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Why Is My Border Collie LAZY? (5 Reasons You Must Know)

Border collies are supposed to be highly active and energetic right? Well, not always.

I’ve had to deal with laziness in all three of my collies before, so I know how you feel. Thankfully, after learning a few things from canine behaviorists and my vet, I found out why.

In this article I’ll explain why your border collie is acting lazy, if it’s something to worry about, and how to get that spring back in their step.

Is Laziness Ever Normal In Border Collies?

border collie lazy

The truth is that most healthy adult border collies should be active, alert, and full of energy throughout the day.

But to clarify, there’s nothing wrong with your collie resting and napping throughout the day if nothing else is happening. In fact, this is a sign of a calm and content collie.

Can it be down to individual character? It is possible yes, and the odd spell of laziness isn’t anything to worry about. Still, most healthy adult collies with an appropriate daily routine, should* be full of life.

  • So what is laziness?

Where you can identify laziness, is when your border collie should otherwise be excited, playful, and ready for action, but is instead lethargic and unmotivated.

For example, when you wake up and greet your collie, giving them their food, taking them out for walks, or initiating some playtime.

It’s in these moments your collie should not be “lazy”. If they are, then you can assume that something more is going on.

5 Reasons Why Border Collies Become Lazy

Let’s run through the main reasons behind a lazy border collie.

To know what’s truly happening with your border collie, you must take everything into consideration, especially the recent events leading up to the lazy behavior.

1. Health issues

Let’s cover this first. It’s true that many health issues cause lethargy/laziness and a lack of motivation.

Health issues can impact the mood and energy levels OR be causing some level of pain which is making your collie remain immobile.

There are such a wide range of canine health issues causing lethargy/laziness that there’s no point listing them here.

  • If you witness a sudden change in behavior as well as other negative symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, food refusal, or other out-of-character changes, it’s important to speak to your vet.

Ruling out health issues should be at the top of list, and unfortunately, lethargy or “laziness” is a common symptom of many problems.

2. Stress, anxiety, depression

Border collies are one of the most sensitive breeds I have ever come across. They are so acute to their surroundings, their owners, and even themselves.

Unfortunately, with this awareness and intelligence, they quickly suffer from stress, anxiety, and even depression if something is quite right with their routine or daily life.

Many things can cause collies to become stress or anxious including being left alone, lack of exercise, stimulation, training, attention, routine changes, and an unstable environment.

If your collie is stressed and anxious the first thing they’ll do is make themselves small, quiet, and out of the way. This translates to “lazy” behavior, when they should otherwise be bouncy and active.

3. Changes to their daily routine & schedule

If your daily schedule, or your collie’s daily schedule has recently changed, this is enough to unsettle them to the point it changes their behavior.

Collies love sticking to rigid routines. This helps them understand what to expect, and when to expect it. This keeps collies at ease and feeling good.

Quick changes to otherwise stable routines doesn’t sit well with collies, and a bad reaction is typical. This is what happened with my collies!

The changes in timings of their activities can be enough to stress them out to the point they just lay down all day unenthusiastic about everything.

So it’s worth considering if anything (no matter how small) has changed about your collie’s regular routine.

4. Lack of exercise & mental stimulation

Collies thrive on A LOT of physical and mental exercise. Both are just as important as each other and must never be neglected.

A lack of physical exercise can directly cause a lazy collie. Not only does it affect their actual fitness levels, but it trains them to be more lethargic than active.

Adult border collies should receive around 90 minutes of exercise per day. Ideally, 45 minutes in the morning and 45 in the evening. This keeps them grounded, content, and happy.

Mental stimulation is also crucial. Collies need their minds put to work and challenged. This can happen from training, socialization, puzzle toys and general engagement.

Without mental stimulation, a collie will gradually become bored, stressed, lethargic, and even depressed.

5. Being left alone too much

Border collies hate being left alone, there’s no other way to put it. They really do hate it.

There’s always a fine line between leaving our dogs home alone for an acceptable amount of time, or too long.

Although its different for every collie, it seems that 4-5 hours is the tolerable amount of time for most collies.

If you go past this, their stress levels increase, their behavior diminishes, and they’ll ultimately be rather unhappy.

If this happens on a daily basis it can without a doubt affect their temperament on a long term basis. Laziness, disinterest and lethargy can be the result of a collie left alone way too long and too often.

When To Be Concerned About Border Collie Laziness

So when is the time to visit the veterinarian or call for professional help?

If your collie has suddenly and dramatically changed their behavior, and you witness additional symptoms like food refusal, vomiting, diarrhea, whining, lethargy, and unusual behavior then it’s time to consult your veterinarian.

We should always err on the side of caution when its comes to behavioral changes like laziness/lethargy. Unfortunately, these are known symptoms of many health issues.

On the other hand, if you consider the recent events leading up to the “lazy” behavior and realize one of the above causes could relate to you, then it’s worth thinking about their daily routine and any recent changes.

It could be as simple as adjusting their exercise routine, increasing their training, or sticking to a rigid daily schedule.

Personal experience: Why my collies, I changed the time of day I exercised them. I thought this would be fine… but oh no. They all reacted badly as it was an unexpected change. Their behavior immediately showed this until I tried switching back to their old schedule. Immediately following that same day their behavior was already back to normal.

Preventing & Resolving Lazy Behavior

First of all, it’s important to say that assuming nothing is actually wrong with your collie, or their routine, then a little bit of laziness here and there isn’t anything to worry about.

In this case, it’s better NOT to make any changes.

However, some healthy habits and best practices to avoid laziness include the following:

  • Set and stick to rigid timings of feeding, exercising, training, downtime, and sleep
  • Ensure your collies receives a healthy amount of exercise
  • Ensure your collie receive at least an hour of mental stimulation activity (puzzle toys, socialization, nose work games)
  • Avoid leaving your collie home alone every day for hours on end
  • Be very attentive to the events that happen in and around the home on a daily basis (knowing what’s normal is the quickest way to identify a change)
  • Keep exercise at the same time but try taking them somewhere new to keep it exciting
  • Buy a new toy for them
  • Try out a new dog treat (choose a healthy low calorie option)
  • Be sure to have plenty of quality time interacting with your collie
  • Give command training on a daily basis and use positive reinforcement
  • Stay upto date with vet visits and check ups

Assuming these things are done, then there should be no good reason as to why your collie is acting lazy.

If they are, then it’s worth seeing your veterinarian.

Thanks for reading!

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Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.