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Why Do Border Collies Whine? (And How to Fix It)

I have owned a border collie named Cookie for years and have never had much of a problem with her whining. However, a friend’s dog whines all the time. It can get rather annoying, to say the least. It’s bothersome because you can’t tell what the dog wants when he/she is whining like that.

A border collie typically whines because it is asking for something. They may want to go out, need to go to the bathroom, or simply be hungry. It also could be that your border collie is not feeling well. If the whining persists seemingly for no reason, you may want to make an appointment with a veterinarian.

This article goes over what makes a border collie whine and how to deal with this behavior.


Why a Border Collie Whines

A lot of things can make a border collie whine. Some reasons for it include:

1. You May Not Be Paying Enough Attention to your Dog

If you are sitting in front of a computer screen or on the phone, chances are your dog will whine to get your attention. This is because border collies are needier than some other breeds. Due to their intelligence, they need regular stimulation and activity.

If you are sitting in front of a computer screen or on the phone, chances are your dog will whine to get your attention. This is because dogs need and want attention from their owners, especially when out and about outside. The dog wants something like going outside or wants to play (or both!).

2. Is Your Dog Is Bored and Want to Play?

Border collies get easily bored. They are extremely intelligent dogs, which means they need a lot of mental stimulation through interaction and play. If you leave the dog in the backyard all day with no interaction from owners or other animals, this could potentially cause it to whine as well.

We make sure we take Cookie outside at least once a day. Border collies love to play fetch, and she is no different. My daughters play soccer, so we got a soccer-sized ball that she can retrieve. My daughter gets to practice her kicks, and Cookie gets to have a “ball” simultaneously. A win-win!

Oh, in case you want to know, here is the retrieval ball we purchased. You can see it on Amazon by clicking the link. This thing has taken some abuse, and it has lasted well over two years and is still going strong!

3. Your Dog Could Be Hungry

Dogs may whine while eating if they are alone or, for some other reason, they do not like the food being fed to them at that time (i.e., a different flavor). When the dog is hungry, it tends to whine.

A border collie’s hunting instinct also allows it to become very excited, and this may make it whine when you are hunting other animals. If you want your dog to stop whining, training with negative reinforcement (using a shock collar) could be helpful in this situation.

4. He or She Might Be Sick

Maybe the dog has an infection or disease that causes it to feel sore or ache in some way. If this is the case, then the dog may whine to let you know. If the dog is complaining too much, it may be a good idea to take it to the veterinarian to get a checkup and find out what is going on.


How to Stop a Border Collie’s Whining

The most important thing to do is to try to find the root cause of your border collie’s whining. Here are a few possible reasons:

  • Are you taking too long to give the dog its food? If the dog has been whining at you while you are eating, maybe it is because it wants some of what you are having. This may not always be the case, but if this is your situation, try giving them some fresh food. We never really have this problem with Cookie, but our big fat orange cat Oscar begs for treats all the time! Thus the roundness. 🙂
  • Is there a new animal in the area or another animal that is making your border collie act this way? Your border collie may be whining simply because it wants to catch/chase something that is outside or inside of your house (like a squirrel). Our neighbor recently got a small female beagle who is very whiny. This gets Cookie going sometimes, and we think she could jump through the window.
  • Are you too busy? If you are too busy or in a hurry, this could upset your border collie. Try slowing down a bit to give the dog some alone time and time to play with it. At least do like I do, and lay down a blanket under your desk. I work from home, and Cookie is always welcome at my feet. She also gives me an excuse to get some exercise!
  • Is the weather affecting your dog’s mood? If there is snow on the ground or if it is raining, then maybe this will make your dog whine. This is especially true if there is thunder. This takes me to the next reason.
  • Are there loud noises outside? If there happens to be loud noises outside, this could very well be what the dog is whining about. Our dog Cookie goes absolutely nuts when fireworks go off or a gun fires in the distance (yes, I live in the country). We were recently at the beach, and someone was setting off fireworks a good mile away. Cookie was having none of it and went crazy. We had to quickly get her back to our house, where she hid under the bed all night. Very sad.
  • Is your border collie thirsty? Make sure your dog’s bowl is always full, and freshen it up at least twice per day. Border collies can be a bit finicky and don’t like drinking stale water.

Action Steps You Can Take to Help Stop a Border Collie From Whining

I recommend trying any or all of these suggestions:

1. Give the Dog Something to Chew On

If your border collie whines because of boredom, give it something to chew on or play with. They love chewing on bones and balls, which can keep them occupied and quiet for a while.

