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Why You Should Never Get a Border Collie (Learn About All Its Bad Behaviors)?

Each dog has their quirks that you may not like and your Border Collie is no different. But your furry friend is a product of their environment and training. With this highly intelligent dog, you can train them to be more well-behaved.
Why You Should Never Get a Border Collie?

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Border Collies are often regarded as safe, friendly, and affectionate dogs. So it is quite unusual when they develop unwanted or destructive behaviors. When they do, it is due to poor training or due to a medical issue.

Some, especially rescues, may have had a rough past. So aggressive behaviors are the only way they know to defend themselves.

But with time, consistency, and patience, your Border Collie can get rid of its bad behaviors. They are often considered the most intelligent dog breed, so training them will be easier.

So below, you will find out which bad behaviors Border Collies can have. You will also know how to help them overcome this and the steps you need to take to do this.

Are Border Collies Known for Biting?

Although Border Collies are generally nonaggressive, they can bite more than other dogs. This is because they are herding dogs. Nipping is part of the process of trying to herd animals in the right direction. So, it is often not out of ill intent when a Border Collie bites.

It is natural for them to get attracted to anything that moves. Their herding instincts will kick in, so they try to keep anything that moves in the proper area.

Other reasons, like fear, can also push an otherwise friendly Border Collie to bite. Getting aggressive is a natural reaction for dogs who feel backed into a corner. Biting is their self-defense, asking another dog or human to back away.

Are Border Collies Known for Biting People?

Border Collies have quite a low chance of biting a person.

They do not make it on the list of dog breeds that are likely to bite people. But they will bite if they feel that there is a need to, like any other dog.

They will only bite for the following common reasons:

  • Herding Instincts
  • Getting Provoked
  • Protection
  • Excitement
  • Pain

Do Border Collies Bite Strangers?

As protective and loyal dogs, Border Collies will bite strangers that they deem as a threat. They are very loving towards their family, but this may not extend to other people. Instead, they are wary of strangers, keeping their guard up whenever they meet one.

This is an issue if your Border Collie lacked socialization at a young age. Without this, they do not know how to behave around other people. So when a stranger goes near you, their protective instincts kick in and they may bite the other person.

Do Border Collies Bite Their Owners?

There are instances where Border Collies bite their owners. When this happens, this does not mean that they are aggressive dogs right away. Border Collies in general are not aggressive, so when they bite, there is usually a good reason.

Keep in mind that they are herding dogs, so their instinct to drive you in the right direction is very strong. Nipping at your ankles, legs, and arms is one of the ways they do this. Sometimes, they lead you outside the house so you can play together.

Other reasons, like resource guarding, are also possible. There are many other explanations for their biting that you should look into. This will help you understand the behavior and address it properly.

Fear is also a common reason why dogs of any breed bite. So figure out what triggers your Border Collie’s fear so you know what to expect in some situations. If you remove this trigger, they go back to their usual, happy selves.

Why Does My Border Collie Bite Me?

There are many reasons why your Border Collie bites you. This unwanted behavior does not make them aggressive dogs. But there is a lot of research and understanding on your part for you to figure out the cause.

To help you out, here are the common reasons why a Border Collie bites.

  • Resource Guarding
  • Redirected Aggression
  • Territorial Aggression
  • Unwanted Touching

Below are explanations for each of these reasons. This will help you understand where your Border Collie is coming from, so you can fix this issue.

Resource Guarding

Border Collies will try to protect any of their resources. This includes their food bowl, toys, bed, and even you.

So if you try to go near their food bowl, for example, they may get aggressive. They may think that you are trying to take their food away. Or, they think that they are never going to see this food again, so they guard it as much as they can.

This behavior is common in rescue dogs, as they had to make do with what little food they had. But pampered dogs can also exhibit this behavior.

When it comes to their humans, Border Collies can be overprotective. So when you walk them and a stranger goes near you, their protective instincts will kick in. They act all aggressive and may even nip at the stranger.

Redirected Aggression

This happens when your Border Collie gets frustrated. Some scenarios will set this off, so it is crucial for you to find out what the triggers are.

For example, they will nip you when they see another dog behind your fence. They do this because it frustrated them that they cannot greet or play with the other dog.

Another is when you are walking them around the neighborhood and they nip at you. Their herding instincts must have kicked in because they saw a small animal. Since they are on a leash, they get annoyed that they cannot chase it.

Territorial Aggression

This occurs when your Border Collie is being protective of their family, like your home. So whenever a person or other animals go near, they become aggressive. If you have an unexpected visitor, your Border Collie may bite them because they may be a threat.

Unwanted Touching

Does your Border Collie nip when you touch them? If so, you have found the area where you should not touch. They have certain areas of their body that they do not want you to caress, so they bite you.

