Identifying Stress and Anxiety in Border Collie Puppies
We all wish we could read our dog's mind. Thankfully border collie puppies are great at communicating via their body language. By noticing stressed behavior in your puppy, you can begin to learn how to comfort them and prevent future behavioral problems.
Vocal Signs of Stress in Border Collie Puppies
Border collie puppies will often growl, whine, or bark when they are anxious or stressed. While dog communication may be tough to understand, paying attention to these warnings is essential for a healthy bond with your pet.
Growling is the most obvious sign your puppy is distressed. Dogs typically use aggressive indications like growling as a warning sign that something is wrong or they feel threatened. If your border collie puppy is growling, respect their space and try a different approach.
Barking and whining can also be signs of stress. Unlike growling, your puppy has less control over these forms of communication. So while barking can signal a variety of dog emotions, your collie puppy might be stressed or anxious.
Visible Signs of Stress in Border Collie Puppies
Quiet collie puppies may still be stressed. Dog body language may seem hard, but paying attention to your puppy's behavior needn't be complicated. Instead, rely on your bond with your collie puppy and be in tune with behavior signs and changes.
Stress signs in collie puppies often look similar to stress in human children. For example, appearing wide-eyed and withdrawn, freezing or pacing, or looking "guilty" are all signs your puppy could be stressed. Other, more dog-specific identifiers of stress include tucked ears or tails, raised hackles, and panting.
In more severe cases of anxiety, collie puppies may resort to destructive behaviors. Be sure to monitor excessive chewing and digging that goes beyond normal puppy behavior.
Urinating or defecating in the house can also be a sign of anxiety. With early and proper house training, six-month-old puppies should be eliminating outside the majority of the time. However, if you are not making expected house-training progress, stress could be a factor.
Every dog is different, but these common signs of stress can help you start understanding your collie puppy better. Then you can move forward to find solutions to calm your dog.
Causes of Stress and Anxiety in Collie Puppies
Once you've noticed signs of stress in your collie puppy, you should try to identify the cause. All collie puppies are different, and experts are unsure why some dogs are more prone to anxiety than others. However, there are some common causes of stress in puppies you should consider.
Trauma From Neglect or Abuse
In the most extreme cases, collie puppies may be experiencing anxiety stemming from trauma. Puppies crave a happy, stable home, so abandonment, neglect, or change can make your puppy incredibly nervous.
Puppies rescued or adopted from unfortunate circumstances are far more likely to have separation anxiety and stress. It may be challenging to understand the experiences your puppy had in their previous household or a shelter. However, a compassionate environment can do wonders for these special pups.
A single traumatic event may also result in an anxious collie puppy. For example, witnessing or experiencing a violent accident, a home break-in, or other significant incidents can affect collie puppies long after the event occurred.
Dramatic life changes such as joining a new family, moving to a new residence, or an owner's schedule change can cause anxiety in collie puppies.
Unfamiliar environments that lack comfort are especially difficult for puppies. Most dogs are affected by strange sights, smells, and noises. It can take a while for puppies to get used to a new home environment.
A drastic change in a dog guardian's schedule can also seriously affect collie puppies. You are your dog's best friend. Any significant changes in your life will also affect them.
Imagine your puppy is used to you working from home every day. Then, suddenly, you must go back to the office five days a week. This change is hard on both of you, but your collie puppy doesn't know where you went.
Change is hard on all of us. But, unfortunately, your collie puppy has no control over the changes in their life and doesn't understand them. This uncertainty is often the root of stress and anxiety.
Lack of Exercise
Collie puppies require frequent exercise for healthy development. Without appropriate outlets for their energy, puppies can become stressed or anxious.
An active schedule full of walks and play allows your collie puppy to release energy healthily. As a result, a puppy tired from a long day of exercise will be more content and less stressed.
Socialization also is commonly tied to outdoor play. Interacting with other puppy friends can help train collie puppies to respond to stressful situations healthily. Additionally, research has found that fearful dogs had fewer socialization experiences in their early years.