If you really want to make your dog happy, get him or her one of these. Just a warning, they say they are “durable,” but apparently not for a border collie. Cookie goes through one of these every 4 to 6 months.

2. Setup Regular Play Dates

Getting your border collie outside could work as well because they can run around and play in an open field without needing you to be there with them. If the weather does not permit this, play with the dog indoors so he or she has something interesting going on.

Just be careful if you live outside the city. Border collies are excellent hunters. I have to watch Cookie close now since she once bounded out of the woods with a rabbit in her mouth. I felt terrible for the little thing, but it did bounce back and hopped away once I told Cookie to drop it. I told my wife that if the end of the world happens, Cookie will keep us sustained with rabbit stew for years to come.

3. Consider Another Pet

Border collies are brilliant dogs and love to be interactive with other dogs. If a border collie does not have any other dogs to play with, you may want to consider getting another one or two, so it can learn how to play well with them. This may end up helping you solve the problem at hand.

As you already know, we have a rotund cat named Oscar. He and Cookie get along famously. They even snuggle sometimes when we aren’t looking!

Should I Discipline My Border Collie for Whining?


You should not discipline a border collie for whining. Border collies have fragile feelings and can be very sensitive to disciplining. Never yell at them, get physical with them, or intimidate them in any way. The best way to discipline a border collie is with positive reinforcement.

If your border collie is whining for apparently no reason or to get attention, try waiting until they are quiet and then give them some affection. Other times provide them with half of a dog biscuit. Make sure that you never give them the same treat twice in a row, or they may start acting out just to get a particular reward.

Personally, we only need to say “no” once, and Cookie stops doing whatever she is doing. I recommend that you learn a few commands that you can use forcefully. Just don’t do it in an over-the-top or mean way.

Related Do Animals Like Music? (And How They Are Affected by It).

Should I Just Ignore My Whining Border Collie?

Some owners who have border collies try to fix the problem themselves by not giving their dog attention when he/she whines and by ignoring him/her altogether.

While this may work for a while, it can backfire and cause more problems than you had at first. Border collies are very intelligent, and you can’t just ignore them. You need to give it lots of attention but in a good way.

Cookie knows:

  • No
  • Go Out
  • Get Your Ball
  • Sit
  • Go Lay Down
  • Want your Bone?

There are others, but you get the idea. Pick short phrases to fit your lifestyle and make sure you are consistent with them. In other words, don’t say “want to go out” one day and “want to go outside” the next.

Why Is My Border Collie so Clingy?

A Woman Holding a Young Blue-Eyed Border Collie

Border collies are very clingy for several reasons:

1. They Are the Most Intelligent Breed of Dog

They have been bred to be extremely intelligent and, therefore, need lots of attention to remain happy. Border collies love to play and try new things, even though they may seem out of the ordinary. This is why they can be so difficult to train; they would rather get something new than just sit by and do nothing. However, attention is definitely a must when training a border collie.

2. They Are Very Loyal to Their Owner

Because of their loyalty and intelligence, border collies love their owners very much and will always be with them wherever they go. Whether this is a walk around the block or hiking up a mountain, they will never leave your side.

3. They Love Playing

Border collies love playing with their owners and teaming up with them as if they were hunting prey. This is playtime that border collies absolutely love. They will even take toys away from their owners and try to pester them with those toys in hopes of getting their attention. It also depends on what type of attention they are looking for.

How Do You Know If Your Border Collie Loves You?

You know your border collie loves you if he or she follows you everywhere you go. This is a sure sign that they want to be with you at all times. Border collies can be quite clingy and will frequently try to be as close to their owners as possible.

Why Do Border Collies Hug?

Border collies are one of the most affectionate breeds, and many need regular hugs from their owners to feel secure and safe. If your border collie needs a hug and you don’t give it to him or her, it can make them feel very lonely and insecure.

Border collies absolutely love to hug their owners. It is commonly an essential part of their daily routine. It may also be because they are scared of something they need a hug from their owner to calm them down.

Cookie is the world’s biggest hugger. In fact, we should sign her up to be a therapy dog. I swear she would literally hug all day if you let her.

Final Bark

Ending the whining is not always easy. Even though dogs do it for various reasons, it is still vital to tend to your dog’s needs as a good owner should.

If your dog continues to whine even after trying new things, consider looking into whether there is something else going on with your dog that may be making him/her whine more than usual (i.e., infection or disease). If this is the case, contact your veterinarian right away so you can get proper treatment and management for the problem at hand.

I hope this article has been helpful. Thanks for reading!

For more, check out Can Border Collies Have Blue Eyes? | The Surprising Truth.