Collies are a high-energy breed by nature, which can lead to them becoming overly hyperactive if they don’t have a suitable outlet for their pent-up energy.
Although having an active dog is a big benefit of owning a collie, they have a tendency to become too hyperactive if their needs aren’t adequately met, which can result in them hurting themselves or other people, not listening to important commands, and developing compulsive behaviors like tail-chasing, chasing cars, or compulsive barking.
The best way to help your collie stop being so hyperactive is by ensuring their needs are being met. Collies have three basic needs: physical exercise, mental stimulation, and socialization. Increasing the amount of physical exercise they get each day and ensuring they get adequate mental and social stimulation to keep their minds happy and healthy will help keep any hyperactive behaviors at bay.
In this article, we’ll go over eight different ways you can try to help your collie overcome their hyperactive behaviors. These are all super simple tips that anyone can implement but they will make a big difference to your collie’s quality of life.
1: Give your collie more physical exercise
Collies need a lot of physical exercise to keep themselves happy and calm. They are more energetic than most breeds and regular exercise is a crucial outlet for them to expend their pent-up energy. If your collie doesn’t get the exercise they need, they can develop unnatural, compulsive, and potentially dangerous behaviors like tail-chasing, flank-sucking, or chasing cars.
If your collie is showing signs of being too hyperactive, the first thing you should try is to increase their physical exercise. On average, collies need about two hours of off-leash exercise every day, although this varies according to each dog’s energy levels.
Lack of physical activity is just one potential cause of hyperactivity in collies, with the other being lack of mental stimulation or socialization. Extra exercise is great for collies’ bodies, but can also be a great way to spend more time with your dog and give them a mentally challenging activity to do as well.
Try combining physical exercise with social activities like fetch, tug-of-war, or just chasing your dog around. Collies have strong chase instincts and love running after a ball, this will help with any lack of socialization that may be contributing to their hyperactivity too.
While walks and playtime are fantastic options, there are also dog training classes you might want to consider as well. Collies do particularly well with agility or herding classes, both of which are great options for a collie.
2: Ensure your collie has plenty of mental stimulation
Lack of mental stimulation is a huge problem for collies. They are the smartest breeds in the world and without adequate stimulation their little minds can become addled, leading to compulsive behaviors, disobedience, hyperactivity, and sometimes aggression. Providing your collie with adequate mental stimulation will help alleviate their hyperactivity.
There are countless ways to add mental stimulation into your dog’s life, and they don’t have to be difficult. Some ideas include making your dog ‘work’ for their food, either by using dispensing treat toys or by scatter-feeding, playing games with your collie like hide-and-seek or fetch, or introducing some extra training to their days teaching them some new tricks and commands.
3: Use Smells and Aroma Training
Dogs have a much better sense of smell than us, making smells much more intense and interesting for them.
Aromatherapy options vary in type and effectiveness but electrical diffusers are the most common. These are usually pretty inexpensive, they plug into the wall and slowly release scents into your home which are supposed to calm your dog.
Other options include canine lotions, sprays, and atomizers. Different scents will work in different ways for different dogs. I’ve tried them with Luna and they don’t seem to have much effect.
Even if they don’t work by themselves, they can complement the other solutions on this list.
4: Consider changing their diet
Food or treats that are high in sugar can turn any calm collie into a hyperactive lunatic. Most dog and puppy food has everything your collie needs to stay healthy without the sugar, so you’re more likely to encounter this problem if you are feeding your collie human treats not designed for dogs.
If excess sugar is making your collie hyperactive, consider cutting out any human snacks and replacing them with dog-friendly alternatives or raw food treats.
Read the food labels and look online to see if the brand or product contains a lot of sugar. If this is the case, swapping to a new product or making their food yourself will help reduce their energy levels too.
5: Keep A Consistent Routine
Without a routine, your collie doesn’t know when it’s time to play and when it’s time to be calm.
Collies like routines and can get easily excited when unexpected things happen, or restless when something doesn’t happen that they expected to happen. If your collie is being hyperactive during the day, structuring their days with a consistent exercise and play routine may help them stay calm.
Not being consistent causes problems for collies. Missing a walk means they don’t get to expend their pent-up energy and are more likely to run riot at home. If you always walk your collie in the morning then play with them for a while afterwards, they will be expecting that and might become restless in the morning if you can’t walk them until the afternoon.
Although it’s not possible to be consistent all the time, even roughly keeping exercise and playtimes at a similar time each day will help.
6: Train Your Collie to be Calm
Training your collie to be calm by praising and rewarding your dog when they’re naturally calm is a good way to encourage calmness. It teaches them that being calm gets them good things.
If you have a collie who can’t seem to calm down, try getting them to focus on you by giving them a command such as “sit” that requires them to stay still. This will help your collie calm down, and by rewarding them when they listen to you, you’re helping to teach them that it’s important to pay attention even when they’ve got a lot of energy.
There are quite a few methods for training your collie to be calm, such as randomized treat dropping, pausing while out walking, and rewarding calm behaviors. Check out our article 13 simple methods to train your collie to be calm for more ideas.
7: Use a Distraction to Snap Them Out of It
If your collie is in the middle of a hyperactive episode, sometimes it just takes a little distraction for them to snap out of it and come back down to earth. Try distracting your collie with a command like “sit” or “lie down” that requires them to be still for a moment, or get their favorite toy out to play with. Once they are distracted you can praise them for being calm and give them something low-energy to do.
This method works whether you need to quickly stop your collie from running around and knocking things over or if they have just got that unmistakable crazy collie look in their eyes that tells you they are about to start rioting.
Although distracting your collie is a good way to calm them down, it’s also important to work out what’s causing them to be hyperactive in the first place and think about any small changes you could make to meet their needs better.
Collies are naturally high energy, but if they are hyperactive every day it may be a sign they are suffering from boredom or lack of exercise, which can lead to serious problems down the line.
8: Use a crate to calm them down
If your collie is getting too hyperactive and needs a rest, one option is to put them in their crate to calm down, which will immediately stop the excitement and help them relax. Crates can be hit or miss with collies. They can be scary if your collie isn’t used to them, but once a collie is used to their crate they become a calm, safe, and quiet place that your collie knows they can go to at any time when they need a break.
If your collie absolutely hates being in a crate, make sure your collie has a mat, a dog bed, or another spot in the house where they can be alone. Collies aren’t always the best at regulating their hyperactivity and without a calm spot to go to they would just keep playing for hours and hours.
If you’re interested in teaching your collie to use a crate, there are some tried and tested techniques that will have them loving their crate in no time.
Perhaps the simplest way to get your collie used to being in their crate is to tempt them in with a big soft comfortable blanket and a high-value treat like a bone or a raw food snack.