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I work at a pet store that sells those collars that correct dogs when they bark (they sell three types, a high pitched sound, one that sprays a scent, and ones that shock).

I had a customer yesterday wanting to buy one (I'm not a huge fan but I've given up on being total anti-shock ones because at this point I figure there is worse things that can happen to the dog). She had had the dog for a few weeks (pitbull she tells me).

I was tired, and she sounded determined that she wanted one so I decided I wasn't goign to try to dissuade her as it was probably wasted effort and in general 95% of the time usually ends up with the customer just annoyed and not wanting to listen to any suggestions. I tried to tell her to also get some training to at least try to persuade her not to totally rely on the collar but she told me, in the kind of voice that said I am not going to argue this so don't try, "I will but I have to get him to stop barking in hte next three days or I think the neighbors are going to call the cops on me." (apparently the dog was "barking" only when she was gone and she had three neighbors that came up to her and told her to get the dog to stop cause it was bothering them). Me thinking, ok, she at least sounds open to training at least and maybe she'll persue some of the things i was telling her about as well.

The one thing that bugged me is it soudned like the dog was barking cause it didn't like her being gone (apparently it was fine in its crate as long as she was home and she only knows about it "barking" when it is gone). And sounded like maybe the beginnings of seperation anxiety.

I mentioned that my dog would scream when I left the room and I trained her to be ok with it by leaving the room several times, and leaving her alone for longer and longer (and only coming out when she stopped screaming). Apparently, she then said, "That's what my dog is doing.". So definitely making noise cause it's afraid cause she's gone and not cause it is bored or something is triggering it (screaming does not = barking).

*facepalm*. The more I think about it, the more I think I should have tried to tell her she's just going to make the dog worse even if I was pretty sure she didn't really want to hear it and just wanted me to get her the collar (it was in a display case). Maybe I would be proven wrong and she was more open minded (problem is in my experience that people with this attitude I reliabley fail to change their mind, and in general just piss them off, particularly when I'm tired and not able to be very cheery which I was at that point).

I highly doubt that a bark collar is going to affect a dog screaming cause it's afraid cause you are gone. I would think it is going to make the dog decide that you being gone is even worse, he gets shocked when you're gone! If he's terrified I doubt he'll make hte connection to him screaming with him being shocked. He'll just connect it to his phobia that he's already afraid of.

I really foresee bad things for the poor dog if she doesn't clue in real quick. I can easily see the anxiety getting wores, I can see the neighbors forcing her to get rid of the dog or her giving up on the dog cause she can't seem to get it to improve, and by that point having a very problem dog for some one that needs a lot of rehab (and being a pitbull and them being a dime a dozen... uh, good luck. I think I've been told when I was tryign to find a home for one that was abandoned at my vet that had developed a snarl to its bark when some one came near it that it would be kinder just to put it to sleep cause there are so many pitbulls that don't need a lot of socialization that already need homes).
 

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Sounds like separation anxiety to me as well. The only way to improve the separation anxiety is time and patients. Leaving the room for short periods of time and making it longer each time. If the woman is working during the day then it won't work. It takes about 2-3 weeks to control the anxiety and just leaving for 6-9 hours a day will not do a thing to help.

She should also be buying a few Kongs instead of the collar because the dog needs something to do when she is gone. Also the dog needs to be taken for a long walk before she leaves the house and a constant walk of an hour at minimum would help tire the dog out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She should also be buying a few Kongs instead of the collar because the dog needs something to do when she is gone. Also the dog needs to be taken for a long walk before she leaves the house and a constant walk of an hour at minimum would help tire the dog out.
Heh, she was given the kong suggestion by our trainer. Apparently the dog won't touch the kong until she comes home. Honestly, I find kongs are not the be all end all. Some dogs they are great, some dogs really hate the smell and won't touch them. Some dogs are like mine and will get the food they can easily reach but won't try too hard to get the food (and she likes food. I suspect she doesn't like the taste of the rubber so she'll get the food she doesn't have to really chew on the kong too hard to get). I wish I could get mine to try harder on the kong (my friend's dog will sit there and try to get every ounce of treat out. Mine jsut can't be that motivated).

Aside from the giving lots of walks I'm pretty sure I told her the same stuff (particularly the hang out with the dog in the crate, leave for a few seconds, wait til the dog stops whining and get back in the room so the dog starts learning that you will come back). She had the attitude like, "yeah yeah yeah, we're going to try that but we need something to stop the dog right now so I need the bark collar."
 

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I can understand the exigency of having to get a dog to shut up. I also think anti-bark collars have their uses. However, if the dog has separation anxiety, the collar will only mask the symptom. If the anxiety is not effectively dealt with, it will manifest itself in other ways. Ways the owner (and the neighbors) may enjoy less than the noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I can understand the exigency of having to get a dog to shut up. I also think anti-bark collars have their uses. However, if the dog has separation anxiety, the collar will only mask the symptom. If the anxiety is not effectively dealt with, it will manifest itself in other ways. Ways the owner (and the neighbors) may enjoy less than the noise.
Yeah, see I was thinking at best it will get the dog to shuttup but then he may develop worse symptoms.

But I was thinking in her case if it is seperation anxiety it could just make the dog worse and not stop the barking anyways (I am not sure a dog panicking is going to realize being shocked is cause he is making noise vs. also related to the thing he fears, her being gone). I am sure being shocked everytime she leaves if he doesn't make the connection between his screaming and being zapped will certainly make him even more likely to fear her leaving.
 

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I think anti-bark collars have their place but when they're used with a dog with separation anxiety, then it may actually exacerbate the problem. If this is true separation anxiety, then I would suggest to the lady to consult a behaviourist.

I can sympathize with the lady as I too live in an apartment building and didn't want to bother them.
 

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I think anti-bark collars have their place but when they're used with a dog with separation anxiety, then it may actually exacerbate the problem. If this is true separation anxiety, then I would suggest to the lady to consult a behaviourist.

I can sympathize with the lady as I too live in an apartment building and didn't want to bother them.
I to live in an apartment building. Lola had SA when I first adopted her and at the time I adopted her I was off from work due to a broken wrist. A few days after I adopted her I did not have a crate for her yet and needed to go to physical therapy. Before I left I shut her in the bedroom with some toys. When I came back she pulled the carpeting back behind the bedroom door making it very difficult for me to open the door. After that I asked the neighbor next door if she heard her barking and she said that she heard her barking and yelping but it did not bother her. It was right then and there that I told her I am working on the problem and hope to have it resolved soon.

I worked on it and now I can leave her for hours and no barking and no damage to the apartment. It took about 3 weeks and a lot of patients to get it resolved.
 
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