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Do Australian Shepherds Bark A Lot? (36 Owners Asked!)

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Before adding an australian shepherd to a family, many people wonder if they bark a lot. So we decided to ask 36 different australian shepherd owners if their aussie barked a lot or was generally quiet.

Excessive barking can really be a make or break for some people. So..

Do Australian Shepherds Bark A Lot:

After surveying 36 different australian shepherds we found that 80.5% of them said yes when asked if australian shepherds bark a lot. Which is understandable given an aussies herding background. 19.5% said their australian shepherd was quiet for the most part but still barked occasionally. 

In this post you’ll discover:

  • The truth behind australian shepherds and their barking
  • 15 reasons why australian shepherds bark a lot
  • 5 tips to help reduce an australian shepherds barking (Tip #4 is the most effective!)
  • And much more

Let’s jump right in.

australian shepherd barking

What Real Australian Shepherd Owners Had To Say About Barking

After looking at various forums, blog comments, quora responses and australian shepherd reddit communities, most australian shepherd owners shared that their aussie barked a lot.

Here’s a list of the usernames of australian shepherd owners who weighed in:

People who said yes their australian shepherd barked a lot.

missmegagbregman9 slktrx

People who said their australian shepherd didn’t bark much.

dancingshady anonymous nikolaiuk

29 out of 36 said that their australian shepherd would bark at anything and everything and found it difficult to stop them from doing so.

7 shared that they’ve never had a problem with their australian shepherd barking excessively.

Which is pretty much what I expected to find.

While different australian shepherds can have different personalities, many will be more likely to bark a lot due to their background.

All working breeds will be more vocal than non-working breeds.

Especially breeds that were primarily bred for herding, like australian shepherds.

They’re bred to be vocal so they can communicate with their owners as well as do their job.

While most aussies no longer work on farms, that instinct to bark is still there.

Which means without training to show an aussie when not to bark, they’re more likely to bark a lot.

Related Reading: 7 Simple Strategies To Help Quickly Calm A Reactive Dog

15 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Will Bark A Lot

1) Easily Excited

Considering how much natural energy australian shepherds have, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they’ll bark a lot from getting excited.

Whether it’s their owner coming home after a long day, seeing another dog while on a walk, or seeing a new toy in your hand.

They like to always be doing something, so when a new opportunity presents itself for something fun to do, they’re likely to bark.

The bottom line is if an aussie sees something or someone they really want to interact with there’s a good chance they’ll bark.

Related Reading: When Do Aussies Calm Down? Age By Age Breakdown + Tips

2) Wanting Something

Another common reason australian shepherds bark is because they want something, whether it’s attention, a toy, or a piece of what you’re eating.

If an aussie sees you eating something they like or smells something good cooking in the kitchen, they’re likely to start barking.

It could also be that they want to play fetch or simply want you to cuddle with them, pet them or give them any sort of attention.

When they bark it’s often a way for them to let you know they want something from you.

Aussies are very smart and are known to “talk” to their owners using barks, whines, and other sounds to let them know what they want.

3) Needing Something

Sometimes australian shepherds bark for very helpful reasons.

For example, when they need your help with something that they can’t do on their own.

Whether it’s going outside to use the bathroom, or they’re hungry and you’ve accidentally forgotten to refill their bowl.

If your aussie starts barking and scratching at the door, chances are they need to go outside.

Similarly, if they start barking while you’re in the kitchen, they may be trying to tell you that they’re hungry.

Aussies are very good at communicating their needs to their owners and often do so by barking.

4) Protective By Nature

Another reason australian shepherds bark a lot is because they’re protective by nature.

This breed was originally bred to work alongside farmers and ranchers, herding sheep and protecting them from predators.

So it’s in their DNA to be on the lookout for anything that might pose a threat to their pack (that’s you and your family).

That’s why they might start barking at the mailman, a squirrel in the yard, or a strange noise outside.

They’re just trying to protect their pack and keep them safe.

5) A Form Of Playing

For australian shepherds, barking can also be a form of playing.

