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How to Hold a Border Collie (The Best Way to Pick Up and Transport It)

As a dog owner, there are some instances where you need to hold or transport your Border Collie. Even if this is a sturdy breed, you cannot carry them any way you want. There is a proper way to do this to avoid causing them any pain or discomfort.
How to Hold a Border Collie

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Border Collies love to get involved in any activity that you do. Or, as a responsible pack leader, you have to take them with you to the vet regularly. In both cases, there is a need to pick them up and transport them.

This process involves a lot of care and being gentle. Otherwise, you can cause injuries or even make existing medical issues worse. Knowing how to do this is part of caring for your furry friend and you will know more about this in this article.

How Do You Lift a Border Collie?

The first thing you should do when picking up your Border Collie is to support their back. You can do this by putting your hand on their chest, going between their front legs. Your free hand should be between their back legs to support the rear part of their body.

Once you have positioned your Border Collie like this, gently lift them. If they move too much, crouch to the ground and let them go. Jumping from a high area in this manner may cause injuries or may hurt their paws.

Some Border Collies are okay with getting lifted. Others, not so much.

So if your Border Collie is the latter, you need to get them used to this first. Whenever they feel relaxed, pick them up for a short while. Then put them back down before they begin getting squirmish in your arms.

This will help them get familiar with getting picked up without forcing them to take it all at once. Keep repeating this process and in time, your Border Collie will improve.

But if they become aggressive whenever you pick them up, go to a dog behaviorist. It is better if you can find one that specializes in this breed.

How to Hold a Border Collie Puppy

You can pick up your Border Collie with one hand, especially if they are a young puppy. To do this, place your hand under their chest with your fingers towards their head. Then you can lift them slowly.

This hand placement allows you to support their fragile body. By doing so, you can avoid causing them discomfort or pain. You may even injure them by picking them up the wrong way.

How to Carry a Border Collie With Back Problems

The crucial thing with carrying a dog who has back problems is to keep their body leveled at all times. Especially once you pick them up and set them back down.

Begin by putting your hand on their chest, going through their front legs. Make sure your fingers are facing their head. Spread your fingers as wide as you can for the best support.

Now support their rump by placing your other hand between their back legs. Again, spread your fingers as wide as you can to support their lower body.

Before you lift your Border Collie, make sure you let them know that you are picking them up. Some may panic at getting lifted in the air without notice.

Then you can lift them while making sure that their spine is properly aligned. The front of their body should be level with their back as you do this. This will lessen any stress on their sensitive spine.

After this, it is up to you how you will carry them. You can move them close to your body, with your hands in the original position. Or you can cradle your Border Collie, but this takes some practice.

Whichever you choose, it is crucial that you always keep their spine aligned.

How Not to Hold a Border Collie

Lifting your Border Collie by holding their front legs or armpits is not a good idea. Not only is this uncomfortable, but it can also damage your Border Collie’s muscles.

Many dog owners lift their furry companions in silly ways. But even if your Border Collie does not mind, this can be harmful in the long run.

Some are painful, while others can have more devastating effects. Picking them up the wrong way can cause nerve, muscle, or airway damage. And these can cause life-long repercussions.

So, at all costs, do not lift your Border Collie in the following ways:

  • Picking Them Up by the Scruff
  • Picking Them Up by the Tail
  • Picking Them Up by Their Collar

Is It Bad to Pick Up a Border Collie?

Picking up your Border Collie in itself is not bad. This only becomes harmful if you pick them up the wrong way. It does not matter if your furry friend is healthy and especially if they have back issues or injuries.

Always keep in mind that even if your Border Collie is yelping, they may be in pain. Your canine friend tends to tolerate discomfort more than you think. But even if they are not verbal about it, their body language will tell you this.

So throughout the process of picking them up, watch out for the signs of discomfort:

  • Avoiding You
  • Struggling
  • Avoiding Eye Contact
  • Lip Licking
  • Yawning
  • Showing the Whites of Their Eyes

These are only some of the many ways your Border Collie shows that they are uncomfortable. But if you see any of these, set them down right away. In some cases, they may get aggressive, and you do not want this.

