Our family has had many breeds of dogs over the years, but one of our favorites is the Boykin Spaniel. If you’re familiar with Cocker Spaniels, you’ll find Boykins to be a little larger but with the same intelligence and affection. These beautiful spaniels with rich brown coats make excellent family pets, but we get asked how much they bark.
Boykin Spaniels may bark at strangers or when excited but tend not to bark excessively. They have friendly, cheerful personalities and respond well to a firm hand and training. These energetic dogs are intelligent and can be trained to limit unnecessary barking.
If you’ve been looking for an excellent family-friendly dog who loves to be active, then spaniels are often at the top of the breed list. The Boykin Spaniel is a medium-sized spaniel with distinctive dark liver or chocolate fur. They’re an affectionate breed which makes them popular with families, but especially in city areas, prospective dog owners need to know if Boykin Spaniels bark a lot.
Do Boykin Spaniels Bark a Lot?
Boykin Spaniels are not the most vocal dog breeds and usually do not bark excessively or howl. However, they are in the moderate to upper range of barkers, so they may not be suitable pets if you live near other people who would be disturbed by your dog barking.
Many hunting breeds, such as spaniels, are bred to be loud to flush out prey or signal to their owner, but the Boykin is one of the quieter breeds of spaniel. If you would love to own a spaniel but prefer a breed that makes less noise, then a Boykin Spaniel is better than a Cocker Spaniel. However, both breeds are active dogs that need exercise and don’t do well with apartment living.
Why Do Boykin Spaniels Bark?
Boykin Spaniels will bark if they feel threatened or want to alert you, such as when someone knocks on the house door to deliver a package. Usually, Boykins will bark if they’re feeling defensive about their territory, but there are other reasons and ways to deal with barking problems, depending on the cause.
- If a Boykin Spaniel is startled or nervous or constantly barks at passersby, try to reduce the amount of triggering circumstances. For example, it might be better to keep your Boykin at the rear of the house where he will not see passersby in the street.
- If your Boykin Spaniel is barking because of loneliness or boredom, you will need to exercise your dog more to tire them out and spend time together.
- Sometimes Boykin Spaniels work out that barking gets them attention through treats, walks, or food. Just like a child doing things for attention, you must train them out of the habit.
- Especially with younger, more excitable dogs, a Boykin Spaniel may bark when playing or if he is greeting a friend at the park.
- Sometimes dogs can suffer from separation anxiety, and Boykin Spaniels are generally not suitable pets for people who are rarely home and work long hours, leaving their pet at home alone.
If your Boykin Spaniel is barking for any of the above reasons, and it is excessive, it may be possible to fix the situation, though it will usually mean you need to make changes and work on training.
How Do I Get my Boykin Spaniel to Stop Barking?
Luckily, spaniels are very intelligent dogs that benefit from regular activity and obedience training, and you can train Boykin Spaniels relatively easily. Because they are eager to please, you can train Boykin Spaniels not to bark at deliveries and the mailman.
We had a spaniel who tended to bark at every knock on the door – whether it was a guest, a delivery, a friend, or a stranger. Even when we opened the door, and it was someone he knew well, Marley would keep barking for about five minutes. This was a problem, and Marley was a much more highly-strung dog than we were used to.
We knew we had to take steps with Marley’s barking, and our first step was to provide him with an extra walk a day, which helped curb some of his energy.
Using Positive Reinforcement
We wanted to train him to bark once to alert us and stop. Our first step was to shift the cycle, so as soon as the door was opened, we stepped outside to greet the person, allowing Marley out with us. When he came outside, he would stop barking as the situation changed and he was now no longer defending his territory. When he was no longer barking but greeting the person quietly, we would praise or reward him with a treat.
When it was a regular visitor or delivery person, we got them to give Marley his treat for being quiet, so he could associate them with good things and not try to defend the house.
Preventative and Alternative Measures
We were lucky because the positive reinforcement method worked well with Marley, but if you find that this isn’t working, another option is to physically bar your Boykin Spaniel from the entrance area of the house.
Blocking your dog’s view of the outside may change their behavior because they cannot see strangers or mail carriers and no longer have the urge to bark, but this is not always a possible or helpful method.
You can try distracting your Boykin Spaniel by training them to do an alternate action when they start barking. Calling them away and giving them a command they know, such as sit, lie down, or paw, then rewarding them for that behavior may help snap them out of the urge to bark.
Boykin Spaniels are energetic and clever dogs who love to please their owners, but this does mean that they need a lot of exercise (at least one to two hours a day) to keep them fit and prevent behavioral issues. This need for space and exercise makes these highly-active dogs most unsuitable for apartments.
If you’re patient, you can train a Boykin Spaniel to be a well-behaved dog who can follow basic commands without a problem. Even better is to sign up for obedience classes and take your Boykin Spaniel through advanced training.
They love to perform and practice agility training, and a highly-trained dog is a pleasure. It also makes it less likely that your dog will bark because he’s bored and misbehaving for attention.
While Boykin Spaniels shouldn’t bark a lot, they score 3/5 on the barking scale, making them a more vocal breed than a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel but quieter than a German Shepherd. Boykin Spaniels are high-energy dogs who are playful and intelligent but relatively easy to train. If they are lacking in exercise and training, bored and lonely Boykin Spaniels are more likely to bark a lot;