You’ve got a puppy Border Collie. Exciting times. Lots of play, lots of fun. But your enthusiasm may soon begin to dwindle and it’s only natural to wonder when they will calm down. Besides, we can’t live like this forever, can we?! Questioning this natural high-energy, I spent some time researching the breed standard and the anecdotal evidence from fellow Border Collie owners to find out what to expect.
So, when do border collies calm down? Border Collies typically begin to calm down in the second half of their lives, around 6-7 years of age. They are notoriously hyperactive in the early years of life and will require active training, socialization, and appropriate techniques to help them calm down.
The truth is, this is certainly a breed that you need to proactively to direct. Otherwise, they can remain hyperactive for most of their lives.
Whether or not you see this as an issue will depend on your circumstances and preferences, but for your average family dog – this can be quite a challenge!
Besides, if you are a particularly busy family or individual, and do not always have the time to play and exercise with them, you will need another approach.
Let us now take a closer look at whether all dogs of the breed exhibit this high energy, whether there are differences between the genders and if neutering will have an impact.
Lastly, we will run through some recommended and effective approaches to help calm a Border Collie down, if the thought of this liveliness has you a little concerned!
- 1 Are All Border Collies High Energy?
- 2 At What Age Do Collies Calm Down?
- 3 Are Female Border Collies Calmer Than Males?
- 4 Do Border Collies Calm Down After Getting Neutered?
- 5 How Do I Get My Border Collie To Calm Down?
- 6 Finnaly
Are All Border Collies High Energy?
Border Collies are naturally active, high energy dogs. In fact, because the high drive and energy is a breed trait, expect that most if not all Border Collies you will encounter will be somewhat hyperactive.
This is a very old dog breed, used for hundreds of years with a specific purpose in mind. To herd flocks of sheep.
Their high energy and athleticism are therefore bred traits; where the emphasis simply needed to be on speed, agility, and endurance.
As you can imagine, a lot of activity was involved; being nimble, alert and sprightly were in many ways a requirement of the role.
For some people, this hyperactivity can be fun and compatible for an active lifestyle.
Especially if you are a sporty family, love to walk and hike or generally spend much of your time outdoors.
Of course, not all Border Collies are the same; and a number of factors will contribute to the energy that they will have.
Age, weight, and health status are perhaps the main ones. But nevertheless, this is a dog that would much rather prefer to be kept busy.
Naturally, puppies are more hyper than adult Border Collies, especially in the beginning.
You are more likely to see the nipping of furniture and even the feet of children and strangers as an early example of their desire to herd.
It’s therefore important that you start training your Border Collie at the earliest opportunity. This way, the chances of your dog being a well-behaved one are improved.
At What Age Do Collies Calm Down?
Early adulthood is the peak of a Border Collie’s hyperactivity, so many of them should calm down in the second phase of their lifespan – in their sixth or seventh year.
But this its greatly dependent on the level of training, along with the amount of exercise that the dog gets on a daily basis.
In fact, for these reasons, there is the possibility that a Border Collie will calm down sooner than this.
But it goes the other way too.
Some owners report that their Border Collie remains hyperactive throughout their senior years. It most often is the result of a dog without sufficient stimulation; without a job, sufficient exercise, or something to keep them occupied and entertained.
Are Female Border Collies Calmer Than Males?
The difference in energy between female and male border collies is actually very minimal; high energy is a breed trait bred into both sexes. Although females often appear calmer and more placid – due to their general temperament.
Generally, female Border Collies are typically more aloof and reserved in nature. They also tend to be less stubborn, so training often appears to be easier.
On the other hand, male dogs tend to retain their puppy-like behaviors through most of their adult life.
They tend to desire to play with their owners and other dogs more than in female dogs, who would much prefer to be independent most of the time.
This can give the impression that males are more energetic, but its simply how they are directing their energy that we need to consider.
And while males can be more stubborn, they are also very food-motivated which is actually very useful during training sessions.
Either way, both females and males are known for being relatively hyperactive dogs; requiring lots of exercise daily to remain out of trouble.
Thankfully, since Border Collies are extremely intelligent dogs, they can be trained easily, provided that you have the time and patience, and are consistent in your approach.
Do Border Collies Calm Down After Getting Neutered?
Border Collies may calm down after being neutered, but this is not always the case. It’s simply not guaranteed and will not always reduce any hyperactivity, although it has been reported by some owners.
However, there are still many health and behavioral benefits to neutering your dog which is why it is often recommended.
The most important for males appears to be a reduction in testicular cancer, prostate problems, and infections.
Behaviorally, aggressive tendencies, territory marking, and humping may also go away.
This is not a guarantee, however, since aggressive behavior can also be caused by other reasons separate from the testosterone levels in your dog.
If territory marking and humping are born out of habit, it is also possible that these habits will remain.
Therefore, proper training that starts early is still the most effective way to reduce most behavioral problems.
In case you decide to neuter your Border Collie, keep in mind that timing is also important.
Neutering your dog at a very early age may actually result in immaturity throughout their life, and it can even lead to health problems too.
Quite the opposite effect of what you were neutering for in the first place!
Vets usually suggest neutering your Collie between four to nine months of age before behavioral problems such as marking and aggression set in.
However, some advise waiting until after puberty or when the dog hits their first year before getting neutered.
When in doubt, always check with your veterinarian first as they will know what’s best for your dog.
How Do I Get My Border Collie To Calm Down?
Daily exercise and training is the single most effective way to calm your Border Collie down. They have energy that they need to burn, and this can be through both physical and mental stimulation.