So to avoid causing them any discomfort, pick them up the right way. By doing this, you support their spine throughout the whole process.

And it is not difficult to do this. The main thing about picking them up is the correct hand placement. By placing one hand under their chest and the other under their rump, you are supporting their back.

But if you carry them the wrong way, like picking them up by their collar, armpits, or tail, you are hurting them. This can lead to more serious issues, like nerve or muscle damage.

You should be extra careful when picking them up if they have injuries or health issues.

Border Collies are prone to health issues that affect their bones and joints, some of which are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Canine Degenerative Myelopathy
  • Osteochondritis Dissecans
  • Acute Non-compressive Nucleus Pulposus Extrusion (ANNPE)

And since this breed likes to push their bodies to the limit, they are at higher risk of getting injured.

Border Collies who are agility dogs are most prone to getting back injuries. They are also susceptible to injuries behind their shoulders, and disc injuries, to name a few.

So while not picking them up at all may be best, there are instances when you cannot avoid this. When you do, it is vital that you keep your Border Collie’s spine leveled when carrying them.

Why Does My Border Collie Yelp When Picked Up?

Your Border Collie may yelp when picked up for many reasons. Sometimes, they are showing their excitement, given how affectionate they can be. Other reasons are more worrying, including the following:

  • You Startled Them
  • You Are Scaring Them
  • You Are Picking Them Up Wrong
  • They Have Cramps
  • They Have Health Issues

Since your Border Collie yelps for all these reasons, the key here is spotting the difference. Their body language will tell if they are happy or if they are in pain.

If you have trouble with this, you can look into these possible causes one by one below.

Showing Excitement

Yelping is not necessarily a sign that your Border Collie is in pain. It can be a sign of excitement as their favorite person is picking them up!

You will know if this is the reason for their yelping if they:

  • Show Their Tongues
  • Wag Their Tail
  • Have Wide and Open Eyes
  • You Startled Them

Getting picked up may be an unusual sensation for your Border Collie. So they do not know how to react to this, and often feel startled when you do. This is especially true if you pick them up without warning them first.

Do not worry, your Border Collie can get used to this. You can carry them for short periods for a few days until they get used to this. Remember not to sneak up on them, this will get them scared.

You Scared Them

Border Collies can become fearful at the thought of getting lifted from the ground. They may have had a bad experience with it before, which could have caused this.

To check if this is the case, see if they cry when you approach and grab them with haste. If they do, try being gentle with them next time.

If they are still scared even when you have a calm approach, you have work to do. Use a lot of positive reinforcement to let them know that you only want to cuddle them and not hurt them.

You Are Picking Them Up Wrong

As mentioned in the previous sections, the way you carry them can cause them much pain. You can easily avoid this by supporting their chest and their rump.

Do not pick them up by their collar, legs, armpits, or tails. If you have children in the house, teach them how to carry your furry friend the right way too.

They Have Cramps

Sometimes, your Border Collie can have this temporary muscle condition. This can be due to overexertion, dehydration, injuries, and more.

Check if this is the cause for their yelping with these signs:

  • Twitching
  • Tremors
  • Struggling to Straighten Their Legs
  • Limping
  • Slow Movement

They Have Medical Issues

Several health issues can cause your Border Collie immense pain. This is especially true if you pick them up the wrong way.

These issues can be any of the following:

  • Injuries
  • Skin Infections
  • Abnormal Skin Growths
  • Joint or Muscle Problems
  • Back Issues

What Size Cage Does a Border Collie Need?

Based on recommendations, a Border Collie’s cage should be extra large in size. But remember, this breed comes in a variety of sizes. So this may be too large for your Border Collie if they are on the smaller size. In this case, you can get a large-sized cage for your Border Collie. Look into this option if you have a female Border Collie, as they are often smaller than males.

There is no one size fits all cage size for dogs. So it is best if you measure your Border Collie to get the perfect cage for them.

What Size Dog Crate Do I Need for a Border Collie?

In general, Border Collies need a crate size that is 42 inches (1067 mm) in length. But again, this may be too large for smaller dogs of this breed. So find a crate that is 36 inches (914 mm) and more comfortable.

