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Are Border Collies Good Family Dogs?

Are Border Collies Good Family Dogs?

Are you thinking of getting a Border Collie but want to find out if the breed is good for families? Do you have young children or a new baby and aren’t sure if a Border Collie is the right dog breed for you? Here’s everything you need to know about whether Border Collies make good family dogs. 

Are Border Collies Good Family Dogs? Yes, Border Collies can make good family dogs, provided they’re introduced correctly. They’re an active and intelligent breed that can live alongside adults and older kids. A well-trained and socialised Border Collie can make a great addition to a family.

Read on to find out how Border Collies are when there are babies around, how you can prepare them for a new arrival, and the rules children must follow when playing with 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. 

Are Border Collies Good With Babies?

Border Collies can be good with babies if they’re introduced correctly. However, as with any dog, you should never leave your Border Collie alone around your baby. They can be boisterous and excitable and could accidentally harm your baby without meaning to. 

Just bear in mind that when babies become toddlers, things can be a bit more challenging.

Border Collies are lovable dogs but they’re also energetic and boisterous and could easily knock over a small child. Even though this would be unintentional, it could potentially hurt your child.

Due to their heritage, Border Collies also have a natural instinct to herd. So, if the toddler or child doesn’t move where they want, they could nip to take control of the situation.

‘Herding’ is a natural Border Collie trait that’s worth bearing in mind if you have young children at home.

When it comes to babies, preparation is key. So, if your Border Collie has never been around babies before, then it’s important you prepare them for what to expect.

This is how to help your Border Collie adjust to a new baby:

Play Baby Sounds

Border Collies can be very sensitive to sounds, especially if they’re loud or high pitched, like a baby crying!

You can help them to get more used to these kinds of noises by playing sounds of babies crying and gurgling.

You can easily find these kinds of tracks on YouTube by searching ‘baby sounds’ or ‘babies crying’ etc.

This can help prepare your Border Collie for the sorts of sounds a new baby would make. That way they won’t be so bothered by them when the new baby arrives. 

Exercise Your Border Collie Daily

Border Collies are an extremely active breed who need plenty of exercise.

In fact, adults need at least 2 hours of exercise daily, plus playtime and training too.

Even though it may be difficult, it’s important you try and maintain your Border Collies activity levels before and after the baby arrives.

If you’re struggling with this, it may be worth asking friends, family or a dog walker to help you out. 

If your Border Collie isn’t getting enough physical exercise, then they’re likely to get bored and frustrated quickly.

This can lead to problems such as chewing, barking and destructive behaviours developing.

They’ll also have a lot more pent-up energy, which can make it even more difficult for them to behave calmly around a new baby. 

Close-up of Border Collie's face on a bright yellow background with a speech bubble that says 'Am I a good family dog?'

Do Enrichment Activities

Mental stimulation is also really important for your Border Collie to help keep their brain busy.

This is particularly useful if you have a new baby at home, as it gives them something to keep them occupied whilst you adjust to life with your baby.

Even though enrichment activities are not a substitute for physical exercise, they’re still a good way to tire out your Border Collie’s mind and help them settle down.

Activities such as lickmats, snuffle mats, food toys, long lasting natural chews and puzzle toys are all great ways to stimulate your Border Collie’s active mind.

They’re also a natural stress reliever for dogs too, which is useful if your Border Collie’s feeling a bit stressed about having a new baby around. 

Spend Time Around Families

If you have friends with babies or children, it can be useful to let your Border Collie spend time around them so they know what to expect. Although obviously, it has to be safe to do so.

This’ll give them a good opportunity to get used to the smells, sights, sounds and movements of babies and children. This may be very different to the things they’ve experienced before. 

It’s usually best to meet the child on neutral ground – not in your own home or theirs – so somewhere like the park could be great.

This can help reduce the risk of your Border Collie feeling protective over their own home or garden.

Be sure to reward your Border Collie for remaining calm around your baby or child. That way you’ll encourage more of this behaviour!

Give Your Border Collie A Safe Space

It’s important your Border Collie has a safe place to retreat to if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

A crate can be useful here, but only if they’re already comfortable being in one.

The space should have a comfortable bed and your Border Collie shouldn’t be disturbed there.

Knowing they’ve got somewhere to relax can help them feel more secure.

Are Border Collies Good With Children?

Border Collies can be great with children and can benefit from having a child to run around with. However, respect needs to be shown on both sides. Some Border Collies can be naturally boisterous so should only be around children under supervision from adults. 

If your Border Collie has not been socialised with children before, then it may take them some time for them to get used to them. 

Younger children may make high pitched noises and move erratically, which may make your Border Collie feel uncomfortable. 

It’s important to introduce them slowly to each other and not rush the process. 

It’s also important to make sure that children know how to behave appropriately around your Border Collie too.

Here are some tips to help children know how to interact with Border Collies properly:

Close-up of Border Collie's face with a speech bubble that says 'Am I a good family dog?'

Don’t Handle Your Border Collie Harshly

Grabbing, poking, pushing, climbing on or handling your Border Collie roughly can startle or hurt them so shouldn’t be allowed.

If they feel scared they’ll be more likely to react defensively and may even try to nip a child. 

Don’t Touch Your Border Collie’s Food

Border Collies can be protective over their food so it’s best not to disturb them when they’re eating.

They might growl or try to bite if they think their food is being taken away.

This is especially important if they’re enjoying a tasty treat or chew, as these kinds of things are even more valuable to them.

Don’t Wake Your Border Collie Up

Waking your Border Collie up when they’re sleeping can startle them.

This can make them react by growling or nipping, so shouldn’t be allowed. 

Respect Your Border Collie

If your Border Collie is showing any signs they’re uncomfortable or stressed then respect what they’re trying to tell you.

If their ears are back, their tail is between their legs, they’re cowering, backing away, growling or snapping, this means they need some space. 

Keep Calm Around Your Border Collie

Border Collies are naturally boisterous and can quickly get wound up.

So it’s important children keep calm when they’re interacting with them or the situation can get too much!

Screaming or hectic behaviour can really wind your Border Collie up, so try to keep things calm.

The more wound up they are, the more likely they will be to nip. 

Are Border Collies Good With Older People?

Border Collies can be a good choice for older people, provided they’re still able to give them plenty of exercise each day. They’re a very loving and affectionate dog breed that often form strong bonds with their owners.

If you’re still an active person and able to take your Border Collie on plenty of adventures, then this can be a great partnership.

However, 2 hours exercise a day can be a lot if you’re not up to walking long distances any more.

Also, because Border Collies are so lively, some older people may find them too much to handle. 

They’re strong dogs and can pull on the leash without careful training. This may be too much for some older people to deal with every day.

So, if you’re an older person who wants or already has a Border Collie, then you have to consider your own personal circumstances.

There’s no reason not to get one, but you will need to consider their daily exercise needs.

Of course, there are always ways around things and you could ask a local a dog walker to help you out. 

What Is A Border Collie’s Temperament Like?

Border Collies are highly intelligent dogs that will often outsmart you! They can be very energetic, highly alert, and obsessive, but are also sensitive, loyal and affectionate (some even like sitting on your lap!).

They’re highly demanding of attention and need both mental and physical stimulation to feel content.

However, if you put in the time to train them and give them enough exercise each day, they can make wonderful family dogs!

So there you have it! Border Collies are a smart and lively dog breed that generally fit well into family living, as long as they’re introduced to people and children correctly. A well-trained and socialised Border Collie can make a great addition to a family.

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