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Are Border Terriers Yappy?

As a new or considering owner of a border terrier, you might be wondering if this breed is going to be loud like some of their counterparts. You may be especially wondering if you live in close quarters with neighbors, such as in apartments, condos, or small subdivisions. Barking can quickly become a nuisance.

So, let me put your mind at ease with this article. There are a few different things to consider when adopting a border terrier. They are by nature predators and territorial, so it is important to understand why your border terrier might be barking.

However, overall, border terriers are not excessively yappy. They will most likely only bark to alert, protect, or when encouraged to be playful.

Why Your Border Terrier May Bark

There are a few different reasons you can expect your border terrier to bark. They are not exceptionally yappy dogs compared to some of their counterparts such as the Yorkshire Terrier or Jack Russell Terrier.

In this section, we’re going to take a closer look at some reasons your dog might be barking.

#1 Centuries of Breeding Instinct

Terriers have been bred from the very start to be hunting dogs. This is where their instinct to chase smaller animals such as squirrels or birds comes from.

Hunters have been specifically breeding terriers for the sport of hunting since the 18th century. So, on occasion, when your border terrier is barking, it may be in his instinct to do so.

#2 Alerting

Another reason your border terrier is going to bark is going to be to alert you of something. This could be a knock at the door, a stranger outside, a noise they heard, other dogs barking, or seeing a squirrel or other small prey animal they see either from indoors through the window or on a walk.

Still, this is not going to be excessive barking and is simply a warning on occasion for instance if someone is at the door or something is going on outside.

#3 Territorial

Terriers tend to be territorial dogs, so they may bark at other dogs when they are encroaching on their personal space. This can happen at the dog park if your border terrier feels threatened or simply does not want to share their space with a dog they don’t know.

Border terriers bark at other dogs when they are encroaching on their personal space

This can also happen within the home with other dogs visiting or even other humans depending on how comfortable your dog feels and how well they handle people they don’t know.

#4 Boredom

Border terriers can sometimes bark out of boredom. Not so much as some other related dog breeds, but it can still happen.

As long as you provide your border terrier with enough attention, exercise, and toys–especially something to chew on–this should not be a worry. 

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#5 Playful

Border terriers, like any other dog, may also bark when they are being playful. This can occur often when playing with other dogs. This is not always a bad thing.

It is typically easy to distinguish between a playful bark and a territorial bark. This can also happen when interacting with humans, especially if the playful bark is encouraged.

Of course, this is not everyone’s ideal trick, but border terriers can become quite playfully vocal if egged on.

#6 Sometimes They Just Need A Good Howl

As opposed to barking at something or someone, this is a different type of noise from bark and only happens occasionally. Mostly, a howl happens when your border terrier is spurred on by something.

This could include other dogs, sounds coming from a television program or Internet video, or another sound they might hear in their surroundings.

Personal Experience

From personal experience, I’ve had my border terrier howl on a few different occasions. Rarely, he will wake us up in the middle of the night with a howl or bark from some noise we didn’t hear.

Once he started howling at an ambulance going by. I assume it was because of the sound of the siren that got him going. On occasion, we like to get him going playfully as he gets excited that he’s encouraged to make noise and seems to have a lot of fun with the activity.

6 Strategies for Controlling Border Terrier Yapping

Now that we’ve talked about why your border terrier might bark, here are some reasons why you don’t have to worry about them being overly yappy dogs. Here are a few ways to put your mind at ease, and your ears, as well!

#1 Border Terriers Are Highly Trainable

Border terriers are highly trainable dogs, and it’s often easy to teach them that barking is not okay. Reinforcing good behavior encourages less barking and will let your dog know when it’s an okay time to bark and when it is not.

Border terriers are smart and quick to pick up on new commands and cues with proper training. They are also highly affectionate and will want to please you, so training them not to bark is not a strenuous feat. 

#2 Hearing A Noise

Border terriers are usually very responsive to how you react to a noise or a knock at the door. They might let out one or two barks to alert you of the situation, but once they see you are not fazed by the noise, they will also quickly lose interest, many times replacing the barking with excitement to see who is at the door. 

#3 Socializing 

Making sure your border terrier is properly socialized both with humans as well as other dogs will help with barking. Your dog will be less likely to bark to assert their territory if they are trained to be used to other dogs and people being in their space.

Getting them to the dog park once a week and letting strangers pet them is going to be the best way to discourage barking in new situations

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#4 Keeping Them Occupied

Giving your dog plenty of indoor stimulation can keep them from watching out the window and barking at animals, people, or cars going by. This is not to say you shouldn’t let your dog watch out the window, as this is a way of providing stimulation in itself, but giving them enough to do such as interactive toys, a bone to chew, or something left on the television for noise distraction can greatly and easily diminish yapping behavior.

#5 Good Temperament

Border terriers have a very good temperament to begin with and, so naturally have less barking and territorial tendencies than other dogs in similar breeds. They need exercise and stimulus occupation but also spend a lot of their time cuddling, sleeping, or relaxing.

They can sometimes be lazy when lounging indoors. And, when it comes to socializing, they are naturally lovable dogs and will make friends quickly and easily, so barking is not usually a big deal in this instance.

#6 Hunting

This might be the only instance where you find you can’t get your Border terrier’s barking instinct under control. However; on the flip side, most of the time when your pup is on the hunt, they are going to be very quiet to try and sneak up on the prey.

Either way, this is usually not a concern for border terrier owners.

What about puppies?

Puppies might be more excitable and will have a higher chance of barking, especially since most training occurs in the puppy years. Start young with them, so they know when to bark and when not to.

This is something that can easily be caught early to ensure your border terrier is not overly yappy as they grow.

Some Things To Encourage Positive Behavior

  1. Make sure your puppy has plenty of distractions, especially when you are not home to watch them. 
  2. Immediately discourage barking behavior with a stern voice and a time out such as kennel time.
  3. Socialize your puppy from a young age so they are used to guests and other dogs coming into their space. Discourage territorial behavior.
  4. Reinforce positive behavior such as not barking at a guest coming in the home or staying quiet when they see a squirrel or other small animal outside as well as when your puppy follows a command or cue you give them.

No, Border Terriers Are Not Yappy Dogs

Overall, border terriers are not yappy dogs. They bark sometimes and are more prone to it in certain situations versus others.

There are many great reasons why your dog might be barking and they are very trainable so it is easy to discourage yappy behavior when they shouldn’t be barking. With proper training, Border terriers are great and obedient dogs that will not cause a ruckus in your neighborhood.