Mental Exercise games for Border Collies

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dratti:
What are some games or jobs to give a border collie to keep him mentally stimulated? I love playing around with him but everyone I talk to says they "need a job to do". And since I dont have sheep in my backyard, I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions on games to play or jobs to give him, that will give him more than just physical exercise. I've seen "dog puzzles" in pet stores, but they seem kind of cheesey. I was thinking of trying to work in some type of retrieval game with maybe foam balls or something, but I dunno I dont really know what would work well or how to approach teaching it to him.

My pup is still very young (10 weeks) but I'm looking for any suggestions that would work now, or in the future. Thanks for any advice.
Dave Ratti
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Jo Wolf:
Dave, get thee and thy pup into a puppy kindergarden class.. followed by basic obedience, followed by intermediate, followed by advanced, followed by competition. ANd when a bit older get into agility training and competition. Along the way, you will meet herding group folks who know where the sheep and herding instructors are.. and doing herding stricktly as enjoyment is considered just fine.
You need to know how to effectively teach your dog. You will learn this in training classes.
At this age, you can start teaching the basic commands; he'll learn so fast it'll boggle your mind.. but unless you have trained a dog before, you may inadvertently teach things you don't want him to do, which will mean that you have to untrain those errors.

Playing "find me", sorta tug-of-war (you need to learn how to do this one Right), "bring" (fetch, by another name.. not necessarily with balls... toys are great for this one at this age...). He can also learn to track you ( a friend of mine starts her puppies tracking as soon as they know their names) or others..
Stay away from the pet store training classes; you need experienced instructors who are not bound to a company-determined program of instruction. Vet clinics usually know who the best trainers in the area are.. and aren't (the undesirable instructors in my area are starting basic obedience training with electronic collars.. and recommend long miles of road work with puppies to control an abundance of energy.. ).
Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia
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dratti:
Thanks for the advice Jo, I've been looking into puppy classes.

I've been working with him about 5-10 minutes a day lately with basic commands like sit and recall (per advice of our vet). You're right, he's learning VERY fast.
When we are playing I've been trying to get him to fetch/retrieve but cant get consitant results. Any advice on how to teach this?

Thanks
Dave
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