If you simply google “the most intelligent dog in the world,” Google would instantly spit out “Border Collie.” Being a Border Collie parent is probably one of the bravest things you’d be doing in your life! We’re here to help you get it right.
The primary thing to remember when looking to mentally and physically stimulate your Border Collie is to ensure sensory organ enrichment. The activity that you pick has to put to work one or more of their 5 senses – smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch.
Let’s look at some stimulating ideas.
Interactive toys are one of the best investments when it comes to dog toys. They are as interesting as you make them to be. They don’t go obsolete in a couple of interactions like the several other toys lying in your dog’s toy basket as we speak. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones -
Puzzle toys, as the name suggests, are toys that serve as a puzzle for your dog to figure out. They generally have space to hold some amount of food/ treats in them. They have different levels of difficulty and can be adjusted depending on the dog’s capabilities and experience with them.
These are toys that hold a larger chunk of kibbles and dispense them when it is being moved around by the dog. Treat dispensing toys are a good way to not only feed a Border Collie, but also keep them engaged for a short period of time. It is recommended to bring out a treat dispensing toy in a spacious space to avoid it from going under the furniture or the couch.
Snuffle mats for dogs are usually made up of ruffled strips attached to a plastic or cloth base with space to hide the dog’s treats/ meals. The hidden food will encourage your Border Collie to use their nose to “dig” the food out.
Interactive games encompass those games and activities that involves the dog to perform tasks, typically using their sensory organs, in order to finish the activity. Following are some examples of interactive games you can play with your Border Collie.
- “Find it”
“Find it” games have several variations to it and can be played in almost any setting. It basically requires your Border Collie to ‘find the treat.’ This game could be tweaked and played in a variety of ways such as –
- Muffin tin with balls
- Hiding treats around the house
- The inverted cups game
- Hiding treats in the grass and asking the dog to “find it”
- Guessing which hand has the treat
- Scent work
Scent work requires your dog to recognize a particular scent hidden in different spots. It is an incredibly enriching activity and a highly stimulating one. Make sure to begin with a strong scent in a small surface area, then train your way up.
Treib Ball is one of the best sports tailored for herding breeds like Border Collies. This sport requires a dog to drive big, inflatable balls spread out in an area into a goal within a specific time frame. Some border collies also loves to play with a soccer ball!
- Trick and obedience training
Did you know, Border Collies have been holding the Guinness World Record for knowing over 200 words and performing tasks allocated to each for several decades? If dog training is up your alley, you couldn’t have asked for a better dog than a Border Collie. Now there is another border collie Chaser who is leaping ahead with even larger memory, recognising over 1000 objects.
Have you seen those cat toys with a rope and a little furry thing attached to a long stick that you can wave around for them to catch? Well, flirt pole is the dog version of it. It is bigger, stronger and highly durable.
Long Lasting Options
If a Border Collie could speak, they’d say, “I’m bored with this toy. What else you got?” at least 20 times a day. This is why we need stuff that will last long.
- Frozen feeders
Toys like the Classic Kong have so much more utility than just smearing peanut butter over them. Next time, try stuffing the Classic Kong with layers of your dog’s meal and let them figure a way to get it out. For added enrichment, freeze it for a couple of hours
- Edible chews
Edible options like Bully sticks, Sweet Potato chews, Himalayan Yak chews etc are not only safe for your Border Collie, but also super long lasting. A 12 inch Bully stick would do a great job in keeping your dog engaged for over 20 minutes while mentally tiring him out and thoroughly cleaning his teeth.
“Jobs” for your Border Collie
Border Collies have a strong work ethic and would thrive when they have a job. A job does not necessarily have to be intense field work. It could be something as simple as fetching a bottle of water. Border Collies are highly intuitive and observant animals. They will gladly assist you around the house with daily chores like laundry and fetching light weight items. They are also intelligent enough to excel in intense tasks like medical condition detection, search and rescue etc. Here are some ideas to consider for your BC -
- Help around the house
- Herding activities
- Carrying things
- Therapy work
- Service dog training
- Medical detection such as blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, etc
- Allergen detection work such as gluten, nuts etc