Socialize your puppies because that will help them stay away from separation anxieties as apparent from the VCA Animal Hospital’s post.
You might have done that but the Border Collie is still showing signs of anxiety when you leave it alone.
Separation anxiety in Border Collies is a behavioral disorder that develops because of their hyper attachment to owners. It is characterized by the symptoms that show the dogs’ fear of losing you or staying away from you.
What To Do? How to Tackle Border Collie Separation Anxiety?
PubMed Central has some fixes that I’ve seen work with my husky and I’ll be more than happy if it works for your Border Collie as well.
- Desensitize the dog
- Introduce another dog
- Use a crate
- Greet it less
- Tone down your pre-departure activities
- Get medications prescripted by a vet
Or as many dog owners have tried:
- Try CBD oil
Let’s discuss these in detail among other things to increase your knowledge and possibly help you with the dog’s condition.
Do Border Collies Get Separation Anxieties?
The simple answer is YES. They get separation anxiety. The reasons are many as I’ll try to explore them ahead, but the number one is hidden in their personality.
That trait translates into hyper-attachment to their owners. This is one of the prime reasons why dogs like Border Collies develop separation anxieties.
In fact, according to AVMA Journals, dogs attached to a single owner are 2.5 times more prone to this condition than dogs that welcome more humans in their lives.
Reasons for Separation Anxiety In Border Collies
Exploring hyper attachments and other reasons cited by AVMA Journal and PubMed Central that result from it will help you get to the roots of the problem with your dog.
1. Hyper Attachment
Border Collies get super attached to their family members. But since they are herding dogs that work with their human counterparts, they develop a special bond with their owner.
The DogTime gives their affection to the family 5/5 stars.
It’s enough to give you an understanding of why the dog’s sometimes so needy, co-dependent, and chasing you around when you try to leave it alone.
It doesn’t take a lot to know that your dog is extremely attached to you.
AVMA Journal says that hyper attachment gets manifested in the dog in the form of following its owner everywhere before departure or even in a normal setting.
They also start getting anxious when they sense pre-departure cues such as picking up the keys, putting on a coat or a hat, or wearing shoes.
When the owner returns and the dog already has had an anxious day alone, it’ll get super excited.
You’ll know that your dog has passed all thresholds of excitement when you see it.
It doesn’t look normal, to be honest.
2. Leaving It Alone For The First Time
Leaving an attached dog for the first time doesn’t sound good, especially if you haven’t taught it to enjoy itself when it’s all alone.
You can’t blame the dog. It doesn’t know what’s going on and why you have disappeared suddenly.
In the next 30 minutes or so, its heart rate bumps up; it starts panting heavily; it may poop, and even eat that poop; it may try to destroy things because – panic.
4. Changes In Routine
Dogs have simpler brains as compared to ours.
While we too unbeknownst get attached to our routines, dogs particularly start losing their brains when their routine is disturbed, and that too, suddenly.
They become anxious.
So, if you’ve changed its walking routine from morning to evening without proper transition, you may see your Border Collie giving distress signals.
5. Change of Owners
This may not be as drastic as the other reasons if you look closely at what PubMed Central has to say about it.
According to them, dogs obtained from a shelter have a higher tendency to exhibit separation-related behavioral problems than dogs obtained from family or friends.
Still, for breeds like Border Collies that get attached to a single owner for a long, it’s hard to jump between owners.
Consider finding out the roots of your dog. See its attachment levels with its previous owner.
A newly acquired dog’s separation-related problems demand that you do those things.
How Do I Stop My Border Collie Separation Anxiety?
Now let’s come to the real deal that takes weeks on end: Curing the dog’s separation anxiety.
1. Systematic Desensitization
Researchers Ryne Butler, Rebecca J. Sargisson, and Douglas Elliffes have found that systematic desensitization works better in treating separation anxiety in dogs than treatments such as counter-conditioning.
What you do to desensitize your dog is to leave it with gradual doses of separation throughout a definite time.
For example, you disappear, go for a quick poop or just get away from the sight of the dog for a few minutes. You reappear as soon as the dog starts exhibiting symptoms.
The symptoms of separation anxiety include excessive vocalization, destructive behavior, pacing around, excessive panting, lip licking, and more.
Then, you increase the separation time by a few minutes until the dog’s okay with staying alone for that time.
This way, it gets desensitized to being left alone.
2. Introduce Another Dog
Some research as the one done by Schwartz says that introducing another dog may help your dog to get over its separation anxiety.
Still, there’s evidence that some dogs still may be anxious in the presence of another dog when the owner leaves.
It’s either a hard pass or not, depending on what the owner thinks.
Before going for another dog and possibly screwing the situation even further for yourself, I want you to look closely into the behavior of the Border Collie with other breeds.
Considering that it goes well, you may adopt a new dog to give it some company.
3. Use A Crate
Crating your dog may help it feel safer than outside, notes research published in SAGE Journals. However, you have to train it enough that it thinks in such a way.
Also, it’s not necessary that the dog will remain less anxious in the crate.
Some owners such as Scott Borden realized that his husky fled the crate when left alone.
There’s even evidence that crating could potentially lead to excessive lip licking, which is a condition related to dogs’ separation-related anxiety.
Clara Palestrini et. al. did a video analysis of dogs suffering from separation anxiety. They found that even crating would not stop certain anxiety symptoms that pointed to the dog’s separation-related behavior.
Again, my advice here is to check whether your dog is okay with crating.
I’ve had numerous clients that reported positive results even when the dogs were left for a long.
You never know what works for your pooch.
4. Less Greeting When Coming And Leaving
Hyper Attachment does not come on its own.
We owners allow it to form over time.
Rebecca J Sargisson of the University of Waikato, Tauranga, New Zealand says that dogs that are allowed to form a close association with their owners through exaggerated greetings and leaving practices to get more anxious when left alone.
Therefore, do not greet it over when you return or make a drama of your leaving.
Do not encourage it when it exhibits behaviors that you may find cute but in reality, they cause hyper attachment, which in turn, leads to separation anxiety.
Now some meds may soothe your dog. However, for Scott, they didn’t work when treating his husky.
He didn’t like how the dog seemed drugged out of her proportions.
At the same time, however, dogs with acute separation anxiety get treated with meds along with other techniques.
If you think your Border Collie’s issue could not be resolved by other means, or if you have tried them and found that they don’t work for it just like Scott’s husky, then you may proceed with the medication.
6. CBD Oil
RJ Silver et. al. in their research monitored improvements in dogs’ behaviors over 14 days of CBD usage.
They found out that separation-related behavior improved over that time.
With that, the dogs’ playfulness and calmness increased to a satisfactory level.
No wonder it worked for Scott’s pet when he administered it to the dog with changes in their routine to accommodate her.
This video might help you too!
Border Collie Separation Anxiety – Conclusion
The breed you own is a herding dog. They get attached to their owners to the point that they start experiencing separation anxiety.
Yes, not all dogs of this breed show such behaviors, but it is noteworthy that certain predispositions may lead to them.
I’ve had my own share of bad days when my Husky, Camila, went through separation-related problems. For me, systematic desensitization worked well.
I already had Joe, another Husky, raised and well-socialized from the start to keep her company when I was gone.
So, I cannot confirm if he helped, although, I tend to think so. Therefore, it’s all about testing different fixes with your dog and then sticking to what works.
Related: Husky separation anxiety
Related: German shepherd separation anxiety