Understandably, if your dog is barking because he is anxious, this will really add to his problems. Citronella collars require you to buy replacement cartridges frequently, so can be much more expensive than consulting a veterinary behaviorist.
I sorta feel like I caused this because when I was getting them used to the lead when they were puppies I always gave them lots of praises and made the experience seem like loads of fun. If I take one away to work with him alone the other kicks off with a mix of howling/barking which I believe is separation anxiety.
Do not encourage your dog to bark at sounds, such as pedestrians or dogs passing by your home, birds outside the window, children playing in the street and car doors slamming, by saying “Who’s there?” or getting up and looking out the windows.
Now I should point out that this barking is NOT “naughty behavior” as many people think, nor has it anything to do with boredom which is why using a shock collar to try to stop this behavior is such a cruel idea. Let me explain.
Does your dog bark at the doorbell? Do you not even have a door bell, but your dog barks at ones on TV? Does your dog bark at car horns? When certain people come over? All these things and more! can be addressed with training and desensitization. They do not just up and go away on their own. You have to work at it. My next blog post will be a How to – Desensitization.
If your dog has trouble getting the message, you can also put a Kong filled with peanut butter in the crate so they have something to do besides bark. After they are quietly licking out the peanut butter, you can then let them out and praise them.
Other types of no-bark collars are just as bad, including those that squirt lemon juice, emit noises that are too high-pitched for human ears, or emit a citronella smell. The purpose of all of these is the same: The collar senses when the dog’s vocal cords are moving and an unpleasant response is made active. The result is to train the dog to stop barking through negative re-enforcement of the behavior. Negative re-enforcement, however, is not a good way to train dogs, and newer, more advanced training methods of training rely on positive re-enforcement. Punishments, if they still play a role in some training regimens, are not repulsive and hurtful to the dog, and might be something like a drop of water on the tip of the nose.
There is a huge array of ’tools’ on the market that claim to stop nuisance barking in dogs and offer a quick fix. These include spray or shock collars, compressed air sprays, rattle cans and other devices, whose main function is to startle, scare, cause pain or discomfort to a barking dog in an effort to teach him that barking brings unpleasant consequences.
If barking during the day is a problem because the dog is left outside, see if the neighbor will agree to install a dog house where the dog can take shelter during the day. Discuss a certain date by which the dog house will be installed.
Especially with the larger breeds, there is this necessity to be active at all times. If there is not much space available indoors, the dog will become frustrated. The same thing happens when he is not allowed to play. What you want to do is create an area where the dog can play. This is where you put all his favorite toys and you let him do whatever he wants.
Continue the training. Don’t stop at discontinuing barking for attention. Continue your training to eventually cover all aspects of request/attention-seeking barking. Eventually, your dog will learn to wait patiently whether she wants to play, eat, or receive pets.
When your dog barks, mark the desired behavior with the click! of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”, and feed him a treat. Repeat this until he’ll bark on just the cue, without the trigger. Then practice in different environments until the “bark on cue” behavior is well generalized. When his “bark on cue” is well established, you can follow it with a “quiet!” cue, so you’ll be able to turn the bark off when you want.
I have a beautiful border collie that we found at work wandering around half starved at 4 months old. I fell in love with Maggie Mae right away and while at 1st she showed signs of possible abuse such as cowering she soon adapted and joined our beagle and chihuahua-pug mix she has a couple quirks. Whenever my husband’s cell phone rings or even vibrates she makes a mad dash for the back dog door and runs around the pool before coming back in. Only his phone and regard less of the ringer. I have even changed mine to the same as his with No result. She does the same thing when he sneezes and only him. We laugh about it now but it is a little bewildering!
Don’t use inconsistent rules. If you yell at him for barking at some sights or sounds, such as the kids leaving for school, and encourage him to bark at others, like the salesman at the door, he will be hard-put to distinguish between the two events. The result will be a still-constantly barking dog.