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Do Border Collies Prefer to Be Inside or Outside (and How Do You House-Train Them)?

For your Border Collie, it is not the space that matters. What matters to them is the time and attention that you give them. As long as they are with you and you provide for their needs, they are happy to live anywhere.
Do Border Collies Prefer to Be Inside or Outside

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Because of their long herding history, Border Collies always need more of everything. They need more room to play, more stimulation, and even more of your time.

But Border Collies are not fussy about where they live in. They can live a happy life in a small area as long as they get the needs mentioned above. There are always plenty of ways to work around this, so it is your lifestyle that matters.

A house with a large yard is only a bonus for them. This highly emotional and sensitive breed will not get interested in a yard if they are not with you.

With this, you are the main factor that decides where your Border Collie can be happy in. They may have no preference in their home, but they do prefer to be around you all the time.

How Much Space Does a Border Collie Need?

This highly active athlete will thrive on a farm or in houses with a large yard as this is their paradise. Here, they can run to their heart’s content and spend their time outside as much as they want. Border Collies are outdoorsy dogs that are perfect for families who are the same.

But not all people live in rural areas and you may see other Border Collies living in smaller houses. That is because you can make a compromise with your furry friend.

Your Border Collie will do great living in a home with an open space or yard and ample space indoors. The space is not what makes them happy. It is being able to do fun physical and mental activities.

So if you have a yard, your furry friend will accept it. But you need to make sure that you provide them with daily activities that keep them stimulated. Otherwise, they will get bored and this can lead to several behavioral issues.

Even if your outdoor space is small, you can take their play area somewhere else. A local park nearby will work great for your Border Collie.

You can walk them to the park daily, which is something that they enjoy, to begin with. Parks have ample space for play and your Border Collie will love this. This is also an opportunity for them to get socialized.

By bringing them to the park, you expose them to a lot of stimuli. Other people and dogs, strange noises, scents coming from many places, and more. This will desensitize your Border Collie to a lot of things, making them less skittish dogs.

Remember, this breed is wary of strangers and often has a noise phobia. So this will help them a lot in overcoming their fears. In time, this will make them more behaved dogs in unexpected situations.

Are Border Collies Good House Dogs?

Border Collies have the necessary qualities that make for a great house dog. One of these is that they are intelligent dogs, which makes them easy to train. This way, you lay down your house rules and teach them to follow them to avoid any issues down the road.

Other qualities they have that make them wonderful house dogs are the following:

  • They Get Along With Children: This breed is playful and will enjoy playing with kids. They may be boisterous players though, so they suit older kids better.
  • They Are Highly Affectionate: Border Collies have a strong pack instinct. They love their family above anything else.
  • They Are Very Energetic: Known for their boundless energy, they are always up for play. Take them for a jog, a bike ride, or even hiking. They will enjoy these!
  • They Are Fiercely Loyal: They are okay with going anywhere or doing anything, as long as they are with you. Border Collies will stick with you through thick and thin.
  • They Are Easy to Groom: Border Collies have basic grooming needs. The biggest chunk of their grooming routine is regular brushing, at least thrice a week. They do not need haircuts or a lot of baths like other breeds.

Border Collies need a specific lifestyle, though. They are perfect for a more active household due to their high exercise needs.

So the question of whether this breed makes a good household dog all boils down to you. It will depend on your commitment to training them and giving them time, attention, and love.

Even if Border Collies are one of the smartest dogs out there, you still need to teach them how to behave in your home. You are the deciding factor in this and dogs are a product of their training. So if you can commit to your furry friend, they could be the best pet that you ever had.

Are Border Collies Good for Apartments?

Border Collies can do well in an apartment, but only if you put in a lot of effort for them. The space that they have is not the issue, it is how well you can provide for their needs.

When you think of apartment dogs, Border Collies are not the first ones to pop into people’s minds. Their heart is on a farm, where they can spend endless hours bringing order to their flock’s movement. But this does not mean that a Border Collie cannot be an apartment dweller.

