Alert young Border Collie

As one of the most intelligent breeds out there, it’s important to keep your collie puppy mentally stimulated.

© Chung Nguyen - Unsplash

How to train a Border Collie: Top tips for your new puppy

By Greta Inglis Dog Behaviourist | Animal Behaviourist

Published on the

If you’re lucky enough to have added a Collie puppy to your family, you may be wondering how to train them. Here are the training tips and techniques to try.

Border Collies are described by the Kennel club as keen and eager to please. As one of the most intelligent breeds out there, it’s important you keep your collie puppy mentally stimulated from a young age.

Obedience training and lots of interactive activities are the name of the game when it comes to raising a well trained and balanced adult dog.

How easy is it to train a collie?

Teaching your Border Collie about the big wide world should start from a young age. Socialisation is key if you want a friendly and confident adult dog, so make sure your pup gets out there meeting new people and other dogs.

Zigzag, the #1 puppy training app, caters training advice specifically to your puppy's breed! 

As highly intelligent dogs, Collies enjoy learning from and interacting with people. Using positive reinforcement training, you can start to teach your dog basic obedience from as young as 3-4 months old. Always end your training session before your puppy gets bored or tired, to maintain positive associations.

Once they reach 6-8 months of age, your puppy will be ready to start learning more advanced tricks.

Be sure to keep sessions short, and give your puppy plenty of chances to move away if they feel overwhelmed. Interactions should be fun and positive.

How can I train my Border Collie to come when called?

If you’re wondering how to train your collie puppy to come when called, the answer is to begin this as early as possible.

Young puppies have a desire to be near their people, and you can make this a fun game for your new canine companion.

Say your puppy’s name and as they look towards you, offer a treat. Build on this so they’re looking to you each time, and then begin moving away as you do so. Your dog will have to move towards you to get their reward.

Once you’ve practised this over many sessions, you can increase the distance. Start in a low-distraction environment. Call to your pup in a high-pitched, excited voice. Reward their arrival with high value treats and offer lots of praise and encouragement.

You can build on this as your puppy gets the hang of it, increasing both the distance and distractions over time.

How long does it take to house-train a collie puppy?

When it comes to raising your collie puppy, house-training is a must. It may seem like a daunting task, but there are lots of techniques to help your dog learn.

Download Zigzag, the #1 puppy training app, to get house-training advice specifically geared to your puppy's breed and age. 

Consistent routine

Routine is one of the most important things to establish as you begin your house-training journey. Keeping your walks and time outdoors on a fixed schedule will help your collie puppy learn when it’s time to toilet.

Watch for signs that your puppy needs to go. Circling and sniffing the ground could indicate it’s time to get them into the garden.

When it comes to creating a bathroom schedule, consider when your puppy will need to go outside and plan accordingly. After playtime and after eating are key times, so it’s best to work the schedule around these activities. Be sure to get your collie puppy outside regularly, never leaving intervals too long.

Choosing the right location

Find an area with minimal distractions and encourage your puppy to use it. Once they find a specific spot, they’re more likely to use this again in future, which can really help them get the hang of their housetraining.

Praise, praise and more praise

Reward based training is always best for our canine companions, and never more so than with very sensitive breeds like collies. Always praise and reward your puppy for toileting outside. If an accident happens, just be sure to clean it quickly and get your puppy outside immediately. 

Shouting at or disciplining your pup for accidents may make them fearful of you, and more likely to find a hidden spot indoors.

How much exercise should I give my collie puppy?

Exercise is hugely important to active breeds such as the Border Collie, but it must be right for the age and developmental stage of your four-legged friend.

Your Collie puppy’s exercise chart

Before the age of 12 weeks, your puppy won’t have had their full set of vaccinations. This means you’ll have to be careful with unknown dogs and on the street, to be sure they don’t pick up any kind of unwanted illness.

At this young age your puppy's exercise should be play and toy based. Luckily for us owners, there are a huge variety of games and interactive toys to try.

Games like hide and seek can be a fun way to begin recall training. Click here for our list of 10 games to choose from.

Three to five months are when you’ll start training your collie puppy to walk on the lead. As a general guide, it’s recommended to walk your puppy for around five minutes for every month of age, and although not a hard and fast rule, it’s important not to put too much pressure on your puppy’s developing joints through over exercise.

From 6-12 months, your Collie will be ready for longer and more adventurous walks, gradually building up over time. Once fully grown, Border Collies tend to need around 2-3 hours of off-lead exercise per day.

Collies love to run and use their brains in equal measure, so activities like flyball, and canine agility can be a great way to stimulate your dog once their joints are fully developed.

Are there training classes I can take my Border Collie to in the UK?

There are lots of UK based training groups your pup can join. If you’re wondering how to train your collie and feel you may need help, a puppy class is an excellent decision.

When it comes to finding training near you, make sure to choose a class that uses reward based, positive reinforcement training, and runs at a low enough capacity that you’ll get enough guidance from the instructor.

And to get a full-time, professional follow-up on your pup's progress, you can download Zigzag, the #1 puppy training app.

Training a dog as intelligent as the Collie can be a wonderful experience, and regular sessions will help build a strong bond between you and your canine companion.

Consistency, patience and lots of praise will get you a long way when it comes to training your pup, but don’t feel afraid to reach out to experienced Border Collie owner and local puppy groups. They’ll happily help support you on your training journey, and both you and your dog will make friends along the way!

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