Can Training Help Excessive Barking?
Training can be an excellent way to curb Border Collie’s barking habits, but any owners should note that Collies are an intelligent breed which can often make training more difficult. Their high-intelligence sometimes leads to stubbornness which can initially cause them to resist training. That being said, each dog will have their personality, and there isn’t a one fits all rule when it comes to training.
Obedience training is a commonly used method to teach many dogs what behavior is acceptable; it can be used on barking but also on digging, jumping, and scratching too. It is an effective method to correct any problem behaviors, it helps your pup understand what’s expected of them, and with consistency and patience, it is very successful.
When training your Collie, an important message for them to understand is who’s in charge. Rewards such as praise and treats should be offered when acceptable behavior is shown. Make sure you keep any training sessions short as Border Collies tend to have short attention spans; making the sessions interesting and fun is a good way to capture their attention. Boring lessons will have their minds wandering elsewhere!
After a training session is complete, play some games or go for some exercise with your Collie, this will release stress and add some fun into the day. This is also a great way to strengthen the bond between you and your dog, giving them the love and attention they need.
Turning Away Method
One method to help train your Collie is the Turning Away method. This involves getting your dog treats out and then taking the dog to an area they tend to bark a lot in. When you’re in the chosen area, start playing with your pup to get their energy up.
Once your Collie starts barking, stop and turn away. Your Collie will try to get your attention through barking, but continue to ignore this. When your Border Collie stops barking, introduce the ‘Quiet command’ and give them a treat for positive reinforcement. Patience and repetition are key here.
Make sure you change location once your dog masters when not to bark in the first area. Go to another space they frequently bark in; this could be somewhere with outside triggers or distractions that cause your Collie to bark loudly. This training method requires a lot of patience, but it’s a successful way to stop incessant barking.
Another commonly used technique is the Speak Method. This training technique starts with you calling your Border Collie over; once they arrive, clip their leash on. This helps to establish dominance and control over them during training – this method is best used on puppies.
When their leash is on, give whatever command you usually use to get them to start barking. When they begin to bark, show them the Quiet command. If they stop barking when the quiet command is used, give them the treat to reinforce the behavior. If your Collie continues to bark, be patient and keep waiting until they stop. This process should be repeated as many times as necessary until they repeat the good behavior.
Once your Collie stops barking immediately when the quiet command is shown, the next step is to start dissociating the command and the reward. The best way to do this is by extending the period between the order and the prize. This will solidify the command and will also teach your dog to stop barking for longer – a win-win!
This is another technique that requires patience, but with Border Collies, all training will be something you have to work at due to their high-intelligence and stubborn nature.
What To Avoid Doing
When training, you must avoid using violent punishments to deter your Collie from barking; this can cause their barking to become aggressive and more frequent. Also, if you pay attention to your dog when they’re barking, this can be negative reinforcement too. They can start to associate your attention with their barking, and it can cause more frequent barking in a bit to gain your attention.
Make sure you don’t stop your dog when they bark appropriately. For example, when someone is knocking at your door, it’s entirely normal for your Collie to bark in response. If you discourage your Collie from barking all the time, it can result in them losing their watchdog instincts.
If you’re training a puppy, make sure not to make the training sessions too long. Border Collies can become bored quickly, and the best way to train them is through short bursts of lessons and multiple breaks.
Another thing to avoid is letting the training take the place of exercise breaks, Collies are very hyperactive, and without physical breaks, their attention span will diminish. If they’re starved of exercise and mental stimulation, the training sessions won’t sink in, and they’ll ultimately be a waste of time. Unfortunately, training isn’t a quick fix, and patience is key.
When adopting a Border, Collie avoids buying from herding lines. If your Collie comes directly from herding parents, it’s probably that it’ll have stronger herding instincts and will be harder to train at home. These dogs are loving wherever they come from, but if you go to a dealer, it’s more likely that your Collie will be easier to train.
Other Ways To Stop Excessive Barking
Alongside training, you may be looking for other ways to keep any excessive barking at bay. The goal shouldn’t be to completely stop your Border Collie from barking but reduce it to a healthy amount.
A key element to stopping the excessive barking is to figure out what’s triggering the barking. Is your Collie hungry? Are they scared? Do they need attention? Is barking their way of protecting you? If you think barking could be because of one of these questions, then it can be prevented easily.
When looking for additional ways to stop barking (other than training), remember to go through the essential lifestyle elements they need. Make sure to take them for plenty of exercises to keep them happy and fit, include a toy or a ball to mentally stimulate them too. Any interactive dog toys will keep them busy and will break barking habits!
If you find that your Border Collie is barking at strangers, make a habit of regularly inviting friends and family to your house. This will help your Collie get used to the company of others and will help them socialize without anxiety.
When you have tried various methods to help stop excessive barking, consider finding a professional dog trainer or enrolling your Border Collie in obedience training for some professional help.