Incessant Dog Barking
Dogs bark for a number of reasons. Sometimes these can be good reasons such as to warn of an intruder or to express fright or pain. Sometimes these can be
"bad" reasons as far as humans are concerned - attempts to sound menacing or simply to get attention fall into this category.
Whatever the reason for a dog's barking, it can often be considered a nuisance by the
dog's owners and their neighbors alike. Because of this there are several methods employed to control a barking dog.
By far the best method of controlling incessant barking is to train the dog not to bark or, more specifically, to bark only at the appropriate times. There are several ways to accomplish this, but dog trainers usually agree that traditional reward and reprimand systems are the most effective and the kindest to use.
Some people opt for an electronic "bark collar" as a shortcut to training the dog themselves. The collar contains an electronic device which is activated by the action of the dog barking. The device issues a small electric shock which pains and startles the dog. Eventually the dog is able to associate the negative stimulus with the barking and stops doing it.
The problems with these systems are multiple, however. Some dogs simply
don't learn that the barking is the cause of the negative stimulus, and continue to bark despite the discomfort it causes.
Particularly hairy dogs may not even feel the shock or activate the device because its metal points must contact the skin directly in order to deliver the shock. Also, the collar itself is not enough and must be backed up with training anyway. It is a bad idea to use the collars for an extended period of time.
Some owners find the concept of delivering an electric shock to the dog to be
"cruel". While that may be a matter of personal opinion, the collars are proven to provide only minor discomfort for a short time and will not actually harm the dog. Another type of collar that operates on the same principle delivers a mist of citronella in front of the
dog's nose. Dogs hate the smell and soon realize that it is caused by the barking. Success rates for citronella collars are comparable to those of the electronic variety.
By far the most extreme method of controlling a dog's barking is to have it undergo debarking surgery. In this procedure a small fold of tissue is removed from the larynx of the dog, rendering it unable to bark. Some find this procedure to be inhumane and, since the
dog's bark may return after a few months anyway, it is certainly a less than perfect method which few vets will recommend.
Webmaster's note: I'm personally horrified by the notion of
surgically removing a dog's bark - I'm definitely one of those who
believe this procedure to be inhumane. A dog has a right to
his/her voice. Think about how you'd like to have your voice box
cut out. In my opinion the practise should be outlawed entirely,
and no vet should undertake the procedure.
For more information on humanely stopping
dog barking, click
Or try these great options:
This one calms your dog with music, so he'll be less inclined to
Kalmer - Click
here for details
Your Dog's Anxiety With Music - Click
And this one is a device which emits a high pitched noise (which you
won't hear but your dog will) which will deter the barking.
Free Noise Deterrent - 25 or 50 feet radius - click
Free Noise Deterrent - Stop Dog Barking
Here for details
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