Now that your sweet little Border Collie has settled into your home, you might have decided that it’s time to start training. Besides potty training, basic obedience commands such as sit and stay will be the first things your Border Collie needs to learn.
Teaching your Border Collie these simple behaviours will be the key to establishing a happy relationship between the two of you. After all, a dog with good house manners requires far less discipline, leaving your relationship in a far more positive place.
Training your Border Collie is an excellent opportunity for bonding and establishing trust as well. So now that you know where to begin, you might be wondering how.
Thankfully, we have rounded up all the basic information you need to get your Collie’s training started. Keep reading to learn how to teach your Border Collie to sit and stay.
How to Train a Border Collie to Sit
Thanks to some advice from professional trainers, there are two main methods of teaching your collie to sit that has been established as the most effective.
Here’s what you need to know about them:
Capturing Method: The main premise of “capturing” is to teach your Border Collie to do a natural-occurring behaviour when you ask them too.
You will want to start by standing in front of your pup with their favourite treat. Then, you will wait for them to sit naturally on their own, and reward them with the treat when they do.
You will want to add a verbal confirmation phrase as well- something as simple as “yes” is good, but you can also swap it out for “good boy/girl”- whatever feels natural to you.
Then, take a step backwards to entice your collie to stand again, and restart the whole process. Allowing your dog to sit on their own, then offering a reward in repetition is a good way to help your dog to connect the dots.
Once it seems like they are starting to get it, you can introduce the phrase “sit” as your dog is beginning to sit. Practice this in a few repetitions as well.
Luring Method: This method is designed to be a little more hands-on in encouraging your dog to sit. While sitting beside them, you will want to place your Collie’s treat in front of their nose and then slowly raise it above his head.
As your dog has to arch his head to get the treat, they will likely start to sit as this is a more natural and comfortable position.
Once your dog is fully sitting, allow them to eat the treat you were holding. Once you have repeated this a couple of times, you can use your empty hand instead of a treat, just be are to continue to reward your Collie overtime they sit down.
Eventually, they will begin to recognize the hand signal for sit
and you can introduce the word.
How to Train a Border Collie to Stay
If you are going to train your Border Collie to stay, you are also going to need to teach them when it okay to go again. To do this, you will also need to teach your Collie a “release word”.
Choose something simple that works best for you such as “okay” or “come on”. Believe it or not, you are actually going to want to teach this release word first.
Start by asking your puppy to stand still with you and then luring them forward with a treat, while saying your release word. You should do this a couple of times, and then toss your dog the treat after they start to move.
Your Collie will begin to understand that this means “start moving”. Once your Border Collie understands the release word, you can have them sit opposite you and have them pause for a set amount of seconds- then release.
Slowly introduce the phrase “stay” and gradually increase the amount of pause between stay and release.
Eventually, you can start backing away from your dog and have them continue to hold their stay until you use the release word. Don’t forget to reward at the end of every stay.
Special Considerations for Training a Border Collie
Every dog will have its own unique personality traits that should be taken into consideration as your prepare to train a new command, and you will get to know these as you progress in your training journey together.
However, there are also some broader considerations to be taken based on their breed, and Border Collies are no exception.
Here are some tendencies and challenges you may face when training your Border Collie, as well as some simple tips on how to combat them:
Hyperactivity: Border Collies are likely going to struggle to focus on what you are teaching them at first until they realize you are giving them a task.
As a breed, they require constant mental stimulation and will get easily distracted if they are bored. Besides sticking it out until your Collie cooperates, there are a couple of things you can do to help your dog focus during training.
The most important one is to tire your Collie out. Bring them to the dog park for a good run-around or go on a long hike before your training sessions. A tired dog is going to be a much more cooperative dog- since all of that pent-up energy has already been exhausted.
Food Motivation: Border Collies are known for not being overly food motivated, which can be a major frustration for owners who are trying to begin training, especially since treats are recommended for motivating your dog to do just about everything.
But don’t worry, their are other ways to reward your Collie for good behaviour.
Border Collies are always looking for confirmation of a “job well done” so you might find that physical affection and verbal praise goes a long way in encouraging your Collie to listen to you- just do what works best for you and your pup.
Consistency: Border Collies are highly routine-oriented canines, so do your best to be consistent with their training. This means you will need to practice often and be sure to reward your Collie every single time they preform the desired behaviour.
Basic Tips for Training your Border Collie
You know how to train the behaviours you’re looking for, and you’ve also learned a little bit about the unique training needs of your Border Collie.
But what else do you need to know about training a dog that will make the process run a little smoother?
- Go in with moderate expectations: Your puppy is still a baby. You would not expect your man infant to learn anything overnight and the same thing goes for your Border Collie. Be patient with them- learning new things is going to take some time. Its also worth reminding yourself
that your dog is not a human. Dogs do not inherently understand the english language- it’s your job to teach them what each command means, using a method they can understand (not more talking).
- Reward, reward, reward: Training is all about the reward, so try to reward more than you have to, whether that is with treats or praise. Be sure you are rewarding quickly- too much time between the behaviour and treat will make it much more difficult for your dog to connect the
dots between behaviour and reward- your Collie may think the to instances are completely unrelated. Catch your dog doing the behaviour you’re trying to train out of the blue and reward them. If your dog likes the outcome of the behaviour, they are going to keep doing it, and you’ll find they do it a lot more in their daily lives than they do during a training session.
- Stay positive: Your Border Collies can sense when you are upset. Especially if you start showing outward signs of frustration, your Collie will also begin to get agitated and anxious, and probably act out. A happy dog is far more likely to be cooperative. So as hard as it can be, try to keep your emotions in check. Training is mostly about establishing trust, so you need to remember that you are the emotional rock for your dog as they navigate this new territory. Try to focus on their good behaviour rather than the bad, and give your dog some love after a training session-regardless of how it went. The Takeaway While training your Border Collie might be timely and frustrating at first, once you have established a rhythm together you will find it becomes much easier, and a well-trained Collie is sure to be one of the best companions you can have.
Teaching your Border Collie to sit and stay is going to provide a wonderful base for training new tricks and is a wonderful opportunity to bond with your furry friend.
Article By: Brenna Harris