Difficulty Handling Border Collies

Border Collie

Some owners have difficulty handling Border Collies due to the breed's high energy levels, natural herding instincts, and tendency toward being stubborn. One visitor has an extra complication to deal with. See what kind of training advice the dog expert has to offer.

Visitor Has a Problem Handling Border Collies

I have two Border Collies. They get plenty of exercise in the yard, but will not go on walks; they pull on their leashes, and fixate on anything they can such as cars, people, rabbits and then try to chase them.

Also, we recently kenneled them for two days while we were out of town at my niece's wedding. Since then, one of the boys has been whining and barking when I go to bed, and he never lets up. I am also moving and am worried sick about how the one whiner will adjust. I am moving to a bigger house with a nice backyard. Please help, Mary

Expert Reply

Hi Mary,

Border Collies are just about the smartest breed of dog, however, their herding instincts run very strong. You are seeing evidence of this on your walks when they fixate on things and then want to take off to investigate further.

To address this particular problem, I highly recommend you enroll them in obedience. The first lesson focuses on training your dog to avoid distractions and keep his attention on you at all times. Hopefully there is another family member who can be responsible for training one of your dogs while you devote your attention to the other. This way they will both be on the same page, and one won't encourage the other to backslide.

Now for the whining. I believe your dog is suffering from a bit of separation anxiety due to your recent absence. You're going to need to train him to get used to short absences, then you can gradually lengthen the time away. There are several ways to go about this, but I prefer to confine the dog to his crate for a short time with something good to distract his attention away from the absence. You can try serving his dinner in there, or giving him a Kong toy stuffed with his favorite dog biscuit to chew.

Let him deal with things on his own for a few minutes, then let him out, but don't make a big fuss over him. If you fuss, then he feels like he's been through something more important than it really was. The main idea is to teach him that you'll always come back from short or long absences. This way he'll be less traumatized the next time you need to be away.

The fact that you are moving makes this a perfect time to start over in a new environment. However, make sure that the new yard is secure enough to turn them loose in. Border Collies can be notorious runners, and you don't want to chance losing them.

Thanks for your questions~~ Kelly

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