Other times, this could mean that your Border Collie has a physical injury. They are in a great deal of pain, which can worsen if you touch them. If this is the case, you should take your Border Collie to the vet as soon as possible.

Herding Instincts

Border Collies tend to herd anything that moves, even you. So they will nip at your ankles or legs to make you go in the right direction.

This instinct is so strong that they will also try to do this with smaller animals and even kids. So if you have a cat or kids in the home, you should always supervise their interactions.

How Strong Is a Border Collie’s Bite?

Border Collies have a bite force of 245 PSI, which is an average number for dogs. Although they do not have the strongest bite, this is still enough to hurt people or other dogs. With proper training, Border Collies are calm and friendly, avoiding any physical aggression.

How Do You Teach a Border Collie Not to Bite?

There are various methods you can try to stop your Border Collie from biting. Not every method will work for them and this will also depend on what triggers them to bite. This is why it is crucial to know why your Border Collie bites in the first place.

If you do not know where to start, here are nine methods for you to try.

The “No Bite” Command

When your Border Collie bites you, verbalize your displeasure. Say “ouch” or “stop” out loud in a high-pitched voice. After this, say “no bite” in a lower-toned voice without intimidating your Border Collie.

Leave them alone as soon as you do this, not even making eye contact. By giving them the cold shoulder, they will know that biting is not something you like. Border Collies are eager to please their owners, so this will discourage them.

If they still bite you even after the command, try to grab their attention differently. You can put pennies in a tin can, for example. Shake this right after you say the “no bite” command.

This startles your Border Collie, helping to reinforce your command.

Always Use Verbal Cues

Use your voice to set boundaries during playtime. This will help them understand the contrast between the words “ouch” and “play”.

Apply these words during any playtime, regardless of what type it is. If they become too rowdy, say these out loud to make them stop.

Set Boundaries

Your Border Collie should know that they do not get what they want all the time. Especially when they bite you or others.

You can establish boundaries in many simple ways. One is by eating first during mealtime and not allowing them to go near the table. Only feed them once you are through with your food.

Once you are, do not make them eat right away. Have them sit, wait, and they should only eat once you give your “eat” command.

You can also practice with their treats. Whenever you give one, say “no” first and make them wait. After a few moments, give the treat to them.

These will help them learn that they have to behave for them to get what they want.

Be Consistent

Do not let your Border Collie get away whenever they bite. You must always correct their behavior right then and there. Otherwise, you are sending them mixed signals.

For example, you play tug-of-war with them today and they bite you. You let this go since it was an accident and carry on. But if they do this the next day without you reprimanding them, they get confused.

You allowed them to do this yesterday, why is it not allowed now? So make sure to be consistent in training your Border Collie.

Stop Playtime

Play biting is normal for all dogs, regardless of breed. But your Border Collie should understand that they can only do this when playing with other dogs.

For example, when you play tug-of-war with them, they may think that biting your hand is okay. When this happens, say “ouch” or “no” in a loud and clear voice. After this, end playtime and hide their toy.

This will teach them that biting your hand will end playtime ahead of time. Since they like spending time with you, they will not do this again once they understand.

Do Not Play Aggressive Games

Certain games like tug-of-war or wrestling can be aggressive. This can motivate your Border Collie to be rough, leading to them biting you.

So avoid playing these types of games until they can control their impulses. They must have a good understanding of the rules of the game.

Socialization and Exercise

Do not underestimate the power of these two. These have many great benefits for your Border Collie’s physical and mental well-being.

Exercise redirects their energy into play rather than using it for unwanted behaviors. This is much better when they have other dog friends to play with!

The more you Border Collie plays with other dogs, the better they will be at interacting with others. This also goes for strangers, the owners of the dogs they play with. Border Collies are wary of unfamiliar faces, which can put them on edge.

By experiencing these, your Border Collie will learn that the world is a great place. Many things that often scare them are not so scary after all. This lessens the risk of them biting out of fear.

Resource Guarding

This is useful if your Border Collie bites due to resource guarding. With this, they will bite when you go near their toy, food bowl, or whatever they consider is theirs. Stop this by asking for the item and giving something in return.

So if they guard their favorite toy, try to take this away. Offer them something irresistible, like a piece of their favorite meat. They should let go of their favorite item and take your offer.

If they do not do this right away, do not worry. Keep on trying to make a trade while explaining to them what is going on.

This process is easier if your Border Collie knows certain commands like “give” or “drop it”. You can say your command, they let go of the item, and you give them a treat.

Area Guarding

If your Border Collie bites when someone goes near a particular spot, make sure they do not spend a lot of time there. So if this is your couch, do not allow them to stay there. This will teach them to share the space with others, both humans and other animals.

Is It Normal for Border Collie Puppies to Bite?

