A collie runs toward the camera.

Things to Know When Training a Collie

Collies are very intelligent dogs with plenty of energy to spare, so without training, they may become a little hard to handle.

When training a Collie, experts recommend early socialization and obedience training. Training a Collie should be a life-long event because the dog can become easily bored and they must be mentally and physically stimulated to stay healthy and happy. Collies always enjoy learning new tricks and are eager to please.

When training a Collie, remember that Collies respond best to consistent rewards-based training. This dog enjoys the attention that comes from performing. So the Collie loves to do tricks and to compete in agility or herding events.

Any dog can develop unwanted behaviors such as barking and digging if the dog is bored, untrained or unsupervised. Start training your new Collie the day you bring him home. They are capable of learning from a very young age. Don’t wait until your Collie is 6 months old to begin training or you will be dealing with a dog that is more headstrong. Your Collie should have early socialization and obedience training beginning as a young puppy.

Overview of Collie Behavior

Collies are very family-oriented and they love playing with children. While a Collie makes a great companion dog for a single person, he will bond with the entire family. The Collie is very intelligent and is always learning and watching people.

The Collie is an active and athletic breed that is eager to please and incredibly intelligent. Training a Collie is fairly simple because Collies are easy to train and they enjoy picking up new commands and tricks.

This breed is loyal and affectionate, smart and quick to learn. Collies love people. They are very sociable. The Collie is a great addition to homes with children and homes with other pets. They are very loyal. They are gentle and devoted to their owners but their guarding instincts make them suspicious of strangers. Collies are always alert.

They respond well to consistent reward-based training and they enjoy the attention that comes with performing. Collies are great at doing tricks or competing in agility, obedience or herding events. Outdoors the Collie loves to run and play, but indoors he is calm and happy to just be part of the family. Collies also make great therapy dogs because of their calm nature.

When he becomes bored the Collie can become quite vocal. Your Collie’s bark tells you that he needs attention.

Because of his herding background, the Collie likes to nip at people’s heels in play, so it is important that you train your Collie not to do this.

Collie Intelligence and Ability to Learn

Collies are intelligent, eager to please and energetic. Collies are so smart that they have been trained for many purposes including a rescue dog, a guide for the blind, a movie star and a guard dog. You can teach a Collie almost anything as long as you approach them properly and keep the nature of the Collie in mind.

Because Collies are so smart, you can teach them quite complicated things. But when you first begin training your Collie puppy it’s always best to start with the basics. Once your puppy has mastered the basics you can move on to more complicated things.

This smart dog is very easy to housetrain and he will quickly learn tricks. Just remember that it is important to switch up activities now and again to prevent boredom.

Best Practices for Training a Colli

Collies are very persistent and they are easily trained dogs. Training a Collie requires a calm, firm and confident manner. You should set the rules for your Collie to follow and be consistent in your training. Be gentle with your Collie but show your authority. If you are meek or passive the Collie will think that he has dominance over you. In that case, the dog will never listen and may become willful and stubborn.

The first things that you need to teach your Collie puppy are potty training, basic commands, and leash training.

Potty Training

When potty training, you should expect that your dog will have some accidents. Begin by having set times for your puppy to go potty. For a puppy, this should be every two hours and after meals. You should also have a set location, whether that is outside in the yard or inside on some newspaper. Take your Collie to the same location every time you think he should go potty. If he goes in the right area, reward him with plenty of praise and affection. Over time they will learn to automatically go to this area on their own. Time and patience is the key to good potty training. Never get angry or yell at your dog if he has an accident. This will only make him confused and anxious and it will prolong the potty training process.

Teaching Commands

When teaching your puppy commands, start with the basics: “sit”, “down” and “stay”. The more you repeat doing these commands the quicker your dog will learn them. Shorter daily sessions work better than longer sessions that you do every so often. When your puppy does a command correctly, reward him with treats, affection and plenty of praise. This will encourage your puppy to keep learning. Once your puppy learns these commands he will probably remember them for life.

Leash Training

Leash training is also important because it means that you can control your Collie outside your property. It will take some time for your puppy to get used to his collar and leash so be patient. Let your puppy get a feel for the collar and leash before you take him out for a walk. Your puppy will naturally want to lead you, so use treats and plenty of affection to get your puppy to let you be the leader.

As you continue your training, look for things that you and your Collie can enjoy together to make training a fun time for both of you, rather than a chore. Your Collie loves to spend time with you so he is likely to enjoy any type of training you want because it is a chance to spend time together.

Collies are very sensitive to their owner’s wishes and needs so your Collie will try hard to do what you expect of him. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your Collie. Use a combination of treats, praise, and positive interaction to reward your Collie for doing the right thing. This causes your dog to repeat the wanted behavior hoping for more rewards. When your dog responds incorrectly, you simply withhold the reward until your dog corrects the behavior.

If you correct your dog negatively for an error, especially if you are harsh, your Collie can become unsure and fearful. It is best to always stay positive when training your Collie.

Since the Collie is very active by nature and quite intelligent, this breed does very well with dog sports and competitions such as obedience, agility, rally, and herding. Remember, the time you spend with your dog deepens the bond between you – and when they are given activities to occupy their time and expend their energy they are less likely to find ways to get into trouble. A Collie who is bored and lonely will often bark incessantly and that’s something that you just don’t want.

Because of their natural herding instincts, Collies have a tendency to herd people and other animals. They often nip at people’s heels during the herding and that can be a little frightening, especially to young children. So as a puppy, your Collie must be taught not to herd humans. To stop your dog from herding, spend some time working with your Collie on a leash until you have complete control. Don’t let the Collie think that it is okay to follow his instincts outside of your control. Otherwise, you will have a Collie that chases after children, pets, bicycles, and cars – and that’s definitely not what you want.

Socialize your Collie as a young puppy so that he may develop into a well-mannered companion. Socialization teaches your young Collie to accept other people, sights, sounds, and animals. With proper socialization, your Collie will not be afraid of meeting new people or of experiencing new places and things. A well-socialized dog is much easier to live with and to train.

To learn more about owning a collie, read our article Owning a Collie: Things to Know.