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Problem Solving ~ Barking Cont.

Problem Solving

  • Time buffers – Studies have shown that most dogs are at their destructive and vocal worst 20 minutes after you leave for work (the dog is stressed that it has to spend the day alone) and 20 minutes before you come home in the evening (the dog is excitedly anticipating your homecoming). Time buffers teach the dog to settle down for the day and to remain unemotional when you first return home. Fifteen minutes before you need to leave the house in the morning, put your dog in his crate, dog run or room (wherever he is to spend the day) and ignore him. By all means, correct any barking or destructive behavior, but do not play with him or talk to him other than to correct inappropriate behaviors. When it is time for you to leave, just leave. Do not make a big deal out of it. A “good bye, have a nice day” is enough. You are trying to teach your dog to settle in for the day, and not get so emotional when you say goodbye. Then do it in reverse when you come home. Leave your dog in his day confinement. If he or she is loose in the house, do not touch, make direct eye contact, or talk to the dog for fifteen minutes before greeting him or her. Correct any barking behavior but do nothing more. This will teach your dog that even though you have come home, there is a cooling off period before he can be greeted.
  • Provide activities – If your dog is busy chewing, it’s more unlikely that he or she will be barking at the same time. Good chewing toys are Kong toys stuffed with cheese, biscuits or peanut butter. Stuffing sterilized beef bones also works great. Put the special chew toy down just before you leave for the day and pick it up when you return home. Another good item to keep your dog busy is the Buster Cube. You fill it with your dog’s ration ofkibble and he has to work on it to receive his meal.
  • Try setting your dog up – Do everything you would normally do if you were leaving for the day, such as putting the dog in his crate or room, get out your keys, put on your coat and walk out the door. Only don’t leave; instead wait just outside the door listening to see what your dog will do. If your dog starts barking or howling, you can quickly go back into your house and correct with the “Quiet” command. Then immediately leave again, standing just outside the front door. If you have a difficult case, you would wait for five full minutes of continual silence before returning inside. Wait inside for another ten minutes, then leave again to your spot just outside the door. Gradually you would build up to leaving your dog for 30 minutes with no barking or whining, again with you waiting just outside the door. Once you have built up to 30 to 60 minutes with no vocalizations, most dogs can usually be left safely for several hours without a problem.

Anti-Bark Collars
There are numerous collars on the market that produce an electrical stimulation, an irritating ultrasonic sound, or a smell (offensive to dogs) when the dog barks. Collars alone will not cure the problem, but may be used in addition to behavior modification. Unfortunately, these collars do not always produce the desired effect. For some hard-core barkers, the punishment for barking is not sufficient to get them to stop. They would rather bark and be punished than not bark at all. For dogs that bark due to separation anxiety, fears or phobias, these collars should not be used as the collar’s correction may increase their fear and anxiety, thus making things worse. Bark activated products are the most practical means of deterring excessive barking, and may be a better choice than owner-activated devices since they ensure immediate and accurate timing.

  • Citronella Collars – The collar contains a reservoir of citronella solution that sprays into your dog’s face every time he barks. One drawback is that the collar contains a microphone, so the spray is delivered in response to the sound of the bark. However, other noises may set off the collar, causing your dog to be sprayed even if he hasn’t barked. Also, some dogs can tell when the reservoir is empty and will resume barking. It has about a 50% success rate.
  • Audible and Ultrasonic Collars – These collars emit a high-frequency sound when the dog barks. Some are activated by the noise of the bark, while others are owner-activated. The rate of success for this type of collar is reportedly rather low.
  • Electric Shock Collar – This collar should only be used as a final option since they have the potential for injury and abuse. The electric shock is painful to the dog and many dogs will endure the pain and continue barking. It has about a 90% success rate. You should discuss this option with your veterinarian. *ACI News
  • “He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.” *Unknown

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