Even if they live on a farm, a Border Collie can still be miserable. This can happen if they do not have an animal to herd, or if they have not-so-industrious owners.

Border Collies can be good apartment dogs but only if you give them your commitment. You should be able to provide them with the following:

  • Plenty of daily physical and mental exercise
  • A lot of your time as they cannot handle alone time well
  • Opportunities to socialize with people, dogs, and others
  • Outlets for their entertainment and herding instincts
  • Outdoor activities since they are an outdoorsy breed

So the question now is if you can put the work into making them comfortable in an apartment setting. Not everyone can handle these responsibilities, can you?

Apart from their needs, you also have to consider their quirks. These can make it challenging for you to have them with you in your apartment.

Border Collies Are Barkers

Your furry friend is easily stimulated by movements and sounds. As a result, they will bark a lot at almost anything. Especially at fast-moving stimuli such as cars, bikes, and more.

This behavior is due to their herding instincts and you cannot get rid of this. You will have to accept how they are and work around this quirk.

Other than that, they will also bark whenever they feel bored. This is a big issue for apartment Border Collies as they do not have much to do.

They are also alert dogs and will bark whenever they find anything unusual. But they have a hard time differentiating real danger from normal things, such as a doorbell.

A loud Border Collie will be annoying for you and your neighbors. They may not be friendly with you after your furry friend kept them up all night!

Border Collies Hate Being Alone

For centuries, Border Collies have worked closely with people. So it is understandable that they need to be by your side at all times. Whatever they do or wherever they go, they would rather be with you.

Their dislike of alone time can also be due to their herding history. They may feel that you are their “flock” to protect, but you are not with them. So they panic whenever you are not home because they feel that they failed their job.

So if you have a busy life being away from home for long periods, your furry friend will be miserable. Leaving them by themselves a lot can lead to them developing separation anxiety.

And with separation anxiety, they can be even louder dogs. They may get destructive and chew your belongings. This is only the tip of the iceberg, there are a lot of behavioral issues that come with this disorder.

Border Collies Love Being Social

Not with just anyone, of course, as this breed becomes reserved around strangers. But Border Collies do enjoy being in close company with people and other animals that they know.

In the past, they had a close working relationship with their owner and other animals. They take pride in protecting their sheep and obeying their owner’s commands.

This need to be around others still lives on today. Border Collies need to be around one family member all the time. If not a human, then they will accept a furry friend to keep them company.

But the apartment life is often too quiet for this sensitive breed. Oftentimes, this setting only leaves them doing their activities by themselves.

So you should spend a lot of time doing fun activities with them to make up for the alone time. And Border Collies have a huge need for physical and mental stimulation.

How Can I Make My Border Collie Happy in an Apartment?

The key to keeping your Border Collie happy in an apartment is your dedication to their needs. As you know, they need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. But this is not the only thing that you should consider.

There are many other ways to ensure your Border Collie’s satisfaction in a smaller home. To prevent an unhappy dog, try some of the tips below.

Give Your Border Collie a Job

Especially in an apartment, it is mandatory to give your Border Collie a job. Of course, they cannot herd sheep in your home. But you can get creative in fulfilling their sense of purpose.

One way to do this is to give them a go at agility courses. You can look for a dog training center nearby and take them there a few times a week.

A dog training center is also an option for you. They will learn new skills through this while getting their mental stimulation needs. Training your Border Collie is a great way to prevent them from getting bored.

It can also be as simple as giving them chores around the home. This may take time and it needs training, but your smart Border Collie does not mind.

You can teach them to fetch you something to drink, give you the remote, and more. They can even clean up after themselves, putting all their toys in their designated box.

Make Sure Your Border Collie Gets a Ton of Exercise Outdoors

Your Border Collie’s intelligence and athleticism is both a blessing and a curse. They are capable of almost anything you give them and they learn fast. But this also means that you have to put in a lot of effort to get their mind and body to work.

