How Long Can Border Collies Be Left Home Alone?

As a responsible dog parent, do you find yourself wondering whether it’s okay to leave your Border Collie alone? Well, you aren’t alone; most dog owners often find themselves in a dilemma whenever they think of leaving their furry friends at home. So, let’s find out whether you can leave your Border Collie alone.

Border Collies can be left home alone, but should not alone for longer than a typical working day (8 hours). If left alone for extended periods, Border Collies are likely to get bored, or develop separation anxiety and isolation distress, which can make them destructive and affect their general wellbeing.

Read on for a detailed look at everything you need to know regarding leaving Border Collies at home alone.

Is It Safe to Leave Border Collies Home Alone?

It is safe to leave Border Collies at home alone for short periods. However, Border Collies are a breed that seek attention from humans at all times. They are susceptible to suffering from separation anxiety and isolation distress anytime they are left alone for too long.

Every dog parent dreams of spending quality time with their furry canine friends, never letting them out of his sight. But, unfortunately, in some cases, we have no choice but to leave our dogs behind for a few hours as we go out, be it in the office or to run a few errands.

Signs That Your Collie Has Been Alone for Too Long

Here are some telltale signs showing that you’ve been gone for too long:

  • Scratches on the door, window, wall, or any other furniture within the vicinity.
  • Evidence of destructive behavior such as ripping off your treasured sofa, chewing on toys, etc.
  • There’s urine or poop on the floor even though your pup has been potty trained.
  • Excessive whimpering from your pup when you come home.
  • Your pup runs to you and wags his tail when you come in.

However, even if your Border Collie doesn’t get destructive (the extent of destruction depends on the pup’s personality) and still acts calm after being left alone, he may never be okay being alone for long. Don’t make it a habit to leave him alone.

Negative Effects of Leaving Your Border Collie Alone

  • Separation anxiety: If your pup is overly attached to you or any other member of your family, he may have an exaggerated fear of being alone. Separation anxiety may make your dog aggressive and depressed. Additionally, it may cause over or under-eating, excessive barking, inappropriate urination, and defecation.
  • Isolation distress: Isolation distress crops in when your pup becomes anxious or stressed if no dogs or humans are around. This may negatively affect your dog’s behavior and general wellbeing.
  • Lack of mental stimulation: Border Collies are an intelligent dog breed that requires constant mental stimulation. And one way of keeping up with their intelligence levels is keeping them active by teaching them myriads of tricks and games. Therefore, if you leave your Border Collie alone for long, he may experience reduced mental stimulation, which may drastically affect his ability to follow commands and perform specific tasks.
  • Destructive behavior: Once your Border Collie is home alone, he may also suffer from loneliness. As a way of fighting loneliness and boredom, he may engage in destructive behaviors such as chewing on children’s toys, ripping off the couch, tearing clothes, etc. 

Health issues: If you leave your pup alone for long, you may miss out on some warning symptoms of a disease that would have otherwise been noticeable if you were home. Additionally, your dog may try holding on to his urine or poop for long, causing kidney and gastrointestinal issues, respectively. In other cases, your furry canine friend may consume some poisonous substances that may be detrimental to his health.

Tips To Comfort Your Border Collie When Left Alone

Due to unavoidable circumstances, you may be forced to leave your Border Collie alone for a few hours. Here are some helpful tips on how you can make your Border Collie when leaving him alone:

  • Provide interactive toys: Intelligent dogs like Border Collies require frequent mental stimulation. In your absence, you can use puzzles or other interactive toys to keep your pup engaged. Check out this interactive toy on Amazon. Last I checked it was under $15.
  • Unwashed cloth: You can also give your pup your unwashed cloth, such as a t-shirt, to act as a comforter. Your Border Collie knows your scent, and having a piece of your cloth will be a trick to have him believe that you are still around.
  • Create a dedicated space: Study your dog and identify the place in which he feels secure. If it’s a crate, ensure he goes inside it before you leave. However, be sure to leave the crate’s door open to give him the freedom to get in and out of it. If he likes the couch, place some warm blankets and interactive toys for him. Also, ensure he has food and water within his dedicated space. Click here to see the crate I recommend on my bed and crates page.
  • Leave a voice recording of yourself playing on the TV or radio: If possible, you can leave a voice recording of yourself playing on repeat mode on your TV or radio. Having the sound of a familiar voice when you are away reduces separation anxiety, isolation distress, and loneliness.
  • Get another dog: having a companion while you are gone for long periods of time can help relieve the negative effects of leaving them alone. Once our family got our second dog, I immediately felt better leaving the two alone. Watching them play from our camera makes it a lot easier to be gone 3-4 hours.

Use Technology to Monitor Your Border Collie

One way of doing this is using an indoor CCTV camera to observe your dog’s behavior when you’re away from home. Here, you can tell when your canine friend reaches his limits. In most cases, when a border collie reaches his limits, he starts becoming destructive. You may see him chewing on furniture, tearing clothes, or ripping the couch, etc. I purchased the Blink Mini from Amazon after I came home to damage on my rocking chair.

In the absence of a CCTV camera, you can study your dog’s body language and the condition of your home after you’ve been away for a given period.

For example, if you spend one hour at the gym, you can use your gym time as a 1-hour test for your dog. Additionally, if you spend two hours shopping, you can use this time as a test. Continue to increase the amount of time if your border collie is doing well.

The time spans here will depend on your schedule.

Bottom Line

You can leave your border collie at home alone but not for long. However, each dog has his limits as to the period he can withstand being alone, so it’s good to know where your pup’s tolerance lies.

If you are to leave your border collie alone, you need to be aware of some handy tips (discussed above) you can use to make him happy while you are away.

But at the end of it all, nothing beats human company. Your border collie needs you!


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