Training & Behavior

How to Keep a Border Collie Busy? The Ultimate Border Guide

The border collie is a dog breed that generally has it all. They are highly active, energetic, and extremely playful. Their intelligence can really make them stand out from the rest. Alongside it, giving them proper training and care, the Border collies would be your great pets ever. But there are times that they tend to get bored that’s why many are asking how to keep a Border collie busy?

If you want to prevent boredom to strike your collie, then you are on the right track. Get helpful ways and tips here to make your Border collie entertained and preoccupied. Let us also try to discover why this dog breed becomes bored at times.   

Getting to Know the Border Collie

Before we jump into knowing the different ways on how to keep a Border collie busy, we need to get to know them better first. Let’s go back to the bloodlines of this dog breed and check their characteristics.

The Origin of the Border Collie

Within the borderline of England and Scotland, a breed of dog rose from the farms within that area. Since herding sheep was a difficult task during that time, they required the assistance of the dogs. So, when World War I was ended, farmers imported the Border Collies and used them to herd sheep, cattle, ostrich, pigs, and even poultry.

how to keep a border collie busy

The Border collie is known for its agility, tracking, and jumping skills. They are also good police dog due to their great sense of smell. This dog breed was highly trained to detect substances, investigate arson cases, and to be a part of the search and rescue operations.

Border Collie’s Personality

Since herding runs in their blood, the Border collies always have this desire to work, work, and work. That’s why they consider herding those things around them that usually moves. These include the cats, children, or even vehicles that are moving. They can also think and reason out on their own as they are highly intelligent.

Moreover, this dog breed generally requires stimulation of both the body and mind because of their high energy level. In case they have a lack that stimulation, the collie will find their way to be entertained.

Being sociable is also one of their excellent characteristics. They always desire to get interaction and compassion from their human owner. They are also good to mingle with children, but once they get bored, children can also be herded by the collie.  

How to Keep a Border Collie Busy: Get to Know when Boredom Strikes

The initial thing for you to identify the ways on how to keep a Border collie busy is generally to have an idea when boredom already strikes them. Always remember that all bored dogs will find their way to look for fun. The worse, those ways may seem not working for you and some times, you may even find big messes around the house.

Here are some of the signs and symptoms that your Border collie is already bored:

  • Chew on furniture and shoes
  • Shred pillows
  • Unroll toilet paper
  • Digging in the backyard
  • Tipping on the trash cans
  • Mugging you to get your attention
  • Acting restless
  • Jumping over you and on visitors
  • Barking excessively

Moreover, ruling out separation anxiety as soon as noticing these destructive behaviors and too much attachment. These sometimes indicate that the Border collie is just trying to relieve his boredom. Aside from that, these also show their enjoyment over lesser supervision. On the other, it may also be an indication of distress for being left alone. Consulting an animal behaviorist or a dog trainer may be a big help.

Helpful Ways on How to Keep a Border Collie Busy

The border collie is a very active and highly energetic dog breed. They actually want to have more time on the outdoor playing, running, fetching, and so on until their energy levels get low. However, there are instances that this dog breed can get a little bit bored easily most likely when they are on a crate. Luckily, there are ways that we can do on how to keep a Border collie busy.

1.       Give them enough exercise

Exercising your Border collie is one best way on how to keep a Border collie busy. Keep in mind that this dog is fond of doing lots of physical activities which makes them really happy. Just a simple walk with your collie will do the job.

It will generally provide a sense of physical and mental stimulation. At the same time, walking the Border collie gives them a chance to explore the outdoors and meet people and other animals. With this, they will learn socialization.

2.       Spend time with your Border collie and play with them

Playing with the Border collie is highly beneficial for both you and your pooch. Aside from being enjoyable, this will strengthen the bond between you and your Border collie. Moreover, playing is another way for the dog to release his energy. And that is a great way on how to keep a Border collie busy.

how to keep a border collie busy

There are numbers of games that you can play with your Border collie. Fetching, catching Frisbee, and tug of war are good outdoor games that you and your collie can play together. Yet, you can also play inside the house to prevent the boredom of your pooch. Basically, you may consider playing hide and seek with him.

3.       Teach new tricks to your dog

Due to their innate intelligence and wittiness, the Border collie has the ability to learn new tricks very quickly. In fact, training them will not be a problem as they are a fast learner and easily trainable. So, if you are thinking of ways on how to keep a Border collie busy, just teach them new tricks and they will surely be entertained. But, keep in mind that in doing this, you always give him praise or reward every time he performs well.

4.       Feed them through food-dispensing toys

Generally, food-dispensing toys really work wonders especially for dog breeds like the Border collie that easily gets bored. Well, how to keep a Border collie busy through the use of food dispensing toys is by keeping the dogs fed and entertained at the same time. Food-dispensing toys usually come with a middle reservoir that serves to store treats and kibble.

