Working with an Abused Border Collie

We got an email from reader Sharon O. a few days back with a question on living and working with an abused Border Collie and I wanted to share it here…see if any of our readers might have some advice or recommendations…

Sharon writes…

“I have a border collie that was basically thrown out of a car in a decent neighborhood, mine.  The vet says he is 6-9 months (he had hook worms and was flea infested ) and he has been beaten or hit to the point of cowering every time I even try to reprimand. I need help with getting him to stop chewing everything in sight, and I don’t want to crate him all day.  I also can’t get him to stop dragging my son down the road chasing after squirrels.  We walk him 3 times a day at best and run him whenever we can.  He is soooo loving when he isn’t bad, please advise thanks in advance!! PLEASE HELP :)”

My first thought is to contact a local Border Collie Rescue branch. Best bet is to simply Google “border collie rescue” + your state and see what you find. These folks probably have either some great advice on their own or may know of local trainers or folks that specialize in this sort of thing.

My second thought, and I’ve got no idea if this is accurate or not, is if this little guy is so young and he’s dragging your son all over the place some basic lead training may go a long way. If he does come from a rough home life he may never have been taught how to walk on a leash.

Readers…thoughts for Sharon?

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  1. Stacey says

    My husband and I have to border collie rescue, both came with some issues very similar. Don’t give up on the pup. Having an abused dog takes a lot of work and patience but,it is worth it. Both of my dogs we have had for a year now and time and time again something will bring them back to their abuse. We have created safe areas for them with their favorite toys and a blanket that my husband and I sleep with. We do this so if it happens and we are gone they can go to th safe place and smell us. It really does work.

    For walking try getting a gentle leader. We bought ours at Petsmart for $20. it is worth it in my eyes. if i walk our dogs without they pull me the entire time. With the gentle leader i can walk both of my dogs by myself with no issues.

    As for the chewing, that is because they usually aren’t getting enough exercise. Our dogs will chew or start to dig if we haven’t down enough with them for the day. Try getting a frisbee to tire them out quickly. We also have given our dogs the puppy chewing toys if they just need to chew. We put those in the freezer and our dogs view them as a treat since it is cold.

    I would defintely reach out to the Border Collie rescue organizations in your area. they are a big help especially if you havef never had one before. Hope that helps!

  2. says


    Thanks for the note and good points. Funny you mention the gentle leader…I’ve never used one but a guy in my neighborhood just started using one for a “high energy” puppy…he loves it.

  3. John says

    My wife and I have a border collie that was rescued from a puppy mill. When we first got him, he would chew things if we left him alone for even a few minutes. We learned over time that it was because he didn’t like to be left alone. We tried making him a safe place that had some of his toys and a bed to lie on, but he quickly learned how to open the gate and let himself out! We ended up with a small (but not cramped) kennel that he couldn’t open, and over time he somewhat grew out of the destructive stage. He will occasionally take a used tissue and shred it, but that’s a rarity now.

    We learned that we don’t need to yell or raise our voice to correct him (he’s very sensitive). When he does something he shouldn’t, he usually knows, and sometimes all it takes is a look. Sometimes we’ll just tell him “kennel” and he will give himself a timeout. We don’t lock him in the kennel anymore. That has become his “safe” place, and he will often go there if he senses we are going someplace without him.

    They really do love to please. You just need to figure out how to use up some of that border collie energy with constructive things like chasing balls and anything else that will get them running. They love to run!

    Just be patient with him and let him know when he’s been “good.” This breed responds really well to praise.

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