Saturday, April 24, 2004

Training Dogs not to Bark

For some reason lately, all the dogs have started barking at the slightest thing. We can walk down the stairs, open a door, make a funny noise, and they start barking ... it is just too much! So, we’ve been exploring techniques to train dogs not to bark.

One thing we’ve done with some limited success is buy a water spraying gun from ToysRUs. Today’s water guns are not anything like what we had when I was a kid. These things look like something The Terminator would carry around, have a huge water reservoir, and are battery powered. When you hold down on the trigger they fire a good stream of water continuously while making noise and flashing lights. So, when the dogs start barking, we start shooting. This stops them from barking at the moment, but isn’t training them not to bark at all.

Today we rented a citronella bark collar from the local feed supply company. These things are expensive, so they let us use one for a week to see how it works. Bart was the closest dog around once I got it assembled, so he is wearing it today. It has a small microphone and when it detects the dog is barking, a brief spritz of citronella spray shoots up from the bottom of the collar toward the dog’s neck/jaw.

Boy is he surprised! He just can’t figure out where this stuff is coming from and he does not like it one bit. We are creating situations where the dogs bark, then rewarding Bart when he finally decides not to join in. After a day or two, we’ll rotate the collar to Heidi or Alex.

I don’t know if this is going to work or not, but it is worth a try.

Our other option is a shock collar, which we just can’t bring ourselves to try (yet).

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Posted under: Dog Stuff • by Rick on 04/24/2004 at 02:07 PM
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  1. The citronella collar is working great for all dogs except Heidi. She just stands there and barks until she is dripping with citronella, and keeps on barking. However, the other dogs hate it and will do anything to avoid it. Today, the house was much quieter. I’ve ordered 3 units at a very good price (1/2 what the local store wants) via an internet pet supply house!

    Now, maybe a shock collar for Heidi?

    Posted by Rick  on  04/25/2004  at  07:59 PM
  2. Today, we got the order for 3 additional citronella collars. Now, the challenge is figuring out who wears them. And, making sure we are doing a good job of “training” by rewarding the dogs when they don’t bark in situations where they normally would.

    Still thinking we need a shock collar for Heidi…

    Posted by Rick  on  04/29/2004  at  09:46 PM
  3. The citronella collars stopped working. I think the dogs got used to them. We will probably need to use them for a week, then store them for 6 months, and repeat.

    In the meantime we found a device at PetsMart which emits an ultra-sonic (to humans) sound that is annoying to the dogs (and cats). It does this anytime it detects barking.

    Again, just like the collars, it worked GREAT for a few days, and now the dogs pretty much ignore it unless you pick it up and stick it in their face. I think the battery is low, too. So, we may alternate annoying noise with annoying smell.

    Lynne has taken to banging stainless steel food bowls together and that works for a few seconds, too.

    Posted by Rick  on  01/16/2005  at  05:47 PM
  4. Hi, So I have one question? Have you tried the shock collar for Heidi yet? I also have a female dog that was not receptive to the Citronella collar. After a week it did not even phase here, and that thing was expensive? I have been exploring the option of a shock collar, but it seems so abrasive. I have been looking into a remote collar that is used when you want the dog to be corrected. I feel like maybe this is a little more humane than a collar that may be triggered by other sounds. I would just like to know what happened with Heidi?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  04/18/2005  at  10:39 AM

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