At least, your dog will have a higher chance of calming down than just neutering or spaying alone.
As the saying goes, a tired dog is a happy dog!
Because a Border Collie is a working dog by nature, they thrive by having a job to do.
Of course, depending on your circumstances, you may not have any ‘jobs to give’. But if we think outside the box, there are thankfully things we can do. That we will soon get into!
And you’ll want to do so.
Otherwise, your dog will likely act out. It could be through nipping, or through jumping, barking excessively, or digging in the backyard.
Here are some of the most recommended approaches to take.
Check Your Compatibility
First of all, if you are yet to get a Border Collie, actually consider whether they are right for you, your family, lifestyle, and your home.
Keep in mind that their breed traits make them more suitable for country living.
So if you live in an apartment, a Border Collie may not actually work, where space is very limited and there is no backyard to run around in.
Ruling out the breed is actually the right thing to do for the dog, and will save you a lot of time, money, and energy in the long run.
Some dog breeds and lifestyles are simply incompatible. Even if we really want a specific breed to begin with. We have to be realistic here.
At the same time, if you have recently taken a border collie on, can you actually give them all they need?
Think about your home environment and whether or not it is conducive to their high energy.
Hopefully you will not have to give your dog away, but think about some of the changes you may need to make to your lifestyle, routine or home to be more accommodating of them and their needs!
Rule Out Health Problems
An excitable dog may not sit down, they may pee everywhere or they may be acting up generally.
This could be all down to an underlying medical problem, such as a urinary tract infection.
So, be sure to have your dog examined with your vet first to rule out potential health problems, and ensure they are robust health.
This will ensure that they are safe and healthy; and you can proceed to the other solutions for natural energy reduction!
Exercise And Train
Expect to devote time and energy to training and exercising your Border Collie every day.
Without these two, you will end up with a potentially bored and destructive dog with an endless source of energy.
The amount of exercise that your Border Collie needs may vary individually, but on average, they need a lot more than other breeds.
Some say that 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily is enough. Ideally, though, your Collie should get at least 2 hours of exercise and mental stimulation combined per day, probably even more.
This is where a huge backyard or garden comes in handy.
Big spaces are a haven for Collies who love to run around.
Some basic exercises that you can do with your Collie are running, walking, throwing a ball or Frisbee, trekking, and swimming.
Remember that it’s not just exercise that your Collie needs but also mental stimulation.
It is perhaps even more vital than exercise alone!
Because Border Collies need to think sharp when herding, their brains need training so that they are utilized to their fullest potential.
Very intelligent dogs get bored easily.
Basic commands such as sit, stay, or roll over are not enough.
Border Collies need more than that, and it is up to you to decide which complex tricks you can teach your dog.
For farm Collies, herding as a job is a given. For household Collies, on the other hand, they can be taught to pick up things for you.
Using interactive or puzzle toys is also a great way to challenge your dog. I suggest trying out the following toys for your Border Collie:
In the absence of herding as a job, setting up an agility course in your backyard is a perfect way to expend the energy and train the mind of your Border Collie.
You can also play scenting and tracking games to stimulate your Collie’s natural desire to hunt.
Consider Changing Diet
Lowering the amount of protein and calories that your dog consumes daily may lower the energy needed to expend.
Of course, consult with your vet first before doing this to ensure that it’s safe and that the new diet still meets your dog’s nutritional requirements.
Do Not Leave Alone For Too Long
Do not leave your Border Collie for long periods of time. Border Collies are social dogs, since they are used to existing in packs.
They also love the company of their owners and are dependent on them for their social and exercise needs.
Thus, they tend to not do well in isolation and experience distress and separation anxiety if left alone for hours.
The exact amount of time that you can leave your Collie alone depends individually.
But as a rule of thumb, never leave your dog alone for more than four hours.
If you can’t do that because of work, ask your family or friends to look for your dog while you’re away, or consider getting a trustworthy dog sitter.
If you can’t avoid leaving your dog alone, make sure that he is limited to a single room in your house.
This avoids the possibility of peeing and destruction in all parts of your house. Leave him with toys to keep him entertained and your clothes so that he can smell your familiar scent even when you’re away.
Use Relaxing Music
For hyperactivity caused by stress, consider playing relaxing music at a low volume.
Aromatherapy may also work, despite the popular belief that essential oils are toxic to dogs (they still can be, so it’s crucial to check with your vet first for advice).
Try putting small amounts of lavender oil on your dog’s blanket and see if he responds positively. Lastly, try massaging your dog to ease his anxiety.
Most dogs respond well to touch especially if it comes from their humans.
Border Collies are some of the most intelligent dog breeds. But, they are certainly one of the most energetic too!
Thankfully, with age and with the right approach; these dogs will learn to calm down.
But nevertheless, while they look stunning and have vibrant personalities, they are not a dog for everybody.
Its true that they need the right owner to be able to thrive in their care.
It is for this reason that they are more compatible with people who live an active lifestyle, own a big backyard, or who can commit a lot of time to keeping their dog sufficiently busy.
They are a working dog, at least genetically, after all.
And while it may all seem quite overwhelming at first, with persistence, you can start to see your efforts pay off with a calmer, more peaceful Border Collie.
It’s not an impossible task, but it definitely will require some consistency and patience on your part.
If it all feels too much, then do not rule out the support of a professional dog trainer.
Besides, while it may cost you, they are experts and do have the experience you could look to learn from.
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.