The Australian Shepherd, our "Aussie" as many people refer lovingly to them, has become one of the most popular dog breed choices for family pets in the US.
They are bigger dogs, but are lively, full of energy and very hardworking. If you have the time, space, and patience to give a larger pup like an Aussie dog the time and attention they need they make excellent family pets.
But even if you are prepared for the room, exercise, and discipline an Aussie dog needs you may be wondering if Aussies bark a lot?
The fact is that almost all dogs will bark, and many, the Aussie included, will bark a lot if they are not taught otherwise.
Dogs bark for different reasons - and with different tones - and while you can, and should, put time into helping your pup understand when it's OK to bark and when it is not, you should also try to understand what a dog - Aussies included - are trying to say when they bark.
About the Australian Shepherd Dog Breed and Their Breed History
Australian Shepherds are popular pets, but not everyone, including potential pet parents choosing the right dog for them - really knows a lot about them.
To begin with, whatever their name suggests, Aussies did not originate, as a breed, in Australia! The breed is a uniquely American creation, but it has its origins in the hardworking 19th-century herding dogs of the Pyrenees Mountains.
These dogs were transported to Australia, by their Basque masters who headed there in search of gold and more cattle land.
That search for more land then saw some of these people - and their shepherd dogs, which by then had been bred with another great sheepdog, the Border Collie - head to the American West. The folks there assumed they were native Australian dogs, and so they were given that title
Must-Know Aussie Dog Basics
Like most pups who are essentially working dogs, the Aussie is a lively, boisterous dog with lots of energy to burn.
They are larger dogs - standing as an adult between 18 and 22 inches tall and weighing between 40 and 65 pounds - and they have a long, soft coat that is often a rust color that is referred to by breeders as red merle. Many also have patches of white and black, or blue merle, instead of red, as a predominant coloring
An Aussie's life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years and they are, on the whole, a healthy breed, although some, like a number of other large dog breeds, may be prone to hip dysplasia.
In terms of their intelligence, this is the area in which Australian Shepherds famously score highly. They are quick learners, and when their pet parents take the time to train them, they are very obedient.
So, Do Aussie Dogs Bark Excessively?
Aussies will bark - but not as much as some breeds, and, if they are trained not to bark in certain situations, will usually pick up that fact quickly.
A sheep herding dog like an Aussie cannot afford to make sudden noises that spook their charges, and are taught by shepherds to only bark when necessary, and, with time and effort, a pet parent can teach their Aussie the same thing.
Ok, So Why Do Australian Shepherds or Any Other Dog For That Matter Bark?
Barking is one of any dog's primary forms of communication.
The Aussie, like many other dog breeds, will bark for a number of different reasons, some of which are quite valid.
An Aussie is a good watchdog, so will, for example, bark to alert their family to a perceived threat.
A pup who has not been trained otherwise will also bark for many other reasons. Before we get onto that, however, it's important to note that the Australian Shepherd is NOT a dog for those who do not have the time to devote to ensuring that they get lots of exercise and have plenty of space to roam.
Aussies make excellent family pets, but only for families who have the time to devote to them.
So if you are wondering if Aussies are barkers because you are considering having one and live in a small apartment, or who might need to be left alone often, an Aussie might not be the best breed choice for you.
How Do I Stop My Aussie From Barking Excessively?
If you would like your Aussie pup - or your future Aussie - to bark less often or to restrict their barking to times when it is appropriate, you'll need a better understanding of why they might be barking in the first place, and what you should do to address the issue in each situation.
Although not necessarily guard dogs, Aussies are watchdogs by nature, as their job as a working dog, which is bred into their nature, is to protect herds of cattle and sheep.
And while their human family is obviously neither of these things, many Australian Shepherds consider it their duty to bark when they believe a threat is present.
This can be a good thing, but barking at every stranger is often not, especially if those strangers include delivery people and visitors.
Specific bark training can be very helpful here, and as Aussies tend to be very quick learners it may not be as time-intensive as you imagine, especially if you make use of an effective online dog training class like those offered by Doggy Dan, who is a canine training expert whose lessons have an excellent reputation among pet parents
Intelligent pups like the Aussie get bored quite easily, especially as his breed is one that has been specifically developed to work. And when dogs get bored, they often bark out of frustration.
In addition to bark training, which will help your Aussie learn when it's OK to bark and when they should stay quiet, it's very important to try to keep your Aussie as engaged as possible.
Lots of exercise, especially lots of running, will help both keep them occupied and burn off all that excess energy. A good puzzle toy can be very helpful as well, especially if you have to leave them alone for a while.
As many Aussie pet parents can attest to, it's not unusual for an Aussie to extend their natural herding instincts to smaller family members, including children and other pets.
Aussies are rarely aggressive, but they will, if allowed to, try to herd and that will include barking to try to get their 'charges' to do what they want!
Both the barking, and the herding, can be frustrating, and even upsetting, so it is a behavior that should be addressed, via formal dog training, as early in an Aussie's life as possible.
Why Online Bark Training Can Be So Helpful Especially For New Pet Parents or a New Dog Breed
As you will have figured out by now, bark training, and training in general, is often key to helping your Aussie bark only at the right time.
However, in-person training can be inconvenient and very expensive, which is why many pet parents turn to online dog training instead.
There are an increasing number of these offerings available, but one we can highly recommend, for Aussies and other dog breeds, is the bark and general training offered by Doggy Dan.
Doggy Dan is really New Zealand-based British dog training expert Dan Abdelnoor.
He offers lots of very effective, easy-to-follow dog training classes online, including one specifically addressing bark training. These are often more affordable and convenient than traditional in-person classes and, once taken, your and your Aussies should be able to lead a happier, quieter life that you will both enjoy a lot more!