All puppies will go through a stage where they bite whatever they can get their paws on. Many confuse this as their puppy being aggressive, but this is normal puppy behavior.

Like babies, puppies use their mouths to explore and learn more about the world. So they want to bite on everything they can.

But as they age, their need to munch on something should lessen. If this does not happen, you need to train your Border Collie not to bite. This requires a lot of relearning on their part.

Even while they are puppies, Border Collies have herding instincts. At this young age, they are more reactive towards anything that moves. So they may see your feet moving as you walk, and they nip it.

Your Border Collie is not doing this out of spite, they just cannot help themselves. Be careful with how you approach this habit, as Border Collies are quite sensitive dogs. If you raise your voice at them to reprimand them, their mood may turn sour.

Why Does My Border Collie Puppy Bite Me?

There are four main reasons why your Border Collie puppy is biting you. They may be teething, playing, bored, or defensive. By knowing these, you will know how to help your puppy become less nippy.

So below, you will find explanations for each of these.

Your Puppy Is Teething

The teething stage is very uncomfortable for your growing puppy. Chewing on anything they can find is their way of soothing their painful gums. Sometimes, they may seek comfort in biting your hand.

To help your puppy and save your hand from the bites, give them some chew toys. There are options for cooling chew toys on the market, which will make your pup feel better.

Your puppy may chew on dangerous items like TV wires during the teething stage. With this, you should puppy-proof your home. Get rid of anything that can harm your Border Collie pup when they chew on it, especially toxic ones.

Your Puppy Is Playing

Puppies bite each other when they play and they may do the same with you. This is often accompanied by growls as well. When this happens, your puppy is not trying to assert dominance, they only want to play with you.

This behavior is an ancestral trait that they continue to do. In the wild, dogs bite a lot when they are trying to hunt. So they practice how to hunt with their other pack members to prepare themselves for the real deal.

Play biting is important for puppies since they also learn bite inhibition. This way, your Border Collie pup learns how to control the force of their biting. They stop as soon as the other puppy yelps, so they know how hard to bite until they hurt someone else.

Be careful with this, though. As your Border Collie puppy ages, its need to bite anything should also lessen. If you continue to allow them to play-bite, they may carry this behavior into adulthood.

While they are young and their jaws are weak, play biting may be okay for you. But when they are bigger and stronger, this is not welcome. So set boundaries when it comes to playing, you never know if they will do this to your visitors.

Your Puppy Is Bored

Young Border Collie pups will want to do something during their waking moments. But if there is nothing else to do, they may bite on anything and everything. Biting is a pleasurable activity for them, so this will keep them entertained.

Your Puppy Is Defensive

They may be guarding their resources, like food, their favorite toy, or their spot. Or, they may be anxious in certain situations. All these can make your puppy defensive, biting you as a last resort to keep you away.

When Do Border Collies Stop Biting?

Border Collie puppies stop biting at around 6 to 8 months old. This is once they are through with the teething stage and all their adult teeth have grown. But this happens only if their biting is due to teething.

If your Border Collie puppy bites you for defensive reasons or play, then this may take time. They will not outgrow this behavior unless you train them to stop biting.

While Border Collies are smart, you need to manage your expectations with this. They all learn at different paces. And this also does not happen overnight.

How to Train a Border Collie Puppy Not to Bite?

Since their biting has different causes, the methods to stop this also vary. Having a puppy who bites you at every chance they get can be frustrating. But also, if you do not do anything about this, they will bring this behavior into adulthood.

With this, here are a few methods you can try to correct your puppy’s behavior. These are all based on the common reasons why a Border Collie puppy bites.

Biting Due to Teething

As you may know, teething puppies chew on anything to soothe their aching mouths. With this, you should give them chew toys.

By providing these, you are not only preventing them from biting your hand. But you are also saving them from biting dangerous or toxic items.

Consider buying cooling chewing toys that feel nice for them to chew on. Or, you can find a toy that is freezable to numb their gums.

Biting Due to Playing

Play biting is normal for puppies and they do not mind this. But you are not a dog who has fur to protect your skin, so this may hurt you.

A way to combat this is to mimic what puppies would do during play bite. When your Border Collie bites you, make a high-pitched yelp. Once your puppy hears this, they will understand what this means and they will stop biting.

This is what puppies do when they play. They will yelp when the other pup bites too hard and will refuse to play after. This is how they learn bite inhibition, and you are copying the process.

Another thing you can do is redirect their attention. When your puppy bites, say “no” and leave the room, giving them the cold shoulder. This way, you are giving them a “time out”.

Then come back into the room with a toy. Substitute your arm for this toy and have them play and bite with it. This will teach them that when they bite you, you will end your playtime with them.

Biting Due to Boredom

Even as puppies, Border Collies are very energetic. It is easy for them to get bored, and when they do, they may bite and chew on everything. With this, you should keep them entertained and give them something to do.

