Being a Border Collie dog owner and trainer, I wanted to share some basic ideas and concepts behind the process itself. Always keep in mind that each dog is different and something that might have worked for one dog in the past won't necessary work on another. Just like people, dogs have different personalities, needs and wants. However the concepts that I cover here should work with practically any dog.
Anyways, here are some things I've learned that hopefully will be helpful to you. I really value your opinions, comments, thoughts and questions so don't hesitate to contact me if you have anything to say. I'm not a "professional" dog trainer but I've taught my dogs plenty of tricks, dealt with nearly all behavior problems out there and even helped other dog owners with their dogs, so I know my way around a dog.
General Trick Training Tips
Trick training is not really that hard. All it takes is just to follow a couple simple steps, patience, consistency and love.
And no you can't skip LOVE because dogs can sense your emotions and mood. If they notice you are tense or frustrated then the whole training experience will be tense and frustrating for them too. Which is something you want to avoid at all costs because that's when remember things gets much more difficult for your dog and he is more likely to forget things.
Now to the simple steps:
Get your Border Collie interested in whatever you want her to do. If you're having a hard time, using a treat has never failed me as a motivator for my dogs yet.
The next step is to reward that action. If you used a treat as a motivator, this is the time to give that treat to your dog. Otherwise praise your dog and tell her what a good job she did.
Be excited for her. She will feel much more motivated to repeat the same trick again if she notices that it makes you happy. Just like humans, dogs love positive emotion and perform worse when there is negativity or stress involved.
The next step is just to repeat the process. You can't expect the Border Collie to learn new tricks simply by doing them once. Refresh her memory a couple of times and keep practicing daily until she really gets the trick. After she got the trick, be sure to refresh her memory everyone in a while so she doesn't forget it.
Border Collies puppies are not born knowing that going to the bathroom indoors is "gross". Even humans are not born knowing they can't pee or poop in their pants. So why some people expect puppies to "know" that they shouldn't go to the bathroom indoors is beyond me.
Housebreaking a Border Collie will take some patience, and few paper towel rolls. Be prepared to clean up the mess after them. Have all your cleaning utensils in an easy to reach place while housetraining because the sooner you clean up the mess, the less your house will smell.
How to teach the Border Collie to potty outdoors
The simplest answer is to let the Border Collie spend more time outdoors. If the dog spends more time playing outside, she will be much more likely to do her "business" there too.
So take your Border Collie out whenever you have the chance. It's particularly important when you are trying to housetrain the dog. Also don't rush back home right after the dog finished her business. Let her enjoy the time outdoors a little as a small reward.
You should also take the puppy out on a walk 20 minutes or so after every meal. The 20 minutes is a general rule, your puppy's timing might be a little different.
What to do when after an "Accident"
Did your puppy have an "Oopsy" moment indoors? Although it might feel really tempting to scream and yell at the dog, you should not. That is the opposite of what you should be doing. Screaming or yelling won't make the mess go away and it won't teach the dog anything.
Instead what you should do is clean up the mess up right away. Make sure you get the odor out with a special cleaning solution designed just for that.
If however you catch the Border Collie red-handed, then you can use this moment as an opportunity to correct your dog on where she should be doing her business instead.
Grab the puppy and carry her outdoors to finish. She will probably be startled at first so spend some time with her outside to make sure she completely finishes.
By taking her outside you will teach her that if she needs to go, she has to go outside. It's the most direct way of teaching your dog that she should go potty outside so don't hesitate to bring her out.
If you just stand and watch her pee indoors, and she sees you not doing anything about then she will assume that it’s no big deal and she can go potty indoors anytime she wants.
Disobedience and Behavior Problems
There are a number of different disobedience and behavior problems ranging from something as simple as jumping on people to something as serious as aggressive and dominant behavior. It would be too much to write for me to cover all of the behavior problems so I'm only going to focus on the general idea behind solving or curing bad behavior.
The very first step when dealing with behavior and disobedience problems is to find the actual cause of the problem. Sometimes it's not as obvious as it might seem. Sometimes you will have to dig deeper to uncover the real cause of the problem.
For example, a dog that chews on your shoes when you're gone could be chewing just because he doesn't like his chew toys. Or the more likely reason would be that he is chewing on those shoes because he misses you. Chewing on the shoes remind him of you and help him pass the time by giving him something to do.
The next step is to find a solution to that particular problem. For our last example a solution would be to work on the dog's separation anxiety. Leaving some music playing or finding some new more interesting toys to keep your dog company is something you would consider doing.
And the final and critical step is to be consistent with the solution. If you don't want your Border Collie jumping on your furniture and your solution is to never let the dog get on the bed, then be consistent and never make exceptions to the rules. If you start making exceptions then the dog will assume it's ok to break rules.
So when dealing with a disobedient Border Collie look for the root cause of the problem, find a solution that targets that root cause and then stick to it. If you apply this principle to any behavior problem, you are guaranteed to see positive results in your Border Collies behavior.