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Do Border Collies Bark a Lot? How Much & How to Stop It

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

happy border collie

Do Border Collies Bark a Lot? How Much & How to Stop It

Every dog is an individual—some are quiet, some are vocal, and some are a bit of both, but no matter which breed you get, they all make noise to an extent. There’s no way to know how vocal a dog will be until you get to know their personality, but generalizations can certainly give us a heads-up as to which breeds may be louder than others. One of the breeds with a reputation for being rather “outspoken” is the Border Collie.

In this post, we’ll explore the Border Collies’ barking habits, what may trigger them to bark, and share some tips on how to reduce excessive barking if this is what you’re dealing with.


Do Border Collies Bark a Lot?

As mentioned, there’s no way to predict how an individual dog will behave, but, in general, Border Collies are known for being pretty vocal. Border Collies are very smart, sociable, and full of energy—these are not the kinds of dogs to enjoy lounging about all day or spending a lot of time alone. For this reason, they may communicate with you by barking to get your attention or express a variety of emotions.

The Border Collie’s mental aptitude can make them prone to boredom and destructive behavior if they’re not mentally stimulated enough. If your Border Collie barks excessively, it would be worth asking yourself if they’re getting enough mental stimulation and physical exercise on a daily basis.

female border collie lying on grass
Image Credit: Elayne Massaini, Shutterstock

Moreover, they were originally bred as herding dogs and even a Border Collie that has never set foot on a farm or ranch will have received certain predispositions from their ancestors. Herding breeds have a tendency to be very alert and to alert their owners to things, so your Border Collie may be very sensitive to various stimuli and interpret certain sights and sounds as something they need to let you know about.

For example, a Border Collie may perceive a passing car, an approaching stranger, or a strange new object as things to alert you to. It all comes down to their vigilant and protective nature.

divider-dogTop 5 Tips on How to Stop Excessive Barking

Though barking is normal canine behavior, it can become a problem when it’s in excess. If your Border Collie barks an awful lot, there are several potential causes, including separation anxiety, boredom, trying to communicate their needs to you, being too responsive to stimuli like strangers, things going on on the other side of a window, and certain objects and noises.

Once you’ve identified what causes your Border Collie to bark excessively (a vet or behaviorist can help you with this if you’re unsure), here are some tips for reducing the behavior:

1. Check Their Needs Are Being Met

If your Border Collie barks a lot, only at certain times, they may need something from you. For example, if their food or water bowl is empty, they might bark to let you know. Or perhaps they need to be let out to go to the bathroom.

It’s a good idea to check these things regularly—for example, even if you left plenty of water out in the morning, it may have spilled over or gotten all gunked up by the afternoon. Change out the water regularly, feed on a schedule, and make sure your Border Collie is getting enough bathroom breaks during the day.

Border Collies Eating
Image By: Alicia Fdez, Shutterstock

2. Keep Boredom at Bay

Dogs sometimes bark because they’re feeling bored. If this is the case, provide both mental enrichment in the form of daily interactive play sessions and by providing mentally stimulating toys (like obstacle feeders) for your Border Collie to get stuck into while you’re out of the house.

Physical exercise is another great way to reduce your Border Collie’s frustration. Is there a park nearby where your Border Collie can play off-leash with other dogs and run free in a safe environment? If so, this would really help them burn off that pent-up energy. Border Collies need around 2 hours of exercise per day at a minimum.

3. Praise Relaxed Behavior 

If you’re providing enough mental and physical exercise every day but your Border Collie barks at you often, they may be trying to get your attention because they want to play. If you respond to this by giving them attention, it will encourage the behavior. Instead, ignore your Border Collie when they bark at you and praise and reward them with a game when they calm down.

border collie_SoloStar_Pixabay
Image By: SoloStar, Pixabay

4. Block Distractions from View

For Border Collies spending a lot of time at the window barking at passers-by, cars, or whatever is going on outside, you’ll need to remove those distractions. This may mean closing the curtains or putting up blinds to prevent your Border Collie from becoming constantly overstimulated. Have interactive play sessions and offer toys like puzzle feeders to keep your Border Collie busy.

5. Desensitize Your Border Collie

If certain objects or sounds trigger your Border Collie, desensitizing them to these objects and sounds is key. For example, if the sound of a siren sends your Border Collie into a barking frenzy, try playing a siren sound effect at a low volume and gradually increase the volume over the next days and weeks until they no longer react to it.

Just be careful not to start too loud too soon, as this could stress your Border Collie out. If they do get stressed, turn off the sound effects and start again at another time at a lower volume.

border collie puppy practicing tricks
Image By: Geertes, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

Border Collies are known for being prone to barking, but you can curb this behavior with proper socialization and training—ideally as early as possible. Though excessive barking can be frustrating, it’s important to never punish your dog, as this will damage the bond you have with them.

Instead, try to figure out the root of the problem and take steps toward changing the behavior. If you’re having trouble getting your Border Collie to stop barking excessively, it’s well worth contacting a professional trainer for support.

Featured Image Credit: JGaland, Pixabay

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