Skip to content

Do Border Collies Get Separation Anxiety?

Are Border Collies outside dogs ( x px)

Do Border Collies Get Separation Anxiety?

Ever wondered why your Border Collie seems distressed when you leave the house? Or why they won’t leave you alone including when you’re in the bathroom? Separation anxiety might be the culprit. Join me as we explore the world of Border Collies and their relationship with this common canine challenge.

Certainly, Border Collies can exhibit signs of separation anxiety, primarily stemming from their innate intelligence and deep bond with their human companions. Their need for constant engagement and companionship can sometimes translate into distress when left alone. However, with the right strategies and understanding, this behavior can be effectively managed, ensuring a content and well-adjusted dog.

In this article we will cover all things related to separation anxiety in Border Collies, to help your companion be more self-sufficient and confident on their own… And let you leave the house now and again!

Do Border Collies Get Separation Anxiety?

Border Collies, known for their intelligence and agility, often form deep bonds with their owners. In my experience, this bond, while beautiful, can sometimes lead to separation anxiety when the dog is left alone. This breed craves companionship and mental stimulation, and when deprived of these, they can exhibit signs of distress.

You might wonder if every Border Collie suffers from this condition. The answer is no, but many do. It’s essential to understand that every dog is an individual, and while the breed might have certain predispositions, it doesn’t mean every single Border Collie will experience separation anxiety. However, if you’re considering adopting or buying a Border Collie, it’s wise to be aware of this potential challenge.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that separation anxiety isn’t exclusive to Border Collies. Many dog breeds can suffer from it, especially if they’re frequently left alone for long periods of time without adequate mental and physical stimulation. However, due to the Border Collie’s high intelligence and energy levels, they might be more susceptible than some other breeds.

What Causes Separation Anxiety in Border Collies?

Separation anxiety in Border Collies can stem from various factors. One primary reason is their inherent nature to bond closely with their human companions. When this bond is disrupted, even for a short duration, it can lead to anxiety. Another factor is the lack of mental and physical stimulation. Border Collies are active and intelligent dogs, and they need regular activities to keep them engaged.

List of Common Causes:

  1. Boredom: Lack of physical and mental stimulation.
  2. Sudden Changes: Changes in routine or environment.
  3. Past Trauma: Negative experiences when left alone.
  4. Over-Attachment: Excessive bonding with a particular family member.

Understanding these causes can help you take preventive measures. For instance, if you know your Border Collie gets anxious due to boredom, you can invest in puzzle toys or engage them in activities before leaving them alone.

Comparison: Border Collie vs. Other Breeds – Who Suffers More?

Border Collies are undoubtedly among the breeds that are more prone to experiencing separation anxiety. Their high intelligence and energy levels mean they require constant engagement. However, they aren’t the only breed that can suffer from this condition.

Table: Separation Anxiety in Different Breeds

Dog Breed Likelihood of Separation Anxiety
Border Collie High
Labrador Retriever Medium
German Shepherd Medium
Chihuahua Low
Golden Retriever Medium

While the table above provides a general overview, it’s essential to remember that individual dogs within a breed can have varying levels of anxiety. It’s always best to understand and cater to the needs of your specific pet.

Steps to Recognize Signs of Anxiety in Border Collies

Recognizing the signs of anxiety in your Border Collie is the first step towards addressing the issue. These signs can range from subtle to very evident, depending on the dog and the severity of their anxiety.

  1. Excessive Barking or Whining: If your Border Collie barks or whines excessively when you’re not around, it could be a sign of distress.
  2. Destructive Behavior: Torn furniture, chewed shoes, or other destroyed items can indicate anxiety.
  3. Pacing or Restlessness: Continuous pacing or restlessness can be a clear sign of discomfort.
  4. Attempts to Escape: If your Border Collie tries to escape from the house or yard, it might be due to separation anxiety.

It’s essential to address these signs early on. Ignoring them can lead to more severe behavioral issues and can be distressing for your dog.

