Why Your Rough Collie Experiences Anxiety

Happy Rough Collie Dog

The Rough Collie stands 22 to 26 inches tall and weighs 50 to 70 lbs. They are a native of Scotland, where they were used as herding dogs. The Rough Collie still makes a capable herding dog today. The Rough Collie is very recognizable from their showy coat and from being a part of modern-day pop culture on television on the show known as Lassie.

The Rough Collie needs a lot of attention, and they are prone to being timid without socialization. This is because the Rough Collie is so sweet-natured. They are sensitive dogs that do not do well in a loud household with a lot of noise and tension. They get along well with people and other pets. If left alone, they tend to bark a lot and can be prone to separation anxiety. Not to worry, though, as there are things you can do about that. This breed can be hypersensitive and high-strung. 

The Rough Collie is good with kids and makes an excellent family dog. The Rough Collie is very loyal. According to people with a Rough Collie, the stories from television of them knowing when something is wrong are not pure fiction. There are many true stories of Rough Collies coming to the rescue of people and animals. The Rough Collie is brilliant. The Rough Collie is easy to train as a result. 

A Rough Collie is much more likely to be a pampered pet than a herding dog, but you shouldn't be surprised if they start herding pets and children. They might also chase cars and bark. They can adapt to most home environments with daily exercise. They make excellent therapy dogs. They need regular brushing to keep their coat free of tangles. They can also be sensitive to heartworm treatments, so be sure to discuss them with your veterinarian. 


As mentioned previously, the Collie is a native to Scotland. They were primarily from the Highland regions. They were once referred to as several names such as Coaly, Coally, Colley, and Collis. This is thought to be because they were black and looked more like today's Border Collies. Their ability to herd was much more important than what they looked like, so they varied in appearance greatly. Nomads from the Stone Age brought the dogs to Southern England. The Collie was used to herd pigs, goats, cattle, and sheep. Some historians believe the Romans brought the ancestors of the Rough Collie to the British Isles 2000 years ago. 

Queen Victoria fell in love with Collies in 1860 when she visited her Scotland Estate and brought some back to England. This made Collies famous at that time. The dogs were first shown that same year under the generic breed name Scotch Sheep Dogs. A Collie lived in 1867, known as Old Cockie, is credited with establishing the way a Rough Collie looks today. The first Collie to come to the US did so in 1879, and the Collie Club of America was founded relatively soon after in 1886. This makes it one of the oldest canine clubs. 


The Rough Collie can live comfortably in the country or the city. They need to get daily exercise which can be accomplished with a daily walk. They do tend to bark excessively if left alone for too long. This was how they warned the shepherd that wolves were near when herding sheep. This can now be seen as an annoying repercussion of separation anxiety. A quiet command should be a part of any Rough Collies training. It will help with this, including them in all family activities so they aren't alone. 


It is recommended that a Rough Collie get 2 to 3 cups of high-quality dry dog food per day separated into two meals. How much your dog needs to eat depends very much on the individual build and energy level. A very active dog may need more food than a couch potato dog would. You'll also want to make sure you get the healthiest and best dog food you can afford, as it will go further in nourishing your dog. You can discuss this with your veterinarian. 

Can Rough Collies Experience Anxiety? 

Just like people, the Rough Collie can experience anxiety. This is more common in the Rough Collie if they come from a shelter or are victims of cruel acts and neglect. It is not known precisely why anxiety is more common in shelter dogs, but it is thought that the separation from people the dog cared about is the cause. However, a Rough Collie of any background can suffer from anxiety. Thankfully, you can watch for signs and things you can do if your Rough Collie suffers from anxiety. You'll want to make sure to help your Rough Collie if they are suffering from anxiety and stress. 

What Is the Difference Between Fear and Anxiety in Rough Collies?

