Bearded collies are exuberant, happy companions. Originally bred to help move sheep or cattle, they are part of the American Kennel Club's herding group. Beardies are smart, affectionate dogs who love their people and make good family pets. Playful and lively, they love children. Bearded collies are very active dogs who require daily exercise and space to run.
How Beardies Think
Bearded collies are trainable, and they need to have a job. They are sensitive and intuitive, and they pick up easily on their owner's feelings. As herding dogs, the breed was developed to move livestock. You may find a beardie nips at your heels in play, especially if you're moving away from him. He is herding you. Bearded collies were bred to think for themselves while moving sheep. A beardie may think he knows better than you do. This breed needs a firm but kind owner who will take the time needed for training.
Early socialization is important for bearded collies. Start a beardie puppy as soon as you can in activities away from his regular environment. Take him with you whenever you can. Beardies enjoy meeting people, and they benefit from exposure to new faces, places and sounds. Enroll your puppy or adult beardie in obedience classes to facilitate his training. Beardies love to play and need activities that engage their minds. A bearded collie will excel at obedience, rally or agility.
Your bearded collie must know that you are in charge. He needs consistent training and responds best to positive reinforcement. Beardies are sensitive dogs who will be intimidated by shouting or aggressive techniques. This type of training will result in a fearful dog rather than a willing pet. Start training a beardie puppy to basic commands early, using rewards such as praise and treats. Keep training sessions short -- a few minutes for a puppy to 15 minutes for an adult. An older dog is equally trainable. Bearded collies are eager learners; they can master new tasks through adulthood.
Be prepared to work at training a bearded collie. They are smart but independent and can appear stubborn when they don't respond to training. Your beardie is trying to decide what it is you want him to do and whether he wants to do it. Always be calm during training. Avoid becoming angry or frustrated; your beardie will sense this and shut down. Instead, end your training session on a positive note with something simple your dog has already mastered and reward him with some playtime. Return to the new command on a different day. It will seem like two step forward, one steps back, but a beardie owner must be persistent and patient.