Caring for a Border Collie
Animal file: Border Collie
Welcoming a dog into your home and keeping them in the best state of health requires looking after them in various ways. You'll need to care for your pet's physical, mental and social well-being, which goes beyond checking for symptoms of illness.
All dogs require some basic care, including daily walks, a balanced diet, and being kept enough company so that they don't suffer from stress or anxiety. However, the FCI or Fédération Cynologique Internationale recognizes more than 300 dog breeds. As such, you need to be able to distinguish your pet's breed and their specific requirements.
If you have a Border Collie as a pet, you're in luck - your companion is an extremely clever and trainable friend. Stay with us at AnimalWised and learn all about caring for a Border Collie.
What are Border Collies like?
In order to know the specific care that this breed requires, it's important that we briefly go over the main traits and characteristics of the Border Collie.
The Border Collie is found among the smartest dog breeds, occupying the number one spot in the ranking devised by Stanley Coren, a professor of psychology. The Border Collie's intelligence translates into an obedient dog with a great attention span, restless and agile when it comes to their learning process.
This breed is alert, vigilant, responsive, affectionate, docile and sociable with people and other animals. Border Collies are also very curious and inquisitive, and you mustn't forget that they were originally bred as herding dogs. Therefore, they require lots of physical exercise; in order to care for a Border Collie properly, you'll need to give them a large space where they can run around, explore and play.
Another significant trait of the Border Collie is the great loyalty with which they will reward their owner, whom they end up viewing as the pack leader. As such, your Border Collie will create a strong emotional bond with you and bravely accompany you at all times.
How much exercise do Border Collies need?
As we mentioned, an important aspect of caring for a Border Collie is to cover their physical and mental exercise needs. This is a herding breed; these dogs have an innate capacity to act as shepherds. Therefore, if you have cats or small children at home, it's perfectly possible that your dog will try to round them up like a herd of sheep.
This is certainly something to avoid if you don't want your children or other pets to get thoroughly scared, so you must provide enough exercise for your Border Collie to fulfill this impulse. All dogs need some exercise, but the amount and type of exercise will vary according to the breed and individual characteristics of each animal.
Border Collies require about an hour and a half of daily exercise, which will need to be split between several walks and activities. One such example is agility; a dog sport which is highly suitable for this breed owing to their great capacity for concentration. Whenever possible, training your Border Collie to herd actual sheep will be an excellent idea to let them release energy and sharpen their skills.
Training a Border Collie
Training a Border Collie is a very simple process, because these dogs are highly intelligent. They usually learn new commands with very few repetitions. This, together with their obedience and willingness, makes Border Collies very easy and fun to train.
However, precisely due to their high degree of intelligence, there is a strong possibility that your Border Collie will get bored during the training session. You must use positive reinforcement, the basic pillar of dog training, but you must also choose advanced activities that your dog enjoys, such as rounding up cattle, going through agility circuits, searching for lost objects and playing with other pets.
Training a Border Collie requires as broad a range of activities as possible in order to avoid boredom and optimize the learning process. You'll have to make an effort to keep your dog motivated.
Socializing a Border Collie puppy
The Border Collie is a very sociable dog, both with people and other animals. Another key aspect in caring for this breed is to prevent them from becoming reserved or shy in adulthood. If you want your Border Collie to have a balanced and calm temperament as an adult, it's important to start the socialization process as early as possible.
Socializing a dog means ensuring that they come into contact with different people and animals. By doing so, your adult Border Collie will be confident and friendly. If you adopt a dog as an adult, it's still possible to socialize them, although this is a much more time-consuming and expensive process and will sometimes require professional intervention.
Do Border Collies need to live with the family?
Caring for a Border Collie means giving them a large space to exercise, but it also requires a warm family atmosphere to live in. As we said in our article where we answered the common question "Should dogs live outside or inside the house?", Border Collies are not dogs that you can leave on their own for many hours on end, as this will be totally counterproductive for its mental health.
Remember that this is a docile and affectionate dog that enjoys playing, especially if you have children. Therefore, in order to properly look after your Border Collie, you should give them lots of time and affection. This dog needs to live with a warm and sheltering pack; as such, a large family would be ideal environment for a Border Collie's development.
Caring for a Border Collie's coat
Border Collies have a double coat, which can be smooth or rough depending on the dog's ancestors. It can be kept short or worn moderately long. This double coat protects them against changes in temperature, and therefore it merits special attention and care.
In order to keep the Border Collie's coat in top condition, it needs to be brushed daily using specific canine grooming products. However, this dog breed should only be bathed when strictly necessary. In fact, because Border Collies are herding, working dogs, some beauty competitions actually penalize an excessively clean, treated or shiny coat.
Caring for a Border Collie's health
Like any other dog breed, Border Collies require regular veterinary check-ups and need to follow the vaccination schedule for puppies and dogs.
Even though this is a breed that usually enjoys good health, the Border Collie has a particular tendency to suffering from hip dysplasia, neurological disorders and eye diseases. Therefore, taking them regularly to the vet will be the most effective way to prevent and spot these pathologies early on.
If you want to read similar articles to Caring for a Border Collie, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.