‘Help! My Border Collie is lazy!’ … words you never thought you would hear about a collie, but each dog is an individual and some Border Collies do not have the usual high energy levels of a toddler on skittles. In this article we look into ‘laziness’ and sleeping habits of Border Collies – and give you 7 ways to motivate your sleepy pup!
‘My border collie is lazy!’ Border Collies have been specifically bred not to be lazy, instead to have high energy levels and intelligence. However, as individuals, there will be ‘outliers’ i.e. some that are more and some that are less energetic. If your dog is receiving sufficient mental and physical stimulation and has a good diet, then any perceived ‘laziness’ may just be an individual character trait. However, any sudden change in behavior and reduction in energy levels could be an indication of a health issue and a veterinarian should be consulted.
‘My border collie is lazy!’ Is this normal? Is there anything that can be done about it? The answer to both of these questions is yes! Border Collies are ‘supposed’ to be high-energy dogs that require lots of exercise and stimulation, bred for herding sheep all day long so love a good mission in order to feel fulfilled, happy, and healthy. But what if your collie lacks the boundless energy and curiosity this breed is well known for? Keep reading for five tips to energize and motivate your companion – as well as potential warning signs.
My Border Collie Is Lazy. Help!
Don’t worry! Many collies also have periods of downtime where they are less active, less keen to go on their ‘walkies’. Importantly, age can greatly influence their energy levels. there is a big difference between whether you have Border Puppies, an 8-month-old Border Collie, a 4-year-old Border Collie or a senior/mature dog. A puppy’s hyperactivity will eventually be replaced by more measured, less excitable behavior and older collies will gradually reduce their walk length and pace. Mixed breed collies may also inherit more laidback and less energetic traits from their non-collie mom or dad!
However, just like humans, dogs can fall into bad and lazy habits. For example, if your collie misses out on a few days of long walks and high energy play (easily done in very hot or cold weather conditions!) then lazing on the sofa or by the fire could become a new habit. The ‘new normal’. This lack of exercise could lead to other behavioral problems like chewing or barking. As their companions, we therefore have to make sure we maintain healthy habitats including long energetic walks and mental stimulation throughout the year.
If you notice a sudden change in activity levels or significant inactivity or sleepiness there may be something amiss! Observe your dog’s behavior – it may help to take notes to pick up on any trends, for example longer sleeps and shorter/slower running and less socialization. This will help deduce whether their behavior is a cause for concern. If your routine and diet are optimal and your dog is constantly lethargic/sleepy then it is time to visit the vet.
Are Border Collies Lazy?
Collies are certainly not known for being lazy and this is not one of their notable traits! However, the answer to this varies on the person and the dog. Some Border Collies are naturally less active and ‘lazier’ than others, but there can be a variety of reasons for a dog being lazy. It may seem like they’re just not overly interested in engaging with humans or going on walks, but there may be something else going on as well.
Are Border Collies lazy? No, Border Collies are a generally energetic, intelligent dog breed that needs a lot of exercise. If they do not get their share of tiring games and enough physical activity, they can become stressed which can lead to anxiousness and undesirable behavior such as bark and chewing. A number of factors can result in low energy levels or ‘laziness’, including a lack of routine and long walks, age-related factors, diet or other health conditions.
In some cases, dogs might have an issue that is keeping them from doing things they should normally enjoy such as pain or discomfort from arthritis, hair loss or hip dysplasia. Symptoms such as bad breath and excessive drooling or panting can be a co-indicator. Your veterinarian will be able to help you figure out what’s going on and make sure your collie gets back to feeling his or her best!
How Do You Motivate A Border Collie? 5 Ways That Work!
As we know, Border Collies are one of the most intelligent herding breeds with a strong desire to please their owners – they are usually high-energy dogs that require plenty of exercise and mental stimulation. But what if they need some extra motivation?
As Border Collie owner, in order to motivate your dog into being more active working, using sweet treats is one method that works well with most breeds of dogs, especially collies. The ‘sweet treat’ here refers not only the obvious chocolate flavored sweet treat but also more general praise, petting or cuddling from your attention and affection in response to good behavior.
This, therefore, is a form of training using positive reinforcement rather than punishments, to encourage lethargic dogs to find their active mojo again!
