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Barking Q&A

Barking Q&A


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  1. I have a border collie female who is about 5 years old who barks incessantly on and off all day long. We've tried everything, what do you suggest?

  2. I have a 21 month old working line dog. He has been having a little separation anxiety when I leave the house. He has been barking a lot with occasional breaks. What is your thought?

  3. If my 15 month old Doberman hears the slightest sound outside, upstairs or even if my wife opens the basement door to talk to me for something he just keeps barking. Is there a way to quiet him quickly or to distinguish between noises or perhaps could he grow out of this pattern?

  4. I have a female Dobie and I am unsure what the best reaction should be when she barks at people or noises. What is the best way to handle this? Is this a socialization issue or just natural protection tendencies of the breed? Do I make her stop or let her carry on barking?

  5. I have my dog in her crate pretty much all the time like it says to do. She won't quit barking!!! AHH!! It's making me crazy!!! What do I do!!!

  6. We have two dogs, would it be safe to put the bark collar on our one dog even if the two of them are in their dog run together?

  7. I have a dog that is territorial barking in our small backyard that I can’t seem to control. Is this an instance where you’d suggest use a remote trainer?

  8. Our 10-month-old Brittany barks when dogs pass by our house, whether she is inside or outside. What do you suggest?

  9. We have a Doberman who whines A LOT. I've seen the success described on the website regarding bark collars. Is there anything similar for whining? Something that would issue a correction for whining, but not for as bark?

  10. My dogs go crazy in their crates when my son visits with his dog. They are otherwise well behaved, what should I do?

  11. I want to purchase an electric collar for my 12 pound dog. I need to quickly control his barking. What do you recommend?

  12. Our 15 month old puppy barks at us for attention.  We will pet her to calm her down when she does this, but when we stop she starts barking again.  What can we do?

  13. My dog barks on her way into her puppy class and at the vet’s office, what can I do?

  14. My wife has a 10 lb brussels griffon. We need to get a bark collar but she has such a small neck. What do we do?

  15. Can we use an electronic collar to teach our dogs to be quiet in their crates?

  16. My dog barks at family. What I should do when my family comes back and she starts barking / growling at my husband again?

  17. My dog has a lot of extra skin around his neck. How do I make sure the bark collar is placed properly and snug enough?

  18. We currently have a roommate who stays in the basement and every time he comes upstairs, our dog will go into vicious barking unlike her normal barking while she is in her crate. Do you think that the bark limiter collar is the way we should handle this situation?

  19. I have a 2 yr old male Catahoula that barks a lot at night. However, he is supposed to bark when treeing a coon or baying a hog. If a bark collar is applicable in this situation, how best to use it?

  20. My pup barks & yips early in the morning to get out and fed. I've tried everything I can think of. What do you suggest?

  21. I bought a bark collar from you and I have been using it on my pit bull. He has slowed down with the barking but his aggression has seemed to increase and he seems scared when wearing the collar. Did I do something wrong? Might the collar be increasing his aggression?

  22. My 9 months old male German Shepherd has just recently begun barking for prolonged periods of time either loose or crated. This problem began around the time we went on a trip and left him with our in-laws for a week. Similarly, when out of the crate, he has started barking at noises we can and can't hear. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

1. Question:

Dear Cindy,

It's been a really long time since I have written for your advice, but I find myself needing your help once again. I'm not sure why I never asked for your help before, but I guess better late than never. I have a border collie female who is about 5 years old. We've had her since she was a 7 weeks old. Any how she barks incessantly on and off all day long. We've tried the bark collars, which I really dislike. I've tried exercise, spray bottles and shaker cans. She only does it when she is in her kennel. Being that she is champagne and white she has very sensitive skin, and she can get a hot spot with the e-collar very quickly. What I'd like to know is what exercise can I do with her that will not only tire her physically but also mentally enough for her to calm down. She was the hardest dog I've ever had to teach obedience to since she does not respond to treats. We used to show her in conformation and not even a Mcdonalds hamburger, fresh cooked chicken or liver could hold her attention.She loves to go for walks with us and she fairly well behaved, but I just don't think that walks are enough.

She's not my first border collie, I have never experienced this kind of behavior before. So what ever advice you have would be so appreciated.

I don't even mind if I have to start all over again, I will attempt to do what ever you think would work.

Thanks,
Bonnie

Answer:

If your dog is having skin irritation from the bark collar I would guess that it's on too loose. If it's on properly it won't rub and irritate the skin. Personally for dogs like this, I would get in the habit of using the collar for some time every day to break the cycle of barking.

