Collies Needy Behavior Explained (Plus how to manage it)

Collies are prone to clinginess and needy behavior. They might follow you around from room to room or whine to sit next to you all the time. While these behaviors may seem endearing, it’s important to manage neediness in collies to prevent them developing separation anxiety.

It’s up to collie owners if they want to modify their pups needy behavior. As long as their neediness isn’t too severe, many owners don’t mind having a little furry shadow following them around the house.

Why are Collies so Needy?

There are a few reasons why collies are such needy dogs including their historical attachment to us humans, boredom, separation anxiety, health reasons or moving into a new home.

1: Historical Attachment

Collies are prone to neediness because they have been bred for over 300 years to work with humans closely. This means that they develop a closer bond with their humans than other breeds.

Collies tend to attach themselves closely to one family member and often will look to their owners for guidance and reassurance.

2: Neediness due to Boredom

Collies are the smartest dog breed in the world and they need a lot of physical exercise and mental stimulation to ensure they don’t get board. If your collie is board they will do anything to amuse themselves. This can include following their owners around as you are their entertainment package.

If your collie seems excited when they are following you this could be an indication they are feeling board. You may want to consider purchasing some high quality mental stimulation games for your pooch to keep their busy minds occupied.

3: Separation Anxiety

Collies are a breed prone to suffering separation anxiety because they were bred to work side by side with their owners. Your collie may follow you around because they get nervous or depressed when you leave.

If you notice your collie gets restless and whimpers when you leave the room if they are unable to follow your collies neediness may be down to having separation anxiety.

4: Health Reasons

Collies who develop hearing or vision loss may become more needy as this can be a scary experience for your pooch. They may want to stay as close as possible to you for reassurance and protection. You make your collie feel safe and secure so they feel more comfortable when they are by your side.

If your collie is feeling under the weather or has sustained an injury this could also lead to them being more clingy. They may want to just be close to you whenever possible because it makes them feel better and they see you as their protector.

5: Changes to their routine

Collies may be extra needy when you make a big change to your routine such as moving to a new home, getting a new job, or introducing a new family member to the household.

Collies thrive on routine, so sticking to a consistent routine as much as possible will help your collie settle and relax into their new situation.

Luna lying at the door to stop me leaving after hearing me pick up my car keys

Why Does my Collie Follow me Around?

Collies may follow you around for multiple reasons, including:

1: They feel insecure without you

Your collie could follow you around because they feel insecure without you. Collies are one of the most loyal dog breeds and are total love sponges.

2: They want something from you

You are your collies primary caretaker. You feed them, water them and shower them with love, their life literally depends on you.

Your collie may follow you around everywhere if they want some treats or attention from you.

3: They see you as their alpha

Collies may be following you around as they see you as their pack leader. This descends from your collies oldest ancestor, the wolf.

Wolf packs hunt, play and sleep together, taking the lead from the alpha wolf. Following you around is submissive behavior from your collie which indicates that they see you as the top dog.

Luna likes to be close …and comfy!

Needy Behavior in Collies:

Collies have a few different ways of exhibiting their neediness. Some collies are more needy than others and may exhibit several of the following needy behaviors.

  • Checking where you are regularly.
  • Whining for attention during car rides.
  • Following you around like a little shadow.
  • Snuggling up close to you so they are physically touching you.
  • Barking at you for attention.
  • Stealing things.
  • Lying at the door when they know you are about to leave.
  • Licking you excessively.
  • Pawing you.
  • Crying when left alone.
  • Wanting to sleep in the same room or even the same bed as you.
  • Watching or staring at you incessantly.
Luna just checking that I’m still nearby and haven’t disappeared

Why are Collies so Clingy?

Clingy collies are a common issue. Their neediness can be caused by a number of factors, from simple things like learned behaviors, to more serious issues like cognitive decline. Even their owner’s anxiety can rub off on the collies, making them more anxious too.

Here are some common reasons for collie clinginess and needy behavior:

1: Learned behavior

If your collie is following you about the house or lying at your feet whilst making dinner and you are showering them with treats and attention, this is exactly what your clingy collie is craving.

