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The 7 Most Unusual Habits of Collies

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on April 14, 2024

Collies, celebrated for their striking appearance and graceful intelligence, are a breed synonymous with loyalty and an innate herding instinct. Originating from Scotland and Northern England, Collies were primarily used for herding sheep and guarding homesteads, showcasing their versatility and work ethic. Known globally through the fictional character “Lassie,” Collies have gained a reputation as ideal family pets, recognized for their gentle disposition and protective nature. Despite their well-documented traditional behaviors, Collies exhibit a number of unusual habits that can be both endearing and perplexing to their owners. These habits often stem from their herding heritage, sharp intellect, and sensory acuteness. This article will explore seven of the most unusual habits of Collies, delving into the origins of these behaviors and offering insights into how they can be effectively managed to maintain a harmonious relationship with these elegant canines.

1. “Collie Eye”

One of the more intriguing behavioral traits of Collies is their tendency to watch over their environment intensely, a habit often referred to as “Collie eye.” This vigilant behavior stems from their herding instincts, where constant monitoring was essential for protecting livestock. Collies may often position themselves in high places or in front of windows to keep a watchful eye over their territory. While this makes them excellent watchdogs, it’s important for owners to ensure this behavior doesn’t develop into obsessive compulsiveness. Providing mental stimulation and setting boundaries can help manage their surveillance tendencies.

2. Shadow Chasing

Collies sometimes exhibit the unusual habit of chasing shadows or light patterns. This behavior is believed to be a manifestation of their high prey drive and herding instinct, misdirected at intangible targets. While it can seem harmless, shadow chasing can become obsessive, leading to frustration and anxiety. Owners should discourage this behavior by redirecting their attention to tangible toys or engaging in interactive play that satisfies their chasing instincts in a healthy way.

3. Sensitivity to Noise

Collies are particularly sensitive to noises, which can sometimes lead to skittish behavior. This sensitivity is an extension of their acute sensory abilities, developed to help them react quickly to sounds while herding. Sudden loud noises, like fireworks or thunderstorms, can be particularly distressing for them. Providing a safe, quiet space during noisy events and using techniques like noise desensitization can help alleviate their anxiety.

4. Circling Before Lying Down

Many Collies have the habit of circling several times before lying down. This behavior harks back to their ancestral instinct to trample down grass to create a sleeping area in the wild. While generally harmless, excessive circling can indicate discomfort or anxiety. Ensuring they have a comfortable resting place and addressing any underlying issues with a veterinarian can help reduce this behavior.

5. Herding People

Due to their strong herding instinct, Collies may sometimes try to herd people, especially children, by gently nipping at their heels or guiding them in certain directions. This behavior is a natural extension of their traditional role but needs to be managed to prevent it from becoming problematic. Training and positive reinforcement can help Collies understand appropriate ways to interact with humans, ensuring they do not use herding behavior inappropriately.

6. Extreme Loyalty and Attachment

Collies are known for their extreme loyalty and often form a deep attachment to their family, sometimes to the point of being protective. While their devotion is commendable, it can lead to separation anxiety or overprotectiveness if not managed correctly. Socialization, training, and gradual exposure to being alone can help them develop a more balanced attachment.

7. Picky Eating Habits

Some Collies can exhibit picky eating habits, which may be due to their sensitivity to smells and textures. Ensuring a consistent, balanced diet and avoiding the temptation to feed them human food can help mitigate picky eating. Consulting with a veterinarian can also ensure that this behavior is not a result of underlying health issues.

Learn More About the Collie Dog Breed: Information, Facts & Pictures

Collies are not just beautiful and intelligent; they are complex animals with behaviors that reflect their herding heritage and acute senses. Understanding these unusual habits is essential for providing the care and training that Collies need to thrive. By addressing their unique behaviors thoughtfully and proactively, owners can ensure that their Collie remains a well-adjusted and happy member of the family, capable of providing companionship and joy for years to come.

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