As for mental exercise, I haven't found anything better to engage a dog's mind than marker training. The Power of Training Dogs with Markers.

I would manipulate her food to increase her drive and I would make her work for all her meals.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


2. Question:

Hi,

I have a question about my dog. He a 21 month old working line dog. I purchased him about 3 months ago for schutzhund and he as developed a tight bond with me. He has been having a little separation anxiety when I leave the house. He stays in an extra large crate in the basement when I leave to go to work. My other dogs stay in crates beside him when my wife and I are both at work. But when she is not working the house dogs usually upstairs with her. The problem is, he has been barking a lot with occasional breaks. It doesn't matter if the other dogs are with him in their crates or not. He doesn't  settle down until I come home. He is getting plenty of exercise daily so I don't believe it is that. 

On a regular house dog I would probably use a "bark" collar to help with this.

I hesitate with using this on him because I don't know if this will inhibit him from barking in protection work. What is your thought on that? Any suggestions would be appreciated. He does not respond this way in the car if I have to go into the store or anywhere that I go, if he is in his crate in the car.

Thanks,
Phil

Answer:

I’d use a bark collar for him.  If you use it properly it should not interfere with protection work.  I use bark collars on my dogs and they are actively being trained for protection.  They know the difference.

Tritronics Bark Limiter is the bark collar I use. 

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have.. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum.  Separation anxiety has been discussed at length on the forum and the website.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


3. Question:

Hello Cindy,

It has been a very long time since I last emailed. I ordered several of Ed's videos and searched his site on quieting a barking dog. 

Simply my 15 month old Doberman is very obedient thanks to your videos but for some reason if he hears the slightest sound outside, upstairs or even if my wife opens the basement door to talk to me for something he just keeps barking. I don't mind him nor will I correct him for barking at strangers walking by or hears noises outside but its the inside noises which occur quite often as you can imagine that finds me needing to quiet him.  Now I have basically used the shh command with some treats that does stop it eventually but even then only for a little while until the very next small sound. Is there a way to quiet him quickly or to distinguish between noises or perhaps could he grow out of this pattern?

Appreciate any thoughts and suggestions,
Jason

Answer:

I would not count on him growing out of this.  If anything it may become more pronounced as he gets older.  I have met many Dobermans who are like this (I raised them for many years) and there are a couple of options. 

You can use a Tritronics Bark Limiter. Dogs quickly learn that when this collar is on, they need to be quiet.  I haven’t had any issue with my dogs NOT barking once the collar is removed.

You could also go to a remote collar, so you could selectively shush him. The problem with this is that if you aren’t prepared to correct him at exactly the right moment, you may cause confusion. The benefit to this is that you can pick and choose when to quiet him.  The bark collar will correct him for ANY barking, the ecollar lets you choose.

I personally use the Dogtra collars.  I’d also recommend Electric collar Training for the Pet Owner.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


4. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I want to start off by telling you what a great help you and Ed have been with my training! I love your videos, especially the Training with markers video. My question for you is, I have a female Dobie and I am unsure what the best reaction should be when she barks at people or noises (for example: people walking through the neighborhood at night or noises outside). I want my dog to be naturally protective and watch/alert me when she senses something is not quite right. When she barks, I check out the situation and if I think everything is OK, I will tell her "No" or "Quiet" calmly but firmly. Usually that will stop the barking but sometimes she will get a couple more little barks in under her breath. In that situation, I have to get a little firmer and tell her "No" again or call her over to me and make her lay down. I believe she should listen and respect me when I tell her to stop barking. I worry that telling her "No" may be sending the signal that I don't want her to bark at all when I absolutely would want her to bark, for example, at someone approaching the house late at night. Most of the time she picks up on people or things that I would never even notice so I appreciate that. What is the best way to handle this? Is this a socialization issue or just natural protection tendencies of the breed? Do I make her stop or let her carry on barking?

Thanks!

Amanda

Answer:

I would try giving her an alternative behavior to perform when you want her to stop barking (similar to what you are already doing). I've had a lot of Dobermans, and typically you don't need to worry about them NOT barking :)

In other words if she barks and you want her to stop, then I would say Down or Sit or use whatever command you wish and if she persists in barking I would give her a correction of some sort. I would not keep repeating NO or Quiet, but teach her that when you say Sit, it means sit and shut up or when you say Down, it means lay down and be quiet.

