Border Collies are champion herders known for their stamina, strength, work ethic, and intelligence. As one of the most intelligent dog breeds, Border Collies can get stubborn and unruly, especially if not well-trained. So, what are some of the compassionate ways to discipline your Border Collie in case he becomes unruly?
Below are 7 compassionate ways to discipline a Border Collie:
- Adopt positive reinforcement.
- Redirect your Border Collie from bad behavior.
- Use a calm, composed tone.
- Give your dog time-outs, but don’t overdo them.
- Be consistent in your punishments.
- Introduce alternatives to your dog.
- Be careful with your reactions during training.
You want to learn how to discipline your Border Collie and get the best out of him, but you don’t want to be harsh to your dog, either. If so, then you couldn’t be in a better place. Read on as I discuss some of the best ways to keep your four-legged family member in check.
1. Adopt Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement, as the name suggests, is the act of reinforcing or promoting good behavior. With this approach, your job is to praise your Border Collie whenever he behaves well.
Pet parents and professional dog trainers widely use this approach to get the best out of different dog breeds.
Reinforcing positive behavior is a lot better than shouting or punishing your dog for a wrong that he probably didn’t know he committed.
For instance, if your Border Collie behaves well by performing exactly what you instruct him, you ought to pat him and give him a reward, say a treat to make him feel appreciated. Amazon has a great selection of training treats for dogs. If you get overwhelmed choosing the right one, I switch between Wellness Soft Puppy Bites or Pet Botanics Training Reward.
Rewarding him consistently for good behavior will let him know that he’s doing the right thing, motivating him to behave to keep the treats or rewards flowing.
The trick with positive reinforcement is to remain consistent in your rewards. It’s also advisable to increase the rewards if your dog maintains good behavior or drops bad habits for positive traits.
2. Redirect Your Border Collie From Bad Behavior
Sometimes the best way to discipline your Border Collie is to keep him from misbehaving in the first place.
For instance, if you spot your canine companion about to poop in an undesignated area, you can choose to stop him gently and remind him to use the puppy pad or his poop spot.
In case he listens to you (he most probably will), then you can praise him or even reward him for not making a mistake.
The love and affection a Border Collie gets from a parent goes a long way in keeping him on track, especially before he goes against house rules.
Therefore, if you want to improve your relationship with your Border Collie, keeping a close eye on his behavior should help you stop him from erring in the first place. This works well for puppies in training or slightly older dogs being introduced to their new home and family members.
You’ll notice that your Border Collie will become more thoughtful, especially before doing things that are against house rules or normal behavior.
3. Use a Calm, Composed Tone
While it might be tempting to take your frustrations out on your Border Collie, doing so will only strain your relationship and even make him a harder nut to crack.
Shouting and yelling at any dog, not just a Border Collie, does more harm than good and might make the dog anxious, less comfortable around you, and withdrawn — and you don’t want that!
Therefore, whenever your Border Collie misbehaves, it’s best to cool down and use a calm, composed tone to correct him.
For instance, if you found your Border Collie biting the couch, you can gently reprimand him, telling him ‘No biting’ in a firm and authoritative tone.
Communicating calmly will allow him to focus on the problem at hand, while shouting will get him scared and anxious, especially if he’s yet to acclimate to the new surroundings.
4. Give Your Dog Time-Outs, but Don’t Overdo Them
Border Collies are known to be active and social. And due to their herding instincts, these dogs love to be around people, other family pets, toys, or anything that makes them feel ‘not alone.’
As a result, most dog experts recommend using time-outs to iron out bad behavior. But while time-outs work well in disciplining Border Collies, it’s advisable to avoid overdoing it as Border Collies are predisposed to separation anxiety.
Try as much as possible to limit the time-outs to no more than 3 to 5 minutes. And for the best outcomes, it’s best to start the time-out immediately after your Border Collie misbehaves. Doing so will ensure he understands the cause of the time-outs.
Keeping the time-outs short improves their effectiveness in addressing indiscipline issues since most dogs have short attention spans and forget the reasons for the time-outs if they’re too long.
Moreover, excessively long time-outs might end up affecting your Border Collie’s confidence, leaving your dog feeling left out and unloved.
5. Be Consistent In Your Punishments
Another great way to discipline your Border Collie and keep his attitude in check is to remain consistent in your punishments.
As a good rule of thumb, you should try to maintain the same type of punishment due to bad behavior. Remaining consistent in your punishments will ensure your dog associates the repercussions to a particular negative behavior, which can go a long way in preventing him from repeating the same mistakes.
Always try to be consistent in your reactions. For instance, try disciplining your Border Collie seconds after making a mistake, as he’ll know exactly what he’s being punished for!
6. Introduce Alternatives to Your Dog
On most occasions, dogs misbehave due to a lack of attention, boredom, lack of enough play, or even limited socialization.
The best way to curb such issues is to introduce alternatives to your dog. For instance, if you’re Border Collie’s a notorious chewer, you can try introducing a chewing toy like the Tikaton Indestructible Dog Chew Toy (available on Amazon.com) that comes with an attractive beef scent to spike your pup’s interest.
Before presenting your Border Collie with an alternative, it’s highly advisable to gently caution him first. A simple ‘No!’ should be enough to notify him of your displeasure.
You can proceed to give him the treat after reprimanding him for bad behavior.
7. Be Careful With Your Reactions During Training
Pet parents are mostly responsible for promoting bad dog behavior by either failing to react firmly or laughing at some mistakes.
As an intelligent dog, your Border Collie might end up taking your response the wrong way, especially if you laugh or giggle at bites or fail to call out bad behavior firmly.
And while you should never shout at your dog, you shouldn’t encourage bad behavior either, more so by giggling or smiling when he behaves badly.
Remember to use keywords such as Bad, No, and Stop immediately you spot your dog misbehaving.
Following these 7 steps will help get your Border Collie trained properly and in a timely manner. Remember consistency is the key to a well behaved puppy.
- American Kennel Club: Border Collie Dog Breed Information
- Pawtracks: The Best Ways To Discipline a Dog Effectively
- Tractive: Train your dog: The importance of Consistency!
- K9 of Mine:Puppy Time Outs: How To Give Your Dog a Timeout!
- The Humane Society of the United States: Positive Reinforcement Training
- National Geographic: Some dogs are geniuses—just like humans