When looking for the right dog breed for you, one of your most important criteria could be the tendency to bark. If you are considering Border Collies, you will want to know how often Border Collies bark. This will give you an idea of what to expect from this dog breed.
So, do Border Collies bark much? Border Collies are notorious for barking a lot, and they want to be noticed. They often bark when they are excited, bored, hungry, playful, lonely, or want their owner’s attention. However, Border Collies are intelligent dogs and can be trained to bark less.
Border Collies, like most herding dogs, are very smart and communicative dogs.
These dogs make excellent pets, but not without the right environment and training. Border Collies love to be kept busy, and as an owner, you need to give them that opportunity.
The primary reason Border Collies bark a lot is that they were primarily bred as herding dogs – and herding livestock involves a lot of barking.
Border Collies are, therefore, also ideal as guard dogs. They bark when they notice something unusual to alert their family to possible danger.
However, if you live in a busy street with lots of neighbors and traffic, this is not always an advantage.
In this article, we will take a closer look at barking in Border Collies and show in which situations they like to bark.
We will also look at some ways to reduce barking in this breed.
Do Border Collies Bark a Lot?
Border Collies bark quite a lot, some even refer to them as barkers. These dogs are known to bark for almost any reason. It is their main form of communication.
Understandably, barking can quickly become annoying for owners. At certain times and in certain situations, it can even be perceived as very annoying.
If you have a Border Collie that barks excessively, it is important to find out why they are barking and what they are trying to communicate. Only then can you work on reducing the barking.
The reason why Border Collies bark so often and so much comes down to their herding instinct. Border Collies have used barking to herd cattle for many generations.
It is, therefore, important for owners to realize that this is a completely natural and instinctive process.
However, there are also specific situations that can trigger barking. These situations include
- The Border Collie wants to be friendly and express his feelings
- Someone knocks on the door
- The dog is playful
- He is hungry, and the bowl is empty
- The Border Collie wants to go for a walk or let off steam
- The dog is bored
- It feels lonely and needs attention
- The Border Collie wants to be stroked
A Border Collie simply needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation. If he doesn’t get at least 1-2 hours of exercise a day, he will inevitably become restless.
Activity and exercise is his way of getting rid of excess energy. Too much sitting around leads to boredom and, therefore, restlessness.
His mind also needs to be kept busy with mentally stimulating activities. If you fail to do this, your Border Collie will let you know.
Border Collies are known to bark until they get the attention they want. And most Border Collies always want attention from their humans.
Over time, this can be emotionally draining for even the most loving owners.
The importance of effective and consistent dog training cannot be overemphasized. It is so important, both for the dog owner and their dog.
Keep in mind, however, that barking can also indicate a health problem. While some dogs with health problems become quiet and lethargic, others may start barking.
This may simply be a minor issue causing mild discomfort. However, it could also be something more serious, and the dog is injured or in pain.
If you notice a sudden increase in barking, you should check your dog for health problems. Sometimes a visit to the vet is also necessary to determine the cause of the barking and correct the underlying problem.
Can Border Collies Be Calm and Quiet?
It’s hard to imagine that a Border Collie can ever be truly calm and quiet. They are notoriously hyperactive, their energetic nature is considered a breed trait, especially in the first half of their lives.
Their energy has always been in demand, and their high activity levels have meant that they have always been able to get things done.
Although it is difficult to get a Border Collie to calm down, it is definitely possible with a lot of patience and consistency. However, a Border Collie will never become a lap dog that spends all day on the sofa.
If a Border Collie is too energetic, this may be due to a health problem. Therefore, always have him checked by a vet before you take any measures to calm him down.
Let’s take a look at some of the measures you can take to calm a Border Collie.
Change of Diet
A good first step in making your Border Collie calmer is to reduce your dog’s protein and fat intake.
These dogs are very high-energy, and a high level of protein and fat in their diet provides extra calories, which can lead to excess energy.
Make sure you change their diet gradually to avoid stomach upsets. Discuss your dog’s nutritional needs with your vet first, and make sure you only feed them high-quality food.
Reducing protein and fat in their diet doesn’t mean you should feed them poor-quality food. They still need plenty of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.
Make sure your Border Collie can burn off energy throughout the day.
