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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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Wednesday, 04 October 2023

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