Border Collie Behavior

Unwanted Border Collie Behavior And How To Cure It

Your Border Collie puppy is very intelligent and it will learn fairly quickly. Just as quickly as it learns good manners, your pup can learn behavior that is impossible to live with. Things like barking, digging, chewing, and boredom can all lead to destructive behaviour from your border collie. And, most of the time, you have only yourself to blame....

You need to watch when you praise and reward. How often have you comforted your border collie by saying ‘it’s okay’ when your border collie is barking for no apparent reason? Or patted your border collie as it jumped all over you, while at the same time telling it to get down? Or you have rescued the ball 20 odd times from under the couch every time your border collie barks in the last hour?

Can you see a pattern here? The bad behaviour is rewarded on one hand, and on the other you are trying to tell your Border Collie to do something else. Mixed messages are being sent. This confuses your border collie so it continues to do what it gets rewarded for.

The most important thing to remember, above all else, is consistency. A lack of consistency is the single biggest mistake you can make when training your Border Collie. For example, begging for food when you eat is a behaviour you do not want in your border collie. If you want your border collie to stop begging, then you have to stop feeding it while you are eating. If one of the children or your partner is slipping it food under the table, no wonder your Border Collie sits there begging for food.

Another thing, do not expect your border collie to think, feel or act like a human. It is a border collie and does not think the same way we do. Learning about and understanding your border collie’s behaviour will also help you in your training together.

Barking that Drives you Crazy

Bark, bark, bark. Your border collie is driving your crazy. You are at your wits end and do not know what to do to stop it. And, you just cannot work out why your border collie is barking so much.

Your Border Collie barks to tell you something. You just need to work out what your border collie is saying. If it seems to be nothing, divert its attention.

Some breeds tend to bark more than others. And, while some barking is normal, such as when visitors arrive, unnecessary barking is irritating for you and anyone that can hear it. Some of the things your Border Collie may be trying to tell you when it barks include:

Your border collie may have an empty water bowl or want to go out. If you think this is the case, call your border collie and ask it to sit. Praise the behaviour and then fill the water bowl or let your border collie out. By doing this you are not encouraging your border collie’s excessive barking or rewarding the barking but still giving your border collie what it needs.

Some Border Collies bark just because they can, after all they are working border collies. Here is something to try next time your border collie is barking for no apparent reason:

Step 1. Use the word ‘quiet’ in a firm tone when your border collie barks for no reason.

Step 2. If your border collie stops barking reward and praise.

Step 3. If your Border Collie does not stop, put on the lead and call it to you. Move away from whatever it is barking at and get its attention on you. The instant your border collie looks at you, praise and reward.

Step 4. When your border collie stops barking, ask it to sit or lie down beside you and praise the good behavior if it sits quietly.

Techniques to help your Border Collie Stop Barking

There are many reasons why your Border Collie will bark, here are some techniques to help you stop the barking:

Make sure you correct unwanted barking when it happens. Correcting your border collie for barking while you are out will make no sense to your border collie. It has forgotten all about and you were not home. If you have to catch your border collie in the act.

When correcting barking behaviour, use a calm firm voice to help your border collie listen. Yelling or a high pitched voice will make your border collie think you are joining in and make them bark more.

Does your Border Collie Beg?

Border Collies beg because we have taught them begging works. Your border collie begs for your attention, food, and anything else they might want by just giving you that ‘sad-eyed, hopeful look’. The look you find so difficult to resist. Now begging has become a habit how do you break it?

Begging is a learned behaviour and you and your family have taught your border collie how to do it by simply responding and rewarding the behaviour. If you give your border collie whatever it wants or needs every time it barks, whines, or paws you, you are simply teaching it the behaviour works.

What are you doing when you slip your border collie a bit of food because it sits there with big sad eyes watching you eat? How can you expect your border collie to understand when the next time you say no when it whines for food when you eat? If you are inconsistent with your expectations, you only confuse your border collie.

If your Border Collie puppy does not get what it wants, it soon stops displaying the unrewarding behaviour.

To break your puppy’s habit of begging:

Always feed your border collie after you and your household eats. Pack leaders always eat first. If your border collie continues to beg for food, put it outside at mealtimes.

Again, consistency is the key. If you give in out of frustration after your border collie’s persistent begging for an hour, what do you think you teach it? You teach it if it begs for long enough you eventually give in. Your border collie is training you again.

Think of the situation as you would a child that nags its parents until it gets what it wants. If that child’s parents never give in, then the child will not bother nagging. It is only the child that has learned that by constant nagging they eventually get what they want that will keep up the pressure until they succeed. This is the same for your border collie.

Train your border collie to fit into to your household and always praise and reward good behaviour.

Bored Border Collies become Destructive

A bored Border Collie is a dog that will become destructive. Border Collie’s are not a breed you can leave in the backyard day after day without exercise and mental stimulation. If your Border Collie gets bored, and you ignore its needs, it will find inventive ways to amuse themselves, and that will cost you money and drive you crazy.

When a Border Collie is bored it will:

If your border collie is bored, here are some things to help relieve its boredom:

If your Border Collie has a well-balanced lifestyle, with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, it is unlikely to develop irritating behaving.

At night, after a long day, you may not feel like a high energy game of fetch or a walk, but you can still stimulate your Border Collie. Do things with your border collie such as have it bring you its toys or do its repertoire of tricks for treats. Spend some time working on a new trick. Have your border collie keep you company as you lockup for the night before going to bed.

Problems with Chewing

Chewing is typical in most puppies, and Border Collies chew too. It becomes a problem if they chew electrical cords, shoes, plants, and anything else left in their path. If you are not careful, you can find your prized possession reduced to shreds when your back is turned.

Stopping your Border Collie puppy from chewing should be simple. The best way to prevent unwanted chewing is to distract its attention when you catch it in the act.

While chewing is normal behaviour, it is not normal when it is destructive. Some of the reasons a Border Collie chews include:

To change the behaviour, make sure you have some good chew toys on hand and when your border collie chews something that is off limits:

  1. Distract it with an ‘oi’ or ‘no’ in a deep, firm voice. This sound will remind your puppy of its mother’s growl, and it will take notice.
  2. If your border collie responds by looking at you, reward it with a chew toy.
  3. When you see your Border Collie chewing one of its toys, praise it so it knows what things it is allowed to chew.
  4. Make sure your border collie always has access to chew toys as this will distract it from chewing other things. If your Border Collie starts to chew a forbidden item, say ‘oi’ and give it a chew toy and praise it when it chews on the toy instead. This helps your Border Collie puppy identify the difference between what it can and cannot chew.
  5. When your Border Collie is young, make sure anything that is attractive to your puppy is out of harm’s way. Limit your puppy’s access to the rest of the house by closing doors until it is old enough to know the rules and you can trust it.
  6. Exercise your border collie more and increase your training to exercise your Border Collie puppy’s mind.
  7. Put your border collie outside when you are not at home with a few toys to keep it occupied.

If your Border Collie is chewing you out of house and home, here are some techniques to keep in mind:

Border Collies can Dig to China

Border Collies can be diggers, and it is either a characteristic or a learned behaviour. You border collie may also be bored and be trying to dig under the fences in search of more interesting things to do. Often this is a sign your Border Collie’s needs are not being met and it needs more attention or exercise.

To work out why your Border Collie is digging consider where it digs, when it digs (is it only when you are out), and the result. There are many reasons why your border collie is digging:

If your Border Collie’s digging is driving you insane and your garden is looking worse for wear, there are a few ways to deal with the situation to get a good result. Here are some tips to help you manage a digging problem:

The key things to remember when dealing with digging behaviour include: