Safe Solutions to Problem Barking
Barking is a natural way for your dog to communicate with you and others. However, problem barking can make your dog a nuisance to neighbours and test the most loving dog owner’s patience. While you should always look to the root of your dog’s barking – albeit a genuine threat, anxiety, attention-seeking, boredom, or stress, for example – these harm-free aids can help you train your dog safely and effectively.
Citronella collars are a bark control collar that works on the principle that most dogs do not like the smell of citronella or being sprayed in the muzzle. Spray collars expel a cloud of citronella in the dog’s face when it barks. However, you should note that some dogs do learn to avoid the spray and others love the smell of citronella. Some brands have unscented refill packs available.
Example: Innotek Anti-Bark Spray Collar
Vibrating collars are a relatively new addition to the bark collar crew. The collars work by vibrating when the dog barks, distracting the dog from barking again. Most come with levels of vibration intensity to suit your dog’s requirements. They achieve a high success rate without emitting any electronic pulse, and work well for dogs that have developed barking habits, but they are not always successful for stubborn dogs.
Example: Pro-Line No Bark Collar
Ultrasonic Transmitters and Collars
Ultrasonic transmitters and collars emit a high-frequency sound when your dog barks, which deters them from barking again. Ultrasonic transmitters work within a certain distance range and can be placed anywhere. Since the transmitters work on an area, they can be a good choice if you have multiple dogs with a barking problem. Also, this method may not work on very stubborn dogs or in all areas of a large yard. Alternatively, ultrasonic bark collars respond to vibrations picked up as the collar lies against your dog’s throat. A downside to ultrasonic transmitters and collars is that the emitted sound that is supposed to be undetectable to human ears can be heard by some people.
Example: PetSafe Indoor Ultrasonic Bark Control
Dog bells deserve some mention within this topic, because they serve as a solution to a common barking problem. If your dog barks when he wants to go outside, you can provide an alternative communicative device for him – a bell. Concerned about the learning curve? Most dogs learn how to use the bell very quickly, especially if you provide a consistent response. Simply place your dog’s paw on the bell whenever you take him outside.
Example: Tell Bell
Whatever method you choose to use, make sure to use it only as a supplement to your own training efforts. Successful training requires consistency in reward and consequence. Praise or treats are great incentives for good behaviour. Remember: your dog wants to please you, so set reliable and clear boundaries.