Sarah, Cameron, Oliver, Adam And Merlin

Sarah Hunt

Active Member
Hi everybody, We live in Lowestoft, Suffolk. We have had Merlin our shetland sheepdog since August 2010. I used to have a sheltie when I was younger. They are the most gorgeous dogs ever. I went down to see Merlin when he was only 5 days old then went back four weeks later (he was so sweet). We brought him home in his dog crate - he had a really rough journey being sick, weeing and pooing, felt sorry for him. The breeder said for us to keep him in the back.
He settled in very quickly - started puppy training classes in October 2010. Merlin has passed his bronze kennel club now working to silver. Dog Training Classes have been very useful to us. Helping us with persistant barking (excitable/nervous). Merlin has greatly improved. I would like to do agility with him but our dog training class said this would not help his barking. Merlin does not get left very often - we have taken him camping (loved this), he goes into town with me when my children are with me - would never leave him outside a shop - scared he would get taken! He was been on a train and bus. Hoping to take him on holiday with us this year "Lake Distict" a possibilty.


Honored Member
If you want to do agility with Merlin, i don't see why not do it?
True, doing agility may or may not make Merlin a more contented and tired, less barky dog,
but, no reason to not do agility if you and Merlin both want to. And who knows, Merlin may siphon off enough energy on agility, he may have less energy to spend on barking, who knows.

A tired dog is a good dog.

You can also teach a no-bark cue, if you want to. It's not the easiest thing to teach some dogs, but, it can be done. I used the cue "shhhhh" with my pointer finger over my mouth, like the human-to-human signal of shhhh,
and Buddy got it.
I started sitting beside Buddy while he had things to bark about, (dogs going by his yard that he could see)
gave cue "shhhh", which startled Buddy into momentary lapse of barking, which i highly praised, rewarded by speed-feeding top treats into his mouth, massaging his back, just big prizes for that moment of silence.
Over time, his "moment of silence" got longer,
and longer.

Overtime, i was able to scoot a bit further away from Buddy, fading out my presence, but still tossing treats or stepping fwd to give him treats for silence. While he was in training, he was not allowed to bark away. If he was outdoors, i was either outdoors with him, to run over and do my lil "shhhh" routine sitting next to him,
or even if i was indoors, i had my shoes on, and treats in my pocket, to run out and work on every bark.

every time a barky dog gets to bark away on his own, it is sooooooooo self-rewarding, and UNdoes all our efforts to help them become less i think you have to sort of watch over the dog, 24/7, to prevent all bark-a-thons that you can, while they are in "no-bark cue training"....

Now, i can stick my head out the door, call "shhhhh" to him, and he stops barking.
Lol, he is allowed two (2) barks,
and if he barks a 3rd time, he gets sushed. Buddy must be able to count, cuz he now only barks two times at passerby dogs!!:ROFLMAO: (usually)

...........can be done, if you really want it done.


Honored Member
Hi and welcome!

About the barking and agility...
My dog is not a huge barker, I have been on top of that since she was a pup.
I have australian shepherds, who, like shelties, tend to let everyone know what they think:D
I do agility with my dog and yes she barks!! But she loves it.
You would be surprised at the amount of dogs that bark, when you go to an agility match...
Jinx used to bark, when another dog was running the course. So I had to keep her occupied during that time. Do some obedience, do some tricks, play a little. Practise being quiet.
When we had to do our run, I stop when she barks too much. Because she knocks the bars of when she barks like mad. So I stop, make her sit and calm down, before going on. If she doesnot calm down, I take her out of the game. Not behaving, means not playing.
I don't see why you can't do agility with a little barker. It only means they are excited and you can work on that.


Honored Member

Where take agility classes, there is at least always one dog barking in a crate. :p I have gotten used to the ongoing barking. I think a barker in agility is okay...