Compared to other dog breeds, Border Collies come out as the smartest, loyal, athletic and impressively responsive. However, the truth is that all these outrageous skills require loads of training. They have this energy that if not contained, can end up making your life miserable as a pet owner.
Now, one of the best training aspects is crate training, which basically involves creating a safer environment for the dog, even as other conditions become overwhelming in the spaces they occupy at any particular time. This covers the dog both at home, and also when both of you are on the move. If you just acquired a Border Collie and want to get the training journey started, this article has everything you need to know before and during Border Collie Crate Training.
Dog Crate Explained-Know More About Dog Crates
Before we get into Border Collie crate training, it’s important to know what a dog crate is in the first place. Basically, this is a cage-like enclosure with doors which is used to help transport and keep dogs contained. It acts as a replica of the dog’s natural den, which then brings their habitat right at the comfort of your home, car, or any other place you’re taking the dog with you. Now let’s take a look at the key features that you should be looking for when shopping for a dog crate:
Key Features of a Good Dog Crate
As mentioned, the main objective of a dog crate is to help make them feel safe, especially when the vicinity they’re in happens to be unstable. Safety in this case also extends to the crate’s construction, in that the design shouldn’t harm the dog. Some of the areas you should therefore focus on are the corners, edges and the door, which shouldn’t display any sharp ends or materials.
On the other hand, how comfortable you make the crate will also determine how fast and easy it will be for you when the training begins. You can always throw some cushions and blankets in there, so that your dog feels comfortable and safe.
Still on comfort, size is yet another consideration. Ideally, the crate should neither be too small nor too big, and that’s why we have different sizes on the market. This is meant to cover the dog right from when they’re a puppy to when they become fully grown. For a start, you have to know your dog’s size so that you get what’s ideal for them.
Most sellers often provide size charts to help guide you whenever you’re shopping. However, if you want to save some costs that would be incurred when changing crate sizes as the dog grows, you can alternatively buy a bigger size, then invest in crate dividers for ultimate comfort.
Truth be told, your Border Collie can still be destructive, even after putting much effort in training. In most cases, that little friend will try to escape especially if they spend extra hours in there than they’re used to. Having in mind the kind of energy associated with this breed, anything fragile or soft will definitely give in.
A sturdy piece also has you covered when running a number of errands and it happens that the dog has to tag along. It’s always a guarantee that once you invest in a durable product and with the right size, you won’t have to have them replaced anytime sooner.
Flexibility is largely associated with travel crates and minimal spaces. The moment you’re on the move, you’ll definitely have minimal space to manage, unlike while at home. In such cases, your focus should be on those pieces with flexible features.
We have crates which are foldable or collapsible, making them more convenient especially if you won’t need to keep the crate assembled the entire time. Flexibility also makes the crate easy to store even when indoors, such that you’ll only have to set it up when needed, and with much ease.
If you have minimal space, you really have to do some calculations on how you’ll position your crate in a manner that the dog will have ease of access. However, you can still avoid all that positioning hustle by investing in those brands with two or more doors.
This makes it more flexible and therefore you won’t have any hindrances when you want to have it settled in any part of the house. Most dealers have their products designed with two doors on both long and short sides, giving both of you options.
Reasons Why You Need To Use a Dog Crate
Most dog owners who took long before crate-training their dogs know what it feels like when canines are left unsupervised. Their chewy and scratchy acts is something you don’t want unleashed around your home; at least your furniture and walls will pay for the price. But the moment you can effectively keep them locked in their safe-haven, you can easily run your errands and go on with your schedules uninterrupted.
However, it’s not advisable to keep you dog locked in there for extended hours because that can still trigger aggressiveness. So remember to give them breaks depending on how comfortable they are, and also how well you understand your dog.
Dogs often have hard times adjusting to new environments, especially if you have moved places, or when you’re trying to move them from outdoors into the house. With such, you’ll need to house-train them, in a bid to initiate them to their new surroundings.
There’s no better avenue to train the pet on familiarising themselves with where they’re supposed to eat and sleep than using a dog crate. When successfully done, you’ll certainly come across minimal messes, even when you give them full access to your home once in a while.
Ease of Travel
A dog crate is like the magical carrier that makes your travelling life simpler, when you have to bring the young ones with you. Forget about what you see on the screens, because buckling them up just doesn’t work. With a crate, you can effortlessly keep your company contained, comfortable and safe, something that work for both personal and public transport
It’s not every day that we get to foretell what happens around us, especially when accidents and any other incidences are involved. However much wild-like Border Collies are, we still have stressful events like fireworks and storms which might leave the canine uncomfortable.
In the event that you can foretell any incident, you can keep them calm and controllable by adding more cushions, covers or blankets to their haven for extra comfort. That way, they might even end up not noticing the series of events going on outdoors.