I have a Malinois right now that does this, and I always tell her Good Girl for letting me know someone is there but then I shut her down right away with a Down or a Sit. For this particular dog, using the remote collar on a very low setting is the most effective way to reinforce this.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


5. Question:

Cindy Help!!!!

OK - I have Izzy in her crate pretty much all the time like it says to do. (in the groundwork article). She's never had an accident or anything. I'm sure to take her out to go to the bathroom and I take her out for a long walk everyday too. As per what Ed says about 'social isolation' I don't talk to her, I ignore her and everything. I'm trying to be as aloof as possible!! Here's my problem. She won't quit barking!!! AHH!! It's making me crazy!!! What do I do!!! So far I have not even acknowledged it. She's been in the crate since Friday morning. Tell me this is going to get easier soon! Thanks.

Answer:

You can put the crate somewhere that the barking won’t bother you or you can use a bark collar

This is something some dogs need to go through, just make sure you aren’t giving her ANY attention at all when she barks. NONE. The only time she gets attention or gets to come out is when she has been quiet even if it’s only for a few seconds at first. You can also try covering the crate with a blanket so she can’t see what’s going on around her, that helps sometimes.

I would direct you to the search function in the upper left corner of the website for any additional questions you may have. If you type in your key words it will guide you to articles, Q & A’s and posts on our forum. 

Cindy


6. Question:

Hi,

I have a question, I'm sorry if I got the wrong email address. I have two dogs, both almost 3, a Golden Retriever and a Great Pyrenees. The Golden doesn't bark at anything. He will be surrounded by barking dogs and not even turn his head. Our Pyrenees, however, will bark if the grass is too green or growing too quickly. They also don't play with each other a lot as our Pyrenees is much more laid back than our Golden and he gets bored with her and she tires of him. My question is, would it be safe to put the bark collar on our Pyrenees even if the two of them are in their dog run together, since they don't really wrestle a whole lot and she doesn't really get aggressive... ever?

Thanks,
Amber

Answer:

I don’t like putting bark collars on dogs when they are confined together. The problem is that the one that barks may become aggressive with the other dog if they receive a correction. The dog sees something that elicits a bark, gets a correction and then may turn and bite who or whatever is closest. It’s called re-directed aggression and I don’t feel it’s worth risking. If they are in side by side kennels or separate yards, it’s fine but together I would say “no.”

Cindy


7. Question:

Hi Cindy!

I have a 5-year female German Shepherd that is territorial barking in our small backyard that I can’t seem to control. We no longer allow her access to the backyard when we are gone during the day because we can’t allow her to be a nuisance to the neighbors. When we do let her into the backyard to ‘do her business,’ she races out the pet door and barks loudly with her hackles up the entire time she’s outside. She also barks along the fence.  Is this an instance where you’d suggest use a remote trainer? Thanks for your opinion and thoughts. 

–Cindy

Answer:

I’d recommend a Tritronics Bark Limiter for nuisance barking it is much more accurate than a remote collar. The correction will be timed correctly for each bark, even when you are not watching her.

We use these on our own dogs every day.

You may want to read over some of the questions from other customers with similar problems. I hope this helps.

Cindy


8. Question:

Hi,

Your site has been a great help.  We have a 10-month-old Brittany, and until a month ago, I thought we had just been lucky because our dog never barked. Now, she barks when dogs pass by our house, whether she is inside or outside. If we are on a walk, she rarely barks at a dog passing by, even if it barks at her. She gets excited, but doesn't make a noise. The one thing that has changed is that we have had Invisible Fence installed during this time. I have read questions on your site about barking and the use of a bark collar, but we already have a normal collar and the Fence collar on her at all times (except during a walk and at night). We use your prong collar with a regular collar for walks. Can we really use another collar? When she barks, we have been saying "No bark" while we hold her muzzle. What do you suggest?

Thanks,
Mary

Answer:

For nuisance barking, the best solution I have found is the Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter. I think you’ll find you only need to put on the bark collar when she’s in your yard or the house. I use it situationally on my own dogs, for when I can’t perfectly time an interruption or correction. You shouldn’t need it when you are on a walk or have her on a leash, because you can give her instant feedback should she decide to bark inappropriately.

I have one dog that needs the collar on when he’s in our fenced yard and at no other time. I have another dog that needs it when she’s crated. They learn very fast that when the collar goes on to be discriminatory about using their voice.

