Training & Behavior

Tricks to Teach a Border Collie – Our 2021 Guide

If you become a pet owner, there are lots of things for you to consider. Aside from the right way of choosing the right breeder to acquire a Border collie, you also need to take into account their feeding requirements, grooming needs, and health considerations. Moreover, proper ways of introducing tricks to teach a Border collie is also an important aspect to keep in mind.

Luckily, you got the right breed that is intelligent, fast learner, and easily trainable. In case you do not have an idea about the tricks that you must have to give to your collie, we have here the easy and intermediate tricks that you must consider. Check them out and, for sure, you and your collie will have an enjoyable time together.

List of Tricks to Teach a Border Collie

Teaching and training dogs including the Border collie is a great way to interact with them. Actually, introducing tricks to teach a Border collie is also a fun activity for the pet owner. Moreover, trick training a Border collie helps you to gain more patience and be accurate with every command. At the same time, training through giving tricks to teach a Border collie will also strengthen the tie between you and your collie.

Easy Tricks to Teach a Border Collie

Initially, when you want to introduce tricks to teach a Border collie or other dogs, you may want to start from the easiest one. The examples of tricks below are actually not too hard for most dogs to adapt especially for a Border collie since they are really intelligent in nature. But, in case you may find certain tricks generally challenging, you may consider doing something simpler. Then, you may then return to difficulty tricks later on.

1.        Fetching
tricks to teach a border collie

There are dogs that have a natural urge to chase things and play fetch. Border collies generally have this kind of attitude especially when boredom strikes them. However, in case you notice that your collie doesn’t have a drive for this, fetching tricks to teach a Border collie should begin by giving a toy to your dog. Make sure that the toy should be soft and it is the one that your collie likes.

Moreover, let your Border collie be excited about it and afterwards, consider encouraging him to do the mouthing. Don’t forget to praise your collie every time he gets something using their mouth. Also, consider rewarding your dog with a treat in case they tug on toys.

Fetching tricks to teach a Border collie also include dropping the toy on the ground and let the dog pick it up. Remember always reward him for this action. Eventually, toss the toy away in a short distance. Again, reward them once they get back to you mouthing the toy. This time around, toss the toy further especially the moment they tend to be catching on.    

2.       Bowing Down

Another one of the easy tricks to teach a Border collie is “bowing down”. Basically, the gesture of bowing is a conventional yet popular dog trick. Since your collie has an innate nature of intelligence, don’t wonder if he picks it up readily.

Basically, lure the collie in a downward position and let them stand up. Reward them every time they are trying to make a bow position or just a slight leaning forward. Moreover, put your arms beneath the belly of your Border collie in case they opt to lie down instead. Again, give them a reward even for just making little steps.

Finally, remove your arms on his belly once you notice that your collie already comprehends your command. Slowly elevate the duration that the Border collie remains in a bow position.

3.       Take it or Leave it

Basically, the “leave it” command is a highly beneficial and life-saving attitude of all dogs. Moreover, this one example of tricks to teach a Border collie may also result in getting various cool dog tricks. One best benefit of the leave it tricks to teach a Border collie is to avoid the grabbing behavior of the dog is accidentally picking up potentially harmful substances on the ground.

Initially, put a small piece of food on the ground just an inch ahead of your collie and instruct him to “leave it”. But, always be alert and make your hands readily available to cover the food the moment your Border collie attempts to dive for it. The moment the dog stops diving for it, then it’s time to pick up the food and tell them “take it” and finally give it to your collie.

Continue repeating this process severally and begin to do this using more pieces of food scattered on the floor. At the end of this one of the easy tricks to teach a Border collie in leaving some food on the ground, you can also escalate the trick to a more challenging one. For example, you can place food over their nose or paws and let them leave it there.

4.       Crawling

Crawling is basically another example of tricks to teach a Border collie. It is very simple and easy to do this trick. First, let the dog lie down on a sphinx position, the one in which the dog’s legs are beneath them and not positioned on their side. Along with this, you need to have a treat near to their nose.

tricks to teach a border collie

Now, slowly take the treat away from your collie. Once they crawl forward it, reward them immediately. Shortly elevate the distance you want the collie to make the crawl. In case you notice that the Border collie is already good at crawling, you can now increase the distance involved in this one example of tricks to teach a Border collie. This will teach them to crawl towards you in every corner of the room.

5.       Paw Shaking

Same with handshaking in human, paw shaking is also another one example of easy tricks to teach a Border collie. This also a fun trick that your Border collie will definitely enjoy learning. At the start, take a hand at some food that actually has a good aroma. Allow your collie to sniff it.

Moreover, instruct them to get the food. The moment they lift up their paw, open your hand and, at the same time, reward them with a treat. Do the step repeatedly. The moment the collie is making the paw lifting frequently, get by your open hand while holding a treat on the other.

