A list of easy tricks to teach border collies

Updated July 20, 2017

Chances are that the smartest dog at puppy school is the border collie. While another dog owner is struggling to persuade his stubborn chi pup to sit, your border collie has probably already learnt how to fetch your slippers and morning newspaper. The border collie is incredibly bright - rated as "easily the most intelligent of all breeds" by the trainers at Animal Planet. Border collies are said to be loyal and obedient. The breed lives to please and that is why it responds so well to training.

Playing Dead

Tricks can help keep your collie stimulated and active. Tire your dog out before you teach this trick. Get the dog to sit. Hold a treat up to its nose and move it sharply down to the ground, saying the command "down." Move a treat around in your hand in a circular motion in front of the dog's face. The dog should follow it and turn its body over. Say "roll over" and push the dog on its back. Then change the way you move your hand with the treats. Shift from circular to pointing while saying "play dead." Give the command again as you move away from the dog, still pointing. Keep trying this until the dog realises you want it to roll over and lie on its back.

Frisbee Toss

Collies have been bred to herd livestock for centuries. Because of this, they're fascinated with anything that moves. It follows then that these dogs will quickly learn to chase a frisbee or ball. When you take your dog to the park, shout "fetch" and throw the frisbee. Feed your dog treats every time it gets the frisbee and brings it back to you. It may take a couple of attempts for the dog to understand, but you will be rewarded with hours of entertainment.


Border collies can be taught to identify scented objects. Take your dog to the park when there aren't a lot of people or distractions around. Get your dog to sit. Take some treats and squash them into the grass at different intervals across the park. Put a dog toy on the ground at the end of the trail. Put a treat on top of it. Return to your dog and entice it to smell the grass where the squashed treat is and command the dog to look for it. Let the dog sniff around for a bit. If it starts to follow the track, offer praise but let the dog continue until it has found the other treats. By this time, the dog will be following several scents - the treat, the grass and you. Offer plenty of praise each time it finds a treat and eventually the toy.


Sit your dog in front of you and put a very small dab of wet dog food on your cheek. Say the command word, "kisses" and allow your collie to lick the treat off your face. When it does, repeat the word and praise your dog. Pointing to your face again -- without using the wet food this time -- and say, "kisses." Praise and reward when your dog complies.

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About the Author

Karen Jackman is a journalist with more than 25 years of experience in print media in South Africa, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Britain. Specializing in health, environmental, social and political issues, her work has appeared in publications such as "The South China Morning Post," "Straits Times," "Hong Kong Standard," "Today," "Independent Newspapers," "News Limited" and "Expat Magazine."