Sometimes I sit in my backyard and hear different dogs in the neighborhood barking for different reasons. However, one always stands out in particular. Our neighbors’ Australian Shepherd. I was wondering if every Australian Shepherd barks a lot and why.
Australian Shepherds are one of those dog breeds that bark more than others but not excessively either. The Australian Shepherd is a working dog that was used to herd cattle, for example, but also to guard farms and yards. The barking is a means to perform their “work”. However, excessive barking is not normal in the Aussie either.
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Reasons why an Australian Shepherd barks
First of all, you need to know that barking is the most important form of communication in dogs.
The Australian Shepherd is a very intelligent dog breed that barks for a variety of reasons.
The Aussie needs more attention than other dogs. If they don’t get it, they may try to get attention by barking.
It is possible that he wants to warn you because an unknown person is approaching.
The guarding instinct of an Aussie should not be underestimated.
Your dog is bored. With too little activity, an Australian Shepherd tends to bark more.
Hunger, thirst, or fear can also be the reason why your Aussie barks.
Australian Shepherd barks because he is a herding dog?
Barking is in the blood of an Australian Shepherd as it is in all other dog breeds. First and foremost, it is their way of communicating.
Then there are simply breeds that naturally bark more than others. You have to come to terms with that. Whether the Aussie belongs to it we will see later.
As a rule, the “barking” also has something to do with the original use of the dogs.
The Australian Shepherd is a herding dog, which was used in the USA mainly for herding cattle but also other animals.
Barking, besides nipping their heels, is a tool to do their job. Namely to herd the cattle or sheep.
However, you can’t say across the board that an Australian Shepherd barks a lot for this reason.
In various forums, I have read that the Aussie uses barking only in exceptional situations. If the sheep or cattle are not to be caught at all.
Often it is then also frustrating barking because the herding does not work out as it should.
However, it is not the norm for an Australian Shepherd to bark constantly while herding.
If the dog barked all the time while herding, it would create unnecessary pressure and stress on the sheep or cattle, which would make herding more difficult.
I have also watched countless videos of Aussies and other dogs herding cattle or sheep. As a rule, the dogs herd “quietly” without excessive barking.
So you can’t conclude that an Australian Shepherd barks a lot because he is a herding dog and that is normal.
Australian Shepherd barks because he is a guard dog
However, the Australian Shepherd is also used as a guard dog. Besides herding cattle and sheep, his job was to guard the farm or ranch.
So if something unusual happens or someone unknown approaches he strikes. That is good in that case and his task.
Now you have to keep in mind that somewhere outside the city on a farm or ranch little happens that causes the Aussie to strike and bark.
If you live in a densely populated area and someone is constantly walking by your garden fence, it is possible that your Aussie’s guard instinct is constantly triggered and he barks a lot.
This can be annoying for you and especially for the neighbors in the long run. A dog that is used as a guard dog simply barks more than others. You have to be clear about this before you buy the dog.
If you are considering whether an Australian Shepherd or a Border Collie is the right dog for you, the Border would be the better choice.
How to stop barking in an Australian Shepherd
You can and should try to stop and contain the barking at every little thing.
There are the classic tips that you read and see on TV like water spraying or fidget bottle. Unwanted behavior, in this case, “barking at the fence” is tried to stop by negative consequences.
Whether this is good or bad, you can not say in general.
Because there are dogs for which it is not necessary and there are dogs that simply need a harder education. In case of doubt, this should be decided by an experienced dog trainer.
Besides the negative consequence, there is also the positive reinforcement.
This means that you reward your dog when he stays calm in these situations and does not yelp at the door or fence.
This can be done with treats, petting, or even verbal praise. This is how your dog learns the behavior shown namely “staying calm” is positive.
You will probably never get the barking completely out, as it is simply a natural reaction in guard dogs you can however reduce it significantly.
Is your Australian Shepherd barking excessively?
In addition to your Australian Shepherd’s natural barking, it is unfortunately not uncommon for him to bark or yelp excessively.
What is the reason for this?
An Australian Shepherd, as you know, is a herding dog. They are bred and used for work. That means an Australian Shepherd needs plenty of exercise and activity.
If you don’t cater to the urge to keep them busy for an extended period of time, it can end in frustrated barking.
The Australian Shepherd tends to bark a lot when not exercised enough. The Aussie “works” all day on a farm, herding cattle or sheep from A to B. They have endless energy. They have energy without end.
If you now believe that a walk of 30 minutes twice a day is enough to make your Australian Shepherd happy, I have to disappoint you.
The chances that you will get an Australian Shepherd that barks a lot because he is frustrated are very high.
Additionally, when there is a lack of activity, the Aussie tends to act out his natural herding instinct on other pets or your children.
The bottom line is that it is not a good idea to not keep an Australian Shepherd busy enough.
Conclusion: Does an Australian Shepherd bark a lot?
It depends. An Australian Shepherd does not naturally bark excessively. Especially when herding, they tend to be “quiet” and only bark in an emergency or out of frustration when the “herding” doesn’t work out. However, the Australian Shepherd is also a guard dog, which announces unusual or unknown persons by barking. Depending on where or how you live, this can actually lead to frequent barking. However, with the right training, this can and should be worked on.
The most common reason why an Australian Shepherd barks a lot is that the owners are not meeting the physical and mental demands. They need plenty of exercises and mental occupation to be happy. If the Aussie doesn’t have enough to do it gets frustrated quickly and tends to bark a lot.
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