Make some time to play with them for them to spend all their energy. You can also give them puzzle toys so they know how to spend their time even when they are alone. A variety of toys is best, so if they get tired of one, they move on to the next.

Biting Due to Defensiveness

If your Border Collie puppy is resource guarding, you can correct this by taking the item away. If the item is out of their sight, they have nothing to guard.

This behavior often happens with food. So once your pup is through with their food, take the food bowl away. Do not put it back unless it is meal time.

They have no food bowl to guard, so there is nothing that can encourage them to bite. You can also do this with other items that they guard, like their favorite toy.

Another thing you can do is to teach them commands. The “drop it” command is useful in this case, so they drop anything that is in their mouth. Once they do, you can take the item away.

Why Does My Border Collie Chew Everything?

The most common reason why a Border Collie chews on everything is boredom. They have high requirements for mental and physical stimulation. Without anything to do, they will chew on something for entertainment.

But there are other possible reasons for your Border Collie’s destructive habits.

One is that they may have anxiety. Chewing is their way to self-soothe, distracting themselves from what they are feeling. If your Border Collie does this in your absence, this may be due to separation anxiety.

The most common reason for this habit is that they are teething for puppies. With adult teeth growing in, their gums can be very painful, even bleeding at some point. This phase will pass as soon as they are over with this teething stage.

Another reason for their chewing is that they do it for attention. When your Border Collie chews on your favorite shoe, you give them attention to make them stop. They soon learn that by doing this, they get your attention.

The question is, how do you react to this? Do reprimand them with a firm “no”? Or do you comfort them and pet them?

If you do the latter, you are reinforcing this bad behavior. They think that this behavior is good since it seems like you are rewarding them.

Be careful with how you approach your Border Collie when they chew on something. You can either discourage or encourage this unwanted behavior.

Will Border Collies Chew Furniture?

Your Border Collie may chew on furniture if they do not get enough stimulation. Other times, this can mean that they have separation anxiety.

Keep in mind that Border Collies are working dogs who need something to do for them to be happy. They are active and thrive in environments where they have daily tasks to do.

Without this, your Border Collie will easily get bored. They will find other ways to entertain them. Even if it means chewing on your furniture.

So you should make sure that they get enough stimulation throughout the day. Spend time playing with them, take them on a walk, or even give them a variety of puzzle toys. You can also give them a chew toy if they like chewing on something a lot.

You can also get an anti-chewing spray and use this on your furniture. This does not harm your Border Collie, but the taste is unpleasant. Using one will discourage them from chewing on your furniture.

Excessive chewing, though, can be a sign of something more serious. This can mean that your Border Collie has separation anxiety. If they only chew while you are away from home, this could be the reason.

Separation anxiety is not something that dogs will grow out of. They can overcome this in time, but they would need your help. The good news is that there are many ways to treat this, but there is some trial and error to do.

Why Is My Border Collie Chewing His Paws?

More often than not, Border Collies chew their paws to groom them. They chew on it to get something stuck in their paws. But if they do this excessively, this can be something to worry about.

There are other reasons why your Border Collie may chew on their paws. Some, unfortunately, need medical intervention.

With this, here are the other possible reasons for this behavior.


Getting bored is a common explanation for many odd doggy behaviors. Licking is a pleasurable activity for dogs, like chewing. So to amuse themselves, they lick their paws.

Border Collies need a lot of brain stimulation. So they may do this more than other breeds. If this happens, you should make sure that they have enough activities to do.

Play fetch, have them run around the yard, or even leave lots of toys around for them to play with. This is crucial as excessive licking can lead to lick granulomas.

Your Border Collie can have open sores in their paws if they lick it a lot. The more they do this, the bigger the sore will get.


When your Border Collie is anxious, their stress-hormone levels increase. Licking is self-soothing, it reduces their stress hormones.

This is why mothers lick their puppies. Not only to groom them but also to keep their stress levels in check as they grow.

So you should check if your Border Collie is licking their paws due to a trigger. It could be a loud noise, a new family member, or some visitors in your house. Anxiety can also be age-related, so older dogs get more anxious as they age.

Paw licking due to anxiety is often accompanied by other symptoms. This includes excessive panting, barking, whining, urinating, and more.


Their allergies can be due to environmental or food allergens. But it can also be because of the cleaning products you use around the house.

If you notice that your Border Collie does this after a walk, it could be due to an environmental allergen. Pollen, grass, pesticides, and more, can trigger allergies if their paws come in contact with it.

Figuring out what your Border Collie is allergic to can be tricky. So if you cannot do this at home, your vet can carry out an allergy test. They can also help you in figuring out ways to prevent any allergy attacks.


