Collies are one of the best breeds of dog for family pets. But, they do require training, including training on when it is and isn't appropriate to bark. Collies are barking dogs by nature, as this is part of their herding instinct, and if not trained appropriately, they can be prone to excessive barking. But, there are ways to teach your collie to bark only when it's appropriate, especially if you begin training early on.
First, it's important to consider why your dog is barking. If your collie is left alone, for example, in your back yard, he may be bored and lonely. You may simply be able to quell the barking by letting him spend more time indoors with your family. Collies are people dogs, and do not enjoy being isolated. Your collie may also bark to get your attention if he's bored. You may be able to minimize the barking by taking more walks with your dog or by spending more time interacting with him in general.
With all that said, it's still important that your dog stop barking when you command him. For example, let's say your dog barks whenever someone comes into your yard. This is a time when it's appropriate for him to bark, as he's alerting you to the approach of strangers. But, once you've acknowledged his bark, you want him to quiet down. Begin by saying "Be quiet". At the same time, hold a treat in front of his nose. He will likely quiet down, if only to sniff the treat. Praise him and pet him while he is quiet, and once he has been quiet for 3 seconds, give him the treat. If he begins to bark again before you've delivered the treat, correct him immediately, by firmly telling him "No" and pulling the treat away. Once he stops barking, reward him immediately.
If you practice this routine consistently and patiently, you will see your dog begin to quiet down when you instruct him to do so. As you continue with your training, increase the length of time the dog must be quiet before he gets his treat. Soon your dog will respond immediately when told to "Be quiet" even without a treat in hand. But, always remember to praise him lovingly for obeying your commands. Collies thrive on human interaction and on pleasing their owners.
Collies are one of the most intelligent dog breeds. This intelligence combined with their natural desire to please their humans, makes them extremely trainable. However, it's always important to remember that the collie has unique instincts that may require a little extra effort in some training areas. A little time and patience spent on these areas will pay off with great rewards as you see your collie grow into a well behaved member of the family.