Are Border Collies More Prone to Anxiety Than Other Breeds?

Border Collies, with their sharp intellect and high energy levels, are indeed more susceptible to anxiety than some other breeds. Their herding instincts and need for constant engagement make them crave companionship and activity. When left alone, especially for extended periods, they can feel isolated and stressed.

However, it’s essential to differentiate between general anxiety and separation anxiety. While the former can be due to various reasons like loud noises or unfamiliar environments, the latter specifically arises when they’re left alone. In my experience, providing them with adequate mental and physical stimulation can significantly reduce their anxiety levels.

Another factor to consider is their upbringing. Border Collies that have been socialized well from a young age and have been trained to spend time alone without their owners tend to cope better with separation.

How Long Can You Leave Your Border Collie Alone For?

Leaving your Border Collie alone can be a challenge, especially if they’re prone to separation anxiety. However, with proper training and preparation, you can ensure they’re comfortable even in your absence.

On average, adult Border Collies can be left alone for 4-6 hours. Puppies, on the other hand, require more frequent attention and shouldn’t be left alone for more than 2-3 hours. It’s essential to ensure they have access to water and a comfortable resting place during this time.

If you’re planning to be away for longer durations, consider hiring a pet sitter or asking a friend or neighbor to check on your dog. Another option is to enroll them in a dog daycare where they can interact with other dogs and stay engaged.

Tips to Help Deal with Separation Anxiety in Border Collies

Dealing with separation anxiety in Border Collies requires patience and understanding. Here are some strategies that can help:

  1. Establish a Routine: Dogs thrive on routine. Feeding, walking, and playtime at regular intervals can provide a sense of security.
  2. Provide Mental Stimulation: Puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and interactive games can keep your Border Collie engaged when you’re not around.
  3. Gradual Desensitization: Start by leaving your dog alone for short durations and gradually increase the time. This helps them get accustomed to your absence.

Remember, every dog is unique. What works for one might not work for another. It’s essential to understand your Border Collie’s specific needs and address them accordingly.

Is Boredom a Major Trigger for Border Collie Separation Anxiety?

Boredom is indeed a significant trigger for separation anxiety in Border Collies. Given their high intelligence and energy levels, they require constant mental and physical stimulation. When deprived of this, they can quickly become restless and anxious.

A bored Border Collie can resort to destructive behaviors like chewing furniture or digging up the garden. Such actions are not out of malice but rather a way for them to cope with their pent-up energy and anxiety.

To combat boredom, ensure your Border Collie has access to toys and activities. Regular exercise, training sessions, and playtime can go a long way in keeping them content and reducing anxiety.

Why Do Border Collies Follow Their Owners Everywhere?

Border Collies are known for their loyalty and strong bond with their owners. This bond, combined with their herding instincts, often makes them follow their owners everywhere. It’s not uncommon for a Border Collie to shadow their owner around the house, always wanting to be in their presence.

While this behavior is endearing, it can sometimes be a sign of over-dependence or anxiety. If your Border Collie becomes overly distressed when you’re out of sight, it might be an indication of separation anxiety.

To address this, train your Border Collie to spend time alone in a separate room or crate. Gradually increasing the duration can help them become more independent and reduce their reliance on always being by your side.

Do Older Border Collies Experience Less Anxiety?

Age can indeed play a role in a Border Collie’s anxiety levels. Puppies and young dogs, with their boundless energy and curiosity, might be more prone to separation anxiety. As they grow older and more accustomed to their environment and routine, their anxiety levels can decrease.

However, it’s essential to note that older dogs can also experience anxiety, especially if there are significant changes in their environment or routine. Health issues or cognitive decline in senior dogs can also lead to increased anxiety.

Regardless of age, it’s crucial to provide consistent training, socialization, and mental stimulation to ensure your Border Collie remains content and anxiety-free.

How to Reduce Anxiety Symptoms in Your Border Collie

Reducing anxiety symptoms in your Border Collie requires a combination of training, mental stimulation, and understanding their needs. Here are some strategies:

  1. Training: Basic obedience training can provide a foundation for your dog. Commands like “stay” or “sit” can help divert their attention from anxiety triggers.
  2. Mental Stimulation: Engage your Border Collie with puzzle toys, treat-dispensing toys, and interactive games.
  3. Physical Exercise: Regular walks, play sessions, and agility training can help burn off excess energy and reduce anxiety.

Remember, every Border Collie is unique. It’s essential to understand their specific triggers and address them accordingly.

Can Training and Mental Stimulation Prevent Separation Anxiety?

Training and mental stimulation play a crucial role in preventing separation anxiety in Border Collies. Given their intelligence, they thrive on challenges and tasks. Without adequate mental stimulation, they can quickly become bored and anxious.

Training sessions, puzzle toys, and interactive games can provide the necessary mental stimulation. Additionally, teaching them commands and tricks can not only engage their minds but also strengthen the bond between you and your dog.

Physical exercise is equally important. Regular walks, play sessions, and agility training can help burn off excess energy and reduce the chances of anxiety. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog.


In my journey with Border Collies, I’ve come to realize that understanding and addressing their needs is the key to a happy and anxiety-free dog. Their intelligence, energy, and loyalty make them unique, but these same traits can also make them prone to separation anxiety.

With patience, training, and adequate mental and physical stimulation, you can ensure your Border Collie remains content even in your absence. Remember, every dog is an individual, and what works for one might not work for another.

It’s essential to understand your Border Collie’s specific needs and address them accordingly. If you’ve found this article helpful, I invite you to explore more posts on our blog for additional insights and tips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are Border Collies prone to separation anxiety?

A: Yes, border collies are prone to separation anxiety. When left alone for long periods of time, they are likely to suffer from separation anxiety.

Q: What are the symptoms of separation anxiety in border collies?

A: Border collies suffering from separation anxiety may exhibit behaviors such as excessive barking or howling, destructive chewing or scratching, house soiling, attempts to escape, pacing, or excessive drooling.

Q: What causes separation anxiety in border collies?

A: There can be various causes for separation anxiety in border collies. It can be triggered by a sudden change in routine, traumatic experiences, previous abandonment, or lack of socialization as a puppy.

Q: How can I tell if my border collie has separation anxiety?

A: If your border collie displays signs of distress or becomes anxious every time you leave the house and exhibits the symptoms mentioned earlier, there is a possibility that they are suffering from separation anxiety.

Q: Are all border collies at risk of developing separation anxiety?

A: While not all border collies will develop separation anxiety, the breed is known to be more prone to this condition due to their innate sensitivity and strong bond with their owners.

Q: How can I help my border collie with separation anxiety?

A: There are several things you can do to help your dog cope with separation anxiety. Establishing a consistent routine, providing mental stimulation and physical exercise, using positive reinforcement, and gradually desensitizing your dog to being alone can all be effective strategies.

Q: Can separation anxiety in border collies be treated?

A: Yes, separation anxiety in border collies can be managed and treated. It may require a combination of behavior modification techniques, training, and in some cases, the assistance of a professional dog behaviorist or trainer.

Q: Is it possible to prevent separation anxiety in border collie puppies?

A: While it may not be possible to completely prevent separation anxiety in all instances, there are measures you can take to reduce the risk of your border collie developing separation anxiety. Early socialization, gradually increasing alone time, and teaching your puppy independence can all help.

Q: Do border collies need exercise and mental stimulation to prevent separation anxiety?

A: Yes, border collies are highly intelligent and active dogs. Providing them with regular exercise and mental stimulation can help prevent boredom and anxiety, reducing the likelihood of developing separation anxiety.

Q: How long does it take to help a border collie with separation anxiety?

A: The time it takes to help a border collie with separation anxiety can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the individual dog. It requires patience, consistency, and a tailored approach to meet your dog’s specific needs.