Even a spoonful of border collie DNA in his blood means your pup has the potential for extreme intelligence and enough energy to go full-out all day long. He'll need your help to find the right mix of training and activity to keep his body and mind busy and balanced.
Finding the Source
Get to know your furry friend's heritage if possible. Hybrid or mixed breeds run the gamut in their ancestry. Your pup might display easily identifiable traits from each bloodline, such as the energy of his border collie mom and a short coat that mimics that of his Labrador father. If so, he'll probably need less brushing than a rough-coated border collie and much more daily activity than even his high-energy Lab cousins crave.
Teaching Him the Ropes
Start obedience training early and enlist the help of a professional trainer if this is your first furry kid. A border collie mix often needs an experienced hand and the ins and outs of obedience training take a little practice. Learning even a simple command like “Sit” is nearly impossible for your pup if you repeat yourself or misfire with timing. A reputable trainer should teach you to read your dog's body language and communicate what you want from him in a positive manner. Fortunately, your border collie mix likely has a strong desire to please and the smarts to achieve his goal.
Keeping Him Busy
Tailor his exercise routine to his energy level. If your pup is more border collie than anything else, a couple of daily walks just won't do. Breeders designed the border collie to work all day gathering sheep in the mountainous terrain of Scotland, running wide and fast around herds of woolly critters intent on going their own way. It's hard to ignore those got-to-get-moving genes. Under-exercised Border collies often become hyper and neurotic. He'll need a safe space to run full out several times a week, if not daily, and will gladly chase a ball or Frisbee rather than herd sheep.
Feeding His Mind
Watch for signs of boredom or frustration, often showing up as chewing or other destructive behavior. With his exceptional IQ and reasoning ability, a Border collie needs to work his mind as well as his body. Many popular athletic activities for dogs give him a chance to do both, such as agility events that make him choose the right path at top speed as he ducks through tunnels, balances on teeter-totters and weaves through a series of flexible poles. Border collies also excel in search and rescue, obedience trials, tracking events and, of course, sheep-herding.
A medical writer since 1990 and successful home-based business owner for more than 14 years, Sandra King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications. She uses her formal education, professional insight and extensive volunteer involvement to cover topics on health and fitness, pets, parenting for a lifetime, building healthy relationships, conquering business basics and developing career goals.