Border collies are smart dogs. Unlike a loveable golden retriever that loves everyone unconditionally, collies can tell if somebody is a true friend or not and can be quite discerning about who they trust. Collies are sassy and intelligent, so how can you tell if they really love you?
Collies are nervous dogs and can be wary of people, but as every collie owner knows, once a collie decides that you’re a part of their pack, they will never leave your side!
Although they can’t tell you directly, your collie displays certain behaviors that show you that they love and trust you. Some common affectionate behaviors include licking or nuzzling you, allowing you to pet them on their tummy, and lying at your feet when it’s time for bed.
In this article, we’ll explore 10 cute behaviors that your collie will display that show they love you, as well as look at a few ways you can return their affection and strengthen your bond with your collie.
How To Tell Your Collie Loves You
1. They greet you enthusiastically
When your collie loves you, they will greet you enthusiastically when you come home.
Whether it’s been five minutes or five hours, a collie who loves you will welcome you like you have been separated for years every time.
You are your collie’s favorite person in the whole world. When they see you, they often can’t contain their excitement and will to see you and will spring up like a jack in the box to lick your face and get petted.
This enthusiastic welcome home is your collie’s special way of telling you they love you and they missed you.
Collies can be prone to separation anxiety if you’re away for too long. If you need to leave your collie at home, check out our guide to preventing separation anxiety for some tips to help prevent them from feeling lonely.
2. They collect your clothes!
Have you ever noticed that your collie collects your dirty socks? Or maybe you have seen your collie licking or chewing a dirty piece of your clothing? Perhaps your collie might even have taken things to the next level and had a little nibble on your favorite shoes! This is because these things smell like you and help your collie to feel close to you.
If your collie is collecting up or chewing on your dirty clothes or blankets, it’s probably because these items smell like you and your collie feels safe around them because they remind them of you. This is your collie’s way of feeling closer to you because they love you so much!
If chewing is becoming a problem, check out our guide to preventing destructive chewing in collies for some tips to help them feel close to you in a way that doesn’t wreck your possessions!
3. They get up close and personal
Once your collie decides that they love you, forget about ever having any personal space again.
Collies can be wary of new people, but deep down they are very loving dogs and they like to be near you, and they will make their affection obvious by being as close as possible to you at all times!
Your collie will snuggle up next to you when you’re lying in bed or on the sofa watching TV, follow you around everywhere you go, rest their head on your legs when you sit down, brush up against your ankles, and jump up at you or lick your hands if they feel you’re not paying them enough attention.
If your collie is inseparable from you, it’s a sure-fire sign that they love you and trust you.
4. They touch you a lot
Tactile communication is an important aspect of collies’ nature. If a collie rests their head against you, give you their paw, or leans against you, it means they trust you. Think about it, would you lean against a stranger? No!
Some of the ways collies show their affection by touching include:
- Nuzzling you with their nose
- Licking your hands and arms
- Leaning their weight against you when you’re sitting next to them
- Giving you their paw
- Brushing against your legs
- Jumping up at you to greet you
- Bringing you their toys or possessions
If you notice your collie displaying any of these behaviors, you can be sure that your bond is strong and your collie loves you with all their heart.
5. They sleep next to you
Dogs have a strong pack instinct and are biologically hard-wired to sleep with their pack for protection. Your collie will only sleep where they think they are safe.
If your collie trusts you enough to sleep next to you, it means they feel safe and secure with you nearby and is a sign that they consider you part of their family.
If you let them, most collies would happily sleep on your bed!
6. They follow you around like a shadow
Do you often mistake your collie for a furry shadow, following you everywhere you go?
When your collie loves you, they like to be involved with whatever you’re doing, and they will follow you around from room to room to make sure you’re not doing something fun without them!
Watching TV? Your collie wants to sit next to you. Cooking dinner? Your collie will wait at your feet and beg for treats. Talking on the phone? Your collie will patiently follow you around until you hang up and talk to them instead!
