Guide To Australian Shepherd Training & Care

Aussie Barks At Strangers

by Lyndsey

She sure is cute though

She sure is cute though

My 4 month old Aussie is hard to take on walks and go outside with because she always barks at people in a defensive way, and it sometimes scares them, especially if there are children around.

My dog would never be aggressive, but she won't stop barking at strangers and passersby. I know that this is in the breed, but is there any way to get rid of this behavior? How would I go about training her to stop doing this?

Comments for Aussie Barks At Strangers

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Fear aggression
by: Richard

Our Ozzy has the same problem. Our first two do not and are extremely friendly. Ozzy has had this deep bark since he came home from breeder. He barks at just about everyone. At 4 years he has gotten better but still growls at kids who want to pet him and just breaks our heart they can not. Jackson passed away two months ago and he was the ambassador of aussie. He was all about peace love and happiness. All three very well socialized by going to dog parks and everywhere we go they go.
I do not know the answer to your question other than keep working with him. Good look and handsome pup.

Barking Aussie
by: Anonymous

Both of my Aussies bark a lot. I have found that taking a quirt bottle and filling it with water helps. Every time they bark I squirt them. It has helped me tremendously. I only squirt them when the barking is unnecessary.

Try a Clicker
by: Dan V.

There are tons of guides on clicker training so I won't go into it, but upon taking on the task of training our fourth Aussie, I decided to give it a try. For smart dogs like Aussie's, it was EASY to pick up and works really well. Start with teaching them that a click unequivocally means "I am getting a treat."

Now how to use that to your advantage to stop barking? In my experience, punishing an Aussie for barking rarely works. They have been bred to protect the livestock and homestead and alert their people of intruders. For them to bark is just doing what is in their nature. I've tried every type of deterrent I could think of, and it never stopped them barking at strangers/passer-bys/neighbors by the fence that they have seen 100 times.

In obedience class Archer had started barking at other dogs. I tried my normal routine to no available. Then the trainer recommended instead of punishing for barking, reward for not barking.

Here is how it works... As soon as Archer would look at another dog without barking, I'd click (mark) and then treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Over the course of 15 minutes, I'd let him look at the other dogs for ever-increasing times, but before he had a chance to start barking, click, treat. After a short time, Archer would look at the other dog and then turn around and look at me wondering where the click was. Now instead of rewarding him for looking at the other dog and not barking, I would click when he turned and looked at me. Over the course of a few minutes, my dog went from barking to checking in with me instead. I was impressed.

The same should work with strangers. Once they get the clicker idea down, as soon as they look at the stranger, click, treat. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Try hard to catch them before they bark so you can reward. Pretty soon your dog should associate seeing the stranger with hearing a click and getting a treat. Your dog will forget about barking and instead look over with the "Where's my treat, dude?" look.

I wouldn't have believed how well it worked until I saw it with my own eyes.

Thank you
by: Lyndsey

Thank you all for your comments! Dan, the clicker idea sounds great. I am going to try that out. Thank you for taking the time to respond.

by: Breanna

I am having the same issues with my boy. He's about a year old and has been barking since he was a pup. The most annoying and troublesome is when we go on walks. I live in an apartment at the moment so as you can imagine our daily walks are so vital! But when he sees another dog he goes nuts. I mean barking and pulling on the leash. He doesn't do this aggressively as I know he just wants to go and say hi but I am tired of this. I have definitely tried a few options but nothing really helps at all.

I use clickers for trick training so maybe I will try it with the no barking.

Did you do this at a park, by a sidewalk, yard, or where would you recommend?

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