Have you been having a tough time getting your Border Collie puppy to go to sleep? If so, then read on as we get to the root of the problem and what you can do to get them to bed without a problem.
Puppies will sleep for 18 to 20 hours a day, unless you have a Border Collie, in which case, throw that out the window!
Border Collies are energetic dogs who want nothing more than to use their brains and work their bodies. Which can become quite tiresome when it’s bedtime or when they need a nap, but just won’t take one.
We’ve compiled a list of best practices to get your Border Collie puppy to sleep better, for naps, and at nighttime.
The overtired toddler
It can sometimes be difficult to tell when your BC is ready for a nap. This is because they’re a breed that goes 100% flat out all the time.
But when they’re due for a nap, they can actually get more playful, or even a little bit naughty!
This is because just like an overtired toddler, if they miss their nap, or aren’t getting enough sleep, they actually find it even harder to get to sleep.
It’s best to avoid the overtiredness altogether by making sure they nap at regular intervals. Easier said than done, which is why a routine is a great thing for Border Collies.
One effective method of making sure your BC isn’t over-tired is by teaching them the “Place” command. This way you can regularly send them off to their place throughout the day and let them “sleep it off”. We’ve covered the best method and why it’s so important here.
As you’re no doubt aware, Border Collie’s are highly intelligent. And you can use their intelligence against them, mwa ha ha!
If you give a solid routine to your puppy, they will learn it quickly. It can be difficult to enforce at the beginning as they learn what is expected of them at any given time, but if you stick to the plan, they will learn.
For example, after a walk you then give them a chew stick treat, and then put them in their crate, or bed, for a nap.
After following this routine, your Border Collie pup will learn that after the walk comes the treat, and after the treat comes the sleep.
Routines can be difficult depending on your lifestyle (especially if you’re a shift worker), but at least having one thing they do prior to nap or bedtime will give them a cue of what to expect.
You can find a good routine example that you can follow or adjust to your lifestyle in our post: 7 Steps to Puppy Success: (A Complete Guide)
Calm Before Sleep
While it’s important to give your Border Collie puppy enough exercise to burn off excess energy, it’s also important to provide a calm environment prior to sleeping.
Spend some time giving long slow pets along your Border Collie’s body. With a soothing voice you can attempt to calm them down, ready for a nap.
Lavender and Supplements
To aid in the above step of calming before sleep, research has shown that lavender does calm dogs down.
Try a lavender diffuser or use potpourri of lavender near their sleeping area.
Just remember that dogs can smell up to 10,000 times better than a human, so don’t make it too strong or it can have an opposite effect and irritate them.
Consider trying PetHonesty Hemp Calming powder, which can help reduce anxiety and stress and has an excellent review rating.
If your pup is over 1-year then it’s worth having a look at The Anxious Pet calming supplements. They’re Veterinarian formulated using Hemp Oil or CBD, and might be a good solution to take the edge off when nothing else will.
Teach the “Relax” skill
You can teach your puppy to relax, just like you teach them to sit, drop, and roll-over.
This is a skill that is vital for a Border Collie puppy, as without knowing how to relax, they will stay wound up for hours on end, even through the night!
Sometimes it’s easy to think you just need to give them more exercise to burn off that excess energy, but this could actually have the opposite effect you want by stimulating them even more.
Which is why it’s important to teach them this skill of relaxation.
One such way is through positive reinforcement training.
Catch your Border Collie puppy in the act of calmness. If they are ever calm, then be with them for a time, and offer them quiet treats and soft body petting.
Use the Dr. Karen Overall Protocol for Relaxation.
Be sure to have plenty of training treats available, and I mean a lot. This is a training technique that takes time and persistence. Especially if your BC is not yet accustomed to calming themselves. But it’s so worth the effort!
Also, because you will be using a lot of treats, make sure they are of high quality, and are also small, so as not to overfeed your puppy.
Ideally, you’ll want to spend 15-20 minutes a day on this training, and if your BC is up for it, a second session a day can be beneficial.
This is a basic overview of the Dr. Karen Overall Protocol for Relaxation. It’s the perfect method for teaching your Border Collie puppy to relax and will benefit you and your dog throughout your lives together:
If you have taught your puppy to lie down, then get them to do this action on a soft mat or something similar.
If you haven’t yet taught your BC pup to lie down, use this tutorial:
Once they have taken the down position, use the marker word, “Yes”, and calmly offer a treat.
Wait 5 seconds in the drop position and offer another treat. Use your marker word, “Yes” with every treat.
Wait 10 seconds and offer another treat.
Take one step back, then return and treat.
Take two steps back, then return, treat, and remember to use your marker word.
Take two steps to the side, then return and treat.
You will now increase the waiting time to 15 seconds.
The process will gradually increase in time intervals and distractions, such as soft hand clapping, to louder hand clapping.
The protocol goes for 15 days, and by the end of it, your Border Collie puppy will have the skill of being able to relax on cue.
Getting Enough Exercise
Make sure your BC pup is also burning enough energy throughout their day.
We’ve compiled two blog posts that help in this regard:
The Complete Guide to Puppy Exercise.
9 Awesome Indoor Games and Exercises for Puppies.
Two or more dogs
If you have more than one BC, or have other dogs, this distraction can be enough to stop your Border Collie puppy from sleeping.
If they share a crate, consider purchasing another one so they have their own space, free of distraction.
You can also move their crates to separate rooms, or if you don’t crate them, at least separate their beds to different areas.
Crate them to sleep
Crate training your Border Collie is the number one thing you should do if your pup won’t sleep.
By giving them a comfortable area that they can’t leave will force them away from distraction and into taking a nap.
Crate training isn’t a cruel practice and is actually the opposite (if done correctly). It will provide them a safe space that’s is all theirs that they can go to rest and recharge.
For more information not only about crate training, but raising a successful puppy, be sure to read our mega-post, 7 Steps to Puppy Success.
If you crate train your BC, ensure you place it our of the way in a quiet spot. You can even place a blanket over the top to give more darkness and quiet.
Use the following practices to help get your Border Collie puppy to sleep at night:
- Use a crate
- Have a bedtime routine – e.g. dinner, followed by playtime, followed by outside wees and poos, followed by time in the crate with some petting.
- Make sure they’ve either had dinner close to bedtime or had a snack before bed.
- Make sure they’ve gone to the toilet prior to going to bed.
- Once all their needs are met, it’s time to let them settle themselves.
- If they’re having a tough time settling, then the Protocol for Relaxation can help.
- Another thing that can help is putting on white noise for them to listen to through the night. White noise can dull the sounds of the night that can cause distractions.
You can use this video to help drown out distractions:
Here are some other posts that can help you get your Border Collie puppy on the right track: