How to crate train a border collie – Create a safe space for your dog

Why crate train a border collie?

Firstly, before knowing how to crate train a border collie, it’s important to understand why crate training a border collie is beneficial. Crate training provides your border collie with a safe, comforting space that they can call their own. This can be particularly useful in managing their high energy levels during periods of inactivity or when you can’t give them full attention. Consider it their personal retreat; a cozy nook they can rely on for relaxation and peace. 

Crate training also plays a significant role in house training your pet. It naturally appeals to their instinct not to soil their den, so encouraging good habits. Furthermore, it helps in cultivating a predictable bathroom schedule. 

From a practical standpoint, crate training your border collie also helps in making travel safer and more comfortable for your pup. It eases the process of vet visits, overnight stays, or any journey that might otherwise be stressful for your dog. 

Behavioral Benefits 

Crate training can also be an effective tool for managing and deterring unwanted behaviors, such as chewing up furniture or getting into the trash. When used correctly, it can offer a sturdy framework to teach them about boundaries and appropriate behavior. 

Remember, crate training is never about punishment. It should always be a positive, rewarding experience leading to a balanced and well-behaved border collie. 

Border Collie Crate Training Do’s and Don’ts

Understanding the correct methods and what to avoid can make all the difference during your border collie’s crate training journey. Here’s a list of key do’s and don’ts that you need to consider: 


When it comes to crate training your border collie, there are several key things that you should do. Being mindful of these crucial steps will ensure that this process is as effective and stress-free as possible, both for you and your dog. 

Choose the Crate Wisely: As the first step, you need to choose the right crate. The wire crate, the plastic crate, and the soft-sided are the three most popular types. Your selection should be based on the convenience and comfort of your Border collie. Regardless of the crate type, make sure it’s spacious enough for your dog to stand, turn around, and sprawl out.

Make the Crate Comfortable: Always furnish the crate with soft blankets or a comfortable dog bed along with some safe chew toys, transforming it into a pleasant and cozy spot for your pup.

Feed Meals in the Crate: To build a positive association with the crate, feed your dog their meals inside it. This practice not only helps them understand that it’s their special place, but also makes the transition smoother.

Be Consistent and Patient: Crate training is not an overnight task, it needs patience and consistency. You should have a planned schedule which includes meal times, playtimes, and crate time.

Reward Good Behavior: When your collie willingly steps inside the crate or stays calmly, reward them with a treat or affectionate praise. This reinforcement encourages the correct behavior.

Overall, these are the primary ‘DOs’ when it comes to effective crate training of your Border collie. Stick with these steps, and you’ll be on the right path to successfully crate training your furry friend. Remember, every dog has its own pace when learning new things. Be patient, supportive, and accordingly adjust your training speed.


Don’t Use the Crate as Punishment: One common mistake is using the crate as a place for punishment. Doing this associates the crate with negative experiences, which is contrary to our goal of providing a safe, comfortable space for your Border Collie.

Don’t Rush the Process: While your eagerness to get your Border Collie adapted to the crate is understandable, remember that crate training takes time. Rushing the process can lead to stress and fear, potentially making crate training more difficult.

Don’t Keep Your Dog in the Crate All Day: Being confined to a crate for too long can cause distress and anxiety for your Border Collie. A general rule of thumb is that a dog can be crated for as many hours as they are months old, up to a maximum of about 5 hours at a time.

You are only human, so it’s expected that you might make mistakes along the way. However, when it comes to crate training, it’s best to avoid the above ‘DON’Ts’. If your Border Collie ends up spending too much time in the crate, displaying signs of distress or fear, or associating the crate with punishment, take a step back and reassess your approach. Remember, the purpose of crate training is to create a safe and comforting environment for your dog, not a source of fear or punishment.

What are the recommended steps and techniques for crate training a border collie?

Step 1: Introduce the crate gradually. Start by placing the crate in a quiet and comfortable area of your home. Keep the door open and allow your border collie to explore the crate at their own pace. You can encourage them to enter the crate by placing treats or toys inside. Make sure the crate is inviting and cozy by adding a soft blanket or bedding.

Step 2: Associate positive experiences with the crate. Once your border collie is comfortable entering the crate, start feeding them their meals near the crate or inside it. This will create a positive association with the crate and help them view it as a safe and pleasant space. You can also give them treats or praise when they voluntarily enter the crate.

Step 3: Gradually increase crate time. Begin closing the crate door for short periods while your border collie is inside. Stay nearby and provide reassurance if needed. Gradually increase the duration of time they spend in the crate, making sure to let them out before they become anxious or restless. This will help them build tolerance and confidence in the crate.

Step 4: Use crate time for relaxation and rest. Encourage your border collie to settle down and relax in the crate by providing a special chew toy or a stuffed Kong filled with treats. This will help them associate the crate with calmness and downtime. Avoid using the crate as a form of punishment, as it should be a positive and comfortable space for your dog.

