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12 Games Border Collies Love: Fun Activities You Can Do Today

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on April 30, 2024 by Dogster Team

blue merle border collie dog posing in an urban setting

12 Games Border Collies Love: Fun Activities You Can Do Today

Border Collies are astonishingly bright workaholics. They rank among the canine world’s most clever, resilient, strong, and agile dogs. Its ability to work nonstop results from its ancestors’ willingness to run roughly 50 miles per day while herding sheep in the countryside.

Their energy may seem unlimited, but they will be happy to settle down for some cuddle time when their work is done. But to get them there, a Border Collie will need enough mental and physical stimulation throughout the day, and a great way to do that is with games.

If you are looking for ideas to help expel your Border Collies energy while enriching its environment, here are 12 games that your Border Collie will love.


The 12 Games Border Collies Love

1. Fetch

Fetch is a dog game classic, and its fun will never die. Fetch is ideal for an energetic Border Collie, and at the same time, it provides a job for your Collie to do by retrieving the ball and bringing it back. This game can be played with multiple family members, and even multiple dogs, and it is a great way to strengthen your bond. You can also play it just about anywhere, such as in the backyard, the park, or the beach.

Black and white border collie puppy running on the grass playing fetch
Image By: kontrymphoto, Shutterstock

2. Tug-of-War

Border Collies love tug-of-war! The rope you use doesn’t matter to them as long as they can pull and sink their teeth into it. You can purchase thick, durable ropes made for the game or make your own with an old towel or knotted sock. The act of tugging can improve self-control, confidence, and the bond between dogs and their owners. This activity appeals to Collie’s instinct, making it a highly effective, motivating, and reinforcing training method.

3. Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is a great interactive game for you and your Collie. You can play it using your dog’s favorite toy or a treat to do some nose work. You’ll put your Collie in a separate room and hide the item. Let your dog out and say “find,” and let it begin looking for its toy or treat. It will amaze you how quickly and easily they find it! Because dogs love to sniff and explore, you can do this outside by hiding treats in the grass and allowing your Border Collie to use its nose as intended.

Because Border collies are energetic, consider spreading the game out and adapting it to your big yard or in the woods, where there is lots of space for your Collie to seek and run around.

border collie dog hiding in the bush
Image By: Joop Snijder Photography, Shutterstock

4. Hidden Object Game

The hidden object game is more interactive than hide and seek and requires more human involvement. Show your dog that you have a treat and ask it to sit. As you pass the treat from hand to hand, move your hands behind your back. Give your dog two clenched fists, and allow it to find the treat by bumping your fist with its paws or nose. It’s acceptable if they choose the incorrect hand; simply try again!

You can also do this version with three cups faced down and a treat under one of them. Let your dog see that you have put a treat under one of them, then mix them around. Allow your dog to use its paw or nose to find the treat.

This game is more for mental stimulation, so it can be played at the end of the day when your dog is physically spent.

5. Chase

Chase is a great game that will require energy from both of you! Collies love to have their humans interact with them, and they love to chase and be chased. You can spend 20–30 minutes chasing each other around the yard, and your Collie will be so happy. It’s important to remember when you play chase not to encourage any nipping of the ankles. If your Collie does that, stop the game for a while and then continue. When your Collie chases you without going for your ankles, give it a reward and praise.

Border Collie running outdoors
Image By: 825545, Pixabay

6. Flyball

Dogs can benefit greatly from flyball as a form of mental and physical training. It increases their stamina, and they become stronger like athletes. It is a team sport, which is great for a weekly meet-up with other dog parents and their companions.

Flyball is made up of two teams of four dogs each. Each dog must run over jumps to trigger a flyball box which releases a ball. They retrieve the ball and run back over the jumps again. If you enjoy competitive dog sports and competitions, this is a great one for your Border Collie to get involved with

7. Swimming

Most Border Collies love water activities, and if your Collie loves water, consider doing some fun water activities that involve swimming. Swimming is low-impact and is an excellent form of exercise. It also helps strengthen your dog’s joints and lungs, and if your Collie is older or has an injury, swimming can help reduce pain and is a safe exercise for older bones and joints. It is also ideal for hot summer days since it allows your dog to stay cool.

You can throw a Collie a stick or a ball for it to retrieve and bring back to you, or you can encourage your pet to swim across the length or width of a pool or small dam by enticing it with a treat on the other side.

Border Collie purebred dog swimming in a river
Image By: TamaraLSanchez, Shutterstock

8. Agility Training

In agility training, you must guide your dog through an obstacle course in a certain amount of time. The number of obstacles on a course ranges from 14 to 20, and they can include tunnels, weave poles, tire jumps, seesaws, and pause tables, where the dog must stop for a set period.

Border Collies thrive at agility training, and you can easily set up a course in your backyard or find one at a park nearby. It is great mental and physical exercise and is something Border Collies love. The athletic challenge keeps a dog fit, boosts endurance, and strengthens bones and joints. A dog’s mind is also challenged by an agility course, allowing it to learn and resolve issues.

9. The Shadow Game

Many dog owners dream of walking their dogs without a leash, and the shadow game is a great way to train them. The foundation you lay is crucial to creating a reliable recall, and if the foundation is weak, the entire structure will collapse. The shadow game serves as the foundation for polite walking.

Border Collies are highly intelligent, so not only will they love this activity, but they will learn pretty fast. Start with your dog on a leash at home in a peaceful setting. Start walking in any direction and treat your dog whenever it catches up to you.

If your dog gets in front of you, gently turn 180 degrees and drop a treat on the ground. Move a few steps ahead as your dog enjoys the treat but be prepared for it to catch up to you again and reward it with another treat. To train your dog to follow you like a shadow, try moving ahead, backward, sideways, quickly, slowly, stopping, running, walking, past trees, over rocks, and any other fun way you can imagine.

Border Collie puppy during obedience training outdoors
Image By: sonsart, Shutterstock

10. Puzzle Games

Puzzle games are games that your Collie must complete successfully to receive a prize, which is usually its favorite treat. These games require your dog to use a puzzle toy designed specifically for dogs. Puzzle toys are a fantastic method to entertain and stimulate your pet while teaching them to concentrate on the task without being distracted by unwanted behaviors.

Puzzle feeders are also great for incorporating feeding with mental stimulation. They also allow your dog to use its nose and eat slowly and mindfully. They must be moved around in certain ways to get the food out, and while it’s a fun brain teaser, it also provides a little physical stimulation.

11. Treibball

Treibball, occasionally referred to as urban herding, is a herding-inspired game in which dogs push big inflatable balls into a goal. Unsurprisingly, herding breeds such as Border Collies excel in this sport because it appeals to their herding instinct.

In a competition, the dogs must herd eight enormous balls in a specific order as instructed by their handler, but you can play this with your Collie at home, and it will love it!

border collie dog hunts treibball as a dog sport
Image By: Karl Steiner, Shutterstock

12. Hiking

Border Collies make amazing hiking companions because they have endurance and will love the adventure with their humans. It is a great opportunity to take your Collie into new surroundings with new smells. A decent hike will provide physical and mental stimulation, nose work, bonding, and an opportunity to explore, be free, and breathe fresh air.



There are several games that Border Collies enjoy; as long as they mentally and physically stimulate them, they don’t get bored, and their owner is involved too. Whether it is a simple game of fetch, a competitive game of flyball, or a lengthy and adventurous hike with its owner, your Border Collie will revel in it and do it with the utmost enthusiasm. Border Collies are best suited for active owners, and an owner willing to work will find a canine soulmate to play games and adventure with for years to come.

Featured Image Credit: Koen Adriaenssen, Shutterstock

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