Living with a Border Collie is like having a furry whirlwind of energy and intelligence constantly at your side. But sometimes, that intelligence can manifest in some… interesting ways, like a sudden urge to liberate all your socks from their rightful place in the drawer.

If your Border Collie has taken up the puzzling hobby of pilfering your possessions, fear not! You’re not alone. There are a few reasons why these brilliant dogs might resort to thievery.

Why Do Border Collies Steal Things?

  • Herding Instinct: Bred to herd sheep and cattle, Border Collies have a natural instinct to chase, gather, and nudge things into place. Your socks, phone, or rogue houseplant might just look like something that needs “herding” back to its designated spot (according to your dog, at least).
  • Playful Personalities: Border Collies are inherently playful and love a good game of fetch. Sometimes, the line between playtime and thievery gets a little blurry. That forgotten sock on the couch might look like the perfect fetch toy in your dog’s eyes.
  • Attention Seeking: Let’s face it, sometimes our furry friends just crave our interaction. Stealing something, even if it results in a scolding, can be a way to get a reaction out of you. Any attention is better than no attention, right?

Is It Normal for Border Collies to Steal Things?

Absolutely! This behavior is quite common in the breed. However, it’s important to address it to prevent it from becoming a persistent habit. Here are some tips to help curb your Border Collie’s thievery:

  • Provide Alternative Toys: Channel your dog’s herding and playful instincts with plenty of engaging toys like puzzle feeders, chew toys, and frisbees. Rotate them regularly to keep things interesting! Check out Printies’ dog bandanas and dog collars for a stylish and personalized touch to playtime.
  • Ignore the Theft: If you catch your Border Collie in the act of stealing something, resist the urge to chase or scold. This can turn it into a fun game for them. Instead, calmly take the object and distract them with a toy or a walk.
  • Address Underlying Issues: Sometimes, stealing can be a sign of boredom or anxiety. Make sure your Border Collie gets plenty of exercise, both physical and mental. Engage them in training sessions or interactive games to keep their minds sharp. If you suspect separation anxiety, consult a dog trainer or veterinarian for help.

What Are the Potential Risks of My Border Collie Stealing Things?

While a stolen sock might be a minor annoyance, there are some potential dangers to consider:

  • Damage to Household Items: Chewing on inappropriate objects can damage your belongings and pose a choking hazard.
  • Ingestion of Toxic Substances: Depending on the stolen item, your dog could ingest something harmful.

How Can I Encourage Positive Behavior in My Border Collie?

Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and plenty of love! The more you reinforce the behaviors you want to see, the less likely your dog is to resort to stealing for attention.

Also, positive and stimulating environment is crucial for Border Collies. Ensure they have a comfortable space with items like pet blankets, beds, and feeding mats. These can provide comfort and help reduce stress, contributing to better behavior overall.

What Are Some Common Breeds That Tend to Steal Things?

Border Collies aren’t the only ones who enjoy the occasional pilfering. Other breeds known for their playful personalities and tendency to steal include:

  • Golden Retrievers: Known for their playful and friendly nature, Golden Retrievers often carry objects around in their mouths.
  • Labrador Retrievers: Labradors are also very playful and energetic, often leading to similar behavior.
  • English Cocker Spaniels: These dogs are curious and energetic, making them prone to stealing items for entertainment.

How Can I Manage Separation Anxiety in My Border Collie?

Separation anxiety can manifest in destructive behaviors like stealing. Here are a few tips:

  • Gradually increase the amount of time you spend away from your dog.
  • Leave behind calming scents like a worn t-shirt with your smell on it.
  • Provide plenty of exercise and mental stimulation before you leave.
  • Consider using a crate or a designated “safe space” for your dog when you’re gone. Enhance their comfort with a cozy pet bed from Printies.

What Are Some Common Signs of Stress or Anxiety in Border Collies?

Look out for these signs that your Border Collie might be stressed or anxious:

  • Excessive barking, whining, or pacing
  • Destructive chewing or digging
  • Loss of appetite
  • Excessive licking

If you see any of these signs, consult a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to address the underlying issue.

By understanding the reasons behind your Border Collie’s stealing behavior and implementing these tips, you can help your furry friend become a champion fetcher instead of a champion sock thief. Remember, a tired dog is a happy dog! And a happy dog is less likely to resort to mischievous behaviors like stealing. So make sure your Border Collie gets plenty of exercise, both physical and mental. A good long walk in the park with a game of fetch thrown in can do wonders for their energy levels and overall well-being.

Printies offers a variety of stylish and functional dog accessories to make playtime even more fun! Our durable dog leashes come in a variety of colors and patterns, perfect for strutting your stuff during walks. And for those messy post-park adventures, a quick wipe down with a pet feeding mat will keep your floors clean.

Remember, a consistent routine and plenty of positive reinforcement are key to curbing your Border Collie’s stealing habit. With patience, understanding, and the right tools (including some awesome Printies accessories!), you can build a strong bond with your furry friend and live happily ever after… sock drawer intact.

Sources and References
  • CPDT-KA, Victoria Schade. “How to Stop a Dog from Stealing Your Stuff.” BeChewy, 5 July 2019, Accessed 12 June 2024.
  • Horwitz, Debra. “Dog Behavior Problems – Stealing and Stay Away | VCA Animal Hospital | VCA Animal Hospitals.” Vca,

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