Five ways to motivate a ‘lazy’ Border Collie:
1. Food treats using positive reinforcement to incentivize walks;
2. Verbal praising and petting;
3. Indoor and outdoor playtime;
4. Novel interactive indoor toys;
5. Meeting up with other dogs for socialization.
Here we go into more detail regarding five proven ways to motivate your Border Collie:
1. Food Treats for Training!
Food is an effective way to motivate your male or female Border Collie to be active. To avoid disrupting the routine of daily feedings, use treats when it’s time for walks or agility training in your spare time. Put away the bowl until mealtime and keep plenty of treats on hand in its place.
Offer one treat at a time so your dog doesn’t get overwhelmed by too much input before he has an opportunity to eat. Use food treats that are small in size but large in value. They should be just big enough to motivate your dog, but small enough so he doesn’t get full too quickly.
Divide the total number of daily food rations into three or four parts to use them slowly over the course of an hour or so when training. This way you can give a few treats at a time during short training sessions and avoid overwhelming the animal with large amounts of food before he gets hungry again.
Ask for simple behaviors first, like allowing the lead to be put on and having a good run around – then reward your dog generously when he or she succeeds. Leave old lazy habits behind by requiring each new behavior to earn its rewards — and only its own rewards. Make sure your Border Bollie is eager to please you consistently before requesting anything more complicated and enjoy your time training!
2. Verbal Praise and Petting
Even if your dog isn’t food motivated, spending time to verbally praise and pet can go a long way toward reinforcing desired behaviors. Be consistent with your praise and make sure to lavish your dog with attention when he performs the behavior you’re looking for, in this case their familiar old energetic behavior and play.
Use a cheerful tone of voice and be generous with your petting, especially when your border collie is trying something new. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to encourage a lazy dog to keep trying.
Make playtime inside and outdoors extra fun! Regular playtime in your special dog spare time will encourage your Border Collie to find and expend energy and stay out of mischief when you’re not home to take him or her for a walk or throw around a ball. Go to different parks, or new places in nature – to help get out of the laziness/lethargic rut!
Training sessions are opportunities for the dog to be active, but playtime should come before training, not after it’s finished so they can fully enjoy. This will improve their and your mental health too!
4. Toys Your Dog Will Love To Play With
New exciting toys bought from time to time can get that tail wagging again! There are SO many options – Jolly balls for example a good way to keep your dog busy all day long with lots of indoor exercise. They bounce erratically and roll unpredictably, providing hours of entertainment that will tire out even the most stubborn border collie and keep them busy for many minutes/hours!
The right kind of toys can provide dogs with plenty of mental stimulation too. Interactive treat dispensing toys like the ‘Kong’ give dogs something fun to do while you’re away, preventing them from becoming bored and restless.
Whatever type of toy you choose, make sure it’s safe and won’t harm your dog if ingested. Choose durable toys that can withstand vigorous playtime, and get rid of any small parts that could be swallowed and cause choking.
5. Socialization With Other Dogs
If you struggle to raise the excitement and energy levels in your four-legged friend, maybe you need some help from another canine! Socializing with other dogs is extremely important and may help snap your collie out of their lethargic funk.
Schedule a daily ‘play date’ with a fellow dog owner, especially one with a dog with a friendly and playful temperament who you know yours will get on well with. Then let them loose off their leashes in a safe environment, preferably away from other less friendly dogs that may spoil the fun – especially if yours is feeling fragile!
Things To Avoid in ‘Lazy’ Border Collies
Keep your dog in their comfort zone, their mental health is important and depression may be a factor in their laziness. Avoid loud noises, going out in extreme conditions such as high temperatures (avoid heat stroke!) and heavy rain and thunder (most dogs have a fear of storms!).
Keep things positive to lift their mood and encourage the energetic puppy all Border Collies still have in them. As stated above, this is best done by positive reinforcement.
Negative reinforcement is not recommended with border collies as they are very sensitive to their environment and may become anxious or fearful. If your dog exhibits any negative behaviors as a result of using punishment-based training methods, stop using them immediately and consult with a professional trainer for help. Here are seven more ways to motivate your collie if they still need encouragement!