You’ve brought home your new Australian Shepherd puppy and are excited to start training him to be the perfect dog. But one thing you didn’t anticipate was how much he barks! Barking is a normal and important way for dogs to communicate, but it can be a nuisance when it’s constant.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll outline some of the best ways to train your Australian Shepherd not to bark excessively. With a little patience and consistency, you’ll have a well-behaved pup in no time.
What Is an Australian Shepherd’s Barking Behavior?
An Australian shepherd is bred to be a working dog. As such, they often have strong territorial instincts and like to bark at anything that they perceive as a threat. They may also bark out of excitement or boredom.
All Australian shepherds bark, but the level of barking may vary from dog to dog. Some may only occasional bark, while others may bark incessantly. If your Australian shepherd is barking too much, there are some things you can do to help train them to stop.
Understanding the Causes of Excessive Barking
Barking is a natural behavior for dogs, and it’s one way they communicate with their humans and other animals. Australian Shepherds are particularly prone to barking, but there are ways to tame their barking habits.
The first step is understanding the causes of excessive barking. There are many different reasons why your Aussie might be barking, and knowing what’s motivating your dog is essential for correcting the behavior.
Some of the most common causes of excessive barking include:
- boredom or loneliness
- excitement or happiness
- protection or warning
- fear or anxiety
Minimizing the Triggers for Barking
When you’re trying to minimize your Australian Shepherd’s barking, it’s important to take a look at what might be triggering the behavior.
There are lots of things that can set dogs off, from the sound of a doorbell ringing to people or other animals walking by the house. Some dogs might even bark at nothing in particular.
The key is to identify your dog’s specific triggers and work to minimize them as much as possible. You might need to put some extra effort into training your dog not to bark in certain situations, or you might need to take steps to make your home more dog-friendly.
Providing Positive Reinforcement for Quiet Behavior
If your Australian Shepherd is barking, it could be because they’re trying to communicate with you. It could be that they’re bored or want to alert you to something outside. To teach them exactly how you want them to act, provide positive reinforcement when they do what you want them to do.
This means when your pup is quiet, reward the behavior with treats and praise. This helps your pup understand that being quiet is what you want— which can help them become more confident about the behavior and eventually repeat it.
It’s also important not to give in to the barking; if your pup continues to bark when asking for attention, such as if they’re telling you there’s a squirrel in the garden, don’t give in and give them attention until they stop barking. Doing this will help your pup understand that barking will not get them what they want—attention from you!
Setting Appropriate Boundaries for Barking
Now that we’ve addressed why your Australian Shepherd may bark, it’s time to start taming that barking. The key here is to set appropriate boundaries for their barking, so that you can teach them when it’s okay to bark and when it’s not.
This will take some patience and consistency from you, but the rewards are worth the effort. Start by setting clear expectations for what you want your pup to do when they encounter triggers for barking, such as coming into contact with other animals or visitors arriving at your home. Decide ahead of time what command you will use (e.g., “No bark!”) and make sure everyone in the house uses the same command consistently.
When your pup starts to bark, give the command and provide a gentle reminder if necessary by holding them back with a leash or leading them away from the trigger while repeating your command firmly. Later on, reward them with a treat or praise when they comply so they know their good behavior was noticed—this way they’ll know that being quiet gets rewarded!
Develop an Effective Training Strategy
It’s critical to develop an effective training strategy for your Australian Shepherd in order to tame their barking. Stick to positive reinforcement methods and avoid physical punishment, which can have the unintended consequence of increasing your dog’s anxiety.
Start by introducing a verbal command such as ‘quiet’ or ‘hush’, and give your pup a treat every time they obey. This way, they will associate this behavior with positive reinforcement and will be more likely to comply with it in the future.
Another good strategy is to teach your dog how to redirect their energy when they start barking. Take them on regular walks, play games with them or give them food puzzles so they can stay occupied and distracted from barking excessively.
Reward-based training works best when consistency is applied on a daily basis–so be sure to keep up with your pup’s training regimen!
Australian Shepherds are a high energy dog breed that need plenty of exercise and training. If you’re not able to give your Aussie the exercise and training he needs, he may start barking to get your attention. The best way to stop your Aussie from barking is to provide him with the exercise and training he needs and to continue reinforcing good behavior.