All dogs bark for any number of reasons. Occasionally 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 – dogs attempting to sound menacing or simply to get attention fall into this category.
Dog trainers generally agree that the best method of controlling a constantly barking dog is to use a traditional reward and reprimand system. These systems are much more humane and teach the dog to only bark at the appropriate times.
Some people may employ what is called a “bark collar” or a “shock collar” to attempt to control a constantly barking dog. These devices deliver a small shock to the dog when it barks and the idea is that the dog will associate a minor pain with his barking, becoming startled and eventually stop.
The problems with these systems are many, however. Some dogs simply don’t learn that the barking is the cause of the negative stimulus, and they will continue to bark despite the discomfort it causes. Particularly furry 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. More often then not, the collar itself is not enough and must be backed up with training anyway.
It is a bad idea to use the bark collars for an extended period of time.
Many people consider the idea of employing a bark collar to be cruel to the dog. While this may be a matter of opinion, these collars emit only a slight shock and will not cause harm to the dog if used over a short period of time.
Still another type of collar is called a citronella collar which emits a mist of citronella to the nose of the dog when the dog barks. Dogs hate the smell of citronella and many will soon associate the negative smell with their constant barking. Citronella collars have a similar success rate of the electronic kind, but are a bit less cruel.
Another method of controlling constant dog barking and by far the most inhumane is to have the dog undergo de-barking surgery. This procedure involves removing a bit a tissue around the larynx of the dog, rendering it unable to bark. The surgery doesn’t always work and most vets will not recommend this extreme measure.
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