Licking can help to ease the pain your Border Collie is feeling on its paws. There is a wide range of reasons for their paw pain. It can be due to the following:

  • Stuck Foreign Objects
  • Insect Stings
  • Cuts
  • Open Wounds
  • Loose or Broken Claws
  • Ingrown Claws
  • Interdigital Cysts

Dry Skin

Have you noticed any flaking on their skin? Is your Border Collie’s skin red or bumpy? If you answered yes to all these, your Border Collie has dry skin.

With this skin condition, they lick affected areas to soothe the irritation. The common cause for this is excessive bathing or grooming.

When you bathe your Border Collie, you are stripping off the natural oils on their skin. These oils keep their skin moisturized.

So if you bathe them too much, their skin will not have enough time to produce the much-needed oils. You need to space your Border Collie’s baths apart. In general, they only need a bath once every three months. You can also bathe them if they get very dirty from playing outside.

Also, you should consider the shampoo that you use. Do not use human shampoo, as dogs need a different pH level compared to humans. Avoid harsh chemicals and use gentle, organic formulations.


This is common in dogs who are in areas with a lot of wildlife. So watch out for this if your Border Collie works on a farm.

The saliva of ticks or fleas can irritate your Border Collie’s skin. So if they get bit, they will scratch or lick the area to soothe it.

So make sure to use flea and tick repellents on your Border Collie. Also do regular coat checkups, which you can do when you brush their coats.

What Can I Give My Border Collie to Chew?

There are a variety of dog toys made for chewing. Kongs, chew toys, and tug-of-war ropes are all great options. You can also consider a treat-dispensing toy and stuff it with treats, peanut butter, and more.

Sometimes, your Border Collie would rather chew on an old sock or a rope. If you do not mind this, you can give them one. This is better than having them chew on something dangerous, like a wire or a rock.

Raw bones are also great for dogs to chew on. This helps in cleaning their teeth and gums, but also adds nutrition. Another added benefit is that it cleanses their digestive tract.

You can give them raw chicken, lamb, beef, or turkey bones. These are all soft enough for them to chew, eat, and digest.

Never give your Border Collie cooked bones to chew on. These are brittle, breaking in a few chews. The splinters can injure their internal organs when ingested.

At What Age Do Border Collies Stop Chewing?

If this chewing issue is due to teething, this will stop once they are around 6 to 8 months old. But keep in mind, that age will only lessen their desire to chew. This will not fully go away, as dogs will chew for the rest of their lives.

Occasional chewing is normal for dogs. But if it is excessive and destructive, that is the time when you should step in and take action.

How Do You Stop a Border Collie From Chewing?

A band-aid solution to this is to use an anti-chewing spray. Spritz this on anything that your Border Collie chews. The disgusting taste will discourage them from chewing on it.

But of course, you should always seek long-term solutions for this issue. The most common cause of any Border Collie’s destructive chewing is boredom.

If this is the case for your Border Collie, you should give them ample physical and mental exercise. There are various ways to do this, but here are a few:

  • Free Roam Around the Yard
  • Walking Around the Neighborhood
  • Teaching Them a New Trick
  • Playing Fetch

Your Border Collie chews on something if they have nothing else to do. So redirect their energy by spending time with them, and exercising them in the process.

But if you have a Border Collie puppy, you cannot expect a puppy to know what they cannot chew if you do not train them. Let them know when you find them chewing on something they are not supposed to.

A loud and firm “no” said in a low tone will help. After you voice out your displeasure, distract them by giving them something else to chew, like a toy. Once they chew on the toy, give them verbal praises, some pets, and treats.

If your Border Collie chews due to stress, though, there is a different approach. But first, figure out what is stressing them out.

Is your Border Collie stressed because you left them alone? This could be a sign of separation anxiety. With this, treating their chewing issue is not enough. Instead, you should tackle their separation anxiety as a whole. There are many methods to do this, including crate training, doggy daycare, and more. But for severe cases, it is best to consult an expert.

Is your Border Collie stressed due to loud sounds? Sometimes, fireworks and sirens may push them to the edge. They will cower away and chew on something to self-soothe. In this case, it is best to take the trigger away from them. Move your Border Collie to a different room, where they are away from the loud and scary sounds.

Is your Border scared of everyday items or experiences? They can be afraid of vacuums, but it is inevitable to see one during your general cleanings. With this, you need to socialize your Border Collie more.

The key takeaway here is to keep exposing them to anything they fear, like a vacuum. In time, they will get used to seeing and hearing the vacuum when you use it. This will show them that it is not something to be afraid of and that it will not hurt them.

Do Border Collies Lick More Than Other Dogs?

While all dogs lick to an extent, many Border Collie owners say that their dogs lick a lot. Of course, this will depend on your Border Collie’s personality too.

Why Does My Border Collie Lick Me So Much?