If you’ve ever seen two aussies playing together, chances are they were barking at each other quite a bit.

It’s just their way of communicating and expressing/enjoying themselves while playing.

So if your aussie is barking while playing with another dog or with you, don’t be alarmed, they’re just having a good time.

6) Communicating

Barking is just one way australian shepherds communicate.

They also use their body language, facial expressions, and a bunch of other sounds to express themselves.

So if your aussie is barking at you, pay attention to their other cues as well to get a better idea of what they’re trying to say.

They might be trying to tell you that they’re hungry, thirsty, need to go outside, they’re afraid of something, there’s an intruder or they just want some attention.

If they could speak english they’d likely talk your ear off.

But since they can’t, they do what they can to communicate with you, and that’s bark.

Related Reading: Are Australian Shepherds Vocal & Talkative? (Explained!)

7) Simply Bored

This reason might happen more than you’d like.

Because australian shepherds are a considerably active breed, they need plenty of physical and mental stimulation each day.

If they don’t get it they’re known for being excessively vocal or bothersome.

They get bored quite easily and if they aren’t given things to do they’ll bark a lot for attention or because they’re trying to give themselves something to do.

Related Reading: Are Australian Shepherds High Maintenance? (Explained!)

8) Something’s Scaring Them

This is usually the case if your aussie is barking at something outside or in another room.

It could be a strange noise, someone walking by the house, or an animal they don’t recognize.

They might be barking out of fear or to try and scare the thing away.

If your aussie is barking and seems scared, it’s best to check things out to make sure everything is okay.

Chances are they’re just trying to protect you and their home from whatever is scaring them.

Related Reading: 8 Reasons Your Australian Shepherd Is Scared Of Everything

9) Not Enough Socializing

This is a big one, and something that can be easily fixed.

If your australian shepherd isn’t getting enough socialization they might bark a lot because they’re anxious or stressed.

Australian shepherds are very social dogs and need to interact with people and other animals on a regular basis.

Without it, they can become anxious, which can lead to excessive barking.

Not only do they get anxious easier when around unfamiliar dogs and people, but they never learn how to properly interact with new people/dogs.

Which means they’ll bark a lot because they never learned how to behave properly in unfamiliar situations.

10) Jealousy

When an australian shepherd barks from jealousy it goes hand in hand with a lack of socialization.

Jealousy usually happens when they’re around other people or animals and they feel like they’re being left out or replaced.

This can happen when, in their experience, you’ve only ever given attention to them.

Which means any time there’s ‘competition’ they feel threatened and bark a lot because they don’t like other people or dogs getting your attention.

Related Reading: 5 Reasons Why Australian Shepherds Get Jealous + 4 Tips

11) Frustration

This usually happens when an australian shepherd isn’t getting what they want.

They might be trying to get your attention, telling you they’re hungry or thirsty, if you take away a toy they were playing with, or that they need to go outside.

But for whatever reason, you’re not understanding them and they get frustrated.

So instead of continuing to try and communicate with you in the same way, they’ll often resort to barking.

It’s their way of trying to get your attention and getting you to understand what they want.

12) Anxiety

Anxiety is a big reason why many dogs, including australian shepherds, bark a lot.

There are a number of things that can cause anxiety in dogs, including: changes in routine, being left alone, loud noises, and unfamiliar people or animals.

Separation anxiety is one of the most severe forms of anxiety and can cause the most amount of barking.

They have such strong negative feelings whenever they’re apart from you it makes them bark until you come back to them.

Which is not only bad for them physically and mentally, but likely not fun for anyone who lives near you as well.

Related Reading: Australian Shepherd Anxiety: Symptoms, Causes & Solutions

13) Pent Up Energy

This is another big one, especially for australian shepherds.

As an active breed, they need a lot of exercise each day to stay healthy and happy.

If they don’t get enough they’ll start to get restless and that can lead to a lot of barking.

You might notice this more if you’ve been gone all day and they’ve been left alone.

When you come home they’ll be so excited to see you and will likely bark a lot as they release all that energy.