Step 5: Practice leaving and returning. Once your border collie is comfortable spending longer periods in the crate, start simulating your departures and returns. Gradually increase the time you spend away from home, starting with just a few minutes and gradually working up to several hours. This will help your dog become accustomed to your absence and reduce separation anxiety.

Step 6: Maintain a consistent routine. Dogs thrive on routine, so establish a regular schedule for crate time. This includes consistent feeding times, potty breaks, and exercise sessions. A predictable routine will help your border collie feel secure and understand when crate time is expected.

Step 7: Gradually reduce crate usage. As your border collie becomes more comfortable and trustworthy, you can start leaving them out of the crate for short periods when you are home. Monitor their behavior and gradually increase the duration of time they spend outside the crate. However, always provide access to the crate as a safe and familiar space for your dog.

Border Collie Crate Training Questions

What if my border collie whines or barks in the crate?

If your border collie starts whining or barking in the crate, it’s a clear signal that your dog isn’t comfortable. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as distress, anxiety, or simply wanting your attention. 

First, ensure that your dog isn’t in physical discomfort. Are they fed properly? Is the crate clean and dry? Is the temperature suitable? Trivial as it may seem, these things can cause your dog distress.

Secondly, if your border collie barks simply to grab your attention, and there’s no underlying problem, your best strategy is to ignore this behavior. Rewarding barking with attention can accidentally encourage it. Instead, reward your collie when they are quiet and calm in the crate.

Remember, crate training isn’t instantaneous. It requires patience and consistency. If your border collie continues to bark or whine, never resort to punishment. This will only increase their anxiety. Instead, try changing your training approach or consult with a professional trainer.

What size crate should I get for my border collie?

Choosing the right sized crate for your Border Collie is critical to the overall success of the crate training process. A well-sizing crate is key to making your dog feel comfortable and secure in their personal den. It should be large enough for them to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably, but not so large that they have enough room to make a “bathroom” corner. 

Border Collies are medium-sized dogs. Adults typically weigh between 30 to 45 pounds and have a height of roughly 18 to 22 inches at their shoulder. Given these measurements, an ideal crate size for an adult Border Collie would usually be around 36 to 42 inches, often referred to as a “medium” or “large” crate respectively in pet store labels. 

Here’s a general guideline for crate sizes: 

Border Collie Age Suggested Crate Size
Puppy 24-inch crate or adjustable crate with divider
Adult 36 to 42-inch crate

When choosing a crate, especially for puppies, you may want to consider getting a crate with a divider. The divider can be adjusted as your dog grows, ensuring that you won’t have to purchase a larger size every few months. However, it’s important to always consider the individual size and comfort of your Border Collie. 

Note: These suggestions are made based on the average size of Border Collies, so it is always a good idea to measure your specific dog’s height and length before buying a crate. Remember to provide additional space for their comfort. 

To conclude, a proper-sized crate plays a significant role in crate training, ensuring your Border Collie feels safe and helps implement positive behavior.

At what age should I start crate training my border collie?

Start crate training your border collie as early as possible. Border collies are quick learners, and the sooner you begin, the faster they’ll get accustomed to their crate. You can introduce a crate to a border collie pup as soon as it reaches eight weeks old. This early exposure develops an association between the crate and their comfort zone, significantly easing the training process. 

Remember, the key is to create a positive and inviting environment with the crate. A very young pup may initially show hesitation, but with consistent and nurturing guidance, the crate can become their favorite retreat spot. At an early age of eight to twelve weeks, they mostly sleep, making it the perfect time to introduce them to the crate, as they’re likely to equate it with a peaceful, safe space for sleeping. 

Nevertheless, if you’ve adopted a border collie at an older age and missed out on their puppy period, don’t lose hope. Border collies of any age can still be crate trained, but it might take a bit more patience and consistence. No matter their age, taking it slow and incorporating lots of positive reinforcement will ensure crate training success.

Key Takeaways

In summary, it’s important to note the following when crate training your Border Collie: 

Behavioral benefits: Crate training can greatly benefit your Border Collie’s behavior, providing a secure and comfortable space for rest, which in turn promotes a balanced temperament.

Do’s and Don’ts: Do ensure to make the crate as comfortable as possible for your Border Collie, introduce the crate gradually, and associate it with positive experiences. Don’t ever use it as a form of punishment or indefinitely confine your dog to the crate.

Dealing with whining or barking: If your Border Collie whines or barks in the crate, remain patient and give rewards for silence. Don’t give in to whining or barking by letting your dog out; this rewards the behavior.

Choosing the right size crate: The crate should be large enough for your Border Collie to stand, lay down, and turn around comfortably. However, it should not be too big such that it doesn’t provide the feeling of a secure den.

Age to start crate training: It’s best to start crate training your Border Collie as early as possible, ideally when they are puppies, to allow them to easily adapt and feel comfortable with the crate throughout their life.

The process requires patience and consistency, but with proper crate training, both of you can enjoy the benefits. Remember, a happy and well-adjusted Border Collie makes for a great companion!

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