FAQ – How to stop your dog barking

QUESTION: How can I stop my dog barking when I take him somewhere new, where there are sheep?

ANSWER: Basically, there are two reasons why dogs bark:

1. ALARM – if they suspect an intruder or danger of some sort. If there really is no danger, it helps if you gently reassure the dog that all is well. Alternatively, relocating or adjusting the dog’s living quarters can help to obscure a particular view or lessen the dog’s notion of danger.

2. EXCITEMENT. In your dog’s case, it’s the excitement of being close to sheep (and the prospect of being able to chase them) that’s causing it to bark.

photo of a trainee dog jumping and barking whilst chained to a fence.
A dog which is barking while another dog is being trained can cause the sheep to panic

If one of my young dogs barks when I take it to sheep for training, normally the dog will stop barking as I get it under control, and it starts to work properly. In other words, as it’s confidence grows.

To stop a dog barking with excitement, is very simple (but tedious).

Take the dog far enough away from whatever is exciting it, for the dog to stop barking.

Then after a couple of minutes of silence, bring the dog a little closer (just a little bit closer) then if the dog is quiet, stop for a couple of minutes.

If there’s still no barking, go a little closer still then stop again – and so on.

The moment the dog barks, take it far enough away to stop it barking – then after little while, move a little closer again.

It’s boring, but it works if you do it properly. For best effect always use the same command whenever you tell the dog to be quiet. It’s important to take the dog further away from whatever excites it, the moment it barks – every time.

This post is one of our Sheepdog Training FAQs
Click here for the full list of frequently asked questions.

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