Fear aggression occurs when dogs experience something that makes them afraid. Fear is the leading cause of aggression in a Rough Collie. Fear is a response to a real or perceived threat. Anxiety is the response to an anticipated threat. Phobias are an exaggerated fear response. Of course, we wouldn't want our Rough Collie to experience fear or anxiety. There are some things you can do if your Rough Collie is anxious. You'll need to help them get through these periods by helping how they react to certain stimuli. 

Separation Anxiety in Rough Collies

Separation anxiety is a syndrome where the dog panics when left alone by the dog owner due to work, school, or other obligations. It causes very intense anxiety and may cause destructive behavior, including barking, pacing, and eliminating inside the house. A Rough Collie that is confined may destroy walls, doors, and kennels. The Rough Collie will do this in an attempt to reunite with their owners. The destruction usually happens in the first 30 minutes a Rough Collie is left alone. You wouldn't want your Rough Collie to go through separation anxiety because they are suffering. The behavior can also result in destructive damage that can be expensive to fix. 

Causes of Anxiety in Rough Collies

There are causes for anxiety in Rough Collies. Here are a few. 


You'll need to stay consistent with your Rough Collie. They thrive on routines such as knowing when it's time to walk, when to eat, and when to sleep. If you don't provide a routine, your Rough Collie may experience anxiety. You wouldn't want your dog to suffer because you can't keep a routine. 

Confusing Commands

You need to use the same consistent commands with your Rought Collie at all times. They don't have the same grasp of language as we do. If you say "Down" for them to lie down and "Get down" to get off the couch, this could confuse them a great deal as they are similar yet very different commands. The mix of "Drop it" and "Give that here" is identical. You'll need to make sure your Rough Collie understands your commands, or it could stress them out as they won't know what to do. While not requiring a great effort, this tip helps a great deal. 

Staring Directly at Your Rough Collie

Of course, you love looking at your beautiful Rough Collie. However, don't look at them straight on. Look at them from the side instead. Straight-on staring is a sign of aggression in dogs and can give your Rough Collie anxiety. You wouldn't want to stress out your Rough Collie simply by looking at it. That would be cruel and unfair. 

Unnecessary Punishment

If your Rough Collie is acting like a dog but does something annoying, do not punish them. This would include things like rolling in something that stinks or eating food off the counter. While annoying, these are normal dog behaviors. Practice situation avoidance and keep your dog from having the opportunity to do these things. Keep your dog on a leash and keep food off the counter instead. This can help avoid further anxiety in your Rough Collie. 

Telling Your Dog, "It's okay."

While you might think the best thing you can do at the vet or during a thunderstorm is comforting your Rough Collie and tell them everything is alright, don't do this. Instead, offer them treats. The reason is your dog will begin to associate the phrase, "It's okay," with extreme fear. You wouldn't want to scare your dog further in these situations. 

Signs Your Rough Collie is Suffering From Anxiety

There are signs that your Rough Collie is experiencing anxiety. Here are a few. 


Growling is a way to know that your Rough Collie is uncomfortable for some reason. It can mean that they feel threatened, someone is in their space, or something is hurting them. When a dog growls, you need to give them space. Don't punish them because, in the future, they may go straight to biting. If your dog is growling, you need to pay attention to what they are telling you. 

Whining or Barking

While whining and barking is sometimes an automatic response, it can sometimes signal that the Rough Collie is stressed out about something. Barking is a common problem with a Rough Collie that has separation anxiety. Sometimes whining and barking mean something else. You'll need to be aware of what is going on to pinpoint why this behavior is happening. You wouldn't want your dog to be stressed, and you not realize it. 

Body Language

You'll need to learn the body language of the Rough Collie. This can include lip licking, yawning, panting, pinned back ears, or a tucked tail. Your dog is trying to tell you something, so you'll need to pay attention to these visual queues. They can be a sign of anxiety in your dog. 


If a dog freezes or gets still, they are shutting down from being exposed to certain stimuli. You need to assess the situation right away, as the next step may be a bite. Your dog is most certainly suffering from anxiety if they are freezing. 


