How to Calm a Border Collie

Energetic dogs such as border collies often require more stimulation than other breeds to burn off excess energy.

Energetic dogs such as border collies often require more stimulation than other breeds to burn off excess energy.

Border collies are notoriously energetic dogs. A hyperactive, exuberant nature is considered a breed trait, particularly noticed in the first half of a border collie's life span. But even a border collie can be TOO hyperactive, and such an instance might be a symptom of a more complex issue, such as separation anxiety. Calming a border collie isn’t an impossible task, but it does require a soft hand and plenty of patience.

Book the dog an appointment with your veterinarian to rule out possible health concerns. Many dogs will urinate or defecate when they get excited, and your vet will run tests to make sure the dog is free of issues such as urinary tract infections or parasites.

Place the dog on a low-protein, low-fat diet. Border collies are naturally energetic, and high amounts of fats and proteins introduce extra calories that may result in excess energy. Be sure to transition your dog from an existing type to new food gradually to avoid digestive upset.

Allow the dog plenty of exercise throughout the day. Border collies typically have strong herding instincts and love to chase things, so encourage the dog to run and play in a secure, open space. Toss a ball or other favorite toy to encourage the dog to stretch his legs.

Set up a safe room in your home for the dog when you leave. Pick a small room, such as a spare bedroom or den, and place the dog’s bed and toys, and his crate if he uses one, inside the room. This safe room allows the dog to explore and play while you’re gone without giving him free run of the house. Close the door securely when you leave to prevent an escape. Border collies are inquisitive dogs and are prone to boredom if understimulated; closing the door will keep the dog and your home safe until you return.

Add a few unwashed articles of your clothing to the room. Items such as soft T-shirts and sweaters hold your scent long after you've removed them, and your smell will help calm the dog. Border collies are a mouthy breed that may chew when bored, so pick old clothes that you won’t miss if they get destroyed.

Consider administering an herbal calming remedy to your dog’s diet in cases of severe hyperactivity or separation anxiety. Border collies and other herding breeds often carry the MRD1 gene, which causes severe and often lethal interactions with tranquilizers typically prescribed for hyperactivity. Herbal calming supplements are made of natural herbs and other ingredients that encourage the release of naturally occurring hormones, helping to calm your dog without the dangers associated with prescription tranquilizers.

Items you will need

  • Low-protein, low-fat dog food
  • Dog bed
  • Dog toys
  • Old clothing
  • Herbal calming remedy


  • Consult your veterinarian before adding any supplements to your dog’s diet. He will advise you on the proper type and dose of supplement to help calm your dog.


  • Never punish your dog for hyperactivity. Border collies with excess energy need extra stimulation, and punishing the dog will discourage him from interacting with you.

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About the Author

Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.

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