A breed that has undying loyalty for its favorite people and tons of energy, the Border Collie loves spending time with people. In fact, many Border Collies prefer spending time with people, rather than with other dogs.
But what about when you have to go out to work or school? Do Border Collies have separation anxiety? What causes separation anxiety? What are the signs of it? And what can you do about the condition? In this post, we’ll offer some answers to these questions and lots more, so please read on!
What kind of dog is the Border Collie?
First bred as a sheepdog that herded flocks with aplomb around the border between Scotland and England, the Border Collie you see today is still fiercely loyal to those the dog sees as its masters or handlers.
The Border Collie is capable of forming an amazing, almost telepathic bond with its main handlers, which you may have witnessed in action at sheepdog trials or Treibball. With very little instruction, the constantly-staring Border Collie immediately springs into action, doing exactly what their owner wants.
But how does the Border Collie fare when their favorite people aren’t around?
What causes separation anxiety?
When a Border Collie has separation anxiety, they are basically worried that their owners will not return home. Separation anxiety is common in dogs who have been rescued or rehomed.
However, separation anxiety is especially common in Border Collies, since the dog has been bred for greater and greater loyalty and obedience through the centuries.
While other dog breeds may have a hereditary predisposition towards getting along with all people, your Border Collie is likely to become extremely attached to you, and you only.
So, this extreme loyalty that the Border Collie shows means that the sensitive and highly devoted breed easily develops separation anxiety.
Maybe you have always left your Border Collie at home by themselves in the past, and they have always appeared fine with it, but one day they had to be left home by themselves for a slightly longer time.
Or, when your Border Collie had been left at home alone one day, something happened that startled them. Maybe the house was broken into, or something fell apart in the house.
Both of these scenarios are something that could trigger separation anxiety in a Border Collie.
Is chewing things up a symptom of separation anxiety in Border Collies?
Do you ever get home and find that your Border Collie has completely destroyed something or chewed an item up, like skirting boards or table legs? Why do Border Collies do this?
What are the causes of this behavior? It’s true that chewing things up or scratching can be a sign of separation anxiety in a Border Collie. But chewing is equally as likely to be a sign of something else, too.
If your Border Collie is a puppy, for example, chewing things up is completely normal for a Border Collie puppy who is teething. Is your Border Collie like this?
If so, investing in a good set of proper teething toys or toys for puppies could help save your furniture from slowly becoming riddled with teeth marks!
Teething toys for a border Collie puppy
Or when your Border Collie hasn’t had much activity that day, your pooch could be tearing things up out of boredom.
If you suspect that your Border Collie is merely suffering from boredom, but you still have to leave them alone and unattended for a little while, puzzle toys or treat dispenser toys are a great way to keep them safe and occupied for a long time.
Puzzle toys and treat dispensers for Border Collies
But if you can rule these reasons out, your devoted Border Collie may have separation anxiety.
How can I reduce separation anxiety in my Border Collie?
Thankfully, if you suspect that your Border Collie has separation anxiety, there is plenty that you can do about it!
One thing you can do is use positive reinforcement so that your Border Collie will no longer be afraid of being left alone.
Set aside a corner of your home to be your Border Collie’s safe space, with nothing nearby that your Border Collie could destroy. Place all of your Border Collie’s favorite toys in this area, as long as the toys are robust and absorbing, and leave your Border Collie alone in this place.
After a few minutes, come back again, and give your Border Collie a treat and make a lot of fuss. Later on, do the same thing again, but leave your Border Collie alone for progressively longer and longer periods.
Pretty soon, your Border Collie will start to get the message that being by themselves at home alone is relaxing and enjoyable.
If you like, you can even leave the radio or TV on for your Border Collie when they are spending time alone, to maximise their relaxation.
In another similar method, you completely leave your house and go away, but come back after only ten minutes. This helps to reassure your Border Collie that you will always come back home again, no matter how long you are gone.
If your Border Collie has extreme anxiety for any reason, many owners also report that CBD oil works wonders for their Border Collie. Check out our other article for more on this.
How can I try to prevent separation anxiety in my Border Collie?
Your Border Collie is extremely intelligent. This has its advantages – it means you have to spend way less time house-training your Border Collie or training them to heel. But, it also means that your Border Collie can accidentally train themselves to do all sorts of things, even when you don’t want them to.
This intelligence also means that your Border Collie can easily spot when you are about to head out. Even if you try to sneak out a back door, your Border Collie will come running as soon as you pick up your handbag or keys to the car, or put on your coat.
But what if your Border Collie were to just see these actions as normal routines? Did you know that you can encourage your Border Collie to just ignore you when you do these things? It’s true!
When you are at home, if you start picking up your bag or putting on and taking off your shoes throughout the day for no reason, your Border Collie will stop linking the actions with the idea of you leaving, and will soon start to ignore you when you do these actions, even when you then leave the house.
If you don’t have time to carry out this tedious training method, there is one other tactic that is quite effective. When you are about to leave the house, simply refuse to pay any attention to your Border Collie for ten minutes before you set off.
Just as you are leaving, allow your Border Collie a quick pat on the head as a goodbye, but otherwise, simply leave your home with no huge fuss.
Then when you return, wait ten minutes again before even acknowledging your Border Collie. After ten minutes, though, do make a big fuss with your Border Collie.
So, do Border Collies have separation anxiety?
Yes, the Border Collie is a breed that’s prone to developing separation anxiety. But thankfully, there are many easy measures that you can take to prevent this and deal with this.
Written by Michelle McDaid