Book First Walk Free!
The Root of the Behavior
For a breed as intelligent and driven as the Border Collie, a sedentary lifestyle would be akin to torture. Many people love the appearance of the Border Collie but are ill-prepared for the exercise needs of the breed. Because Border Collies are not just highly energetic, they also require a great deal of mental stimulation to truly thrive. It is not enough to simply take a Border Collie for a daily walk. Some sort of activity which also engages the brain is equally as necessary. Like most breeds bred for specific jobs, Border Collies will make their own fun if their physical and mental needs are not met on a daily basis. Most often, this "fun" turns out to be things that their owners don't like very much at all such as digging, chewing, nuisance barking, and spinning. Some Border Collies will exercise their natural instincts by attempting to "herd" you and your children! They will even nip at your heels if you balk at their attempts to "round you up." Border Collies left to their own devices can also become obsessive and neurotic. This is normally not a temperament issue at all. This is simply the end result of a dog's needs not being properly met, and frustration resulting because of it.
Encouraging the Behavior
Dogs who engage in repeated spinning behaviors may also have tremendous energy stores that are not being effectively depleted. Border Collies are not as easily able to tolerate periods of time where their exercise requirements are not met. If mental stimulation is also lacking, the dog may begin to entertain himself through various activities including destruction and spinning. Excessive mouthing, biting, and vocalization can also become problematic. The good news is, if your Border Collie is engaging in any of these behaviors, the remedy is simple. Give him a job to do, and you will have a happy dog on your hands! If working your dog is not an option, you might want to consider an activity like agility, fly ball, or other dog performance sports that allow your dog to work out his energies and intelligence in a positive way. These sports not only benefit your Border Collie; they are also helpful for you. You get to bond with your dog in a fun activity and get some added exercise as a bonus. You can get fit and have fun with your dog all at the same time.
Other Solutions and Considerations
There is no shame in giving your dog a drug if necessary. Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a medical condition requiring chemical intervention to help your dog. Dogs who spin obsessively are suffering, and they need compassionate care to find relief. Of course, it is also possible that your Border Collie spins for the pure joy of motion. Some dogs will run in circles as an expression of happiness. You may even notice your dog spinning to chase his tail, just before a visit to one of his favorite places, or upon your arrival home. It is important to note that if your dog engages in obsessive activities that he should never be scolded for it. Anxiety is often the root of the behavior, and harsh corrective action can have the opposite of the desired effect. Patience and routine is key to helping your dog cope with stresses he may be feeling that result in spinning.