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Adopted an older BC, sweetheart but LOW energy.

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I adopted an older border collie a couple of weeks ago and was hoping some folks here may be able to help answer some questions...


A bit about Joe: he's approximately 8 yrs old, a bit overweight, very friendly with people, (almost too friendly... He'll basically go with anyone that calls him... even if they haven't met yet). Also does well with other dogs. Vet check is clear he's really a healthy senior other than being overweight. From what the Humane Society says, he came from a ranch here on the central coast California, owners fell into financial difficulty and could no longer keep him or their other female BC. He's fairly well trained in terms of obedience, sits, stays,lays down, comes, actively responsive to his name.


He seems to be the laziest border collie I have ever met. I realize that he needs some time to warm up... and he's at a house not a ranch so I expect a bit of time before he adjusts. Does not acknowledge toys of any sort. Walking/hiking and dog parks seem to perk him up a bit, but when I take him outside to do some minor training or try to play he seems to be waiting for me to shut up so he can go inside and lay down. toys are nonexistant in his eyes and treats are sortof a side note to him. I'm trying to find ways to interest him... but I'm just not sure what does it. I know he's bored, but what's his cure for boredom?


Are there any ways of flushing out what gets him excited? What makes him tick instead of flop?


He loves attention, being close and being rubbed are working to help make him feel safe...


but I feel like if I could find what it is that he really really likes, I'd be able to use that to make him feel more confident with our family and entice him to get him off his butt and run a little :). I imagine scenarios that might explain the behavior... maybe he was working on the ranch until his family lost their animals... he sat around without work, got fat, and eventually financial decline got to the point they couldn't afford the dogs either. IDK


If that's the case, I don't have animals for him to herd so I'm out of luck there... I also don't want to stress his joints too much since he's getting older and currently overweight.


any advice is appreciated... I've never encountered a low energy BC.









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Offhand, I would just say give it, and him, time. He might just be a very low-drive border collie.....they do exist. The fact that he is overweight factors in as well, and it's good that you are sensitive to not stressing him too much until he loses some weight. If he was never played with, he won't know how to play, or what to do with a toy. You can teach him to play with toys, but it will take time and patience. Meanwhile, I would just take him for lots of nice long walks and work on getting the weight down.

One thing, though: I don't think it is age-related. Eight years old is not senior. My male border collie is pushing 14 and still wants his twice daily frisbee play and is just as intense about it as ever. But I have known dogs who were only six or eight and acted old because they had never had the chance to play or be athletic. Once he loses the weight and learns what it is to play, he may be a different dog. Then again, you may just have a couch potato. Remains to be seen.

And thanks for taking in this dog. A lot of people do not want to adopt an eight year old dog, but they can have a lot of years left in them, and sometimes those years are the best.

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If you have only had him a couple of weeks, it is very early days. I would just get to know him and help him get to know you. As you build trust and rapport, I think you will see more of who he really is. Regarding toys, he may not have had those before or in a long time and not know how to play yet. Or he could be a little stressed by all the changes in his life and not feel like playing right now. Periodically, you could try different toys (squeaky, soft, fuzzy, tug, ball, Frisbee, etc.) to see if he has a preference.


Whether or not he ever worked stock, don't think Joe "needs" to work stock. He may or may not have been used for that on the ranch he is said to be from. What most Border Collies want is to be involved in their people's lives. Right now, I would let him settle in and get the lay of the land.


Are you sure he is bored and not a bit shell shocked or somewhat overwhelmed by the changes and losses in his life? He has been through a lot with losing his home, his people,the other Border Collie, being in a shelter or rescue and now living in a strange place with a new person. I had a Sheltie who was depressed for a couple of months after one of my dogs died. She didn't play like usual and was rather withdrawn during this grieving period, but she eventually started playing again and returned to her normal bouncy personality. Joe needs time, patience and kindness more than anything else right now, I am willing to bet. As he bonds and relaxes, he will likely become more interested in play, trsining and fun with his new person.


Eight is still young for a Border Collie, so you should have lots of good days ahead with your new pal. Thanks for adopting him!

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Thank you for adopting a mature border collie and giving him a home.


I do a bit of rescue work (fostering, etc.) and will echo the excellent advice already provided. First, get the blood work done to rule out any medical issues. Then, just allow time and patience (and a good diet for weight loss) to work their wonders. I recommend Patricia McConnell's "Love Has No Age Limit". It is an inexpensive book (~$10 from her website) that concisely covers the majority of 'issues' that rescue dogs may have. Since it is a short read (~70 pages), you don't have to wade through a hundred pages or so to get right to the advice you may need.


As far as how much time to allow him to become comfortable in his new situation and to TRUST you, no one can predict - but I would say that several months (or more) would not be unreasonable.

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I'll echo what others have said. You didn't say where you adopted him from or how long he was there, but border collies can quickly go into what I call shelter shock in shelters and it can take them some time to recover.


And Liz P is a vet, so her suggestion for bloodwork is something to seriously consider.


But it's also true that some border collies are just very laid back. I have one if them, and it did take a bit of getting used to. He was also a rescue, and like yours hadn't a clue what toys and play were all about. He eventually learned, but it took some time. But he was younger than Joe and I also had another dog, so your experience may be different.


Given that he's so friendly with people, you might consider trying therapy work with him. My laid back guy just loves it and it brings out something in him that a lot of other things really don't.


Add my thanks for adopting an older dog!

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Have you done bloodwork, including a thyroid and tick panel to make sure all is well?



This. :) He may be kind of shellshocked over the changes in his life and in a month's time, you may find a different dog in him. But it can't hurt to do some health checks and blood work, too, just to make sure there's not some underlying issue. Thyroid is very easy and inexpensive to manage and if it should be a tick borne problem, you'd want to find out.


Bless you for taking on an older guy! :wub:


~ Gloria

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