It is good form for a dog to bark only at threats that the master gives his/her approval, otherwise mutts should be trained to be silent where possible. Training your puppy from young is a good idea, but then again not all puppies have the same teachable temperament. Just before you give up on Lassie, how about considering the Stop Barking Collar?
Each time your dog barks, the vibration in his neck activates an ultrasonic signal that only your dog can hear, and he soon learns to stop. Water-resistant sensor is attached to a stretch collar that adjusts to comfortably fit any size dog. Features an on/off button and choice of ultrasonic or audible signal. Batteries included.
The Stop Barking Collar could greatly reduce the frustration when it comes to training between you and your mutt, hence tightening the bond even further. At $12.99 a pop, there really isn’t any loss in picking this up.