Training a Westie to Stop Barking — 6 Tips You Need to Know

Is your Westie barking at other dogs and just about anything that moves? Why am I asking this? Because Sami is a barker! He loves to bark, so I am speaking from experience and if you’re a Westie owner, I’m sure you can relate.

Happy westie with his favourite toy

Sami enjoys barking at moving objects, such as cars, small animals, and dogs he is not familiar with. When I got Sami, he barked…he still barks…but less than he did before. And it is something you can’t change about them, as it’s in their nature, but you can minimize it for sure.

I mean there are times when I don’t want him to bark, but stay quiet, and it is during those times that he decides to bark the most.

So, how do you stop nuisance barking?

I got Sami a trainer, but I also did the following things to make him bark less:

1. Find Out If Your Westie is Barking Because He is Bored

I learned pretty quickly that when Sami barked, he was telling me, “Momma, I am bored. Let’s do something!” Westies, in general, are an active dog breed. When boredom strikes, they bark. I play games with Sami, take him out with me, and buy him toys that he can play with when at home.

I suggest you familiarize yourself with your Westie’s temperament because it differs from terrier to terrier. Just give them your complete attention when they are bored and they will calm down.

2. Make Your Westie Tired

You got to tire your Westie out if they’re a barker. Take your West Highland Terrier out for long walks, so they can use their energy and bark less when they’re home. There are so many ways you can tire them out. Make sure to find a way that is convenient for you as well.

Westie puppy making a silly face while walking through the water at Obidos Lagoon inPortugal

3. Congratulate Your Westie at the First Bark

Yes, I know this is contradictory, but there’s good reasoning behind it, and it works. Here’s what I did: When Sami barked the first time, I told him good job. He didn’t bark again because he thought one bark was enough. Try it! It may work for you too!

4. Be Firm with Your Westie and Tell Them “No” When They Continue Barking

The key to training a Westie to stop barking continuously is to tell them “No.” If they don’t stop barking, you will need to be firm with them. Westies are intelligent dog breeds and they will understand your command. Just don’t expect them to stop this incessant barking behavior the very first time you tell them “No.”

For me, training Sami required a lot of patience and after a month, he stopped barking when I said “No.” Yes, there will be times when you’ll get frustrated, but never raise your voice at them. Be firm and tell them “No.” If you yell at them, they’ll think it’s a competition and bark louder than you.

5. Make Your Westie Feel Like a Bad Boy When the Delivery Person Leaves

Sami had the awful habit of barking at the delivery person who delivered mail at our place. Does your West Highland White Terrier do the same?

Tell your dog to stop barking at the mailman because they are their friend. Westies are classic watchdogs with barking their go-to move to scare away strangers.

Here’s how I trained my Westie: I asked my delivery person if he could cooperate with me, as I was training Sami not to bark at him or any other delivery person. My delivery person agreed to play along.

I asked him to come at the same time every day to my place, stay there for a few minutes after he had delivered the mail and leave immediately after Sami stopped barking. When Sami barked at the delivery person, I gave him a treat. He earned the treat because he notified me of the presence of a person on my property.

I kept this on for several months, until Sami stopped barking completely and understood that the delivery person would drop the mail and leave. If your delivery person can’t cooperate with your training, tell your Westie to stop barking before they leave your property. You’ll need to time this every day.

6. Train Your Westie to Quiet Down on Command

Again, you can’t lose your cool. Westies are smart dogs and they will learn to do what you tell them, but not overnight, but with time. So, give it time because it will result in a good, trained dog. Here’s how I taught Sami to quiet down on command:  I asked him to “bark” or “speak.”

Sami used to bark a few times and then I gave him a treat. Next, I taught Sami to calm down. I told him to “bark” or “speak” and then asked him to “stop.” When they stopped, I gave him a treat. Now, you have to do this quickly, as dogs have a short attention span. If you’re late in giving them a treat, they’ll have zero idea of what they did to earn it.

Fellow West Highland Terrier owners, I hope these tips work for you as they did for me!

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