Thursday, April 19, 2012

Operation NO BARK

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??


Erin said...

Thank you so much for posting this, and please do keep us all updated! We just brought home a rescue Corgi Mix, and she has one heck of a set of lungs on her. Perhaps I'll need to invest in one of these gadgets.

Deena said...

Well Done! He seems to be getting it. I hope it continues to work. I wonder if it would work long distance, when they are outside in the yard barking at night?

Carleen said...

The people at Narnia tend to recommend trying the citronella spray collars. Those do seem to work as long as the dog has the collar on, but it does little to teach them not to bark with it off.

Another trick they use is to teach the dog to "speak" because that can make it easier to set up training sessions where you ask the dog to bark and then alternate with "quiet" and reward for stopping barking. It is easier for the dog to understand and learn it that way than trying to get them to stop when they are barking based on instinct.

Whosyergurl said...

Chelsea barks when she wants to. If I am home alone- I'm glad when she barks. If we are home together, it is annoying. We do it all wrong because we say "Chelsea!" Followed by "stop it!" I've heard saying their name in a command is confusing. She is four. It is probably too late, now. But I don't have a sleeping baby around! xo, Cheryl

JuLo said...

Leave it to a Corgi to turn corrective training into a new excuse to get treats. *sigh*

I'm thankful that Theo isn't big into barking at home, but he definitely gets stuck on things at times. It's strange, but one thing that helps? I acknowledge him. I figure he's barking to alter me to something, so I tell him that I hear him, it's ok, and he's a good boy for letting me know. That actually works like 85% of the time. The rest of the time if he barks more I say "enough", and that usually does the trick.

How to keep a dog from barking in the first place? Pretty sure that's one question I'll never be able to answer. Heh.

Lisa Harris said...

Kelly, not sure if you got my first msg about a week ago. We finally resorted to a bark control collar from PetSafe (50.00). It is doing the job quite nicely and I only use it when the barking is out of control and he shuts right up! It has a warning tone and then a zap.

Anonymous said...

We have a white shepherd corgi mix, and I'm so glad that she did not get the barking gene. The only time she barks is when she's trying to tell us something (like "I think I need to throw up") or she's hyper for a minute or two. She did get the cute corgi face, though, complete with smile. :D

Karen and Bailey said...

gibsons so cute. love the "crunch crunch crunch" sounds. hahha

bailey barks too - but he has learned the command quiet. so when i say quiet, he actually stops barking! thats at home. at the park... forget it. haha

KassiaJMP said...

One thing I did with my Mom's corgi (it kinda happened by accident, so I'm not sure if you can replicate it) is that once, when Gwen was barking I just looked at her and said "shh!" like you would at someone who's talking over someone else. Not the "sh!" I usually use for dogs. For some reason, she whisper-barked sooo quietly then. I obviously was amazed and entertained, and gave her huge hugs. That's all it took. Now she thinks "shhh!" means "bark as quietly as you can" and since anyone who tries is entertained, she's constantly rewarded for it. The only problem is that sometimes I'm trying to sneak up on someone with her, and before we go, I unthinkingly say "shh!" and so she starts whispering. But still, a handy trick that, if we can pinpoint how, every corgi should learn.

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