How do I stop him barking at vans

Any tips on how to stop my 10 month old Border Collie barking at vans/buses/lorries/noisy cars, it seems to be the noise that he is barking at rather than just a 'blanket' bark.

I have tried shouting at him, spraying water on him, spraying him with compressed air, dragging him back on his lead just before he barks but all to no avail.

It is starting to get me down :o he was almost hit by a van from behind as he was barking the odds at one going the opposite way :eek:



  • bmthmark
    bmthmark Forumite Posts: 296
    Seventh Anniversary 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I have an 8 month old cocker spaniel and when I took him to puppy classes another pup had similar barking problems as yours. But this pup would bark at anything that had wheels.
    The trainer suggested to take the pup to somewhere where there were lots of cyclists etc and find a bench and sit there then praise the dog when he doesn't bark and hopefully the he will realise they are nothing to worry about. It may work with you as well.

    Try not to let him get you down, I know its easier said than done as my puppy has his own issues as well. Mine hates being left on his own and hates sleeping at night. To be honest he is a right pain but i'm hoping as he matures he will get easier.
  • Sarahdol75
    Sarahdol75 Forumite Posts: 7,717
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    We had the same problem with our dog, we sat next to a busy road, for ages, just watching the cars, tractors, bikes etc going past, and I just kept reassuring him, (good boy, well done, etc), after a few months it worked, nothing bothers him anymore.
  • Wizard_of_Id
    Wizard_of_Id Posts: 5,512 Forumite
    he seems to bark more in anger than fear but I shall try the praise for silence bit and see what happens :T :)
  • catkins
    catkins Forumite Posts: 5,703
    I've been Money Tipped!
    I too have a dog who used to bark at everything - joggers, pushchairs, bikes, buses, vans, lorries etc etc.

    I would take him to the local park and sit on a bench and every time we saw a jogger, cyclist etc I would start speaking to him and give him a treat. If he didn't bark I would praise him like mad.

    He gradually started to get better so I progressed to sitting near a not too busy road so he could see cars, vans etc and did the same thing.

    It did take a while but he is almost always fine now - he has the odd off day.

    It is frustrating but try not to shout or get angry with your dog, He is not barking to annoy you and quite possibly worried about the objects he is barking at. He needs to learn they will not hurt him and you getting angry with him is not going to teach him that
    The world is over 4 billion years old and yet you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie
  • Wizard_of_Id
    Wizard_of_Id Posts: 5,512 Forumite
    The hard part will be getting him to stay in one place long enough :rotfl:
  • joansgirl
    joansgirl Forumite Posts: 17,899
    Tenth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    The hard part will be getting him to stay in one place long enough :rotfl:

    Might be an idea to knacker him out first?
    Some people only exist as examples of what to avoid...
  • Wizard_of_Id
    Wizard_of_Id Posts: 5,512 Forumite
    joansgirl wrote: »
    Might be an idea to knacker him out first?

    Yes but he recovers so quickly, he was ready to go again about 10 minutes after a 4 mile walk at lunchtime today :o
  • sheramber
    sheramber Forumite Posts: 17,525
    Ninth Anniversary 10,000 Posts I've been Money Tipped! Name Dropper
    If he is so fixated that he doesn't pay attention to you you are too near the distraction. You need to find a spot further away where he is only mildly interested.

    Once he listens at that distance you move slightly closer and so on.

    When you shout at him he will think you are joining in-' Oh good, mum is barking too. I knew this was something to bark at.'

    you need to remain very calm and quiet spoken.
  • iolanthe07
    iolanthe07 Forumite Posts: 5,493 Forumite
    Please don't shout at him. It will do no good at all and be completely counter productive; he will merely think you're joining in. There's lots of good advice above.

    Border collies are generally accepted to be among the most intelligent of all breeds, and it may be that he is just bored. They need a lot of stimulation and exercise.
    I used to think that good grammar is important, but now I know that good wine is importanter.
  • krlyr
    krlyr Forumite Posts: 5,993
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    edited 25 June 2017 at 10:19PM

    Highly recommend the above protocol, whether it's fear-based or overarousal/overexcitement.

    The sprays, jerks, shouting etc. will only reinforce that the presence of vehicles is a negative thing and will worsen his behaviour (sometimes the aversive may be scarier than the trigger and subdue the behaviour, but this is usually temporary until the dog has been exposed to the trigger so many times that it becomes the scarier thing again). The CARE protocol teaches the dog a positive emotional response to the trigger and it becomes a good thing (van = treat/ball/fuss/play - whatever the dog's main driver is) and therefore gets longer-term success.

    One of the key points to consider if it is fear-based is that the dog does not have to perform any behaviour to get the reward, it does not have to sit, look at you, stop barking. It is the trigger, i.e. the van, that predicts the reward - so as soon as you see that the dog has seen or heard the van (this is important, it's not as soon as you see/hear the van), you give a chain of treats until the van is out of the dog's sight/hearing range, and immediately stop. If the dog is lunging, barking, etc. then it is over its threshold and will not learn so effectively - still attempt to give treats but also attempt to move away from the vehicle, either to a distance the dog can cope with or completely (and increase distance for the next time).

    Keep sessions short and sweet and try to always end on a good note. This might mean driving to your walks for now, if you can't avoid trigger vehicles when walking, so that you can limit the number of triggers he's exposed to per walk (aim for just 1 or 2 at first, too many the dog will be too stressed and more likely to react). You may need to cover his crate in the car if he reacts to vehicles driving past too.

    If you struggle with any of the above on your own then having a session with a good, accredited behaviourist who uses modern methods (not aversive methods) may get you on your feet to begin with. Check out
This discussion has been closed.
Meet your Ambassadors


  • All Categories
  • 338.9K Banking & Borrowing
  • 248.7K Reduce Debt & Boost Income
  • 447.6K Spending & Discounts
  • 230.8K Work, Benefits & Business
  • 601K Mortgages, Homes & Bills
  • 171.1K Life & Family
  • 244.1K Travel & Transport
  • 1.5M Hobbies & Leisure
  • 15.9K Discuss & Feedback
  • 15.1K Coronavirus Support Boards