The breed was originally developed to work sheep in the borderlands of Scotland and England. The dogs were expected to work sheep on sparse rocky hills and wide fence-less pastures. They often ran twenty-five miles or more a day! The border collie was bred to work with the shepherd, but also expected to think independently and make decisions while working in the field. Not all border collies are bred for their herding instinct and abilities and are often pets or companion animals. Border collies are still used heavily for herding and moving stock, but you may now find some with little or no herding instinct. Herding instinct can be seen in companion dogs as some border collies may attempt to herd other animals in a home or even children. When children or other pets don’t comply, a border collie may nip. Border collies with herding drive are often surrendered to rescue where we strive to place them in a forever home that can meet their needs.
Border Collies are intelligent dogs and independent thinkers . . . if you don’t give them something to do, they will make something to do! (and it probably won’t be what you had in mind) Keeping a border collie’s mind active is a must. They need to be challenged mentally with training, rules/boundaries, and tasks. Border collies also require physical activity. You’ll find the most success with your border collie by being firm, fair and consistent with your training and expectations for your dog. Border Collies flourish with daily mental and physical exercise, boundaries and clear consistent criteria. Training a border collie should be positive reinforcement training where “positive” does not mean permissive, but means rewarding the dog for desired behaviors. Nebraska Border Collie Rescue is happy to provide a list of positive reinforcement trainers in your area.
Dogs 101: Border Collie by Animal Planet