Finding the right crate size is crucial for your Border Collie. Getting them the wrong one can make crate training ineffective. But it can also make them feel insecure and unsafe.

If the crate is too small, it can make them feel uncomfortable. They cannot get into positions that they like while they are resting. In this case, they will not feel any pleasure or security using their crate, so they reject it.

If their crate is too big, they may poop or pee in their crates. This should not happen, as dogs like to keep their dens clean.

These problems can make crate training ineffective. And crate training is very useful in teaching them other things, like potty training.

Crating your Border Collie has other benefits. Once they have a positive association with their crate, their well-being can improve. But the right crate size can also benefit you as well.

Here are some of the benefits of the perfect crate size:

It Lowers Their Anxiety

Unfortunately, Border Collies are prone to anxiety. It can be due to stimuli since they are sensitive to sounds and movements. Or it can be due to separation anxiety since they want to be close to their pack at all times.

But many other reasons make them feel anxious. Claustrophobia is one of these. So a small crate can bring them anxiety instead of reducing it.

It Reduces Injuries

A small crate can make your Border Collie prone to injuries. What can you expect if they bump themselves on the crate with every move they make? They may hurt their nose, scrape themselves on the wire, and more.

Some injuries are not seen by the eye, too. This can lead to health issues like breathing problems and heart conditions. As a responsible dog owner, you would not want this for your furry friend.

It Can Save You Money

Getting the right-sized crate for your Border Collie will save you money in the long run.

You can use a crate divider if they are still puppies so that they have the appropriate space. As they age, you can move the divider or get rid of it. This way, your Border Collie grows with your crate. You do not need to buy new crates as they age by doing this. Considering that puppies grow fast, this is a cost-effective method for you.

So invest in a good-quality, adult-sized crate and get a divider.

It Makes Crate Training Effective

A crate of the perfect size will make your Border Collie feel at home. They feel comfortable in it and they will consider it their safe space. But they can only do this if they see it as a place of pleasure, which is only possible if it is the right size for them.

How Do You Crate Train a Border Collie?

You can train your Border Collie in 6 easy steps. But what will take time is getting them used to the crate. Although this process is lengthy, they must grow to like their crates.

So remember, do not force your Border Collie to like their crate. Have them warm up to it on their terms. If you do this, you will find more success and this can even speed up the process.

Below, you will find the steps in crate training your Border Collie.

Step 1: Make the Crate Comfy

The crucial part of this is finding the perfect crate size for your Border Collie. Usually, they would need an extra-large crate, but if they are smaller, get them one in large.

Now that you have a crate, you can further make it more comfortable for them. Add a comfortable pad inside for your Border Collie to lie down on.

If your Border Collie is still a puppy, do not get them a fluffy bed yet. They will chew on this, especially when they are undergoing the teething process. This can be dangerous for them as they may ingest the filling of the bed.

Once they grow up, you can give them a soft and fluffy dog bed to make their space more inviting.

You can also add a cover over the crate to make it feel like more of a den. You can use a light blanket and have it drape over the sides of the crate. By doing this, your Border Collie will feel more secure and safe in their crate.

Step 2: Proper Introduction

Take time with this step, as this can make or break the crate training process. Place their crate in one of their favorite spots and open the door. You should let them sniff, inspect, and explore the crate on their own, do not force them to go inside.

You can encourage them to go in by hiding some treats in their crate or placing their favorite toys inside. Once they go in, give them lots of rewards and verbal praise. This way, they will have positive associations with their crate.

When they are inside, leave the door open so that they can go out whenever they want. You do not want them to feel trapped, which can make them anxious.

Keep doing this activity until your Border Collie shows progress.

Step 3: Try Closing the Door

Once your Border Collie feels safe in the crate, you can close the door for a few moments. But only do this if they do not show signs of stress or discomfort.

Again, begin by hiding some treats inside and have them go in on their own. Once they are inside, shower them with rewards and have them look for their treats. Close the door as they do this and leave them for a bit.

Come back after a few moments once they found all their treats. Open the door and have them go out and then give them lots of rewards.

