How to Control a Scottish Terrier's Bark

Scottish terriers need training to curb their excessive barking.

Scottish terriers need training to curb their excessive barking.

Scottish terriers tend to bark at everything from strangers and other dogs to leaves falling and cars driving by. While it's great to have a watchdog at times, for your neighbor's sake, train your Scottie to bark only when necessary.

Teach your Scottie the "quiet" command. When your pup starts barking, say, "quiet," and wait until he takes a break. Give him a treat after he has stopped barking. Each time you catch him barking, wait until he stops, say, "quiet," and give him a treat. Never give him the treat while he's still barking, or he will think you are rewarding him for barking. If you're concerned about giving your pup too many treats, reward him with his favorite toy each time he stops barking. Eventually, he'll notice that when you say, "quiet," and he stops barking, he gets a treat. Remove the treats and toys from the training once your pup is responding how you'd like every time.

Teach your dog to "speak." It seems crazy to teach your Scottie to speak when you're trying to get him to stop barking, but teaching your dog to bark only when you want is essential to Scotties, who bark at anything that startles or interests them. If you live in an apartment, your Scottie is probably barking at every footstep and door closing. Get your Scottie to start barking by knocking on the door or making barking sounds at him. Say, "speak," when you knock, or while you're barking at him until he starts to bark. Once he barks for a moment, say, "quiet," to make him stop. Work on "speak," and "quiet" multiple times per day and always use a firm tone of voice to let your pup know you're in charge. Eventually he will know that when you say "speak," he can starting barking, but when you say "quiet," he must stop.

Interrupt your pet's barking with an unpleasant noise. Scotties are known for barking, and they will bark at people, sounds and often out of boredom. You want to show your Scottie that when he barks, an unpleasant noise occurs. Don't let him see you making a noise. Drop a loud, unbreakable object such as marbles, pebbles or a metal chain on the floor near the dog. The sound and object will be unexpected and displeasing to him. If you continue this training daily with consistency, your pup will think the object falls and the noise occurs because of his barking. This method will cut out your pet's barking entirely, so use other methods if you want your Scottie to be a watchdog.

Items you will need

  • Treat or toy


  • Cover windows that allow your pup to see out of the house when you leave. Scotties tend to bark at people, cars or other dogs they see passing by.
  • If your Scottie barks at you for food or to go outside, don't reward him by feeding him or taking him out immediately. Wait until he stops barking, then give him what he wanted, so he will associate the reward with his lack of barking instead.
  • Bark or citronella collars may stop your dog from barking entirely. The reaction to these devices varies for every pet, and it's best to train your pet in conjunction with the use of them.


  • Shouting "shut up" or other commands at your Scottie will only make him bark more, because he thinks you're joining in on the fun.
  • Don't use shock collars to prevent your dog from barking. Shock collars may make your pet associate you, their owner, with pain instead of their own barking.

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About the Author

Courtney McCaffrey graduated from the College of Charleston in 2008 with a B.A. in media studies. She has served as an editor for Blooming Twig Books and the MADA Writing Services publishing company. She is now a writer on various outdoor sports such as snowboarding, skiing, surfing and bodysurfing.

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