First of all, let me congratulate you on the wonderful job you're already doing with your dog. She's lucky to be part of your loving family. What you're already doing will pay off in time as she gradually realizes she's safe.
To further lower her overall anxiety
, make sure she gets plenty of physical exercise
. It's been scientifically proven that physical exercise lowers the stress hormones levels and tends to keep them low for the rest of the day. That's especially good if she exercises in the morning.
Now, for a Border Collie, that's easier said then done, because of their typical high energy levels. 70% of these dogs seem to never get tired. So, besides her walks, she'll need anything from 60 minutes or more of vigorous exercise per day.
To spare your own energy, see if she likes to retrieve balls, frisbees. This way it's her
doing most of the effort, not you
You can also begin agility training if you like this kind of activities. Most Border Collies love doing agility. Play intelligence games
with her, make her brain rejoice with puzzles. Things like finding treats under a cup, learning the names of objects and retrieving those objects, putting toys in a box, color discrimination (dogs can tell yellow and blue). Anything that's physically possible for her, you can teach her.
And as bonus, physical activities and games strengthen the bond
between the two of you.
Continue to build your relationship with her and the relationship between her and your husband:
1. Feed most or all of her food from your hand
if at all possible. When that goes smoothly,
2. feed her from you hand only in the presence of your husband
. When that goes smoothly,
3. your husband feeds her
from his hand.
Also, do an Internet Search for "desensitization and counterconditioning
". It's a simple technique to improve your dog's emotional response to her environment.
Please, tell us how it goes
P.S.: You can also confine her to a playpen in the living room when you can't have your eyes on her. The purpose of a playpen in this situation is twofold:
- you make sure she never gets scared without you being there to reassure her everything is ok
- it provides her with a safe place while at the same time she's together with the whole family
If you choose to use a playpen:
- make sure put her there only when she's really tired
- don't leave her in her playpen for more than two hours in a row
- put a bed, her cuddly toy, water and some toys stuffed with food at one side of the playpen and a pee pad at the other side