As a working animal, the Border Collie has few worthy competitors; as a pet, the dog is nearly beyond compare, too-but only in the hands of the right owner.
The Demands Of The Border Collie
No past or present owner, trainer, handler, or breeder of Border Collies would pretend that these are not demanding dogs. The demands of the breed are the first thing any responsible Border Collie breeder or seller will tell you. This is not done in an effort to scare you away from owning a Border Collie, as the rewards for the right owner can be great. It is simply in an effort to ensure that your expectations of the Border Collie are reasonable, and that you are prepared to commit to your dog.
The demands of the Border Collie are a primary reason why these dogs are surrendered or turned into rescues. Border Collies are not usually given up because they are aggressive or ill-tempered; they are usually surrendered because the owner simply did not understand what they were getting themselves into when they bought the dog.
Border Collies have high energy, high intelligence, and strong work ethics. They are very athletic and agile because they had to be in their occupation and breeders selected these traits and bred for them.
The combination of these characteristics results in a dog that needs to be busy. They need to have both their body and their mind stimulated so that they do not develop bad habits and neuroses.
Border Collies require vigorous exercise for significant periods of time. There is hardly ever really enough exercise for a Border Collie, but without significant physical outlets dogs will become restless, bothersome, neurotic, and destructive (because a bored dog with no appropriate outlet will always find its own). Border collies love llent swimmers. Long walks are a must for most Border Collies-everyday. As a basic guide, plan to walk your Border Collie twice daily for 45 minutes, rain or shine; allow for 15-20 minutes of that time to be free-time off the leash.
Some type of training such as obedience training or teaching tricks and games is also recommended to stimulate the Border Collie mind. Trainers often recommend at least 15 minutes each day, and advise owners to add more if the dog seems to require more physical or mental stimulation (because Border Collies can run all day, and mental workouts are more tiring for them).
Most temperament and behavioral issues with Border Collies result directly from a lack of adequate stimulation. Bored dogs become obsessive and very creative at creating their own distractions; often, this comes in the form of destroyed homes and furniture.
It is imperative that people understand the needs and demands that a Border Collie will place on them and their home before they bring them home. These are not demands without rewards, as a Border Collie is a loyal, devoted, hard-working friend to those who know how to keep them, but they will significantly impact the life of the owner. In fairness to all dogs involved, only those who can keep up with the brain and body of the Border Collie should bring one home.