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Using an anti bark collar

(5 Posts)
Stumpted88 Fri 26-Oct-18 22:26:48

I have caved, I have an anxious dog. He has been very well trained, as in by us novices, a dog walker and a specialist animal behaviour specialist.

He is a small cross breed and we rescued him from a puppy farm, it’s been a good two years in many ways. He is very much part of the family; our 5 year old DS adores him, and I get the feeling is mutual, dog thunders through the house when DS comes how from school grin. DS is an only child so incorporates our dog in lots of play (mainly football!).

However, dog has a real attachment to my self, I literally can not move. Without my little shadow. In addition he HATES everyone, other than the dogs he has been socialised with and the humans he knows, he just barks like mad.

He barks if someone passes our house, he barks if his beloved play mate comes down stairs unexpectedly, postman, cleaners, or just any loud noise etc etc.

We bought him a bark collar, it beeps if he goes off on one and vibrates if he still carries on.

It’s actually working, but I feel so fucking shit for doing it, has anyone else used one?

BloodyDraculcasonthis Fri 26-Oct-18 22:29:59

Why do you feel bad?
I could obviously understand if it was an old fashioned shock collar, those things are evil, but a beep and a vibrate is too distract the dog and not hurt it isn't it?

florenceheadache Fri 26-Oct-18 22:31:21

it seems like you are doing your best to have this dog live in a loving home no need to feel guilty.
i've not used a bark collar, but use another type (not for barking).
have you looked into using a thunder coat? a slightly weighted doggy coat to help reduce anxiety?
of course if the collar is working that's great but if you want or need other options it may be worth considering.

Polestar50 Fri 26-Oct-18 22:53:39

Oh jeez.
Fair play to you for asking in here though. You are obviously fond of the dog and have done a great thing in homing him. It sounds like you are not really comfortable with your decision to use a collar.

What other methods did it try before the bark collar?
Have you consulted a force-free behaviourist about the separation anxiety and barking?

In a nutshell, aversive tools such as bark collars are not advocated by modern dog trainers because, at best, they mask the problem rather than helping the dog overcome the root cause of the behaviour. At worst they can exacerbate the problem and cause even worse behaviours in the future.

If your dog is barking from anxiety, the collar will not make him less anxious, it will just teach him that there is something else to be afraid of/avoid. It will look as though it is 'working' in that it may reduce the barking but it is a false victory. The underlying anxiety will remain and it is likely that this will simply resurface in another form (perhaps him becoming destructive, self harming, toileting in the house etc. Or at the worst, becoming defensive and possibly aggressive)

Imagine if your child was anxious and had a compulsive behaviour that was irritating to you but to some extent helped him cope with his anxiety. Then imagine that instead of working with him to develop new coping strategies, you just did something he didn't like (eg blew in his ear) every time. He may stop the behaviour but he would still be anxious, now with an added stress and no pressure valve to release the tension. Horrible right?

These type of anti bark collars are not the cruelest tool available but they are useless and pretty damned mean. I think you know this in your heart and that's why you are asking on here.

It will do you, and the dog, so much more good in the long term to throw away the collar and consult a good behaviourist instead.

adaline Sat 27-Oct-18 08:02:20

Oh please don't use a bark collar. They work through fear. You're scaring your dog into not barking because the noise/vibration is scary and upsetting to them.

I would second a thundershirt. They're £35 from Pets at Home and have done wonders for my anxious dog. I only have to get it out and he calms visibly!

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