Being working dogs, Border Collies enjoy to chase after things. You should make sure that this instinct is incorporated into his play.
Let your dog run in a safe place with plenty of space. Throw him a ball or frisbee so he can stretch his legs. Of course, it’s ideal if you have a large, fenced-in garden.
You can also put a ball-throwing machine in a room for him. This will allow your Border Collie to follow his hunting instinct, even if you don’t have time to play with him at the moment.
If you have the opportunity, set up a room in your home filled with this and other toys. Your dog can play there and let off steam while you are busy.
Make sure you close all doors so that your Border Collie can’t get into mischief when he’s bored. Otherwise, consider baby gates or other devices.
In severe cases, you can add herbal tranquilizers to your dog’s food. These are ideal for severe hyperactivity or for dogs suffering from separation anxiety.
However, do not use unknown products or tranquilizers that are intended for hyperactivity. Even if these products work, they are unsuitable for calming your dog.
In addition, many Border Collies carry the MRD1 gene, which can have disastrous consequences when combined with certain tranquilizers.
Herbal tranquilizers are made from natural ingredients that promote the release of natural hormones.
These natural substances can support your Border Collie in calming down without the dangers associated with prescription tranquilizers.
If you choose to use herbal supplements, be sure to do thorough research and speak with your veterinarian before purchasing and taking them.
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, placing unwashed clothing in his room can sometimes help. The smell of his human on the garment often helps to calm an anxious dog.
How Can I Get My Border Collie to Stop Barking?
After you have found out what triggers your collie to bark, you need to remove that trigger if possible.
If your dog barks because he wants to go outside, see if this is possible. If this is not the case, or it is not the right time, pull down the blinds or close the curtains to block his view of the garden.
This also works very well if you live in a noisy, busy area or are expecting a parcel.
As mentioned earlier, keep your dog active. Provide him with frequent and regular activity throughout the day, preferably in the form of regular walks and play. This will distract him and prevent boredom.
Another important point is to ensure that your Border Collie has sufficient social contact.
The Border Collie is a very loyal and caring breed. He is protective of his family and loved ones, which can be equally good and bad.
If he is not sufficiently socialized, you may notice that he barks more often around people, as he sees every new person as a threat.
So if you notice your dog barking more often around people, this could be a sign that he needs more socialization. You can do this by introducing him to new people and places.
Take him to the park more often or visit a dog school together where he learns to interact with other dogs and people.
Take treats with you to ensure that the dog sees meeting new people as a positive experience.
If you are consistent, your Border Collie will soon learn not to bark in the presence of other people, whether it’s family, friends, or strangers.
Unfortunately, most Border Collies have multiple triggers for barking. So you should find out what your dog’s triggers are.
Effective training will help you to recognize these triggers and respond accordingly.
It is important that you always use the same short commands, such as “quiet” or “stop”, when training your Border Collie.
Give the command in a firm but calm voice. Do not shout at your dog, as he does not understand what shouting means and will interpret it differently. You will find that it does not have the desired effect.
When teaching your dog to sit and down, do not do this while trying to train him to stop barking.
While you can’t completely stop your collie from barking, you can minimize the volume of barking through distraction.
Essentially, you are teaching your dog to bark on command by saying “speak” or “bark”. Such commands let him know when it’s okay to bark.
Let your collie bark a few times until he stops; then you can give him a treat.
Once your collie has understood the signal for barking on command, you can teach him the signal for “quiet”. Offer your collie praise and treats when he obeys your commands.
Conclusion: Do Border Collies Bark a Lot?
Border Collies naturally bark a lot. As herding dogs, barking is part of their toolbox.
However, barking is not always really necessary, especially if you don’t have a flock of sheep in the garden for him to guard. You don’t have to put up with unwanted barking.
You can’t stop Border Collies from communicating in this way, but you can at least reduce it and control it to a certain extent.
If you want to stop your Collie barking, be consistent, but don’t shout at him because shouting is counterproductive. If you do, you are likely to lose your dog’s trust, and this will inadvertently set you back.
Instead, practice consistency and patience, and be sure to train your dog from an early age. In time, your efforts will pay off, and your dog will be better-behaved and disciplined.