Barking: My least favorite corgi trait. Yet, it's their favorite thing to do. Well, it's Gibson's favorite thing to do at least. Maybe that's because we did not give him a proper "job" so he chose Watch Dog as his professional title. It's always been pretty annoying (barking at anything that moves out the window, dogs on tv, people playing pool, people dancing, when I talk on the phone(!!), etc., etc., etc), but since Hadley has been born, it is completely intolerable sometimes. Ya know.. when you FINALLY get a baby down to sleep, gently start to tip toe away and all of a sudden, "BARK! BARK! BARK!" Sleeping baby flings her head around opens her eyes wide and is ready to start the bedtime routine all over again....
So, back in February, I asked the members of my Corgi Butts Page on Facebook for their advice on the issue. Some of you were completely against the idea of stopping a corgi from barking (You are better people that I am ;)), but others had great ideas! The first I tried was making a *TSK* sound whenever he barked. Didn't really phase Gibson and I found it kind of annoying to have to make the sound all the time. I asked about bark collars or devices and a few of you said the "Bark Off" device worked for you. I looked for it on Amazon and found it for $4.99 w/free shipping (it costs a few bucks more now), so I thought, what the heck.
I really did not want to use something that hurt Gibson or freaked him out as much as other high pitch noises did, so I was a little nervous about using this. Basically, all you have to do is turn it on and it will make a high pitched noise whenever your dog barks. We wondered if it was working, but after one or two barks, Gibson's ears twitched and he looked up to see where that noise was coming from.. and stopped barking. Hallelujah! It worked! The next few days his barking decreased and we could totally tell the difference. But then.... He started to ignore it. AND the thing started to malfunction. I don't think it's ready for a dog to not stop barking. It kept getting louder until it was hurting OUR ears. SOO Bark Off fail. :-/
I was encouraged that the Bark Off worked initially though... so I thought I'd research a little more and find a similar device that actually had some good reviews. The best I found (for the cost) was the Pet Agree Ultrasonic Training Aid ($24.95).
It is basically the same sort of device, only this one you have to do manually. Every time Gibson barks, you press a button, which makes an ultrasonic sound only dogs can hear. They suggest in the instructions that you say the same word every time you press the button, and so we say, "quiet". Oh and we also have some treats ready to positively reinforce it if he actually stops barking. Here is how it goes...
So, there is some progress! He still barks all the time, but I can get him to STOP barking, when before he would not stop until he was done. Of course, treats are his main motivation for stopping. I usually have a handful of Charley Bears on the coffee table and he will come running as soon as I press the button. Not exactly what I was going for, but I will take it.
I think for now, I just have to keep at it. He will sometimes stop barking now when I just say "quiet" without the device. Hopefully soon he will just not bark as much! Maybe?? haha.
Have any of you tried to get your corgi to bark less??
3 days ago