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Why Dogs Bark and Curbing Excessive Barking

(continued)

How to Treat Excessive Barking continued...

Shock collars, which deliver a painful jolt to your pet, can cause pets harm and may make dogs aggressive, especially if they associate the person or animal they are barking at with the pain.

Other off-collar devices can work well if your dog barks in a set area. Bark-activated water sprayers or noisemakers switch on when they pick up barking, shooting water at your pet or emitting an irritating sound. These can sometimes break a dog of barking in a given area, but they work best if you are home to reward your pet when he stops barking. That helps reinforce what you want your dog to do.

What not to do:

  • Don’t encourage your dog to bark at some noises (a door slamming, people walking by) and discourage him from barking at others. Be consistent.
  • Never use a muzzle or other means of constraint to keep a dog quiet for long periods or when they aren’t supervised. It can be dangerous to your pet.

*Debarking is very controversial and is considered inhumane by many. It does not address the underlying cause of the barking. It is a surgical procedure in which the folds of tissue on either side of a dog’s larynx, or voice box, are removed, leaving dogs with a raspy bark instead of a full bark. Complications are common and can be life threatening, including breathing difficulties, higher incidents of choking, and ongoing pain. Dogs also have been known to regain their voices after the surgery. The procedure does not stop the barking, it only makes it sound different.

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WebMD Veterinary Reference

Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM on December 09, 2013
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