This is one of collies’ most endearing behaviors, but it can be too much sometimes. It really shows off the clinginess of the breed and is just one of many needy behaviors most collies will develop.
If your collie is getting a bit too clingy, check out our guide to collie needy behaviors for tips on dealing with it!
7. They come to you when you call their name
Collies are pleasers. The breed has been working with humans for centuries and they form a strong emotional connection with their human families.
Collies’ high emotional intelligence means that they don’t just blindly respond to anyone who calls their name. They hear who is calling on them and decide if it’s worth their time to respond or not.
If your collie really loves you, they will come to your side straight away when you call on them. This is a sign of trust and respect and shows that your collie thinks of you as the alpha of their pack. They know that you would never hurt them and if you’re calling for them it’s for their own safety or to do something fun!
If your collie is struggling with recall, there are some great training methods in my recall guide. Don’t worry if they don’t get it straight away, it can take some time but it’s worth it in the end!
8. They wag their tails!
You can tell your collie loves you if they wag their tail excitedly when they see you! When a collie is really happy, they will wag their tail so hard that their whole back end wags with it! This will probably be accompanied by frenzied licking and jumping up at you.
Collies’ tails are an important part of their herding heritage, and they have lots of instincts that mean they don’t wag their tails as often as some other breeds. Collies are so fast and agile that they need to use their tails for balance, and working collies hold their tails up or lower them down to make themselves more or less visible.
What all this means is that collies won’t wag their tails for just any old thing. It takes something really special to get a collie excited enough to wag their tail since they have four centuries of tail training to overcome!
9: They make eye contact
The eyes are the window to the soul, and eye contact in collies is similar to eye contact in humans. Eye contact can be a sign of dominance or aggression in dogs, and they are unlikely to make eye contact with someone they don’t feel comfortable around.
If your collie feels comfortable enough to make eye contact with you, it means they trust you and know you won’t see it as a sign of aggression, but rather as a way to connect with them emotionally. Collies are deeply emotionally intelligent and will make eye contact with you if they love you.
This is one of the best ways to see if your collie truly loves you because if they don’t they will quickly avert their gaze to avoid conflict.
10: They are territorial when it comes to you and your possessions
Collies are not aggressive, but they can be very possessive and they get jealous easily.
Once a collie decides to trust you, they are in it for the long haul and they don’t want anyone else muscling in on your friendship.
If you notice your collie gets jealous when you talk to other people or pets, it’s a sign that they love you and are probably jealous of the attention.
Although jealousy can seem cure, overly jealous behaviors are a training issue. Collies need to understand that just because you pet another dog doesn’t mean you don’t love your collie anymore. If jealous behavior is a problem for you and your collie, check out my guide to managing jealousy in collies.
How to show your collie that you love them:
1. Spend lots of time together.
More time spent together with your collie means more love shared!
Collies thrive on affection and attention from their humans. They are pleasers at heart and love training and games.
2. Focus on the tone of your voice when you speak to them
Collies pick up on the tonality of your voice more than the words you say.
If you talk to your collie in a happy, upbeat tone they will know you love them.
3. Show affection with gentle touches and hugs
Collies like to be close to you. Spending time close to your collie shows them that you trust them and strengthens your bond.
4. Cheer them up when they are feeling sad
Watch your collie’s body language. Recognize when they’re feeling lonely, bored, or angry and help to cheer them up. Your collie is social and emotionally intelligent. They will do the same for you when you’re feeling sad!
For some tips on cheering up your sad collie – check out my article on what makes collies sad (and how to cheer them up!).
5. Be patient
Collies need time to process their feelings so give them space if they need it.
If your collie is sunbathing or relaxing with their toy or a treat, let them have some time to themselves. Collies are easily excited and some alone time is a great way to help them calm down.
Collies show love and affection in many different ways. They can use their body language, facial expressions, and vocal cues to show that they love you. You can show your collie that you love them back by paying attention to them and spending time with them.