Caring for, playing with, and loving a pet has innumerable therapeutic, developmental, and soul nurturing benefits. Our daughter has intellectual and physical challenges and she requires a variety therapies. Her favourite form of therapy and the one with zero negative side effects is pet therapy.
When I said ZERO negative side effects I may have glossed over one annoyance. Surprisingly it’s not the ridiculous amount of time it took to house train Avery’s new puppy. Did you know Yorkshire Terriers take great pleasure in peeing on every carpet in the house? It took well over a year, but she’s finally pee trained. Mostly. (We still don’t have any area rugs down on the floors though just in case…)
Barking is the major hesitation I had when my daughter begged for a “wittle” dog. Little dogs have a reputation for yapping—a jarring, ear-piercing bark that makes me jump out of my skin. I love this little dog, but when she starts barking I forget how cute she is. I finally relented however because a tiny dog for my mini Dr. Doolittle daughter to love and look after was the right thing.
But the barking… ?
A friend told me about a bark collar they got for their wiener dog. She wasn’t yet a barker and they wanted to keep it that way. As a proactive measure they bought a collar that uses a static charge to startle the dog whenever it barked. I was curious, but I didn’t know if we wanted to go the zapping route.
Then our vet told me about a collar that uses a spray of citronella (or unscented if you prefer) in place of the static shock. This sounded perfect!
Ruby’s trigger is the doorbell. She goes ballistic when it rings. We tried rewards if she didn’t bark (which was almost never). We also tried shaking a can of pennies which only added to the racket. I even kept a spray bottle of water by the front door to spritz her whenever she barked at the doorbell. Nothing worked.
I reached out to Petsafe Canada to ask about their spray collar. I’ve used pet supplies from Petsafe in the past (the self-cleaning cat litter box and automatic cat feeder are pet game changers) and they generously sent us a collar to try. I’m thrilled to report it’s the real deal! After less than a week Ruby stopped barking at the doorbell!
Here’s how it works:
- Choose the correct model according to your dog’s weight and neck size.
- Read the manual to learn how to adjust the collar and set up the battery/spray for your model.
- Have your dog wear the collar without turning it on to ensure a snug fit.
- Turn the collar on and then trigger your dog (in our case a friend rang the doorbell).
- Be consistent. It won’t take long until your dog associates their barking with the startling spray.
I put the collar on our dog after school when I know neighbourhood kids will be ringing the doorbell often. After about a week of consistent collar wearing I was able to leave the collar on the table beside the front door. Ruby just needs to see me put my hand on it and she won’t bark. It’s a dog gone miracle. Every few weeks I put the collar on after school to ensure she remembers that barking at the door = a spritz to the muzzle.
Spray Collar TIPS and FAQ:
- Stay close to your dog during the training phase.
- Don’t leave the collar on for more than a few hours at a time.
- Never leave the collar on your dog if you’re not home.
- Take the collar off often and let your dog be a dog. We let our dog bark when she’s playing with the cat or having a doggy playdate. Yes, we’re THAT family.
- The spray doesn’t harm your dog. It’s simply a burst of compressed air which distracts them from barking.
- I was concerned the spray would leave an overpowering odour on my dog and in my house. It does not.
When your dog’s barking disturbs neighbours, wakes sleeping children, or simply becomes annoying or unpleasant, you don’t have to live with it. This spray collar is a simple and safe way to curb your dog’s barking habit so you can get back to loving your little fur baby.