Thursday, August 16, 2012

Draconian Measures

I really dislike barking dogs, and I'm pretty sure there aren't too many people that like the sound. When we are camping it is even more important that silence be maintained... it's a quick route to being kicked out, or at least disturbing your neighbors such that they hate you. It is really not fair to people around you to have to listen to your dog. It's the same thing when you have close neighbors at home - it just isn't right and in my book is downright rude to let your dog bark and bark.

Which brings me to training dogs not to bark. Kabira and Bella were pretty quick to train. I used the LAT (look at that) training where as soon as they see the dog I click and then treat. They start to look at the dog then come over to me for a treat. Bella sometimes forgets herself and needs a refresher, Kabira only if someone comes up to the camper.

Spike on the other hand... lets just say that he has a pretty strong bark gene. The LAT will work with him to a degree - he's never been able to get past the point where he gets the treat, so if I'm not paying 100% attention the bark comes back. That's where the bark collar comes in. I'm only human and can't give him my undivided attention all the time. Like yesterday. I was visiting with Jo Ellen and Don and didn't always notice the oncoming dog until it was too late and the bark had already escaped. So I gave myself a break. He hasn't worn it very many times and learned quickly that it was barking that set it off. Now I don't even bother turning it on. But he knows what it is for.

It was unfortunate about the bee sting though - even though he wasn't wearing it I think he associated the sting with the collar. And unfortunately he wasn't doing anything other than walking around being a good dog. Which would just be confusing for him.

So think of me what you will - just know that my general training methods are positive reinforcement (clicker training), and I find that works best, but there are just sometimes that I need a break.