Cindy


9.Question:

Cindy,

I'm sure you've heard this many times before....we have a Doberman who whine. A LOT. Barking isn't a huge problem (he does bark, but not to the point that it's an issue). I've seen the success described on the website regarding bark collars. Is there anything similar for whining? Something that would issue a correction for whining, but not for as bark? I see no reason to correct his barks, given that the problem is the whining.

The dog does seem to have general SA issues. We crate him when we're gone. If we don't, he may chew something or he may not. He's gone weeks with no incident but then has a big one, such as chewing the couch! Since then, he's been crated while were away from home. The whining is a problem whether we're home or not. He does it all the time for many reason...all dumb. We actually think he's a little off for a doberman, but he's a total sweetheart.

Any thoughts?

Thanks,

Caahlen
Aurora, IL

Answer:

I'd try a bark collar ---Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter.

The problem is anxiety and vocalizing, and if you can get a handle on it with the bark collar I think the anxiety will subside as well.

The skill, timing and consistency required to correct whining without a bark collar is something that would be very difficult to do with another training method. You'd have to be there 24/7 to catch him when he's not whining and use marker training to reward him. This is so difficult to do, that I couldn't recommend it as a viable option.

Cindy


10. Question:

I am hoping that you can help us.  I have two ½ Australian Cattle Dogs. The ½  comes when my step son’s Australian Cattle Dog (neutered male) (Ryder) comes to stay with us for two days every two days (my step-son is a fireman at Otis AFB, here in Mass.). I have a spayed female (Libby) and a Champion show dog (Diesel). ALL these dogs are crate trained. All these dogs are registered ACDs. When Diesel and Libby are home and out of their crates, they are very good together, I am the pack leader as well as my husband.  Libby and Ryder don’t usually make a peep when they are in their crates. Diesel sometimes whines (very distracting). 

My house goes into chaos when Ryder visits. When my step son drives in (the dogs have excellent hearing), Libby starts barking, and Diesel gets to the very corner of his crate, barking and raising quite the ruckus. Then Ryder comes in the house. All Heck breaks loose. Diesel actually moves his crate to try to get to Ryder. There is a mutual hate by both Ryder and Diesel. Libby gets along with both, but sometime has a little difficulty with Ryder. (He’s a 75 lb. ACD!) When Diesel is out of the crate with Libby – Ryder will charge his crate as well trying to get to Diesel. We don’t let Diesel and Ryder out together AT ALL. We’ve pretty much resigned ourselves to that fact. We’d like to bring peace back into our lives though.

We do have bark collars – we’ve found that if we have the bark collars on Libby and Diesel when my step son drives in that sometimes the aggression isn’t there. Do we need to step this up to a training collar? We’ve had a difficult time with Diesel in correcting him for lunging at the corner of his crate when Ryder comes through.  It is impossible to correct him in the crate.

My dogs all get taken out to the arena to catch balls, run around, and my dogs do agility, so Libby and Diesel get worked and get tired. Ryder, sometime has no interest in the ball, and will just just run after Libby.

We are running out of choices, ideas, etc.  this is definitely affecting not only the dogs, but my marriage. We’ve tried contacting another trainer about the red zone aggression and have gotten no response.

Ideas, thoughts, help please!?

Margaret

Answer:

I’d use the bark collars, every time you put the dogs in the crate (even if your son is not going to be visiting) I’ve found that the best way to instill new habits in dogs is to simply be consistent.  If you wait until they already are showing aggression or barking, then they’ve gotten a rehearsal of behavior you don’t want.

We like these Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter


11. Question:

Cindy,

I talked w/ Donna today and she requested that I write you for advice on which e-collar to purchase for my dog.  Charley is a 15 month old miniature poodle, about 12 pounds.  Charley is a an extremely active, athletic dog. We do a 3 or 4 mile run most days. He’s not aggressive, very social, a poodle, but a “soft” dog, mild and loving most of the time. He’s probably the best dog I’ve ever had. I am working w/ Charley steadily on obedience training, aiming for trials for CD title in a few months.

We recently moved into new offices, and Charley comes to work w/ me. I had him in a sit-stay,  in a restricted hall ,for training purposes, while I went to the men’s room. Normally he will sit silently for several minutes, but another dog on the floor below started barking, and Charley responded, which led to a complaint. I won’t leave him in that hall again, but will keep him in our office suite.  Nevertheless, I need to be able to quickly control any barking.

