I know this topic is heavily posted on, but I wanted to give some background on what I've tried before I ask for your opinions
Nieko is 6 and over the years has gotten more and more vocal. He isn't a nuisance barker, but he woofs at almost every noise. I take him to work and it's gotten to the point where I can't let him out of my sight, b/c when someone walks into the office he doesn't know (or sometimes people he does know) he barks and runs at them. I can tell a difference in his bark - if he knows them it's a happy bark as he bounces towards them, and it's more of a howl if he doesn't. But to the average delivery guy - he's just a 90 lb black dog bum-rushing them. The other day our Fed Ex guy actually smacked him with his box because he was scared Neiko was going to bite him.
I think the negative feelings he's picking up on from people are worsening the situation and convincing him he has all the more reason to warn me. He doesn't have a mean bone in his body and is very submissive, but I think that is contributing to his nervousness with new people.
So... here's what I've tried:
A couple years ago when I lived in an apt for a few months, I tried a bark collar. It was one of the cheaper ones, and after a few days I noticed that it was shocking him when he wasn't barking, like when he was going down stairs. It was also supposed to 'step up' the correction level, but when I tried it on myself it was VERY strong the first time. I got rid of that collar and swore I'd never try that again.
I've tried the spray bottle and the 'no bark' command. The spray bottle had absolutely no impact and 'no bark' would work to some extent, but not really well. I'm sure I wasn't as consistent as I could have been, but I've struggled with the situations when he's not right next to me and is barking.
I've had a trainer come and do a home session to help us work on the recall. He's gotten much better and will come most of the time, so at least he's not running at them but he's still barking.
I'm considering trying another bark collar and have read some reviews on them. I will spend more $ to get a top of the line model to hopefully avoid the malfunctions of the first one I tried. Before I do that though, I'd love to hear what you guys think. Is there something I haven't tried?
I don't know how they work. Based on your prior experience, have you thought about an eCollar where you are in control of the correction, eventually going to a tone correction?
I am thinking about something like this for distance recall and retrieve and would be interested in any comments you receive.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
Thanks for your reply. I have thought about the eCollar with remote, but I'm worried about my consistency. I'm not sure how to handle the situations where he's in another room and starts barking. But I'm also concerned about him feeling like it's ok to bark if he feels that we're really threatened (like a prowler or breakin). It seems like I can make an argument for either side ??? I'd love to hear from someone who has had good or bad experiences with any time of collar.
I would NOT recommend a bark collar in this situation at all. You will NOT be helping to control this behavior and your dog's anxiety by the use of such a device. In some cases a bark collar would be appropriate but not here. You need to control this unwanted behavior by removing the stimulus and so you need to be proactive instead of reactive by correcting him AFTER the undesirable situation.
I'm going to be frank because this is a pet peeve of mine. People with dogs that have social issues often don't acknowledge that something needs to be done. They often blame the strangers or the environment and won't put the blame on the dog and themselves as the owner. My first thought is that going to work with you sounds stressful for your dog. I know you want him with you however you need to be able to control him.This to me sounds serious. If someone thinks a dog is going to bite them then usually the dog is barking or growling aggressively and not a happy hello type of greeting.The other day our Fed Ex guy actually smacked him with his box because he was scared Neiko was going to bite him.Don't blame the people! They are just people trying to do their jobs and some might not want to be greeted by a dog. Again it's up to you to control him.I think the negative feelings he's picking up on from people are worsening the situation and convincing him he has all the more reason to warn me.Aggressive dogs are not "mean" or "vicious". They are stressed by something - a stranger, other dogs, etc. Your dog sounds like he is so fearful that he is acting out to rid himself of the anxiety and that means to scare the person away. Since these sound like delivery people, etc then he thinks that the person comes in, gets barked at, and then leaves so his tactics are working.He doesn't have a mean bone in his body and is very submissive, but I think that is contributing to his nervousness with new people.
I would suggest deeming a "spot" for him that he is to go to when someone comes to deliver something. He needs to be redirected into going to this spot and lying down instead of charging. I would also control him with a leash and corrective collar such as a prong collar or gentle leader and food as a reward. So when someone first comes in the leash is picked up and the food is used to distract him and he is lured to his spot and put in a down/stay until the person leaves. Any barking and especially charging is unacceptable. You need to be in control and proactive at ALL times.
