What Are Border Collies Afraid Of: Common Fears and Solutions

When it comes to owning a Border Collie, it’s essential for dog owners to understand the common triggers of fear and anxiety in Border Collies to help them manage their dog’s behavior and prevent potential problems.

Just like any other dog breed, Border Collies can experience fear and anxiety in certain situations too, and you’ll want to be ready to help them out if needed, when the time comes. 

So what are Border Collies afraid of? What are some common things that keep them up at night (so to speak)? What are the things you need to look out for?

In this article, we’ll be looking at answering the question of what are Border Collies afraid of, and give you some tips and tricks to deal with the issues. 

What Are Border Collies Afraid Of

Understanding Fear in Border Collies

Border Collies are known for their intelligence, agility, and trainability. However, like all dogs, they can experience fear and anxiety.

Some of the things that Border Collies may be afraid of include:

  • Loud noises.
  • Unfamiliar people and animals.
  • Unfamiliar objects.
  • New environments and circumstances.
  • Separation from their owners. 

These of course, are just a few, more common things that Border Collies can be afraid of. But the list is pretty big.

As for how it manifests, it can do so in different ways, such as trembling, panting, barking, or hiding.

Fear is a natural and normal response for dogs, and pretty much all animals.

With that said, excessive fear or anxiety can have a negative impact on a dog’s quality of life. You never want to be in a situation where fear is interfering with their daily activities or causing them distress.

All in all, understanding fear in Border Collies is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership, and by identifying and addressing their fears, owners can help their furry friends feel safe and comfortable.

Common Fears

Understanding exactly what your Border Collie might be afraid of, can help you provide the best care for them.

Let’s now look at some of the most common fears that Border Collies may experience:

Loud Noises

Border Collies have a sensitive hearing, so loud noises such as thunder, fireworks, or construction work can be frightening for them.

In fact, this is such a big part of what Border Collies are afraid of, that it deserves its own segment, further down this article.

In this case, it’s important to provide a quiet and safe space for your Border Collie to retreat to during these events.

Other Animals

Border Collies have a strong herding instinct and should naturally be quite relaxed in the face of different animals.

However, because every dog is different, you may find that your Border Collie is more terrified of animals than it should be (especially if they’re not properly socialized).

Even though Border Collies and cats get along, a lot of Border Collies are afraid of cats in particular, so that’s something to keep in mind.

To deal with this issue, it’s important to introduce your Border Collie to other animals in a controlled and safe environment.

Changes in Routine

Border Collies thrive on routine, and sudden changes can be stressful for them.

This is because you’re adding an element of “unknown” into the mix. Something that your dog might not have the confidence to face, which can make it become stressed and fearful.

It’s important to maintain a consistent schedule for feeding, exercise, and playtime to help your Border Collie feel secure and comfortable.

Providing a safe and comfortable environment, plenty of exercise and mental stimulation, and proper socialization can help alleviate their fears and anxieties.

Fear of Strangers

Border Collies are known for their loyalty to their owners and are usually not going to be very welcoming of strangers.

They’re generally friendly and outgoing dogs, but some may exhibit fear or anxiety towards people they don’t know.

This fear can manifest in different ways, such as cowering, trembling, or hiding away.

Of course, some Border Collies might be more afraid of strangers than others, but some of the reasons they might be afraid of strangers, include:

  • Lack of socialization: If a puppy is not exposed to a variety of people and experiences during their critical socialization period, they may become fearful or anxious around strangers. Proper socialization can help prevent this fear from developing.
  • Traumatic experience: If a Border Collie has had a negative experience with a stranger, such as being scared or hurt, they may develop a fear response towards all strangers. In this case, it’s important to work with a professional trainer or behaviorist to help the dog overcome their fear.
  • Genetics: Some dogs may be predisposed to anxiety or fearfulness, and this can be exacerbated by certain environmental factors. In these cases, it’s important to work with a veterinarian or behaviorist to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

Overall, fear of strangers is a common issue that can be addressed with proper socialization, training, and management.

By understanding the reasons behind this fear and taking steps to address it, you can help your Border Collie feel more comfortable and confident around new people.

What Are Border Collies Afraid Of 2

Fear of Separation

Separation anxiety is a common fear in companion dogs, and Border Collies are no exception.

Border Collies are known for their loyalty and attachment to their owners.

