Are you thinking of getting a Border Collie but want to know if they bark a lot? Maybe you have a Border Collie and want to find out how to stop them barking so much? Here’s everything you need to know about Border Collies and barking.
Do Border Collies Bark A Lot? Yes, Border Collies bark a lot! Although, some Border Collies may bark more than others so it is dependent on the individual dog. When your Border Collie barks, they’re often trying to tell you something. It’s very rare for them to bark for no particular reason at all.
However, if you feel your Border Collie’s barking is becoming excessive, then this can be an indication that their needs are not being fulfilled. Read on to find out why your Border Collie is barking so much and how to stop them from barking.
Never use the advice in this article as a substitute for professional veterinary advice or treatment. I am NOT a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist. This article is based on research, personal opinion and experience of owning dogs over the last 12+ years.
Why Is My Border Collie Barking So Much?
It’s important to remember that barking is a crucial form of communication for any dog. So, when your Border Collie barks, it’s likely they’re trying to tell you something. It’s up to you to figure out the reason behind their barking.
This is why your Border Collie is barking so much:
Border Collies have been bred since the 1800’s as herding dogs for livestock.
Part of their role was to keep watch over a flock of sheep or herd of cows and to alert the shepherd of any potential threats. This is where their barking comes in useful!
So, ‘barking’ is the fastest way for your Border Collie to alert their owner to something that needs their attention.
Although not all Border Collies are still used for herding, this is an instinct that’s still very strong for them.
Border Collies are very visual dogs. They enjoy keeping watch of their surroundings and are particularly sensitive to things that move.
There are very rarely things that go unnoticed if you have a Border Collie in your family – they don’t miss much!
Common things for Border Collies to bark at are joggers, cyclists, cars, motorbikes, wildlife and birds. Particularly if these things move suddenly or quickly.
Fear or Anxiety
If your Border Collie is barking at things when they’re out on walks, it can be a sign they’re feeling anxious or scared.
Border Collies can be quite an anxious breed, particularly if they’ve not been very well socialised during puppyhood.
Barking at things they’re afraid of often makes them go away – which is basically why they do it!
However, this also reinforces their behaviour, which makes them more likely to do it again in future.
Border Collies are an excitable breed that can start barking simply because they can’t control their excitement at the time.
This is particularly common when they’re involved in dog sports such as flyball.
In flyball, owners wind up their Border Collies to get them to run fast when they race.
As a result, this often means lots and lots of barking!
Lack Of Exercise
If your Border Collie isn’t getting enough exercise, they’re more likely to get frustrated. They’ll then try other ways to get rid of their pent-up energy.
This could include barking more than normal, simply because they’re looking for something to do.
Lack Of Enrichment
As a smart breed, Border Collies require lots of mental stimulation and enrichment to keep their minds busy.
Without this, your Border Collie may quickly get bored or frustrated and start to act out.
This can lead to them developing behavioural problems such as excessive barking.
Boredom is usually caused when your Border Collie isn’t getting enough exercise, enough mental stimulation or they’re left alone too much.
Put simply, if you don’t give your Border Collie a job to do, they’ll make up their own entertainment.
However, this isn’t always a good thing for owners and can result in excessive barking!
Border Collies can be prone to developing separation anxiety, particularly if they’re left alone for long periods without their needs being met.
They’re bred to be on the go and always ready for action, so don’t tend to do well if left on their own for a long time.
They may start barking because they’re feeling lonely and want some much-needed attention.
How Do I Stop My Border Collie Barking?
It’s possible to stop your Border Collie barking so much with a combination of consistent training, keeping their minds busy and increasing their exercise.
This is how to stop your Border Collie barking:
Train Your Border Collie To Be Quiet
Border Collies are super intelligent dogs. Not only can they pick up new things really quickly, but they also enjoy learning too.
It’s even possible to teach your Border Collie to bark on command as well as be quiet when you ask them to!
Many owners have success with teaching their Border Collies to ‘Speak’ by simply rewarding them each time they bark and then pairing this up with the command ‘Speak’.
The same results can be achieved on the opposite side, by rewarding your Border Collie when they’re quiet and pairing this up with your chosen ‘Quiet’ command.
Once your Border Collie fully understands this, you can ask them to be ‘Quiet!’ and they should respond to this.
Keep Your Border Collie’s Mind Busy
By giving your Border Collie lots of things to think about, it should keep their barking at bay.
Puzzle games, food toys, snuffle mats, lick mats, squeaky toys and interactive games like hide and seek are all great ways to keep your Border Collie entertained.
Teach Your Border Collie To Settle
It can be difficult for Border Collies to know when to switch off and rest.
Make sure they have access to a comfortable bed in a space where they won’t get disturbed.
By teaching your Border Collie that it’s a good thing to go to this place and rest, can help them to relax.
Crate training can be useful here as this creates a safe space for your Border Collie to go and settle down and sleep.
Reduce The Time Your Border Collie Is Left Alone
If you do have to leave your Border Collie home alone for long periods, then it may be a good idea to hire a dog walker.
This’ll break up the time they’re left alone for and keep them occupied while they’re waiting for you to get back home.
Not only will this ensure your Border Collie is getting plenty of exercise, but also that they’re not feeling lonely or bored.
Give Your Border Collie More Exercise
Your Border Collie could be barking simply because they’re frustrated and bored at not getting enough exercise.
If this is the case, try increasing their daily exercise amounts to see if this helps to reduce their barking.
Remember though, high intensity exercise can leave your Border Collie feeling hyped up long after the exercise itself has ended.
So, be sure to give them plenty of time to calm down again afterwards.
Choose Where To Walk Your Border Collie
Try to adjust your walking routes to suit your Border Collie.
For example, if you know that your Border Collie is likely to bark at cars, then try to avoid walking them on busy roads if you can.
Instead pick somewhere quieter for them to explore to keep their barking to a minimum.
Do Calming Activities
If your Border Collie is barking because they’re excited, then it may be a good idea to do some calming activities with them.
Activities such as foraging for treats and letting them sniff on walks can help them to relax and stay calm.
By avoiding high intensity chasing games like fetch, then this can reduce their barking. These activities tend to wind them up and excite them more, rather than calm them down.
Work With A Professional
If you’re still unsure why your Border Collie’s barking so much, then it may be best to hire a professional to work with you.
They can help you to pinpoint the exact causes of your Border Collies barking so you can work together to overcome them.
So there you have it! Border Collies are noisy and do bark, but they’re often doing it to try and get your attention. Start by working out the cause of their barking, and then work on it by keeping them physically and mentally stimulated and rewarding calm and quiet behaviour!
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