I agree with a lot of WigWag had to say.
But if you would still like to look into a bark collar, we used a citronella collar, it sprays a bit of citronella right in front of the dogs nose right when he barks. It is an immediate correction and not harmful to the dog. They just dont like the smell It made a world of difference for our dog who was barking at people walking by our apartment window- we live on the ground floor. But every dog is different.
Thanks for your thoughts WigWag. Your last comment is exactly what we have worked on with the trainer. This works great at home, where he can have a 'spot'. Like I said, his recall is vastly improved and he will not 'charge'. He will turn around and come back to me, but he is still barking.
In the situation of the Fed Ex guy, Neiko didn't charge him. He was sleeping at my feet and the fed ex guy walked up. Neiko was startled and barked and the guy hit him. However, I absolutely don't blame the Fed Ex guy. I fault myself for not being able to control his barking.
I understand your comment about blaming strangers, however I don't think that is what I'm doing. I am trying to call a spade a spade. I CAN'T control his barking. I can make him recall. I can keep him on a leash or whatever, but that's not the problem anymore. It was in the past, but working with the trainer solved the recall problem to where I don't worry about him 'charging' anymore. I want to figure out how to keep him from barking as if everything is a three alarm fire.
"People with dogs that have social issues often don't acknowledge that something needs to be done. They often blame the strangers or the environment and won't put the blame on the dog and themselves as the owner. "
--- I think I am acknowledging that something needs done. I've read articles, read books, hired a trainer... I'm asking for advice on what I can do next, having tried the things you suggested. And in attempting to rationalize the situation and the emotions on the dog's side, I'm not trying to blame strangers or the environment, I'm trying to understand my dog.
Thanks. I haven't tried that and will look into it.Originally Posted by sirhobart
a bark collar may help you suppress his urge to communicate his anxiety, but it may not lessen his need to vocalize.
have you tried working on his socialization skills?
here is an article addressing a similar problem: http://clickersolutions.com/articles...nicbarking.htm
i would start by working with him at a long distance away on leash in a place where there will be people walking about. begin at a distance where your dog is not stressing out and where he is able to focus on you when you ask for attention. reward him for being calm and looking to you for guidance. incrementally shorten the distance and if he shows signs of stress, back up to where he had been more comfortable and try again later. with time and repetition, he should become acclimated to that spot and relax. don't try to train for too long or too much. keep the training sessions short and fun, and always try to end on a high note. gradually condition him to understand that strangers are not a threat, build good, safe associations with seeing different types of people. if someone tries to come up to you and your dog uninvited, and you know your dog is not ready for such an encounter, calmly turn around and walk away. then, practice in other places to get the behavior more generalized.
ideally, you want your dog to learn that there is no need to stress out when other people are near, and in situations where he does feel insecure, he should be able to turn to you for assurance that he is safe. you can work on building his trust in you, so that even if he is unable to overcome his own anxieties for lack of his own social skills and abilities, he can look to you to gain a bit more confidence and security. if his current behavior is related to bad experiences with other people in the past, you can work on reconditioning him to having good associations with people, but you have to do it gradually and pay close attention to your dog's triggers and cues and respond accordingly.
hopefully, if you can help decrease his anxiety or figure out a way to interrupt his manic barking and get him to focus his attention on you instead of the other person, the frequency and intensity of his barks will also diminish.
"Properly trained, a man can be dog's best friend." ~ Corey Ford
Does he ONLY do this at work? Is it possible to leave him at home?
No, he does it everywhere. It's definitely possible to leave him home and sometimes I do. He doesn't come with me every day, but he loves coming here so I try to bring him when I can. Being at work though, is definitely a less controlled environment, so I try to keep him with me all the time and not let him wander around.
He barks for almost every reason I can imagine a dog barking - strangers, friends, noises, doorbells... He used to go crazy when the doorbell rang but we've been working on doing a down stay on a rug by the door and rewarding with food. He picked that up in no time and will stay down while I answer the door, but now when the doorbell rings he does his happy excited bark because he knows he's going to get a treat : So, we made a lot of progress in one area, but the barking still remains.