By providing you collie with positive attention when they are being needy, you are reinforcing that clinginess is something they will be rewarded for and the clingy collie cycle will continue.

Instead, try to ignore unwanted needy and clingy behaviors, since reinforcing them with positive attention will only further cement this learned behavior in to your collie.

2: Cognitive Decline

As collies age, their hearing and vision will deteriorate to some degree.

Serious vision or hearing impairment can be scary for your collie, and they may try to stay close to you in their golden years for extra reassurance as your presence makes them feel safer.

3: Owner’s Anxiety

Collies are empathetic and very in tune with their owners.

If you are experiencing stress or anxiety, your collie will notice that you’re not feeling your usual self and may stick close to you to protect you.

Another aspect of this is mirroring.

Collies will quite often mirror their owner’s emotions, so if you’re feeling particularly stressed about something your collie may pick up on this and feel a bit stressed too, resulting in more clingy and needy behaviors.

4: Change in Routine

Collies are creatures of habit and do not appreciate their routine being changed. If you can, it’s best to prepare your pup for any change in a sensitive manner.

If you are moving house or changing your working hours this drastic change could upset and confuse your furry friend.

Big changes in your collies routine can lead to them being unsure of when they will see you and for how long, resulting in them wanting to spend as much time as possible by your side.

How to Deal with Needy Behavior in Collies

Dealing with your collie’s needy behavior can develop their confidence and make them a more independent pooch.

1: Give them lots of Mental Stimulation

Collies are the most intelligent breeds of dog on the planet. Without constant mental stimulation, they can become bored and restless, resulting in clingy behaviors as they try to get you to do something fun with them.

Play games with them, practice tricks with them, or get them a quality mental stimulation toy to keep their minds occupied and give their brains a workout.

If your collie is busy extracting tasty treats from the Kong Wobbler, they won’t be following you around the house like a shadow!

2: Make sure they get enough Exercise

A tired collie is a calm collie. Ensure your collie is getting sufficient physical exercise every day and they will simply be too tired to pursue their clingy behaviors.

Collies need lots of exercise to keep their minds and bodies happy and satisfied. If their neediness stems from them being bored or restless, this will certainly help!

3: Train Your Collie not to React to Movement

Collies are the masterminds of the dog world and quickly learn that your movements mean certain things.

For example, your collie may know when you lift up your keys it means you will be leaving or if you put the radio on for your collie when you go out they will associate the radio with being left alone.

To overcome these negative associations, perform these actions sporadically throughout the day without actually following through on them with anything your collie might perceive as negative. For example, lift up your keys but then place them down again, or turn on the radio without leaving the house.

Your collie will soon learn these small actions are just part of every day life and that they don’t have to worry or become anxious every time you move your keys or put the radio on.

This training may take a while, but persevere and your clingy collie will learn to become more independent.

4: Create a Space just for your collie

Collies need time to themselves too sometimes, or they can feel overwhelmed and anxious.

Make sure your collie has their own area in the house where they can go to be at peace and not be disturbed. For many collies this will be their dog bed or crate, but it could be their favorite armchair, or a corner of the room they like to lie in.

Your collie will soon learn that they are safe in their own space and they can always go there if they want to rest.

Luna’s Story

Luna is the epitome of a needy collie. She literally does everything you could think a needy dog would do and more. This likely stems from her past before she was adopted as she likely has lingering fear of abandonment. Luna excels in being clingy and if there was a contest she would most definitely win.

She can’t even just wine at the door if she needs out to do her business like a ‘normal’ dog. No. Not Luna. Instead she jumps on the back of the chair and paws at your head.

There’s a fine line between needy and clingy and Luna definitely blurs it. Luna’s neediness is constant but I wouldn’t change her for a million dollars…maybe a million and one.

About the author:

About the author:

Hollie and Border Collie

 Stuart MacPherson

Colliepedia Editor

 Stuart MacPherson

Colliepedia Editor

I'm an experienced collie owner from Scotland. I started Colliepedia to share everything I know about collies. All the pictures you see on colliepedia are of my beloved collie Luna

Learn More about me and Luna's story on the about page!