19 Reasons for your Border Collies House Training Accidents

After all the work we put into house training our Border Collie puppy, it is easy to believe they are having accidents around the house out of defiance. Sometimes it may be, but only rarely. Border Collies do not think that way. They are pack animals and their natural instinct is to keep their dens clean.

There are a lot of reasons why your Border Collie may start having accidents in the house and here are 19 reasons why your Border Collie may be having trouble controlling itself around the house.....

Not fully House Trained

Often we think our Border Collie fully understands what we want when it comes to not using the house as a toilet. This may not be the case if it starts having accidents.

We need to consistently reinforce good house training and you may have to start your house training again if you ever move. The lesson is not to be too quick to think your Border Collie is fully house broken. It is our responsibility to give our best friend a little responsibility for it at a time, especially a young Border Collie puppy.

Overwhelming Instincts

Too often your Border Collie may be overwhelmed by the scents of past indoor accidents and cannot resist the natural urge to urinate. If you do not clean up past accidents properly the scent remains. It is our responsibility to remove these temptations for our Border Collies.

Problems with Diet

Overfeeding, sudden dietary changes, high fibre diets, and an unsuitable schedule can all be reasons why your Border Collie is suddenly having accidents.

Look at what you are feeding and how often your Border Collie has access to outdoors to relieve itself, and adjust your methods and food accordingly. It may take a little trial and error but, remember, it is not your Border Collie’s fault.

Parasitic Problems

If your Border Collie has intestinal parasites it will case your Border Collie to lose control of its bowels. Take your Border Collie to the vet for a check-up and advice on proper worming procedures.

Medical Issues

Your Border Collie’s accidents might be caused by medical issues such as kidney problems or a urinary tract infection. If these are a cause, then a trip to the vet and proper treatment will clear up the problems.

Orthopaedic Problems

If your Border Collie has orthopaedic problems, it can be painful for it to relieve itself. Your Border Collie may be afraid of the pain and hold on so long it just loses control in the house.

Border Collies do not usually complain about their pain. They tend to hide it. If your Border Collie is older and suffering orthopaedic problems, talk to your vet for ways to make life better for your Border Collie to help eliminate little accidents in the house.


If you are too harsh on your Border Collie when house training it, a potential side effect is your Border Collie may become fearful to go to the toilet in front of people. If it does, it will hide its need to go to the toilet. Your Border Collie will become subversive in its toileting activities to avoid harsh reprimands for going to the toilet.

You can correct this by stopping all punishment and rewarding your Border Collie for relieving itself. Start with rewarding your Border Collie for being in the area you want it to use. If your Border Collie has an accident indoors, take your Border Collie and the faeces outside to the toileting area and give your Border Collie a reward there.

Take it step-by-step using positive reinforcement every time your Border Collie does the right thing. Remember, you have to help your Border Collie do the right thing by being consistent and giving it plenty of opportunities to be outdoors.

Developed a Fear of the Relief Area

It could be your Border Collie has become fearful to use its relief area. This can be for many reasons such as:

You may never know the reason, but you can help your Border Collie by accompanying it outside and rewarding the desired behaviour. Do not punish your Border Collie if it gets it wrong. Not receiving the reward is punishment enough.

As your Border Collie gains confidence, start letting your Border Collie out and stand watch from the door so you can let your Border Collie back in as soon as it has finished its business.

Lack of Access to the Relief Area

If your Border Collie cannot access the relief area when it needs to relieve itself, you are asking for trouble. The solution is simple. Take your Border Collie to the relief area more often. If it still has accidents, keep a record of how and when the accidents happen to try and analyse why.

Separation Anxiety

Separation anxiety in Border Collie’s can be common. Most Border Collies take the opportunity to take a nap while you are not home, but a Border Collie with separation anxiety is highly stressed and will relieve itself more often.

If you think your Border Collie has separation anxiety, talk to your vet or a good Border Collie trainer for strategies to help it to recover. Separation anxiety is a behavioural disorder so you need the help of a professional to help you modify the behaviour.

Territory Marking

Male Border Collies will relieve themselves anywhere and everywhere to mark their territory or as a sign of dominance. Females can also do this, but usually to a much lesser degree.

Desexing goes a long way to helping with this problem, along with consistency of your expectations.

Females on Heat

Female Border Collies on heat urinate more frequently, so they need better access to their relief area. Spaying your female Border Collie will alleviate this problem if you are not using her for breeding.

Peeing Competitions

If there is more than one male Border Collie in your home, then one marking its territory can start off a peeing competition with them constantly marking over each other’s scent. Desexing may help but you will need to supervise them if you want to manage the problem. Do not use punishment for the behaviour. Try distracting them with a ball or a game, and reward good behaviour.

Over Stimulation

When friends and family visit, your Border Collie may get so excited that it wets itself. The best way to avoid this is to train your Border Collie to accept visitors quietly and train your visitors to ignore your Border Collie until it settles down.

Household Change

A newcomer in your house or someone moving out can trigger accidents indoors as there is disruption to your Border Collie’s routine. You can help your Border Collie by going back to the basics of house training and your Border Collie will soon be back to its old self.

When you get Pregnant

Changes in your household such as pregnancy or a new baby can trigger unwanted accidents in your house. Do not punish your Border Collie. Go back to the basics of your original house training techniques and reward the good behaviour. These positive experiences will soon have your Border Collie back on track.

When all things are Unequal

Do you have one Border Collie in your house that is untrained? What about a litter tray for the cat to use indoors? When a Border Collie sees all these anomalies in its pack, it gets confused. The key is consistency and patience, and giving your Border Collie plenty of access to relieve itself outdoors.

Damaged Instincts

Some Border Collies were raised in conditions where they were forced to toilet in their own homes. This is not natural behavior for Border Collies and can damage the natural instinct to keep its den clean. To house train your Border Collie, you need that instinct to succeed.

To help your Border Collie want to keep its den clean, confine it in a fairly large area and keep it really clean. This will help your Border Collie get used to living in a clean area, and you can control its access to your house. Do not use a crate as it is too small and will force your Border Collie to lie in its own waste.

Breaking Bad Habits

Maybe your Border Collie has a history of relieving itself in certain indoor areas and it is now a habit. Clean these areas thoroughly and make sure you remove the smell, and block off access. Again, it is really about giving your Border Collie guidance in a positive way and redirect the behaviour rather than to punish it.

Do not Jump to Conclusions

As you can see, there are many reasons your Border Collie may suddenly start forgetting it is house broken. You may need to be a detective to find out why and a trip to the vet to eliminate medical, behavioural and physical problems so you can manage the condition.

Other than that, going back to the basics is always a good place to start as we mostly control when our Border Collie has access to outside to relieve itself. Use consistency and patience, and your Border Collie should bounce back. All they need is your love and understanding.