How to Train Your Collie Dog to Not Bark

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Collies make wonderful farm dogs, herding dogs, and family pets. But like all dogs, they have a tendency to bark and not always for a good reason. Sometimes, it can seem as though your pup is simply barking to hear his own voice. Collies are active dogs with an easygoing temperament. They are highly intelligent and learn most new behaviors very quickly. However, you may find that when it comes to vocalizing their feelings, teaching your pup to be quiet can be more than a little challenging.

Collies can be taught just about anything, but they tend to be a bit on the stubborn side. If you want your pup to stop barking, you have to decide which method you are going to use and stick with it. You'll need to work with him every day in several short sessions for as long as it takes for him to finally figure out that barking when he feels like it is simply not acceptable behavior. 

Defining Tasks

The first thing you need to do when you get ready to train your pup to not bark is to realize that there are times when do you want your dog to bark. These include when someone is at the door, if someone is trying to break in, or if there is a fire in your home. But of course, no one wants a dog that is going to bark like a madman for seemingly no reason. Most trainers believe the best way to teach a dog to not bark is to first teach him when it is okay for him to bark.

There is one thing about training your pup to be quiet that has to be taken care of first. Your pup needs to have mastered the four basic commands of 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'. This accomplishes two things: first, it establishes who is in charge and second, it gives you an idea of how quickly your pup can learn new things. 

Getting Started

Unlike many tricks that require a long list of supplies like toys, leashes, dummies, etc. teaching your dog not to bark requires very little in the way of supplies. In fact, the only things you really need are plenty of patience, time for training, and a healthy supply of his favorite treats.

The rest is all about having plenty of time and patience to keep working with your pup teaching him when it's okay to bark and that he should be quiet the rest of the time. Ideally, you should have already taught your pup to speak on command.

The Catch Him in the Act Method

ribbon-method-1
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Grab those treats
Pick up a bag of your pup's favorite chewy treats to use as rewards when he gets things right.
Step
2
When next he barks
The next time he barks at the wrong time, keep an eye on him until he gets tired of hearing his own voice and stops barking.
Step
3
The moment he stops
The moment he stops barking, be standing by his side so you can praise him and give him one of those treats. Do this several times to reinforce how when he stopped barking, he was praised and received a treat.
Step
4
Add the command
The next time he barks, wait until he stops, introduce the command word "Quiet!" and then give him the treat. Repeat a few times to give him time to associate the command word with the action and the treat.
Step
5
Stretch it out
At this point, you should start extending the time between when your dog stops barking, and you reward him. The more you work with him, the sooner he will learn not to bark when you say "Quiet!" and in time will only bark when he has a good reason.
Recommend training method?

The Speak to Me Method

ribbon-method-2
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
On the leash
Call your pup over and clip him on his leash. This lets him know who the boss is. It also helps you maintain control of him.
Step
2
Introduce the 'speak' command
Give your pup's 'speak' command, but the moment he starts to bark, tell him to be "Quiet!" in a firm, no-nonsense tone.
Step
3
Patience, my friend
Patiently wait for your pup to stop barking. The moment he finally stops, praise him and give him a treat. Repeat this to help your pup associate the command with the action and the reward.
Step
4
It's all about the timing
So, you've taught your pup to stop barking on command with an immediate reward. Now you need to teach him to hold his tongue for a longer period of time. The way to do this is to start stretching out the time between his stopping his barking and when he gets his treat.
Step
5
Make it stick
The rest is up to you, you need to spend as much time as possible working with your pup. In time, he will learn that he should only bark at the appropriate times and the rest of the time you and your family can finally enjoy a little peace and quiet.
Recommend training method?

The Turn Away Method

ribbon-method-3
Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Pop some treats
Pop a handful of treats in your pocket that you can use to reward your pup when he gets things right.
Step
2
Out to train
Take your dog to one of the areas that cause him to bark incessantly and spend a little time with him playing around.
Step
3
When he barks
Each time he starts barking, simply turn away from him and completely ignore him. The idea here is for your dog to put 2 and 2 together or, in this case, the fact that when he barks you turn away from him.
Step
4
When all is quiet
The moment your dog stops barking, give him your "Quiet" command and give him a treat.
Step
5
And further on
Keep repeating this training, choosing different locations, with distractions and without them, and every time he gets it right, give him a treat. This method can take a little while, but your pup will eventually learn that there are no rewards to his crazy non-stop barking at everything.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Atlas
Bearded Collie Border Collie mix
7 Months
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Question
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Atlas
Bearded Collie Border Collie mix
7 Months

He is good at come and sit and down, but barks and can bite a lot. We'v tried trainers and training but nothing seems to help?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rebecca, First, for the barking, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with him so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - which will be a form of punishment - neither too harsh nor ineffective. An e-collar or Pet Convincer are two of the most effective types of interrupter for most dogs. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). An e-collar, aka remote training collar, uses stimulation to interrupt the dog. Only use a high quality e-collar for this, such as E-collar technologies mini educator, Dogtra, SportDog, or Gamin. A good collar should have at least 40 levels, the more levels the more accurately you can train - finding the lowest level your dog will respond to, called a "Working level" so the training is less adverse. In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Most bark training only gives part of that equation. Fitting an e-collar - it should be put on while he is calm, just standing around - Ideally have him wear the collar around for a while before starting any training so he won't associate the training with the collar but just with his barking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLxB6gYsliI Finding the level to use for him (sometimes you will have to go 1 or 2 levels higher during training while the dog is aroused but once he improves you can usually decrease back to his normal level again) - this training level is called a dog's "Working level": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cl3V8vYobM Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing him a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever he DOESN'T bark around something that he normally would have, calmly praise and reward him to continue the desensitization process. For the biting, I would work on things that increase pup's impulse control. The following are good commands to help increase impulse control. Leave It and Out and Place can specifically be used with the biting. Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Check out James Penrith from taketheleaddogtraining on youtube. If pup is easily aroused, higher energy, and higher drive, he works with a lot of dogs who fit that description. Sean O'Shea is a trainer online who you may also find helpful. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Norman
Border Collie
4 Years
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Question
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Norman
Border Collie
4 Years