There may not be a lot of space in your apartment. But you can play with them outdoors in a local park.

The walk to the park is a way to spend their initial burst of energy. Then play fetch, tug-of-war, and other fun games in the park to drain them down. The walk back to your apartment will burn even more of the little energy that they will have left.

This is also an opportunity to socialize your Border Collie. By taking them outside, they experience new smells, sights, and sounds. Exposing them to these frequently will make them less of a scaredy-cat and a more behaved dog.

Do Not Leave Your Border Collie Alone Too Much

You need to make up for the lack of space in your home with a lot of your time and attention. But if you work full time with long work hours for five days a week, your Border Collie will be unhappy. If this is your situation, you may need to consider another dog breed.

But if you already have a Border Collie, there are some ways to make up for your absence.

If you have another household member, you can have them stay with your Border Collie while you are at work. You can also ask a friend or a neighbor who loves dogs as much as you do.

If you have another dog, keeping them together while you are away is a great idea. But make sure that you trust both dogs to be alone with each other first.

If these are not the options for you, you can enroll your furry friend in doggy daycare. This way, they can meet new canine friends and play with them! Your Border Collie will also get their daily exercise needs from this.

Constantly Teach Them New Tricks and Commands

A tired Border Collie is a happy Border Collie. But physical stimulation alone will not be enough to drain their energy levels. Mental exercises are more draining for this brainy breed.

It can be as simple as playing games with them, giving them interactive toys, and having them do dog sports. But the best way to get their minds to work is by training them. You are hitting two birds with one stone with this.

Teach them useful commands first, such as sit, wait, down, and the like. The basics are crucial in building your furry friend’s obedience. Easier ones are also needed for more complicated commands, so you can build up the difficulty.

With so many tricks and commands to teach your Border Collie, you will never run out of anything to teach them.

Are Border Collies Hard to House-Train?

This breed’s intelligence is what makes them easier to house-train than other dog breeds. Border Collies are eager to learn and to please you, so they will quickly know what you expect of them. They will learn even faster if you only use positive reinforcement to train them.

But house-training any dog breed is not a walk in the park. Even with your Border Collie’s trainability, it can still take time. So do not set up high expectations for your furry friend, this may only discourage you.

How Long Does It Take to Housebreak a Border Collie?

After about 3 weeks of training your Border Collie, you will already see great progress. But this is only a general answer, there is no definite time on how long this will take you. Some Border Collies will only need a few weeks, while others will take months.

If your Border Collie is a puppy, this will take a longer time. They may understand what you expect them to do within a few weeks. But at a young age, they still do not have complete control over their bladder and bowel. So you cannot say that your Border Collie is fully potty trained once they are 4 months of age or older.

For an adult Border Collie, this will take you less time as they can hold their poop or pee much longer. But if they picked up bad potty habits, it can be challenging to housebreak them.

They need to unlearn those unwanted behaviors and learn good ones instead. So this means more of your patience, time, and effort.

In housebreaking senior Border Collies, the issue lies in their medical condition. Older dogs often suffer from health issues that can give them potty problems. Like young puppies, they cannot hold their bladder and bowels well as a result.

While they know what to do, they may still have accidents around the house. The trick here is to make their potty areas more accessible. Other than a potty spot outdoors, make sure to give them a few indoors as well.

How Do You Housebreak an Adult Border Collie?

There is a lot that goes on when potty training a Border Collie. But the important thing here is to make the whole process a positive experience for them. Punishing them in any way is unacceptable, as you may discourage this sensitive breed.

Generally speaking, Border Collies are quick learners. They know what you expect of them fast and they will do their best to please you by obeying the rules. But do not rely on this alone, you still have to put in a lot of effort in training them.

With this, here is a step-by-step process of housebreaking an adult Border Collie.

