Sunday, January 25, 2015

Border Collie Training

Training A Border Collie.

I have read a lot of articles about training a Border Collie. I won't say they are all wrong but I will say, from my experience with Ali, I disagree with most of them.

I understand each dog is different and each situation is unique. My sister runs an animal rescue, Ridge Rescue Society, this is where I adopted Ali from. Around these parts Border Collies get surrendered often. It is not an issue with the dogs but the people not understanding what they were getting into. Some of the dogs certainly have had some obediance issues, again not the dog's fault.

What I have learned though is these dogs all have certain characteristics that are almost always consistent from dog to dog.

I am not a professional dog trainer but I know what works with my dog.

Border Collie Trained to Climb a Tree
Here kitty, kitty..

Barking Up The Right Tree.

Considering I can get her to climb up a tree and walk out on a branch I figure I am doing something right.

Ali has never been hard to train nor have any of the other Border Collies my sister has had. They want to please you, this is what makes them so nice to work with. Their intelligence makes it a winning combination.

No Treats Needed.

I give Ali treats but I have never treat trained her. A Border Collie lives for praise. More often than not the thought of praise is the only reward Ali needs. I did need more to get her in that tree though. That is where her ball or boomerang come in. I redirected her focus to herd to fetching. As soon as a ball is in hand she cannot resist. She does get tasty treats, I just do not use them as rewards for training.

In the video below you will see us working on basic commands. I always incorporate these into fetch time as well. This keeps her sharp and alert. Consistent reinforcement of learned behaviors goes a long way.

They Always Want To Learn.

Ali seems to always want to learn new stuff, do new things. I can honestly say I know when she is bored and I try to avoid that happening. Walks are always different routes, we take smell walks, I mix command training and fetch in with walks. Currently I am teaching her to play the shell game. 3 cups, one rock. I cover the rock and mix them around trying to trick her. The rock works for Ali because it is something that can be thrown. She is getting quite good at it, I will be taking a video of it soon.

It's Not Them It's Us.

I do not believe anyone that will say Border Collies are difficult to train or hard to work with. I would say in most cases it is the people that do not understand what these dogs need. If you do not have time for them they will be trouble. Border Collies and boredom do not mix.

What are your thoughts? How do you train your dog?

© Irwin McNeely | BorderCollieAli & Border Collie Corner, 2015. Unauthorized use or duplication of this material without written permission from this blog’s author or owner is strictly prohibited. All pictures are my own & property of Irwin McNeely & Border Collie Corner.

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