This could be easier with toddlers, but something else when it comes to pets. One thing that encourages dogs to create messes anywhere and everywhere is the provision of space, which changes the moment they get confined to a crate. With a size that fits them perfectly and with minimal extra room availed to them, the dog will definitely control their bladder, having the instincts that that’s the same space they sleep in and even feed from.
Review of the Best Dog Crate for Border Collie Crate Training
Life Stages Double Door Folding Crate
This is one of the best dog crates from MidWest with features which summarize the key requirements of a good dog crate, that is, security, safety and comfort.
The crate comes out as a larger dog breeds’ crate because of its measurements. It comes in 42 x 28 x 31 Inches which works great for fully-grown dogs, without having to compromise on their comfort. However, a plus is that it comes with a divider which can also make it ideal for smaller dogs. That way, you can keep re-adjusting the divider until the dog fully fits in.
MidWest invested in heavy-gauge steel when making this product range to guarantee users durability. The wire mesh is even tighter considering that they built it with larger dogs in mind, so this helps contain the weight. Apart from the divider, the construction also reveals roller-feet which keep your floor and surfaces free from scratches.
What strikes me is its foldable-design which to me only means one thing; flexibility. Still on flexibility, it also comes with two doors making the crate easily accessible from any location in the house, or when on the go. In addition to that, it features heavy-duty dog tray and carrying handle for ease of movement.
On each door are sturdy slide-bolt latches with which you can securely lock the door and keep the dog safely in place. This feature works great for travellers and beginners because any form of aggression can make the dog push out the door, if not securely-locked. It also features patented round corners to prevent unnecessary cuts
You don’t have to worry about any fixing skills when you opt for this brand. It will be up in just seconds, considering that you need absolutely no tools to assemble the crate. This improves on flexibility, being that you can equally fold it up when it’s storage or travel time.
Things We Liked
- Foldable for flexibility
- Double doors for ease of access
- Durable safety-lock
- Durable construction
- Package includes a free divider
- Easy to assemble and disassemble
- Removable and easy-to-clean pan
- Safe roller-feet
Things We Didn’t Like
- Bigger for smaller dogs
MidWest Ultima Pro Series Dog Crate
Measuring 43 by 28.5 by 31.5 inches in length, width and height respectively, the Ultima Pro Dog Crate is spacious and ideal for border collie training. This crate is foldable making it easy to store. Besides, it comes with a divider panel that is also ideal when it comes to size adjustment as the dog grows.
The double-door feature makes it easy to access by your canine friend. It is also made from the strongest, thickest and durable wire.
What You Need to Crate Train a Border Collie
Just like it is always the case with any kind of training, there are tools that will come in handy when crate-training your border collie. The tools are known to make the training faster and easier to undertake.
To crate train a border collie you will need toys, treats and most importantly the crate. Let’s delve much into why you need these items below:
Dogs are very funny creatures for your information. My border collie was a very hard one to train to the extent that I had to at times plead with him. As if my pleas were not enough, I still had to go ahead and bribe him so that I could crate train him.
To lure him into the crate, I had to bring along some rewards for enticing him. Can you imagine bribing your own dog to get trained? You need to get prepared for this. Having the treats will make him stay closer to you always and such association is the best for crate training.
It is also worth noting that the treats will only be necessary during the early stages of training. For the treats, choose on things that are recommended for the dogs and not human foods. Why do I say so? Human foods are often high in calories which might negatively affect your furry friend’s calorie intake.
The treats should be used in their minimal numbers possible. If you use too much of these to lure him then rest assured that if you stop the enticement he’ll no longer want to participate in the training. Too much of treats might also lead to health-related complications.
There are treats specially made for dog training purposes. You can always consider such ahead of any others that you might come across. Remember not to let the dog get so attached to the treats at the expense of the crate training.
Other great crate training tools for the Border collie are the chewing toys. These energetic dogs will always want something to play around with and this is where toys come in. The toys will keep them busy till they run out of energy thereafter moving into the crates to take a rest.
Even while in the crate, a chewing toy will let him forget about everything and enjoy playing with the toys. Make sure that what you present to him is capable of distracting him for a while. There are lots of chewing toys currently available in the market that will help you a great deal in so far as border collie crate training is concerned.
This is the most important tool as all the action revolves around it. You don’t need something sophisticated for the training. A crate made from wire is ideal for the whole exercise not unless your border collie is aggressive and very strong at the same time.
In that case a heavy duty crate will serve your interests better. Border collies are playful but not very aggressive which means a wire crate will just do. During the early days of training, a double-door wire crate is the best to use. Exploration of such a crate by your dog is easier.
Double-door creates also have more open views. A crate with a divider is also great as there is room for adjustment of the size of the crate. With such a model, you won’t have to spend every few months on new crates as the dog grows. All you will be doing is size adjustments.
So what crate size is ideal for your border collie training? Well, there is no standard size for consideration. However, any size above 43 inches by 28 inches by 31 inches in length, width and depth respectively will serve you right.
The crate should be spacious enough to allow the dog turn around, stand and even lay down without any stress. Always remember to consider the size of your dog before settling down for a crate.
Crate Training a Border Collie in 5 Steps
You now have your training tools ready. Your dog is also available and in good shape for the training. What else do you need? Let’s get going.
One thing you must keep at the back of your mind is that the border collie won’t like the idea of being left in the crate for long durations. However playful he is, he is a very smart breed and learns really fast. Just do it the right way and you won’t spend lots of time in the entire exercise.
Making the crate your dog’s favorite spot is simple as you are about to learn through the steps below:
Step 1: Introduction of the Border Collie to the Crate
The familiarity of the dog to the crate should happen before the actual training commences. If you allow your border collie to explore what the crate is before the due date, it will make him not object to going in when the training starts. Introducing the dog to the crate for the first time at the instance of training will derail the entire process.
Place the crate in an area where the border collie hangs out so often. Make sure the crate’s doors are wide open so that he can access it with a lot of ease. If possible secure the doors in an open position so that your friend doesn’t end up trapped inside. Such might freak him out to an extent of never wanting to go back again.
Move around the crate with your dog as you play for familiarity purposes. Don’t make any attempts of forcing him in; let him get in on his own. You can make different trips to the spot up to when he shows interests of getting in.
You can only go the next step if the interest has been shown and he’s ready to go in on his own.
Step 2: Use Treats to Entice Him into the Crate
Use a treat the dog into the crate. The doors should remain wide open in this step. Here, the wire crate becomes very important as the border collie can see the treat with lots of ease from outside. Once he’s gone inside make his stay more comfortable by adding more treats.
Don’t overfeed him though in the process. If possible revert to more verbal praises and less treats till he appears at ease.
Once he has picked the vibe, move to the next step.
Step 3: Making the Crate Comfortable
Remember it takes more than the treats to keep the border collie in the crate. So, you need to now begin working on his comfort once inside the cage. You can begin by offering him his meals, for example, in the crate. This way, he’ll associate the crate with good fortunes.
Throw in some chew toys in the crate so that the border collie can spend some time playing in there. Don’t rush into closing the door while he’s inside.
Step 4: Closing the Crate with the Dog Inside
Gradually close the door when the dog is eating in the crate as you check his reaction. Once he’s done eating open the door so that he leaves. At times increase the amount of time he spends in there after the meals.
At times close the door but stay around playing with him so that he feels comfortable. If he can spend 30 minutes in the crate after the meals, know that he’s now ready to be left alone in the crate.
Step 5: Let Him Stay Alone
Move away from the crate and see how he reacts. If he shows some weird signs get closer to him and calm him down but now you have to minimize your interactions with him.
Now spend a little longer outside and once in a while come to him with a treat. If he’s gotten used to you being away for even half an hour, you will have done your training right and you can comfortably leave to run errands without any worries.
Always ensure you don’t announce your departure to him though.
Tips on How To Effectively Crate-Train Your Border Collie
To maximize on the greatness that comes with dog crates, you have to get the training right in the first place. Let’s take a look at some of the simple tips you can use to effectively train your Border Collie:
Let it double up as the meal-place. Instead of training them to have meals elsewhere, you can reduce the workload by including that in the crate-training process. The moment you place meals in the crate, the dog will be enticed to get in there, after which you can still release them afterwards, depending on how they’re responding. Doing this frequently is equally a plus in helping your pup familiarize themselves with the crate.
Start with bed-time training. There’s magic in starting early with your Border Collie, and instead of training them for bed time in a regular dog bed, you can go for crates as well. With a descent brand, all you have to do is make it comfortable with the right materials, and in the end you won’t even require to get a dog bed. For this option, you have to be gradual, in that, you should always keep the crate around you as the dog goes to sleep, and only transfer them to the designated place once they’re fully comfortable.
Don’t let it be a form of punishment. One mistake most pet owners make is keeping them locked-up such that it acts as a punishment. This might not turn out so well, because the dog will no longer view this as a safe place, as it should be. Once they develop a sense of fear or mistrust for their crate, the training will only get intense and probably fruitless.
It’s now clear that you can also have your Border collie trained to be smart and bubbly like the rest by just doing the right thing. As we have seen, Border Collie training goes a long way in shaping the dog in the best way you prefer. However, it all falls back to investing in a good dog crate which can make the steps less hectic because the dog will automatically feel comfortable.
But then at the end of the day, it’s also about patience because dogs respond and react differently to new things. So if your canine friend seems to take longer than usual even with the right things in place, you can still take breaks and try new things, than coercing them into crate training. Remember if it gets overwhelming, you can also seek the help of a professional trainer.