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Dog Barking Control - Options Before Trying a Shock Collar

Updated on March 1, 2012

Dog Barking Control - How to Get a Dog to Stop Barking Without Using a Shock Collar

Dog barking control is a topic that many dog owners eventually have to address. Dogs bark. That's their nature. It's as natural to them as swimming is to fish. But excessive barking can become a problem, and many people immediately think a shock collar will be the answer to their prayers. But before you do that, here are some other options to try. (Photo credit: © Photographer: Willeecole | Agency: Dreamstime.com)

The first step to stop excessive barking is understanding why your dog barks. Well, the first reason is - he's a dog!! Dogs bark. But when dogs bark excessively, there's usually a reason. Here are some common reasons dogs bark and suggested dog barking control techniques. These are just quick tips, but a good book can give you more in-depth understanding and additional dog barking control suggestions.

Social Isolation/Boredom or Attention-Seeking Barking

Is your dog bored or lonely? He may bark if he's left alone for long periods without companions or toys, if he's a young dog (under three) that doesn't have other outlets for his energy, or he's an active type of dog (like herding or sporting breeds) that need to be busy to be happy.

Suggestions:

Spend more time with your dog by going on walks or playing with him. When you're not home, give him toys to play with, and rotate these so he doesn't get bored.

Territorial/Protective Behavior Barking

Your dog may be barking to guard his territory (and you!). If he's barking when "intruders" walk by your home or his posture appears threatening with his tail held high and his ears up and forward, he's being protective.

Suggestions:

Teach him a "quiet" command and then reward him when he stops barking and is quiet.

Fear and Phobia Barking

If your dog barks when he hears loud noises such as thunderstorms, construction sounds, train horns, or other unexpected noises and his ears are back and his tail is low, he may be barking out of fear.

Suggestions:

Try to mute outdoor noises by keeping windows closed or putting your dog in a quiet room with a TV, radio or loud fan.

Separation Anxiety Barking

Does your dog only bark excessively when you're gone? If the barking starts as soon as you leave, he may have separation anxiety.

Suggestions:

Work with a professional trainer to use desensitization techniques or talk to your vet about medication.

Dog Barking Control - More Behavioral Modification Tools

There are a lot of DVDs on the market that offer dog training advice, including how to stop barking. These offer a lot of great information, but if the only thing you need to know is how to stop nuisance barking, they may have more information than you need.

Dog Barking Control - Citronella Bark Collars - An alternative to shock collars

Citronella collars work by spraying a harmless burst of citronella when your dog barks. The spray doesn't hurt your dog, but most pets don't like the smell. It's most effective when used with behavior modification. I used citronella bark collars on my dogs to stop territorial barking in the yard, and it worked!

PetSafe Gentle Spray Bark Collar for Dogs, Citronella, Anti-Bark Device, Water Resistant
PetSafe Gentle Spray Bark Collar for Dogs, Citronella, Anti-Bark Device, Water Resistant

The Gentle Leader SpraySense Collar uses patented SprayLogik technology to deliver a harmless burst of citronella spray to interrupt your dogs barking. It acts on four of your dog's five senses - he hears it, sees it, feels it and smells it. Citronella is a unique scent that most dogs don't normally encounter. It's non-offensive to humans yet unusual enough to distract your dog and interrupt the unwanted behavior. Shock and ultra-sonic collars attempt to reduce barking with pain. In addition to being less effective than spray, pain often increases anxiety and aggression and makes some behavior problems worse. When to use: The Gentle Leader SpraySense Collar can be used with any breed of dog that weighs 6 lbs. or more and is at least 6 months old. If your dog is smaller or younger please check first with your veterinarian. It is ideal for controlling general nuisance barking both indoors and outdoors. It is not recommended for anxiety-related barking unless specifically directed by a behavior profession.

 

Dog Barking Control - Ultrasonic Bark Devices

These devices work by emitting an ultrasonic noise when a dog barks. Some people have reported great results with these, and you can learn more by reading the reviews at Amazon. One important factor to look at when buying an ultrasonic dog barking control device is its range. Is it 25 feet or 50 feet? How big is your yard? If you're using it outdoors, be sure the range is large enough to be effective.

What a Shock Collar Feels Like


© Photographer: Willeecole | Agency: Dreamstime.com

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