He also barks when he sees other dogs outside, from his window perch at home, and I want to control that too. However I don’t want to go to an automatic bark collar, because he barks infrequently, and my wife likes a certain amount of the barking when a visitor appears at our house. I have resisted an e-collar before because I’m heading for competition obedience, and don’t want Charley dependent on it, but now I need to do something.

Donna said that both the Dogtra 280 and 1900 would be too large for Charley. She asked me to have you suggest a “lap dog” e-collar.  I hardly think of Charley as a lap dog, but I suppose size is the determining factor. What do you recommend?

-Mark

Answer:

I’m not a fan of using an electric collar to correct nuisance barking. The timing of the handler is almost never good enough or consistent enough to correct barking. I have found that using the bark collar is best because you don’t have to hover and wait for the dog to bark. The collar does it’s job much better than I could. If you want to allow the dog to bark at specific times, you simply don’t put the collar on. They figure it out quickly. This is how I handle my own dogs.

I only use the electric collar for training, not for punishing behaviors like barking.

If you need a collar for training, then I’d go with the Innotek Lap Dog trainer.


12. Question:

Hi Cindy,

Our puppy Lucy is 15 months old, she is a very smart dog we are of course still in the process of training her. One thing that really bugs us is she will start to bark and bark it seems for attention especially if we have guests over. She seems to be doing it for attention because we are just conversing with one another and she'll bark and sometimes jump on our leg, it seems to get our attention. How do we break her of this bad habit? We do say no bark to her in a firm voice however she keeps it up and it gets so annoying when someone is trying to talk.  We will try to give her some attention by petting her, to calm her down she is then ok and when you stop she'll start up again. She will also do this when we sitting down at the dinner table(we never feed her table food or never give her anything when we are having dinner) or also when just our family members are having a conversation standing around in the kitchen. Help it is very frustrating!!

Thanks,
Margo

Answer:

Lucy has you trained to pay attention to her. She barks persistently and you pet her and pay attention to her.  You need to change the way Lucy interacts with you to get the attention she wants.  This will entail teaching her that YOU are in charge and YOU decide when and where she gets attention and petting, not her.

Start with our groundwork program. If you don’t have a crate for her, now is the time to get one.

I’d recommend this video, Pack Structure for the Family Pet.

Lucy is behaving like a spoiled little kid that wants to control all the grown ups free time, and you can expect that her behavior may get worse before it gets better.  She’s had over a year of “training” your family and if you change the rules now she’s going to try everything she knows to get things back to her way.  You’ll need to expect this and stay on track with the plan.  If you don’t get a grip on her now, you can expect her to become more bossy and dominant as she matures.

Learn to use the search function (located in the left hand corner of every page on our website) Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.

I hope this helps.

Cindy


13. Question:

My dog is a cocker and 9 months old.  When I take her to the YMCA for beginning puppy class she barks and barks really loud all the way into the classroom. She stops when we get into the room. She also barks and barks when I take her to the Vet and and I have tried doing this every month to get her used to the place. She doesn't stop barking at the Vet's. What can I do? 

Thanks,
Karen

Answer:

Dogs like this are typically over stimulated and lack focus on the handler.  I’d work with your dog at home, to teach her to perform a behavior that takes her mind off of her surroundings. Like sit and make eye contact.  If she likes food or toys, use a high value (i.e. something she NEVER gets during regular training but loves) or a favorite tug toy and reward her for paying attention to you.  Like any good dog training, you need to start this in a zero distraction environment first to teach her what you want.

If you are not a student of marker training, I’d recommend it. 
The Power of Training Dogs with Markers
The Power of Training Dogs with Food

You can always go to corrections later, but I always try to teach my dogs that paying attention to me and interacting with me is much more interesting than anything going on in their environment.


14. Question:

Hey Ed,

I have used TT collars and love them with my GSD's, but my wife has a 10 lb brussels griffon. We need to get a bark collar but she has such a small neck. What do we do?

Thanks,
John

Answer:

The only bark collar we recommend is the Tritronics Bark Limiter

The collar adjusts down to a very tiny neck size, and the information from the manufacturer states that it works well on the smallest dog.  I'd probably just set it on the lowest setting for a 10 pound dog.


15. Question:

Hi Cindy,

Your staff has been very helpful with muzzles. They also referred me to you for help with electronic collars. We have very specific situation and need your help choosing the right product.

