Barking Dogs

I HAVE A 6 YEAR OLD AND A 1 YEAR OLD DOG THAT CRIES EVERY TIME I LEAVE FOR WORK.  MY LANDLORD TOLD ME THEY CAN'T STAY IN THE DARK AND ARE EMOTIONAL SUPPORT DOGS.  IS THERE ANY TRAINING THAT I COULD DO AND DO BARK COLLARDS HURT THEM?

ANSWER:

It sounds as though your dogs may suffer from separation anxiety though some dogs are simply more vocal, and it is possible that they are just reacting to noises or passersby.

Training can definitely help. Make sure your dog is well exercised—tired dogs are happy dogs. Block windows, play music, etc. to mask triggers that might lead to barking. You may even try video-taping your dogs when you are not home to see what may be triggering them to bark.
Do not yell at the dogs while they are barking, ignore them instead. Yelling is giving attention, even though it is negative attention, and is reinforcing the behavior. Teaching your dog a “settle” or “quiet” command may also help, though this would only work if you are home to give the command.

I am not a fan of shock collars as they can harm your dog and may make some behavior problems worse. However, there is a type of electronic bark collar that sprays citronella when the dog barks. Dogs do not like the scent and will usually stop barking to avoid being sprayed. This type of collar is humane and effective and can provide a type of remote correction when you are not there to supervise the dogs.

Submitted by:  Dr. Sabrina Walters

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