Licking you is often a sign that your Border Collie loves you. They may become excessive with this especially if you go home after a long day of work. They missed you and they will let you know this.

But it could also mean that your Border Collie is asking for something. Often, they may ask for food or water if they see that their food bowl is empty. As high-energy dogs, they may also lick you to ask you to play with them.

There are many other reasons why your Border Collie will lick you, though. This includes the following:

  • Seeking Sensory Input
  • Showing Submission
  • Getting Bored
  • Feeling Stressed or Anxious
  • Tasting You
  • Gauging Your Mood
  • Showing Empathy

What Does It Mean When a Border Collie Licks You?

Other than showing affection, your Border Collie will lick you for many other reasons. In most cases, licking is nothing for you to worry about. But sometimes, this can mean that something is wrong.

To help you decode this doggy behavior, below are the possible reasons for their sloppy licks.

Looking for Sensory Input

Your Border Collie’s mouth is one of the main ways they interact with the world. You can think of licking as their way of reaching out for an object and touching it.

As you may know, their taste buds are way more powerful than us. They can distinguish tastes that you may not. So through licking, they gain more information about an item, even your skin.

Licking you will give them an idea of where you have been or what you did. If you got home after working out, they will have an idea of this based on your salty sweat.

Showing Affection

This is one of the first acts of affection that your Border Collie learns. Mothers will lick their puppy, so they see this as a sign of love and security from a young age. So they do the same to you to show you that they care for you. By licking you, they are building their bond with you.

These licks are usually accompanied by tail wagging. If your Border Collie licks you while their body is low, they recognize you as the leader of the pack.

Asking for Attention

If your Border Collie licks you for attention, this is a behavior that they learned. Border Collies are one of the smartest dog breeds, so they may outsmart you on this one.

They may have learned that barking or whining is not something you like. So they ask for attention in more subtle ways, like staring at you or licking you. With this, they get a better reaction from you. So they will keep doing it to get you to notice them.

Asking for Something

Sometimes, your Border Collie licks you as attention-seeking behavior. Other times, they are asking you for something. They may ask you for food, to play, to go outside, to go to the potty, and more.

Tasting You

As silly as it sounds, your Border Collie enjoys the salty taste of your skin. Especially when you are all sweaty after working out. Sometimes, they may lick your face if you have some food there too.

Tasting you also helps to strengthen your bond too. You have a unique smell and taste that your Border Collie can identify. They will cement this information in their mind, so they know who you are even if they only lick you.

Gauging Your Mood

You may have heard that dogs can read your facial expression well. But they can also check how your feel by licking you.

Their powerful taste buds can decode the pheromones in sweat. With this, they can understand your mood better.

Showing Empathy

Once your Border Collie does sense that you are not feeling your best, they lick you to calm you down. They cannot tell you the words you need to hear, but they can lift your spirit with doggy kisses.

Why Does My Border Collie Lick My Face?

When your Border Collie licks your face, it can mean three things. It can be that they want food, they are submitting to you, or they are asking for attention.

Keep in mind that licking is an instinctual behavior. The first two reasons are deeply rooted in this. The last one is more of what a Border Collie’s personality is in general.

So why does your Border Collie lick your face for food? This is what they did with their mothers when they were puppies. They use their licks to tell their mother that they are hungry, so she will start feeding them.

For wild dogs, this has behavior a more surprising background. Puppies will lick their mothers so that the latter regurgitate their food. The puppies will then eat the food that their mother expels.

Licking is also an act of submission. The followers of the pack will often groom their leaders so that they look their best. When your Border Collie does this, they see you as their leader so they show you respect.

The last reason is asking for your attention. This smart breed knows that licking your face is harder for you to ignore than arm or foot licks. Your Border Collie may do this if they feel like you have not spent much time with them for the day.

Their intelligence often overshadows other qualities that make them great companions. Border Collies are quite emotional, sensitive, and affectionate. So other than stimulation, they may also need a lot of your love.

Why Does My Border Collie Lick My Hand?

When your Border Collie licks your hand, it means that they consider you as the leader of the pack. This is a submissive behavior, so they are seeking reassurance from you this way.

Give them some pets or even cuddle with them when this happens, they may need this at that moment. This way, they will know that you love and care for them as a member of the pack. If you ignore this, their mood may turn sour as they are very sensitive dogs.

So take hand licking as a sign that you have a special bond with your Border Collie. They lick you to calm themselves down, which means you are their source of security.

Why Does My Border Collie Lick My Legs?

The most common reason why Border Collies lick their owner’s legs is to show affection. But of course, this still depends on context. Leg licking can mean a lot of other things apart from this.

With this, here are reasons why your Border Collie likes licking your legs.

Showing Appreciation

A show of appreciation towards you combines love and submission. Usually, they wag their tail or lower their body when they do this.