Since our dogs spend much more time in their crates now and cannot be left loose in the house when we are gone anymore, they started barking and whining in crates which makes our life living hell. We got a 3rd pup recently - a 8mo Husky mix. He does not bark mostly but "speaks" and howls. Connie and Suzie learned the trick from him. They can produce everything from a very high-pitched whine to a proper wolf howl (all 3 of them) to a good deep barking, heard for blocks around. Connie usually starts the pandemonium. We do not have anywhere to put them where nobody could hear them and I have been training them to be "quiet" for some time. It works when I am in the room to give the command - they don't even bark at the delivery people anymore, you could see them controlling themselves - but it could get very ugly very fast when they are left alone. I heard bark collars do not work against whining. Perhaps we could use one of the electronic training collars to train them not to be vocal when left in crates? Which model(s) would work the best in our situation? In addition, if we do get an e-collar(s) we might be able to use them for obedience training as well. Do we get just one collar and use it on Connie or whoever initiates it or do we get 3 collars for everybody? We'd only be able to use 1 collar at a time for obedience training, I guess, because we train them separately. In addition, the new pup Monty is an escape artist and tries to get out of the crate all the time and/or destroys his bedding in the process. Could an e-collar help with this as well?

Note: We live in a typical Californian 2 level wood-frame townhouse (2x4s and drywall, hardwood floors, I do not think there is any metal other than screws in the walls) and would like the collar to work when we are either upstairs or outside. The idea is to put them in crates, go out, wait till they start howling and zap whoever starts first (or everybody who does, if we get 3 collars, OR get a 2-dog model and take one of the dogs outside with us and zap the other 2?).

Would you recommend electronic collar(s) in this situation at all or do we have to stick with crate training in hopes the barking will go away before the neighbors get mad at us? They are very nice and patient people and we hate to do this to them.

Thank you very much for your help. The D&A DVD is great and very practical. We have been following the groundwork routine + advice from the D&A DVD (no toys or anything they might fight about is freely accessible, corrections for aggressive behavior, crates and leadership routine) and it seems to be working.

Sincerely,
Anastasia

Answer:

I’d use bark collars for this, and you need one collar for each dog. You are not going to be able to correct this properly with ecollars, the timing would be too difficult to get right.
Tritronics Bark Limiter is the collar we use.

If you do want to use ecollars for obedience training that’s something completely separate.  We have an excellent video on how to use the collar, Electric Collar Training for the Pet Owner. I’d recommend watching that first.  I personally like the Dogtra collars, I use the 280 NCP on my own dog every day.

You can try using the search function on the website to find the answer to any additional questions.  It is located in the left hand corner of every page on our website. Simply type in your search terms or key words and you will be directed to articles, question & answers, free streaming videos and posts on our forum.


16. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I wrote to you some time ago with questions regarding my 2-year-old (about) GSD, which I adopted about 4 months ago. Briefly, Dyna (the dog) is from a working GSD kennel and was unwanted because of one floppy ear. She was kept at the breeder's kennel until she was about 7 months old (he wanted to retain her as a breeding bitch) and then sold to a family as a pet-only dog (as her ear didn't stand up). She stayed with this family for about 10 months or so and then was returned to the breeder as they were moving overseas and did not want to take the dog with them. I adopted her when she was 18-months-old. The breeder told me that she was pretty stressed out when she returned to the kennel and could not fit in the the other dogs - apparently she was extremely submissive and at the bottom of the pecking order. When we got her she was fine with me, but seemed afraid of my husband. Looking at the information in your training videos (I have bought the basic four recommended for new owners) I've made all the possible mistakes: I was very nice and interactive with her, I took her off the leash within the first week and introduced a lot of playing. She seemed to be very easy within the first 2 weeks (therefore I did all these things): followed me on the walks, didn't pull on a leash, ignored other dogs...etc.

