New collie owner? Congratulations!
Collies are amazing pets for active people and whether you’ve got a new collie puppy or you’ve adopted an older collie, you’re in for a treat!
After two years of owning a collie, I’ve come up with some basic advice that I think new collie owners should know.
Here are my nine important tips for new collie owners, to help your dog settle in to their new home and to give them the best possible chance at their new life.
1: Collies take some time to come out of their shell
Collies are a bit nervous in new situations, and when you first get them you’ll probably notice they are a bit wary of their new home and might not be the energetic dogs they are usually made out to be.
This is pretty normal and nothing to worry about. Your collie will take some time to adjust to their new surroundings, especially if you adopted them from a shelter.
Collies are a very rewarding dog to own and over time you’ll really notice their personalities developing as they come out of their shell.
You can help your collie settle in and feel comfortable in your home by giving them plenty of space and by not putting any pressure on them. Give them time to adjust and don’t worry if they don’t pick up training or exercise straight away.
2: Make Your Home And Yard Safe
One thing you’ll notice quickly is that collies are extremely inquisitive. Anything that looks fun or interesting, your collie will be all over it.
This is great for training, since collies are extremely trainable and receptive to new concepts, but it can be a double edged sword when it comes to keeping them safe, since small things around your home may actually be dangerous for your collie without you noticing.
When Luna isn’t searching for errant laundry, she is knocking over lamps, pulling at wires and cables, jumping off walls, trying to climb fences, digging up the lawn, or trying to get through the hedge by sheer power of will.
Small things like dangling wires seem inconsequential until you realize they are connected to your television and if your collie starts tugging at them your TV is going down like the Hindenburg.
Keeping wires out of sight, putting anything potentially dangerous somewhere out of reach, making sure you have a proper fence in your yard and no sharp objects where your collie might dig are vital to keeping your collie safe.
3: Make sure your collie has their own area
Collies generally have no sense of personal space or boundaries. Your collie will follow you around everywhere like a shadow and get up close to you whenever they can, but one thing I learned about collies is that they sometimes need their own space to feel at home.
If your collie is tired, sometimes they just want to rest and be away from people.
A crate is a great option if you have a collie pup or a collie that’s used to sleeping in a crate, because it’s enclosed.
Some collies will prefer sleeping on the sofa or on a soft dog bed, so just find what works for your collie and run with it.
Never lock your collie in their crate as a punishment, because they will start to associate their crate with being alone and won’t want to sleep in it. Make sure to always leave their door open so they can go in and out of it as they please.
4: Collies Hate Being Home Alone
Collies hate being left inside alone for long periods.
If it’s possible, arrange for someone to come over and check on them or check them in to doggy daycare if you’re leaving home for long periods.
Your collie needs loads of exercise (much more than the average breed) and mental stimulation each day, being locked in the house can lead to boredom and compulsive behaviors like flank sucking or tail chasing.
Collies are super friendly and love being with people and other dogs, so if you have to leave them home, get someone to check on them regularly and let them out to play for a while.
5: Collies Need Exercise. LOTS of Exercise
Collies have so much energy it’s almost hard to believe.
As a rough guide, collies need at least two hours of exercise every day just to keep them happy.
Collies are definitely not lapdogs, and without sufficient exercise they will be extremely restless.
6: Get them a friend!
Collies are highly social creatures and love playing with people and other dogs.
Collies love meeting their friends at the park and playing together.
If you have the space for it, consider getting your collie a friend to play with. If not, letting them meet other dogs at the dog park is a great alternative!
It might be hard to find another dog with as much energy as a collie.
Collies get on great with most dogs around their size or smaller, but get on especially well with other active breeds like spaniels, whippets, poodle mixes, labradors, golden retrievers, and other collies.
7: Collies LOVE Toys and Balls
Collies love toys more than air. Your collie’s favorite thing in the world is playing with their favorite toys with their favorite human.
Some toys are specially designed for herding breeds like collies, and require some mental exercise to play with, while others like rope toys, balls, and stuffed toys are just fun for them to throw around.
As soon as you enter the room, your collie will throw you their favorite toy and invite you to play with them.
You’ll quickly notice your collie has a favorite toy and can even learn their toys names.
If you’re a new collie owner, be prepared to play with your collie!
8: Collies take to training like a duck to water
Collies are extremely smart, and love training and mental exercises.
Collies were developed as working sheepdogs, and working is ingrained in their psyche.
Start with the basics like recall, sit, stay, and lie down, and slowly work your way up to more advanced commands.
I highly recommend you try to find a training class, especially if the trainer has experience with collies. Over time your collie can learn advanced tricks and herding commands and practicing what they have learned is a great way to keep their minds active.
9: Get Pet Insurance
Collies are a hardy breed, but they are also headstrong and very energetic meaning they can easily injure themselves when they get overexcited.
Collies can be accident prone and some good pet insurance will save you a lot of headaches (and a lot of money) in the long run.
Different insurance companies all have different cover options but here are some tips for finding good insurance for your collie:
- Ask your vet for a recommendation – vets deal with insurance companies every day and will be able to recommend a trustworthy company for you.
- Ask your breeder – collie breeders know the breed inside out and might have a specific recommendation based on the needs of collies.
- Get a plan with dental cover – Collies love to chew things, so their teeth also need looked after! If you can find a plan that covers dental treatment it’s a big bonus.
- Find a plan with missing pet cover – Though collies running away isn’t super common, when a collie wants to run they can run for miles so having someone on your side helping you find your beloved pet will be a big help in a stressful situation.