Underlying health concerns may be the reason your collie puppy is exhibiting stress responses. But, unfortunately, many times, puppies show anxiety symptoms when there's something else going on.
Symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or low energy could be a sign of other serious issues. If you suspect your puppy is experiencing health problems, be sure to talk to your vet and get a complete health check-up.
Why Collie Puppies Experience More Stress Than Other Breeds
Anyone who has adopted a collie puppy knows they are special dogs. While all breeds are susceptible to stress, a few qualities unique to border collies can lead to anxiety.
Border collie puppies have higher levels of affection, playfulness, energy, and intelligence. By understanding your dog's breed, you can better identify the cause of their stress or anxiety.
Collie puppies are incredibly affectionate, especially with their family. But, unfortunately, this strong connection to the humans in their lives can cause stress and even separation anxiety in border collie puppies.
When you leave, your collie puppy has a difficult time understanding that you will return. You are the center of your dog's life and their number one source of affection. Unfortunately, even though you wish you could, you can't be with your pet 24/7.
When you're together, shower your collie puppy with all the love and affection they deserve.
Border collies are a very happy breed and want to play non-stop. This playfulness makes them excellent dogs for active families and multi-dog households.
However, this translates to high social needs as well. Without frequent playdates with other puppy friends, collie puppies may start to exhibit signs of stress or anxiety.
All dogs need frequent exercise, but collie puppies are natural athletes. Originally bred in Scotland to herd sheep, these pups need space to run.
Highly energetic breeds like border collies need vigorous exercise every day. Unfortunately, this level of activity can be hard to keep up with for families with busy schedules. Fall behind, and your pup may begin to show signs of stress.
Mental Stimulation Needs
Collies are known as one of the world's most intelligent breeds. Border collies have broken Guinness World Records for their intelligence. So keeping collie puppies challenged mentally could be considered a full-time job!
These days, people employ border collies for more than just sheep herding. With their keen senses and high intelligence, they make excellent search and rescue dogs. Collies can even be official goose masters, with the critical job of keeping geese off people's property.
Without adequate mental stimulation, collie puppies can begin to experience stress or anxiety. These dogs quickly become bored, and they need constant challenges.
How You Can Help Your Collie Puppy Deal With Stress and Anxiety
Addressing your border collie's stress and anxiety starts with identifying its cause. Of course, it is always best to address any issues your dog has at the root to prevent reoccurring problems. However, many of these techniques will help calm a stressed or anxious dog regardless.
How To Help Your Collie Puppy Through Trauma
If you have a rescue collie, your pup may have anxiety due to their rough past. Adopting your puppy from a shelter is a noble act, but often you don't know everything about your dog's history. Being abused or abandoned is one of the leading causes of pet anxiety.
Don't worry. Now that your pup has you, the healing process can now begin. The first step is creating a quiet, safe space for your collie puppy. Soft, comfy furnishings, such as the Calming Cuddle Bed by Calming Dog, can help your puppy feel more at home.
Collie puppies that have only been with a single adopted family can also experience trauma. Therefore, if an unfortunate event happens and your collie pup is showing lasting emotional pain, it is crucial to treat this anxiety with care as well.
Be patient with traumatized collie puppies. Dogs are great at picking up human emotions, and a calm temperament can help put them at ease. So speak in relaxed tones while you try to distract your collie puppy from their anxiety.
Helping Your Collie Puppy Adapt to Life's Changes
Moving, a family member's schedule change, or other disruption in routine can seriously impact collie puppies. If your dog is showing signs of stress or anxiety due to a family life change, there are steps you can take to help them recover.
If you anticipate a change happening soon that could affect your collie puppy, it's best to prepare them ahead of time. This preparation can help ease your puppy's transition into a new schedule or environment.
When adapting your collie to schedule changes, try to make the change as slowly as possible. For example, if you are returning to in-person work, try to taper off your time at home, so it's less of a shock to your pup. Alternatively, consider other family members who can help reduce the time your collie puppy spends alone.