However, when you put this attachment to a test, it can sometimes lead to separation anxiety, which is a common fear among Border Collies.

Separation anxiety can cause a lot of distress and behavioral problems in dogs.

They can become anxious and stressed when left alone for long periods of time, so providing plenty of exercise, interactive toys, and a stable routine can help alleviate separation anxiety.

The key with separation anxiety, is confidence

If your dog can feel confident that you’ll eventually be back and that everything will be okay, it’s a fear that’s relatively easy to deal with.

When it comes to spotting different signs of separation anxiety, this can include:

  • Excessive barking.
  • Whining.
  • Destructive behavior.
  • Chewing or scratching things.
  • Obsessive compulsive behaviors (OCD).
  • Stress.
  • Digestive issues 
  • And even excessive loss of fur. 

They may also refuse to eat or drink, pace around the house, or become restless and agitated, so it’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.

One way to help a Border Collie cope with separation anxiety is to gradually desensitize them to being alone

This can be done by:

  • Leaving them alone for short periods of time and gradually increasing the duration.
  • Providing them with toys or treats to distract them and alleviate their anxiety.

If your Border Collie’s separation anxiety is severe, it’s recommended to consult with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer.

They can provide you with the necessary guidance and support to help your dog overcome their fear of separation.

Loud Noises: The Big 2

Loud noises are one of the top fears of Border Collies and dogs in general, and deserve their own section within this article.

Border Collies are known to be sensitive dogs, and loud noises can trigger anxiety and fear in them.

Some of the most common sources of loud noises include:


Thunderstorms can be particularly distressing for Border Collies and dogs. The loud thunderclaps and flashes of lightning can cause them to become anxious and fearful.

Some Border Collies may even try to hide or seek comfort from their owners during a thunderstorm.

To help your Border Collie overcome their fear of thunderstorms, the best idea is to create a safe and comfortable space for them to retreat to during a storm.

This could be a crate, a quiet room, or a familiar space with their favorite toys and blankets. You can also try desensitizing your dog to the sound of thunder by playing recordings of thunder at a low volume and gradually increasing the volume over time.


Fireworks are another common trigger for anxiety and fear in Border Collies.

The loud noises and bright flashes can be overwhelming for dogs, causing them to become anxious and stressed.

To help your Border Collie cope with fireworks, similar to with thunderstorms, it’s important to create a calm and secure environment for them.

Apart from giving them a quiet room, you can playing calming music or use calming supplements or medications.

Fear of New Environments

Border Collies, just like most family dogs, can easily become anxious and fearful when exposed to new environments.

This fear can manifest in various ways, such as shaking, panting, pacing, or hiding.

Border Collies are creatures of habit and routine. They thrive on predictability and familiarity, and they can become stressed when their environment changes suddenly.

Moving to a new home, going on a road trip, or visiting a new place can trigger anxiety in a Border Collie, if they don’t feel 100% safe, for whatever reason.

Collies can also pick up on subtle changes in their environment, such as new smells, sounds, or sights. Even these small changes, can be overwhelming for a Border Collie, especially if they are not used to them.

To deal with this, you can gradually introduce them to new environments in a controlled and safe manner, using positive reinforcement to reward calm and relaxed behavior, and providing them with plenty of mental and physical stimulation to help them cope with stress and anxiety.

What Are Border Collies Afraid Of 3

Fear of Certain Objects

Border Collies can become fearful of certain objects due to unpredictable lights, noises, or movements they make.

This is something that is more common in puppies and not something that’ll bother an adult dog, with more life experience.

It’s also more common amongst rescued dogs. Some rescued dogs are simply more in “fight or flight” mode, as they’re not feeling safe, and will react accordingly towards different objects and situations they don’t know.

With that said, a Border Collie may become afraid of, for example, a child’s stuffed animal that sings a birthday song, the sound that a bottle of whine does when you blow into it, or even confetti popping.

The dog may stand and bark at the object, keeping low to the floor with their ears tucked back, ready to run if the object should lunge at them.

NOTE: For the most part, these are sporadic cases that won’t be sustained as the dog grows and are not even all that likely to repeat, so there is nothing to be worried about. 


if you notice that your Border Collie, is constantly afraid, and is afraid of multiple things, doesn’t seem to get better, and it’s confidence starts to take a hit, then you definitely want to get professional help.

