Dr. Sarah Hadley with All Valley Animal Care Center is back with some tips on whether pet owners should use anti-barking collars.
Q: Getting to bark collars, are they specifically "shock" collars?
A: There are different types, that's one of the things I'm going to talk about. I don't recommend the shock type collars. Training by means of pain and punishments are generally not looked on with favor for good reason-It doesn't work as well as positive training. If you do need a shock collar, the one I like has a citronella sprayer in it. So, it's this little box that sits under the chin and the dog barks and it sprays citronella right up from under their chin and it startles them and stops the behavior. I used it on my own dog and it worked quite well.
Q: But, there's no pain involved [with the citronella collar]?
A: Right, it's more of a startle than a painful experience.
Q: This is a little off topic, but does that go for the pinch collars as well?
A: I think those have a very limited use. I think we're going to do a bit on different types of collars coming up here.
Q: Ok! We won't get ahead of ourselves then! Ok, so how should pet owners choose the bark collar?
A: Like I said, I would go for the citronella or other non shocking types. The main thing with bark collars is that all they do, at best, is to get your dog to stop barking. What I really recommend is consulting with a trainer or a veterinarian and working out why your dog is barking and solving the problem that way, because a collar will fail on you eventually. You'll be gone for 8 hours, the battery will die with 7 hours to go, your dog will bark all day and bug the neighbors. Much better to have addressed his separation anxiety or territorial problems before that.
Q: Also, if you quail that one behavior it could cause a dog to jump to the next behavior. So, if your pet barks it could go to the next aggressive thing without any warning, right?
A: That's true too. That's why, once again, it's so important to get to the root of the behavior. Why is your dog barking?
Q: What should owners do to help your dog adjust to life with a collar?
A: They should read the directions. You don't get to just put the collar on and forget about it. You read the directions, check and make sure your pet isn't getting any irritation or anything underneath the collar.
Q: Alright, let's talk about Colby Jack for a minute. Boy, he is purring it up over here! He's having a good time. You know there are some TV stations around the country that have a weather cat. Maybe we should give Bob this cat and keep him here at the station. He is available for adoption. He has a brother named Cheddar, so they like to cheese together, right?
A: These are the cheese cats! They were found abandoned in a box, and it hasn't let him slow it down!
Update: Colby Jack and his brother, Cheddar, were adopted the same weekend this segment aired.