Step 1: Establish Their Potty Routine

You need a strategic schedule that works around the rest of their daily activities. Border Collies usually want to go to the potty after certain tasks. This includes after eating their meals and after exercising or playing.

So here is when you should take your Border Collie to their potty area:

  • First thing in the morning
  • After their meals
  • After their playtime
  • After they wake up
  • Before going to bed

Following a feeding routine will also make their potty times more predictable. If you follow this routine, your Border Collies body will adjust to it.

Step 2: Sort Out Their Potty Place

Usually, dog owners let their furry friends relieve themselves outdoors. Choose a quiet spot outdoors, free from any distraction. This will help your Border Collie focus on doing their business.

You can also put up a playpen around their potty area. This will be a visual guide for them so they can look for their potty spot right away.

It can also be convenient for you to have a designated potty area indoors too.

At night, your Border Collie may want to take a potty break. But it may be difficult for you to get up in the middle of the night. If you do not get them to their potty area quickly, they will have an accident. By bringing their potty area indoors, you prevent accidents from happening.

While your Border Collie is still learning where to poop or pee, here is a tip that you can do. You can place their poop on their potty area to leave a scent. Next time, they will look for that smell and this makes them more likely to potty in the same place.

Step 3: Supervise Them at All Times

During the training period, you should keep an eye on your Border Collie all the time. This is so you can take immediate action whenever they need to go. If you cannot do this, keep them in a playpen or a room with a baby gate.

But the best way to confine them unsupervised is to crate them. As a den animal, your Border Collie will find its crate comforting. Den animals treasure their small area, so they will try not to soil it.

So while in their crate, your Border Collie will hold their pee or poop until you take them out. But if you use a crate, make sure to take them out at the right time.

Crating is an effective training tool, but this does not mean that you should keep them in it all day. Your Border Collie still needs to do their daily activities. Otherwise, they will let you know how frustrated they are about the situation.

Step 4: Know When They Need to Do Their Business

While you can build a reliable routine, your Border Collie may need to go to the potty at various times of the day. How can you tell that they need to go, though?

They will let you know with their body language:

  • Pacing
  • Sniffing around
  • Leaving the room
  • Circling
  • Barking
  • Scratching the door

Step 5: Take Them to the Potty and Use a Command

If you sense that they need to relieve themselves, take them to their potty area right away. Once they start to poop or pee, say “go potty” right away. This will teach them what the command means and what they need to do when they hear it.

Take your time accompanying them to the potty. Some dogs will have accidents indoors even right after they potty outside. This means that you did not spend much time outdoors for them to completely empty their bowel or bladder.

Be consistent with giving out your command and say it whenever they go to the potty. Consistency is key and this will help in ingraining the lesson in their mind.

Step 6: Reward Them for Their Good Deed

Once they finish their business, do not fail to let them know that they did well. You can give them a high-value treat or play their favorite toy with them. Both are great in housebreaking them in the beginning.

A better reward is by verbally praising them with a fun and lively voice. Combine that with lots of pets and ear scratches and they will get the message.

Verbal praise may be better as treats can contribute to their weight gain. Toys as a reward can be inconvenient as well, especially if you take them out in the middle of the night.

You can start with treats and toys, in the beginning, to housebreak them faster. But you need to wean them off of these in time and replace their reward with verbal praise.

Keep repeating all these steps until your Border Collie knows how to go to the potty on their own. Make sure to be consistent with your command, reward, and your routine.

Can Border Collies Be Left Outside?

Border Collies love the great outdoors and they love to take their playtime outside. But if you are talking about making them live outdoors, there is a whole different answer for this.

Letting Your Border Collie Spend Time Outside

This highly active breed has no issues spending most of its time outdoors. They have a lot of space to stretch out their legs, run around, and being a puppy at heart.

But you cannot let them stay outside without anything to do. A great way to entertain them is by playing with them outside. Play a good game of fetch or test their jaw strength and obedience with a game of tug-of-war.

