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Are Border Collies Easy To Train? And How To Train Them

Are Border Collies Easy To Train? And How To Train Them

Are you thinking about getting a Border Collie puppy? Maybe you want to know how easy Border Collies are to train? Here’s everything you need to know about Border Collies and Training.

Are Border Collies Easy To Train? Yes, Border Collies are easy to train provided you train them carefully and consistently. They’re extremely intelligent dogs that can learn and understand new behaviours quickly. However, they can also pick up undesirable behaviours just as fast as the good ones!

Read on to find out why Border Collies are easy to train, what the best age is to start training them, whether they enjoy being trained, and for the best tips on training your Border Collie.

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. 

Why Are Border Collies Easy To Train?

Border Collies are easy to train because they’re naturally intelligent, keen to learn, and often enjoy the training process. 

They often form strong bonds with their family and owners and are eager to please them. This is a result of them being bred for hundreds of years to work with one person herding livestock.

Because of this, they often enjoy spending quality time interacting with their owners and being taught new things.

Not only does this train your Border Collie on exactly what you want them to do, but it also keeps their brain occupied – which they thrive on! 

What Age Should You Start Training A Border Collie? 

You can start training your Border Collie puppy at 8 weeks of age or as soon as you bring them home. Starting training at an early age will give them to best chance of becoming a well-trained adult dog in later life. 

Even before your Border Collie puppy has had their jabs, you can still introduce basic training at home.

This is a great time to teach them commands like ‘sit’ and ‘wait’ or get them used to walking nicely on a leash.

You can do all of this before they’re allowed to go on walks, without the distractions of the outside world. 

Getting your Border Collie puppy used to different sights, scents, sounds and surroundings is the key to making sure they’re well socialised and comfortable in new situations.

Border Collie puppy laying on the grass with a speech bubble that says 'Do you think I'm east to train?'
Border Collie Puppy Being Trained

Do Border Collies Enjoy Being Trained?

Yes, Border Collies love being trained! This is no surprise as in Stanley Coren’s 1994 experiment, he found Border Collies to be the most intelligent of the 138 breeds tested. 

Because they’re so clever, Border Collies love learning new things. They’re also very eager to please their owners, and will try hard to do so.

This keeps their active mind busy and provides them with mental stimulation which they really enjoy! 

Border Collies are even world record holders! These records are not only testament to the Border Collie’s intelligence, but also their ability to be trained if their owners are prepared to put the work in.

There was a Border Collie named Chaser who had been trained to recognise 1022 different items by name! She sadly passed away in 2019. 

Another Border Collie, Betsy, held the world record for ‘The Smartest Dog’ in 2010. She was able to recognise 340 words and could even fetch toys after only being shown a photo of them! 

Two Border Collies, Halo and Wish, currently hold the world record for the ‘most tricks performed by two dogs in one minute’ having managed to complete 28 tricks in 60 seconds! 

How Do You Train A Border Collie!

Just because your Border Collie is clever, doesn’t mean they don’t require clear and consistent training.

They’re not born with an inbuilt knowledge of how you want them to behave, so you need to train them carefully. 

This is how to train your Border Collie:

Keep Training Positive

Using Positive Reinforcement training techniques is the best way to teach your Border Collie new things.

Not only is this the kindest way to train your Border Collie, but it’s also the most effective. They’re much more likely to want to keep learning if they’re being rewarded for trying hard.

Positive Reinforcement training works by giving your Border Collie a reward when they show a desired behaviour.

For example, if you’re teaching your Border Collie to ‘Sit’ then you would reward them as soon as they reach the sitting position. This lets them know what you want them to do in future.

By getting a reward, this makes it much more likely that they’ll show this behaviour again to get another reward – and so on.

This makes positive reinforcement training the fastest way to teach your Border Collie new things. 

Time It Right

Try to make sure you reward the exact moment that your Border Collie shows a desired behaviour so they know what you want them to do more of.

This makes it clear to them what they’re being asked to do.

It may be helpful for you to use a clicker to mark the exact moment as this tends to be more consistent than using verbal markers. 

Find Motivation

Most Border Collies are motivated by food, so finding a high-value treat that they only get when training is key.

If they prefer toys to treats, then that is fine too!

You can reward them with a fun game with their favourite toy when they show behaviours you want to see more of. 

Stay Consistent

Make sure you consistently use the same commands each time you ask your Border Collie to do something. That way they won’t get confused!

For example, avoid using commands which sound similar to each other such as ‘Lie Down, ’Sit Down’ and ‘Get Down’.

Instead, you could choose commands like ‘Down’, ‘Sit’ and ‘Off’. 

Whatever commands you choose to use, make sure they’re always consistent!

Close-up of a Border Collie's face on a yellow background with a speech bubble that says 'Do you think I'm east to train?'
Border Collie Being Trained

Commit Yourself

Training your Border Collie takes time.

Just because they’re a naturally intelligent breed, doesn’t mean they’ll automatically pick up more complicated training straight away.

So it’s really important you commit both your time and your concentration to training your Border Collie.

Keep Training Fun

Border Collies can quickly switch off if they’re finding training boring or uninteresting.

So keep your training sessions fun and upbeat and always end on a positive note. This’ll leave them wanting more! 

Don’t Get Frustrated

If your Border Collie isn’t understanding something you’re trying to teach them, try not to get frustrated.

It’s likely there’s too many distractions around or you’re not being clear enough for them to understand what they’re being asked to do.

Instead, take a break and come back to training later.

Keep Sessions Short

Border Collies can get easily frustrated, so you’ll get better training results if you keep your training sessions short and sweet. 

It’s a better idea to do several short sessions spread throughout the day, instead of one really long session every so often.

You may be surprised how much your Border Collie can learn in really short training sessions while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil or when the TV adverts are on!

Don’t Use Punishments

Because Border Collies can be an anxious breed it’s important you don’t shout at them or physically punish them if they do something wrong.

Instead, you should ignore any undesirable behaviours and reward the good ones.

Set them up for success instead of waiting for them to get it wrong and punishing them for it. 

Keep Going

Border Collies enjoy learning new things no matter what their age is!

Once they’ve mastered the basics, try moving onto something more complex. For example, teaching them to tidy their toys away into their toy box, or opening the dryer to empty the washing!

You really can teach your Border Collie to do anything with the right training!

Can You Train An Older Border Collie?

Yes, regardless of how old your Border Collie is, it’s still possible to train them provided you give clear and consistent training using positive methods.

In fact, if you have adopted an older rescue Border Collie, they’ll probably really enjoy learning new things with you.

This’ll also help to strengthen the bond you share with them too!

Although, if your older Border Collie has been allowed to practice a certain behaviour for a long time, then it will probably take longer to get them to change that.

It’s certainly not impossible though, provided you’re patient and consistent with your training!

So there you have it! Border Collies are super-smart and easy to train, provided you’re consistent and give it time. You really can teach your Border Collie anything, as long as you keep things upbeat and fun so they’re keen to come back for more!

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