Border collies know and love their turf -- and they want everyone else to respect it, too. Your dog might alert you to visitors, salespeople, raccoons in the garbage, rabbits in the garden and even the innocent mail carrier. Visitors you approve, though, usually get an enthusiastic welcome.
Knowing Their Place
Border collies know and love their home territory. Border collies often develop a strong attachment to their home and don't stray far -- unless they spot a deer, vehicle or squirrel in need of herding assistance, and then all bets are off. Fencing your yard will help your dog understand the limits of his turf, keep him safe and reduce the chance of other animals straying into his domain.
Canine Alarm System
Border collies know when other people and animals are around. Your dog likely will bark every time the mail arrives, the neighbors walk their dogs, she sees a squirrel or bird through the window, or the doorbell rings. She might also try to herd your guests in the direction she thinks they should go. But while border collies make great watchdogs, they aren’t so good at guarding; once they’ve met someone, they usually become friendly.
Sometimes Silence is Golden
Without training, your border collie’s intruder-alert barking could become excessive and annoying -- not just to you but also to your neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment. Shouting, yelling or punishing the dog will only make things worse, but positive reinforcement and a little creativity can help you head off problems. Be a strong leader your dog can trust to handle a situation once he's alerted you. Teach him the “Quiet!” command. And be inventive in avoiding triggers -- block windows, keep curtains closed or distract him with treats when temptations pass by.
Unfortunately, because of temperament, lack of proper training and socialization, or both, some border collies cross from noisy notification to aggressive defense of their turf. These dogs can be dangerous to humans and especially to other animals. If you adopt a border collie from a shelter or rescue, ask if she gets along with strange people and other dogs. If you’re raising a puppy, train her so she knows the difference between sounding the alarm and attacking. Never tolerate growing, snapping or snarling; consult a professional behaviorist if your dog shows any of these behaviors.