Border Collies are smart and independent, which makes them wonderful working dogs. But they can be dependent on their family. They are highly sociable dogs who always need someone to be with.
So before you head out the door, it is worth knowing how they fare when left alone. You will find out what you need to do before leaving your furry friend behind.
How Long Can Border Collies Be Left Alone?
You can leave your Border Collie alone for no longer than four hours. Some may panic within the hour, while some can be okay alone for more than this. This all depends on your Border Collie and how you trained them to spend time alone.
The main reason why they should not be alone too long is that they are herding dogs. Being alone for long periods does not give them enough stimulation. So when they are at home by themselves, they may become destructive.
Another reason is that they are very social dogs. They want to be by your side and have your attention. Also, they are pack animals so being with you gives them a sense of belongingness.
Can Border Collies Be Left Alone for 8 Hours?
You can leave your Border Collie alone for eight hours if you have trained them for it. In general, you can only leave them for 3 to 4 hours. But this breed is highly intelligent, they will learn to tolerate being alone for 8 hours if you put in the work.
If you are planning to do this, there are many ways you can teach your Border Collie to spend time alone. Below are five tips to help you get started with this.
1. Crate Training
This is a great way to teach them that being alone is not so bad. They will learn self-soothing methods, like playing with their toys. But they can also learn to deal with their anxiety, especially when you are away.
With this, everyday life can be easier for you. You do not have to worry about leaving them at home while you go to work. In time, you can even let them loose in your home once they are fully trained.
2. Get a Second Dog
Your Border Collie will love this since they have a new member of the pack to play with! Both of them will keep each other occupied, spend their energy, and bond. There are canine pleasures that you, as a human, cannot give that another dog can.
3. Dog Sitter
Having someone watch your dog while you are away is also a good option. You can even leave your Border Collie at a doggy daycare so they can play with other canines. But this is an added expense that others may not like.
4. Use the TV or Radio
As you can imagine, being by yourself in silence can drive you mad. This is the same for your Border Collie. Turning a TV or radio on while you are working gives them some white noise, which can help them cope.
5. Use a Thundershirt
This acts like swaddling a baby, helping with your Border Collie’s anxiety. A Thundershirt puts light pressure on their body to calm them down.
Do Border Collies Do Well Alone?
In general, Border Collies hate being alone and they do not cope with it well. When they do not have anyone to interact with or anything to do while you are away, they get very stressed.
As pack dogs, they build a strong bond with humans and other dogs. So it is natural for them to crave company all the time.
If you leave them alone once in a while, they will get stressed. But once you come back, they will forget about it and move on.
If this happens daily though, the effects can be worse. Your Border Collie can develop separation anxiety, which can be difficult to overcome. This can lead to several unwanted behaviors, like digging and nipping.
Do Border Collies Bark When Left Alone?
Border Collies do not shy away from barking and they do this when they are lonely or bored. When you leave them alone, they may bark to entertain themselves. This is not something your neighbors will like, so you need to correct this behavior right away.
Can Two Border Collies Be Left Alone?
Having two Border Collies may be better for two reasons. Dogs form a bond that enriches their lives and the benefits of having a pair can outweigh the challenges.
One reason why having a pair of Border Collies is good is that they can keep each other company in your absence. They can play around, giving each other lots of exercise since the breed is very active and energetic.
Not only that but socializing with the same species makes their lives easier. They understand each other better, acting as emotional support for each other. This will help in easing your Border Collie’s anxiety when you have to leave.
Can You Train a Border Collie to Be Alone?
Although they may not like being alone, you can certainly train your Border Collie to tolerate it. They are quick learners, which is one of the reasons why they are popular working dogs. Training them for this can help them with their anxiety, making them cope with your absence better.
Do Border Collies Have Separation Anxiety?
Unfortunately, Border Collies are prone to developing separation anxiety. Keep in mind that Border Collies are pack dogs who need a lot of stimulation. So if you leave them with nothing to do, they act out.
Separation anxiety can affect your Border Collie’s quality of life. Because it is common in the breed, you should know its symptoms. This will help you take action right away once you see them.
Border Collies who suffer from this will exhibit the following:
- Excessive Barking
- Excessive Drooling or Panting
- Potty Accidents
- Attempting to Escape
This can also lead to unwanted and destructive behaviors. With this, your Border Collie may scratch at doors, dig holes, and chew up items.
Do Border Collies Grow Out of Separation Anxiety?
Your Border Collie can overcome separation anxiety only if you help them. Like humans, this does not go away on its own. So you need to condition and train your Border Collie so they go back to their usual self.
How Do You Train a Border Collie With Separation Anxiety?
As a responsible dog owner, it is natural for you to search for ways to help your Border Collie’s anxiety. The good news is that there are several methods that you can try. These take a lot of time and repetition, but with patience, you can do it.
Not every method will work for your Border Collie, so do not get discouraged. To help you get started, below are some that you can try.
Giving Them Lots of Exercises
Border Collies are high-energy and active dogs, so they need daily exercise. This will tire them out, so they do not have the power to act out.
With this, you can walk or play with your Border Collie to use up their energy. Or, you can hire a dog walker to help you out during the day. Doggy daycare is also a great way for them to move around, making them happier.
Creating a Safe Space for Them
You can help your Border Collie feel more comfortable while you are away. Leave the TV on for white noise, or a shirt with your scent on it. Providing them with lots of toys to play with is also a great thing to do.
Teaching Them Alone Time
Start by bringing your Border Collie into a room and stay with them for a bit. Make sure to give them toys to keep them occupied. Next, slowly leave the room, making sure they see you.
Come back right away and give them a treat as a reward. Do this all over again, making them wait longer each time. Make sure to always reward them so they understand that waiting is good behavior.
Keep repeating this until you see results. Once you do, you can practice this on your front door. This will help your Border Collie associate your absence with something positive. It will also reassure them that when you leave, you will always come back for them.
Now that they understand this, give them a treat before you head out for work. Verbally reassure them that you will come back too, to make them feel better.
When you come back, give them a quick pat and a treat, but do not make a fuss. Wait for about 10 minutes before you go all out on cuddling them.
Seek Professional Help
If training your anxiety-afflicted Border Collie is too much for you, get help from an expert. Experienced trainers know what to do and how to handle your Border Collie.
There are group classes for this, but you have to consider how your Border Collie acts around others. If you think this will not work well, you can opt for one-on-one classes instead.