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For the love of your pet: Several solutions to barking dogs

Aug. 25, 2011 at 3:25 a.m.


By John Beck

My dog is constantly running our neighbors fence line and barking all the time. My wife suggested a bark collar and an invisible fence, but that seems a little extreme. What do you think we should do?

This is a problem a lot of people have to deal with. Some dogs are relentless barkers and need some intervention. The first thing I would try and figure out is why your dog is barking. Is there another dog, cat, critter on the other side of the fence that is driving him crazy? Say it is another dog; maybe you could arrange for the two to meet or play with each other on occasion. That might fulfill your pet's curiosity and thus subside the barking. If that is not an option, maybe you can talk to your neighbor about alternating schedules in which your pets are outside. That way interaction is kept to a minimum.

Well, both of those scenarios are ideal . that would mean there is something your dog is actually barking at (that you can also see), and that would also mean that you have a very understanding neighbor who will help work out the situation.

Another alternative might be some behavior training. I have an employee who does group and individual training. Some one-on-one time might correct the problem. You cannot expect your dog to "get the idea" with just a single session. You might only need the trainer to help on one session, but you will need to set aside some time to continue training your pet. Being consistent and working with your dog on regular intervals will help reinforce a positive behavior and eliminate the "bad" behavior.

If you would like to try the bark collar and invisible fence, this too can be an option. When utilizing a bark collar, you need to make sure they are not wearing it all the time. These should be used when your pet is being overly vocal. Make sure you set the collar to correct only when the pet is truly barking. Some can be very sensitive to just a small sound and might be causing more harm than help. You should only make your dog wear the collar when correction is needed. They should not keep the collar on all the time. You should use it like a "time out." Like a child, you should give them a warning: "If you don't stop misbehaving, I will put you in time out," but in your case: "If you don't stop barking, I'm going to put on your collar."

The invisible fence will help keep your pet from actually reaching the fence line where he is barking. Some dogs will stop the barking behavior if they cannot run along their favorite fence line at the same time. Without one they just can't do the other.

If you need more information or have any other questions, please feel free to contact me

Dr. John Beck has a veterinary practice at Hillcrest Animal Hospital in Victoria. Submit questions to Dr. Beck at drjohnbeck@hotmail.com.

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