I've had the Innotek automatic bark collar and had a bad experience with it. I'm worried a remote collar will lead us down the same dead-end road. Is the Dogtra 175NCP the right one?
Dear Mr. Leerburg,
This email is in two parts... sorry for the long winded nature. I put my questions at the top (cause I am sure you don't have time to read everything) and our story at the bottom.
I am writing to ask you about what I feel is our last option. I think it is time to start training with a remote collar. My only worry is that after a bad experience with the Innotek automatic bark collar (see below) I am worried that a remote collar would lead us down the same dead end road. I believe that Runka's aggression is fear based and after seeing the bark collar only seem to make things worse I just don't know.
I am also writing to ask you if the Dogtra 175NCP is the way to go. Runka is only about 30 pounds but I am worried that the 175 wouldn't pack enough power to work effectively on him. Even the strongest of leash corrections using your dominant dog collar doesn't phase him when he is barking at a dog.
About eight months ago my wife and I adopted Runka a mutt from a rescue shelter in Nashville, TN where we live. About four or five months ago he started showing signs of aggression towards other dogs.
We used to take him to one of the dog park here in town every day to play with the other regulars. After perusing your site I see that you are very against dog parks. I can see where you are coming from now.
Somewhere along the line Runka decided that he didn't like certain dogs. After a couple of (at the time) out of the ordinary incidents where he would start aggressively barking at a dog I decided for our sake and for the sake of the other dogs and owners that we wouldn't take him to the park anymore.
I started taking Runka on 45 minute walks when I got of work to burn his energy. However soon after he started aggressively barking in the car and at everything and everyone we came across on our walks.
When it became too much to handle we called in a very experienced and very expensive behaviorist. In hindsight we should have done it long before it got that far. The behaviorist said that we needed to work on basic obedience before we could really get anywhere. Even though Runka knew the basic commands we decided that if we were going to spend that much money we need to listen to our trainer. Towards the end of the training I mentioned that we haven't done anything to help with the aggression. He sold me an Innotek bark collar and had me put it on Runka for a week before turning it on. Then once it was turned on he said that he would learn that you can't bark at things and his problem would be solved.
First off I was very disappointed in the Innotek bark collar. It would zap him if he yawned sometimes and not zap him when he barked other times. When I first came across your site I was very impressed with your articles and free videos and felt that I should not buy anything that you wouldn't sell. Well, when our trainer sold me the Innotek (for way over retail I might add) I thought that I had seen it on your site and later realized that you only sell the Tri-Tronics bark collar, probably for good reason.
The aggression towards dogs hasn't gotten any better with the bark collar. He seems to have just gotten used to it and would rather take the burn than not bark.
At first the barking in the car did get better but now it has turned far worse and has gotten to the point that he is barking non stop. Today I tried a different approach and put ear plugs in and drove around for half an hour to see if I ignoring his barking would make any difference. It didn't.
We live in an apartment and it is inevitable that we will see other dogs when we take him out to do his business. We can't take him to a friends house to play with his canine best friend and run around outside without putting him in the car. We can't take him on walks in our neighborhood without him lounging and barking at other dogs.
He is an incredibly sweet and good dog in our house. If we could keep him inside we would have a perfect dog. But that is just a silly notion.
I am writing to ask you about what I feel is our last option. I think it is time to start training with a remote collar. My only worry is that after a bad experience with the Innotek automatic bark collar I am worried that a remote collar would lead us down the same dead end road. I believe that Runka's aggression is fear based and after seeing the bark collar only seem to make things worse I just don't know.
I am also writing to ask you if the Dogtra 175NCP is the way to go. Runka is only about 30 pounds but I am worried that the 175 wouldn't pack enough power to work effectively.
Thank you for everything you do for the dog loving community, Ben (and Runka)
First of all, the behaviorist you hired has it backwards. You need to work on pack structure and leadership, obedience training rarely makes much of an impact on aggression unless you have your dog under formal obedience commands 24/7 (which is entirely unrealistic).
I'd recommend starting with the basics of pack structure today. Start with our groundwork program.
I think you must not be using the dominant dog collar properly, because it really isn't used for a strong correction. The dominant dog video will show you the proper way to use it.
If you do all of that and you still want to use electric, that's great but to use it right off the bat for aggression may backfire on you and only build the aggression. As you found out Innotek collars are inconsistent at best.