Ways to Keep Your Border Collie Busy

by Valerie A. Modreski
    Hey wait -- what, no, I'm ready. Throw it!

    Hey wait -- what, no, I'm ready. Throw it!

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    Incompatibility is the No. 1 reason shelter personnel hear from people who relinquish their dogs. Border collies are an active breed who require human interaction and regular exercise. A dog lacking an energy outlet looks very much to us like a naughty dog. Border collies do best with human companions who are often on the go.

    Reports from the American Kennel Club urge new dog owners to do their homework before acquiring a dog. This is especially true for the border collie. Understanding the history of this breed gives us a hint to his canine instinctual requirements. Sheep herders originally from Scotland and England, border collies need a job. Lacking gainful employment, a border collie will chew, nip, shred, break, pull, topple and eat every available item in the house. While all dogs are individuals, the AKC reports border collies are an active breed that need regular exercise. Three walks per day, for at least half an hour, and structured daily yard play helps to expend your border collie's energy, but this breed needs additional activities.

    Cesar's Way magazine says sharing in activities with your dog is a bonding experience that helps mold his temperament. Border collies do well in canine competitions, and agility training is an excellent workout for your dog. With the popularity of canine agility trials, numerous training locations are available nationwide. Dog parks offer another energy outlet for organized dog play. Reputable dog parks require a recent health certificate and shot records, and do not allow dogs prone to aggression. They're a safe, fenced-in, romping terrain where your dog can meet and play with other dogs. Fairs and festivals, hosted by dog organizations such as the Humane Society, offer actual sheep-herding exercises in which dogs can participate.

    Sometimes getting outdoors with your border collie is just not feasible. Some pet parents exercise their dogs by using treadmill machines. Safely attach your dog's leash to a stationary part of the equipment and start your dog out at a walk. Slowly accelerate the speed until your dog is moving at a trot. Once your quick-witted border collie gets used to the propelling footpath, he will begin to anticipate his next jog. Another popular puppy trend is doggie day care. Facilities, designed to give your border collie a full day of fun and frolicking with other dogs, have opened all over the country. Doggie day cares offer continuous adult supervision and organized play. Always research credentials, ask for references and speak with other dog owners prior to leaving your dog for the day.

    Creating interactive games with your border collie expends energy and promotes cognizant function. To play hide and seek with your dog, have your dog heel beside you. Toss a treat around the corner and when he goes to retrieve the goodie, hide from him. When your border collie finds you, and he will, be sure to praise him for his success. Houdini hound is a game where you hold both fists out, one with a hidden treat and one empty. Once he noses the correct hand, he gets the treat, and praise. Hide the toy is a brain game. Take one of his favorite toys and hide it in places easily accessible to your dog. He might need a little help at first, but once he gets the hang of the game, he'll work overtime to please.

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    About the Author

    Valerie A. Modreski has been a professional writer since 1982. She studied English literature at Broward College, and has written for a variety of publications. Modreski holds certifications in canine behavior and has worked extensively in the field of obedience. She also has hands-on experience in all issues related to canine welfare, including veterinary medicine, rescue and activism.

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