How to Train an Australian Shepherd to Not Bark

Medium
3-6 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You may have noticed that dogs, like humans, like to talk. The big difference is that they talk by barking. If your Australian Shepherd barks seemingly incessantly, it is far too easy to dismiss it as your pooch is simply barking to hear his own voice. Your pup might actually be barking as a form of manipulation, in that he knows that the more he barks, the more likely you are to give in and give him what he wants.

Doing this would be a terrible mistake. Once you start down this road, your dog will bark even more to get the things he wants. There are, of course, times when your dog might be barking for a good reason, such as to warn you of something, when he is really anxious, when you are playing, or when he is simply bored. It is important for you to realize the difference and only work to discourage your pooch from barking when there is no reason for him to make any noise at all.

Defining Tasks

No one wants a dog that barks constantly. Not only is annoying for you, but you can bet your pup is annoying virtually all of your neighbors. The concept is to train your dog that, while there may be times when it is okay for him to bark, the vast majority of the time he needs to hold his tongue and give everyone a little peace and quiet.

Keep in mind the average Australian Shepherd tends to bark a lot, making it a little more challenging to get him to stop barking unless you give him the 'speak' command or there is a situation in which he needs to bark to alert you. 

Getting Started

Since you are working on more advanced training, before you get started, be sure your pup has mastered the four basic commands, 'come', 'sit', 'stay', and 'down'. Teaching your pup these first helps to establish your position as the alpha in the pack. Remember, your dog sees his human family as his pack and he needs to know his place in the pack from the outset. The only supplies you need is a big bag of your pup's favorite treats, plenty of time, and an abundant supply of patience. 

The Caught You Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
You need treats
You need to start out each training session with a pocketful of your pup's favorite treats. You will be using them to reward your pooch when he gets things right.
Step
2
Is that you I hear?
The next time your pooch decides to go off on a barking fit, just let him go to town. However, you do need to keep a close eye on him.
Step
3
When he stops
At some point in time, your pup is going to get tired of hearing himself bark. You need to be there when he does with plenty of praise and a treat. Repeat this process over the next few days, helping your pup to associate the fact he stopped barking with getting a treat.
Step
4
Be quiet
Now is a great time to introduce your cue word, "Quiet" to your pooch. Start by letting him start barking, then when stops barking, say "Quiet" in a firm commanding voice and give him plenty of praise and a treat or two. Repeat until he associates the cue "Quiet" with stopping the noise and getting a treat.
Step
5
Time is on your side
To firmly affix this behavior in his mind, continue with the training and start adding more time between when he stops and when you give him the treat. It will take a little time, but the peace and quiet will be more than worth the work.
Recommend training method?

The Tell Me About It Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
On the leash again
Clip your pooch's leash on, it will help you maintain control during the training sessions.
Step
2
Tell me all about it then
This method assumes you've already taught your dog to bark on command. Give your pup the 'speak' command and let him start to bark. But, when he does, be sure to give him the 'quiet' command right away. Be sure to use a firm, commanding voice.
Step
3
Wait for it
Wait for your pup to stop barking on his own. When he does, be sure to give him a treat and plenty of praise. Practice this for a few days.
Step
4
More time, please
Now that your pup knows he is going to get a treat when he stops barking, you need to take advantage of this and start extending the time between when he stops and when you give him a treat.
Step
5
The final step
The final step in this training is simply to keep working with your pup until he no longer barks unless you give him permission, or he deems the situation is dire enough that he needs to alert you.
Recommend training method?

The Show Him Your Back Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Treats first
Before you start training your pup, you need to fill at least one pocket with some of your pup's favorite treats.
Step
2
On the spot
Chances are good there are certain areas of the house or yard that tend to set your pup off barking incessantly. Take him to one of those spots and then spend a little time with him.
Step
3
Hello, is that you?
Each time your pup decides to go off on a barking tangent, simply turn your back to him and completely ignore the noise.
Step
4
Silence is golden
At some point your pup will stop barking, and when he does, be right there with plenty of praise and a treat or two.
Step
5
Press repeat
The rest is all about repeating the training and slowly adding more time to how long he must wait for his treat. In time, your pup will learn when he can and when he cannot get away with barking.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd