Are Border Collies good with kids? The answer is both yes and no.
Many parents worry that the herding nature of Border Collies will pose harm to young children. This is a valid concern as Border Collies can get pretty intense. On the other hand, Border Collies are smart and highly trainable, which is why many people believe that this canine can be trained to get along with a child.
Getting a family dog is a big step, especially if you have a young child. You have to be very careful with the breed, specifically its personality and temperament. But if you’re bent to get a Border Collie pup, there are some things you have to keep in mind.
Understanding the Border Collie temperament
Before getting a Border Collie, it’s very important to know their usual behavior. This will help you assess whether the dog suits your family and kids. The following are some of the quick points to know:
🐶Border Collies are working dogs
You can’t expect a Border Collie to lounge at the couch all day long. They were bred to take on a job and be dedicated to it.
As herding canines, Border Collies are nippy and somewhat aggressive. They were trained to herd livestock on large farms. This very behavior can become dangerous to children, especially toddlers and infants. A Border Collie will try to herd a toddler, which can lead to injuries.
🐶Border Collies have intense energy
Another thing to keep in mind is that Border Collies are very energetic. They can easily topple a child or hurt an infant. Even with enough supervision, it’s not easy to handle a Border Collie around very young children.
The hyperactive drive of Border Collies is suitable for older children, those that are old enough to understand the limits of interacting with the canine.
Nevertheless, the intense energy of Border Collies is suitable for growing children. This breed will encourage your older kids to get out and play in the yard. Border Collies are the perfect Frisbee and agility buddies that will surely give everyone a dose of their own exercise.
🐶Border Collies are not apartment dogs
If you’re living with kids in an apartment building, there’s no way you can raise a Border Collie in there. This dog was bred and raised in ranches, so they need a large space where they can run and exercise.
Keeping Border Collies in apartment buildings will only brew a slew of behavioral problems. This will put your children at a much greater risk.
Without ample exercise and mental stimulation, a Border Collie will become destructive and aggressive. They will try to vent their energy on anything they can find, god forbid, it’s your small child.
Even if you have a large backyard or farm, you should still remember the other points I discussed here.
🐶Border Collies are sensitive
Kids tend to be pinchy, something that many Border Collies can’t tolerate. Your dog may snap at the child if the latter pinches or roughhouses the dog too much.
This is the same reason why you should only consider getting a Border Collie when your child is already grown. Ages 10 and up are more aware of their surroundings and can understand the rules of interacting with a dog.
Raising Border Collies with small kids
Still, many pet owners have tried raising a Border Collie with their children. The key here is getting a young puppy, so it will build its personality and temperament around your kids.
Border Collies can be wonderful family pets, but they need a lot of work to train and socialize. Remember that they are far from the docile personality of Golden Retrievers or Poodles.
Also, you should know that it’s not the Border Collie who will adjust to your family. Your kids need to understand that this dog isn’t like others. You have to implement strict rules and always keep a close eye on your dog when interacting with the child.
How to train a Border Collie to be kid-friendly
Raising a Border Collie and a child together is a two-way street. Both the child and the dog needs to be taught how to respect each other’s space. To help you raise Border Collies with kids, here are some tips to keep in mind:
✔️Get the pup from a legit breeder
If you want a Border Collie that will grow up as a disciplined canine, you should get it from a legitimate breeder. Professional dog breeders use standard Puppy Culture to ensure that all their puppies will be trained, socialized, and desensitized even before they are transferred to the care of the new owner.
Also, legitimate Border Collie breeders don’t raise the dogs inside cages. The pups freely roam a ranch or farm as part of their training.
✔️Watch their eye
Border Collies are known for their hypnotic stare. Once you see your Border Collie locking its eyes on the child, you should intervene right away. This is a sign that the doggo is ready to pounce and creep up on a target.
Call the dog’s name and if it comes to you, reward it with a treat. This will teach your Border Collie that leaving your child alone is rewarded behavior.
✔️Focus on training
Training is very important if you want to raise a Border Collie with your kids. You have to focus on dampening the herding behavior so that it won’t become a threat to your little ones.
As an intelligent breed, it’s a joy to train Border Collies. They can easily pick up and memorize commands using positive reinforcement. You can also teach them tricks to keep their minds stimulated.
For this breed, training is a continuous task. You have to ensure that your Border Collie’s command recall is always sharp.