It’s important to make sure aussies get enough exercise, otherwise, it can lead to some serious behavioral problems down the road.

14) Instincts

As herding dogs, australian shepherds were bred to bark at animals to get them to move in the desired direction.

While they’re likely not herding sheep anymore, that instinct is still there and can cause them to bark a lot.

Whether it’s to warn their family of trespassers, to herd people in their family, or to scare off other animals on your property.

They see something moving and their instinct is to bark at it in an attempt to move it.

15) Unintentionally Trained To Bark

This is probably one of the most common reasons for why aussies bark a lot.

It’s not that they’re intentionally trying to be annoying, it’s just that people often inadvertently train them to do it.

For example, if every time your aussie starts barking you give them attention (even if it’s negative), they’ll learn that barking gets them what they want.

It could be something as simple as you yelling at them to stop barking, which in their mind is still attention.

Or if you give them a treat to try and get them to be quiet, that’s also rewarding their behavior.

Either way, it’s important to be aware of how you’re reacting to your aussie’s barking so you don’t accidentally make it worse.

Top 5 Tips To Reduce Australian Shepherd Barking

1) More Stimulation

Giving your aussie more stimulation throughout the day is a great way to reduce barking.

This can be in the form of exercise, mental stimulation (through training or puzzle toys), or even just playing with them more.

The more they’re able to stay busy and occupied, the less likely they are to bark out of boredom or frustration.

Oftentimes a simple, slow paced 15 minute walk isn’t enough to get rid of their excess energy.

They may need longer walks or a faster paced activity to get their heart pumping and release their pent up energy.

Which should help reduce how much they’re barking.

Related Reading: 13 Best Mind Stimulating Dog Toys: Features & Benefits

2) Teach Them a Quiet Command

One of the best ways to get your aussie to bark less is to teach them a “quiet” command.

This is a cue that tells them to stop barking and be quiet.

If they’ve never been trained to stop barking when you’d like them to, of course they’ll continue to bark until they feel their message has been received.

To start teaching them a quiet command, start by doing something that gets them to bark, like someone ringing the doorbell.

Wait for them to stop barking, say “quiet” and give them a treat.

Once you’ve done this a few times, use the treat to get their attention and stop their barking.

When they stop barking after noticing the treat, say your quiet command and give them the treat.

Do this several times.

The next stage is working on getting them to stop when you say the command word.

Only give them a treat when they successfully listen and stop barking when you say quiet.

It may take some time and patience, but it’s worth it in the long run.

3) Don’t Reward Their Barking

This goes hand in hand with teaching them a quiet command.

You want to make sure you’re not rewarding their barking in any way, even if it’s unintentional.

This means no treats, no attention (positive or negative), and no letting them out when they’re barking.

It might be difficult at first, but it’s important to be consistent.

If you give in even once, they’ll learn that barking gets them what they want and they’ll be more likely to do it again.

It’s important to remain calm and not get angry when they’re barking.

Yelling at them or getting mad will only escalate the situation and can make them want to bark more.

4) Desensitize Them

One of the best ways to reduce barking is to desensitize them to common triggers.

This means getting them used to things that typically make them bark so it’s not such a big deal anymore.

For example, if they bark at the doorbell, start by ringing it yourself a few times so they get used to the sound.

Then have someone ring it while you’re there with them so they can see that nothing bad is happening.

Eventually you’ll be able to have someone ring the doorbell without them barking at all.

It’s important to do this gradually and not try to rush it.

If you go too fast they may get overwhelmed and start barking again.

Take your time and be patient.

This goes with anything else that’s causing your aussie to bark as well.

5) Get Training Help

If you’re struggling to get your aussie to stop barking, it may be time to get some help from a professional.

There are plenty of trainers, online or in person, who can help you figure out why your aussie is barking and how to change their behavior.

They’ll be able to give you specific tips and techniques that’ll work for your unique aussie.

And they can help you troubleshoot any problems you may have along the way.

Barking is a normal part of being a dog, but it’s not something that should be happening all the time.

Related Reading: 7 Simple Strategies To Help Quickly Calm A Reactive Dog

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