Myth: Border Collies are naturally smart dogs; you don’t really have to train them. They practically train themselves!
Fact: While Border Collies are incredibly intelligent dogs, this common misunderstanding is really misleading and lands thousands of dogs in shelters every year. Just like humans, smart dogs can use their brains for good, or for mischief!
A smart Border Collie needs lots of training, work, and reminders to keep doing things the way you want them to, and because they are so intelligent they need a lot of mental stimulation rather than just learning a few boring tricks. If you leave an intelligent dog to its own devices, you’re likely to wind up with a frustrated, bored pup who resorts to eating the couch, herding the cats, and chasing children for entertainment.
The good news is that Border Collies are bred to love working with humans, and playing games, using puzzle toys and training advanced tricks like nose work, agility, and service jobs will curb any destructive or bored tendencies a neglected collie can build up. There are tons of easy, cheap, and great ways to keep a collie mentally satisfied and happy.
Myth: Border Collies have to be outside chasing sheep to be happy.
Fact: Border Collies are bred to LOVE people. That means wherever you are, that is where your Border Collie is going to want to be! Locking a Border Collie outside in a kennel, run, or yard is going to leave him lonely, confused, and desperate for your attention. So while a Border Collie may love running and playing outside, at the end of the day, he’s going to want to be inside laying at your feet.
As for the ‘sheepdog’ myth, not all Border Collies even HAVE the herding instinct, let alone require fulfillment to stay happy. Herding is a natural instinct which Border Collies have been bred for centuries to do, but just like you and I, just because their parents had talent and passion for it doesn’t mean the pup will! Furthermore, it’s easy to train a dog out of a herding behavior using simple commands such as ‘leave it’ and ‘focus’ to redirect their attention to something preferable, like a treat or toy!
Myth: Border Collies are only hyper when they’re puppies; he’ll settle down when he’s 1 or 2 and then we don’t have to exercise him as often.
Fact: This is one of the leading reasons for the number of young Border Collies that end up in shelters every day. If you aren’t ready for the drive and energy of a herding breed, they can be exhausting. Border Collies, along with almost all other working dog breeds, are high-energy dogs – meaning that they maintain a high drive for running, jumping, playing, and generally having a great time their whole lives. Most of them don’t really ‘chill out’ until they’re 4-6 years old, and even then they will require daily walks and lots of playtime and exercise to stay happy and healthy for their full lifespan, which is usually between ten and fifteen years.
We’re more than happy to answer any questions regarding the training or rehabilitation of any dog. Please remember that love and attention are the best way to win the heart of any breed of dog, especially our beloved Border Collies! For more information on Border Collie habits, traits, and concerns, please check out the following links!