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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 20218
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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Our Border Collie, Skye, continually barks at anything and

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Our Border Collie, Skye, continually barks at anything and everything,ie: when anyone walks by,comes to the house ( even if its someone she knows and continues to bark when they are admitted ) She now barks for no reason at all although there must be a reason for her but it's not something that we can relate to. She is getting worse and we are now at our wits end what to do about it. Incidentally when she goes in kennels they say she is brilliant and doesn't bark at all. I've come to the conclusion that it must be us but I'm baffled as to what!! Can you please help?
Hi JaCustomer,
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
My name is Jane. I have been working professionally with animals especially dogs in both health and behavioral issues for over 18 years. I have over 14,000 satisfied customers. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.
What do you do or have done in the past when she barks in appropriately?
Have you tried reassuring her?
Did the collar spray when she barked?
Is these the only things you have done?
Has she had any obedience training?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

yes we have tried reassuring her and yes the collar does spray and we tried classes for her but the trainer had so many dogs of all shapes and sizes there that it was of no benefit to Skye. All the dogs had differing problems so it was impossible to concentrate on one particular animal.

Thanks for the additional information. Humans are naturally nurturing so it is normal for us to try and reassure a dog or animal when we think they are confused or fearful or aggressive. However, it is actually the worse thing that a person can do. A dog takes it as attention and to them that is positive reinforcement even if you are yelling, it is still attention and reinforces the behavior instead of discouraging it. So you really need to try not to reassure her with words or distractions.
She definitely needs training, however it doesn't need to be done in a group class initially. You can do the training yourself and it will go much faster. The following site is helpful for teaching you how to train your dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.
Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.
To stop the barking itself, you have a few different ways of approaching it. I have a dog currently that I got from the pound that did this when we first got him a decade ago, so I understand you are being driven crazy.
Here is what worked for us. We left his leash on in the house attached to a chain collar. Each time our dog barked inappropriately we gave a quick short tug correction to distract him, said "no bark" and had him sit. After a few corrections right in a row, he would finally stop barking for a seconds. When he didn't bark I'd give him a treat. By the end of a couple of weeks, he had reduced his barking significantly. We did go through a lot of treats. I suggest hot dog slivers since dogs like to work for those and the oil gets on your hand and the dog continues to focus on you versus what they want to bark at.
We did this over the course of a month all together, giving treats for non barking and eventually phasing out the treats and using praise instead with a treat only once in a while. Now he rarely ever barks.
As crazy as this sounds you may wish to teach Skye the speak command and then the quiet command. It seems easier to teach the quiet command after the dog has learned the speak command. The following site explains teaching speak and quiet commands.
You have tried a bark collar but if it wasn't making a good contact then the corrections (spray) may not have been occurring consistently. For long haired or thick haired dogs, it is recommened that the hair be cut short or shaved where the contacts hit on the throat. It also have to be pretty tight against the throat to pick up the vibration so the collar administers a correct.
All types, sonic, spray or shock tend to work initially. I've found a dog ignores the sonic collars quickly and with the spray collars they tend to learn if they bark a lot, it will stop spraying and no correction. The static shock ones are the most effective, in my opinion. I won't allow a client to use one until they let it shock them first so they know that the intensity is not that much and that it is the unexpectedness of the shock that works.
So you may try shaving the throat area and using the collar again being sure it makes a good connection with the throat and/or trying a static shock collar.
I hope this information is helpful to you and you are satisfied with my response. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have .
Jane Lefler and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jane,

Thank you for your advice which we will follow up. However we are against using a shock collar. This is our own personal preference and does not reflect on the usefulness of them. The other things you asked us to try, we will. As for the spray collar it did get up her nose and I don't know how she did it but being crafty ( as Border Collies are ) she lay on her side and shuffled until the collar was halfway up the side of her head! We dare not have it any tighter so put that down to another failed attempt. However we will try your suggestions and see how we go. Thank you very much.


I totally understand about the shock collar. Usually they are best for those situations where there is no one around to correct the behavior. I'll schedule a follow up for a month from now to see how things are going after you rate..
Just a quick follow up to see if you had a chance to try any of my suggestions. I hope you found my suggestions helpful.