top of page

Anti Barking devices: let's talk about it



A Run Free K9 cartoon dog barking

Excessive barking in dogs can be a nuisance for pet owners and their neighbors. While there are different ways to address this behavior, not all methods are effective or humane. Barking is a normal behavior for dogs, but excessive barking can be a nuisance for pet owners and their neighbors.


Excessive barking refers to barking that is persistent, frequent, and loud, and occurs without apparent reason or in response to minor stimuli. However, it is important to note that what is considered excessive barking may vary depending on the breed, age, and personality of the dog, as well as the living environment.


To identify when barking is excessive, pet owners should look for signs such as:

- Barking for prolonged periods of time, especially during the night or early morning

- Barking at every little noise or movement

- Barking when left alone or separated from the owner

- Barking when meeting new people or dogs

- Barking when the owner is on the phone or having a conversation

- Barking when the dog is in a state of excitement or arousal, such as during play or exercise


If the barking is causing a disturbance to the pet owner or their neighbors, it may be considered excessive. In any case, it is important to address excessive barking in a humane and effective way. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most common anti-barking devices available and discuss their pros and cons.


A Run Free K9 cartoon dog barking and the owner covering their ears

Ultrasonic Devices

Ultrasonic devices emit a high-pitched sound that is inaudible to humans but can be heard by dogs. The idea behind these devices is that the sound will distract the dog and interrupt their barking. However, these devices are not always effective, as some dogs may become habituated to the sound and continue barking despite it. Additionally, ultrasonic devices can be harmful to other animals, such as cats and birds, who can also hear the sound. This tool is not suggested to be used in multi pet households as it will correct all animals with ears which isn't fair if all the animals aren't misbehaving at the same time.


Bark Boxes

Bark boxes are automated devices that emit a loud noise when they detect barking. These devices are designed to startle the dog and interrupt their barking. While bark boxes can be effective in some cases, they can also be triggered by other sounds, such as car horns or sirens, which can cause unnecessary stress for the dog.

Citronella Collars

Citronella collars work by spraying a burst of citronella, a scent that is unpleasant to dogs, when they bark. The idea behind this method is that the dog will associate barking with the unpleasant smell and stop barking. However, citronella collars can be problematic for several reasons. First, they may not be effective for dogs with a high pain threshold or those who are not bothered by the scent. Second, the scent can linger for a long time, which can cause anxiety and stress for the dog. Finally, some dogs may develop an aversion to the scent and refuse to wear the collar. In my professional opinion, I would highly suggest not utilizing a citronella collar as it is often too aversive for the dog.


Pagers

Pagers are devices that vibrate or produce a low to high vibration when the dog barks. The idea behind this method is that the vibration will startle the dog and interrupt their barking. However, pagers are not always effective, as some dogs may become habituated to the sensation and continue barking despite it. Additionally, pagers can cause too much fear and discomfort for the dog, which can lead to further behavior problems. For many dogs, the pager can be the perfect tool, for others it can be too aversive. Many dogs I work find vibration more aversive than light stim of a e-collar or shock collar.


Bark Shock Collars

Bark collars are devices that produce a high-level electric shock when the dog barks. The idea behind this method is that the shock will punish the dog for barking and discourage the behavior. However, shock collars are highly controversial and have been banned in several countries, including the UK. Shock collars can cause physical and psychological harm to dogs and may lead to aggression or anxiety. Its best to work with the under lying reasons of why your dog is barking, versus leaning on a tool to correct this behavior.


Why Correcting for Barking is Not Always the Best Option

While anti-barking devices may seem like a quick fix for excessive barking, they are not always the best option. Correcting a dog for barking can weaken their confidence and lead to negative associations with certain situations, such as the crate or the presence of strangers. Additionally, punishing a dog for barking can increase their anxiety and stress, which can lead to further behavior problems.


A Run Free K9 cartoon of a dog owner listening to their dog bark to learn why the dog is barking

What to Do Instead

If you are dealing with a dog that barks excessively, there are several things you can do to address the behavior. First, it is important to identify the underlying cause of the barking. Is the dog barking due to separation anxiety, boredom, fear, or another reason? Once you have identified the cause, you can start to address it.


For example, if your dog is barking due to separation anxiety, you can try desensitization and counterconditioning techniques. This involves gradually exposing your dog to being alone and pairing this with positive experiences, such as treats or toys.


If your dog is barking at specific triggers, such as the UPS man or guests, you can teach them an alternative behavior, such as going to their bed. This involves using positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, to teach the dog the desired behavior. This will help transform their mindset around their triggers instead of suppressing the "bad behavior" around the said triggers.


A Run Free K9 cartoon of a dog and their owner hanging out together

Conclusion

Excessive barking can be a challenging behavior to address, but it is important to do so in a humane and effective way. While anti-barking devices may seem like a quick fix, they are not always the best option and can cause more harm than good. Instead, it is important to identify the underlying cause of the barking and address it using positive reinforcement and L.I.M.A. techniques. By doing so, you can help your dog overcome their barking behavior and improve their overall well-being.



Comentarios


bottom of page