There are other activities you can do, such as building an obstacle course outdoors and giving them a go at it. Border Collies may have no interest in being in a yard without you in it. So take this opportunity to bond with your affectionate furry friend.

While this may be true, they can also have fun on their lonesome outside. You can give them toys to play with.

A normal ball will do wonders in keeping them entertained. Watching them push it around with their noses at full speed will entertain you too!

If one ball can do this, imagine what joy several balls can bring them. A set of big balls in the yard will give them plenty to do. You may even see your Border Collie herding the balls as their instincts kick in.

There are many other ways to keep them happy as they stay outside, you only have to be creative.

Letting Your Border Collie Live Outside

If you are looking into having them live and sleep outdoors, they do not like this idea. Technically, Border Collies can live outside but they will be miserable.

As working dogs, they may enjoy staying outside, but they will not want to sleep there. They have the coat to withstand harsh weather, but not the heart to be away from their family. They crave to be close to you every hour of every day.

This comes from a place of affection because they value their pack above everything else. So they will take protecting you and your family at night as one of their daily duties. To do this, they need to be with you indoors.

Living outside also means that they have fewer opportunities to engage with you. This means less attention for them and they hate this setup.

You and your family are everything to your Border Collie. This breed is extremely emotional and sensitive. Keep them away from you at night and they will get depressed.

So you should not have your poor Border Collie sleep outside. This is not good for their mental and emotional well-being and it will only get worse if you do not do anything about it.

How Do You Keep a Border Collie Outside?

While this is not the best setup for them, there are ways for you to make them live outside comfortably. Border Collies have coats that can make them handle most temperatures. Even so, your priority is to protect them from outside conditions.

Before you proceed, you should know the risks of letting your furry friend stay outside. They get exposed to predators, parasites, and allergens outdoors. Other than that, this breed does not like being away from you so this can make them miserable.

But if your Border Collie is a herding dog, protecting sheep day in, day out, they are okay with this. They take pride in this responsibility and will always be on the lookout for harm.

With this, here is how you can keep your Border Collie outside.

Provide Them With a Clean and Cozy Housing

The main thing to consider is to keep them safe from harsh weather conditions. You can create their bed spot on your porch or other sheltered area. Make sure to add extra blankets to keep them warm during colder seasons.

But an elevated dog kennel is the best option for them. Having their house a few inches from the ground will keep them cool when the ground is hot. But it will also keep them off the cold ground during winter.

Use wooden flooring for their shelter, too, so it is not as affected by temperature changes. Then have a thick and well-insulated dog bed inside for extra comfort. You can also add some blankets for them to use if it is extra chilly.

Make sure that their outside housing has a flap too. This will help in protecting them from strong winds or rain. It will also allow them to go in and out as they please.

Provide Them With Ample Water Supply

Your hardworking Border Collie will need clean drinking water around the clock. If you use a water bowl, make sure you get one made out of plastic. This material does not get too cold, unlike metal or ceramic.

If their water bowl gets too cold, their tongue may stick to it. This can harm your Border Collie, so it is best to go with a plastic bowl.

You can also use heated bowls if you want. This will keep their water warm and encourage them to drink more.

If you want to splurge a bit more, you can use an automatic water dispenser. This holds more water than the usual water bowl so you spend less time topping up their water supply.

Whichever you choose, you should change the water at least twice a day. While you are at it, clean their water bowl once a day as well. Outside, their bowl gets dirty quickly and this can contain harmful microorganisms.

Provide Them With Entertainment

Make sure your Border Collie also has fun outlets to reduce their boredom.

Toys that get them thinking are the best. These keep them entertained for hours and drain their energy fast! So give them a variety of puzzle toys and interactive toys for this.

You can also give them other toys that get them moving. Balls are great for outdoor play as this allows them to run around and even herd the ball around. It may be better to provide them with more balls to play with to drive their herding instincts.