A change in family composition can be confusing for your dog. Death, divorce, or even children going off to college can stress out your collie. Dogs have 56 times more smell receptors than humans, so placing clothing or other fabrics belonging to the missed human in your dog's area may help them relax. Collie puppies may also benefit from products such as Calming Dog's Calming Spray.
A change in environment can also be difficult for dogs. To combat moving anxiety, try to keep as many factors constant as possible. For example, setting up your collie's space with their favorite bed and toys as soon as you move in can help your puppy feel more at home.
Addressing Your Collie Puppy's Physical Needs To Combat Stress
Even without clear triggers, collie puppies can show signs of stress and anxiety. Often this is a result of their physical needs not being met. As exceptionally social and active dogs, they need a lot of time to play.
Establishing a play schedule is a great place to start helping your collie puppy relieve stress when the cause isn't apparent. When your dog anticipates consistent playtime, it can be easier for them to relax.
Puppy playdates can be an excellent solution, as they address both your collie puppy's need for exercise and appetite for socialization. In addition, dogs socialized in their early years are far less likely to experience anxiety later in life.
You and your family can enjoy other activities with your dog to reduce their stress and improve their health. For example, long walks in the local park, playing fetch with a ball or frisbee, hiking a nearby mountain, or a day of swimming and running at the beach are fun activities for the whole family.
It is also essential to provide adequate nutrition, so your puppy grows up as a healthy dog. For example, feeding your collie puppy high-quality food designed for active puppies and only providing treats for positive reinforcement can not only reduce their risk for obesity but stress conditions as well.
Addressing Your Collie Puppy's Mental Needs To Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Collie puppies are easily trainable and enjoy lots of mental stimulation. Exposing your puppy early on to a wide variety of people and other dogs will condition them to be comfortable in more situations.
Training for specialized tasks or agility can give collie puppies purpose, which reduces their risk for anxiety. Remember, they are a superstar breed in obedience training and excel at problem-solving and decision-making tasks. Playing interactive or puzzle games with your collie puppy also lets them flex those mental muscles.
Easing Separation Anxiety in Collie Puppies
Creating positive associations to experiences is an essential part of puppy training. Through desensitization and counter-conditioning, you can help your collie puppy deal with the stress of you leaving.
Try to leave your puppy alone for short periods at a time and gradually increase your time away. Then, when you do return, show them love but no fanfare. You can also reward with a special treat before you leave, such as these Calming Zen Chews. These homeopathic calming aids not only taste great but consist of natural dog-safe stress relievers.
If your collie puppy shows distress at the sight of you preparing to leave, try to desensitize them to those signals. For example, you could grab your keys and walk to the couch instead of the door. Or you could put on your coat and lay in bed. Over time, these leaving indicators will be less scary for your dog.
Other Ways To Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Collie Puppies
Some other techniques can help collie puppies deal with stress and anxiety. But, again, having a wide variety of options at your disposal will help you find what works best for your dog.
Some dogs find comfort in crate training, especially those who enjoy alone time to destress from overstimulation—having a safe place to retreat with comfort items such as Calming Dog's Calming Blanket Plus+ can significantly reduce anxiety. However, this can be an added source of stress for others, so it's essential to monitor your puppy's behavior during crate time.
Another great way to reduce stress in your collie puppy is by enrolling in a reward-based training class. Puppy training strengthens the bond with your pup and provides socialization with other dogs, and teaches you skills to practice together.
If you are still struggling to ease anxiety in your collie puppy, your veterinarian may be able to help. A thorough check-up can help rule out underlying health concerns resulting in stress or anxiety. Your vet can also equip you with additional calming methods.
You and Your Collie Puppy
By reading this guide, you have taken an essential step in understanding collie puppies and how to best relieve their stress and anxiety. Change won't happen overnight. However, your consistent efforts to support your puppy through these challenges will make a difference.
If you are looking for premium, science-based products to help improve your anxious collie puppy's quality of life, Calming Dog is an excellent resource. Remember, through comfort, encouragement, and plenty of love, you can help your collie puppy become a calm, well-adjusted adult border collie.