Border Collies are the rocket scientists of the dog world! They are considered to be among the smartest and most trainable of dogs, which should make training them to “come” easy, right? Maybe... unless they outsmart you!
The reason they are so trainable is that Border Collies have been developed to learn complex commands and behaviors required for herding livestock. They tend to be excited about their work and they are very high-energy, another trait required for their work. However, the chasing and herding motivation, along with their high energy, can result in them being reticent about coming when called. The 'come' command is one of the most important for your dog's safety, especially your active Border Collie, to keep him out of danger that could result from running away, out on a road, or chasing livestock when he is not supposed to.
The good news is, your Border Collie is very oriented to be part of a team with you, so training him to come can be a matter of developing that team mentality and making coming to you a great experience that your dog wants to do. Border Collies want to work and they want to please their team members. Training them to be obedient to commands like 'come' is a matter of tapping into that natural inclination. So don't let your Border Collie outsmart you, be the team leader!
Because of their natural intelligence and energy, training a Border Collie to come when called is more successful if established from a young age. If an older dog has developed bad habits, they can be a challenge to reshape. Successful Border Collie trainers find they need to address the dog's working instinct and high energy level and tap into them for success.
Making coming when called part of a fun game by playing hide and seek, stimulating your Border Collie's mind and making coming to you a treat, will ensure success. Never punish your Border Collie after he comes to you for a transgression, or follow it immediately with a negative consequence such as leaving the park. Instead, play with your dog before leaving, or give him a treat and attention when he comes. Border Collies also thrive on consistency; they are so smart that if you are inconsistent they will pick up on this and use it to their advantage. A lively, interested Border Collie exploring its world can be a challenge to get to come when called. Getting your dog's attention by cheerfully calling his name or by initiating a game like hide and seek or fetch works better than yelling or reprimanding him and then calling him. Punishing your Border Collie, will teach him that coming when called means he gets in trouble!
Won't come when neighbors dogs are out. Totally ingnores my call. Continue s running and barking at other dogs on other side of fence
Hello John, Other dogs can be extremely distracting and it is not unusual for a dog to ignore a known command in the presence of other dogs. Practice Angus' "Come" command around other dogs while a thirty or forty foot leash is attached to him. The safest way to do this is to have him wear a padded back clip harness and to attach the leash to that. Work at a distance from the other dogs first, such as on the other side of your own back yard, at a park with other dogs, or in the parking lot of a dog park. As he improves decrease the distance between Angus and the other dogs while you practice "Come". Tell him to "Come" and if he does not come on the first call then immediately reel him in with the long leash, have him "Sit" and focus on you, and when he is focused on you tell him "OK" and let him look at or go toward the other dogs again. Practice this multiple times in a row until he comes willingly when you tell him to. Any time that he ignores your command bring out the long leash and practice this as well, to remind him that "Come" is not optional. If you do not have the long leash already attached to him and he ignores your command, then go get him rather than repeating "Come". The idea is to teach him that the only way he is allowed to get to other dogs and do what he wants to is if he does what you ask him to do first, and that he is going to have to come either way so he might as well do it willingly. If he comes willingly when you call him then give him a treat when he arrives and is focused on you, before telling him OK again and letting him go. If you regularly use "Come" to get him to come back inside when he does not want to, then teach him a second command, such as "Inside", so that the word you use for "Come" is not associated with something negative, and less effective during an emergency. You can also leave "Come" alone and teach your dog "Here" for emergencies in addition to "Come" for the backyard and every day life things that are less fun. You can enforce that second word the same way that you enforce "Come", with the long leash, going to get him when he does not come, and rewarding him for obeying willingly, but if your dog is ever in an emergency situation you do want the "Come" or "Here" command associated with something bad, or your dog might not comply when it matters most. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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