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While your Border Collie is likely going to bark throughout their life, barks that last longer than the occasional 2-3 barks in a row often have an underlying reason that should be addressed.

Your Border Collie may bark once or twice out of excitement, or to alert you to something, but barking that doesn’t stop is usually a sign of a dog that feels emotionally unwell.

We’ll take a look at the reasons why they are barking, so you can work towards a solution which will save your ears, and your sanity!

Border Collie Puppy Barking

Firstly, is your Border Collie puppy barking excessively? As a breed, they will bark more often than other breeds and they love to tell you about the world that’s going on around them.

Excessive barking would generally be more than 2-3 barks in a row, or barking for numerous of the reasons below out of proportion to the actual reason. For eg. a fly is in the house and it’s the end of the world!

Here are some possible reasons for their barking:

  1. Attention
  2. Boredom
  3. Territorial
  4. Fear based / Alarm
  5. Play time
  6. Separation anxiety
  7. Compulsive (No reason barking other than the sake of doing it)

Have a look over the list and see which one/s are affecting your Border Collie. How you deal with your Border Collie’s barking will depend upon which of the above is causing them to bark excessively.

It’s also worth reading our post on if neutering or spaying causes more barking in your dog.

Attention

For attention barking, be sure not to respond with shouting, talking, or coming running. In fact, pay no attention to them at all, until they stop. When they have a break for 2-3 seconds, then you can treat them or say, “Yes! Good dog!”.

If your BC continues to bark, then turn your back. You can even leave the room for a short period of time. You want to show them that their barking is not succeeding in getting your attention, but when they stop, that’s when you’re there.

Them asking for attention is often linked with boredom, the next point…

Boredom

When your Border Collie is barking for attention, it’s likely because they are bored. Border Collies are an extremely active breed, and need physical and mental stimulation to be satisfied.

Be sure to play lots of mind stimulating games with your BC, as well as at least two training sessions per day.

If you’re finding your BC whining – making a high-pitched sound – or otherwise barking at you for attention, you likely need to add more enrichment to their daily lives.

Puzzle toys for food and training sessions are great ways to work their brain. Sniffing on walks is another way for dogs to use mental energy, too.

You can also focus on teaching your BC how to relax, if you’ve already provided them with an adequate amount of physical and mental exercise.

Be sure to read our new eye-opening post, Is Pet Insurance Worth It: 5 shocking facts you need to know... You might be in for a shock!

The Relaxation Protocol that was created by Dr. Karen Overall is a favorite of mine for helping young puppies and dogs learn to settle. You can find the PDF and MP3 of instructions here.

If your Border Collie is bored, they are also likely to be destructive digging, in which case you can read about resolving that issue here.

Territorial / Fear Based

If your Border Collie is hearing noises outside, or sees someone walking past your house, and starts barking, then they’re saying, “Look, someone’s here! Quick, get the shot gun!”

If you ignore them in this instance, it can cause them to just keep barking, because they want you to know there may be danger approaching.

In this instance, then you should respond. Go over to them and look where they are looking. Say, “What is it? Oh, it’s OK, nothing to worry about.” Pet them and leave the situation.

If they are continually barking at anything that passes a window, it might be time to cover up the window.

If you think your puppy may have a problem with aggression, please read our comprehensive guide to puppy aggression.

Play Time

If your BC is over excited, they will likely start barking. If they get to this point in play time, then it’s a good time to bring them back to Earth. Calm them down using some of the tips in our blog post, How to Calm a Border Collie.

Separation Anxiety Barking

Be sure to read the American Kennel Clubs advice regarding Separation Anxiety. 

A crate is going to be your best friend in solving this problem, and we’ve gone into more detail about it in the Barking at Night heading.

Border Collie Barking For No Reason (Compulsive)

Let’s clear this one up, there is almost certainly a reason for your Border Collie’s barking, and it is almost certainly listed in one of the above. It can just sometimes be difficult to say which one it is.

Boredom barking is often the case, as too a noise that you can’t hear and they can.

If you’ve tried everything, however, and you still can’t seem to curb their uncontrolled barking, then you should try this book, which I don’t have an affiliate for. Others have had success using it to calm an excessive barking Border Collie, so I wanted to mention it.

Border Collie Puppy Barking – At Night

Reasons Border Collie puppies bark at night include separation anxiety, frustration, boredom, or having to use the bathroom. Narrowing down the reason your Border Collie puppy is barking at night will help you determine your training plan.

The most common reasons are separation anxiety, frustration due to lack of training, or needing to use the bathroom – although boredom is certainly possible, and can factor into the frustration aspect.

If your dog is OK being left alone during the day, and is only barking when in their crate at night, then you’re likely not dealing with separation anxiety.

Instead, your puppy is likely frustrated, or worried, but not to the point of true separation anxiety. If you haven’t spent time training your puppy to get used to the crate, this is even more likely.

If your Border Collie puppy is barking any time they are left in the crate – at night or not – you’re likely dealing with either separation anxiety or a puppy that hasn’t been properly trained to be comfortable alone in their crate.

