Collie Training Tips

Collie Training Tips

Collies are a very intelligent breed and can be easy to train if trained properly. Learn more about this breed here.

Collies are herding dogs, and as is usually true of this type of working dog, they are intelligent, eager to please and energetic. You can teach a Collie almost anything, as long as you approach them properly and keep the basic nature of the Collie in mind. Look for things that you and your dog can enjoy together to make training a fun time, not chore time, for both of you.


Proper socialization is essential for Collie puppies. This teaches them to accept other people, sights, sounds and animals. Puppies that are properly socialized are not afraid of meeting new people or of experiencing places and things outside of their homes. As a result, they are much easier to live with and to train. Enrolling your Collie puppy in a puppy training class is one good way to provide some of the needed socialization while working on some basic obedience and manners.


Collies in general are very sensitive to their owner’s wishes. Your Collie will try hard to do what you expect. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your Collie. Use a combination of treats, praise and positive interaction to reward your Collie for doing the right thing. This causes your dog to repeat the wanted behavior in search of more rewards. When the response to a command is incorrect, you simply withhold the reward until the dog corrects it. If you focus on correcting your Collie negatively for an error, and especially if you are harsh, your Collie can become unsure, and you may end up with an overly sensitive and fearful dog. It is best to always stay positive.

Consider Instincts

Collies are herding dogs. For a Collie, it is natural to try to round up moving things, including other animals and children, vehicles and bicycles. It is best to discourage this behavior unless you will be teaching your dog to herd properly. Collies can get pushy when trying to herd, and this behavior can frighten people, and especially small children. A Collie may bark and even nip when the herding instinct is aroused. While this isn’t aggressive behavior in a Collie, it looks pretty aggressive to the one being herded, and it poses problems for you and the dog. To stop your Collie from herding behavior, spend some time working with the dog on a leash until you have complete control. Do not allow your Collie to believe that it's acceptable to exercise their instincts outside of your control. Otherwise, you may soon find that you can’t stop your dog from chasing after children, pets, bicycles, and cars.


Collies love to be active with their family members, and your Collie is likely to enjoy any type of training you decide to pursue because it is a chance to be with you. Staying active will be good for your Collie's body, mind, and happiness. Due to the active nature and high intelligence of this breed, many Collies do very well in dog sports and competitions such as obedience, agility, rallying, and herding. The time you spend with your dog deepens the bond between the two of you, and Collies that are given activities to occupy their time and use up their excess energy is less likely to find ways to get in trouble. Bored, lonely Collies often bark incessantly and may become a serious nuisance to their owners and their neighbors.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you discipline a Collie?

Collies are intelligent and sensitive dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Discipline should always be based on positive reinforcement and should never involve physical punishment, as this can be harmful to the dog and damage the relationship between the dog and its owner. Consistency is key when training any dog. Ensure that everyone in the household is using the same commands and training methods to avoid confusion for the dog. Reward your Collie with treats, praise, and play when they display good behavior. This will encourage them to repeat the behavior in the future. Instead of punishing your Collie for bad behavior, redirect their attention to more appropriate behavior. For example, if your Collie starts to chew on something, they shouldn't give them a chew toy instead. Use clear, concise verbal cues to communicate with your Collie. For example, use "no" to discourage bad behavior and "good" or "yes" to reinforce good behavior. Physical punishment can be harmful to your Collie and damage the relationship between you and your dog. It can also increase the risk of aggressive behavior in the future. Remember, training and discipline should always be based on positive reinforcement and consistency. With patience and consistency, your Collie can become a well-behaved and obedient companion.

Are Collies easy to train?

Collies are known for being intelligent and trainable dogs. They are eager to please their owners and are quick learners, which makes them relatively easy to train. However, like any breed, individual Collies may have their own unique personalities and learning styles, which can affect their trainability. Collies are also known for being sensitive dogs that respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. Using treats, praise, and other rewards can be very effective in training Collies, while harsh or punitive methods are likely to be counterproductive. Overall, with consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement, Collies can be a joy to train and can excel in a wide range of activities, including obedience, agility, and herding.

Do Collies like to be alone?

Collies are social animals and generally do not like to be left alone for extended periods of time. They are known for being loyal and affectionate to their owners and enjoy spending time with their human family. Collies are often described as "velcro dogs" because of their tendency to follow their owners around the house and want to be near them at all times. If left alone for too long, Collies may become anxious or bored and may engage in destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, or barking excessively. It's important to provide them with plenty of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy and healthy. However, with proper training and socialization, Collies can learn to be comfortable spending some time alone. Gradual desensitization to being alone and providing them with toys or puzzles to keep them occupied can help them adjust to being alone for short periods of time.

Will a collie protect you?

Collies are not typically aggressive dogs and do not have a strong natural protective instinct. However, they are loyal and affectionate dogs that can become protective of their owners if they sense a threat. Collies are more likely to bark to alert their owners of potential danger than to engage in physical aggression. They may also try to stand between their owners and a perceived threat or even attempt to herd their owners to safety. While Collies can be protective, they are not guard dogs and should not be relied upon for protection in dangerous situations. Proper socialization and training can help them to be more confident and stable in various situations, but their temperament and behavior ultimately depend on their individual personality and upbringing.

Do Collies like to cuddle?

Collies are known for being affectionate dogs and often enjoy cuddling with their owners. They are loyal and devoted to their family members and love to be close to them. Many Collies enjoy physical affection such as petting, snuggling, and leaning against their owners. Collies are also sensitive dogs that can pick up on their owner's emotions and moods. They often provide comfort and support to their owners during times of stress or sadness, and cuddling can be a way for them to show affection and provide comfort. While Collies enjoy cuddling, they also need their personal space and may not want to cuddle all the time. Like any dog, they have their own individual personalities and preferences, and it's important to respect their boundaries and signals of discomfort.

More on Dog Training

Try An Indoor Class With Your Dog
Training An Older Dog
Products To Improve Your Dog Training

References & Resources

Dogtime: Collie
Your Purebred Puppy: Collie Temperament What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em
Collie Club of America: The Collie as a Family dog

This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.

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