Im just wanting to get peoples views and opinions on bark collars. As far as proper usage and different situations. Thought this would be a neat topic, considering that I just had to introduce Hank to one.
With our working dogs, I don't like using a "bark" collar. They correct all barking. I prefer, if I'm going to use electronics, to use a remote. That way I can correct the dog for failing to "shut up" or whatever command is used for quiet. It removes the indiscriminate corrections for all barking.
I agree with David, because with my dog sometimes on the field she won't bark to get the bite, and I think if we put a bark collar on her at home, it would make her second guess barking all the time... am I going on the right direction here or way off? Thats just my little opinion on things, but I am still a newbie and could be wrong!
I have used bark collars on the odd incorrigible barker in the huskies and could get away with the cheap-ish bark collars but when I ended up with a very large stray coonhound for a few days the cheapo collars didn't even register on him. He would be just would stand there wagging his tail, happily bellowing loud enough to wake the dead while getting while getting zaps that would have made the huskies yip and go in their houses. If I had a real barker I think I would invest in a better bark collar that you could adjust somewhat. I generally have more of a problem with group howling than barking and have used bark collars on some dogs that feel the need to get everybody going in howl-fests at night.
I have used a lot of good bark collars and it never inhibited them once the collars were off from barking and /or baying. Airedales are extremely pain tolerant and they are smart enough to know when they are wearing the collars. For some, putting them on was enough, for others, it was iffy anytime as to whether or not they would shut up when deer aor animals were outside the yard. They did teach my dogs to howl very smoothly and on key because up to a point, the howling didn't seem to set them off so I could hear them slowly working up to the point it would trigger the collars. I have numerous dogs in each yard and the dogs ripping the collars off each other and destroying them became cost prohibitive at a hundred buck a pop and buying 10 to 15 at a time. I think in a city with close neighbors, they would be a must because they work well with most dogs that are problem barkers. Lynn probably knows the volumn of noise that 20, 70lb to 85lb dogs can produce during a howlfest. It is god awful and all dogs are not melodious howlers....some sound like they are dying out there and mix barking with the howl. Personally, I don't mind a howler that can carry a tune but I want to get up and drown the others at times. When the coyotes are denning and having pups, like right now, I am up at 2 and 3 in the morning a good deal of the time to keep the dogs quiet. It is 2:15 am right now and they just finished their 2nd howl of the night. Full moons are killers.
I think Don makes a good point about some dogs being extremely pain tolerant and smart enough to know when they are wearing collars.
With that said, I occasionally use the Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter with my youngest GSD. She is a born barker...the loudest and most vocal dog I have ever encountered. She is learning that enough is enough (an e-collar helped there), but there are some days when she just could drive you crazy....those are bark collar days along with lots of extra exercise.
Yes, Hank is my coonhound. The main reason I put one on him is when he is in his kennel, to keep him quiet. When I let him in the yard, the collar comes off and he has no problems barking and still has no problem baying while training. It has worked perfect in the kennel because when he is in there he doesn't even make a peep. He doesn't really bark abnormally in the yard but it seems that I have a very picky neighbor and has made a complaint about him. I don't even like a mouthy dog and to me there is nothing wrong with him barking a little in the yard, but it seems that these people won't him to never bark, which is impossible. So it seems that I will be having some problems in future.
Don, I have to tell ya, I have only heard Hank howl like twice but I must say he sounds very very nice, he has a soft low pitch howl, you can hardly hear him, it really sounds pretty.
I know how you feel with the neighbors. I have one that will blast music at all hours of the night but my dog barks for like 5 minutes and she is complaining about it... I wanna live out in the country with no neighbors!
Even though we live in a pretty remote area; we still have a couple of neighbors. I try to be very proactive and I won't let any of our dogs bark non-stop. I only need to use a collar on a couple of the dogs when they are in the kennel. The rest of my dogs only bark when they should. This has never effected them on the field at all. I prefer the Tritronics model...I've not had any issues with that collar.
I tried the Petsafe bark collar once with a foster and it was a piece of crap. The Innotek rechargeable collar worked fine, though. I use the remote collar on Jak at night and it's not affected his barking when it's off, or when he's wearing it out of his kennel.
Kristen, anything that you don't like about the Innotek. Im going to buy a new one tomorrow. Any suggestions? Turns out that the one that I got was a piece of crap. I will be complaining to the company about it. That thing was shocking the crap out of him anytime, not just for barking. I've been noticing that he started acting funny with it on, like he was scared to move so I checked out the collar again today and found out that you can just bump that thing and it would shock you. I know because I did it to myself over and over. Talk about being pissed, man that poor little dog. I took that thing right back to the store and told them about it and they said that alot of people have been bringing them back so I feel that I should do something about this. It is the Gardian brand and they just screwed up cause I'll never buy anything that they make again. Half my fault I guess, I should have got some references before I bought one. So stay away from that one.
Jay, was that Guardian an Innotek collar? I have used a lot of Innotek collars. The only good one was the recharchable. The battery operated ones gave out to quick. The told be they are not near as durable as the rechargeable...I usually paid about $100 bucks for the rechargeables at the time. The last ones I tried were self adjusting. If the dog kept barking it kept raising the setting. They were ok for light use but still gave up the ghost faster than the rechargeable. That one rechargeable collar is the best thing they make IMHO. I have had two shock collars from them. The second being a replacement for the first. I trashed the second rather than having it replaced.
