Your Border Collie gets bored when you’re not home. Heck, sometimes your Border Collie gets bored when you are home. The breed is extremely intelligent, and if his mind isn’t stimulated, your dog may begin to show signs of anxiety or mischief. Enter Border Collie brain games.
Border Collies are happiest when they’re put to work or when they’re given tasks. The brain games we’ve included in this guide will help you do just that: put your Collie to “work” to maintain his self-esteem and overall well-being.
What Is a Border Collie Brain Game?
Did you stumble upon this article? If so, you may be wondering what a Border Collie brain game is. Well, it’s simple. Brain games are any activities designed to keep your dog’s brain entertained. Even playing fetch with your dog can stimulate his mind and keep him out of trouble!
In addition to keeping your dog from creating his own mischief, stimulation can help decrease anxiety in your pup, particularly separation anxiety. Playing with your dog can relieve stress (for both of you!) and can help keep your dog from developing cognitive issues as he ages.
The games you choose don’t have to be complicated, and we’ve chosen several DIY games you can create at home using materials you have on hand. Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your Border Collie stimulated and having fun.
How Much Stimulation Does My Border Collie Need?
Border Collies, as mentioned, are highly intelligent dogs. But no matter which breed of dog you own, and no matter how intelligent, a measure of cognitive stimulation is mandatory for his mental health.
Puppies, as a general rule, need about five minutes of brain games for each month they’ve been alive. So a four-month-old puppy will do just fine with about 20 minutes of stimulating playtime each day.
Adult Border Collies can handle much more than this, but you’ll need to keep an eye on your pup. Too much of anything can be problematic, and that’s true for Border Collie brain games! If you find your dog is getting overstimulated, let him rest.
Senior dogs’ activity levels will change, so you’ll need to just let your dog take the lead. Play with your pup within the limitations of his physical abilities, if any limitations exist. Brain Games that don’t require a lot of physical activity may work well for your dog.
What Are Some Good Brain Games for Border Collies?
Consider your dog’s “favorite” and strongest senses. His senses of smell, vision, and hearing are important to him, so resolve to stimulate these as you play! Fetch and hide-and-seek are great examples of this, but we’ll cover more later in this guide.
Amazon, Chewy, and other retailers sell games for dogs. You can find interactive treat toys like this one from FOXMM, or you can find simpler devices such as balls that hide treats! Use your imagination and match the toys you choose to your pup’s age, size, and personality.
To keep your dog busy while you’re away, rotate toys from week to week. Put some aside in a bin, tucked away, and switch them out every now and then. While this offers play that’s a bit less interactive, rotating his toys will help prevent boredom.
With all that having been said, it’s time to look at some brain games for Border Collies that you can play with your dog!
Brain Games for Border Collies
Are you ready for a little interactive playtime with your dog? Here are the best brain games for Border Collies!
Hide and Seek
You can play a game of hide and seek with your Border Collie; it’s just as fun as when you were a kid!
Give your pup a treat or something else to keep him distracted while you leave the room. Find a hiding space, like in an open closet or behind the shower curtain.
Ready? Make a sound! Call your dog to get his attention, then try to stifle your giggles while he comes to “seek” you.
If you have mobility issues, you can try hiding treats or favorite toys instead of yourself. In any event, your dog will love “hunting” for his favorite toy or favorite human.
Homemade Treat Puzzle
Please note that this activity should only be done when your dog is supervised. Some dogs, especially larger breeds, may have difficulty separating “treat” from “plastic” and this can cause harm to your pet.
To create a homemade treat puzzle, take a milk jug or large water bottle and poke holes in it. The holes should be just slightly larger than your pup’s treats so that they’re able to fall out when your dog rolls the container just right.
Fishing for Doggies
If you’ve ever played with cat toys, you may know of those sticks with feathers attached. But did you know you can play with these “fishing poles” with your dog, too?
Take a long stick or even a broom handle and a large milk bone treat. Using twine or a thick yarn, tie the bone to the stick so that it dangles. Then, just gently wave it around — you don’t even have to leave your lawn chair if you don’t want to!
For extra fun, let your dog chase you around your yard. Pretend you’re running from him and let him “herd” you. After all, that’s what Border Collie brain games are all about — letting them do what they do best!
Peanut Butter Surprise
If you’re not going to be home, or if you want to leave your Border Collie outdoors for a couple of hours, you can entertain his brain with a peanut butter-filled toy. Choose a Kong from Amazon or another retailer, or an oxtail from the grocery store and fill it with peanut butter.
Your dog will spend hours trying to get the peanut butter out of his toy. If you want to buy yourself a little more time and make it even more exciting for your dog, pop your peanut butter toy in the freezer overnight.
Please note that, like the homemade treat puzzle, some dogs may require supervision. If your pup is a very enthusiastic chewer you’ll need to keep an eye out for pieces that have broken off.
