The Border collie is one of the UK’s most popular dog breeds, because the breed as a whole is so versatile – they are excellent working dogs, usually excel at canine sports, make for great exercise partners, and love their families.
However, one element of caring for a Border collie that first-time buyers often overlook is just how much exercise dogs of the breed really need – and the problems that can arise if you are unable to provide it.
If you live a fairly sedentary lifestyle and your plans for dog ownership involve a half hour daily walk and perhaps a period of play in the garden, the Border collie is unlikely to thrive – and even very active people that spend a lot of time doing things with their dogs are surprised by just how much stamina dogs of the breed have, and how hard it is to actually tire them out!
Whether you have your heart set on owning a Border collie and no other dog will do, or if you are still trying to decide if this is the right breed for you, in this article we will look in more detail at the Border collie’s need for exercise and stimulation, and how to fulfil it within a domestic environment. Read on to learn more.
Training is integral to owning a responsive and well-mannered dog, and training the Border collie can be highly rewarding because this breed is the most intelligent of all dogs, and can learn and execute such a wide range of skills.
Dogs of the breed also actively enjoy learning, having something to do and a task to fulfil, and so training the Border collie should be considered to be a lifelong endeavour, to keep the dog on their toes and engaged with you, and avoid boredom.
Training sessions can be integrated into daily exercise and play, as well as taking the form of dedicated sessions, and it is also important to ensure that your dog has rules and boundaries to provide a reliable routine within the home too.
To keep a Border collie happy and thriving and to provide enough exercise for them, there isn’t really an upper limit to the extents to which a fit Border collie can tolerate – many working Border collies are on the go and running around all day long, and emulating this within a domestic environment can be a challenge that must be carefully tackled.
Two hour-long daily walks that are varied, energetic and lively will generally ensure that your Border collie has all of their needs met, and that your dog is calm and relaxed when in the home.
However, short-cutting in terms of the dog’s exercise requirements, putting them into the garden to stretch their legs in place of a walk or not providing enough physical exercise can soon cause problems.
The Border collie isn’t a breed that will tolerate missing a walk either – and they soon get cabin fever if cooped up inside for too long!
Allowing your Border collie to run and play off the lead with other dogs is a great way to take care of some of their exercise requirements, without having to do a lot of running around yourself! Dogs of the breed are very social and love to play with others, but if there is a game of fetch in the offing or the chance to play directly with a handler, the Border collie can become very competitive and soon leave the rest of the pack behind!
Integrating off the lead play and socialisation with other dogs into your Border collie’s daily walks will help to meet their needs for both emotional and physical stimulation.
As mentioned, you shouldn’t try to replace your dog’s proper walks with time in the garden or play within an enclosed space, but all of these things can help to enhance your dog’s day, allow them to work off some of that excess energy, and give them something to think about.
Games of fetch, scenting games and other interactive play are all things that the Border collie loves, and even when it comes to toys and treats, giving your dog a puzzle toy that they have to work out to earn a reward rather than simply offering them a treat or a toy all helps too.
Border collies are a great breed for canine sport, and you can see dogs of the breed excelling at the highest levels in every field, from agility to flyball to heelwork and more. Up-and-coming canine sports that work to hone the dog’s herding abilities are becoming more common within the UK too, and so finding a sport that you and your dog can take part in together can help to provide stimulus, enhance your bond, and teach your dog new skills.
Border collies are very single-minded, almost to the point of obsession, and take everything they do very seriously. A quick game of fetch to give your dog something to concentrate on will almost certainly ensure that you are tired out well before your dog is – even if you’re just standing still throwing the ball!
Finding a task or a job for your Border collie to give them something to focus on as well as providing exercise is important to keep your dog happy, and again, to provide them with another opportunity to run around and work off some of that excess energy.