Written by Markus and with Photos by Markus
We have a garden. And this garden is next to a path that leads to a forest. Result, every day many dogs and their human employees pass our garden on their way to the forest.
Our little dachshund does not agree with dogs walking past our garden wall. She can’t see them, but she can hear them. She will run to the side the passing dog is at and then runs along till the sounds of that dog disappear.
She does this with the energy of a nuclear plant and, so I believe, thinks she is keeping the garden safe from intruders. Once the other dog has disappeared, my dog seems to be very proud of the potential disasters avoided. The issue here is that she barks the whole time due to this. Its starts at 10am and stops at 10pm. So very quickly I went online to find a solution for this.
Keeping her indoors is not an option as one of the reasons to live where I live, is to give her the joy of a big garden. Rewarding when not barking when a dog passes by, seems not to work as she simply is never quiet. And punishing is not something I’d consider.
Online I found several types of anti-bark collars. There are the once that give an electric shock when the dog barks. I believe this is a huge no-no. Shocking my little dachshund? Never!
Then I found collars that beep when the dog barks, and if the dog continues, it starts vibrating. They are cheap (around 25 euro), do not require any activation or complex configuration. The only thing you can set is how sensitive the sensor is that triggers the beep and vibrating. The goal is to have the dog “snap” out of its barking mode due to the distraction of beeps and buzzing.
So I got one, turned it on and put it on my little dachshund. I waited for her to bark, so I could set the sensitivity of the sensor. Quite quickly the first dog passes our garden wall and my dog does what she always does: runs up and down the wall barking. But this time it went different. At the first bark nothing happened. At the second bark, a beep came. She stopped running and looked around but quickly noticed the dog on the other side of the wall and she started barking again. The collar gave another beep, slightly longer this time, but also started vibrating.
Confused my dog looked around and looked at me. And she stopped barking.
So I was very happy believing it works. I was looking forward to be able to work quietly again and have phone calls without the barking.
A few days have passed and things have changed. She’s still barking and completely ignoring the beeping and vibrating of the anti-bark collar. It just became one of the many sounds around her. So I decided to take off the collar to again bring back the element of surprise a day later. But silly me, I left it on a spot that she could reach. And clearly, she knew that this is the device that she finds annoying, so she took it, chewed it into pieces and buried them around the garden. One thing I noticed, while doing this, she was not barking as she was busy “redecorating” the garden with pieces of plastic.
And this is how I came to a final solution. No more weird collars. Key is to keep her busy. And easiest to keep her busy is with things she loves. One of those things is a bone. So every morning she now gets a bone. Till noon she’s busy scraping of anything that she can eat. And then she will try to bury it. She often is not happy with the first place she chooses, so digs it up again and buries it at a second location. And every time she tries to nicely cover it up, while regularly checking if the bone is still as it was. This process takes the whole afternoon. And come evening, we both head out to the forest for a walk. And once back, she falls asleep quickly.
So my conclusion can only be this: If you don’t want your dog to bark, keep her busy. Both you and your dog will be much happier. And don’t go for the anti-bark dog collar. It’s not a long-term solution and only stresses everybody out, including your little barking machine.