As many dog owners know, Border Collies are known for their intelligence and hard work. They are often used as herding dogs because of this natural skill they have. Due to these qualities, they can become very distressed if left alone for long periods or separated from the owner.
This is called separation anxiety – a condition where homesickness or loneliness leads to destructive behaviors to get attention. The good news is that there are ways you can help your pup cope with separation anxiety! We will discuss some symptoms of Border Collie separation anxiety and solutions below.
Do Border Collies Have Separation Anxiety?
Yes, Border Collies are prone to separation anxiety. This is because they are bred as working dogs and love companionship. They become anxious and stressed when left alone or separated from their owners.
What causes separation anxiety in Border Collies?
There is no one answer to this question since every dog is different. However, some common causes of separation anxiety in dogs include:
- Being left alone for long periods
- Separation from their owner or primary caregiver
- Having a traumatic event like being abandoned or rehomed
- Changes in routine, such as a new baby or pet
- Change in caretaker, like a divorce of the parents
How to tell if your Border Collie has separation anxiety
There are some noticeable signs of separation anxiety in Border Collies.
- Excessive salivation or drooling. If you think your Border Collie is drooling too much, it could be a sign of anxiety.
- Pacing or restlessness. If your dog can’t seem to stay still, this is another indicator of separation anxiety.
- Urination and defecation indoors. This often occurs because the dog is so anxious that it cannot hold its bladder or bowels.
- Chewing and scratching. Your anxious dog may chew or scratch things to relieve stress.
- Dropping items around the house, like toys and other accessories. This can be a sign of your pup’s distress at being left alone for long periods.
- Clinginess when you return home – following you from room to room and refusing to be alone for a moment!
Is chewing things up a symptom of separation anxiety in Border Collies?
This is a common issue that many Border Collie owners face. Chewing up things, whether they be shoes or other items in the house can be costly and frustrating to deal with but there are some ways you can try and prevent it from happening again.
There has been research on how separation anxiety affects dogs who chew their cages. Dogs tend to chew their cages to pass the time and reduce anxiety levels. It has been found that dogs who have separation anxiety are more likely to be chewing up items in a household.
Tips to help Deal with Separation Anxiety in Border Collies
Exercising your Border Collie
Your Border Collie must receive enough exercise. This can help one of the most intelligent dog breeds from developing separation anxiety. A tired dog will not have enough energy to panic and destroy your home, so make sure it gets at least an hour of exercise every day.
A dog walker may also be an option for you to break up the day and also make sure you don’t feel so guilty about leaving your beloved pooch at home whilst you are at work. If you don’t like the idea of leaving your Border Collie home alone all day and want them to get some exercise, doggy daycare may also be an option.
Having a dog walker, dog sitter or using daycare will be a nice way for your Border Collie to have someone give them some human company, as well as the physical exercise that a Border Collie typically demands.
Teething toys for a Border Collie puppy
When your Border Collie is a puppy, give it teething toys to chew on. This can help relieve some of the anxiety they may feel during this time. A fearful dog may gain some element of reduction of fear if they have something they can chew on.
Create an environment of familiar smells for your Border Collie
When you leave your Border Collie at home, create an environment of familiar smells. This can help to reduce their anxiety. You can do this by leaving a shirt or blanket that you have worn in the house with them. You can also leave their food and water bowls with them.
Purchase Puzzle toys and treat dispensers for your Border Collie
Give your Border Collie something to do when you are not home. Many bored dogs will sit around and wait for their owners to return; in this case, make sure it has a favorite toy or game that is only available when you are gone. This way the dog can enjoy being left alone while also continuing its normal activities. As Border Collies are known to be one of the most intelligent dog breeds, it may be that they rattle through these puzzles pretty quickly!
A few balls around the house that they can play with will also enable them to keep themselves occupied. A tired Border Collie is better than a bored border Collie!
Purchasing Puzzle toys and treat dispensers for your Border Collie can help keep them entertained while you are away. These activities not only provide mental stimulation but can also help reduce boredom, anxiety, and destructive behavior.
Creating a safe space for your Border Collie
Some Border Collies suffer from separation anxiety when their owner leaves for work or school in the morning. If this is the case with you and your pet, try setting up a camera near where they stay. This will allow you to keep an eye on them, even when you’re not at home.
