Border Collie Rescue - Main menu bar Border Collie image        Link to My Donate

Contact Border Collie Rescue

You are here >>> Breed Advice >>> Information Leaflets >>> Interactive Skills for the BC

Border Collie Rescue - On Line - Interactive Skills for the Border Collie

weband1size.JPG (33261 bytes)

Interactive Skills for the Border Collie

Exercises.gif (3442 bytes)

By BCR Member  and Dog Trainer - Jo Phillips.
The Border Collie is a breed that has been born and bred to work.

People keeping them as pets often need to be able to find an alternative to working the dog that will release the pent up energy & fulfil the need for mental stimulation that the breed has.

If these needs are not satisfied the dog may end up very frustrated and develop behavioural problems. - This leaflet covers a variety of things you can do.

Where the category title has a link attached to it you can find out more about the activity listed.

First -

Have you ever thought of joining a club so that you and your dog could do more things together, meet new friends and join in some activities orientated towards the dogs needs, as well as your own?

If you are lucky enough to own a Border Collie then you probably know by now that this breed needs mental stimulation as much as physical exercise.

There are many ways in which you can provide this mental stimulation, sometimes taking care of the physical exercise need as well.

Above all, joining a club and learning how to work together will help to build a bond between you and your dog so that you can both, more fully, enjoy the years ahead together with common interests.

You don’t have to compete to enjoy these activities. - You can do them simply for mutual fun!

WARNING: You’ll probably soon catch the bug!!

It can be fun for both you and your dog - but - don’t start to take it too seriously.

Competitive work can be very gruelling and in some cases, obsessive, putting pressure on the dog to WIN. That’s not what it’s all about at all - it should only be FUN.


Agility is an obstacle course for dogs, consisting of things like jumps, tunnels climbing frames, see-saws and weave-poles which the dog must negotiate in the order specified by his or her handler.

You negotiate this obstacle course within a certain time limit and you loose marks for making mistakes - like knocking over obstacles or refusals.

What a sense of achievement and bonding you both feel whilst working together.

It’s great fun for the dogs, they love it, especially collies and good for developing timing and control for the trainer, it also develops dog-trainer rapport.

Because it is so equipment intensive, it does usually have to be carried out with an agility club that has the necessary safety regulations etc.


Flyball is a relay race between teams of four dogs who must, in turn, jump over four hurdles, paw a trigger release mechanism called a Flyball Box, catch the tennis ball which flies out and then come back to their handler over the four hurdles with the tennis ball.

The first team to complete successful runs with their four dogs wins the race.

This is an extremely predatory, addictive activity for dog and an exciting spectator sport. Many Flyball participants play just for fun and exercise.


The dog is taught to follow the path of a track-layer, who leaves a scent trail.

In tracking, the goal is not to teach the dog to scent - he already knows how to do that - but to motivate him to want to keep tracking the layer’s scent.

The dog also needs to indicate articles the layer has dropped and discriminate between the scent of the layer and other people who cross the layer’s course.

The scenting ability of dogs is truly amazing.

It’s a time-intensive sport but truly satisfying if you like witnessing dogs employing their natural gifts.

Sheepdog Trialling

This is the obvious choice for a Border Collie owner and many people are now getting involved in this pastime on a weekend basis - even if they are not farmers or shepherds.

This is not a sport to be taken lightly - the dog will take it very seriously and you should only be looking at this form of interactive skill if you have a field and sheep of your own or access to sheep on a regular basis, so you can practice and work your dog.

Without these facilities, you may find that your dog gets overly frustrated between events and this may lead to uncontrollable reactions around the sheep.

Particularly bad if you are out on a walk and the sheep receiving the attentions of your dog belong to someone else.

Working Trials - Click for fuller explanation

Working trials cover a variety of doggy activities related to different working applications for dogs. Hence the name.

The dog and handler have to prove themselves in Obedience training, Sheep work, Agility, Searching & Tracking, Etc.. In fact working trials cover most of the activities in this leaflet.

Competitive Working trials also include Police dog work so the Border Collie competing in this sport will need to be strong and assertive to stand a chance up against GSD’s and other ‘Attack’ breeds.

Working trials were most popular with professional dog handlers in the army, police force and prison service but these days they are outnumbered by the non-professionals. An all round activity for the best, working trials welcomes all comers.

Obedience Training

There is a difference between obedience training classes and an obedience club. Many clubs hold public classes but not all Classes are associated with a Club who’s members compete at KC events.

Obedience is teaching your dog to carry out exercises by cues that you give him.

It builds a bond - you feel you can communicate with your dog almost as if he can speak the same language.

In Competitive Obedience there are certain tests set. Within each test there are various exercises. The dog has to win so many exercises before it can progress to the next level where the programme becomes harder.

To move up a level is an achievement. It makes you feel very close to your dog because you have taught him to do these exercises and to do them well.

You can join Obedience Classes almost anywhere.

You don’t have to compete if you don’t want to, but if you do wish to compete then ensure that the classes you join are run by a KC registered club.

Some clubs hold what are called match nights when the competition is between members, for fun.

This activity isn’t as energetic as Agility but still provides the mental stimulation and concentration that a collie needs.

It’s a great hobby if you are not up to charging around a ring at 100 miles an hour.

Border Collie Rescue recommends all dog owners to attend obedience training classes until they have good control over their dog.

Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme

The Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Scheme is to promote responsible dog ownership and in turn, enhance our relationship with pets and to make the community aware of the benefits associated with owning dogs.

Essentially, the scheme centres around an obedience examination or test, conducted by a recognised dog training expert, under the auspices of local dog training societies.

The scheme is open to any dog, irrespective of breed and since the scheme was introduced, almost as many mongrels and crossbreeds as pedigree dogs have taken part.

For more information about these listed activities, please contact Border Collie Rescue.


You are here >>> Breed Advice >>> Information Leaflets >>> Interactive Skills for the BC

Copyright - Border Collie Rescue - 3037504