This is a sign that your Border Collie trusts and respects you as the leader of the pack. So they may not be asking anything from you when they do this. Your Border Collie only wants to say thank you in the way that they can.

Greeting You

Does your Border Collie lick your leg when you come home? This means that they are happy to see you again, so they give you leg licks to greet you. They cannot reach your head right away, so your leg is the next best thing.

Asking Attention

Your Border Collie will also lick your hand to grab your attention. Your leg is the easiest to reach and lick rather than your face or hand.

Why they are asking for your attention can mean a lot of things. They may want to play with you, ask for food or water, or they may want to go out. This affectionate breed may also do this to ask you for some cuddle time.

Grooming You

Licking is how dogs groom each other. But since you are part of the pack, your Border Collie may do this to you too. This is their way of bathing you so to help you look your best.

Tasting Your Salty Skin

Your Border Collie has an excellent sense of taste and smell. They pick up on scents and tastes that a human cannot.

With this, the salt in your sweat attracts your Border Collie. So they enjoy licking your skin because they like the taste.

Why Do Border Collies Lick the Floor?

When your Border Collie licks your floors, they may be looking for food crumbs to eat. They may do this, especially around the dining table or wherever you eat.

But licking the floor can also mean that they lack stimulation. Border Collies have a huge need for this, otherwise, they get bored and find other things to do. Since licking is fun for them, they may lick the floors for entertainment.

While licking the floor is not bad, this can be worrying if done excessively. If your Border Collie does this more than usual, they may have separation anxiety. They do this while you are away, so it is hard to keep track of.

Why Do Border Collies Lick Their Paws?

Being a working dog is hard on your Border Collie’s feet, so they massage their paws with licks. This will soothe the muscles on their aching paws, making them feel better.

But if you feel like there is something wrong, you should check their paws for injuries or wounds right away. If this is the case, licking is their form of trying to heal their wounds. There may be splinters or foreign objects stuck in their paws that they are trying to get out.

If this is not the case, their excessive licking can be due to allergies. Your Border Collie can be allergic to environmental allergens, like grass and pollen. But cleaning products that you use at home can also trigger this.

Your Border Collie may also lick their paws when they are feeling anxious. This behavior is one of their many self-soothing techniques.

Their anxiousness can be due to a trigger. Anything that scares them, like the sound of a siren, can make them lick their paws like there is no tomorrow. But this can also be due to separation anxiety, where they are in complete distress when you are not around.

Do Border Collies Love to Dig?

Like any other dog, Border Collies love to dig. This is a natural behavior that they find pleasure in. For some, this is a great activity to release the pent-up energy that they may have.

Why Do Border Collies Dig?

Digging is a canine instinct that dogs use for many reasons. Occasional digging is okay, but excessive digging can be a sign that something is not right.

With this, knowing what your Border Collie’s digging means is crucial. This will help you to take action when they need your help. So here are the possible reasons why your Border Collie digs:

Lack of Stimulation

As working dogs, Border Collies need to do something during their waking moments. They easily get bored, and when they do, they can develop unwanted behaviors.

Like licking and chewing, digging is one of the many ways they entertain themselves. It does not matter if they are indoors or outdoors. They will dig holes in your garden, or damage your floors in the home to dig.

You can avoid this issue by giving your Border Collie something to do. This is why you need to allot some time during the day to play with them, keeping them active and happy.

Hunting Instincts

Although your Border Collie is not a wild dog, they still have some residual instincts of one. If they sense that there is another animal underneath the ground, they start digging.

Feeling Lonely

Border Collies are pack breeds, they prefer to be with their family all the time. So if you leave them alone too long, they can become stressed due to loneliness.

Digging due to this is often excessive, sometimes to the point of self-injury. They damage their claws, get wounds, and more.

If you cannot be with your Border Collie all the time, consider putting them in doggy daycare. Or you can get them another furry friend to be with at home. These will help to prevent them from acting out.

Regulating Body Temperature

If it is getting too hot outside, your Border Collie will dig a hole to rest in. They unearth the ground to reveal the colder surface beneath. This will help your workaholic Border Collie to feel cool.

But they may also do this during poor weather. The hole acts as their defense against the rain or wind. If this is the case, take your Border Collie indoors so they can be more comfortable.


Without anything fun to do, your Border Collie can get creative. Digging is fun for them, so they will dig many holes in your yard for entertainment. This is one of the many unwanted behaviors they develop if they get bored.

Escaping Home

Border Collies are great escape artists because of how smart they are. They will dig near the boundaries of your home to escape. But why do they do this?

Remember that Border Collies are very sensitive dogs. They may not respond well to reprimands or situations that they cannot control. So they escape home to avoid anything upsetting about their environment.