Leaving a radio or some other noise on can help distract your Border Collie from noticing you are gone. It will also make the environment seem more normal and less lonely for them.
You can also put their food and water bowls in the same spot every time you leave.
Create a safe and comfortable environment for your Border Collie when you leave them alone. For example, put the dog in an area that is not near anything they could chew on or destroy like lamps cords. Make sure to keep their water bowl full at all times so they do not get thirsty. Try to keep the environment quiet and calm.
There may be unfamiliar loud noises outside that disturb your border collie at home – these may include building works, busy roads, and foot traffic outside. If this is the case, try to desensitize them by playing recorded noise of these sounds at a low volume and gradually increasing it over time. This can be done using an app on your phone or computer, helping fearful dogs become more accustomed to some time without your presence.
You should also be wary that an older Border Collie will need to go for potty breaks more regularly – not being able to go as often will make them even more anxious for your return. This may be because of health issues or urinary incontinence. If you cannot find a dog walker, maybe ask a family member to come and pop in – this might be useful in particular for young dogs as well as older dogs.
Teach your Border Collie to Understand being Alone
Create a positive association with being left alone. When you are leaving your Border Collie alone, make sure to give them a treat or toy before you go. This will help to create a positive association with being left alone. You can also praise them when you come home for not causing any damage while you were gone.
Older Border Collies will soon understand that they are being left alone for some time but that you will return. By letting them know that this is the case, potentially the amount of anxiousness in your sensitive dog will be kept to a minimum, ensuring a more calm Border Collie on your return.
Socialization and training your Border Collie
Border Collie anxiety is something that you’d want to avoid, but your circumstances will mean that you will not always be able to be around your dog at all times. Whether it’s an adult dog, a puppy, or more senior dogs – socialization or training might be a good option when received from an experienced trainer.
When using an experienced trainer for your Border Collie, you will need to be observant of the training process. You will want to watch how your dog responds, and if you notice any signs that they are anxious or fearful then it might be time for a break in sessions.
Another thing is your personal preference when it comes to choosing an experienced trainer who has experience with Border Collies but also has experience with the type of training that you are looking for. You will want to look at their own Border Collie, and if they have one then it’s even better!
Since your Border Collie is a member of your family, socialization might be something that you’re wanting to achieve. Some trainers offer group classes while others specialize in one-on-one sessions. If you have the option for group socialization, it is important to take advantage of this as your younger Border Collie will learn how to behave around other dogs and people.
If you’re wanting to socialize your puppy, it is best that they are at least six months old before attending a group class as their immune system should be strong enough by then. If you have an adult Border Collie who has not been properly socialized, this can also be done through one-on-one training sessions. If you have a young Border Collie, classes are often useful to get your dog not always needing to be around you and also help them get used to other animals. If they enjoy this, doggy daycare may also be a relevant solution!
Training your anxiety-affected Border Collie is also something that can be done. This training process needs to take place in a familiar environment where they will feel more comfortable, and it might even help if there are other dogs around for them to play with too!
One-on-one training sessions might work better than group classes when you have an anxiety-affected Border Collie, as they will feel more comfortable in a less stressful environment. This might also mean that you’ll need to take your Border Collie out of their comfort zone and into an anxiety-provoking situation before they can overcome it!
Training sessions with an experienced trainer are usually short but frequent – this is because the anxiety-affected Border Collies have anxiety issues and can’t handle long sessions.
If you’re finding anxiety training difficult to do on your own, it might be worth looking for an experienced trainer who knows what they are doing when it comes to anxiety-affected Border Collies! By working together with someone knowing the signs of anxiety in Border Collies, then both you and your dog will benefit from anxiety training.
Socialization and anxiety training will go a long way to helping your Border Collie become happy and well balanced, so it’s definitely worth looking for an experienced trainer if you think this is something that may help.
Border Collies are a very intelligent breed of dog that is prone to separation anxiety. This article has provided some tips on how you can help your pup stay calm while they’re home alone and what might be causing their distress in the first place. Hopefully, these suggestions will provide relief for both of you! Let us know if any of this information was helpful or if we missed anything important from our list, and please don’t forget to share with friends who have dogs too!