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Need ideas on how to make my 6 months old stop barking at cars when inside, please!

Discussion in 'Behavior' started by Bassman, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. Bassman

    Bassman Forums Novice

    Jun 26, 2014
    Quebec, Canada

    This is my first post on this forum. I'm the happy owner of a very kind and intelligent 6 months old Sheltie puppy. He's an easy learner in general (we got him 4 months ago), but we do have issues finding the right way to make him stop (or at least reduce) his barking at cars while he's inside. He spends lots of time in front of our front window and, well, he barks at the cars that are passing on the street (mostly in the morning and before diner, when people are going to/coming back from work). Considering the fact that Shelties are herders, I guess it's instinct that makes him bark at fast moving objects, but how do I stop him or get him to relax a bit? I tried turning his attention from the cars by playing with him, but he doesn't get fooled that easily (he get's back to "work" watching out for those fast moving cars). I tried giving him treats when he didn't bark, but got limited results. I also tried closing the curtains and, well it helped but he still sees the cars through them (and hear's them). I tried calming him down, speaking to him softly, but I don't want him to associate his barking to getting my attention either.

    So, does anyone have any suggestion that would help?
  2. Caro

    Caro Moderator

    Jan 14, 2009
    Canberra, Australia
    You are going to have to block his access to the window. He will continue to rehearse the behaviour while he can see out the window. If he is doing that at 6mths it can easily become deeply entrenched and transfer to barking at cars on walks and from inside your car, or even chasing cars or barking at anything outside the window.

    As you've realised the movement excites his prey/herding instinct, so it really is difficult, if not near impossible, to cure. Given he is entering adolescence I think the best approach is to block off his access to the window altogether. Wait until he has matured and try again, perhaps in 6mths time. And even then only give him access for short periods - the longer he watches the more worked up he will get and you'll be back at square one. If he barks, the window is blocked off again and wait it out until he gets his head again.

    DO NOT feel guilty by blocking his access to the window - his world will still be complete without access and it will be considerably better by not being yelled at for the next 15yrs for barking out the window.
  3. corbinam

    corbinam Moderator

    Oct 14, 2008
    I was going to suggest the same. We have windows in the front of our house and in the summer that room may be blocked off permanently. Too many people walking dogs outside and Bentley (who is almost 7) can see them and goes nuts.

    Better to not let him practice the behavior.
  4. Sumac3890

    Sumac3890 Forums Sage

    Sep 12, 2008
    Fort Myers, Fl
    Squirt gun or bottle. It has worked great for stopping Zoey barking when we don't want her too. Just don't let them see you use it.
    She barks when I fix meals and this morning Mark "shot" her and she stopped so fast.
  5. Emmasmom

    Emmasmom Premium Member

    Apr 2, 2010
    Good suggestions. I would add that you need to find a word and tone of voice that works. Liam is my barker - he reacts to a lot. Because of this and the fact that he has been teased by the little girl across the street to the point if he evens sees anyone over there he barks, I have had to come up with a word. My word is "now" spoke in a higher pitched, deeper tone than my normal voice. It works with him - just have to get the girls on board, and it is coming. Liam will be 5 in December and this behaviour has become worse this past year.
  6. trini

    trini Premium Member

    Nov 13, 2013
    upstate ny
    We have put wooden shutters on the lower half of our front windows so our sheltie gang can't see out to the road. With 4 shelties, one was always "on guard" for anyone or anything going past our house...even though we are set back from the road by almost 200'!! So, finally to save our sanity, we installed the shutters...works perfectly and we still can let them into the front rooms and still get light and fresh air from the top of the windows.

  7. Shelby's mom

    Shelby's mom Forums Enthusiast

    Jan 4, 2012
    We did the same as Trini. Shelby would watch out the window just waiting for something to go by and she would go crazy. Curtains didn't work so we put up the shutters. What a big difference it has made. She doesn't even sit on the chair any more.
  8. Simba13

    Simba13 Forums Enthusiast

    Jun 25, 2014
    I had a similar problem with my sheltie, however it's improved a lot. My little baby used to constantly bark at the hoover or hairdryer. I consulted a trainer and his advice was to use a sharp 'ah ah' or similar word, when or if he stops barking even for a couple of seconds praise him and reward. He will probably start barking again straight after you reward (which my puppy did) but after a while it begins to sink in. It has really helped with my puppy.

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