Don’t bark up the wrong tree

By Connie Orcutt • Published: September 1st, 2015
Category: Animal Airwaves

If you’re desperate for a break from your pooch’s barking, think carefully before reaching for a “quick fix” product.

Collars that deliver piercing noises, noxious sprays or electric shocks when triggered by barking are — to put it bluntly — punishment devices. They’re especially poor choices for dogs that bark from fear, anxiety or habit. Shock collars, in particular, can hurt dogs and make them aggressive toward the objects of their barking — other animals and people.

Before anything else, work with your veterinarian, a veterinary behaviorist or a professional dog trainer to identify the reason behind your dog’s barking and the best way to tame it. The fact is, nothing takes the place of positively reinforcing your dog’s behavior by praising him when the barking stops.