What does a Border Collie need?
All dogs require physical activity and a Border Collie is no exception. They require a lot of physical activity, especially in their younger years. These dogs come from a long line that was bred for working. These are not lazy dogs. They want to be outside walking, running, working. Doing something. As such if your lifestyle does not permit for a lot of outdoor activity this might not be the breed for you.
This is not to say you must live on a farm or acreage in order to have a happy Border Collie. Many people will say these dogs are not suited to city life, living in a small house or apartment. I would disagree. In the time that I have had Ali we have lived both in the city and country. With frequent walks and playtime Ali has always been very content living in the city, in a small apartment.
This is a very important need of a Border Collie. Failing to meet these needs will likely result in behavior problems. This can include destruction of property and nipping at people. A Border Collie is a highly intelligent dog and because of this they have a strong desire to work their brain. They enjoy anything that stimulates their mind. They love learning and from my experience with Ali once they learn something it is forever a part of their memory. Something they can recall, remember, and do time and time again.
This is great for obedience type commands like sit and stay. It can be frustrating with other types of behaviors though as they do not forget them. Early on with Ali she would sit by me in the morning as a slept and gently paw my face until I woke up. This was adorable. It is now a routine, this is how I am awakened each morning.
Mental stimulation is actually not difficult. I have found many ways to do this with Ali which I will share in later articles. Often it is something I incorporate into our physical activity and kill two birds with one stone. It is absolutely something to consider and think about though before getting a Border Collie, not doing so would be a disservice to you and your dog.
Rules & Boundaries
This is another important requirement of the breed. As a working dog they want to please you. They look to you to tell them what to do and what is acceptable. I have read many articles stating that if you plan to get a Border Collie you should definitely put them through basic obedience school.
This is not a bad thing. I do not believe it to be a must though based on my work with Ali. As mentioned above these dogs are highly intelligent and they are eager to please. With a little work this makes teaching basic obedience very easy. One of the greatest benefits I found from teaching Ali myself is that she learned her obediance from me. She will listen to anyone she is with but will push the boundaries with people. With me she will not. Since I taught her she knows exactly where my boundaries are therefore does not try to push them.
In future articles I will share with you the ways I taught Ali her basic obedience as well as ways I teach her new things now.
If you are planning to get a Border Collie and are ready for the commitment you will not be disappointed. They are smart, loving and incredibly fun dogs to own.
Be sure to check back for more articles from Ali & I. We have plenty of pictures, videos and information to share with you. Feel free to leave us a comment as well, and follow Ali on Google+ (on the side bar) or on Twitter @bordercollieAliMental
© Irwin McNeely | BorderCollieAli & Border Collie Corner, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.