My Dog Barks When Left Alone

Dear Adam: We have a problem when we are not home. Our 2 year-old Shepherd/Chow mix rarely barks when we are home, but when we leave her in her nice pen outdoors when we are gone she yips and barks. We have tried stuffed animals and kong toy with food inside.

Do we need to get a bark collar? Any other suggestions or info. on the collars would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Beth Nordstrom

Dear Beth: First, I would try to figure out what is causing the dog to bark. It may be nothing more than nuisance barking.

In which case, a bark collar would work best. But I’d first rule out all other factors, such as: – A neighbor’s kid who may be taunting your dog. – Lack of exercise/stimulation. – Throwing a toy outside of the pen and then barking in an attempt to “make it come back” – Any number of other factors that could be eliminated before dropping $100 on a bark collar.

I don’t know what type of exercise regimen you’ve got your dog on now, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to buy a bicycle and start taking your dog for long runs. (It’s good for you, too!) As for which bark collars to use& the ones that I’ve had the most success with are the Tri-Tronics Bark Limiter. I’ve tried the cheap yellow ones they sell at the pet stores and have found them to be poorly engineered, consistently over or under-correcting your dog, and resetting themselves too quickly.

The citronella collars are largely a joke. The get clogged and jam frequently. The citronella runs out. Plus, I’m not crazy about spraying the stuff in your dog’s eyes.