13 simple methods to help your collie to calm down

If you’ve owned a collie, you already know how full of energy they can be. Sometimes it feels like they don’t have an off switch, and it can be hard to calm your collie down and allow them (and you) to rest and recover.

Collies have bags of energy, and it can be hard for them to wind down and relax. An over excitable dog may seem charming or funny, but it can lead to behavioral problems down the line which will negatively effect both you and your collie.

The best way to calm your collie down is to make sure they are getting adequate exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization each day, and to have a calm and peaceful place at home where they can feel safe and relax.

Here are 13 tips for calming down your collie, so you and them can relax and recover from the day’s activities.

1: Be patient with them

Collies are naturally energetic dogs. It’s an innate part of the breed and although it can be managed, a collie will always be more energetic than most other breeds.

Be patient with your collie, make sure their needs are met and reassure them you’re not angry or upset with them and they will be as calm as possible.

2: Change their diet or feeding routine

If your collie is particularly unsettled around meal times, they may not be getting the food they need, or they may have some other issue surrounding their food.

Collies need more food than some less active breeds, but they are usually not food-driven and it can be difficult to know when they are getting the right amount.

If your collie is being overly protective of their food, there is a good chance they have some trust issues with you or some other pets in the house.

It’s important that your collie understands that their food is theirs, and they have as long as they want to eat it and no one is going to take it away from them. You can help them with this by staying in the room when you feed them, sitting near them but not going near their food bowl.

This helps prevent them from becoming attached to food and eating everything in sight.

3: Lots of exercise

If your collie has too much energy pent up inside them, the best possible way to calm them down is to let them out to exercise.

Whether you take them for a big walk or just let them out to the garden to run around, this will help calm them down a lot and relax.

If possible, take them to a large open area where they can really run and stretch their legs fully.

Collie Exercising
Nothing makes Luna happier than chasing her ball around the countryside

4: Don’t wash your clothes

Collies can be prone to separation anxiety when left on their own.

If your collie is unsettled because of loneliness, one possible solution is to leave them a piece of your worn clothing, or a blanket when you leave, so that they can still smell you when you’re gone.

This helps settle your collie’s nerves and reminds them that you’re coming home soon to see them.

5: Use a diffuser

A diffuser is a small machine that disperses tiny particles in to their air in your home.

A regular diffuser for humans usually uses plant extracts and essential oils, but there are diffusers which let out canine pheromones that are imperceptible to humans but that help keep your collie calm.

This is especially useful for collie puppies, since they will learn to associate being at home with a feeling of calm.

6: Create a safe space

Collies usually like to be around you, but occasionally they need their own space.

If your collie has nowhere to go where they can be on their own, it can lead to them becoming anxious and frustrated.

Create a safe area inside your house for your collie, where they can go to be alone and relax.

A create works great for this, but you might also consider just leaving their bed in a spare room or in a corner somewhere they won’t be disturbed.

When Luna was a puppy she had her own crate where she could go to lie down and be calm.

7: Don’t leave them alone for too long

Collies can be left alone for a few hours by themselves with no problem, but leaving them home all day may upset them.

Collies are prone to separation anxiety and need a lot of exercise, so being stuck inside all day really isn’t ideal for them.

There are lots of things you can do to help your collie feel relaxed while on their own, but the simplest option is simply not to leave them by themselves for extended periods.

8: Cognitive Enrichment Toys and Activities

Lots of dogs enjoy cognitive enrichment toys, but few are as adept at working them out as a collie.

Collies are the most intelligent dogs out there, as incredible memory and problem solving skills were a prerequisite for active herding breeds like collies.

Sometimes, a puzzle or a new activity that requires your collie to use their mind to figure it out is just what they need to calm them down.

Aside from mental stimulation toys, there are other activities that can help tire your collie out mentally and help them relax.

Some examples include scatter feeding, hiding a ball or toy for them to hunt for, giving them a long lasting treat that they will have to work at to get the food out of, working on learning new tricks, or practicing old tricks.

Collies thrive on this kind of activity, so try a few of them and find out what your collie likes best so you always have a way to keep them happy and calm them down.

9: Mini Calming Exercises

If your collie is overexcited, some calming exercises can break them out of it and calm them down.

Sometimes all you need is a little change of pace and it can completely change your collie’s mood.

Some examples of a mini calming exercise include training your collie to come back, teaching them to pose for a photo, or getting them to sit still for a minute then rewarding them with their ball or a treat.

These small, calm gestures can help your collie to relax and bring their energy levels down almost instantly.

Luna loves posing for pictures for her instagram when shes out for a walk, and it gives her a moment of calm.

10: Play with them

Collies are social dogs and need lots of play time to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Collies will love physical games like fetch or tug of war, as well as mental games like hide and seek, scatter feeding, or teaching them a new trick.

Collies need about two hours of physical exercise every day to keep their bodies healthy, and plenty of socialization and mental stimulation on top of that to keep their minds healthy.

11: Don’t respond to unwanted behavior

When a collie is seeking attention, they know just what to do to press your buttons.

For some collies that might be stealing laundry to get you to chase them, for others it will be making obnoxious noises to get you to talk to them, for others it might be just coming over and lying on top of you.

Whatever it is, it’s important to ignore unwanted behaviors like this, because engaging with your collie (even to chase them away or tell them off) is a positive result for an attention deprived collie, and will reinforce the unwanted behavior.

Instead, make sure your collie gets plenty of play time and cognitive enrichment activities and toys to keep them happy so that they have no need for any unwanted behaviors in the first place.

12: Meet their basic needs

It sounds obvious, but sometimes a collie may be agitated or restless because one of their basic needs aren’t being met.

Check that your collie doesn’t need out to go to the toilet, that they have enough food and water, that they aren’t too hot or too cold, and that they are getting enough exercise and mental stimulation.

If your collie needs something, they have to try their best to tell you what they need and sometimes that can look like unwanted behaviors.

13: Get them spayed or neutered

Collies tend to be more calm after being spayed or neutered.

Obviously this is a big decision for you, but for a family pet it’s usually best for the dog to have them fixed.

So often, collies are sent to animal shelters because people underestimate how much work they require. Getting your collie spayed or neutered will help prevent any unwanted puppies, and make your collie more friendly and less boisterous.

Collie Climbing Stairs in Slow Moti... x
Collie Climbing Stairs in Slow Motion

About the author:

About the author:

Hollie and Border Collie

Hollie

Howling and Growling Editor

Hollie

Howling and Growling Editor

Hollie is an experienced collie owner from Scotland and the original founder of Howling and Growling. Wherever Hollie goes, her beloved collie Luna is never far behind!

Learn More about Hollie and Luna's story on the about page!