Activities For Border Collies

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Introduction

Border Collies are very active dogs and must have a job to do to make them feel like a valuable member of the family. Do not expect your Border Collie to just sit around and be a couch potato or sit quietly in the backyard when you do not have time for them. They will become destructive and even nuisance barker when they do not have a job. The possibilities are endless when it comes to activities for Border Collies! Check out several different options before you decide which activity to jump into.

Agility

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Any Day
Expensive
Normal
1 hr
Items needed
Agility Equipment
Treats
Leash
Collar
Activity description

Agility is a fast-paced activity that is physically demanding for you and your Border Collie. You will be required to quickly move through an obstacle course, guiding your dog through each obstacle as quickly as possible. It does take great dedication to train for competitive agility. If you are not sure you want to compete in agility, set up a small agility course in your backyard or find a local dog park with agility equipment and give it a try. If you decide this is something you want to pursue, find a dog club that offers agility training and go check it out. Be patient with your Border Collie and over plenty of encouragement and rewards while working through the course. 

Step
1
Find a club
For those wanting to pursue competitive agility; you really want to find a dog club that offers agility training. For those just wanting to dabble in agility, find a dog park with the equipment available or set up a course in your backyard. Agility equipment is expensive so it may be more cost effective to use someone else’s equipment.
Step
2
Learn the obstacles
Some dogs may be a little nervous when approaching some of the obstacles on an agility course. Take your time and be patient when introducing the obstacles. Go slowly at first and offer lots of encouragement. Treats also help to coax them through the course. As your Border Collie becomes more comfortable with the course, start encouraging them to move more quickly through each obstacle.
Step
3
Enter a competition
Once you and your Border Collie feel comfortable with the agility course, practice until you feel your dog will respond quickly to your commands. Then jump in and enter your first competition. Keep expectations low since it is your first competition and use it as a learning experience for you and your dog. Have fun and make friends with others agility competitors. Do not get discouraged and keep practicing, your dog will become better the more competitions they enter.
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Flyball

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Any Day
Moderate
Hard
1 hr
Items needed
Jumps
Flyball Lane
Ball
Treats
Leash
Collar
Activity description

Many people do not understand what flyball actually is. It is a relay race for dogs where two teams of four dogs race down a lane, jumping over hurdles and grabbing a ball at the end of the lane and then racing back to the beginning so the next dog can go. When you first see dogs competing in flyball you will be amazed at how fast they actually move down the racing lane. Sometimes dogs will have a natural propensity for flyball while others will really have to work to become competitive. Spend some time watching flyball competitions and talking with people who have been competing for a while before you jump in and start training. 

Step
1
Fetch and recall
Not all dogs are natural retrievers, therefore you have to make fetching a fun game that they learn to love. Dogs that love to play fetch will do great learning flyball. After teaching them to fetch, they will need to learn recall and be able to listen even in the middle of a race. Some dogs are too strong willed or have such excitability about them that they really struggle with recall.
Step
2
Introduce the jumps
Since flyball lanes do have jumps, you will need to set up jumps in your backyard or find a dog park that has jumps already set up. Use praise and treats when teaching them to go over jumps. Build them up to where they are going over jumps at a run. Be safe when introducing jumps and stop if you notice your dog experiencing any discomfort.
Step
3
Join a team
Once you feel that your Border Collie has the ability to do the jumps, fetch and recall, you will want to find a team. Most teams are formed through local dog clubs and that is the place to start. Since your dog is a beginner, look for a team of other beginners so your dog is not pressured too much to complete their runs perfectly. Too much pressure will make flyball not fun for your dog or you. Have fun with your team and learn together.
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Dock Diving

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Normal
45 min
Items needed
Life Vest (optional)
Dock or Deck
Pool
Toy
Collar
Treats
Activity description
Dock diving is an exhilarating activity to watch. Seeing dogs of all sizes soaring through the air and landing with a huge splash in a pool as they chase a toy is so much fun. Dogs that participate in dock diving also seem to be having the time of their life. So what exactly is dock diving? It is when a dog runs down a 40 foot dock and then jumps into the pool after a toy that has been tossed. The distance of the jump is judged from the end of the dock to the tail set of the dog where the dog enters the water. Dock diving is not for every dog; go slowly when introducing them to this activity.
Step
1
Swimming lessons
The most important thing to remember is that not all dogs are natural swimmers. If you are unsure if your dog is able to swim start slowly and introduce them to a shallow body of water. There are life vests for dogs and these really do help dogs that are not strong swimmers. Spend time with them in the water and teach them to enjoy swimming. Dogs that do not like to swim will probably not excel at dock diving.
Step
2
Build toy drive
Instead of prey drive, build their toy drive. Thankfully, Border Collies love playing with toys. Foster this behavior and find a toy that is appropriate for dock diving that can become their favorite toy. Teach them to catch the toy as they are running. This will come in handy when they are learning how to run down the dock after their toy that is being hurled over the water. Most Border Collies are intrepid and will try almost anything if they think it will please you and be fun. You might try tossing their toy out into a shallow creek or pond and see their reaction. This will let you know if they are going to embrace dock diving.
Step
3
Find a club
To be competitive in dock diving, you will need to find a club that has access to a regulation dock and pool. Jumping into a pond or lake are good ways to get them used to jumping into a body of water, but it is completely different than the regulation dock and pool. Your Border Collie will need to learn the feel of the dock under their feet as they race down and when to launch themselves into the water. This takes practice and encouragement.
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More Fun Ideas...

Herding Trials

Herding trials are actually the ideal activity for Border Collies; however, these trials are not necessarily for everyone. It can be pricey to compete in herding trials and it does take a great amount of commitment for your dog to be competitive. All herding trials are held outdoors in any type of weather, although, most herding trial organizers will postpone or cancel events when severe weather is in the forecast. Your Border Collie will use their natural instincts and have fun working livestock. This is a great way to wear them out so they are not hyperactive when at home. 

Disc Dog

Disc dog challenges are a great way to burn excess energy and keep your dog excited to play games. In disc dog, you and your Border Collie will work as team with you throwing the disc and your dog catching it. Disc dog can either be choreographed freestyle catching or distance catching. Both are challenging and fun to participate in. Training for disc dog challenges can be done in your backyard as long as you have plenty of room to run and throw the disc. This is an outdoor activity, so you will need good weather to train. 

Conclusion

Border Collies must have an outlet for all the energy they possess. Finding the right activities to keep them healthy and happy should be relatively easy. There are so many different options for your Border Collie and each one helps form a close bond between you. Expect to spend at least an hour each day engaged in some type of activity so your Border Collie can become a valuable and well-adjusted family member.