Puppies with separation anxiety may also be more destructive, have accidents, and be generally more upset.

If you think you and your puppy are dealing with true separation anxiety, you should seek out a Certified Separation Anxiety Trainer for help – many of them will work with you virtually.

If you simply haven’t spent the time getting your puppy used to their crate, leaving them frustrated or worried, it’s time to back up and work on crate training first.

You never want your puppy to panic in their crate. It should always be a safe and happy place for them to go.

To start introducing the crate, toss a few treats inside and let your puppy explore. Do NOT force your puppy into the crate or close the door behind them.

At this stage, we simply want your puppy to be running in and out of the crate happily when you toss treats.

Next, once your puppy is very comfortable with the process, start briefly shutting the door. If your puppy becomes upset, you’ve progressed too quickly. Your puppy should not be startled by this step.

Continue to toss treats in the crate, and gradually lengthen the time your puppy is comfortable in the crate with the door shut.

It’s best to practice short periods of being crated when your Border Collie puppy is already tired and ready for a nap, and feeding them in the crate or giving them a Kong (or similar) toy to use can also help.

You’ll want to start leaving your puppy for short periods of time in their crate when you are around. If you are working from home, relaxing and watching TV, or reading a book – put the crate near you and drop treats inside as you work.

As your puppy is comfortable, you’ll want to also start doing more active things, such as tidying up the house, or leaving for a short moment to get the mail.

Once your puppy is comfortable with this, it’s time to start leaving your puppy in their crate. Just remember, a puppy can only hold their bladder for an average number of hours equal to their age in months plus one – up to 7-8 hours maximum.

Here is a good video on mistakes people make in crate training. Check to see if you’ve accidently made any and how you can rectify what went wrong.

Other Sleeping Arrangements

Until your puppy is comfortable with their crate, you may need different sleeping arrangements. Some puppies are OK with being in a small pen, and others can be trusted in a small room that has been puppy-proofed.

When I was living in an apartment with one of my puppies, he simply could not handle being alone, and I didn’t have a good room to put him in that was puppy-proofed completely.

We settled for sleeping together on the floor, with baby gates on either end of a hallway, to make a puppy-safe sleeping space as he settled in for the first few nights.

Then, he was able to adjust to being in a pen next to me, or tethered on a leash close to me.

The important thing is to not overwhelm your puppy, or you can make the problem worse in the future.

Finally, if your puppy is barking at night because they have to use the bathroom, that’s perfectly reasonable for a young Border Collie.

Remember, the average 5-month old Border Collie should only be expected to go 5-6 hours without a bathroom break. Puppies younger than that need even more frequent breaks.

Getting up to let your puppy out to use the bathroom is a normal part of raising a young puppy. As they get older, they should be able to start going through the night without needing to go outside.

Take it from my experience – it’s much better to be awakened by a puppy that asks to go to the bathroom, than a puppy that has pooped in their kennel, covered themselves in it, and is now crying because they are sad and need a midnight bath.

Border Collie Puppy Barking – At Strangers

Your BC puppy may be barking at strangers because they are worried, or because they are excited. It’s important to read their body language to determine the answer. A Border Collie puppy that is nervous about strangers needs to be handled differently than one that is overly excited.

If reading dog body language is new to you, you can visit iSpeakDog for some beginning information.

In general, a happy dog will be:

  • Loose
  • Wiggly
  • Wagging their tail low and slow

While a worried dog, in general, will be:

  • Tense
  • Stiff
  • Tucking their tail or wagging it straight up and stiffly
  • Pulling their ears back
  • Attempting to leave the situation

If you’ve determined that your Border Collie puppy is barking because they’re worried about strangers, you’re not alone. Border Collies can be a sensitive and shy breed in some cases, and puppy socialization has dropped due to COVID concerns.

It’s best to get started working with a professional right away in this case, because puppies are much more impressionable.

Don’t wait until there is a bigger problem in the future to get started.

Places you can find trainers and behavior consultants include:

If your puppy is barking at strangers because they are excited and want to see them, you can work on teaching your puppy how to behave around distractions.

You’ll first start in your home, by teaching your puppy how to sit, watch you, and walk with you, without any distractions.

Then, take your skills out on the walk! However, make sure you have plenty of distance between you and the other strangers so you can practice without your puppy going over threshold.

If your puppy hasn’t yet had their vaccinations, be sure to check out our post: Puppy Vaccinations: When can they go outside?

You should also take extra-delicious treats to make the outing even more special.

My favorite place to practice this is at the end of parking lots. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to see people entering and leaving the store at a distance!

Final Word

Hopefully we’ve given you the advice you need to resolve your Border Collie’s excessive barking, and if not, we’ve hopefully linked to somewhere that can.

Like people, Border Collie’s each have their own personality. Some will be very vocal, while others won’t say a peep.

If you have a noisy BC, then it’s likely they will always bark now and again. Do you best to remain calm. Not only will it keep your emotions under control, but you will then be better able to process what is causing the barking in the moment, and be able calm it down.

And if it comes to it, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of a professional trainer who can work with you to get their barking under control.

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