Don't have to be recharge very often Jay. Seems cold weather was closer intervals but about every two mo if I recollect. You cant leave the collars on for more than 12 hrs at a time are the prongs will dig holes in their necks because they have to be pretty snug to work properly. Yes, I am up shutting dogs up again at midnight. For a couple of dogs, the collars are a life saver. Collaring 20 plus dogs every evening and taking them off every morning is a headache.
Bark collars are one of a special class of collars to help you get along with your dogs. They work in a similar fashion to an Ecollar except that they're triggered by the dog's barking, rather than by you pushing the button on a transmitter. One advantage to them is that their timing is always perfect and they're consistent. As long as you keep the batteries in good shape, they'll give a stim anytime your dog barks.
Before you spend your money I'd suggest that you try a few other methods that don't involve the expense of purchasing the bark collar and often work. Try giving your dog a Kong filled with peanut butter. Some people freeze this overnight to make it last longer. Try leaving a radio on a talk radio station, or some "soft" rock. Try giving your dog some extra exercise to help wear him out. If you haven't done any OB training with him, do some. Often just doing this solves the problem.
There were problems with older models of these collars. Some of them could be activated by the barking of nearby dogs or even by jiggling your house keys. But those problems have been solved with modern versions of the tool. Today many forward thinking boarding kennels have all the dogs wearing bark collars, so that the dogs can get their rest. In kennels that don't do this, if one dog barks, they all start barking.
One problem that used to occur was that if the stim was set too high or the dog was surprised by the stim, he'd yip, tripping the stim again; then he'd yip again. Yip-stim-yip-stim, well you get the picture. Modern versions of the tool have a delay before they'll stim again, so the dog does not get punished for an involuntary yip.
Dogs bark for many reasons; boredom, to "answer" another dog that's barking, to reunite the pack, to drive off an intruder, or loneliness are among them.
How effective a bark collar is at stopping the barking depends on several factors. One is how long the dog has been barking before the cure has been attempted. The sooner you attack the problem, the better your chances of stopping it. Other factors are; why the dog is barking and how driven he is to bark.
As with the Ecollar you'll have to determine what the proper level of stim is for your dog. Start with it set at the lowest level on the collar and put your dog into the situation where he normally barks. DO NOT give him a command to bark! If you do that and he gets stimmed for it, he may never bark on command again, and I won't blame him.
If he barks and continues to bark, for a prolonged period of time, say 30 minutes, turn it up one level. If his bark sounds different to you, that's an indication that he's feeling the stim. Leave it on that setting for a day or so. If he continues to bark, turn it up one level. It may take him several episodes before he realizes that it's his barking that brings the stim.
One of the problems with a bark collar, because they're sometimes worn for long periods of time, is skin irritation from the pressure of the contact points against the dog's skin. Do not leave the bark collar on for longer than 10 hours at a time. If the dog gets wet it may make him more susceptible to sores from the contact points.
Bark collars are among the easiest to use of electronic training devices. As with training collars, stick to the top brands, TriTronics or Dogtra. The instructions that come with quality bark collars are quite good. Follow them carefully and you won't have any problems.
Choose a model that has at least 5 levels of stim. One brand advertises that it has four "settings." They are on and off and low and high. In reality, they only offer two levels of stim, low and high. Some models are operated by user replaceable batteries and others by rechargeable batteries. You'll have to decide which is best for you.
Bark collars are a special case of Ecollars. With the Ecollar you want the dog to come to disregard its presence and perform whether it's on him or not. But the bark collar is exactly the opposite. You want the dog to not bark ONLY when the bark collar is on the dog. AND you want him to realize that when it's not on, he can bark as much as he wants.
Guardian, Petsafe, and Radio Fence are all the same company, Jay, just for future reference.
I recharged my Innotek every two or three days. I had the BC-200. It has progressive correction, where it starts out at the lowest level, and increases to the next level after a couple of barks, and continues until the dog feels it and stops barking. When the dog is quiet for, I think, 10 seconds straight, the collar resets to the next lowest level, and that's where it starts the next time. For example, if Hank stopped barking when the collar reached level 4, and was quiet for 10 seconds, the collar would reset to level 3, and start at that level if he started barking again, rather than starting all over again from level 1. When you recharge it, it automatically resets to level 1 again. I *think* you can set it to whatever level you want after you unplug it, though, but don't hold me to that. I haven't used that collar in probably a year, because now I use the Dogtra remote collar instead.
One thing about the Innotek is that it will also correct for whining and whimpering if it's fitted snugly enough. I never had a problem with it going off due to other noises, but it would sometimes go off if the dog drug it across the bottom of the crate, which was a wire one with one of those plastic bottoms, not a solid plastic crate. I don't think it would have gone off in an all plastic crate, but I don't think you're going to find a bark collar that wouldn't go off when drug across one of those rough plastic crate bottoms, though.
As I said before, Jak's barking outside of his kennel, whether he's still wearing the collar or not, has not been affected by his wearing it and being stimmed for barking inside the kennel.
I had one of the first bark collar 35+ yrs ago. It went off when my other dogs barked, when a fire truck went by, when I started my motorcycle, when a friggin bird farted when it flew over.
I got rid of it when it went off cause my wife put her thumbs on it and barked into it.
WOW!! That didn't go well at all!
We're still happilly married. I just don't bring that up.
I picked up an Innotek and so far so good. I took Hank out to training last night and he had NOOOO problems letting it all out. As long as I can keep him to a minimum in the yard we will be ok. These peopel beside me are just nick picking me now, so we'll see how it goes.