Many of the most common problems people have with their Border Collies comes down to one simple thing: lack of exercise for the dog. The Border Collie energy level is not something to take lightly.
So many owners hear this over and over yet always seem to look for some other way to control their dog’s behavior problems. These dogs are literally born and bred to run all day long. While they may be beautiful they are without a doubt a pure working dog. Those that choose to ignore or forget this simple fact are doomed to experience obedience problems, destruction behavior and unfortunately some possible aggressive tendencies.
Border Collies have been bred to be herding dogs, not show dogs. You’ve probably seen videos or pictures of them out in the fields herding sheep and cattle. It can be a fascinating thing to watch as these dogs control dozens or hundreds of head of livestock with little or no commands from their owners. In fact its videos and photos like those that get many people interested in the breed to begin with. The thing is many potential owners think the dog they see in the field will be different from the dog they bring home with them. They feel that since the environment will be different (a small backyard vs. a farm or field) the dog will behave differently. This is simply not true. The energy level, mental awareness and intensity is going to be there.
This breed has been bred to do a very hard job. It’s in their genes. The energy level, herding instinct and mental awareness is simply part of the package and not something that can be ignored, turned off or trained out. It must be dealt with every day for the life of the dog. There is no way around it and there are no shortcuts. This is not a breed that will sit in a corner on their bed and look cute all day without some work! It is possible to do and Border Collies can make amazing pets and companions if you are willing and able to work at it. If you, and your family, are not able to commit at least two hours a day to exercise and time for training and tricks on top of that, then it really might be a good idea to begin looking into another breed.
Don’t misunderstand my abruptness as a dislike for the breed however. I’d had the pleasure of owning a Border Collie for over two years now and this has been the best dog I’ve ever had. He has literally become a member of the family and I can not image not having him as a part of our lives. It has been a challenge, however, to come to an understanding of what our dog really needs. There are several factors to finding a good level with your Border Collie but first and foremost is the physical energy issue.
Getting a Border Collie has been different than any other dog I’ve had throughout my life. It’s been very difficult and frustrating at times but absolutely worth it. It takes time, exercise, training, constantly teaching new tricks to keep their minds challenged and more. Would I do it again? In a second. Should you get one for your family? It all depends. Talk with Border Collie owners, be prepared to train them and teach them tricks starting from day one and do your homework!