Our Goldendoodle Max is a friendly, happy guy. He is about 100 pounds of fur, with a booming bark. He was raised in a country yard with a few acres to run in, and nothing to bark at. When we moved to our new-old home in a village on a corner lot – he became a bit of a fixture in the neighbourhood. We put in a wrought iron fence, so that he can safely greet the local dog walkers from his yard without concern about him running away. Unfortunately he wasn’t used to all of the people and pets that walk by his yard. Many people stop to visit with him, which he likes, but some people are just too darn scary for him. In particular, he finds baby carriages, and kids on scooters and tricycles threatening – and when they startle him the barking starts.
We struggled for a while to train him to not bark – without success. Eventually we purchased a remote control behaviour collar. We purchased ours in March 2019 from iPets – fulfilled by Amazon.ca Prime. At the time, we paid $45.99 Canadian for a “Petrainer Rechargeable Rainproof Remote 330yd Dog Training Collar with Beep, Vibration and Electric Shock” Now I see similar products listed on Chewy!
The collar that we purchased has a setting for vibration, or sound. When Max barks, we can give him the “No Barking” command and then push the remote control button – which causes the collar to emit a beep or vibration. These don’t seem to be harmful at all. It just seems to distract Max for a minute or so.
The collar that we purchased also had a “shock” setting. We have NEVER used this on Max. I tried it on myself one day when I opened up the package – and just about fell on the floor. My husband, was skeptical and tried the shock on himself too. He couldn’t believe the zap he got. I don’t think there is a reason at all to have this setting, and I’m hoping they will remove this from the newer versions of the product. We laugh at ourselves now for trying this – but seriously don’t try zapping yourself or your dog at home!
I know that there are also collars that spray or beep – automatically triggered by barking. One of our neighbours purchased a no-bark scented spray collar for their pet while they were away at work. The dog barked all day, and at the end of the day the house smelt like apple spray. I think that this type of collar is worth a try as well – but maybe it would be better to try together with training – not on a home-alone puppy. Maybe this type of training is a good project to try while we are still at home socially isolating during this pandemic. I’m sure there are a lot of dogs who will be sad when the pandemic is over and their people start heading out to work and school more often.
At first we didn’t think that our Remote Control collar was working. We’d press the button for beep or vibration, and tell him to stop barking – and no effect, or so we thought. After a few days of trying this, we noticed a definite improvement. When he barks with the collar on and he hears the beep, he stops, looks around and sits for a minute. Eventually, he stopped barking completely for a few days. After a while, if Max was wearing the collar outside, and he barked – he would stop and look around. No beeping required.
We weren’t sure whether either the beep or the vibration worked at all. But eventually we realized that either worked. It seems like – alternating between he beep and the vibration confused him a bit – and worked even better! Max has a complex personality though, so who knows what he’s thinking.
Eventually, we stopped putting the collar on him, and his behaviour stayed greatly improved. If he begins barking more often, we put the collar on him and give him the occasional beep, and he remembers not to bark again quickly.
It’s not to say that this device is perfect. If a very scary tricycle gang goes by, there may just be too much emotion to deal with and he may get too wound up to stop barking – beep or no beep. I think the type of dog and his personality also determines the success of this product. Max has a very relaxed, but stubborn disposition. He generally does what he wants, but is not aggressive. He cannot be bothered with sit, stay and come, but then he doesn’t generally cause any problems either, other than the occasional theft of socks or rummaging through the garbage. It’s just that when he barks, he is quite loud and repetitive – sort of a Wub Woo Woo Woo……..
So, that said – the remote control collar trained him very simply to bark less, with very little effort on our part. I can’t say it would work for more aggressive personalities, or for dogs that are on their own. It just helped Max to be a more pleasant neighbour.
The collar that we purchased was for larger dogs and had a nice flat expandable clip on collar, which fits him well. It came with a charger for the remote and the collar – with 2 plugs. This works well and the batteries are still working a year and a half later. The instructions tell us not to put the collar on him for more than 12 hours at a time – and we don’t. We just occasionally put it on him when he goes out on the porch for an hour or so to watch the neighbours, and then take it off when he comes inside.
Our remote control collar is labelled as rainproof – which is a good idea – and it also has a range of up to 330 yards. I haven’t tested it from that far away – BUT – I have been inside watching TV when the barking has started – and pointed the remote (not the TV remote) at Max through my living room window from my comfy chair. This has worked! What more could I ask for?
Based on our success with the product, I would recommend giving it a try as part of a training process for occasional nuisance barking. On Chewy, there are versions available for under $30 – so I think that’s quite reasonable for an experimental gadget. I have wanted to review this product for a little while, because it actually helped us solve a problem (mostly!).
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