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.
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.
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.