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Behind the sweet, adorable face of our Border Collies lies one of the most intelligent brains in the canine world. They are loyal and love to work with their humans. They almost seem like perfection, and then comes the destructive chewing!

It’s not unusual for Border Collies to make a job out of chewing. Chewing furniture. Chewing  shoes. Chewing whatever they find!

To help keep your house (and shoes) safe, we’ve put together this post to help you deal with their chewing behavior!

What causes destructive chewing?

The most common reason Border Collies chew is boredom. But there can be other reasons as well. Destructive chewing can also be a sign of anxiety and if they are destructive chewing when you aren’t home it’s likely separation anxiety, and we have an entire post on this issue here. Or sometimes it may even be a cry for attention (something humans can unknowingly train!).

For instance, if you are working from home and your BC learns that when they grab something to chew on, you give them attention, the behavior has been fed.

For a Border Collie who wants some interaction, there is often no such thing as negative attention!

If your Border Collie is a puppy, chewing is how they explore the world! It can also be a way to relieve the pain of losing teeth and growing new ones!

As an adult, chewing is a natural behavior to keep the mouth and teeth strong and clean.

But chewing is also thought to release endorphins, which is the feel-good hormone. So chewing is good!

As long as that chewing isn’t on your expensive shoes or furniture.

If you think your BC is having some anxiety issues, then you may find something useful in our post 7 Proven Products for Dog Anxiety.

infographic-BC-chewing-guide

How to stop your BC from destructive chewing

The difference between healthy chewing and destructive chewing is usually the OBJECTS your Border Collie is chewing.

So to fix destructive chewing we must prevent access to the stuff they can’t chew, and only allow access to the human-approved chew toys.

Sounds easy enough, right?

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In theory, it is. But we may not be aware of what your Border Collie might try to chew until they chew it.

So when you aren’t able to supervise your dog, they need to be in a dog-proof room or crate, where their only options are chew toys you have approved.

The reason why prevention is so important is that any time your Border Collie chews (whether it’s your stuff or theirs) it is innately rewarding.

Chewing relieves stress and burns energy!

I often hear people complain that they have chew toys everywhere and the dog still chooses the designer shoes. But dogs don’t understand the difference between their stuff and our stuff.

So it’s vital to remove the temptation to chew on what you don’t want them to.

And in fact, our stuff smells like us. So chewing on something that smells like their people is extra comforting for them.

The other part of the equation is finding what our Border Collies like chewing. Do they like harder bones like elk horns? Or do they prefer something rubber like a Kong? Like people, each dog has a preference.

If your Border Collie tends to chew items that smell like you the most (shoes, remote controls, phones) you can try adding some of your scent to their toys.

Just slip them in bed with you while you sleep. I know, it is strange, but it’s an easy way to scent an object.

One additional thing to consider: boredom and excess energy really fuels the chewing power.

So to help make your chew training easier, it’s also a good idea to add more mental and physical stimulation.

Sniffing, jogging, and playing games are all good ways to help supply additional enrichment for your Border Collie.

A bored BC will act out in many ways, not just destructive chewing. If your pup is also digging, then be sure to read our post on BC digging here.

Best chew toys for Border Collies

When picking a chew toy for your Border Collie you need to be aware of your dog’s chew preference and then pick accordingly.

It’s also important to be aware of the hazards of stuffing toys and squeaker toys, which you can read about in these posts:

Dogs Eating Stuffing: (Why, how to stop it, and what to do if it happens)

Dog Toy Squeakers: Are They Safe or Dangerous?

Puzzle Rubber Chew Toys

As Border Collies are highly intelligent, they benefit greatly from a puzzle toy that incorporates chewing. This is why we developed our Hide’n’Treat toys, which are like Legos for dogs. Here’s a video explaining how they work, and you can purchase them here: https://amzn.to/3cGiAtt

Hard Surface Chewers

If your BC tends to chew harder objects, like table legs, or sticks outside, they likely crave a harder texture. Here are some great alternatives:

Benebone Maplestick

This bone features real maple wood, without the splinters. The mixture of nylon and wood creates a harder texture bone for your dog to enjoy. And this is made in the USA!

Nylabone DuraChew Marrow Bone Alternative Beef Flavored Dog Toy

This bone alternative looks like a sterilized bone but is made to be more durable. And adding to the fun? You can stuff this bone with cheese, peanut butter, or canned dog food and freeze it, making it an even more attractive chew choice for your Border Collie.

Prairie Dog Deer Antlers Monster Dog Chews

There is a lot of buzz about natural antlers in the dog world right now, and for good reason. Dogs seem to love them. And they last forever! Prairie Dog chooses the best quality antlers to prevent splintering. All of the antlers they supply are shed or harvested in  Montrose, Colorado.

Rubber Chewers

If your Border Collie tends to like chewing surfaces with more give, like shoes, you want to look for chew toys that have more give to them. Here are some of our favorites:

Kong Toys

The Kong toy is a classic, and for good reason! It is so versatile. You can simply add biscuits, so a biscuit that would normally take 5 seconds takes a little brainpower to consume.

You can feed meals, too! Or you can stuff it with canned dog food, peanut butter, or anything else that you have confirmed is dog safe and freeze it.

The traditional red is for your average chewer. But they also offer versions appropriate for puppies, seniors and extreme chewers.

Petstages Orka Tire Tough Dog Chew Toy

The Orka Ture is a tough rubber choice that can stand up to a tough chewer. And it floats, so this is a fun toy to use in the summer with the doggy pool.

Soft Toy Chewers

And finally, for the dogs that like soft chewing, like socks, or maybe even the couch, here are some great choices:

Rope & Bones Dog Toy

This toy gives your Border Collie the soft rope to chew on, but it also allows for them to try chewing on some bones. Spread a little peanut butter on the bones and see if you can get them to discover how great bone chewing can be.

Bones & Chews Rope Whale Crinkle with Bone Dog

This is perfect for a Border Collie who likes soft textures but isn’t for tough chewers. It has three different textures to add interest.

Border Collie puppies chewing and mouthing

Mouthing is often the number one complaint of puppy parents that I teach. But it can be a particular challenge when dealing with a herding breed like the Border Collie.

Not only is your Border Collie puppy learning how to use their mouth, their natural instinct to nip as part of their herding instinct.

One of the best ways you can help mouthing is finding a well-run, supervised daycare where your puppy can get feedback from other dogs to soften that mouth.

But not all daycare environments are appropriate for these types of lessons. Read this article before researching dog daycares near you.

Then you want to prevent mouthing by teaching them what to do as an alternative. For a more thorough explanation on how to do this, check out the video below by Emily Larlham featuring her Border Collie!

Also be sure to read our post: Border Collie Aggressive and Biting.

Anxiety causing chewing

Anxious Border Collies chew because it burns off some of that nervous energy. And that chewing can be useful because as was already mentioned, chewing releases endorphins.

So if your dog is chewing a chew toy, it may help them with their anxiety.

However, if they are so anxious they are chewing on barriers, such as the crate, baby gates, or even drywall, it’s time to get a professional involved.

Contact a veterinary behaviorist who can help you with a protocol.

Final Word

Chewing is a necessity in a Border Collie’s world. It’s a great way to burn energy, and provide some of the much needed mental enrichment a busy working dog needs.

So it’s important that we help them develop positive chewing habits.

We can help them build good chewing habits by preventing access to anything we don’t want them to chew while providing exciting alternatives.

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