Shelties are wonderful dogs to have. They almost look like a collie and they’re extremely easy to train. They’re also a dog that likes to bark a lot. Until you’ve owned one, you probably would have never known that barking is part of their natural instincts.
For most people, dogs barking all the time is a problem. Barking is communication for dogs, so there is a reason shelties bark a lot.
Read on to see why barking is a part of their nature, understand why do shelties bark so much, and how to deal with the problem.
Why do shelties bark so much?
Let’s set off by talking about shelties’ origins. Shelties were first bred in the early 1900s in the Shetland Islands. The best way to describe their looks is they look like mini collies.
Pomeranians and rough collies were also used to help shape the Shelties that we know today.
Also, as you well know, Pomeranians naturally bark a lot, and it’s one of the reasons why the modern Sheltie does this today. They are herding dogs, so that means that they are meant to be working on a farm.
These dogs are best at herding sheep, cattle, etc. because they use their bark to guide the herd on where to go.
They were also good at alerting their owners when strangers came on the land. With that said, barking is a natural trait of a sheltie. The problem is, they bark more than anyone would like.
Here are reasons shelties may bark a lot:
Shelties are herding dogs. So if they’re not doing something most of the time, they will probably bark out of boredom.
If your sheltie has nothing to do, why not train them in new tricks? Why not give them puzzle toys that require thinking?
These dogs are extremely intelligent, but if their brains are not being used, they will bark out of boredom. They could bark at every stranger and perhaps every dog that may come by.
It can also be that their environment isn’t enriching them enough. For example, if a sheltie is left at home alone all the time, it will involve itself in destructive behavior such as barking and possibly destroying the house.
Shelties can bark often if they are often in a stressful situation. If they’re near other dogs and your sheltie is reactive, they will bark to let you and others know they are uncomfortable.
If there are health issues, they can bark to let you know. Shelties in pain will certainly let you know, so that’s when you’ll want to take them to the vet to make sure there isn’t anything wrong with them.
Shelties Barking Types
There are some types of barks that can identify if you know what to hear. Here are the barks that shelties do:
You’ll hear a normal bark with some high pitch yip. You’ll see their tag wagging as they bark this way. For this reason, there is no reason to get mad at a sheltie for this bark. This kind of bark is completely normal.
This kind of bark is rapid and high pitch. This means that the dog is fearful and possibly reactive. For this reason, there are reasons to be concerned and it will need intervention.
Shelties are known for altering their owners of any intruders going on the land back in the day. So, it’s a natural habit for a sheltie to bark if strangers happen on their territory. For this kind of problem, you can train the sheltie not to treat strangers as intruders.
How to stop your sheltie from barking
Now that you know what causes your sheltie to bark, you are wondering about the solutions.
Of course, the most obvious solution that anyone can say is “get them trained when they’re puppies”. While that saying is true for every breed of dog, there are other ways to help your Sheltie to stop barking.
As the old saying goes, a tired dog is a good dog. The same goes for shelties. If you walk your sheltie on a regular basis, they will be too tired to bark at whatever would want to make them bark.
- Get them checked by a vet
As we’ve mentioned earlier, sometimes shelties bark if there is something wrong with them physically. So, get them checked by a vet to ensure that there is no issue.
If there aren’t any medical issues with your sheltie, then the vet will refer you to a dog behaviorist, which we will talk about next.
- Involve a dog behaviorist
If you have a hard time training your sheltie not to bark, you can involve a dog behaviorist.
A dog behaviorist can help you determine what causes the barking and how to deal with it. They can help show you techniques that can motivate your sheltie to stop barking.
While it’s an investment, it can be an excellent investment to maintain peace within the household.
- Give your sheltie jobs
As we discussed earlier, shelties are herding dogs. They are meant to be busy with jobs. If they aren’t doing anything, they will bark at you because they will consider it their job.
Anything that moves fast by shelties they will take it upon themselves to herd it by barking. They will also bark at strangers and anything else that moves. So, it’s important that the sheltie is kept busy.
If you have a sheltie as a pet, you can give shelties agility jobs. These jobs are mentally and physically stimulating.
They also help your sheltie bond with you more because you’re teaching them new tricks and skills.
- Reduce Anxiety
Some shelties are extremely anxiety-ridden. So, out of fear, they bark a lot to show how uncomfortable they are. To figure out what’s causing him/her to be anxious, you’ll need to identify triggers.
A lot of dogs are afraid of thunderstorms and fireworks. For that, you can try petting your sheltie and speaking to him/her calmly.
You’ll have to do this over and over until your sheltie realizes there’s no reason to be panicking. When she or he stops barking, you should always praise her or him and give him a treat.
Most dogs are treat-motivated. This is one of the better ways to deal with your sheltie’s anxiety and barking.
However, if you have tried everything, consult your dog behaviorist on how to reduce the sheltie’s anxiety. They can recommend products that will work specifically for your sheltie or tell you to contact your vet. Your vet can prescribe anxiety medication to help deal with anxiety.
Whatever is driving your sheltie’s anxiety, it’s important to address it so that she or he can be less stressed. A less-stressed dog means a quieter dog, which is what we’re aiming for here.
For all breeds, the best time to train your sheltie for good behavior is when they’re puppies.
Their peak barking years are between 1-4 years, so it’s definitely something you’ll want to get under control. For example, if your Sheltie barks at someone mowing their lawn, she wants you to know that the lawnmower is there. But you can correct that behavior by giving her or him a firm “SHH!”.
In this way, you are letting your sheltie know you know it’s there and they don’t need to be alarmed at it. If they are quiet for some time, you can reward the sheltie with a treat. If not, don’t reward. Shelties are smart, they will get the message with consistent training.
Remember that all dogs, including shelties, feed on our energy. If we’re yelling, they will assume that it’s a stressful situation and will bark.
If we’re nervous, again, they can pick up on that energy and bark. So it’s always best to approach training as calmly as possible so that your dog will feel that nothing is wrong.
If you need help with obedience training for your sheltie, you can contact your local dog trainer.
Dog trainers are experienced in dealing with barking problems in all breeds, so don’t be afraid to employ one if it’s not going well for you. A well-trained sheltie is a happy sheltie.
Shelties are loveable dogs that families love to have. But when you’re not used to them, their high-alert shrilly bark will probably catch you off guard.
A sheltie usually finds its voice within the first year, so it’s a good time to get the barking under control while she or he is young.
The earlier it’s under control, the happier everyone, including your sheltie, will be. We hope this article gives you insight into why do shelties bark so much and how to correct them.
When your sheltie learns the “no bark” command, life will be more enjoyable with one. It will take a little time to train her or him, but in the end, both you and the sheltie will live a happier and quieter life.