If you are a single person or a nuclear family living in an urban setup, you already have enough to deal with in terms of creating space for your things. But if you are also a pet person and want to get a Border Collie, it is important to know a few things about the matching or the lack of it between your pet-to-be and your lifestyle.
Let’s take a look at some basics.
What You Need to Know about Border Collies
Border Collies are medium-sized dogs with strong bones. They look rather elegant and are quite agile and have a good deal of stamina.
Their strength and stealth will both come across if you notice them move. Pay attention and you will also see how quickly they can change direction and speed.
In terms of physical appearance, if they have a short coat it will cover their whole body. And if they have a relatively longer coat, it will be flat and slightly wavy in terms of texture.
Whether the coat is rough or smooth depends on the parents.
These dogs are intelligent and curious which when combined with their physical attributes might just be the thing that will keep you on your toes. Border Collies are also known for their eagerness to unleash the energy they have stored in them.
They are obedient and intelligent dogs but if you don’t know what you are doing, they make for terrible house dogs. Border Collies are also loyal but their mind and body need to be stimulated enough and given exercise so that they don’t get frustrated.
When they watch other animals, they do so with a lot of concentration which can be intimidating. Add to that the fact that they like chasing animals and are protective of their humans.
So, here’s what you need to know if you want them as a pet in an apartment.
Also Read: When Do Border Collies Stop Growing?
How to Live with Them in an Apartment
Consider this. They are strong, agile, curious and intelligent. So, if you don’t give them enough space to exercise these primal traits, you and your dog will both be in trouble.
So, living in an apartment space isn’t always going to be easy. But it is not an impossible task if you can be crafty.
The first thing to know is that it’s not so much about the size of the apartment as it is about the time you can spend with your canine.
Find a Dog Park
If you live in an apartment with a dog like the BC, you can never get enough of dog parks. They are the closest option to a backyard or a playground.
Dog parks often have fences which means you can let your canine off the leash and maybe play a few rounds of fetch. This will give them the opportunity to work off all that strength that is waiting to come out.
Spend Time Outside
If there are no dog parks in your neighborhood, you must still make sure you spend plenty of time outdoors with your dog. These dogs love to exercise and nothing makes them happier than a nice walk out in the open.
If you are a runner yourself, don’t hesitate to take them with you. In fact, you will notice that even bad weather does not deter them because they need stimulation.
Learn about Training and Some Tricks Too
This is about mental stimulation. You want to look into interactive toys, games and dog training sessions to get your canine to calm down.
Since they are intelligent dogs, you can teach them a lot of things and if you add treats to the equation, they are all the more motivated.
Prepare For Some Inconvenience
Despite your best efforts, it is possible that you might find living with a Border Collie in an apartment to be a little inconvenient. That is something you might have to prepare for.
It is even harder when you have an active dog breed and no backyard to let them out once in a while. This means you will have to be ready to take them out late at night or in rain or snow.
That release of physical energy is not optional for them. Be prepared to do the work before you get the dog.
Are They Loud Barkers?
This is one of the most important factors for every dog parent who lives in an apartment. No matter the breed, you always want to know if they are barkers because you don’t want to get into trouble with your neighbors.
Barking is not really optional because this is how dogs talk to their humans. But Border Collies can be a bit noisier than a regular dog.
Historically, these dogs were meant to keep the sheep inside the herd. They were also meant to alert their humans about various types of dangers with their bark.
This explains why they have such strong voice boxes and why they have a strong and rather loud bark. But the modern Border Collie is not great at telling the difference between real danger and regular events.
So, if your neighbors are fighting or someone is using a loud vacuum cleaner, expect your canine to go bananas. Even doorbells can trigger them.
How to Manage the Noise
But not to worry. We have a couple of solutions for this problem.
The Quiet Command
The first step is to take care of this during the training phase by teaching them how to be quiet when you give a command. This is as difficult as it sounds in actuality.
So, you need to figure out what makes them bark and then what makes them stop and act on it accordingly. If you go wrong, you might end up making them bark more.
You can get this right by understanding the scenarios that make them bark.
Sometimes they bark just to get your attention. Pick one of those moments, give them a treat and the command at the same time.
Once they make the connection between the command and the treat, you can teach them to quieten down before you give the treat. Eventually, you can follow the same for other stressful scenarios.
Just make sure you don’t continue giving the treat before the command because that will be rewarding their bad behavior.
Don’t Reward Bad Behavior
Speaking of which, you must be very aware of the messages you send to your dogs. Since these are smart dogs, they pick up even on subtle cues pretty quickly.
And then it becomes tough to undo. So, if you keep giving them treats before they stop barking, they will never learn.
If they are barking for attention, that is the last thing you want to give them. You can try the trick with the treat, but if they don’t stop barking after seeing the treat, you need a new strategy.
If you are patient, you will see that eventually, they will stop barking for attention. This might be a tough process, especially with the neighbors, but you will see the results pretty soon.
On the other hand, if your dog does stop barking, give them the treats and attention they need.
Also Read: Are Border Collies Good With Cats?
Border Collies are a great dog to have as a pet. You might not need them to keep any sheep in line but they are excellent house pets.
But if you are living in an apartment, you should know that this is not the best environment for them. These dogs are active, agile and intelligent.
It is almost impossible to keep them tied up in an apartment without physical or mental stimulation. So, locate nearby dog parks, take them for a lot of walks and don’t let your schedule or the weather derail that activity.
They also love to bark if you don’t train them properly. So, get a handful of treats and get cracking.
Not having a backyard for your Border Collie is unfortunate but it is not impossible to live with them in an apartment if you spend enough time with them in the outdoors.