Moreover, obedience training is a critical foundation for all the training sessions you’ll do. Start with the sit, stay, come, and leave it commands. From there, you can introduce more complicated drills. You can also allow your child to join you in training the dog.
✔️Socialization, lots of it
Socialization plays a big part if you want a Border Collie to get along with kids. You have to desensitize your dog to the presence of small humans on a daily basis.
Once you brought your dog home, arrange a meeting with your kids. Tell them to stay at a distance and let the dog come in their direction. Make sure that the pooch is leashed and within your control.
After that, let the Border Collie pup see your child and observe how it will react. If it barks or exhibits signs of aggression, end the encounter right away. Try again and this time, use some treats to reward the canine. If the pup didn’t react harshly toward your child, give it a treat right away.
From there, you can ask your child to take a step closer. Take this process slowly to allow the dog to adjust properly. In a matter of weeks, your Border Collie should be more comfortable with your child.
Aside from your family members, it’s important to expose the pooch to other people and pets. You can invite a friend over and perform the same desensitization process. As for other dogs, you have to be careful since Border Collies aren’t fond of other canines.
✔️Spay or neuter the dog
Another way to help tone down a Border Collie’s aggressive tendencies is getting it fixed. Most dogs can be spayed within the first six months of its life. For female canines, spaying should be performed before the first heat cycle.
Many Border Collie owners noticed a major difference between an intact and fixed canine. While fixed Border Collies will remain active, they are friendlier and less sensitive than their intact counterparts. This will make them safer around kids, though training will still play a big part here.
✔️Dedicate your time
Border Collies are no walk-in-the-park dogs. They need a lot of work, and they don’t fit busy families. If you’re looking for a companion dog for a lone child, a BC may not be a good choice. You’re better off with a more laidback and docile breed.
✔️Lots of mental stimulation
Border Collies are working dogs, so you need to keep their minds busy with a task. Agility courses, Frisbee, and fetch are just some of the best ways to keep a Border Collie happy. As your children grow older, you can let them join the game with your dog.
Also, you have to satisfy a Border Collie’s exercise needs. An hour of walk and high-speed playtime with this breed is usually enough to substitute their activities on the farm.
Teaching your kids how to interact with dogs
It’s also important to teach your kids the right way of interacting with a dog. This will prevent Border Collies from snapping or getting annoyed with a child’s behavior. Here are some parenting tips that work for us:
- Teach your child to be gentle. Border Collies are sensitive that why it’s important to teach your kids to hold the dog gently. Discuss the consequences of pinching the dog and how it will affect the canine.
- Teach that not all dogs like kisses. You should also teach your kids that not all doggos love hugs and smooches. Let your child know that if the dog struggles during a hug, he or she should let the pooch free.
- Teach them the signs of an agitated dog. For grown-up kids, you can start teaching the signs of an agitated dog. This will let them read the dog’s body language and act based on it. For example, if the Border Collie is staring coldly at them, your child can throw a toy to distract the behavior. Teach your kids that running isn’t the best move.
- Teach the dogs to avoid. Your child should be aware of the things he or she shouldn’t do when interacting with the Border Collie. Teach your child not to do the following: chase the dog, pull the tail, wake the sleeping dog, and take the food/toys from the dog. Also, your child should stay away while the Border Collie is eating and never try to take away anything from its mouth.
- Teach your child to wait for you. If your child wishes to play with the Border Collie, teach him or her to call your attention first. This is important in the first months of having the dog at home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why you shouldn’t get a Border Collie?
A: If you have a baby, you should avoid getting a Border Collie. Wait until your child is big and old enough to interact with the dog before you bring home a pup. This will be for the safety of both the child and the dog.
Q: Are Border Collies good off-leash?
A: As herding dogs, it’s not a good idea to let a Border Collie run freely in public places. You can let them road around without a leash within your yard. Take note that Border Collies are made for off-leash living, so you should never tie them up all the time.
Q: Can Border Collies be left home alone with kids?
A: No, you should never leave a Border Collie alone at home with young kids. You should have someone to supervise the child and the dog to prevent untoward incidents.
Q: Are Border Collies good house dogs?
A: If trained well, Border Collies will become amazing family dogs. However, they still need a yard where they can run around and satisfy their herding instincts.
Are Border Collies good with kids? Yes, if you raise them right and if you introduce the dog to your child properly. Also, it’s best to wait until your children are old enough before getting a pet like Border Collies. This will ensure that both the child and the dog will have a harmonious relationship.
Do you own a Border Collie? How’s it going? Share your thoughts below!