Collies are sweet dogs with mild and gentle dispositions. They typically make great family or working dogs and are extremely intelligent. However, early, consistent and appropriate training is critical with the collie, as they can be prone to timidity and skittishness. These traits can be overcome, but it requires appropriate action on behalf of the owner. Here are some things to understand when training your collie:
Collies are very sensitive to noise and tension.
In order to be happy and calm, a collie needs a calm environment. If your home is tense or extremely noisy or hostile, your collie will sense this and will retreat.
Collies must be trained through positive reinforcement.
All dog trainers will tell you that positive reinforcement works better than harsh correction for training all dog breeds. However, this is especially true of the collie, whose feelings get hurt very easily. If you are overly harsh in correcting your collie, he may shut down entirely and become very stubborn and unwilling to obey. Collies are generally compliant dogs, but they do have a stubborn streak that can come out when their feelings are hurt. Treats and praise when your collie is well behaved are far more successful than negative consequences for inappropriate behavior.
Collies must be well socialized.
In addition to basic obedience training, collies are a breed that requires early and consistent socialization in order to avoid them being timid, shy and skittish, particularly around strangers. Make sure that you take your collie out to the park and introduce him to other dogs and to people. Keep him involved when you have guests over; in most cases, collies are very polite and will simply lie down after greeting a stranger. A puppy play class is also a good way to socialize collies with other dogs. During these classes, puppies learn to play together and share water bowls and toys.
Give your collie plenty of family time.
Collies are known for having separation anxiety when they're forced to spend too much time away from their families. One sure way to create a timid, skittish and unhappy collie is to banish him to the back yard. Keeping your collie indoors except during exercise, so that he can be with your family will keep him happy. When you must leave him alone for an extended period of time, give him toys to play with and have someone check in on him if you're gone too long.
Collies are one of the best dog breeds for family pets. They are gentle and easygoing and adapt very well to family life. However, to ensure that they grow to have the best disposition possible, it is important to train them according to certain guidelines. When you understand the collie's nature, you can train them in a way that will bring out the very best that this breed's special personality has to offer.