"If your dog is too territorial – we want to simply extinguish the behavior”
Alice wrote to me about her 2 year-old mixed-breed dog named, “Bruno” and wanted to know how to fix incessant barking problems, while still letting her be territorial if unknown people approach her RV.
“We have a 2 year-old mutt, rescued from the animal shelter when he was 4 months-old. He now weighs 48 lbs., he’s strong as an ox and he runs fast as greased lightning. The shelter told us he is part Collie, but that is about all I know,” wrote Alice.
She continued, “Bruno makes a good security dog; He barks to let us know someone is coming to the RV. But he also barks at pretty much any other dog, cat, squirrel and bird– when we leave him. Based on your advice, we bought a Tri-Tronics “Bark Limiter” electronic no-bark collar, and it’s worlds better than the pet store products we had used, previously. In fact, it works very well.”
“Now for my question: We want to control his barking, but we do not want to destroy his natural ability to alert us when strangers approach our home or RV. How do we go about doing this?”
I replied to Alice: “Would it work for you, if he’s allowed to bark at things when he’s not wearing the no-bark collar (which should be only when you’re with him)? That way, what you can do is just give him a manual leash correction, if it’s nuisance barking, but praise him for barking if somebody comes up to the RV or the house. [In other words: He will only wear the no-bark collar when you're not with him]. This is going to be the easiest way for the dog to clearly understand what you expect from him. What you’re doing is intentionally making him “collar smart.” Now, normally– we wouldn’t want your dog to be collar smart, because for most unwanted behaviors– we want to simply extinguish the behavior. (For example: Digging in the trash).
But for this behavior, Alice’s dog will quickly figure out that he won’t get corrected for barking when people approach the RV. And that’s what we want!
Copyright 2011 By Adam G. Katz and DogProblems.com. All Rights Reserved.