Border collies are avid herders and may attempt to herd cats. Although they don't typically mean to harm other animals, nipping and other herding behavior can injure cats. With proper training, however, you can prevent herding behavior and get your border collie and cats to treat one another as equals.
Adopt your border collie while he is still a puppy younger than 12 weeks old. Dogs raised with cats when they are puppies are substantially less likely to display aggressive behavior, and if your puppy grows up with cats, he is less likely to see them as prey animals in need of herding.
Socialize your puppy to your cats before he is 16 weeks old. Encourage him to interact gently and play with them, but if you see him nipping or biting at the cat, separate your pets immediately. Click your training clicker and give your dog lots of treats every time he interacts positively with the cats.
Give your border collie plenty of daily exercise. Border collies are not only one of the most intelligent dog breeds, they are also one of the most hyper. Intelligence and hyperactivity can quickly get your dog in trouble if he's not getting sufficient exercise, and he may resort to herding your cats. Border collies need at minimum one hour of exercise each day, and puppies generally need much more than this. Several brisk walks or runs, rousing games of tug and games of frisbee can all help to calm your dog. Border collies excel at sports like flyball and learn to play them quickly when they are young, so consider enrolling your puppy in a flyball class to burn off his energy.
- Living With a Border Collie; Dita Kilsby
- Your Purebred Puppy: Border Collie Temperament
- The Power of Positive Dog Training; Pat Miller
- Put your puppy in a crate when you are away from home. This ensures that you can carefully supervise his behavior with the cats until he is fully socialized.
- Give your cats a safe place where they can escape your dog. Even well-trained border collies may try to herd and chase cats, and your cat needs an escape route. Otherwise, he may become aggressive toward your dog.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.