
Border Collies are great at agility, flyball, flying disc, obedience, rally, hoopers, canicross, bikejoring and heelwork to music.
All of these give them the physical exercise and mental stimulation they crave.
10. Border Collies Need To Exercise Their Brain Too
Mental stimulation and enrichment activities are often overlooked for Border Collies, in favor of more physical exercise.
While it’s important they’re getting enough exercise, it’s vital their brain is exercised too!
Your Border Collie’s brain needs to be challenged, and puzzle toys are a great way to do this.
Try hiding treats under a cup and getting them to choose the cup they’re underneath. Or, teach them what their different toys are called and ask them to fetch them by name.
You can gradually increase the difficulty of these activities and tasks once they’ve got the hang of it.
11. Border Collies Can Find It Hard To Switch Off
Border Collies are naturally highly-strung dogs, who are constantly looking for something to do.
Because of this, they can find it hard to switch off and relax, especially when they’re younger.
You need to make sure your Border Collie is encouraged to rest and relax each day or they really will just keep going, even when they’re exhausted!
They have a great deal of stamina, so can work, run and play for hours on end without getting tired.
Provided they’re getting plenty of exercise, playtime and fun activities each day, they should be able to relax a little easier.
12. Border Collies Go All In
Border Collies never do anything half-heartedly! If they’re doing something, they always try as hard as they can to please you and succeed in their task.
As useful as this determination can be, it can also cause problems too if you’re not careful.
Border Collies can quickly become obsessed and fixated on repetitive games and behaviors, which shouldn’t be encouraged.
For example, you should avoid teasing them with laser pens, playing with the water running from the hosepipe, or playing the same game of fetch over and over again.
They’ll quickly become addicted to these types of activities because they’re exciting and they won’t be able to think about anything else!
Border Collies who are obsessed with a certain toy or ball will do anything they can to get to it, which can ultimately consume their life.
They’ll forget how to behave like a dog, choosing to seek out their toy obsessively, instead of sniffing and exploring when out on walks.
So try to remember to mix things up and that everything should be done in moderation!
So there you have it! Border Collies are a highly intelligent, loyal and sensitive breed, but they’re also extremely energetic, require lots of attention and training, and can be obsessive if not exercised enough, both physically and mentally. However, if you’re aware of all that upfront and get into a healthy routine, they can make wonderful family dogs.
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