The only problem was my husband: she was scared of him from the very beginning and it seemed to have moved from running away from him to charging him with growling/barking. We also have an 8-year-old daughter, and Dyna has been very good with her so far (no barking/growling, most of the time she ignores her, but she'd also follow basic commands (e.g. sit, down) if my daughter has some food for reward). Slowly the situation started to change and it seemed like Dyna was gaining confidence and now I understand that I inadvertently elevated her in her ranks. She started to be very territorial not only towards my husband, but any visitors. She also started charging at other dogs and she would run and hunt any creatures if allowed to do so (she is never loose anymore, but the other day while on a beach walk on a leash she jumped into the bushes can came back with a possum in her mouth). I did explain all this in my previous email, so sorry for the repetition, but I am sure you get hundreds of emails and won't remember the details. Your advise was to start from scratch and put her through the groundwork program. I tried to do that, with only part success, as it is really hard to enforce on an 8-year-old a total ignorance of the dog that she really likes... However, my husband and my daughter went away for a few days, so I took this opportunity to follow your advise on "social isolation" more fully. Dyna has been in her crate for 2 days now without any interactions from me, other than taking her for some short walks to a nearby green area and feeding. She is submissive in her create (although she's always been like that with me alone), she also doesn't pull on a leash anymore when I take her out and in general she is very good with me. She goes into the crate when I just point at it and she sits before I open the crate.

My question is what I should do when my family comes back and she starts barking/ growling at my husband again? It usually happens when he first enters the house, at which point she gets very agitated in her crate. If ignored, she eventually settles down and if I take her out of the crate (on a leash) she is fine around him. She is also fine around my husband (and other people) outside her home environment. Going through your website/videos it seems to me that I should correct her for being aggressive towards a family member (or our visitors), but I can't correct her while she is in her crate unless I start using an ecollar (which I have purchased so this is an option). However, if the crate is meant to be a safe place for her, should I correct her while she is inside or just ignore her while she is barking her heart out? Could you clarify this point to me? It may be that she will not bark at my husband again when he gets back from his holidays in two-days time (which would be great), but I'd like to have a plan on what to do if she does....We are also expecting my husband's 16-year-old son to come for a visit in about a month time, so I need to make sure that I know how to deal with this situation. Obviously, she won't be loose at any point in the presence of my husband's son, but it will be extremely distracting to have a crated dog that barks/growls constantly at our visitor (for a week). Dyna also has an outside kennel, and we are planning to built an enclosure around it (she is an a 4-meter cable at the moment whenever outside), but I can't leave her outside during the night, as she barks at all the creatures and that's not fair to our neighbors.

Many thanks and a Happy New Year!
Magda

Answer:

I'd use a bark collar on her in the crate. Tritronics Bark Limiter

You can also use the bark collar when she's outside to deal with the nuisance barking. The ecollar would require a perfect correction from you every time she barks, which in my experience is not likely. A bark collar is set off by her vocalization, and dogs quickly learn to be quiet without you even having to be there.


17. Question:

Cindy,

I just ordered a bark collar from you all, and I have a question about fitting it properly. My dog has a lot of extra skin around his neck. I want this to work, but am unsure about where it place it on his neck and how snug to make it. I've read the articles, but I didn't see anything about dogs with excess neck skin.

I look forward to your help!

~Ann

Answer:

Just fit the collar up high on the neck under his chin as much as possible.  Fit it in the same area as the prong collar in these photos.

It needs to be snug enough that it doesn’t slide down or then it will lose contact and won’t correct the dog.

I hope this helps.


18. Question:

My girlfriend and I have a 7 1/2 month old female Standard Schnauzer named Gracie that we have had since 8 weeks old. I have had no problem establishing myself as a pack leader, but it has not come so easy for my girlfriend, so we purchased your Pack Leader DVD along with Obedience Training for later. We started the social isolation phase this past week.

My main issue that I have is that I let a friend move in a month ago while he deals with separation/divorce. He stays in the basement and every time he comes upstairs, Gracie will go into vicious barking unlike her normal barking. This happens when Gracie is in her crate. Before we started the isolation, we had allowed Gracie to be in the living room with us and she did not exhibit the same type of barking at my room-mate, only when in the crate and when my girlfriend and I were in the room. Everything I've read on your site about barking points to using a bark limiter collar. Do you think that this is the way we should handle this situation? Thanks!

Answer:

Yes, I’d use the Tri-tronics Bark Limiter.   Many dogs bark in the crate, and the bark collar is the best and most clear way to take care of this.


19. Question:

Dear Sir,

I have a 2 yr old male Catahoula that barks a lot at night. However, he is supposed to bark when treeing a coon or baying a hog. If a bark collar is applicable in this situation, how best to use it?

David

PS: I checked your Tritronics Q&A and did not find a situation like this. Thank you in advance.

Answer:

Dogs quickly learn when the collar is on and when they are allowed to bark.  I would use the Tritronics Bark Limiter for any nuisance barking, just don’t put it on him when you are hunting.

