Hello everyone! I hope that you are having a great day whether it is first thing in the morning or later in the day!  I can’t believe it is the week of Thanksgiving already!  We have a lot of family to see this week and I am looking forward to it very much.  Paul, Riley, and I are all very blessed and we are so thankful for our family who supports us!  Today I was thinking about Riley’s bark collar.  I think I’ve mentioned before that I have not been a perfect trainer and there are some things I wish that I worked on more with Riley when he was younger.  We still work on certain behaviors with him but it can be a challenge sometimes.  One of those issues is his barking.  I want to share my knowledge and our experience with a few different kinds of bark collars.

Riley knows what a bark collar is.  He mostly only barks when people are coming into the house and when they leave.  It can get a little annoying especially for the holidays when people are almost constantly coming and going.  So my mom did a lot of research and decided to buy Riley a bark collar to help control his barking.  

The first bark collar we got Riley was a citronella spray bark collar.  I’m not sure exactly what the brand was, however the collar looked exactly like this,
https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Little-Control-Citronella-Anti-Bark/dp/B002AOC6WE/ref=sr_1_11?ie=UTF8&qid=1511122754&sr=8-11&keywords=citronella+collar.  It came with a battery and a can of citronella spray to refill the collar.  The collar itself was adjustable and fit around his neck nicely.  The black box part of the collar however, was big and bulky on Riley’s little neck.  The idea is that when Riley barks, the collar senses his bark and sprays citronella spray up from his neck and into his face and nose. The part of the box that touched his neck was smooth without any prongs. At first it worked very well.  Rye Guy was scared of the spray and didn’t seem to like it being on his face.  He would rub his face on the carpet and couch to get it off.  It stopped him from barking at first.  We used the collar for at least a couple of years.  We had to change the batteries a few times and refill the collar with citronella spray every week or so.  But after Riley got used to the spray and the scent, it didn’t seem to bother him at all.  He would just go about his business and bark at whatever he wanted to.  The magic of the citronella spray collar was gone.

After more research, we thought the next step up in bark collars were the shock collars.  We really didn’t want to have to shock Riley, but he could be very unpleasant sometimes with his barking at guests.  So we made the jump and purchased a shock collar.  I cannot for the life of me figure out the brand of the collar my mom purchased.  It doesn’t seem to be on Petsmart, Petco, or Amazon.  It is a rechargeable blue and gray and the collar and box are firmly connected by a strong but flexible plastic.  There are three prongs on the inside of the collar that are supposed to touch your dog’s neck.  They are each about a centimeter long.  The collar claims to be safe for dogs of Riley’s size, but after my dad, brother, and Paul all tried the shock before putting it on Riley, we decided that it was pretty darn strong.  We would put it on Riley without turning it on and it worked sometimes at stopping him from barking only because he was scared of the collar.  Once we moved to an apartment complex where lots of people walk by the window daily, we decided we needed to control his barking in a humane way.  

Paul’s mom gave us a bark house.  This is what it looked it, 
We had never heard of one before but they are supposed to use ultrasonic sound when it detects barking which stops the dog from barking.  We were told it would take a few days for Riley to learn not to bark from the sound the box emitted, however the battery operated bark house seemed to be triggered by any sound.  The light would go off indicating the sound was going off, but we could not hear it and Riley didn’t seem to be phased by it at all.  After about a week or so, the battery died and we decided it wasn’t worth buying batteries once a week for a device that wasn’t helping.  

At my wits end, I looked online to buy another citronella bark collar.  It had been a few years since we had used the one that Riley got used to and I hoped that he would not be desensitized to it now.  So I started researching collars again.   I stumbled across a different kind of collar that I didn’t know about before.  Vibrating collars!  I thought they seemed silly and that it wouldn’t stop Riley from barking but I watched some customer videos and reviews and decided to give it a try.  I purchased a Good Boy vibrating collar.  The link is,
​ https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073TWWZ54/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1.  It is rechargeable and made specifically for small dogs.  It was easy to adjust and the box is smaller and lighter than the other collars I have used.  There are no prongs on it either.  It came fully charged and ready to go. The collar has 7 different levels of correction.  When it senses Riley barking, it makes a long beep sound as a warning.  If he barks again within 40 seconds, it makes another longer beep.  If Riley barks again, it will beep even longer and then vibrate on his neck.  If Riley continues to bark, the beeps and the vibration times get longer.  After the seventh stage, the collar waits a few minutes and starts the cycle over again as a protection for your dog.  When I first put it on Rye, he didn’t seem to mind wearing it too much.  The first time he made the warning beep go off, he seemed confused.  I didn’t even seem him reach the first vibration stage until he wore it for a few days.  Once the vibration did go off, he was immediately scared and tried to run away.  He stops barking for sure!  We have had the bark collar for a little less than a month but I am very happy with its performance.  Riley will not bark when I come home from work or when we leave.  I even put him to the test and had 6 members of Paul’s family come to the house and he didn’t bark once! It was such a relief to be able to invite people over and for them to see Riley acting like a good boy!  We haven’t even had to charge the collar once yet so the battery life is amazing.  My only issue with the collar is that when Riley shakes, it will sometimes set off the first warning sound.  I think it is because it bumps against his normal collar and makes a noise. Besides that minor issue, we are very happy with it.  

Do you have any barking problems with your dog?  How do you train your dog to not bark?  Have you used bark collars before and what has your experience been?  I hope that by sharing my lessons with bark collars can help you and your dog have a quieter life together and live in peace!  I will be very happy that this Thanksgiving I won’t have to stress about Riley barking at all the family members coming and going.  I hope that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families this week!  Stay tuned for potential Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales at Coddled Canine! And as always, thanks for reading!