Keep repeating this and gradually increase the time you close the door on them.

Step 4: Maintain the Positive Association

It is important that you continue making the crate training process positive. You can do this by feeding your Border Collie their meals in the crate with the doors open. Or you can place their favorite toys inside so they can play in their crate.

The key here is to make them spend a lot of time in their crate. So use puzzle toys, interactive feeders, or chew toys. This will keep them occupied in their crates for a long time.

Step 5: Increase Their Alone Time in the Crate

Have your Border Collie in their crate and make them spend time alone. Before, you were either beside the crate or in the same room as the crate. But now, you need to practice leaving the room.

So with their toys inside, your Border Collie should have enough entertainment. Leave the room and come back every few minutes to reward them with a treat.

Have them spend 30 minutes in their closed crate and then let them go out. If they can spend that much time in their crate without fuss, you can leave them home alone in their crate.

Step 6: Leave Home for a Bit

Now, you can leave your Border Collie in its crate to go out for a quick errand. But when you leave, do not make a big deal out of it. Do not say goodbye, go through the door and leave. Do the same when you come back home. If they start barking in excitement, leave them in their crate for a few minutes to calm down. Only then can you let them out and shower them with rewards.

Is Crate Training Bad for Border Collies?

It is natural for you to worry about your Border Collie staying in a small space, but it actually benefits them. Crate training only becomes cruel if they do not undergo proper introduction or if it is the wrong size. Crate training not only benefits them, but it can also have a positive impact on you.

With these, here are the benefits of crate training your furry friend:

It Gives Them a Safe Space

The crate is your Border Collie’s personal space that they can retreat to when they want. It can be their space to relax after a long day of hard work.

This can help them a lot during their first few days in your home. A new place can be overstimulating for this sensitive breed. But their crate can help them feel more relaxed and calm amidst all the changes.

It Helps Them Travel

When you travel someplace else, you take the crate with you for your furry friend. By doing this, you bring with you a familiar and safe space for your Border Collie for reassurance. Travelling includes exposure to new stimuli and environments, which can make them anxious.

But if you have their crate with them, they can always retreat to it when they feel overwhelmed.

It Is Excellent for Potty Training

You can use your Border Collie’s crate for potty training. Your canine companion is a den animal and they love keeping their space clean. So if their crate is not too big, they will not soil their personal space.

Instead, they will hold their bladder and bowel until they can go out and potty. So keep your Border Collie in their crate for some time, depending on their age. If you have a puppy, keep them in for a few minutes since they cannot control their bladder and bowel yet.

Once you make them go out, show them the potty area and have them do their business. Give them some treats to reinforce this behavior. This will let them know where the right place to poop or pee is.

It Gives You Peace of Mind

When you are not at home, you often worry if your Border Collie is destroying anything. They do not mind if they chew on your expensive furniture, favorite shoes, and more.

But if they get used to being in a crate when you are away, you are more at ease. You know that they are not making a mess at home because they are in their safe space, enjoying alone time.

It Helps You Get a Good Night’s Rest

Once your Border Collie likes their crate, you can have them sleep in it overnight. This will help you and your furry friend get some much-needed rest. They cannot disturb you for some midnight cuddles this way.

How Long Does It Take to Crate Train a Border Collie?

There is no cut-and-dry answer to this, as this will vary from one individual dog to another. The major factors in this are their ability to focus and your consistency in training them. So while it will take some Border Collies a month to crate train, others may need a few months more.

How Long Can a Border Collie Stay in a Crate

The time your Border Collie can spend in their crate depends on their age. While they are still puppies, keep them in their crate for a few hours at a time. This is because they still cannot control their bladder and bowel well.

A rule of thumb to follow is that they can stay in their crate for an hour every month of age. So if your Border Collie is a month old, they can stay for an hour. If they are 3 months old, they can stay in their crate for 3 hours.

But this rule only maxes at 4 to 5 hours of staying in their crate. This excludes their time in the crate at night.

Keeping your Border Collie in its crate for too long can be harmful. This can have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health.

Considering their love for being active, it is best not to keep them in their crate for any longer than 2 hours.