Known as the most intelligent of dog breeds, the border collie can be a devilish fiend when bored. Border collies possess a near-magical ability to demolish houses, destroy yards and chew through furniture, all before breakfast. Provide physical and mental exercise to head off chewing problems before they begin.
Puppy-proof your house and yard. Put away all unsecured items waist-high or lower, tape long cords to the wall or floor, tack rugs down, place locks on cabinets and get a trashcan with a lid. By preventing access to items your border collie normally destroys, you can head off the chewing issue.
Crate-train your border collie to provide a safe, secure place for her when you're not home or can’t supervise her. Because borders are known escape artists, consider zip-tying the crate along the edges and sides for extra security. Attach clips or carabiners on the door to prevent your dog from pushing or bowing the door enough to get it to open. Keep your Houdini-dog crated if she's not in your direct supervision.
Supervise your dog when she’s out of her crate. If you're watching her, she's unable to get herself into trouble. Verbally correct your pooch for behaviors you don't approve of and praise her for playing with her own toys, chewing on appropriate objects, laying quietly and running around in the yard without destroying things.
Provide appropriate toys, objects and items for your pup to entertain herself with. Stuff and layer treat-dispensing toys with peanut butter, cheese, kibble, wet food, Greek yogurt or shredded meat. Freeze them for an extra challenge. Offer raw bones and toys made for destructive dogs, like Kongs, West Paw Design Zogoflex or Goughnuts, to give your border an outlet for chewing.
Exercise your border collie at every opportunity. Border collies are bred to run miles a day herding sheep and, at the end of the day, still be ready to go at a moment's notice. Exercise needs to be interactive or your pup won't get much out of it. Border collies are social and tend to suffer from separation anxiety. As such, simply turning your border loose in the yard is likely to result in her sitting at the door waiting to be let inside. Go outside with your pooch and throw a disc, play fetch, go for a run, hike, swim or do anything that gets your highly active dog moving. One of the bonuses of owning a border collie is the built-in exercise plan.
Take up a canine sport for organized physical and mental exercise. A tired dog is a happy dog, and a happy border collie isn't chewing up your stuff and demolishing your house. Borders excel at nearly every canine sport. Agility, freestyle, obedience, rally and tracking in particular offer great challenges and benefits. For a low-cost sport that doesn't require much equipment or time but packs a serious exercise punch, take up canine weight pulling.
Teach your border collie basic manners and obedience. Borders are extremely easy to train and they pick up new concepts quickly and without difficulty. Not only does training provide mental stimulation, it also helps you learn to communicate with and control your pooch.
- Your Purebred Puppy: Border Collie Temperament What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
- Sweet Border Collie Rescue: Understanding Border Collies
- Petfinder: How Do I Stop My Dog From Chewing?
- The Humane Society of the United States: Chewing: The Whys and Hows of Stopping a Gnawing Problem
- Dog Time: How to Stop Dogs from Destructive Chewing
- Petfinder: Destructive Chewing
Since 2001, Kea Grace has published in "Dog Fancy," "Clean Run," "Front and Finish" and an international Czechoslovakian agility enthusiast magazine. Grace is the head trainer for Gimme Grace Dog Training and holds her CPDT-KA and CTDI certifications. She is a member of the APDT and is a recognized CLASS instructor. She's seeking German certification from the Goethe Institut.