Ball games are some of the best games to play with Collies. They offer endless training possibilities (which collies love) and fun physical and cognitive benefits for you and your furry friend.
There are countless ball games that will help your collie with physical exercise and more importantly offer cognitive enrichment with training and new skills for them to learn.
Why do Collies Love Balls so Much?
Collies love balls and ball games because they tap in to collies’ herding ability and satiates their appetite for training and working.
Without plenty of mental and physical stimulation, collies have a tendency to develop behavioral issues, so ball games and other mental stimulation games and toys are necessary to keep your collie happy and healthy.
Chasing a ball around is a great way for your collie to expend some of their pent up energy, but it’s not the only way. Check out our complete guide to exercising with your collie for lots of other exercise ideas.
What Type of Balls are Good for Collies?
Collies love any type of toy. If it bounces, squeaks, or can be used as a tug of war your Collie will love it, no matter what it’s made of or what brand it is. In fact, a collie will have just as much fun with a stolen sock or glove as they will with a soft toy.
That being said, there are a few toys which collies especially love, specifically toys that require some kind of cognitive effort to use, and balls which tap in to their primal herding instincts.
Balls are great for Collies because you can play lots of games with them too (which they love).
Here are some ideas for types of balls your collie is sure to love:
1: Treat Balls
Treat balls are fantastic for Collies because they provide cognitive enrichment as well as being extremely fun for the dog.
Collies are sharper than most dogs, and will figure out basic treat balls quickly, so I recommend you pick up some Kong toys.
The strong rubber Kongs are tactile and fun to play with for the dog, and you can stuff them with peanut butter or other dog treats to provide cognitive enrichment as your Collie tries to figure out how to extract the treats.
Luna loves her Kong, and she’s had the same one for almost two years now.
2: Flavored Balls for Collies
Another option similar to treat balls is a flavored dog ball. Your collie will love this as it gives them a chance to use their strong sense of smell to hunt it down.
Collies love hide and seek, it’s one of their favorite games and with a scented, flavored dog ball you can combine the fun of fetch, hide and seek, and a tasty treat all in one.
3: Tennis Balls for Collies
Whether it’s the bright color or the fuzzy texture, there’s just something about tennis balls that Collies seem to love.
The best option is to get tennis balls made for dogs. They aren’t as bouncy as regular tennis balls, but they are made with stronger and thicker rubber so that your dog doesn’t just rip them to shreds immediately.
Luna loves tennis balls more than anything else, she was so excited when she received her giant tennis ball!
4: Squeaky Balls for Collies
Luna loves her squeaky toys, but she’s also very destructive.
Collies will chew, rip, and otherwise try to destroy every toy you give them, so soft squeak toys aren’t really very long lasting, and the stuffing inside them can be a choking hazard.
The solution is to get a squeaky ball for your collie instead. A well made rubber squeaky ball will last much longer than a soft squeaky animal, and you can throw it and play with it too.
5: Glow in the Dark Balls for Collies
If you regularly walk your collie in the dark, this is a must-have!
No more balls lost in the dark! Your collie will love chasing the flashing or glowing ball in the dark while out for walkies.
6: Herding Balls for Collies
Herding balls are large, inflatable balls to teach collies how to play herding games.
The most popular herding game is Treibball, but you can teach your collie to herd any large inflatable ball for a fun, interactive game that they will love.
Ball Game Ideas for Collies
Here are some ball game ideas that are perfect for Collies, tapping in to their lupine herding instincts and offering them cognitive enrichment with training and new skills to learn.
Collies LOVE running after balls and toys. The further you can throw them, the better.
Invest in a ball thrower to extend your throwing distance and take your dog to the park and they will have a great time chasing down the ball and bring it back to you to throw all over again.
2: Hide and Search
Collies have a great nose and a high level of intelligence. Hide and search is one of the best games for Collies that can be played indoors or outdoors.
Hide the ball and let your dog search for it.
A treat ball or a flavored ball works best for this, so there’s a stronger scent for the dog to track.
Luna loves this game, you can hide her favorite toy (Skunky the skunk) in shoes, in envelopes, in boxes, on bags, under the carpet, behind cushions or poking out of drawers and she will find it every time.
Sheep-ball is a game played with a ball to help your collie learn commands commonly used to train working sheepdogs.
Collies take to this activity like a duck to water and will love learning the sheep herding skills of their ancestors. You only need a ball and some open space so once they have mastered the basics you can take a ball with you to the park and play.
Collies are great at catch. You can start them off catching small treats and soft toys, and eventually they will be diving to catch their balls.
Tennis balls work great for this since they are quite soft on their teeth.
5: Tug of War
Tug of war works great with rope toys and soft toys, but you can also play with balls and ropes together.
A rope and ball toy combines a rope for tug of war with a ball that won’t hurt your collie’s teeth or gums like a soft toy could.
Tug of war is a great way to bond with your dog. It’s fine to let your dog “win” sometimes so that you don’t hurt their self esteem. They will bring it back to you to start all over again anyway!
Having a rope and ball toy helps protect your dog’s teeth and mouth too. A rope or stuffed toy may hurt their gums if you pull too hard, especially in young dogs.
Collie Ball Training:
Collies are very receptive to training. They get great enjoyment out of learning and mastering a new trick or skill. Ball games are some of the best activities for collies because it taps in to their highly developed ocular system and herding instincts, and it keeps them mentally stimulated.
How to Train Your Collie to Fetch a Ball
Collies love toys, if you throw a toy for them they will run and pick it up on their own. The hard part is getting them to return the ball to you.
You can teach your collie to return the ball by following two simple steps:
- Throw your Collie’s favorite ball for them, encourage them to run to chase it. Reward them with a treat when they pick up the ball.
- Encourage your collie to return to you with the ball by showing them another ball or toy. Reward your dog with a treat when they return to you.
How to Train Your Collie to Drop the Ball for You
Collies love to fetch, it’s in their nature. Sadly though, their nature doesn’t include “drop”.
Once a collie has their favorite ball or toy in their mouth, they might bring it back to you, but they won’t give it up without a (fun) fight or by being bribed with another toy.
You can teach your collie to drop the ball with the below steps:
- When they pick up the ball, repeat the “drop it” command and remove the ball from their mouth yourself. Immediately throw the ball for them or give them another reward so they associate dropping the ball with a treat.
- Don’t engage in tug-of-war games with them when they return with the ball, this is a game to them and reinforces the unwanted behavior.
- Over time and with enough repetition your dog will associate the command with the action and the reward.
- Collies respond best to positive reinforcement. Always mark their correct actions with a reward.
How to Train Your Collie to Catch a Ball
You can start your collie off by teaching them to catch small treats instead of balls or toys.
Collies will instinctively catch small treats in their mouths. When you throw the treats for them, say the command “Catch”.
If they drop the treat, quickly take it away and try again, so that their only reward is for a successful catch.
Over time, your collie will associate catching with the “catch” command, and you can move them on to soft toys and balls.
Urban Herding for Collies (Treibball)
Treibball, also known as Push Ball or Urban Herding is a competitive ball game for herding dogs. The objective is for your dog to herd large exercise balls through a small gap, emulating the task of a working sheepdog, without the need for sheep.
Urban Herding is the perfect activity for Collies and other herding breeds, helping keep them both physically and mentally sharp.
Even the most pampered pet pooch still has a strong herding instinct in their nature.
Collies are highly intelligent and will have as much fun learning the new commands as they will playing the game.
To get started with Treibball, all you need is a large inflatable exercise ball, some stickers, and a bag of treats to begin the training.