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Day 4: Never Shock a Puppy

This week’s topic in our Never Shock a Puppy campaign is barking. And, if you’ve ever seen those border collie t-shirts that say, “Welcome to the BARK side,” you know I speak from experience. Some dogs, some breeds, simply bark more than others.

Lilly barks to try and "control" other dogs during play. Here, Ginko waits happily for me to throw the ball. Lilly ... Well, Lilly does her thing. Different breeds of dogs bark more than others. This is a good example of that.

Border collies (and many herding dogs) bark. So, do terriers of many stripes. One way to manage barking is to know your tolerance for it and which breeds might better meet your expectations from the get-go.

This barking video dates back two years, and you can hear me trying (not succeeding) at getting Lilly NOT to bark incessantly at her best, best dog friend Katie (the borzoi). Lilly is noisy when she plays. I’ve accepted that (somewhat).

More Than One Barking Dog: Divide and Conquer

I’ve tried to address the group dynamic of two barking dogs in the past, particularly when it comes to chaos right before they go outside or right before they eat. Lilly and Ginko get so riled up. It can be quite noisy.

I’ve tried teaching that barking/noisy dogs don’t get what they want, but trying to teach BOTH of them at the same time is very hard (at least for me).

So, my advice … if you’re dealing with more than one barker … is to train/re-train them individually before you ever attempt to manage the situation with both together.

Any Bark Training Tips?

Barking is one of the top 5 reasons people turn to shock collars. Typically, people use the kind of shock collars triggered by sound.

While this is somewhat better in my mind for the timing required (versus the kind of shock collars triggered by a remote control held by a person), I’m still opposed to their use.

Very few dogs bark for “no reason.” So, for me, the key is to know why your dog barks and WHAT you can do to reframe the situation so that the dog doesn’t bark or HOW you can retrain that scenario so that the dog learns that barking doesn’t pay.

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Enter to Win Great Prizes (tell your friends!)

Again this week, we’re doing random prize drawings for some awesome gift packages on the Never Shock a Puppy site. We’ll take entries (via comments posted on Never Shock a Puppy). I hope all of you will hop over there and comment for a chance to win. Seriously. Nice. Prizes.

Please Donate?!

We are halfway through our 8-week campaign, but we’re ONLY about 22% toward our goal of raising $2,500 for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s upcoming No-Choke Challenge (set to begin in November 2011).

Every little bit helps, even $1 or $5. So, if you believe in our cause, we’d appreciate your vote of support via a donation.

The donation widget will be to your right in the sidebar during the campaign. Just click the donation button on this handy-dandy donation widget to get started! If for some reason you cannot see or use the donation widget, please visit the Never Shock a Puppy Donation Site instead.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I'm a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles ... and, of course, all things pet related. I don't just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Hilary - September 22, 2010

Another fabulous post, Roxanne. Barking is a tough subject to cover. Every dog is so different! Frisbee and Luna get riled up together, as your two do, so it’s doubly harder to get them in when they’re on squirrel patrol. Or when there are people walking by with their dogs. Gigi worked with us for awhile, too… and they’re better, but not perfect. Who wants perfect dogs, anyway?!

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