Moreover, within the outer surface, there is a small opening that basically allows the dog food to be dispensed in order to make your collie move around. The way the food-dispensing toys works on how to keep a Border collie busy is by releasing dog food via rolling, tossing, or shaking it. Luckily, you can see lots of food-dispensing toys available in the market today.

Remember that the Border collie is a smart dog breed. In one way or another, they may able to learn ways to get the food quickly out of those toys. It is a good thing to know that most food-dispensing toys available in the market have some degree of difficulty level which keeps the toys look new for every use.

Another way that helps on how to keep a Border collie busy is to change the toys that you give to them on a regular basis. Doing this is highly beneficial as it makes the collie slow down a little so playtime would be more interesting.

5.       Let your dog participate in canine sport

Generally, the Border collie can do great in most canine competitions and agility training. During the agility training, the trainer will instruct your Border collie to race within the obstacle course for a specific time and accuracy. Usually, dog’s agility training works through commands given via the voice, body movements and signals of the trainer. With your dog’s focus and full attention, it is a good way on how to keep a Border collie busy.

Moreover, there are various training locations available for you to allow your Border collie to get engage in agility training and other competitions. Even dog parks provide a safe and great canine outlet where they can join activities like herding exercises or even join or play with other pets.

6.       Offer your Border collie a job

Numbers of dog breeds have working bloodlines. Just like the Border collies, they are known to be herding dogs. Although sheep-herding dogs, they were still shaped to be companion dogs and keep their activity level. So, one way on how to keep a Border collie busy is to satisfy their need to have a job.

It does not necessarily mean that you need to put him to work like to herd cattle and sheep on a farm. What you need is to introduce a hobby to your Border collie or offer ways to earn some of your collie’s reward. That way, you will able to satisfy his psychological needs.

Moreover, consider choosing a hobby for your collie that is highly suitable for his interests or behavior. For the Border collies, they have the tendency to dig fences especially when they get bored. So, to prevent boredom to strike them, try to give them a digging box. Another best alternative is a kiddie pool or a sandbox filled with dirt.

To make it more fun and exciting, you can bury a toy under the sand and instruct your collie to find it. Continuing to replenishing the sandbox will help this dog breed to spend its time digging for toys and treats.   

How to Keep a Border Collie Busy and Entertained During Puppyhood

Actually, the puppyhood of this dog breed and even of the other pooch is a bit different. During this time, their energy levels are just starting to ramp up. They basically spend more time resting as the requirements for such is high since they have developing brains and bodies.

So, how do you keep a Border collie busy and entertained while they are still a puppy? Here are some helpful ways that may consider working on:

  1. Teaching the basic house rules
  2. Training to potty outside the house
  3. Let them know to chew on toys and not on other items within the house
  4. Obedience training
  5. Socialization

Expect that during those activities on how to keep a Border collie busy during their puppy years, they will get loaded between every activity. This is the best time for you to gather toys and puzzles that they will need as they grow. Basically, the introduction of new toys and games to your collie puppy should take in slowly. Give them time to get to know the items without giving them the feeling of exhaustion.

One way on how to keep a Border collie busy while on puppyhood is to provide one new toy or one new game each week. The best thing to do with this is to combine it with some training and, of course, your attention.

Moreover, if there will come a time that you need to be away from home for a longer period; don’t forget to give them additional reinforcement. It will be very helpful if you hire a dog walker or let them stay on a dog trainer or doggy daycare for a while. Generally, they will be a big help for your Border collie puppy to work out its energy.

Frequently Asked Questions


A: One way on how to keep a Border collie busy is to make them happy and satisfied. As a summary, for them to be happy and entertained here are some simple ways that you can do to put a smile on their face:

  • Let them be a part of organized dog sports.
  • Play with them especially outdoor. Consider playing ball chasing, disc flying, or fetching with them.
  • Make them your workout partner
  • Most especially, show your affection and care to them.


A: Below are some signs that you should look for in order to determine that your collie already feels happy:

  • Showing relaxed facial expression
  • Blinking eyes
  • Wagging tail from side to side


A: Aggression is not a common thing for this dog breed. They rarely express this behavior without showing any signs at first. Generally, he will try to show signs of aggression just before doing something really drastic like biting or attacking a person.


A: Basically, this dog breed becomes aggressive when they feel something wrong inside. Meaning, they are in pain which might lead them to a lot of stress.

Final Thoughts

The ways on how to keep a Border collie busy are generally helpful during their times of boredom. As a pet owner, it is very essential for you to have an idea of how to make your collie entertained at all times. Keep in mind that when boredom strikes them, destructive behaviors may occur in which you wouldn’t like to happen. So, just strictly follow these tips to have a more satisfied and happier pooch.

Leave a Comment