You’ve probably seen them on television shows, but did you know you can buy recordable dog training buttons for your own home? They’re relatively inexpensive, with some costing less than $20.
These cute little buttons allow your Border Collie to really exercise her mind as he learns how to “talk” to you. Need ideas on what to record for your pup to learn? Try:
Training buttons take time for your dog to learn, but once she gets the hang of them you and your dog will be communicating like pros!
Take Your Dog for a Walk
Never underestimate the power of a romp around the neighborhood — bonus points if it’s a nice long one! Let your dog take the lead, within safety limitations, and let him sniff, explore, and chase to his heart’s content.
It’s amazing what dogs find amazing! They’re like little kids in a way, and each leaf, squirrel, and gust of wind is a new adventure. Keep your dog on a lead, of course, to make sure he won’t get carried away and chase that bunny through the woods.
Your Border Collie needs around two hours of exercise each day. Taking your pup for a walk or a hike will help you fulfill that exercise requirement, and will also give him time to stimulate his brain with the sights and sounds of the great outdoors.
Fill a Kiddie Pool
You can purchase small “kiddie pools” for under $20 at local retailers, or you may have one at home already! Fill it up with plastic ball pit balls or tennis balls and sprinkle small treats around inside. Then, let your pup walk around in the pool to locate — and enjoy — his treats!
Kiddie pools are great for summer play, too. Fill the pool with a couple inches of water and place some water resistant or waterproof toys in the water. Let your dog “dive” for the toys, or allow him to simply splash around in the pool.
Learn New Commands
Your Border Collie wants to learn and he wants to make you happy. Therefore, learning new commands is a perfect Border Collie brain game that costs nothing at all.
Grab a few small treats and get to work. Your dog may enjoy learning how to:
- “Dance” (twirl on his hind legs)
- Back (walk backwards)
The possibilities are endless, and a quick Google search will give you oodles of ideas for commands to work on with your pup.
While it isn’t necessarily a Border Collie brain game, enrolling your dog in doggy daycare — even just a day or two each week — can give your Border Collie plenty of social time with his canine buddies! Day rates at local daycares are relatively inexpensive, too, and may be even cheaper than hiring a dog walker to come play.
Most doggy daycares have a restricted breeds list, so be sure you check your dog against that list before you go. You’ll be required to provide vet records and proof of current vaccinations for your dog, and you may be required to fill out a waiver before you visit.
Doggy daycares have come a long, long way since the days of outdoor kennels and boarding houses. Today, you’ll find indoor dog parks with obstacle courses and even pools for your dog to enjoy!
Opt for Automation
Playing fetch with your dog is all fun and games until your arm tires out. Did you know there are automated fetching toys for dogs that will save your muscles?
In addition to fetching toys, you can buy little toys that roll around on their own, toys that dispense treats when certain actions are performed, and more. A search on Amazon or Chewy for “automated dog toys” will bring up all the results you’ll need!
Make sure the product you choose has good reviews and that it’s size-appropriate for your dog. Interactive toys are a wonderful “playmate” for your dog, but they’ll also give you a bit of free time on your own, too!
Host a Playdate
If none of these options works for you, you can simply invite a friend over to sip a couple of drinks on the patio while your pups play. Playdates are just as important for dogs as they are for humans.
Make sure your puppy or dog is up to date on his vaccinations and that the pups have a safe, enclosed space. Then, just sit back and let them romp! Be sure you look for signs of overstimulation and separate the dogs if necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions
A stimulating game of fetch or frisbee catching could become your Border Collie’s favorite game.
Border Collies are happiest when they have physical and mental stimulation on a daily basis. Beyond games, walks, and doggy playdates, they enjoy herding and obedience work.
Try to fit in an hour and a half to two hours of activity for your Border Collie most days.
Conclusion for “Fun Border Collie Brain Games”
If your Border Collie is bored, or if you just want to make sure his mind stays active, consider a few of these brain games! Puzzles and fun games are beneficial for dogs for a number of reasons.
They’ll keep your dog from engaging in destructive behavior, they’ll keep his mind sharp, and they can even help reduce stress and anxiety in your pup.
The games described above are just a small sampling of the many you can choose. Pick a few you think your dog will love and experiment to find out what keeps him alert and engaged!
If you find this guide, “Fun Border Collie Brain Games,” helpful, check out:
- 9 Popular Border Collie Mixed Breeds! (2023)
- 12 Best Border Collie Breeders in the USA! (2023)
- 8 Best Border Collie Rescues in the USA! (2023)
Learn more by watching “10 Fascinating Facts About the Border Collie” down below:
Garrett loves animals and is a huge advocate for all Doodle dog breeds. He owns his own Goldendoodle named Kona. In addition, he volunteers at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley, where he fosters dogs and helps animals. Garrett enjoys writing about Doodles and believes that dogs can teach humans more about how to live than humans can teach a dog.
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