This barking behaviour started a little over a year ago. When I go walking or running and let him off the leash he incessantly barks at me, speeds away and speeds back, generally not stopping in time. Bit of a safety issue when running. Followed by another round or barking. This will settle down after a few minutes but if you stop he will sit there but may start barking at me. Definitely will start barking again once we start walking. He will stop when I turn my back on him. Not realistic when running or biking. Mountain biking on trails the same thing. More of a problem as I have to break so I don't run over him. Put him on the leash and he stops. Doesn't bark at home. HELP

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kevin, It sounds like pup may be barking as a way to release his excitement when highly aroused during the exercise - he may also be trying to control your movement or initiate play with you. First, you need a way to communicate with him so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Practice having pup on a long training leash, like 20 or 30 foot and a padded back clip harness for safety and so you can enforce commands consistently. Next, with pup on the long leash, once pup understands what Quiet means from previous practice, choose an interrupter such as a vibration collar or unscented air pet convincer. Command Quiet. If pup gets quiet and stays quiet for a moment, reward pup. If pup continues barking or stops but starts again right away, calmly interrupt pup by saying "Ah Ah" and correcting with your interrupter. When pup is overly aroused also pause your walk or work him through some obedience commands like Sit, Down, Stand and Heel in quick but calm succession, to help pup refocus again. I would work on teaching pup some directional commands too, like Heeling off leash, or going certain directions on the trail ahead of you, and returning to your side, to also help pup focus more on a job to help with the excess mental energy he needs to release. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Callie
Collie
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Callie
Collie
6 Months

Callie barks constantly, and I mean constantly, at everything. She also jumps on people and things, often scratching us and sometimes biting us (not in an aggressive way, just when she’s playing). We have 3 cats, and she is always chasing them, no matter how many times we correct her. We’ve tried everything. If we ignore her, she barks even louder. If we try to scold her, it startles her for a second and then she goes back to barking. The only thing that even sort of works is when we constantly throw her toys, but even then she gets easily distracted by the cats or our other dog. I don’t want to be convinced that she’ll grow out of this, only to figure out when she’s an adult that it won’t go away. What should we do?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
981 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kate, First, for the barking, I suggest combining a few things in your case. You need a way to communicate with her so I suggest teaching the Quiet command from the Quiet method in the article I have linked below - don't expect this alone to work but it will be part of the puzzle for what I will suggest next. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Next, once pup understands what Quiet means you will choose an interrupter - neither too harsh nor ineffective. A Pet Convincer is one example of an interrupter. A pet convincer is a small canister of pressurized, unscented air that you can spray a quick puff of at the dog's side to surprise them enough to help them calm back down. (Don't use citronella and avoid spraying in the face!). In situations where you know pup will bark or is already barking (catch them before they bark if you can), command "Quiet". If they obey, reward with a treat and very calm praise. If they bark anyway or continue to bark, say "Ah Ah" firmly but calmly and give a brief correction. Repeat the correction each time they bark until you get a brief pause in the barking. When they pause, praise and reward then. The combination of communication, correction, and rewarding - with the "Ah Ah" and praise to mark their good and bad behavior with the right timing, is very important. Once pup is calmer in general after the initial training, practice exposing her a lot to the things that trigger the barking normally (make a list - even if it's long). Whenever she DOESN'T bark around something that she normally would have, calmly praise and reward her throughout the day to continue the desensitization process. By doing this you are conditioning pup to stay calm more often automatically on her own. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Kona
Rough Collie
11 Weeks
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Question
0 found helpful
Kona
Rough Collie
11 Weeks

At 11 weeks. (We just got him 2 days ago from a breeder) Is it to early to start training. Or is it the earlier the better?

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
249 Dog owners recommended

Hello! The earlier the better. You can start teaching 1-2 new commands per week, and practicing them daily in 10 minute blocks of time. You can extend the time up to about 20 minutes as your puppy gets older.

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Maggie
Border Collie
14 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Maggie
Border Collie
14 Months

Maggie seems to bark at random dogs and people. She is a wonderful dog apart from this behaviour

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, when you have Maggie out on walks, be constantly working on her heel command. This will have her focusing on you as you walk, and less likely to bark at people and dogs. Try the Stop and Go Method and the Turns Method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel. Also work on the Quiet Method as described here: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark. This command will come in handy in any instance, whether inside the home or outside. Be consistent and practice 20 minutes a day. Border Collies are very smart, so she'll pick up on it quickly. Make sure that Maggie gets tons of exercise and she'll continue to be a wonderful dog. Take her to dog training to ensure that she is getting socialized with other dogs. If she is not, she may tend to bark at them. Good luck!

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