Pacing back and forth at mealtime might not be a big deal, but if your Rough Collie is frequently pacing, this could be a sign that they have anxiety. You'll need to be aware of what is going on when your Rough Collie does this. It will let you know what is stressing out your Collie. 

What We Know About Managing Anxiety in Humans

It may surprise you to learn that not all stress is bad. Stress can be nature's way of keeping you safe during dangerous situations. We know that in people, as with a Rough Collie, there are ways to reduce stress and anxiety. These include good nutrition, getting enough exercise, and getting enough rest. Treatment can also include vitamins and supplements. One of these is called L-theanine, which is an amino acid that is common in tea leaves. Wouldn't it be great if you could help your Rough Collie with the power of L-theanine and other supplements? Well, thankfully, you can! You should try Calming Zen Chews from Calming Dog. They contain Chamomile, L-Theanine, and L-Tryptophan. They also have other calming products such as the Calming Cuddle Bed and Calming Spray

Other Treatments for Anxiety in Rough Collies

There are things you can do for anxiety in Rough Collies. Here are a few. 

Control Your Behavior

If your household is chaotic, it can stress a sensitive dog like the Rough Collie. Loud noises and fighting will have an impact on your dog. Try your best to stay calm around your dog, and don't yell at them or anyone else in the house if you can help it. You wouldn't want to scare your dog with these unhealthy behaviors. 

Work With a Trainer

You may decide that your Rough Collie needs more training than you alone can provide. This might mean hiring a professional trainer. Be sure to ask questions and make sure they are qualified for the task at hand. Don't waste your money and time by hiring just anyone. You want to make sure they can get your Rough Collie to experience less anxiety. 

Learn Body Language

Your Rough Collie will give off many body language clues as to what they are feeling and experiencing. You'll want to learn what these mean. Anything from a tucked tail to panting a lot can tell they are experiencing anxiety. You'll have to watch them for signs of distress. 


A Rough Collie has a sweet nature, and it is essential to socialize them, so they don't become timid dogs. You'll want to show them new people, places, and things. When you do this regularly, it will make them respond better to new situations in the future. You'll have a well-rounded dog that is friendly and fun to do things with. 


Obedience is a must, especially since it is easier to socialize an obedient dog. You may want to do this with a trainer or on your own. Do your research before selecting a trainer, as mentioned previously. You'll want to make sure they are up for the task at hand. 


Your Rough Collie needs daily exercise to stay in peak condition. You'll want your best friend to live a long time, which is more likely if they are healthy and in shape. A fit dog is also less likely to be an anxious dog. You wouldn't want to stress them out by them not moving around enough. 


In keeping up with your Rough Collie's health, you'll want to feed them a balanced diet from a portion of high-quality dog food. You may wish to discuss this with your veterinarian. You should always buy the best and healthiest food you can afford. 

Situation Avoidance

While you won't want to change around your whole life, there are some situations you can just avoid to keep your Rough Collie from being stressed out. This would mean if they are afraid of other dogs, don't go to the dog park. Small things like this will help your dog and protect them from being scared. Simple mistakes like this could stress them out further. 

Crate Training

Crate training can help your dog and provide them with a safe space. Be careful, as some dogs are anxious about being in a crate. If this is the case, then section them off with a baby gate. This will help prevent destructive behavior. 

Giving Your Dog Jobs

You'll want to give your dog new opportunities for things to do. This could mean taking them on a new hiking trail or giving them food puzzle toys. It would help if you gave your Rough Collie something to do. 


Your Rough Collie is your best friend. They make an excellent family dog or even a therapy dog. They are sweet-natured and sensitive. However, they can be timid and high-strung. They are prone to separation anxiety. However, you can watch for signs like excessive barking and things you can do, like keeping them mentally stimulated. Thankfully if your dog is experiencing anxiety, you don't have to lose hope. There are things you can do to help them overcome it. 

Back to Blog