How to Stop My Dog Barking at Sheep
You love living out in the country, away from all the noise. The only problem? It’s not quiet because your dog keeps barking at the sheep! Why do dogs bark at sheep? And why does your dog want to chase sheep? Will letting them meet help? How do you introduce a dog to a sheep?
Today, we’re going to answer all of the questions you have about this frustrating issue. And we’ll cover what you’re most interested in: how to stop your dog from barking at the sheep! Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy your life in the country the way you planned. Keep reading below for our article “How to Stop My Dog Barking at Sheep.”
Table of Contents
How to Stop Dog Barking at Sheep
To stop your dog barking at sheep, teach them a “quiet” command. Bring them to where you keep your sheep with plenty of small treats in your pocket. When your dog barks at the sheep, immediately give the “quiet” command. If they stop, you should reward them with a treat and praise right away.
But if they don’t, or quickly return to barking at your sheep, place one of the treats in your fist and then hold it close to your dog’s nose. They will be able to smell it even within your fist, and should stop barking. Now that they’re not barking and are giving you their attention, quickly repeat the “quiet” command and then reward them with a treat and praise.
Continue placing treats in your fist and repeating this process and the command when they begin barking at the sheep again, which is likely when they’re still learning. Be sure, however, to not give them any praise or treats until they’ve stopped barking and given you their full attention.
With time, consistency, and patience, your dog should learn to quit barking at sheep and other animals simply by you using the “quiet” command and there will be no need for you to place your fist by their mouth. When they’ve reached the point that they’re responding well to just the verbal command, begin slowly lengthening the time before you reward them with praise and a treat.
Start by waiting 2 to 3 seconds, then 5 seconds, and so on. Your dog will soon eventually get to the point that treats and praise will not be necessary for you to get them to “quiet” on command. But you’ll still need to address the underlying issue (dominance) which was causing all of this misbehavior and disrespect in the first place.
And to do that, we should first quickly talk about what makes dogs function and has for thousands and thousands of years now. You’ve probably heard before that dogs are pack animals, and that in every pack there is a pack leader.
But when your dog barks at sheep and then shows disobedience and disregard to your commands to stop, they are clearly showing that they don’t respect you in this role.
If they did, they wouldn’t bark at your sheep or other animals. They wouldn’t engage in any other types of dominance-related misbehavior. And they would obey your commands at all times — immediately — and they would do so happily.
Prove to your dog that you are not just their pack leader, but a capable one who must be respected, and you’ll be able to make all of these things happen.
You and your sheep will be better off for obvious reasons. But so will your dog because you’ll have freed them of all the stress and responsibility that pack leader confusion is currently causing them to be saddled with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Sounds like a great thing, right?
“Yes, certainly, but how am I supposed to do any of this?”
You should watch an excellent free video series by a renowned trainer named Dan which is on this exact subject: how to be your dog’s pack leader. In his series, Dan explains everything you’ll need to know in ways that are very easy to understand and to teach to your own dog, and he gets immediately to the point so that you can start seeing these important changes in your dog in no time.
Start watching Dan’s free training series now by clicking here. And no, you’re not going to have to yell or be mean to your dog. Dan uses only 100% humane and loving methods at all times. Not just because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s the fastest way to achieve permanent changes in your dog’s behavior.
Why Do Dogs Bark at Sheep?
Dogs bark at sheep because they’re predators and it’s in the natural instincts to see sheep as prey. Your sheep are also likely reacting by running away, which only makes them look even more like prey to your dog, which makes their urge to chase and bark much stronger.
It’s also very possible that if your dog is a border collie or another similar breed they’re trying to herd your sheep. It’s expected for them to bark a lot while they do this, so it’s not surprising that if they feel like they need to herd your sheep somewhere that they would do so while barking.
Make sure that your dog is getting lots of attention, playtime, and exercise. This is particularly true if you have a high-energy herding breed. It’s also a good idea to be sure that your dog always has something to keep them occupied, like a chew toy.
But if your dog is barking at sheep when they’re not herding for you, and refusing your commands to stop, then they are under the belief that they are dominant over you. This lets them feel that they have the right to do whatever they want, and also makes them feel the need to protect you and what they perceive as their territory at all times, no matter what commands you may give them.
It’s probably showing itself in other similar ways. You’ll likely see that your dog is barking at your goats, barking at your horses, barking at your cows, and even barking at the deer that might come through your land. And left unchecked, their problem is only going to get worse and could even eventually escalate into attacks so you need to take action right away.
To stop your dog from barking at your sheep and other animals, go back to the first section now where we’ll give you the exact steps to follow.
Why Does My Dog Want to Chase Sheep?
Your dog wants to chase sheep because they see them as prey. Your sheep sees your dog as a predator, and their natural response is to run away. This only makes them look like prey even more to your dog, however, so their desire to chase after them will be even stronger once they see this.
It’s also just plain fun for your dog. Your dog may have grown accustomed enough to your sheep to know that they’re not prey, but it’s still normal for them to enjoy a spirited game of chase. But your sheep are built differently and won’t enjoy this, so you shouldn’t allow it even if you know that your dog is just trying to play with them.
Some clear signs of play from your dog that you can look for are wagging their tail or doing play bows in the direction of your sheep.
How Do You Introduce a Dog to a Sheep?
To introduce a dog to a sheep:
- Put your dog on their leash and put some treats in your pocket.
- Take your dog out to the sheep.
- When your dog notices the sheep, hold tight on the leash.
- Tell your dog “lay down.”
- Push down on their rear end gently to get them to do so, if necessary.
- When your dog lays down, give them a treat and praise, but only after they’ve turned their attention to you and away from the sheep.
- When they’re calm, let them stand and move closer to the sheep again.
- If they start trying to bark at the sheep, lunge at them, or chase them, lead your dog away again.
- When they calm, repeat the “lay down” command.
- Again give them a treat and praise only once they’ve given you their full attention.
- Repeat for about 10 minutes.
- Repeat this entire process later in the day, or tomorrow.
- Short training sessions repeated often will help your dog learn the fastest and be the least stressful on your sheep.
- Be patient and consistent.
I’m sure you’re looking forward to not having to worry about your dog being around your sheep anymore, so I’ll let you get started now. Good luck with everything, and thank you for reading our article “How to Stop My Dog Barking at Sheep.”