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Henry is an 8 month old mini schnauzer who has always been an anxious, nervous wreck. With patience, encouragement and treats it's been amazing how far he has come. To give one example, walking on a leash was a terrifying experience before - large, loud vehicles, people, birds, leaves blowing in the wind - everything scared him. Now we walk confidently through the streets and it's amazing how well positive reinforcement works.

The only issue now is Henry's excessive, nuisance barking. I'm not talking about a barking to express excitement or to let me know he needs a potty break. I'm talking about barking and going nuts whenever someone is walking down the street, a car pulls into the neighbor's driveway, a television program sounds a little too realistic, a phone conversation with a friend, etc.

We've tried clapping to get his attention (that worked for a short while), shaking a can with pennies in it (that worked for a little while longer), a shock collar (I returned it after 1 shock), and now we're on to the citronella spray collar.

The problem I'm having now is that whenever I put the collar on Henry, he will freeze. He won't move, eat, sit, lay down, or do anything, except cower and shake.

The longest I've had the collar on him is 90 minutes - after that long, seeing him standing in the same place I left him, it just didn't feel right. In a way, it works, because he never barks when the collar is on, but he doesn't move! When he starts a barking fit, I'll walk over to him with the collar and he runs away or stops, cowering and shaking. The barking seems to be getting worse in between short sessions with the collar on.

If anyone has an idea of how to make the collar work for him, or outside of the box thinking on bark control, I'm all ears!
 

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You've used an aversive and undone all the hard work you put into a fearful dog causing him to either shut down totally or react more. Get rid of the spray collar, try desensitizing him to other dogs. You just need some volunteers with stable dogs. Right now he's associated seeing other dogs with getting sprayed and is fully aware that when that collar is on he gets sprayed.
 

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You've used an aversive and undone all the hard work you put into a fearful dog causing him to either shut down totally or react more. Get rid of the spray collar, try desensitizing him to other dogs. You just need some volunteers with stable dogs. Right now he's associated seeing other dogs with getting sprayed and is fully aware that when that collar is on he gets sprayed.
Agreed. In addition to the collar being an aversive, the effect doesn't go away once he stops barking so in essence, he's still being punished while he is behaving. Ditch the collar.

Provide plenty of exercise, provide a safe chew toy to help occupy him and teach "Quiet"

For QUIET - basically you start by rewarding ANY break in his barking. When he starts barking at something, make a quick noise - nothing loud, not angry or anything, just a "meep" or "eh" or "yip" - to startle him just long enough to stop barking. A happy, high pitched sound often works well. Then, immediately reward with a tasty treat like a tiny bit of hot dog or cooked chicken or cheese. If he starts barking again, make another sound and reward for quiet. Don't say a command yet. Just reward for even a short bit of silence. After awhile, when you can get several seconds of silence before you reward, say the command QUIET as you reward him for being quiet. Repeat. Every single time he barks, be ready to play this game. He should connect the command of QUIET with actually being quiet and of course, getting his tasty treat.

You don't necessarily want to stop a dog from barking completely- after all, its nice to have someone warn you if someone comes up to the house etc- but you want him to know when its appropriate and stop when you ask him to.
For when you aren't home, keeping him away from windows should help and of course making sure he is tired (physically and mentally) before you leave.
 

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ROFL. That's what I get for not watching the video!!!!!
 

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I have to agree. The dog was fearful and anxious to begin with, now you've given him something else to be afraid of. Dogs have hundreds more sense receptors in their nose than we do. A collar like this can be devasting to a dog, especially one that has issues. And, as someone said, the smell and irritation/pain it causes sticks around even AFTER they stop barking, that doesn't really help a dog understand exactly what it's being punished for.

We taught the "quiet" command for our dogs. We leave down a dead end, quiet country lane, and don't get a lot of traffic, so our dogs alert bark any time a car heads down our lane, or if the neighbors have company, or if there's deer or other animals in our yard. They see it as part of their "job" to alert us that something is going on, and we don't want to take that away. But, we don't want the crazy barking either.

So, we started by shoving a treat under their nose when they were barking. Usually that makes a dog stop, in order to investigate the treat. So, if they stop, they get the treat. Repeat, as it will take practice. After a bit, you put a name to the command/behavior, by saying "quiet" as you get them to stop, and then "good quiet!"

Gradually, you require them to stay quiet longer before they get the treat, so it's not an immediate thing. Maybe 3 seconds, then after a few days, 5 seconds. Then 10 seconds. You get the point.
The other thing we do is to actually physically go look at what they seem to be barking at, at least look out the window. Say something like "oh, I see, thanks, I've got it now". It lets the dog know they did their job, alerted you, and you are taking over, so they don't need to keep barking.
It sounds silly, but someone here recommended it years ago, and it works.
 

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I think you need to watch the video. It's a video saying don't use shock collars, and call it training.
Try reading before you correct another member. I'm posting from my phone and it's a little hard to watch video whin the signal is on one bar.
ROFL. That's what I get for not watching the video!!!!!
 

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The other thing we do is to actually physically go look at what they seem to be barking at, at least look out the window. Say something like "oh, I see, thanks, I've got it now". It lets the dog know they did their job, alerted you, and you are taking over, so they don't need to keep barking.It sounds silly, but someone here recommended it years ago, and it works.
This is what we do, too. I'll look out the window or through the glass in the front door & say, "It's okay. Good girl." I also agree that Molly sees it as her job to tell us when something/someone is outside so we acknowledge it. Since "okay" is her release word, I think saying it lets her know that she can stop alerting us.
 

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This is what we do, too. I'll look out the window or through the glass in the front door & say, "It's okay. Good girl." I also agree that Molly sees it as her job to tell us when something/someone is outside so we acknowledge it. Since "okay" is her release word, I think saying it lets her know that she can stop alerting us.
Weirdly, it works the first time sometimes. I did that with my old dog, so I did it out of habit with Kabota and it worked. We had done little training at that point, hardly knew each other really, but it worked.

I feel sorry for the OP. (Well, sorrier for the dog, but I like dogs more than people.) Those collars are marketed as safe and effective and nothing at all like one of those nasty aversives. If you don't know much about training and operant conditioning, you'd fall for it, too. I hate that about the world of dog training. "Positive" is the new trend (mind, I'm totally positive myself) so everything is positive. Choke chains are positive! Shock collars stimulate, that's positive! Wheeee! Everybody's positive now!

You haven't permanently ruined your dog, OP. You probably have moved your training and trust back a few months, but he'll recover with hard work on your part.
 

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The barking seems to be getting worse in between short sessions with the collar on.
I agree with cshellenberger, shell, doxiemommy. You've taken a fearful dog and given it something to be afraid of, the citronella collar. Throw the collar away. Exercises for training quiet mentioned are good. So are any type of stimulus control type training exercises (teaching dog to control himself for a reward) and for that matter any mental training is going to be good and wear your dog down. Physical exercise is good as well, but the mental stuff can really wear them out. A tired dog is a quiet dog.

wear your dog down, counter condition him to fearful things, teach him that the world is not a fearful place to live in.

Schnauzers are a barky breed, they tend to vocalize. alot. ask me how I know.

My dogs are a bit different than yours, they bark for different reasons. But alot of mental stimulation, physical exercise and a thundershirt help loads. I use the TS on the adult female who howls when I am gone. helps take the edge off.
 
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