First off let me just say that you purchased a breed of dog known for its barking habits. If you love everything else about the dog but the barking, hopefully you have started training as soon as you brought your pup home.
If not, you have your work cut out for you.
There are levels of barkiness in shelties. I have some that I would easily consider in the normal range for the amount of barking and one or two that live to bark.
Having a single dog in the household to train will be a bunch easier than if you have two or more that can get each other going.
For those of you who are already starting with the “just do some training!” I would suggest that you to train your young human children (particularly little girls) to never screech and holler while they play.
I contend it is not possible. Ever stop by a playground? The noise is usually outrageous.
And if you can't train humans...
Yes, any creature can be taught to some degree to use their “inside voice” but not continually.
Then there are some neighbors that can be noise sensitive, or perhaps don’t mind the sound of a Harley Davidson motorcycle, but cringe at the sound of a barking dog.
There is one positive training method that has been offered, in which you teach your Sheltie to bark on cue, then never give the cue.
Supposedly your pup will then be silent all the time.
It sounds rather counter-intuitive and would take some time to train, but certainly a humane way.
Using the clicker method, what you do is click and treat the dog each time it barks. After a series of barks and treats, your sheltie will catch on to the fact barking gets rewarded (oh, goodie!)
Then you add the cue. Something like “speak” is an easy cue.
You say “speak” right before the barking begins, click and treat. Do that a bunch of times and the dog associates the word “speak” with the action of barking and getting a treat.
Then you say “speak” and see if the dog responds. If s/he does, click and treat.
At that point stop treating for barking if you haven’t asked for it. That way the sheltie realizes barking without being asked doesn’t get a treat. Eventually, the dog is trained to bark / speak only cue.
Then never use the cue. This in theory turns barking shelties into quiet shelties.
So, how else do you keep the peace?
Being focused on maintaining the best level of health, I look for solutions that do no harm.
I can attest to some canines going through a whole canister of the stuff undaunted by it. But others really hate the smell and stop barking.
It seems like a good, low cost, harmless product to see if it works to reduce the nuisance barking. Give it a try to see if it will stop your barking shelties.
I find these to be rather cruel and refuse to use them.
Until the Sheltie learns, each time he barks, he gets shocked. Then he yelps in pain from the shock, which triggers the collar again, so he yelps some more.
Now, maybe they have improved them since I tried one many moons ago with the incremental shocking.
Not to mention, if you don’t train them right, they learn it is the collar that causes the pain, which means unless they live with the collar on 24/7, you still will have a problem.
Then there is the issue of having to get the prongs of the collar to touch the skin which requires shaving the area in long coated breeds and enough pressure to keep the contact. I have seen skin ulcers develop from the pressure. Not healthy, even if it does stop your dog from barking.
And of course it can exacerbate the fear in a softer temperament or fearful Sheltie.
Ultrasonic Bark Suppressors
These gadgets have the startle effect. The barking shelties set off the suppressor which is a sound too high pitched for humans to hear.
Both the owner or the neighbors could use these.
Just place them in appropriate places near where the nuisance barking tends to occur.
That has worked for me with most of my pack. There are one or two hard-core barkers that it doesn't faze.
There are both hand held and stationary ones for indoors or outdoors.
Actually, there are two different kinds of surgery. Both are permanent solutions to barking shelties. I strongly recommend NEVER, EVER using the first, that I call De-Barking
(Here is an article by a vet that echos my sentiments exactly).
The second alternative that I do recommend is what I call Bark Softening. I'll talk about those procedures on other pages.