Why do Collies Chase Flies and Bees? (Is it Harmful?)

If you’re out on a summer’s day with your Collie, you might notice them snapping at the air trying to catch flies.

Most of the time, collies chase flies because the flies are bothering them, or they like the challenge of catching them out the air, however snapping at flies can sometimes be an early indication of cognitive issues that are common in collies.

In this article, we’ll cover the reasons why your collie might be fly-snapping, and go over some tips on how to train them not to.

Why Collies Chase Flies

1: The Flies are Irritating Them

Just like a horse swatting the flies from its body with its tail, your collie gets irritated by things buzzing around their heads and body.

Flies are attracted to your dog’s coat, especially in warmer weather. If your collie is being bothered by flies, consider giving them a bath and letting them stay inside during the hottest part of the day.

2: Out of Boredom

Collies are highly intelligent and need lots of mental stimulation. If you’re not paying attention to your collie they will find other things to keep themselves occupied.

This may start as biting at flies, but could evolve in to chewing furniture or excessive barking so it’s important to keep your hound occupied.

There are plenty of mental stimulation toys and treats for your collie, and puzzles and games you can play with them to keep their cogs turning.

3: As Compulsive Behavior

Collies who don’t get the mental stimulation they need or who have excessive stress in their environments have a tendency to develop compulsive behaviors.

These can take the form of compulsive chasing of their tails, constant barking, chasing cars, spinning in circles and constant fly-snapping.

These behaviors may look harmless or even comical but they are a warning sign that your collie is not having their needs met and can lower their quality of life.

4: They See it as a Game

Collies have great reflexes and like making use of them.

Snapping at flies and bugs is a fun, stimulating game for a collie and a good chance for them to exercise their excellent eyesight and lightning fast reflexes.

If your collie has a great life but are still snapping at flies and bugs, they probably just enjoy it. You can train it out of them but it’s mostly a harmless activity.

Collies have an extremely strong chase instinct. A small insect buzzing around triggers them to want to chase it.

Is it Bad if my Collie Eats a Fly?

Collies generally don’t snap at flies to eat them. However, it’s not a problem if your collie accidentally swallows a housefly. A fly poses no threat to Collies.

Ensure they don’t chase any stinging insects like bees or wasps, and keep an eye out for compulsive fly-snapping which could indicate your collie is not getting enough mental stimulation.

Are any Insects Bad for Collies?

Collies can eat ants and houseflies without any problems, however you should avoid letting your collie eat spiders, slugs, cockroaches, crickets, beetles, mosquitoes or any other bugs as they may carry parasites and diseases which are unsafe for dogs.

How to Stop Your Collie Snapping at Flies?

If you want to put a stop to this habit, the best way is to treat the root cause, and to remove any excess flies from their environment.

Make sure your collie has ample mental stimulation in their day to day life by making use of mental stimulation games, toys, and training.

Collies are bred to work, they are highly intelligent and need to put their brains to work to avoid cognitive problems.

To remove excess flies from your environment, you can make a simple flycatcher by putting some apple cider vinegar in a bowl or bottle and leaving it outside.

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!