How to Handle Fear in Border Collies

As a responsible dog owner, it’s important to know how to handle fear in Border Collies and what to do if your pup ever gets fearful.

Some strategies that can help with this, include:

Professional Training

If your Border Collie is experiencing severe fear or anxiety, and you’re unsure that you’ll be able to fix the problem yourself, then it may be best to seek the help of a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

They can assess your dog’s behavior and provide personalized training to help them overcome their fears, and show you perspectives that you might not be seeing.

Professional training can be especially helpful if your Border Collie’s fear is related to a specific trigger, such as loud noises or unfamiliar people.

Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a training technique that involves rewarding your dog for good behavior.

When your Border Collie exhibits calm behavior in the face of a fear-inducing situation, reward them with treats, praise, or toys.

This will help them associate positive feelings with the situation and may help them overcome their fear over time.

Creating a Safe Space

Creating a safe space for your Border Collie can also help them feel more secure and less fearful.

This could be a quiet room in your home where they can retreat to when they feel scared, or a crate that they can go into when they need to feel safe.

Make the space comfortable and inviting, with soft bedding and toys, and consider using calming scents like lavender or chamomile to help your dog relax.

The downside to this, is that it’s not a guaranteed life-long solution to the problem, and only works best with fears like loud noises, fear of the dark, fear of open spaces, and the likes.

Your best bet (even though getting your dog a safe space is a good idea) is do a more hands-on approach. Like desensitization. 


Desensitization (also known as exposure therapy) involves gradually exposing the dog to the source of their fear in a controlled and safe manner.

For example, if a Border Collie is afraid of thunderstorms, playing a recording of thunder at a low volume and gradually increasing the volume over time can help them become more accustomed to the sound.

This is a great way to have your dog gradually get accustomed to whatever it is they’re afraid of, and works quite well, especially if you can find a way to “blend the fear” into what they’re already doing day by day.

Remember, every dog is different, and what works for one Border Collie may not work for another.

Be patient and persistent in your efforts to help your dog overcome their fears, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed.

Preventing Fear Development in Border Collies

Border Collies are intelligent and highly trainable dogs, but they can be prone to developing fears and anxieties that can sometimes be crippling and can most times be prevented or dealt with.

Here are some tips to help prevent fear development, and deal with fear in Border Collies:

  • Socialization: Early socialization is key to preventing fear development in Border Collies. Expose your puppy to a variety of people, animals, and environments in a positive and controlled manner. This will help your puppy learn to feel comfortable and confident in different situations.

  • Positive Reinforcement Training: Use positive reinforcement training methods such as treats, praise, and play to train your Border Collie. Avoid using punishment or harsh training methods.

  • Desensitization and Counterconditioning: If your Border Collie is already showing signs of fear or anxiety, desensitization and counterconditioning can be effective tools to help them overcome their fears. This involves gradually exposing your dog to the thing they are afraid of in a controlled and positive manner.

  • Avoid Traumatic Experiences: Avoid exposing your Border Collie to traumatic experiences such as loud noises, aggressive dogs, or rough handling. Traumatic experiences can lead to lasting fear, anxiety, and even depression in dogs

  • Provide a Safe and Comfortable Environment: Make sure your Border Collie has a safe and comfortable environment to live in. Provide them with a comfortable bed, plenty of toys, and a quiet space to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed.

By following these tips, you can help prevent fear development in your pup and ensure that they grow up to be confident and well-adjusted dogs.

What Are Border Collies Afraid Of: Conclusion

In conclusion, Border Collies are a highly intelligent and energetic breed that can be prone to fears, just like any other dog.

It’s important to understand what your border collie might be afraid of so that you can help it cope with its fears and provide them with the best possible care.

Some common fears for border collies include:

  • Loud noises like thunderstorms and fireworks.
  • Strangers (if not properly socialized).
  • Other animals that they’re unfamiliar with.
  • Being left alone for extended periods.
  • Changes in environment, or schedule.

These are just some of the more common things Border Collies fear.

All in all, even though fear is a common trait most animals, if your Border Collie appears to exhibit excessive signs of fear or anxiety, or if the fears become too big to live with, it’s important to consult with a professional vet.

Remember, every dog is unique, and may have their own individual fears and anxieties.

By understanding your dog’s behavior and providing them with the proper care and attention, you can help them lead a happy and healthy life.

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