Again, allow them to lift up their paw while moving the hand holding a treat near them. And then, place the open hand beneath the collie’s paw the moment they lift it up. Don’t forget to reward them as soon as their paw touches your hand.

Continue doing this for several times as you hold their paw for a longer time. The moment they tend to learn the behavior, incorporate a hint like “shake”.  

Intermediate Tricks to Teach a Border Collie

Basically, these tricks to teach a Border collie are composed of some easy tricks. Yet, some require a longer time of teaching compared to those tricks mentioned above. A good tip is to start working on the easy tricks to teach a Border collie first to make it simple for the dog to establish a point to work on.

1.       Backing Up

The backing up which is one of the tricks to teach a Border collie generally involves several strategies of introducing it to the dog. Some of these strategies work well for one dog breed while may not be working for the other. Moreover, the concept of this one example of tricks to teach a Border collie lies behind the use of mat or two different surfaces on the floor.

Check out these two different approaches for this backing up trick.

Method 1:
  • Initially, let your Border collie step over a hardwood or linoleum flooring. Add a mat that is about a step inch or two behind the collie.
  • Instruct him to touch the mat by back stepping his foot.
  • Immediately reward your Border collie once he successfully performs the said action.

Generally, this first approach regarding the backing up tricks to teach a Border collie let the dog learn stepping up until they already touch the mat. Moreover, this is to avoid their feeling of not to stop over to look at you during every step to confirm that you are backing them up.

Method 2:
  • Basically, begin with moving forward with your Border collie.
  • Once your dog steps backwards immediately reward him.
Method 3:
  • Consider creating a steep space on both sides of the Border collie.
  • Give him a treat the moment they step back.
Method 4:
  • Hold a treat near the nose of the dog.
  • Move the treat back and forth so that the dog will follow.

NOTE:  Regardless of the method for these backing up tricks to teach a Border collie, it is highly important to begin by placing the mat at bay. Eventually, move the mat further from the Border collie to learn the concept of this trick.

2.       The Shell Game

Though the shell game is one of the intermediate tricks to teach a Border collie, it is actually entertaining for your dog to try. The trick usually works by starting acting on one cup with a treat below it. Reveal the treat to your Border collie and put back the cup over it. This will generally encourage the collie to the treat that’s hiding under the cup.

Eventually, take away the cup and allow your collie to get the treat the moment they sniff the cup or touch it using their paw. Repeat this step over and over again using only one cup. Once they are already familiar with it, consider adding one more cup.

Let your collie know from which cup the treat is hiding. The moment your Border collie picks up the right cup, reward him right away. After being successful in trying several times, consider switching the cups once.

Afterwards, switch the cup more frequently now or consider adding extra cups for the choices. In case you notice that your Border collie started to struggle with the trick, slow it down by making it a little bit easier. Moreover, assist them somehow for this time.  

3.       Leg Weaving

Generally, leg weaving is the other examples of tricks to teach a Border collie under the intermediate category. Yet, it is also a fun and cool one especially for smaller or medium-sized dog breeds.

The concept of this trick is actually for the dog to learn weaving the figure of eights over your legs as you stand on one area. Moreover, you can also teach the collie to weave around one leg and, at the same time, you are walking in a straight line.

The tricks to teach a Border collie how to weave begin by pulling and rewarding on every step they make. As the trick proceeds, start decreasing the lure and, again, reward the collie for making every two steps, and then three steps, and so on.

Things to Consider When Giving Tricks to Teach a Border Collie

Here are some of the helpful tips that you should have to remember when you give tricks to teach a Border collie. These are not helpful to speed up the process but to achieve greater and faster result in a proper manner.

Dog’s Focus

Actually, getting the full focus of the Border collie most of the time during training is not that easy. They have the ability to change their moods too quickly and it is generally a factor for them to switch their attention to other things. So, the trainer must know how to get the full focus and attention of the collie while introducing tricks to teach a Border collie. In order to do this, find a place where there is less distraction for your pooch.


Generally, making the training process consistent is the key here. This is basically a way for your pooch to retain all of the information that he learned. Moreover, being consistent is giving tricks that are simple and clear. This will avoid confusion of your Border collie.


At most dog’s life stages, positive reinforcement is very important especially during the time of their learning. Basically, acknowledging the good things that your Border collie had done is the best environment for them. Always remember not to use punishment training because it may generally give a negative impact on the confidence of your dog.

Final Words

There are lots of tricks to teach a Border collie and you are lucky enough as this dog breed is highly trainable and can adapt well to different instructions and command. However, you still need to remember that there are still tasks that seem to be challenging for them. So, the best way to begin tricks training is to give the ones that they find easy. Generally, doing this will establish your Border collie’s confidence and would also prevent further frustration. This is also a great way to make your collie a healthier and happier pooch.

Leave a Comment