Why they bark at flying objects

The Unique Behavior of Icelandic Sheepdogs: Barking at Flying Objects

Icelandic Sheepdogs, a breed known for their rich history and distinctive characteristics, display a peculiar behavior that often intrigues dog enthusiasts: they tend to bark at anything flying in the air. This behavior, while seemingly quirky, has roots in the breed’s historical and environmental background.

Historical Context and Breed’s Purpose

Originating from Iceland, these dogs were bred primarily for herding sheep and other livestock in rugged terrain. Their role was not just to guide the flock but also to protect it from predators. This protective instinct is deeply ingrained in the breed. Birds of prey, such as eagles, were a common threat to lambs and small livestock in Iceland’s pastoral settings. The Icelandic Sheepdogs, therefore, developed a habit of barking at flying objects as a way to ward off these aerial predators, safeguarding the flock.

Instinctual Behavior and Training

This instinctual behavior persists even in modern Icelandic Sheepdogs, who may no longer need to protect livestock from birds. When they bark at flying objects, be it birds or even drones, they are exhibiting a deep-seated protective instinct. This trait, while admirable in a pastoral setting, can be challenging for pet owners in urban environments. It underscores the importance of proper training and socialization for these dogs, especially in non-rural settings. Training can help moderate their barking response and channel their protective instincts in appropriate ways.

Understanding and Managing the Behavior

For potential owners and dog lovers, understanding this behavior is crucial. It’s not just a quirk but a manifestation of the breed’s historical role and protective nature. Managing this behavior involves a blend of training, exercise, and mental stimulation. Engaging the dogs in activities that fulfill their herding instincts, like agility training or herding trials, can be particularly beneficial.

In conclusion, the Icelandic Sheepdog’s tendency to bark at flying objects is a unique behavior rooted in their historical role as protectors of livestock. Recognizing and appropriately managing this trait is essential for harmonious living with these intelligent and loyal dogs.

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