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The constantly barking dog – How to deal with him

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.

Although dogs bark for a number of reasons, a constantly barking dog is
considered by dog owners and neighbors to be a nuisance and there may
come a time when some extreme measures need to be employed to control a
constantly barking dog.

By far the best method of controlling constant 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 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.

There are, however, some problems associated with the bark collar
method. Some dogs will simply not associate the shock delivered by the
collar with its barking, and will continue to bark anyway. Yet still,
dogs with thick fur many not even feel the shock of the collar because
the collar’s metal contacts cannot directly touch the dogs skin.
Eventually some dogs will get the message and stop barking, but most
will still require some sort of reward/reprimand training to eventually
control their barking.

It is a bad idea to use the bark collars for an extended period of time.

While these collars provide only a minor pain, most people would agree
that the use of a bark collar would seem to be cruel to the dog. Use of
a bark collar for short periods of time will not harm the dog.

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.

By far the most extreme method of attempting to control a dog’s barking
is to have it undergo de-barking surgery. With 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 and few vets will recommend.

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