Mimicking Your Behavior

If you love gardening, your Border Collie may want to help out. So when they see you dig holes for your plants, they will do the same. This makes them feel included in the pack and they always want to do activities with their owners.

Why Does My Border Collie Dig at the Floor?

If your Border Collie digs at the floor, it may be due to three reasons. It can be due to excitement or anxiety, excess energy, or frustration.

You may find this odd because there is nothing to dig indoors. So if you are curious to see why this happens, you will find explanations below.

Excitement or Anxiety

Your Border Collie can express their excitement in many ways. They will run around like crazy, shake their bodies, and even dig at your floor. You can tell that they feel excited when their tail wags while they are digging.

But this can also be due to anxiety. Digging is a pleasurable activity, so they try to calm themselves down with this.

Excess Energy

Border Collies are high-energy dogs, so they need to be active almost all the time. If they cannot do this, they will use their built-up energy for other things. It can lead to unwanted behaviors like excessive digging.

By doing this, they use up their energy so that they feel better. This is why you should make sure that your Border Collie gets enough exercise each day.


Sometimes, there is something that your Border Collie wants to do, but they cannot do it. For example, they want to come up and say hi to the dog passing by your house. They cannot do this since they are indoors, so they become frustrated.

They channel what they are feeling into digging at the floor. Sometimes, they may grab the nearest object, like a pillow, and dig at it.

If this happens a lot, you need to prevent them from seeing any triggers. You can cover your windows with curtains so that they cannot see any dogs nearby anymore.

Why Does My Border Collie Dig at My Legs?

Your Border Collie digs at your legs as a way to communicate with you. They often do this to show you that they love you. Like humans petting dogs to show love, your Border Collie also does the same.

This loving act is their way of reciprocating your affection. But other times, they do this to tell you something else.

They may dig at your legs when they want something from you. This can be playtime, food, water, and more. It can also mean that they are asking for some extra cuddles with you.

Your Border Collie may also do this to tell you that something is wrong. They can be anxious, hurt, or in pain. With this, you need to check for any wounds or injuries. If you cannot find anything, the best thing to do would be to take them to the vet. This will help you pinpoint the issue and they will also get the treatment they need.

Should I Let My Border Collie Dig?

Digging is normal behavior for dogs that you should not completely take away from them. It is a fun activity, helping them relieve stress and use up their energy. But you should stop them when this behavior is getting excessive.

If they dig from time to time, there should be no problem. But if they dig too much, there may be damage. Not only to their paws and nails but also to your property.

So it is best if you discourage digging at an early age. Teach them where they should not dig under any circumstances. But you should also let them have fun digging sometimes.

How Do You Teach a Border Collie Not to Dig?

There are many methods you can try to stop your Border Collie from digging. Some methods may not work because it depends on why they are digging. But do not get discouraged and remember to be consistent and patient.

With this, here are ways that you can stop your Border Collie’s digging problem.

Plenty of Mental and Physical Stimulation

If your Border Collie is digging due to boredom, this may work well for you. Play fetch, have them run around, or give them puzzle toys to work with. These will use up their energy so they get tired.

A tired Border Collie will nap instead of dig. They will not think about even doing it in the first place. For a highly active dog like them, you should make them exercise for around two hours daily. They also need variation in the activities that they do to keep them engaged.

Keep Them Company

Loneliness and even separation anxiety can lead to digging issues. If you need to work long hours and there is no one to be with them, they will dig like there is no tomorrow.

You can leave your Border Collie while you go to work. They can interact with other canine friends, making them happy even while you are away. This will help them exercise and will also help with socialization.

Another thing you can do is to hire a dog sitter or dog walker. This keeps your Border Collie active, using their energy to make them feel tired.

If you can get another dog, then a new pack member is something your Border Collie will like. They will have a special bond, something that humans cannot give. This duo will keep each other entertained, calm each other down, and stay active together.

Getting a Doggy Cooling Mat

If your Border Collie digs the ground to cool down, consider getting a cooling mat. This will help regulate their temperature without needing to dig. Or, you can also keep them indoors in a cool room during hotter seasons.

Finding Their Treasure

Sometimes, your Border Collie may dig the ground because something is underneath it. They find scents under the ground, and if it gets them curious, they will find what they are looking for.

This can be a plant root, insects, worms, or a dead animal buried by someone else. Whatever it is, dig it out and remove the object. But make sure not to dig the hole right away. You should leave it uncovered for the smell to go away. Once it has, make your Border Collie inspect the hole and sniff it. This way, you will get rid of their curiosity, stopping their need to dig.

Using Citrus Peels

Border Collies do not like the smell of citrus. Use this to your advantage and put citrus peels wherever your Border Collie likes to dig.

Put Some Plants

If your Border Collie likes to dig in certain spots, plant some shrubs in these areas. This makes digging less encouraging for them, making them less likely to dig.