My dogs do protection work (where they are expected to bark) and I use the bark collar for keeping them quiet when they are in our fenced yard. It doesn’t affect them at all in their work.

Cindy Rhodes


20. Question:

Hi.

I have a barking question for you. I have a four month old Giant Schnauzer puppy. He is a great pup, he is crate trained, learning obedience quickly but he has one problem I am unable to break him of.  Very early in he morning he begins barking/yipping to get out and get fed.  I have tried everything I can think of like trying to ignore him, not let him out until he stops, spray with a water bottle, nothing works. I was considering a shock collar on a very low setting but I am reluctant at his young age. I am very concerned I going to start getting complaints from neighbors. Your input would be more than appreciated. 

Thank you

AA

Answer:

Have you tried moving his crate to a more isolated location and covering it? Sometimes this works.

I will say that my current competition dog (now almost 3 years old) was a very challenging puppy in the crate, he barked and carried on for a number of months. I have crate trained over a hundred puppies over my life and he was one of the noisiest. I started using a Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter on him at around 4 months old (even though the manufacturer) recommends waiting until 6 months.  For some dogs, waiting until 6 months is only going to make the behavior harder to change.

I would go with the bark collar over an electric collar because the timing of the correction will be more accurate and it make things more clear for the dog.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


21. Question:

Hi Cindy,

I bought a bark collar from you about 4 weeks ago and I have been using it on my pit bull because he barks a lot when outside. Soon after I started using it he has slowed down with the barking but his aggression has seemed to increase and he seems scared when wearing the collar. I was wondering if I did something wrong and whether the collar might be increasing his aggression. He was use to wearing an e-collar before I bought the bark collar because I have been training him with an e-collar.

Thanks,
Andrew

Answer:

Sometimes dogs seem bummed out or nervous when wearing the bark collar, because they know that their old ways (ie barking, etc) are now a thing of the past. It should not increase the aggression although some dogs will behave in a frustrated manner because they now KNOW they can't bark. You may need to modify how you allow this dog to be outside, etc. I try not to put my dogs in situations that cause them a lot of avoidable stress. If I know there will be guys mowing or driving the tractor around our property, I bring my dogs in because I know that even if they are wearing bark collars they are getting all jacked up with all the activity. They don't bark, but they are becoming overly stimulated.

I'd ignore the scared behavior and continue to work with him on things he knows and does well, so he isn't focused on expecting a correction all the time.

I hope this helps.

Cindy Rhodes


22. Question:

Dear Cindy,

My 9 months old male German Shepherd has just recently begun barking for prolonged periods of time either loose or crated and we need some guidance.

When crated, day or night, as soon as either my husband or I go upstairs in our house, Dio will bark for 30-60 minutes nonstop and repeat this behavior several times a night. FYI, he is always taken out before being crated, has chew sticks, a toy, and some water in his crate. We have tried classical music & a sheet covering the crate without success.

This problem began about a month or two ago around the time we went on a trip and left him with our in-laws for a week. The day of our return, he developed a foreign body obstruction (from a piece of my in-laws carpet :( and required emergency surgery and 2 days in the ICU. While he has recovered 150%, we just can't make sense of what has changed since we crate trained him at 10wk and never had any problems until now.

Similarly, when out of the crate, he has started barking at noises we can and can't hear. We have tried diverting the behavior (as you & Ed suggested in Crate and Barking Q&As) with Down or Sit, but he immediately jumps back up on Alert and barks. He seems to do this more at night than during the day and more when I am home alone with him. We do live in a Suburban area with close neighbors, other barking dogs, and road noise, but is very annoying for any tiny sound to cause him to raise hackles and bark.

I have read the discussion forums re: bark collars & nuisance barking, but don't want to prevent Dio from true protective barking, especially when I am home alone or sleeping and wonder if he would have to wear one all time time given the barking frequency. We are frustrated and unsure how to change this behavior. Any suggestions would be most appreciated!

Many thanks for your help,

Best Regards,
Charlotte

Answer:

A bark collar isn’t going to change the dog’s ability to alert you when he’s not wearing the collar. I would use the Tri-tronics Bark Limiter when he goes in the crate. I don’t know any other way to make it clear to him that the barking is NOT allowed. 

He sounds like he’s anxious about being left alone, to me. He was stressed at your in-laws, probably tore up and ate some carpet in an effort to curb his own anxiety and ended up in surgery instead. The barking is a manifestation of anxiety and stress. 

I’d try the bark collar. 

Cindy Rhodes


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